Saturday, September 1, 2012

Music Videos

Every once in a while I'll stay up late and watch music videos on the 'net.

And every time I do I find myself going "Till Lindemann is gorgeous."  Every.  Time.

(Lindemann was a swimmer pegged for Moscow, btw, before he was in Rammstein.  Also, I don't care what anyone says: German is a beautiful language.  So is Danish.  So is Polish.)

How did the behavioralist get rid of the monsters under the bed?...

...He sawed off the bed's legs.

I have realized that all my obsession with "the human brain isn't ready for the internet" is really "No, my compulsive little monkey brain isn't ready for the internet."

Friday, August 31, 2012

ABC Wednesday: G is for Green Gas

This one is for Carver on conserving natural resources: Green Gas, or How Cow Farts May One Day Save the Planet!

Oceanic methanogens.  Image from the Oregon State University Subsurface Biosphere Initiative

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sundays with William Blake: A Divine Image

Hannibal probably would be stuffed by now.

Mappings are a way to associate objects from one group to another.  I remember when I first encountered this concept in  one of my very first logic courses and was struck at how useful a concept it was.  (Image from Mathworld.  Yes, I know it turned itself into a sketch when it loaded on my blog.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What should I expect others to know and understand?

"Hahaha, you're stupid..." said Ian, my cousin-in-law, mocking my attitude of "How can you not know that?" when we were playing an American history trivia game.  I was about 21 at the time.

"Musk oxen are very closely related to goats...." I told my mother-in-law last night.  "I thought it was elk..." she said.  Later: "I looked it up; you were right..."

Monday, August 20, 2012

ABC Wednesday: F is for Far, Far Away...

This post is for PhenoMenon, astronomy, "F."  How do we figure out how far something is in astronomy?...  What do your blinking eyes have in common with how NASA calculates interstellar distances?...

Hold out a finger or a thumb and close your right eye and then your left.  Your finger will appear to move.  This is very much how distances are calculated in space!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A New Life...

I'm like a freakin' 6-year-old...

Professor Honeycutt, eh?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Free Will

I would posit that free will is separate from emotion and sensation.

If creatures cannot decide to change their behavior, then they do not have a consciousness or free will, regardless of feelings or emotions.

They cannot be said to be "aware" in any meaningful sense, even if they have the perception that they have a consciousness and are autonomous, without this ability.

To decide to change behavior and then to do it is the demonstration of free will.  Creatures that cannot do this are merely robots or automatons.

Extremely cool...

Vast volcanic 'raft' found in Pacific, near New Zealand

"A vast 'raft' of volcanic rocks covering 10,000 sq miles (26,000 sq km) of ocean has been spotted by a New Zealand military aircraft." - from BBC article linked above.

The floating rocks are pumice, a type of volcanic rock that's lighter than water due to gases trapped inside it.  It's hard, but it looks like a stone sponge.

To put that in perspective, the island of Hawaii is only about 4,028 sq miles (10,430 sq km.)  So it's more than twice the size of the island of Hawaii.

Monday, August 6, 2012

ABC Wednesday: D is for Detritus

"Detritus?  Are you s###ing me?..."

Plus!: Creepy crawling lilies of the deep!  They will astound you!

An image of marine snow, little gooey particles of a variety of organic matter that slowly sink to the bottom of the ocean, also known as marine detritus.  Marine snow plays an incredibly important role in the ocean's carbon cycle and is a major source of food for deep-sea organisms.  Image from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Learning Not to Care...

I've been working some months now on a poem called "Understood in Elysium."  It's still not quite done.

These flowers don't care who I vote for.  Yet another reason why flowers are awesome people.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Miso soup for the vegetarian soul...

Seriously?  I just played a video game for seven hours straight?

This is actually very tasty, vegan-friendly and very cuddly when you have a cold.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hitler, TV News, Church Sing-A-Longs, Gays and Facebook

I caught a case of what appears to be Captain Trips, so I am really down for the count today.  Sad, because my husband, who is also sick, has the day off.  :-(  So, I'd thought I'd share some thoughts that I've been chewing on lately...

Freaky little midget with many psychological complexes.  Right now, just finishing up a re-read of Eric Fromm's "Escape from Freedom," which is about the psychology of Nazism.  It was written in 1941 (GASP!  An old book!!!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

ABC Wednesday: C is for Chirality

...And a list of upcoming topics.  Do you have a favorite science topic?  Let me know and I'll add it to the list!

The first is for Roger Green, who said he liked chemistry.  He's also a trivia genius, so I tried to think of something he'd never heard of.

Chirality is all about "handedness."  Bet you didn't know that a molecule could have a left or a right "hand"!  (Image from Nature Publishing Group, Chiral molecules: High-speed photography, research highlight.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

US Women's Soccer - WOOT!

Yes... yes I'm sneakily using sex to get you to read about women's sports... bwhahaha...

That beautiful back and bottom belong to Sydney Leroux ,one of the forwards for US women's Olympic soccer team.  Now who wants to watch women's sports?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

B is for Orion's Belt (ABC's Wednesday)

A question for readers: what's your favorite science subject?

A picture from NASA of the constellation Orion.  The three stars in the middle in a row are his belt.  The bright one up in the upper-left-hand corner is Betelgeuse.  Special camera techniques were used to get this effect.  You can see more at NASA's site here:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From a Gunowner: Using Guns Would Not Prevent Tragedy

Let's remember the real heroes in the Aurora tragedy: the unarmed civilians who protected their friends and police officers who chose not to shoot.

Me with my brand-new Ruger that my husband gave me for our anniversary.  As someone who loves guns but hates violence I feel the need to speak up.  (And yes, my hair is wet... he surprised me with it while I was getting out of the shower.  :-) )

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A is for Avogadro's Number (ABC's Wednesday)

Right now, your high school or college chemistry teacher would be very proud if you started mumbling to yourself "pee vee equals en ar tee..."

These paper lanterns - also known as Kongming lanterns - are taking off due to some of the physical laws that Avogadro was investigating during the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Here Is the News...

Some news that I've been reading this morning that might be interesting.  Might make this semi-regular (or at least when it interests me...)

Here Is The News, by ELO

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cicero's "In Defense of the Republic": For the Manilian Law (Part 3 of many)

If Cicero's "For the Manilian Law" was debated on Facebook, what would it look like?...

Mark Tansy's "Myth of Depth."  Image from Adbusters, specifically Tactical Briefing #19.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cicero's "In Defense of the Republic": Against Verres (Part 2 of many)

"For if there were no courts, then every individual would steal only what he felt was enough for himself and his children; now, because of the state of our courts, each one steals what will be enough for himself, his patrons, his supporters, the praetor and the jurors..."

- Cicero, Against Verres I

Against Verres I isn't so much against Verres as it appears to be against the rampant corruption of the Roman courts.

Some "History of Ancient Rome" music for interested audiences...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cicero's "In Defense of the Republic": Introduction (Part 1 of many)

Book two of my summer reading is "In Defense of the Republic," a collection of the great arguments of Cicero.

Part 1: the introduction.  I.e.: The Romans were some freaky, freaky dudes.  No, seriously... freaky dudes...

Bust of Sulla (Wikipedia.)  It was under Sulla's dictatorship that Cicero first gained prominence as an orator.   Cicero lived during a particularly turbulent time in Rome.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Villainous Fantasies, Part 4: Villains I Want the Good Guy to Fight

Like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, my villains trilogy now has four parts.  And some notes on the Don Giovanni problem...

Sarcastic mathematician v. Tyrannosaurus rex: it doesn't take Freud to figure out why I think this is cool .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Death of the Autonomous Man?: A Review of BF Skinner's "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (Part 2 of 2)

Wrapping up the chapter summaries and some thoughts on Skinner's world view...

Leonardo da Vinci's helicopter.  Although in many ways a brilliant design, da Vinci's helicopter would not work because it lacks a second, antitorque rotor.  The antitorque rotor applies an opposing force to the torque created by the rotor which provides lift.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Death of the Autonomous Man?: A Review of BF Skinner's "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (Part 1 of 2)

Apparently my metaphysics are somewhat different from BF Skinner's.  However, he does make fascism sound appealing...

René Magritte's "The Son of Man"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alaska: Land of the Midnight Sun (and my home for the next three months...)

I'm on top of the world!!!

Immaculate Conception, the church I'm attending here in Fairbanks.  Beautiful little Catholic church with a wonderful priest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

“S’il n’y a pas de solution, c’est qu’il n’y a pas de problème!”

Are some problems unsolvable?...

Gödel's incompleteness theorems state: (1) if you can list out the base assumptions of a system, then you cannot know all  logically true statements possible in the system or the system is inconsistent, i.e. contains a logical contradiction and (2) if you can use the system to prove the system is consistent - does not contain a logical contradiction - then the system must be inconsistent. There's a nice little rant here at the University of Michigan's website where a mathematician complaining about the misapplication of Gödel's incompleteness theorems ends up appearing to support intuitive reasoning over logical reasoning, i.e. that intuitive reasoning is more complete than logical reasoning.  I'm not sure if he's aware of this; I may pester him...  


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What I really, really need...

Screwing around will not accomplish avoiding going to Alaska.  I will still be on that plane.  Time to bite the bullet.

Yes, yes I do.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sundays with William Blake: Some Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

I think of myself as a Catholic with a strong Unitarian bent.

A bivariate Gaussian distribution, also known as a "bivariate normal distribution."  I often think I can see the reflection of the minds of the mathematicians who study certain fields.  In the case of Gauss (1777-1855) I wonder what Gauss was expressing about himself in his exploration of the normal distribution.  Later the Gaussian distribution would become essential not only for modern statistics but also for understanding modern physics.  For example, Einstein connected the Gaussian distribution to Brownian motion and, therefore, diffusion in 1905.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Avengers

Spoiler alert!

If Thor (Chris Hemsworth) posed like this?  I would be very okay with that.  Very, very okay with that.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The whole "gay rights" thing...

Oh for the love of snot, if they want divorces and child custody battles, let them freaking have them.

At the end of this rainbow isn't a pot of gold.  It's the next several months of arguing about what goes on in other people's bedrooms.

What Cheers Me Up...

What cheers me up is generally not what cheers up most people I know.  Plus, a little on the psychological concept of "sublimation."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hilarious - Top Ten Reasons to Kill Yourself

Hilarious, the person who wrote it is awesome.

[Note and update (June 10, 2012): It disturbs me that this is one of my #1 blog posts found through search engines.  If you're like me and feel better laughing at problems your mind has blown totally out of proportion, please keep reading.  However, if you're genuinely suicidal or having serious depression issues, please reach out to someone or try some way to get your mind off it.  Here:  I even wrote a post on how Monty Python is amazingly good for cheering me up.]

Top ten reasons to kill yourself:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mental Health from Monty Python

Not a good day thus far.  I need a dose of perspective, so taking a Monty Python break.  I also would love it if I found Eric Idle living in my fridge.  (Much better than Zuul, anyways... :-D )

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sundays with William Blake: The Tyger

Did He who made kittens put snakes in the grass?...

A Koch snowflake is a strange mathematical object with a limited area but infinite perimeter, that is, the length around the object is infinite but the space that the object takes up is finite.  Koch snowflakes are made by taking an equilateral triangle and adding three more equilateral triangles to each face and so on to infinity.  This relates back to the coastline paradox, a real problem in the real world.  Due to the coastline paradox, the apparently simple question "How long is the coast of Britain?" is, in fact, unanswerable.

Friday, May 4, 2012

God, Guns and Government: "Houston, We Have A Problem"

"Of course I'm well-informed.  I watch the news..."
- Just About Everybody

What if your view of people different from you was entirely built by television?...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In Honor of Finishing Grading and Surviving a Program Development Meeting


I love my friends in the Education Department.  But when one tried to explain "intuitive math" to me today...  Yikes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If You Didn't Mean It, Then Why the #### Did You Say It?

Getting a little sick of people in politics saying one thing and then, when questioned about it, saying "Naw, naw, it's a joke..."

Ted Nugent.  Was totally using a metaphor when he made a direct threat against the President.  Or something.

Midweek Dostoevsky: The Meek One

Exploring animus and anima concepts through the Dostoevsky story "The Meek One."

A beautiful painting by William Blake that I feel captures many of the tones of "The Meek One," if not directly than by poetic analogy.  One of my favorite paintings which I will probably discuss again later in one of my "Sundays with William Blake" posts.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Embracing our aggressive selves...

I think society makes us paranoid about our aggressive natures.

Party time with a friend's AR.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Science: I'm sorry, but Darwin says NASA should probably go extinct

Are American science and technology all that the public believes they are?

I have this debate at work, with friends and online.  Are American science and technology competitive in the world marketplace?  Is science capable of all the things that the public seems to believe it is capable of?  Have we lost our competitive edge?

I'm going to explore this in a series of posts.
"I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds" - Oppenheimer at the Trinity Test

Sundays with William Blake: There Is No Natural Religion, Meditations on Fantasy in Christian Life and Talking Honestly with God

I think that the hardest aspect of my Christian identity is bringing my feelings honestly to God.

Chaotic oscillators can be very much like haikus or koans.  In written form they are often very short.  They can be just a small system of three ordinary differential equations.  Chaotic oscillators are both predictable and not predictable.  A small difference in initial conditions can lead to profoundly different results.  And yet, as long as those initial conditions are within what is often a very wide range, the widely variable results all stay within certain bounds, as if tied by an unknown string...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Giant Sex Orgy and Hooker Party by Obama's Secret Service

Obama's secret service had a giant, giant hooker party.  Enormous.  Here are some legitimate news sources covering it, including the Associated Press, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and CNN.

So, I'm interrupting your regular broadcast of "Midweek Dostoevsky" to talk about something much more fun... sex!

Dude, did you do what I think you did?...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Escaping the Black Vortex of the Internet

It's like "Escape from LA," just the only switch is on my computer...

From left to right: My best friend Tom, myself, and my husband Peter.  This photo was taken on Peter's mid-deployment leave from Afghanistan.  We've been best friends forever.  Peter's giving Tom a playful jack to the stomach (I hope it's his stomach...)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day & Sundays with William Blake

Happy Earth Day!

Because of family parties, I actually had to garden yesterday rather than today.

The spiral of a sunflower follows a very specific pattern known as the Golden Ratio, which is the limit of the ratio of the Fibonacci numbers as you approach infinity.  Not everything that people claim follows the Golden Ratio actually does - nautilus shells, for example, do not.  But sunflowers really do.  To see how the sunflower's pattern relates to the Golden Ratio, check out this tool called "Turn, then Grow."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Les Shadoks

The caption reads "Better to pump even if nothing happens than to risk something worse happening by not pumping."

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Art of the Spoiler Alert

Not just about blogs, either...  Yes, yes I'm giving you the stink eye, Barnes and Noble Classics.

No spoilers here, I just thought this was a great spoiler warning.  I found it on a blog that I'm now following.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Midweek Dostoevsky: The Dream of the Ridiculous Man and Some Notes for "Occupy"

Some thoughts from a failed pacifist revolutionary.  And: not all sci fi is Star Trek, after all.

"I am a ridiculous man.  Now they call me a madman, which would be a promotion if it were not that I remain as ridiculous in their eyes as I did before... I have always been ridiculous, and I have known it, perhaps, since the hour I was born..."

Going postal over LOLcats

Not going to do a huge long rant.  Just wanted to say: I love real kitties, but LOLcats must die.

Kittens are cute.  LOLcats are a sign of the decline of Western civilization.  Cutesy, self-affirmative BS.  Here's a hint: find a real cat and pet it.  Don't irritate me by sending me emails about how this picture of a kitty played a major role in your path to self-actualization.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Villainous Fantasies, Part 3, the Finale: The Coolest Villains of All Time

These aren't characters I have fantasized about being.  They're just really cool villains.

Laplace's demon or just a cryptic cat that likes to screw with people's heads?  Either way, the Cheshire Cat is very cool, but tragically did not make the cut!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sundays with William Blake: The Clod and the Pebble

Lovely Blake poem which I feel is true at many levels - hence the fractal below.

Fractals are self-similar objects, which means that as you zoom in and out the pattern, while not identical, remains extremely similar.  Their eerie beauty has given them the nickname "the thumbprint of God."