Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beautiful Science...

Science can often be beautiful as well as practical and technological.

A student of mine from a course I taught last semester sent me this video of a time lapse of the night sky.  Set to beautiful beautiful music it gives a visceral feel for the wonderful diversity of night sky.


Yahoo News Story on video above and its creator here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some music I'm listening to lately...

My musical tastes tend to be pretty eclectic.  Here's a sample of some of the stuff that's really inspiring me right now:

"Personal Jesus," by Depeche Mode*:

"Dreaming," by BT:

More Depeche Mode, this time "A Pain That I'm Used To":

And "Moonlight Sonata":

* I maintain that Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode is not blasphemous in the least.  If you replace "televangelist" with "Pharisee," Jesus Himself says basically the same thing in Matthew 23.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's Heaven Like?...

So at Bible study this morning we touched on the question "What's heaven like?"

To a non-Christian - maybe even some Christians - it sounds like a bit of a silly question.

But I love those kinds of conversations because they remind me that all life is story.

In Bible study we focused on Isaiah 60 and what it meant.  But one of my favorite answers didn't come from an engineer or an account executive.

It came after, from my dear friend Chrissy, whom I love dearly and means a great deal to me.

Chrissy's mentally handicapped, and has an IQ of about 80.  But she sometimes sees the world more clearly than most of the people I know, people trapped in the sound and fury of the everyday.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Science Fiction Classic: "I Am Legend," by Matheson

Note: Not about the terrible Will Smith movie.

A few nights ago I stayed up all night re-reading a science fiction classic: "I Am Legend."  It's one of my favorite stories, and one I strongly identify with.

Like a lot of science fiction, it follows a simple plot.  Robert Neville is the last human being alive in a world filled with zombie-like vampires.  He has to defend against their daily attacks on his home, a scrappy survivalist using materials left behind after the doomsday* plague.

One of the things that really struck me about the book was Neville's gradual degeneration due to isolation.  At first he is beset with depression and alcoholism.  Later, he accepts his fate and becomes an antisocial wild man.

--- Warning: Spoilers after this point ---

Science: Peak Oil and Why That Politician You Like Is Not a White Knight Who Is Going to Rescue You from High Gas Prices

Politicians are a little bit like men who want to get you into bed.  They'll say anything you want to hear to get you to take a roll in the sack with them.

Trouble is, it's often not true.  That guy you met in the bar is probably not "falling for you," he just wants to get laid.  That political candidate that is promising you $2 gas or an electric car is just trying to get your vote.

Gas and other energy will remain very expensive in the coming decades no matter what we do.  This includes drilling, funding alternative energy, and manufacturing electric cars.

The problem starts with the concept of "peak oil" and "peak gas."