February 14, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve taken the leap and made transformed my website from a free wordpress blog to a full blown wordpress website. I’m still working out a lot of kinks in the move, so please bear with me.
February 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Quantum science is hard for most people to wrap their head around (me included). What I gather from my limited knowledge is that uncertainty reigns, a lot of it is very weird, and it involves lots of big maths to do it. Also, it deals with really, really, really tiny things. As in the tiniest.
One thing I did not expect is that animals might be interacting with quantum mechanics. And they might be doing it better than our best scientific equipment. For example, that European robin in the picture above might be able to ‘see’ the Earth’s magnetic fields via quantum entanglement. Tiny particles in the bird’s eye react to photons, moving electrons to higher energy levels. This movement creates tiny magnetic fields that the bird is able to use to sense the Earth’s magnetic fields. And it does all this 20 percent better than the best laboratory equipment we have.
While the possibility of quantum birds is still being studied, it is being suggested that another animal could have an even more profound interaction with quantum mechanics. No, it’s not Schrödinger’s cat, but buzzing little bees. There is the remote possibility you recognize the picture above as something more than vaguely looking like a coffee bean. That is one of the two dance patterns that bees use to communicate the location of nectar to the rest of their hive. The dance language is extremely intricate and capable of communicating complex locations. Scientists have studied it for years, but have yet to find an explanation for how bees with brains the size of pin heads are capable knowing and using such a nuanced language? Well in line with the topic of this post, the secret may lie in quantum mechanics. For an extremely detailed and interesting read, you should head over to this website, but here’s the gist of it: that strange-looking coffee bean dance is eerily similar if not a downright match for what happens when you take a six-dimensional object and draw it in two dimensions. This particular 6D object is important for understanding quarks (a building block of particles and something very important to quantum mechanics). Variances in the objects 2D version correspond to particular changes in the 6D version, changes that match the very nuances of the bees dance language. The implications of the bees dance matching up with a mathematical equation important to quantum mechanics is that bees are somehow able to perceive changes in the quantum world.
But here’s where this goes from harmless theory to paradigm shifting: nothing, not even our best equipment, is supposed to be able to do that. When ever we observe the quantum something like a quark or an electron, our instruments actually change its state. These particles exist in a ‘quantum field’ where at any one time they effectively exist in all places that they could possibly exist. When our instrument tries to find its position in space at one moment in time we are disrupting the quantum field and changing its state, thus disrupting its true nature. But if bees are able to perceive the quantum world without disrupting it, then parts of quantum theory might possibly have to be entirely re-written.
All of this talk of quantum animals is in its early, theoretical state. But its certainly making a lot more quantum physicists talk about the birds and the bees.
February 10, 2011 Leave a comment
Videogame news and trading website Gamervision makes some pitch perfect videogame and commercial/movie trailer mash ups, including the ‘Indie’ God of War movie trailer above.
Also, this trailer to a Breakfast Club style Zelda movie, complete with authentic 1987 video quality.
Also straight out of the 80s are these two commercials for Valve’s Portal and Left 4 Dead. The intro and outros that use actual 80s commercials are genius.
February 9, 2011 Leave a comment
El Hadji Diouf is a
football soccer sports playing guy, but thats not whats important right now. What is important is this:
After removing the other player from the gif, a call goes out to Something Awful forums to answer the question ‘what tripped El Hadji Diouf?’. The forums responded magnificently. Here are some of my favorites (and the users who made them) but be sure to check the forum for the rest:
February 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Here in Kansas (and really most of the United States), the winter doesn’t look to be leaving anytime soon. For years, I’ve tried to combat what I consider the worst part of cold weather: the burning, searing chill it leaves on my face. Finally, I have found a solution: Beardheads! Designed to mimic the manliest of beards (i.e. full), a Beardhead is perfect for anyone out there like me who can’t stand regular ski masks. The soft, partly wool fabric is extremely comfortable and warm, the faux-beard keeps the chin and neck toasty, and perhaps the greatest innovation of all, the interchangeable mustache does a fantastic job of keeping my lips from drying out. You should also be prepared to receive complements on your Beardhead every time you wear it as its charming design can’t help but bring joy to everyone involved.
Beardheads come in a variety of colors for men and women. Also available are some tasteful viking and spartan helmet options for the modern pillager in need of something a little insulating. Unfortunately, we both know how totally inaccurate that viking helmet is.
February 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Ever since the 1988 movie Rain Man, it’s been considered a truism that the airline never crashes. While this is somewhat true (no Qantas passenger jet has ever had a fatal crash, but some of their early prop planes did), the airline came pretty close a few months ago when an engine on one of their Airbus A380 jumbo jets exploded. After this happened, I found this joke about why Qantas never crashes and thought I’d share:
Apparently, after every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a ‘gripe sheet’, which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas’ Pilots and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers.
Pilots: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
Engineers: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
Pilots: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
Engineers: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
Pilots: Something loose in cockpit.
Engineers: Something tightened in cockpit.
Pilots: Dead bugs on windshield.
Engineers: Live bugs on back-order.
Pilots: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
Engineers: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
Pilots: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Engineers: Evidence removed.
Pilots: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Engineers: That’s what they’re for.
Pilots: Suspected crack in windshield.
Engineers: Suspect you’re right.
Pilots: Number 3 engine missing.
Engineers: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
Pilots: Aircraft handles funny.
Engineers: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
Pilots: Target radar hums
Engineers: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
Pilots: Mouse in cockpit.
Engineers: Cat installed.
And perhaps, the best Qantas joke…
Qantas Pilot: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
Engineers: Took hammer away from midget