December 3, 2007
The mainstream media has been running tons of bits on “number-crunching” Chimpanzees today. Here’s one headline from WiredScience, “Chimpanzees are probably better than you at math.” Having previously studied primates’ mathematical abilities, I was shocked. It’s widely known that primates can’t do math because they don’t think the way we do. Eagerly I read the article only to learn that math wasn’t involved in this exercise. That pissed me off (I hate deceitful headlines), so I decided to blog about it.
Here’s the real skinny on this bit of misinformation. The chimps were TRAINED to use a touch-screen and memorization program. The program displays numbers in random positions, then the numbers disappear and the chimp touches the places the numbers appeared in numerical order (1, 2, 3, etc).
We know the chimps see numbers as symbols and understand that one symbol preceeds the next. But that’s the extend of their “genius”. There was no addition, subtraction, multiplication or division involved in this exersize. If chimps could add two numbers and understand what they were doing then that would be a true number crunching math chimp, but these aren’t. Again, the headline was, “Chimpanzees are probably better than you at math” …A complete lie.
Some chimps, which had practiced for quite some time, were pitted against college students who had no prior experience with this exercise. The students kept up with the chimps until the numbers were only appearing for less than half a second. I’m not impressed at all that chimps can be trained to react/memorize faster than humans who weren’t trained.
Instead of pitting college students against the chimps, why not use children and spend an equal amount of time training them? I’d put money on a 6-year old winning. …Children are faster learners than adults and have excellent memorization skills.
Obviously this story is another example of the media selling scientific lies by the click. Below is a clip from an average player in a Halo 3 match. Your reaction time here has to be in the 50-millisecond range to be competitive, and it’s ridiculously more complicated then the chimp game above. This is the kind of game humans (children and adults) play FOR FUN. Let’s see a chimp do this…
November 17, 2007
A theory of everything (ToE) is a hypothetical theory of theoretical physics that explains how our reality behaves.
The history of this question is traced back scientifically to ancient Greece, but I’ll bet humans have been asking how things work almost as long as we’ve been wondering why they do.
Modern physics explains how reality behaves using “fundamental forces” which are combined in the process of “fundamental interaction”. The “fundamental forces” include the Strong Force, the Weak Force, Electromagnetism and Gravitation.
These scientific theories don’t really explain how everything works together, rather how each “force” operates.
And please note my mention of General Relativity as “Einstein’s theory”. That’s because it’s based on Einstein’s hope of black holes that operate exactly according to his theory. If black holes hold any surprises they would probably crush General Relativity. Fortunately for General Relativity fanboys, black holes can’t be described without a theory of quantum gravity and they cannot be observed.
Modern theories of everything seek to unite these separate studies into one single theory. All ToE theories fall into two camps; those that can be validated using physical experiments and those that cannot.
String theory is probably the most popular model today. It cannot be proven or disproven with a physical experiment and it requires 22 new dimensions. I don’t like String theory because I only believe in four physical dimensions; Space (x,y,z) and Time. I think Extra Dimensions are String theory’s Black Holes. Again, they are essential to the theory but can NEVER be observed.
I used the same sort of argument as a child regarding my powers of invisibility. I would claim to be invisible, but only if you weren’t looking at me. …Think about the similarities between that and General Relativity or String theory.
The whole idea of reality being made up of independent forces is very old, Wind used to be considered a force of nature. I think it’s funny that science has shortened their list but kept their old argument, but I digress.
I want to be clear that I’m not claiming String theory or General Relativity is wrong. I’m trying to explain why they don’t conform to deterministic experimentation, experimentation capable of proving or disproving a theory.
In my opinion all science falls into two camps; one that suffers the burden of proof and another that seems to be exempt from it. I have more respect for the former then the later.
Most of Theories of Everything don’t allow deterministic experimentation, experimentation capable of disproving the theory. …Most of them don’t, but Garret Lisi’s new theory does!!!
Garret’s Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything can be tested using a particle accelerator. His theory explains how everything might work, how all fundamental forces interact. I like his theory, if for no other reason, because it can be easily proven or disproven. I think he’s doing real science the right way.
So, who is the man behind this new theory? Antony Garrett Lisi, a surfer-bum who just happens to have a Ph D in theoretical physics. And he sounds as exceptional as his paper reads. Garret’s theory is based on a mathematical structure known as E8. Garret thinks it can be used to explain the behavior of everything, literally. This structure was only recently plotted/calculated/drawn by the world’s largest super computer. I won’t try to re-write Garret’s paper or better explain his theory, but I do want to show you what E8 looks like…
That picture jogged my memory. A few years ago someone handed me one of those growing/shrinking sphere toys at a party. I don’t remember how much I’d had to drink, but I was totally memorized by the shadow it cast. I’d completely forgotten about that memory, but it came back in a flash when I first saw the E8 pattern.
After some quick Googling I found the picture above on Google. Isn’t it odd how that spherical toy cases an E8-like shadow? Would the correct structure cast an exact E8 pattern?
Garrett’s theory has been receiving an amazing amount of interest. A new article on this subject appears on http://news.google.com every hour. A lot of people (including distinguished scientists) think Garret might be onto something, but many scientists (especially lovers of String theory) disagree.
String theory fanboys and craky physicists have bashed Garret saying he doesn’t understand the math well enough to approach this topic (did they forget that Einstein’s wife helped with his math). Some of these critics don’t think his theory should have even been published. Sometimes these critics include math in their arguments against Garret’s theory.
Personally, I can’t speak to Garret’s math or that of his critics. I’ve been trying to understand the math behind this and I don’t think I ever will. All I can say is that it’s very complicated. This exercise made me wonder, if mathematicians are so smart why can’t they communicate with words? I realize that many brilliant people are only brilliant on certain topics, and total loons on others. …Is it too much to ask for one brilliant critic who’s also a brilliant communicator?
One argument I did understand against Garrett’s theory is that it would send science back to Keplers idea of one tiny universal particle if it were correct. ….But so what if the universe might be made up of one kind of ultimately tiny particles?
In my opinion mentioning Johannes Kepler only gives Garrett more credibility. Especially since Kepler believed geometry was the key to understanding science. In fact, that premise was the key to many of his discoveries.
One of Kepler’s key discoveries was the rotation of Mars. Below is a picture, the line ends where it would continue in reality. Prior to Kepler it had been thought that things moved on a maze of perfect circles.
Kepler proved there was complex geometry behind orbits. We now acknowledge an abundance of geometry in nature, so why it impossible is that everything operates within the bounds of a single geometry? If I understood the paper, Garrett’s theory contends that everything conforms to the geometry in E8. That seems like a good guess to me.
October 10, 2007
This massive ULF (ultra low frequency) assembly, a part of the Duga-3 array, is over a mile long. ULF (ultra low frequency) waves easily penetrate the earth, and lots of other dense matter. From 1976 – 1989 it sent out a powerful 10Hz wave that sounded a lot like a low frequency woodpecker. The way interrupted broadcasts, amateur radio, and utility transmissions resulting in THOUSANDS of complaints from various countries.
That was a long time ago. Wireless wasn’t so important back then. It is now.
If Russia ever turns this back on, or if someone else builds their own and does the same, we should expect two things…
- More bricked iPhones (many other wireless devices will also be bricked)
- We might go crazy
That’s the other horrible thing about microwaves. They can affect our brains. Current technology isn’t up for mind-control, but you don’t have to control someone’s mind to make them go insane.
Still don’t get it? Go to your TV. Turn it on and find some snow (aka white-noise). Now turn up the volume and try to concentrate. Then imagine that bliss 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Don’t you wish we had one? We have something sort-of similar, it’s called HAARP. It runs on UHF (ultra high frequencies), which do not penetrate the earth easily. However, HAARP transmissions could probably bounce around inside the ionosphere and cause problems that way.
Anwayz, I’m not saying our friendly Russian neighbors will ever turn The Woodpecker on again, but it is scary to think about. Especially since this has been used before and we know it does work. Let’s hope it’s torn down and the metal is turned into a bridge or something.
October 3, 2007
Why aren’t the feminists in America focused on ending the slaughter of young women in China and India? I’m not talking about abortion. I’m talking about the murder of babies; young girls, the handicapped or other unwanted children.
It’s sad but it’s nothing new. Back in 200BC the Greeks were doing this with a smile on their face. I bet you weren’t taught about this in Public School. You probably weren’t told about the ugly side of the Greeks because they are the beloved of academia. The Greeks were pigs in so many ways…but I digress. The current champions of death today are China and India.
Here’s a recent true story from India…
Lakshmi already had one daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For the three days of her second child’s short life, Lakshmi admits, she refused to nurse her. To silence the infant’s famished cries, the impoverished village woman squeezed the milky sap from an oleander shrub, mixed it with castor oil, and forced the poisonous potion down the newborn’s throat. The baby bled from the nose, then died soon afterward. Female neighbors buried her in a small hole near Lakshmi’s square thatched hut of sunbaked mud. They sympathized with Lakshmi, and in the same circumstances, some would probably have done what she did. For despite the risk of execution by hanging and about 16 months of a much-ballyhooed government scheme to assist families with daughters, in some hamlets of … Tamil Nadu, murdering girls is still sometimes believed to be a wiser course than raising them. “A daughter is always liabilities. How can I bring up a second?” Lakshmi, 28, answered firmly when asked by a visitor how she could have taken her own child’s life eight years ago. “Instead of her suffering the way I do, I thought it was better to get rid of her.”
Quote by John-Thor Dahlburg writing for the LA Times in his article, “Where killing baby girls ‘is no big sin'”
Things are worse in China where girls are considered “maggots in the rice.” Read on if you have the stomach…
…culture dictates that when a girl marries she leaves her family and becomes part of her husband’s family. For this reason Chinese peasants have for many centuries wanted a son to ensure there is someone to look after them in their old age — having a boy child is the best pension a Chinese peasant can get. Baby girls are even called “maggots in the rice”…Quote from “Gendercide and Genocide” by Adam Jones
I’m not disillusioned by this horrific tragedy. I know many wonderful people from China and India. That’s why I believe we can prevent this from happening. The people of the world need to be more vocal about our disapproval of these egregious acts.
If you care about this topic you might consider getting involved. It’s actually easier then you might think. There’s more than one website dedicated to stopping Gendercide, you could simply surf over to http://www.gendercide.org/ and signup for their mailing list.
It would only take seconds to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem, but I bet you won’t take the time. My experience has been that most people want to ignore problems like this. You’d probably rather pretend it doesn’t exist.
October 3, 2007
Recently a sixth-grade teacher brought up the Iraq war in her classroom. She said America was doing terrible things in Iraq, and that we needed to leave as soon as possible.
Unbeknownst to the teacher one of her new students recently lost her older brother in Iraq. This little girl proudly rebutted, “My brother went to Iraq to fix things. They killed him for trying to help. He’s in heaven now.”
The teacher rolled her eyes. Dedicated to the idea that she needed to educate her students on the harsh world around them she responded, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but if he was fighting in Iraq then he wasn’t helping anyone.”The little girl looked hurt for a second. Then she swallowed hard and said, “Oh yeah, when I get to heaven I’ll ask him.”
Irritated at the child’s response the teacher sharply replied, “What if he went to hell!?!”
Immediately the little girl spouted back, “Then you ask him!”
September 26, 2007
I have been accused in the past of being a Halo fanatic. This might have something to do with the thousands of Halo matches I’ve played. However, recent sales numbers seem to indicate these people are simply out of touch. Check this out…
Microsoft says Halo 3 netted $170 million in sales in the U.S. in its first day.
This figure beats all past sales records in the entire entertainment industry.
Sony – Eat your heart out.
Those not familiar with the game might also be interested to know that it’s based on Jihad. Of course they don’t call them Muslim-radicals, but a race of religious zealots spends most of Halo 1 and 2 trying to destroy humanity in order to complete a prophecy.
The little religious zealot aliens even call the human characters infidels. The entire second game was about one zealot who realized his religion was a lie and ends up joining the humans. Funny how the media isn’t really talking about this huh?
September 26, 2007
Linux is just a kernel (the core of an OS) each “distro” contains a unique set of applications that control the look and feel of linux.
Randomly I found this cartoon today. It expresses my feelings on Ubuntu perfectly…
But don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate non-Microsoft operating systems. I just poke fun at them. I think Linux is great for some systems, like servers running as a “black-box” with no monitor or keyboard.
By the way, since we’re on the OS topic again I have to bring up Vista. I love bragging about how well it’s doing, since everyone else keeps lying about it.
You can monitor OS popularity using this NetApps site. I wasn’t surprised to see Vista gained 6.2% since last September while Mac OS gained 0.55% and Mac OS X has only gained 1.98%. So much for that momentum Stevie always talks about.
In all fairness though, I do think Mac OS X is the best Unix distro EVER. It’s a great operating system. I strongly recommend it to people who don’t know how to use a computer and have no interest in learning.
I’ve always said Apple’s OS is great for people who don’t mind drawing inside the lines. *snickers*
Viva La Vista!