Monday, September 20, 2010

Time Travel

Tomorrow morning, I realized I forgot to post today. I quickly hopped into my time machine, came back to today, and wrote this post. I had to be careful to avoid my past self. Firstly, an encounter with a past version of me could change my past, creating a paradox. More importantly, however, it would create a rip in the pronoun-grammar continuum: It'd be awkward to tell him/me(?) "Hello! We haven't written a blog post yet, so I can back to tell me to write it."

Douglas Adams was right: Grammar is the biggest barrier to time travel. However, this pronoun scheme might help:
  • Add suffix [-past] when addressing anyone from your relative past in the presence of their present selves
  • Add the suffix [-future] when addressing anyone from your relative future in the presence of their present selves.
  • If you meet two versions of yourself from the relative past or future, add the suffix [-past'] or [-future'] to whoever is from further into the past or future.
For example: If I ran into my past self, I could greet him with "Hello, me-past!" Being a savvy time traveler, the past version of me would realize I'm his future self and reply with "Greetings, me-future!" If a version of me from my relative future showed up, I would address him as "me-future," while I-past would refer to him as me-future'.

Verb tenses, however, are another ball game entirely.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sales

The best things in life are free.

That said, really inexpensive things are good too. (In all honesty, free stuff is really hard to find.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Glass

  • The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
  • The optimist says the glass is half full.
  • The scientist says the class contains 50.12 mL of liquid, and is filled to about one half its maximum capacity.
  • The engineer says that there's a waste of volume.
  • The politician says that, if elected, he will make sure the glass is full.
  • The surrealist says something about llamas under his breath, fills the glass with motor oil, and drops in a dead goldfish.
  • The Dadaist says the glass is an artistic statement.
  • The economist says that the quantity of liquid demanded is greater than the quantity of liquid supplied, and raises the price of liquid in the glass until quantity demanded equals quantity supplied.
  • The communist says the contents of the glass is unfairly distributed, then pours its contents into many smaller glasses.
  • The opportunist drinks whatever's in the glass.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phraseology

Why physicists are not writers: Exhibit A

This is the back cover of a college-level physics textbook. I can't get over how ridiculous the first sentence on the back cover is. It actually annoys me.

There are about fifty ways to phrase their topic sentence that do not sound ridiculous. For instance:
  • See the world through the eyes of a physicist
  • See the physics at work in the world
  • See the world through the lens of physics (this has optics, so bonus points)
This is also why physicists are not biologists: Eyes relay information to the brain, and thus don't know anything. Plus, if we performed biological experiments like we performed particle physics experiments, we'd throw frogs at a wall, and then observe the parts that fly out. Gross.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Educational Movies I Would Watch

  1. Sartre Trek II: The Wrath of Kant. Sci-fi and philosophy, all in one. Awesome.
  2. A documentary on carnivorous plants. Those things are awesome. Ideally, the Jaws music would play as flies flew near the plants...
  3. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History Of Time. As an action thriller. I'm picturing the hero in a space suit, fighting off enemies while hovering dangerously near a black hole.
  4. A film of The Great Gatsby that isn't terrible.
  5. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. If all the plays were filmed, it would make for the world's most epic DVD box set.
  6. Anything Bill Nye. That guy is a pro.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Word!

Flattergasted - adjective. Extremely humbled/honored. Like flabbergasted, but with flattery.

In context: "You all dressed up like me for a spirit day!?! I'm flattergasted!"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things That Are Awesome

  1. Spontaneity. Many of of the greatest times in your life will be when you're making up your plan as you go along. Whether you're making an impromptu run to the food store with friends, spontaneously bursting into song in the cafeteria, or just being weird for the fun of it, you'll find the best plan is often not having a plan at all.
  2. Reading. Books are good. They give you knowledge. Knowledge is power.
  3. Reading in trees. We've been over this, but it bears repeating.
  4. Electronic books. Sentimentalists might enjoy the smell/feel of a paper book, but there's something empowering about carrying an entire library in your pocket. Might not want to take your ebook reader in a tree, though.
  5. Talking in pirate voices. National Talk Like A Pirate Day is September 19th. You should participate. Also awesome: Making pirate-themed euphemisms for everyday words. (ie: "Studying" becomes "plundering me books fer knowledge.) Bonus points if you secure a parrot for this.
  6. Anthropomorphizing objects. Finding a blue balloon? Boring. Giving said balloon a duct tape face, naming it "Balloon Boy," pinning it to the lapel of your jacket, and taking it with you do physics class? Awesome.
  7. Lasers. The things you can do with lasers are insane. Just ask a DVD player. Or a cat.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Trees

In addition to providing shade, lumber, fruit, and oxygen, trees are also a great place to read a book. If you're ever bored, or in need of a quiet place, find a book. Then find a tree. Then climb the tree. (This last step is complicated if you have a book in your hand. Perhaps get a friend, who will pass you your book once you are secure in the tree.) Then read the book. The only disturbances you will encounter are squirrels (inconsequential) and/or bug (annoying).

NOTE: Reading in trees might result in broken bones (if you fall out of the tree), broken books (if you drop your book into a pile of nasty leaves), and/or dirty clothes (if the tree hasn't been washed recently). The author takes no responsibility for these and/or other damages incurred while reading in a tree.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time Travel For Dummies

  1. Find a black hole. Theoretical physicists think there should be plenty of these floating around in space. Just get one; you'll need it soon.
  2. Get antigravity. It's possible that the end of your black hole might be connected to another black hole, forming a sort of bridge in space called a wormhole. However, there are two problems: (1) the connection between the two black holes is really small, and (2) the gravitational forces of the black holes would instantly kill anyone who tried to traverse the wormhole. The solution? Stuff the ends of the wormhole with antigravity. Theoretically, this exists too.
  3. Spin one end of the wormhole. You have to do this pretty quickly; probably at close to the speed of light. Maybe use some more antigravity to do this. Because of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, time will move slower for the moving end of the wormhole. Spin it around long enough, and the two ends will become desynchronized in time. Cool stuff.
  4. Go back in time. Hop into the not-spun end of the wormhole, and you'll emerge from the temporally desynchronized side, in the relative past!
  5. ???
  6. PROFIT