Random Thoughts

Super Sexy

Super Sexy

Jul 16 2009 | 9 comment(s)

The folks at Ecocomics, which is about economics in the comic book world, not environmentally friendly comics, have posted their winner from the following reader contest:
Recently, we asked readers the question of how superhumans (or comic book characters in general) might take advantage of the market to achieve financial gain.
And the winner is . . . Superhuman Escort Services.  Think the blog is written by guys?
Takes Me Back

Takes Me Back

Jul 15 2009 | 2 comment(s)

This ad, which may date back to my childhood, reminds me of what LEGOs meant when I was a child, a avenue for creative freedom.

*Hat tip to The Brothers Brick.
Lil Jungy may not agree that Malayan tapirs are cute in general, but I would like to see anyone say such things about this guy.

Of course, it is hard to compete with a baby rhinoceros on the trot.
In the 1980s, Michael Milken went to jail for selling "junk bonds", which were risky debt.  His crime?  Offering to absorb all of the losses if he could have half the profits.   Some of the bonds he sold yielded 18%.   Like I said, risky.   He made a lofty set of claims, vague threats and some questionable promises to get people to buy them.

California state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is also selling junk bonds and using vague threats and questionable promises, but these ones only yield 6%.   Chances of him going to jail?   Not high, because he's exempt unless he engages in dog fighting or runs over a kid in the parking lot.   
Actually, it is Feynman on trains and how they stay on the track.  It is, however, so much fun to see the joy he derives from understanding how one little part of the world works.  That neatly encapsulates the joy of the scientific method.
Weeding Out

Weeding Out

Jul 15 2009 | 0 comment(s)

As happens from time to time, Wiley's Non Sequitur comic strip is not only humorous, but also nicely illustrates a scientific point.  And, this one happened to co-occur with my birthday.  Coincidence, I think not.
Non Sequitur for 10 July 2009 by Wiley Miller
Many of you may know who lived at 112 Mercer Street, from 1936 until his death in 1955. The man and I were our for a lovely walk and some delicious frozen yogurt in Princeton Sunday afternoon (just a short drive from here) and I snapped the following two photos for your viewing pleasure. (Camera = my new Palm Pre. Not bad, eh? I like my pic better than the one on the Mercer Hill site.) I didn't see Einstein in person, of course, but you can see him smile about 27 seconds in to this clip.
The whole question of imagination in science is often misunderstood by people in other disciplines. They try to test our imagination in the following way. They say, "Here is a picture of some people in a situation. What do you imagine will happen next". When we say, "I can't imagine," they may think we have a weak imagination. They overlook the fact that whatever we are allowed to imagine in science must be consistent with everything else we know; that the electric fields and the waves we talk about are not just some happy thoughts which we are free to make as we wish, but ideas which must be consistent with all the laws of physics we know. We can't allow ourselves to seriously imagine things which are obviously in contradiction to the known laws of nature.
Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, who blog at Discover, have a new book out called Unscientific America.   We got a copy here but I asked them to send it to Dr.
Beppe Grillo, one of the most successful bloggers in the world (last time I checked his blog was number 11 in the world by traffic) descends in Italy's confusing political arena.