Random Thoughts

In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.

- Richard Feynman, Letter to the Editor of the California Tech, Feb. 27 1976

Following Andrea's article on the necessity of creativity for genius, I thought it might be fitting to relate a chain of thoughts I followed last night during a session of "beer-and-lasers".

Public art project by Ryan Laughlin in New Haven, CT
* Platonic butt slap (in the sense of being the ideal representation of a butt slap) to Skepchick Rebecca Watson.


Aug 19 2009 | 1 comment(s)


Really.  Come on.  Help us out.  Look, I know vampires are cool and all, but face it Bram Stroker's Dracula is a drag,  I, literally, started that book six times before I slogged my way through it.  On the other hand, the other story that came out of that legendary evening, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, is phenomenal.  Unlike Dracula, I've been back to Frankenstein's well multiple times with greater enjoyment with each revisit.
Let me tell you a secret.  I always wished/imagined that Milton (died 2006) and Rose Friedman were my grandparents.  Not that I would trade them for any of my grandparents-of which I have had 7 due to unusual family arrangements-but they would have made a great #8 .  I can only dream about the conversations around the dinner table at family holidays.
Zombies are the new black.

What I had forgotten-until reminded by listening to an episode of The Bible Geek (Robert M. Price), is that the New Testament was two millenia ahead of the zombie craze of the last few decades.  The Gospel of Matthew gets all Night of the Living Dead on us:
51: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from
the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
Ahh, the annual list that makes you feel old, and makes you nostalgic for the good old days of the late 1990s when cell phones were still non-ubiquitous.

The Beloit College Mindset List is a list of cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives and reference frames of incoming college freshman. These kids were born in 1991 (that hurts a little), the BCML says.
The goal of a world where body weight was not cause for discrimination or denigration is a nobel one, but at what cost?  In the zero sum game point of view some activist have it seems that for people of high BMI to gain, those who are of normal BMI must loose?  

This is really more of a gedankenexperiment and I'm very interested to read your thoughts.  Over the weekend, I had the occasion to hear a very liberal, Christian minister who works in hospice share his thoughts about the need for universal health care in the United States.  Obviously, a timely topic.  His discussion began from the happily stated major premise that access to quality health care is a fundamental human right.  Being of a well-documented contrarian nature, I immediately tried to determine whether I believed this premise.

Is access to quality health care a fundamental human right?


Aug 17 2009 | 0 comment(s)

I'm not going to go naming names, but this pretty much sums up my experience with the online catalogs of quite a few vendors, whose products are essential for my thesis project.
Dilbert by Scott Adams