Sunday, June 24, 2007

I went to Galveston this weekend. It was pretty fun despite how much middle-aged gay men like me and cloudy weather. I did get to see a waterspout while driving down the road which was pretty neat and I'll post pictures of that soon.

I've decided that top 5 lists are a fun thing to do and so I'm going to start off my first one:


1.) Everyone dresses as a different type of dinosaur or prehistoric mammal, and at the stroke of midnight everyone pours out their beverage in honor of their 65 million year deceased homies.

2.) White Trash Bash. This happens before the end of summer for sure. No pants below knee length and no shirts with sleeves. Mullets are a plus.

3.) Dress Like You Did In Elementary School. Did your mom pick out your clothes? You dressed yourself? Do share.

4.) Favorite late 80s/early 90s television star (everyone please don't go as Fresh Prince)

5.) Watch me beat Metroid in 45 mins. Okay this isn't so much a theme party as a way to show you how badass I am at Metroid. Still...

I'm leading a huge expedition to NASA next monday. I want to tell you how I think that'll go down later.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This is Post-Worthy

They finally changed the death-timer on Med. No more ten minute bullshit.

It's just not reasonable for a human to get excited over something stupid like this.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Something Sciencey

(or pseudo-sciencey, but it makes an interesting point.)

I want to talk about a problem I've thrown some thought-time at lately.

The universe is a very large place, and even our tiny galaxy within it is incredibly large compared to our system. Upper estimates put its largest diameter at 100,000 light years, while our furthest interstellar probe is about 90 AU (.0015 LY) from Earth. That probe was launched in 1977. Our fastest probes might be a bit quicker by now but I doubt they are by orders of magnitude, and nowhere near the speed of light. One of the most often asked questions about the galaxy is whether or not there is other life in it.

Some attempts have been made to quantify the preponderance of civilizations in our galaxy which are advanced enough to communicate, the most popular of which is the Drake equation. It's a many variable quantity, and its parameters are highly contested, but results can often give N=0-100, while some estimates can give extremely low values such as 1e-10, where N is the number of civilizations. A recent computer calculation which assumes that a sufficiently technologically advanced civilization could build a ship which moves at 10% the speed of light, populate the nearest star systems (using an average spacing of systems which is empirically determined), and then 500 years after landing send a new ship out to its nearest system finds that the entire galaxy could be colonize in 5 million years after the beginning of such a program. If N was on the order of 10 or so, the probability of at least one of these civilizations being born before us is high, and taking into account the age of most systems in the galaxy (~13 billion years) it is quite probable that at least one of these civilizations was born at least 5 million years before us. The question then, is why isn't the galaxy colonized yet? There are many anthropic assumptions made in the argument (i.e. they communicate by radio, build spaceships, want to leave their planet) but it still makes an interesting point to play the pessimistic side of this argument. Maybe a factor which isn't taken into account by all these estimates is that a civilization sufficiently advanced to create spaceships of the required type it is also sufficiently advanced to destroy itself, and the probability of this occuring within 500 years of the creation of such weapons might be higher than we think. It's something to think about.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Monday by now, surely. I have had a very busy weekend, but it's been very good all the same. Rockwall is a growing town and a lot of what has been added on is very nice. There is a lakeside shopping district and movie theater now, and it's obviously been well-planned and had very solid investment. It shapes up to be a really nice place, overlooking the lake like that.

I realize from time to time that I'm lucky enough to have a lot of close friends, not acquaintances or passing friends, but people who actually givachitte. Thanks dudez.
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