Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fake reseach

From the begining of my bacc degree I noticed that physics student are "intimidating" to most people. A good exemple of this is the reaction one gets when answering the question: "so what do you do for a living?" with "I'm a physicist"... normally there is an akward silence lasting just long enought for a thunderclap and an dramatic theme music before the person find some way to change the subject usually by leaving the presence of said physicist. Apparantely that extant to astrophysicist as well. Luckily for me astrophysic is less scary then true physics cause when you get the change to explain what it does people are full of questions.

But the point remain that physics doesn't sell well to other people so to help my love life (well in fact just to be silly but my official reason sound better don't you agree), I,m asking you faithfull reader what fake research or work I should use when answering the question. comme on let me hear your funkiest suggestion. That kinda like Yofed story writing contest but with a different prize laughter for everyone!

Movie Review: Le Guide Galactique

Well last night I seen a movie, and since I always wanted to do review of movie I seen but always lacked the medium to publish it for all the world to understand my glory I never did. Now, however thanks to my blog i can post my first. Well My first review is a review of Le Guide Galactique, french version of The Hitchhicker's guide to the galaxy.

I'll give it 1 dragon out of a possible 5 dragons (geek rating system, amazing isn't it). If you haven't read the book you might rate it at 2 dragons.

Why do I give it such a rating is quite simple, while the movie is funny and could be used as a good distraction from the world. It isn't great and miss many jokes from the book. They changed the story slightly, americanised it and left out some of the best joke. (for exemple: the last message of god to it's creation and mankind proving that god doesn't exist throught the bable fish). Genarally it failed to bring the sense of wonder and wakiness the book brought. Also it resorte to too much slapstic comedy for my taste.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Cardinal Vader

I have it from a trusted source.. there is in rome a priest with a physical disabilty who once did kung fu and was once a doctorat in physics. He fits all the sign of been cardinal Vader ;-) This with pope Palpatine can only be a bad sign no?

I wonder what kind of movie that would be like.. pope Palpatine, Cardinal Vader.. Vatican III: Revanche of the Priest. Then it would be floowed by Vatican IV: A New Hope, Vatican V: The religion strike back and finally Vatican VI: Return of the scientist.

I wonder tho how lines like: "Luke I'm your father" will be handled...

anyway I now return you to your scheduled realilty.

And the moon is the only light we see...

Warning this is a deployement of another weapon of mass education please read carefully.

Yep the Moon, one of the most puzzeling puzzle in our small solar system. The only place outside of our own little Earth were the human hand as set a foot. And yet something we don't really understand, well more like we don't understand as well as we understand some other things in the univers and on Earth. You see there are many thing strange with the Moon, first it is freaking huge. In proporition it is larger then all other moon in the solar systeme (with the exception of Charon Pluto's twin planete/moon), second it as a composition very simillar to earth yet with "strange" exception (notably in the abundance of some heavy elements), it has a remarquably hight angular velocity and circular orbits, and it most have formed amazingly close to the Earth to be at its distance today considering it move farther from the Earth 3 cm each years.

But even more amazing then all these things is how we think it formed (with numerical simulation showing that this is indeed a good way to form a moon with the characteristic ours has.) So here it is for your eyes only the receipe for our Moon: First you take a rock the size of Mars composed of hot rock. Second you need a planete slightly lighter then Earth and still only composed of two things: Hot rock and hotter rock. You slam the two together in a grasing collision and about 1 or 2 day later you have the Moon! Yes you read correctly you slam Mars into primordial Earth and what remains is a bigger Earth and a close by Moon. Up to now that is the only theory that accounts for all we know about the Moon and it's very impressive to think that something the half the size of our planet can strike our planet without completly destroying it is amazing. And it also means that planet destroying weapon of SF are probably impossible thankfully.

The weapon of mass education have been deployed and used, open your mind to new things and search for more information yourself. You'll be amaze how wonderfull, strange and interesting science and learning can be. Have fun and don't forget.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

First step to Canaries Island taken!

Well it's not actually the first step but a title like 52nd step taken just doesn't have the same appel you know. Yeah today my poster for CASCA (the conference just after the one in the canaries island) is done (or at least it's first draft is done). Which mean I get to concentrate on the two remainning challenges, buy the stuff I need for the trip and preparing my presentation for the canaries. Wish me luck I'll need it for both!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dangerous realisation

I just realised something weird about myself... I like Gilmour's girl... Well not like in a way that will go out of my way to watch it but I actually find it watchable. Even interesting and amusing... which is scary in a gay kinda way. Oh well I'll just put it up on my weird side. Scary I actually find that show funny... and interesting scary again. Good for me, I think, I hope, I wonder.

Silly things in game reality

All right, I had not posted anything sickingly geeking in a while so I have something for you today. Silly things in game reality, you know those rules that if you apply them like they are written will produce weird, illogicial or just plain silly situation? You don't?! oh well give me an excuse to give some exemples (oh nice of me you think.)

First Babylon 5 War (a relatively old space ship combat game based on the Babylon 5 universe), in this game there is two rules for exactly the same situation in physical reality. First you have what they call matter weapon, weapon that are basicly a chunk of metal that you throw at an ennemy. This kind of weapon ignore anykind of armor your ship might have and deal damage in a large chunk. Then we have the ramming rules where a large of chunk of metal (you're ship) collide with another ship (or in weirder term it is thrown at another ship), well this "weapon" does not ignore the armor you have on your ship and deal many small chuck of damage point... so in short if Bob lobs a big rock at your ship, there a good chance that you're ship will suffer more damage then the rock wich hit it... weird.

Then in D&D there is the unburnable wood. You see the way the rules of D&D are made when you attack and object with an energy (fire is an energy in D&D) you divide the damage in half and then apply a modification for the resitance of the material (called hardness). So let assume the following situation: you have a lit torch (dealing 1 to 3 fire damage) and want to lit a fire with it. To lit your fire you have a large pile of wood (hardness 3 to 5). So you put your torch in the pile of wood, deal 1 to 3 damage, wich is halved to 1 and then you reduce for hardness.. giving you 0 total damage (you can't have negative damage). Now for wood to catch fire it must suffer damage and then fail a saving throw making this a very unlikely proposition in this situation. the moral of this story, wood doesn't burn you silly human.

I'm sure there are millions of other exemple and I welcome you to post yours in my comment section. Have fun.

An association for smoker's right.

I just heard the weirdess thing on the radio (in my mind at least) a publicity promoting the rights of smokers to smoke where they want. Now they have a web site (monchoix.ca which I could never access for some reason) and before I talk in more detail about their message I'd like to see it but here is my gut reaction to this:

WHAT THE FUCK?!!!! For the last 20 years there has not been a single health benifits found to smoking cigarettes, what as been proven is that cigarettes kills smokers and non-smokers alike. Cigarettes sicken kids and polute our environement, it also smells likes shit. Nothing good comme from smoking, if that not clear engouth NOTHING GOOD.

What a strange world we live in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Quebec sovereingty

Last night one of the accused in the sponsorship scandal in Canada said that the pm's handling of the scandal had insured the future disolving of Canada and the creation of a sovereing Quebec state. I'm very torn on this issue as I belive that building a new country is one of the hardess but most rewarding thing that can be done, however I don't belive the current political parties and power group in Quebec can be trusted to make a country or even run one. They have yet to make a true restructuration of provincial spending and revenues. They have only balanced the last few budgets by comptability trick (which are of doubtfull legality according to the verificator general) or the selling of assets. Quebec leader (and most of Quebec population it seems) likes to think in the very short term, about 4 years average and you can't start a country thinking of only the next 4 years. Their is also the fact that Quebec is not a balanced democratie (well I don't think Canada is either but that another question) we only have left wing parties (our right most party is left-center) sure it seems to represent the populations of Quebec but does it give us the opportunity to be exposed to other ideas? I'm not a right winger but I really think that you cannot find the best path if you only use one side of the argument. The rights as good points and some good idea, just like the left. The secret of making an efficient and good government in my opinion is to find what best on both side and try to work with that. To be in the center of the spectrum and find a path that will bring both economical powers and social well being. On a side note I find that both these ideas are intrinsicly link, you can't have social well being you cannot afford (well for long anyway) by being economically strong but you can't be economically strong if your social order is falling appart. The trick is to aim for compromise and win-win situation. Cutting tax to a big compagnie by giving it income tax credit for donation to socially concious and environnementally friendly initiative probably help the country more then just giving more money into social programs. This is something that for some reason Quebecer don't want to understand.

So you'll excuse me if sovereingty was declared (with the current political powers and it didn't result in a war with Canada wich I doubt can happen) I belive I would run like hell somewhere else to the United State or the rest of Canada probably. If the situation changed dramatically and Quebec became one of the world greatest both in economic and social field, I'd probably change my mind, but I doubt it will happen soon... unless the carefully built paper house we live in collapse and Quebec is forced to face reality and try to stand back up.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Is being fat a crime?

I was listening to a very bad french tv show (En attendant Ben Laden (translated to "Waiting for Ben Laden") which is supposed to be a comedy show but well it faills. Anyway, they asked a question to the public that made me think... Is being fat a crime? My answer is no. It is not a crime, it is more like a disease. It's something that should be prevented, for which we should educate the population to try to remove but it is not something that is evil or even antisocial.

Sure I think there should be a taxe on high fat, low nutrition value food (like chips and most fast food) and that we should do everything in our power to insure that people realise that obesity is dangerous for their health. This danger is a global epidemic right now and will only get worse as time pass. I have a friend who's kid will probably morbidly obeses in a few years, they are already heavier then I am and about a foot smaller. They are fat at age 16 and 14 respectively that is scary and the worse part is that everywhere I look the kids seems to follow this thread (wich isn't better then the skinny thread).

Answering e-mails makes you dummm... euh less smart

The effect of e-mail on IQ a news article on CNN.

You know what that means don't you? stop checking those damn mails and get to work. You'll be smarter (or shouldn't the correct word be productive?) that way. I a way I find the finding of this study logical, if you spend more time checking and answering mail then working you'll look stupider then someone who only works. hey, seems that computer hurt us in one more way... after reducing overuser's body to blobs of fat they are turning their mind to jello.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Having books to read

I'm a big reader, no I'm not big but I read a lots of book annually. Normally I would read about 52 novels a years (sometimes much more then that but that a close average) however for the past few month due to lack of money or lack of time to go to the librairy I couldn't get a novel or even a simple interesting book to read. So now I've got 4 books to read finally 2 science fiction novel, 1 philosophie book and a D&D rule book (hey I got to keep my geek reputation wouldn't want to loose that you know ;-)). So that means I'll be able to write reviews.. I've always wanted to write reviews of book I like or don't like.

Have fun!

The universe is small very small

You know the world is small but sometimes you are reminded just how small it is. I have a friend that is studying to be an elementary teacher (I wonder if that has anything to do with elementary particules) and she is going on a training course in my home town. That in itself would be strange, but she is also going to be a trainee to my first teacher ever... who also happen to be another one of my friend first teacher (which I didn't know before). Isn't that weird.

I may not belive in God but I'm quite sure something out there that has a very intriguing sense of humor.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pope Palpatine I

You know the resemblance between Benedict XVI and Palpatine are scary... maybe we will lives Vatican III: Revenge of the priest. Where the inquisition restard and hunts down athesit scientist who preach again the the bible. Well as long as no scientist on life support becomes cardinal I guess we are safe from that scenario no? (Now everyone if Stephen Hawking becomes a Cardinal or an advisor to Benedict XVI RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!! The inquisition and a new dark age will be appon us. )

This message was brought to you by too much watching of the Episode III trailler.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

???!!!!

I think I have seen the most flagrant display of hypocrisy ever put on the WWW.
If you go there TODAY (http://horoscope.sympatico.msn.ca/Quotidien/Balance/balance) you will see the following messages for the balance sign horoscope(FRENCH ALERT):

Il faut prendre les devants et agir en conséquence parce qu'avec la lune en Vierge, les événements ne tournent pas toujours comme on le voudrait. *

going a little lower for the signification of the * you'll find:

* Données scientifiques provenant des sites du Planétarium Dow et de la NASA

!!!???!?!?!??!
No seriously, sure the NASA and the Dow planetarium probably have data on the position of the moon in the sky each day. But so do just about every astronomy www pages, amateur astronomers, meteo sites and just about every wacko working in astrology. But having data on the position and saying that the moon in virgo means something is like saying: Well you know Jean Chretien has Chretien in his name so he should be the next pope. WFT?

I hate disinformation, and that is the worse case of disinformation because to the casual observer it will not seem false. Oh well I got a good laught out of it, it just sad it's misleading and crazy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Stupid bureaucrates!

Once more the financial services of Université Laval failled to pay my full salary. This wouldn't be so bad if it was just a mistake that happened once but in the course of the last 4 paycheck they forgot or where late on 3!!!! The first and 3 paycheck I can understand the reason behind the lateness and absence respectively, I find the reason stupid but I can understand them. The reason for this third lateness... THEY HAVE NONE!!! damn it people have one late paid due AND the one they should have received today and they have no reason why they didn't! And no they do not propose to pay interest or a supplement to appologies for the trouble it has and will still cause me. why it will cause me trouble in the futur? well first I am getting my money 2 day late, 2nd instead of a direct deposit in my bank account I receive a check wich will be frozen for at least 4 days before I can use the money (ok the second one is not their fault but stupid banking politics (well not so stupid it actually help protect me from fraud but you know)). The point being this oversight is causing me trouble and it is entirely the finacial services fault. Now I can live without this pay for a few days (maybe the two weeks it would take to receive the other) but I don't have to and I know I will never get compensation for it. I also know that if for some reason I am one cent short on a payement to them I will have to pay interest, event if I am just one day late and that piss me off that they can be late and not have to pay a fracking cents of interest because they are the university. Just thought I should rant on this. don't worry I won't kill anyone over it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good SF

After a question from htt://www.anyflower.blogspot.com I've decide to talk about what I think makes good SF. Before anything the story must be well told and good. You could have the most fantastic universe and the most rigourous physics you'll never make a boring book good SF. Then it is important that the universe follow an internal logic it doesn't matter if the science is good or bad if the reader can understand the univers and find glaring inconsistancy he'll enjoy it. For exemple if we take batllefield earth (unfortunatly I can only refere to the movie I haven't read the book) we have in my opinion 2 big inconsistancy that makes the whole movie very bad. First, we are asked to belive that when centuries have past and that cities where abandoned that paper exposed to the element could be found and read by just about anyone (the guy walk in the ruins of the library of congress and find the CONSTITUTION OF THE US intact! even when we see evidance of a fire! and centuries of erosion). If at least there had be a glass case or some indication that it had been protected by something but no it is laying there on the floor. Then there is the whole exploding atmosphere thing. Think about this for a second, the sun is emiting the equivalent of a few thousan nuclear bomb EACH SECOND. you have an habitable planet (by definition close to a sun) with an atmosphere that catastrophically blows up when exposed to radiation.. how in hell could it have prevented itself from blowing up long enought for this alien species to evole and conquer earth. There are other inconsistancy in the movie that just drive the nail deeper in the coffin but I think you get my meaning.

In short SF rest on it ability to tell a good story that follows an internal logic. Asimov robot novel are a good exemple of good SF as are most of is novel. For unscientific novel which follow an good internal consistancy try the first 3 Dune novels (after that porn starts to creep in and the novels get weirder) almost nothing fit the scientific univers but it is easy to belive and doesn't show glaring inconsistency.

Redneck genetics

Here in the astrophysic departement when the presures for coherent scientific though become to great we like to relax our mind by perforning what we call redneck genetics. We try to find unlikely combinaison of wedding and children that will make weird things possible such as a single person being both your aunt and your sister (without any incest!).

Since I've got a few minutes let me explain how those two things are possible:

First, the aunt and sister (without any incest!)
First a man must have sex with your grandmother and give birth to your mother then your father in a booth of gerontophily must have a child with your grand mother (your mother's sister) and finally coming back to his senses he decide to talk on the pretty young thing that is your mother and make a child with her.. you. so You now have your aunt (mother sister) that is you sister since she is your father daughter.

Appologies to any redneck that might be offended, we're just playing on stereotype to relax our mind, I'm sure no one think that such a thing happened in the past. ;-) Cheers and try other combinaison you'll see it is fun in a twisted kinda way

Monday, April 18, 2005

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A talk!!!!

All right for those of you that just started reading this (assuming there are any) let me recapitulate some fact... I'll be going to the Canaries Island in a few week for an international astrophysical conference. I was supposed to present a poster on my master Thesis research but this week end I received a mail from the director of the conference.... it asked: would you give a talk instead, I think your subject deserve a talk. Now, to most of you that means nothing, but a talk is a pretty big deal, a talk his much more then a poster. First a poster is just about 4 pages of text, a talk can be 30 minutes of talking and trust me you can say more in 30 minues than on 4 pages of text. Second, people will come to a talk... but they tend to skip on poster presentation.. they are more boring. And it an international conference!!! there will be people from all around the world... yes even from Canada ;-)

One a bring my feet back to earth note tho, I'm pretty sure that I was asked for a talk because I am the only person that proposed to present a poster... still a talk is a talk. LET ME STAY ON THIS CLOUD!!! NO I WILL NEVER SURRENDER TO GRAVITY! oups.. sorry I just took my medication all better now, don't mind my feet not touching the ground.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

mm yofed guest... ;-)

I'll answer Yofed question and then she'll analyse my playlist!! what a good trade off don't you think ;-p

Last book read: Races of Eberon, or if you mean novel Battle of Corin

Cd you listen to in the car: none, I don't have a car... but I would listen to a Night at the opera(Blind Guardian) if I had one.

Favorite Classical composer: I'd have to say.. I don' t know I like Mozart but that probably cause it the only one I know.

5 Favorite Movies: Star Wars: A New Hope, Stargate, Spaceball, There something about Mary, Memento

Favorite Meal: Good question, I'd have to say filet mignon with a wine sauce, assorted vegetables and french fries for originality ;-)

Number of kids you want: more then 2, but that negociable ;-)

Favorite Word: I'd say sex but that not original so I'd say redundant ;-)

Favorite Alcoolic drink: Kamikaze and Abrico brandit sour I love then both

Favorite TV show: Stargate: Atlantis, Battlestar Gallactica, the Outer limits and the Simpson!

Favorite beer: Hoegaarden, a belgean white beer and all the beer from the Grandville Brewerry in Vancouver.

Favorite quote: " This is Ambassador Delenn of the minbari, Babylon 5 is under our protection withdraw or be destroyed
- Negative we have authority here, do not force us to engage your ship.
-Why not? Only one human captain ever survived battle with the minbari fleet. He is behind me, you are in front of me. If you value you lives, be somewhere else." -Delenn Babylon 5
Or:
"I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike, as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price." Vir, Babylon 5
Or:
"Do or do not do, there is no try" Yoda, the Empire strike back

Favorite energy drink: Guru

Favorite cooler: Smirnoff black ice

Favorite martial art: Kung fu

Favorite weapon: the sword

Sexiest person alive: To hell If I know, Jessica Alba? or maybe Laura Prepon, but surely not a guy ;-p

So yofed I'm waiting for your analysis.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I'm a hopeless romantic

yes it true, I inheritated one of the geeks greatest flaw, I'm an hoepless romantic. Yes, that means I like those pathetic movies about the poor loser guy (or girl) that as a dull life and that by some twist of fate manage to meet the greatest girl (guy) in the univers, fall in love and live happilly ever after. Maybe it's cause I belive in love at first sight, in destiny in true love and all those mystical/fantasy mumbo jumbo. Maybe it's cause I like to think of myself as a chivalaric knights in shinning armor, or just that I belive that loves conquers all and all that stuff. Oh well that one side of my personality that I don't think I should change, maybe I'll meet a girl that belive as I do that looks great and with would love me back and live happilly ever after... or something like that.. it could happen no?

My strange cat

My cat is strange, it call to the outside for another cat and when the other cat answer he runs away scared... then when I ask him what ups he look pissed up that I didn't scare the other cat away even if I can't see the other cat.. freaky cat. then the little devil keep searching for food on the kitchen floor, not that I ever gave/drop/forgot food there but the beast is convinced that food will one day be on the floor of the kitchen. And finally that little kitten if scared to death of my sword. but he insist of smelling the thing before I get scared! I can draw it and play with it then he's all around me going miau miau (kinda like hey that mine let me sniff it) and when he does smell it he runs away! stupid cat.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Playlist as a window to the soul...

I just saw an article on CNN saying that President Bush's IPOD playlist had been posted on the internet (or at least made public to some press agency) and some are making comment about it based on the "fact" that your playlist should be a windows to your soul. So I'm wondering what my playlist says about me care to help me? here are the song I listen to in the last hours and an half or so on my computer with the random fonction(the 2.7Gig playlist would be kinda long to list)

Trust, Vandread (an anime) theme song
Cats and the cradle (Ugly kid Joe)
Losing my Religion (Tory Amos)
Gloria from the Escaflown (an other anime) soundtrack
Always (Bon Jovi)
Nightfall (Blind Guardian)
Boulevard of Broken dream (Green day)
Bad habit (Offspring)
the Highwayman (Laurena McKennit)
The script for my requiem (Blind Guardian)
Out of the Ashes (Symphony X)

So what does that mean? a freak or weirdo or the world greastest human being? (the last one probably but I'll let you be the judge)

Why the heck do we still use paper?

Grr, today I forgot some sheet of paper at my home (at least I think that where it is cause if it isn't it must have vanished in the same dimension that lost sock do) and now I lack the one remaning question I have to prepare for an oral test. That annoy me to no end as the only other people that could provide me with an other copy of the sheet are in a class right now. So that brought me to the question, why do we still use paper? What are the advantages of paper over electronic format?
Lets see for paper you need to destroy trees, end up putting ink that is often toxic or at the very less not environnementally friendly on then, most of it end up thrown away or worse filled into files that will not be opened before the appocalypse. You need to be physically present at the location of the paper to use it and it can easilly get damaged.
So why do we bother with such an inefficient way of keeping information? sure computer can be hack and hard drive crash but that what backup are for. Sure increasing our electronic datakeeping increase our reliance on electricity and that not really a good thing but are those thing really worth the annoyance, cost and population that paper bring?
I think it doesn't so PLEASE MAKE EVERYTHING EASILLY AVAILLABLE ONLINE! thanks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

That's the best reason to stop landmine.

Warning: this clip is pretty graphic and might upset parents or people close to children. I repeat it is graphic and might upset parents or people close to children.

http://www.brooklynbrothers.com/movies/un60.mov

Some people find this clip too graphic, right now I don't have children and my opinion is that if this doesn't make you think landmine are bad nothing ever will. And I think that the best way to get people to care about something that not happening in their country is to shock then (as opposed to shock and awe then ;-))

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mistake?

Today we (the astrophysics students) meet with an evaluation comitee to see if the physics departement of our university still deserved to exist. While I'm pretty sure the answer was a resonnating yes. They asked a question that kinda troubled me: Why do we stay at Université Laval for the length of our study, both undergraduate and graduate? After thinking back about why I choose Université Laval for my study I realise I had not really thought much about why I choose it. My grade were pretty average (even bellow average) and I knew that this university would accept me, then there was the whole moving away factor and the fact I just got a girlfriend in Québec. But the question still got me thinking.. should I have tried to move away and study abroad? (or only somewhere else in Canada?) Would it have been better for me, or at least different in a good way?

I'm not really having any regrets on my decision to stay in Québec (hey I had three wonderfull years with my then girlfriend) and I've made some pretty good research out here... but I can't help but wonder what would have happened to me if I had tried somewhere else in the world?

I cannot change the past so better not regret what you cannot change.

Understanding life

It is strange that no one really understand life, we've been living as a species for thousan of years (if not millions) and yet we still don't understand what and why life is. Of course we have the old answer: life is life but frankly isn't that an easy answer that don't provide any answer at all. I fancy myself a scientist (mad maybe but a scientist none the less) and I want better answer that life is life, life is a test by god to see your worth or any such religious or philosophical non-sense. It's a deep question I know but aren't deep question worth trying to answer too?

hmm I'm getting all philosophical here and I really should stop since I have an examen to prepare. (and I'm sure that not part of the why or what of life!) and until I or someone else can find an answer I'll just stick to living. And enjoying myself, I'd like to think that I work to enjoy what I work on than to think I work so that I can enjoy the rest of my life. I don't think I could do something I find boring without going postal. the moral of this chaotic suxtaposition of words? Have fun, enjoy yourself, don't take things too seriously cause as an astronomer I'm telling you the univers as a big sense of humor.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Life is great!

I've finally received my planes tickets for my upcoming trip.. What upcoming trip you ask? (yes I can read your mind even through the internet.) Well in 3 weeks I'll be in the Canaries Island for a astrophysics conference. It's a 3 days conference but because of weird plane schedule and cheapest air fare I'll have to be there for 5 days! Poor me... on a tropical island with few things to do for 2 full days. Oh well I'm sure no one would trade place with me so I'll have to endure this great peril myself ;-)

That one of the thing I like with astronomy, telescope are in great locations (except he Megantic telescope but with our Megantic space telescope project we will change that.) Conference are almost always held in amazing place and best of all someone else is paying for me(and paying me) to go. That almost paradise ;-) I don't plan on staying a student one minute more then I absolutly need to but you know, some of the perks are great.

Am I bitter?

I've been realising that I'm ranting a lot about things I don't like. I wonder if I'm an angry person or if I'm just more likely to talk about what annoys me then what I like. Well I'll star writing about things I like from now on... or I'll just write like I talked before and if I post things I think about. I think I'll stay true to myself and if you think I'm ranting too much well tell me that why comments are there! Beside I read them all.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Missing some part of a friend life

Hey! back from where ever I was during the week end and I found that an old friend (point to the new link in the link section of the side bar) had sent me an ICQ message (well a trillian message but via my way old ICQ number, you get the picture and if you don't well I need your address to be able to send it to you). And according to the Univers own sence of humors I had thought of that person during the week end (mainly to point her to my blog so that she could enjoy it or talk to her again it's been a while). So I just finised talking to her (and I start looking at her blog) to find the word husband... linked with the word mine(well her's not mine but she write mine cause it's her's... you understand don't you?).

Like I said I had not talked to her in a long while but this came as a surprise. Now the only thing that would really surprise me is if I saw the worlds mine(her's again let not get into that I'd just get confused), 13 and children... So all this to say it feel weird to get news of a friend bigs life change and to point you to the Random Musing of a Cunning Linguist, a blog with a much better english then mine and a old (well she's younger then me but I have known her for a while now) friend of mine. And since she's supposed to read (or at least look at) my blog I'll just say HI! and wish her an happy reading of the deepest recess of my astrophysicist mind.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Why answering everything is bad...

First off let me make a subtle point: answering everything isn't bad, answering everything with a single answer is. Physicis for exemple have been searching for decades for the grand theory of everything that would (in theory) put everything in the univers in a single grand theory that would include everything but would allow all phenomena to be it own individual important thing. Such a theory would force more reasearch to see if there are phenomenon or things not fitting with the theory or that the theory suggest and that we did not know before. Now Intelligent design does answer everything... with a single answer: because the creative intelligence wanted it that way. Here is what scientific research would be like under those condition:

- Why are galaxies' light redder then what we expect?
Creative intelligence
- Why do whale have hip bones like bone?
Creative intelligence
- How do stars change with age?
The way the creative intelligence will.

That very easy to teach, and quite simple to understand however NOTHING NEW comes out of this. You can't discover anything, can built anything new. Having a single answer to everything is aiming to have fast food like learning, anyone can learn everything he doesn't even have to think! And when you do not think, someone else thinks for you you can be sure of it.

That is the most dangerous aspect of this theory, it does not promote learning, questionning, thinking for yourself. No it promotes blind obediance, acceptance of a dogma and the removal of critical thinking. The first step toward a dictatorship and the worse kind of dictatorship there could be one the people wanted to bring to themself for lack of education.

Finally, I'm not saying faith in "God" is bad I am saying blind faith in anything is bad. History has shown the work of blind faith and education, blind faith brought us: The crusade, the inquisition, 9-11, suicide bomber and the burning of books. Education send us to the moon, cured disease, build airplane, lasers, increase living condition worldwide and as generally made the world a better place. Sure it as also brought the nuclear bomb and all sort of new problem too but remember that throughtout history, nuclear bombs have killed millions but ignorance as killed billions. The only thing that visibly depart from an exponantial growth on the human population curve is the Plague, and ignorance of it nature and cure are the only reason it killed so many.

If ever you are standing between two view, one that bring questions and one that offer unquestionable answer, always choose questions. Nothing new comes from answers.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Evolution vs Intelligent design

In the bible belt right now (if you don't know where that is GOOGLE IT! thank you) and a few other places in the united state right now there are debates to remove evolution from the class room. This as not to my knowledge reach canada yet but as we are usually 5 years behind the US for crazy idea it shouldn't be long. What the religious groups are proposition is to show that there are alternative to evolution such as intelligent design. Since after all evolution is JUST a theory you know.

You know what else is just a theorie: Newtonnien gravity (a false one at that!), quantum mecanic, general and special relativity, just about everything in astrophysics and almost all in physics, chemestry, biology and much of science. Why are so many things theories because to prove that a theorie is a fact you need to show that there is absolutly no things that do not follow that theorie. As you can imagine that require behind able to test all the unverse all the time, which is impossible. However to prove a theory wrong you just have to find one experiment that show result different from those of the theory (the theory might not be completly wrong but at best it is incomplete).

Now what is intelligent design, it quite simple it is a dogma that state the life is too complex to have been formed by random process and as such as been created by an intelligence far greater then our own. Why isn't a theory? quite simple you cannot disproved it. You cannot built an experiment that would show that no greater intelligence can be behind life. For how can we a lesser intelligence understand the motivation, goal and ideas of something far greater then ourself? Second strike again ID, it is 99% of the time associated with the bible and christian religious group. How is that a striek you ask? Well, the bible is a book of metaphors and science is based on observation of phenomenon and christian religious group have an agenda to promote god at all cost event that of free will (which is one of god's gift for some strange ironic reason). The thirds strike in the debat of Evolution vs ID in the class room is that ID does not negate evolution ABSOLUTLY NOTHING prevents an highter intelligence from setting thins in the begining so that life would evole according to the principle of evolution... in fact if I had the power to create life I'd probably do that just to see what comes out.

Are they flaw in evolution? yes, can they be explained by ID? yes. Can EVERYTHING be explained by ID? unfortunatly yes. Isn't that a good thing that everything can be explained? NOT AT ALL. why? wait for another post this one is long enought!

I really need a spellchecker

I guess you all knew that by now but hey I really need one of those little invention to insure my post are readable. Or at least make sure I'll post something that an average intelligence from outer spell will be able to understand without thinking it's an elaborate code to confuse his translation software.

Another thing, I though of something to post last night but I was too tired after kung fu to post it and now I have forgotten it. So please us the universal unconciousness to figure out what I was thinking about and be amazed at my wits and intelligence from that. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

another answer to yofed widowhood

How can you be a D&D window? You can't be used to look into fantasy land can you? if you can.. get over here there is some hot elf-on-elf action I'd like to see ;-) And I'd like to see how Duan Windstorm will destroy the lich-god (or die trying!). Or is it like the windows operating system only you're for D&D instead of PC? if so can I get you cause you know that might be usefull for my montly game and stuff.

Other silly answer:
You're a Drape & Dance widow? is your boyfriend gai?
You're a Dumb & Dummer widow? now that strange you know the average american is smarter then that so imagine the average canadian!
You're a Dinosaurs & Devil widow? what the heck is that?

I could find other but I think this post has reached critical mass for silliness.

Dungeon and dragon widow

This is the long answer to yofed's post about being a D&D widows. yes it is worth it. Planning the D&D game is important, it a way to understand yourself in a way and also to understand other. It's like escaping into a good book or a good movie and it actually good for you're health (remembering all those fact and planning for all those situation is a good way to stave off alzheimer disease from what I read). to remember the book you know by hearth you have to read and read and reread it again and again.. there is always something that had escaped you before and that might means fantasy death overfantasy life. It's also most of the time a good read. And frankly surely it better then looking at child pornography. Is it worth reading those book in bed.. hmm well there I'd have to say maybe, if you're alone. With someone else it might be pushing the reality vs fantasy barrier a little.

Beside there is a cure for you're widdowhood yofed... starts playing you'll see it's great!

Strang things on dating sites.

I'm currently lazily looking for a girlfriend on online dating sites. Why there? well I broke my dateless wonder cycle with the help of one and two of my last come from there and I enjoyed a 50% satisfaction rate on them so I think it still better then the usual meat market. but there are something that I just find strange on those things and somewhat funny.

First you're not supposed to put e-mail, web page, ICQ, or contact information without givin them money. But juste about everyone and their dog found ways (yes many way) to bypast the computer reading software that look for those information. (something it is as simple as writing you addresse as nameatbogperiodcom). Meaning that most people don't pay. I choose to pay on one just to see what the "members" features where and some are interesting but not enough for the asking price (I had a discount)
Second they ask for your sexual preference: Hetero, Bi, Homo, Secret or Not specified... ok either secret is code for furries, pedofiles and other deviance or it incredibly redundant.
Third, they ask what your goal on the site is... I kinda think everyone is there to meet people no? ok what you want to do when you meet them may change but damn it not that complexe no?
Fourth, weight, you have those choice: No answer, thin, athletic, proportional to my height, a little overweight and overweight. Proportioinal to my height actually means nothing, everyone as a weight proprotional to their height (proportional means that your height times something is your weight and something can always be found! unless you have complex mass in non-euclidian space.) and for some reason people have no idea what a little overweight means.. you have picture and unless those people posted other people pictures they weight less then my clothes when it rain.
Finaly, they ask you to rate your appearance... they offer the following choices, normal, good, beautiful. So their no ugly people there? Damn there are pictures!!! you see that they're butt ugly people!

but hey I'm not complaining just laughting.

The true face of democracy

I already mentioned that by the will of 400 peoples 9000 graduate student are on strike. I already mentioned why they (we) strike so I won't repeat here. But this "incident" as brought some thoughts to my mind on the nature of democracy. I always thought that democracy was completly determined by those who voted and that voting was the most important duty of any citizen in a democracy. Now I see us, 9000 graduate students on strike, a large number of which don't care about the strike and frankly for all intent and purpose aren't on strike (they go to their classes, do their laboratory work and generally doing exactly what they would do if they where not on strike.) That made me realise what democracy really is: the power of the people to do what the majority want no matter how or where a minority wants to do. Don't get me wrong I also think that democracy have to provide protection for the minority from the majority in case some crazy ideal (like nazism) catch in the majority and that minority have the same rights has majority. but all too often we see a minority of people walk out to the street and ask, fight, break things to get a point accross and we feel (most of the time when you are against the demand) that they have more power then the majority do.

The status quo I am seeing for the strike make me see the true power of the majority: no matter what this majority decide we will be the true power, they might walk in the street and scream slogan but we the 75% that did not vote for the strike (as opposed to 42% who voted against the strike) are not influence by their decision we will not move for their fight and even tho their idea are heard more then ours. We show what we think and what we want. Now if we could all just vote on the next election the old minority might get a surprise walk up call. So, please vote.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

DARN!

I had about three other things to talk about and now I've forgotten then in my overly long strike post. don,t you just hate when that happen? and if you don't well I do. so you get to hear about it you lucky you.

Various things

I couldn't think of a title so, well you can see for yourself. Today I have a few thoughts, first I think student don't know what they want. Or more precicely they don't understand what they ask for. You see even if for all intent and purpose the student won the match with the strike (they received 72 of the 103 M$ next year and the year after that the full 103 M$ will be back in grant and out of student loan). Now just about half the student association want to keep striking to get more from the governement.. here are some of the things they ask: Universal free tuition for everyone in Quebec, freezing the tuition fee for another 6 to 10 years, the demission of the governement, and the keeping of the Quebec CEGEP institution. The first two are in my humble opinion stupid, both mean less money for the university which mean less money to pay teachers and less money to provide services to the students. In someway the student fighting for those point are in programs where lack of money for teacher only means a few less teacher but in science and other high end programes where international pressure and offer are great being able to give less money to a teacher actually means that you not only get less teacher but you also get worse teacher (even the most patriotic teacher will think on an offer that triple is salary). In short by asking that the student are short changing themself and insuring that futur generation will have a worse eduation than they did.

the the dissolution of the governement, let me think.. they want to remove the gouvernement because it doesn't make the social change they want... Which mean they want to bring the "other" party in power (Quebec political structure as two and an half party, two major and one barly getting 20% of the votes), this other major party major achievement are : the loi 101, the building of Toronto (by scaring the buisiness out of Montreal and Quebec with threats of seceding from Canada), 1.3Billions in deficit unannounced (that will be blamed on the Liberal party even if it was build before their accesion to power), and of course TWO FAILED SECESSION ATTEMPT! come on after being told no twice you'd think the'll get the message.. but no it still part of their campaign plant! oh well.

I had other thought but this post is getting long so see ya in a few with a few other posts!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Habitable planet

For my alternity game I have created a univers based on the "colonisation" of nearby star who may have habitable or life bearing planets. Then one of my friend got into the "job" of building a civilisation for a star battle board game, his planete as a few probleme namely that it is not in the habitable zone. Little parenthese here for those of you less science fiction (or science periode) inclinded. The Habitable zone is the area around a star where liquid water can be found. For a G stars kinda like ours this zone is about a few time the diameter of earth roughtly centered around the earth orbit. This is the area of a star where life is the most likely to evolve (at least life as we know it). End of the parenthese. So in discussion with this friend (we'll call him bob1 (in case I have other friend called bob ;-)) we had the problem that life must have had evolved on this planet or there would not be a civilisation for him to build (talk about geeky.). However recent measurement of Europa (one of Jupiter's moon) show that liquid water may exist under a few kilometers of ice. Europa is way outside our star habitable zone it shouldn't have water. It didn't take much more to get geeky people (Bob1 is an engineer... it hard to get geekier then that.) to consider what might make a inhabitable planet habitable. First the single most important thing for a planet to be habitable is that it as oxygen and water which means it must be at least above zero deg C. This can be achieve in many ways first you can have the simple logical way: a star heat the planet. Then you could have a planet orbiting a giant planet which tidal disturbance might produce enought friction to heat some of the planet. (like would be the case for Europa). Also, you could (maybe this one is far fetch) have a venus like planet (heavy greenhouse gaz atmosphere) just outside the habitable zone it might trap enough heat to keep water above freezing. All those way lead to some deduction (confirmed in a few scientifc publication) that what a planet require for life is free energy (as in not caught up in something not that cost nothing). Thinking about that made me realise there is another source of free energy me and bob1 had not considered... radiation. You see right now radiation is heating the core of the earth a similar phenomenon could happen in the crust of a planet (radiation might might it unhabitable but right now I'm just looking for a source of heat). Zone bob1 planet could be in the situation where it is outside the habitable zone of the stars (it orbiting a brown dwarf another kind of stars but too light to produce any meaningfull amongts of light) and throught the tidal interaction and maybe a little help from overabundant radiation provide condition for liquid water and life to emerge. It probably would be a life very different from our own with a mutation rate (and maybe even a reproduction rate) way greater then ours but it might just work.. now I just have to mail the guy and tell him that ;-)

I just had to clear up my idea here first and to deploy another WME (weapon of mass eduction of course).

My cat

I have a cat, it must be the weirdes cat in the world as he is called Loup (wolf for those without knowledge of french weirdness). Now you'll say but Loup is a dog name not a cat name you stupid french canadian. Well yes, but this cat you see has a pattern of hair exactly like the husky breed of dog... those dog are known as chien-loup for the french people. Heince the name. It is also a very talkative talk (yes yes I know cat don't talk..) he can hold conversation quite well (something kinda like:
Hi kitty how are you doing? MEOW (feed me)
Really? MEOWMEOW(hurry up lazy slave!)
Ok, ok, I'll feed you ROUMEOW(that about time you twit)
So is it good? ROUROUMEOW (pour it in the bowl you don't expect me to eat it out of the bag do you)
and so on)
He also display is pleasure/displeasure/annoyance by various variation of his limited vocabulary of rou and meow. And finally that cat can convince you to leave him alone quite well, he as claws! And he knows how to us them! (very well in fact I have the claw mark to prove it).

finally, yes I know it weird talking about a cat in a blog. I'm just feeling slightly lonely tonight so am talking to my cat.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Farewell Jean-Paul the great

Jean-Paul II the pope is now dead. I think I will joint the millions of people that gives a short prayer in his memory. I can't say much about him, I know he always fought for what he belived in and that he fought a sickness for many years that finally claimed him. In the end I know he will be remembered by everyone who as heard of him and I wish him a better life in the heaven he belives in.

Farewell Karol Wojtyla may you continu to inspire good deeds for centuries to come.
(one minute of blog silence....)

Friday, April 01, 2005

The pope is dying

It strange, at first when I was reading about the pope sickness I didn't really feel conserned, I'm not a big catholic (or any other religion for that matter) and the though of one religious leader dying isn't a big deal to me. Now as they where airing a special on his condition instead of the news on Radio Canada, I started to think. Frankly I still don't care about the fact that a religious leader is dying. However I care that a human being that as dedicated his life to something is dying. This person who I only know indirectly (I learned not too long ago that I know two people who have meet and talked to the pope.. a level 2 link) well honestly only from what I have heard in the news his dying. Strange to think that this man has been pope for as long as i have been alive. If his doctors are right only a miracle could save him, and that all hope for him is lost. I can only hope that his last few hours will be painfree and that his belief will bring him the afterlife he hopes.

Cosmological poemes...

One question in a cosmology class was to explain to a poet why in an inhomogeneous univers is equivalent to an univers with a low density of matter. Never one to quit when offered a challenge here is the answer to this question (in french, english "translation" follows)

Dans un univers inhomogène
Il existe ne vous gène,
Plusieurs cône de lumière
Vide de toute matière.

Or en présence de vide
ces cones très avides
étendent leurs espace
plus loin que s'ils n'étaient plein.

Les quelques cônes plein
se trouve moins focalisé
que ceux de notre univers homogène.

Si on diminu la densité
notre univers homogène focalise moins
nos cônes de lumière
comme l'inhomogène de vos prière.

[english version isn't a poeme really no rimes]
In an inhomogeneous universe
We find you should know
Cones of lights
Empty of all matters

In the abscens of matter
those greedy cones of light
Expand their size
farther then the full ones

The few cones with matter
will find themself
less focalised
then those of our homogeneous universe

Now if we remofve matter
from our corner of the univers
density goes downs
and light is less focalised, isn't that nice!

So remember, ask a silly question you'll get a silly answer and there is no limits to the silliness of an answer ;-). Enjoy and if you don't understand why an inhomogenous univers is like an low density univers just ask I'll be happy to answer... physically and maybe in a way someone can actually understand.