Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NORAD track Santa

For 50 years now, the NORAD people have promoted the idea that their radar and satellite system is tracking Santa Claus along his route to deliver gift to all the good children of the world. This year is no different and they've added to their website little videos about the places Santa is passing through.

I'm sure a lot of children will enjoy watching Santa approching their own little house and of course understanding a little more about the people on our planet.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Mean Kitty Song

Ok, juste to remind you my blog still exist ;-)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Buses and collisions

Well this morning I’ve been in a bus accident, not a big collision just one bus going about 15 km/h hitting another bus that was at rest. Thankfully, almost no one was standing in either bus but their were still at least two peoples were hurt. I do not know the severity of their injuries but at least one was evacuated in an ambulance. From what I could gather (the wounded were not in the same vehicule as I was) the person taken away in an ambulance suffered head trauma. I was very disapointed with the way the drivers handled the situation, yes they called the ambulance, police and fireman but aside from that they did not do anything. They did not inform the people they should leave the bus to take the next one, did not inform us on what was happending, did no really try to do any first aid to the wounded and did not really check on their passenger. For exemple, in my bus one old person that was getting on the bus at the moment of collision felt right next to the driver, the driver look to see if she was allright but failed to ask anyone else on the bus about their condition and the woman next to me fell to floor. I hope the injured woman only suffered minor injuries and I must say I’m very grateful that this happened with buses that were not fully loaded with standing passengers. The number of wounded would have been much higher with probably a lot of serious injuries.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

(Il)logical proof tht the universe is full of intelligent life

It all comes from a quote from Frank Zappa:

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say that there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

Since scientists now know that the main component of matter in the universe is dark matter, it stands to reason that dark matter is stupidity. Now you might wonder what in hell does it have to do with intelligence in the universe? Well it simple really, since we know that stupidity, i.e dark matter, interact with all form of matter only with gravity that means that if Earth was the only source of dark matter everything would orbit around Earth. It would be the most massive thing in the universe aside from black hole just from the concentration of dark matter around it. Since we observe that there is a lot of dark matter in the universe and that as far as we know stupidity can only be produced by sentient species (i.e intelligent being, talk about irony) we have not choice but to conclude that the universe is full of intelligent life producing ungodly amoungt of stupidity.

Here you have it folk, you’ve seen it here first, the conclusive irrifutable proof of the existance of millions of intelligent species in the universe just as stupid as we are.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

90 years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the war to end all war, that would ironically only a few years later reconized as the 1st world war, ended in whimper. After years of battle and countless death, the guns were finally silent, peace and the prelude for another war were starting to be built. Today, in Canada, we remember and honor the sacrifices of the soldiers that gave their lives to defend Canada ideals all over the world. Remember that a soldier is someone that will put his body between his loved one and war so that they would be spared its horror by his sacrifice.

In flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short day ago,
We lived, flet dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing had we throw
The Torchè be yorus to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In flanders fields.
Lt Col. John McCrae , MD(1872-1918).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shield up!

Humanity is taking one more step toward workable space exploration as well as taking one more step toward SF fan boy dream, shield technology. The theory was old, we where pretty sure magnetic field could deflect solar wind particules (well that one of Earth's protection from harmful solar radiation) but it's the first time we duplicated the effect.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The new weapon of mass destruction

Forget nuclear weapon, forget antimatter bomb, forget even the black hole producing LHC, we have a new weapon of mass destruction one that as laid hidden for untold generation: PEANUTS! Yes this immensely powerfull allergent can kill an allergic person if she hears that someone knows a person that has one though he had seens someones that knew a third person that might have seens someone actually eat something that can within a lightyear of a peanut. Take that Shadow planet killer from Babylon 5 your power is just dwarfed by the amazing peanut.

Now, you might wonder why in the hell am I ranting about peanuts. Well, it because it seems our society has reached a level of idocy that can only be a prelude to total intellectual extinction. You know that peanut product have been ban in school in Quebec right? Well, school official are now asking parents to be carefull not to feed their children product with peanuts butter or peanuts before they go to school. Yes the justification for this is that allergic reactions to peanuts are so strong that if someone that had eaten the peanuty stuff for breakfast were to touch someone that is allergic there is a very good chance the allergic person would die. The stupid it burns!

Even if nuts allergies are amounts the most dangerous food allergies that we know, they actually require the person to be in contact with the allergen. Otherwise I’m sorry but the genes brining those allergic reactions would have removed themselves from the population long ago. Also, why are we not asking the people that are allergic to have with them the proper medication for any allergic reaction that might happen? And insure that the public institution they attend have on hand the correct medication to react appropriately in case of a severe reaction. I really don’t understand why we stop the vast majority of children from enjoying nuts and all those stuff because of the 1% that suffer from it.

Think about it when I was in high school we about 800 students, which mean that only about 8 persons where allergic to various degrees to peanuts. Since I did not know everyone chances are that I never came into contact with anyone that is really allergic (ok, that false I knew that one of my friend was allergic, still I’ve eaten peanut butter in his presence and he still alive, no sign of any reaction). Now these day, the school has to make sure that nothing it serve is contaminated by peanuts and that the other children do not bring any peanut product in the school. Come on for about 10 peoples that have a condition that is preventable, treatable and for which we have very efficient medecine, 800 need to change their diet!

The moral of this is simple, if you are allergic to anything, make sure you have the correct medication with you and know how to use it in case of a dangerous reaction. Don’t expect the universe to protect you from your allergen, it won’t.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ok, I love La Pocatière but come on!

I just read this new (in french sorry) about the Quebec governement investing 10M$ in La Pocatière to move the center for physical technology and create 4... yes 4 new jobs. Wow, 4 job, that what 2.5M$ for each? No I know the move is not made to create job (at least I hope so) but come on governement and Radio Canada if you only create 4 jobs for 10M$ don't mention the number of job created, it makes you look stupid.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I could use a good new

Well, you might have notice that I did not update this blog as much as I used too in the past few months. One of the reasons for this is that I am working just about full time on finishing my phd thesis and I do not want to “waste” a few hours each day typing some text on my blog. Well ok, maybe not an hour but still the time spent writing here add-up fast, and it does eat up on my thesis writing time. Then there is the fact that my life feels kinda boring at the moment. Nothing spectacullarly good, or bad is happenning, which isn’t that bad in itself, except that it feels like for each small tibbits of sligthly good news I get I receive about 20 slightly bad news. For exemple, my thesis advisor finish reading my first 2 chapters and says they are good and only need a few little change before I can send them to be evaluated, a good news. Then in the two weeks following that news I get this: the two girls I find interesting in my dances class have boyfriend and the job I had appliend on and that seemed really interesting was given to someone else. Yes, that 3 “bad” news not 20 but put the 2 girlst hing on the same night and it gets a lot more annoying and a lot more draining energy wise. In short, I need a good news, something to cheer me up, and no good news about my friends won’t do it. I’m very happy for all the nice and good stuff happening in their lifes but it doesn’t make mine any more interesting. Selfish I know, sorry.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Music of the stars..

Scientist, you know those very cool people that gave you penciling, radio, tv, the internet and all that stuff you don't use all the time have recorded something quite intriguing. The "sound" produced by a few stars in our galaxy. Now you might say: "But Asaathi we're not moron we know that sound doesn't travel in a vacuum!" and would be right. However you would also be something else than an astrophysicist. You see, as wave travel through a medium, air for example, it produce density highs and lows. This mean that some places have more matter then other, only slightly more but enough to be measured. Now a star is made of plasma, which is a scientific name for hot as hell gas, and when wave travels through them the same process that allow us to hear happen. The local density of the star change, now since it's plasma and luminous, this change in density produce a change in what we call opacity, the transparency of the star to light. Ok, you're still not hearing anything but we are getting close, now suppose that either the star rotate or that it pulse (it's shape/size change with time) and you get changes in the density produced by the waves in the stars. Record those change and you record the waves in the stars and if you pipe this record into your speaker you might hear stuff if the waves have component in the frequency our body can understand.

Now that I've explained to you how we do it here is the sounds of the stars: HD181420 , HD49933 , from a globular cluster (an very dense group of stars) and from our sun. Please be amazed that we live in a time where everyone can share amazing discovery. And enjoy, this first music from the stars.

Just a reminder, we live in amazing times.



Well, I think it's good to be reminded of a few things once in a while no?

Earthly X ray source

Now, you can say what you want about science but their is one thing you have to admit it is surprising. Scientist have found that you can produce a rather impressive amount of X-RAY from doing a rather inocculous thing: peeling off scotch tape. Yep you read it right, peeling off scotch tape (in a vacuum, don't be affraid). Enough X-ray in fact to produce an x ray picture of one finger. Now just what the hell can such a discovery bring to the human race? Portable X-Ray machine for one (ok, might not be a good thing to give everyone x-ray machine) that paramedics could use or that could be used in remote territories where electricity is harder to come by. As I always say: isn't science cool?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Science it's that cool thing the humans are doing

Science never cease to amaze me, and for my 700th post I got some new science stuff that is really impressive. Science as found a way to bypass severed nerve and restore control to limbs. It's really great stuff, meaning we understand more and more about our body and how it works. Also, thing about the number of people that could be helped with that kind of technology has long as you have the part of the brain that control mouvement we could technically give you back that capability. Not to mention that with a clearer understing of how our mind control our limbs we will be able to create better more precise prosthetic limbs. We do live in intersting time no?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Interesting...

I've long held the belief that a matriarchy wouldn't be that much different from the current "patriarchy". Everything bad about "male-dominated" culture would still exist in the "woman-dominated" world, it might only take a different shape. Apparently anthropologist are finding that my intuition is not that bad. Ok, the result comes from the study of primates, but since we have yet to find a human matriarchy it's the next best thing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Welcome to Saudi Britain

Well thankfully a simillar idea was rejected in Canada but it is still worrisome that some civilized country would dissavow it's rule of law in favor of religious biggotry.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dangerously optimistic scientist?

We are worried it seems that science will one day play with thing we aren’t meant to play with and that a disaster that will destroy the city/region/country/science. There are thousand of science fiction stories use this as a premises, where uncarefull scientist destroy the world with accidental plague, uncontrollable explosion, or some other unforeseen consequence. It as became part of our culture to the point that people distrust any experiment proposed by scientist. The thing is while technology as caused problem when badly misused and cause regional problem for humanity it as nothing to do with science and even then obviously not cause any large scale problem. Yes scientist can make mistake and some mistake could be dangerous but science is rarely someone else in the peer review process before any catastrophe catches the product of single scientist usually a mistake happen. Also scientist do not want to die anymore then anyone else and an experiment reward would have to be astronomically huge for scientist to even think of making an experiment that would have a 1/100th of a percent chance of cause a catastrophe.

Please, trust scientist not to endanger your life, they know what they are doing.

Science: 1, Apocalyptic prophesies: -1 000 000

Today, we saw the first test firing of the LHC (large hadron collider if you didn’t watch the previous post’s video) and surprise, the doomsayer prophecies of earth destruction by black holes and stranglets failed to materialize. Now, if we look at doomsayer previous track record we find that prophecies of doom have failed time and time again to be fulfilled. Ok, I’ve got to give you that today’s test at the LHC was not a full power experiment and that maybe a catastrophic miscalculation could result in an incident with tragic consequences… however this is less likely than a global nuclear war tomorrow morning cause by renewed Russian-US tension. (Note: I’m not talking long term here, I really mean the probability of it happening tomorrow in the current situation, this is astronomically low).

So once again we fail to go into the “things man was not meant to know area”, probably because for things to be in the not meant to know area someone would need to have created this area, I say score another one for science! We will find more questions and more amazing thing in this universe!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Physics rock.. well rap



We need to shut the LHC up, why? Because it's not online yet and see what kind of bullshit it produce:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Shit, please don't jump in that fan.

Well, the shit hasn’t hit the fan just yet but it seems we might be looking at shit gazing at the fan in jumping envy. Now, you might wonder what in the hell am I referring to? Well this: Russian tank violating Georgie’s souverainty in what can be considered an act of war. Not to mention that combat apparently occurred between Georgie and Russia (Russian planes were downed and “peace keeping” Russian soldier killed). Georgie is apparently willing to go to war over this. The situation appears volatile and with Russia wanting to be seen once more as a world power it could very well degenerate.

Now I hope Russia and Georgie follow the wish of the EU and US and stop the hostility before things escalate. Lets hope that someone put a wall between that shit and the fan, otherwise it might get messy.

Edit/update: according to CNN, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokeperson said that Putin is calling this a real war: "There are lots of volunteers being gathered in the region, and it's very hard to withhold them from taking part. A real war is going on,"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Science, it's where the solution are.



Wow, what an interesting talk! I really got to go to TED one day, sound like an amazing conference and the idea presented there wow, just wow.

Future of the web



I don't know about you but some part of the future presented worry me. Sound a little too much like bad science-fiction/big brother in a way.

Culture for science!

Well this will be a short post, this sound spot on about the education of Quebec (I think Quebec is actually worse in many respect then what the article promotes about the US). Nothing else to say I guess.

The world first Voorwerp

Well I’ll be proving two things today, first that astronomy is clearly the coolest, most accessible and fun science and second that the Dutch language is just a collection of random syllables. You see a new class of astronomical object have been found by watch this a schoolteacher with no background in astronomy (thanks to a project to identify large number of galaxy) take that genetics we are so cool that anyone can join us (remember we have a rock star astronomer!). This new class of object appears to be the remainant of a extinct QUASAR (a massive galaxy emitting so much light that they are the farthest object we can see in the universe), that is in a way the beginning of forensic astrophysics if you want.

Now for the second point, they called the new objet a Voorwerp, the Dutch word for object. I rest my case.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Geekgasm

Maybe a few of you have heard or better still played the amazing game by bioware: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR for the fanbase) well apparently bioware as announced at E3 that a MMO based on the same time period as KOTOR will be out soon. Now that is AMAZING news, just when I though no MMO could ever interest me they bring out probably the only franchise that I might consider selling my Mac for a new PC for. I had hear something big for a new KOTOR was in the work but I just assumed a KOTOR3 (which would also be great!) not a full fledge time waster… a MMO. Well hopefully it will be released after my phd is done so that I can 1) affort to buy and play the game and 2) affort to have more then one working computer.

So please as they say in one article announcing it: “As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in rapture and were suddenly fanboys…”

Friday, August 01, 2008

Paying more for education

The young liberals of Quebec have come up with two new proposals for education in Quebec. First they want to “increase” tuition to the Canadian average, except, not. You see you won’t be paying more for your school year; you will be incurring a debt that you will be paying once you get on the job market. While the idea is not bad in itself, it’s probably going to turn people off from higher education even more then it is right now. Some/many people are already deciding they do not want a higher education because of the debt associated with it. So with that proposal not only will most of them get a 20 000$ student loan debt, but they will be getting an addition 4000$/year debt (so if you get a phd that on average 40 000$).

The second proposal is different. It proposes to increase the tuition of people going into higher paying job such as medicine. This is a completely stupid idea, well not the increasing tuition for some programs but increasing tuition because the program leads to a high paying job. See, it seems to be a good idea; they are going to be rich so they can pay more for school it’s only fair right? Well actually no, thing about it who will be able to pay more for an education? Those that already have money, so you will be cutting people off from important post because of economical means. Now personally I would propose increasing tuition to “luxury” programs, you know programs that do not offer job possibilities or that are hobbies more then jobs. The only problem I see is who decided what job are luxuries? I’m sure my ideas are not the same as people in social studies. Also it would be unfair to penalize areas of study that are less “profitable”.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The 2008 Olympics

I’ll be boycotting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of China’s action. China as decided that the foreign journalist covering the games will only have access to the part of the internet that are required for their work. Of course what part of the internet is required for their article is not the journalist prerogative it will the Chinese government’s. Now, I was already touchy about the Olympic because of China’s poor record in freedom of expression and liberty of its own press but if they start to limit ours we should draw a line. Doubly so since China has made a promises 7 years ago that the freedom of the press would be respected for the games. Couple this with China’s failure at providing an acceptable pollution level for the games and China looks like a god damn liar. With all that well no Olympics coverage for me, beside they started the boycott, my blog is barred from China, consider this a reciprocity thing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jazzing it up

I’ve discovered a new Jazz artist: Fredrika Stalh a Swedish/French singer with a beat a quite like and songs that are quite intriguing. At least the few I’ve listened too (her latest album: Tributaires), what really impress me is that she sings in English, French and another language that I’m guessing would Swedish. She’s currently the single artist that I listen to the most on my Ipod.

Speaking of Jazz, I’ve got a urge to play trumpet, don’t ask me why I’d be damn if I can figure it out but I want to play trumpet. Now, I’ve never actually played the trumpet, I’ve played… if you can called that played, the trombone but seriously it can’t be that bad. And somehow I’ve got to fantasy of having a girlfriend that could sing jazz (nothing to do with Fredrika, even if she is hot), weird huh?

Oh by the way if you know any good, 1920 like jazz could you point it to me I feeling like listening to that too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Je me souviens...

This is part of Quebec’s motto, what we always forget is the rest of this motto: Que né sous le lys j’ai grandi sous la rose. Now what in hell could that mean, well it simply means the history of Quebec, our province started as a French colony (Lys being the floral symbol of France) and grew to what it is today under the British (Roses). Nationalist Quebecers should do well to remember that we owe something of ourselves to the English, they are part of us and it is quite easy to realize that when you travel to Europe. We have as much in common with the English that we have with the French and in many cases, more with the English. Quebec’s culture is not the same as the French, neither is the same as the English and we cannot and should not forsake our history for the sake of the fantasy that we are pure unaltered French.

When I read someone complaining about Quebec City, saying that we are bowing our head to the English as slaves or vassal, I get angry. We are not the English vassal, nor are we their slave, nor do we worship their culture and achievement. However, we do realize that we kindred, they are has much our brother as the French are, in fact, historically I would call the English better brothers then the French, they did no abandon us for some sugar. The French people of Quebec, hell all French Canadian are brother to the French and English and are unique. Isn’t it time we see our culture beyond the label of the language, we are so much more then a few words.

So what if we choose to invite someone that sang in English in a show that was completely in English. This is what we choose, this is also part of our history and heritage, do not try to cut us from our past, even the part you might like. For without all of our history, we are loosing a part of ourselves, a part that we shall miss in the future. Je me souviens… indeed I remember and I am proud of all of my history, no matter what language my brothers spoke or what country their ships hailed from.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The God Delusion

I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins’ the God Delusion and I only recently finished it. I must say that while I agree with most of the book I don’t think the case he makes against god is that strong. His case against religion is however overwhelming. The existence of god is impossible to disprove and the inexistence of anything is impossible to prove so it is logical that he cannot make a strong case against god. The case strength of the case against religion finds its strength (at least in my opinion) in the fact that Richard Dawkins bring forth a evolutionary explanation for it. The idea is that religion is a side effect of another traits that is very important for our success as a species.

This trait is what allowed human to survive and thrive by allowing the passage of the knowledge from one generation to the next. This trait will favor young that listen to their elder and follow the rules and explanation given. Now however if at one time one such explanation ends up being god it will get propagated throughout history and humanity. This explanation is very simple and elegant; humanity does need religion and religion is probably not that beneficial for religion but it will occur naturally from our ignorance and our tendency to follow explanation for something.

Also I’d like to address a video I’ve seen on youtube showing the crime of Atheism… Well basically the crime of Communist dictator and Hitler (which is shown in Dawkins’ book to be a religious person…) The author of the video compares the number of death from “Atheism” to those of Christianity (which is already unfair it should actually be compared with its opposite, i.e. Theism) and find that Atheism through the communist dictator and fascism killed millions of people. Well, I would first like to point out that none of these murder where made in the name of Atheism, they where made about and for other ideology by people who where atheist. Now some of those murder where made in the name of ideology that hold atheism as a virtue but I do not thing that put it on the same level as murder in the made of a religion or a god. Still if you want to old atheism responsible for those murder it is your right, I just ask that you do the same for religion.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Joss Whedon is clearly a master.

Joss Whedon the creator of such sci-fi masterpieces as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and the remarcable Firefly as done it again with a new web serie called Dr Horrible's Sing along blog. Which can only be described as a blog musical comedy about a supervilian's plan for world domination and his trouble finding love. Yeah, it's sound weird but it amazing, get it soon it's supposed to only be availlable till sunday.

Oh yeah in other news theirs going to be a second season of Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicle! yeah!

Cleaning up, the union way

Montreal had a municipal ruling that “forced” citizen of the city to clean the area in front of their home or business to keep the city clean. Sometime ago, the unionized city workers challenged that rule on the ground that it violated their work agreement with the city. Apparently, “forcing” the citizen to clean up after themselves is the same thing as asking unpaid workers to do the work that a unionized worker should be paid to do. Now, I’m wondering about two things related to that: Wouldn’t Montrealer’s clean up after themselves if the law didn’t exist? Why did Montreal need the law for in the first place? Aren’t the union worker paid for this work already?

‘Cause that what the mediator seems to be saying. The union worker won their case based on their argument that the citizen were “stealing” unionized job when they cleaned up as dictated by the law. So on hand, you could say that Montrealers are dirty; they need a law to clean up in front of their home for god’s sake! And on the other hand, you could say that Montreal’s city workers should be fired for demonstrably having failed at part of their job. Come on the city was dirty enough to need a municipal law forcing people to clean up when the unionized worker were apparently already paid to clean up. Unless of course the municipal law was added without a real need, just as part of some politician’s campaign for votes, but well from what I’ve seen of Montreal that’s not the case. I wonder how the union would react if the city choose to fire the workers responsible for the city cleanliness after that ruling, I bet they wouldn’t agree with this interpretation.

Still, one last though, there shouldn’t be a need for such a law. People should be reasonable enough to clean up after their house and the area around it. Sure it’s suck cleaning when someone else made the mess in front of your house but it beats having your house right being a big mess no?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The British invasion isn’t what you think Mr Curzi.

You might have hear that some of Quebec provincial politician (including Mr Pierre Curzi the politician that gave us the : “English might not be allowed to vote in an independent Quebec”) and artist have written a letter to sir McCartney asking him to sing “Gens du pays” with Gilles Vignault in his upcoming gig in Quebec City. Now, aside from the fact that “Gens du pays” sucks as a song and that no one else wants to hear sir McCartney sing it, the justification for this request is brain destroyingly stupid. Listen to this: A British singer singing for Quebec’s 400th would be a symbol of the French defeat on les Plaines d’Abraham and would constitute a Canadianisation of the celebration. Perhaps Mr Curzi and his friend are thinking that the Beatle’s British invasion was a real solider aided invasion and that the gig on the Plaines d’Abraham will be a repeat of that. Or maybe they see sir McCartney as a general in some form of cultural war taking place between the “good” French and the “evil” English. Not to mention that what is wrong with having a Canadian celebration in a Canadian city? Come on Mr Curzy, until you and your party win a referendum and succeed in making an independent Quebec, the city of Quebec is still part of Canada and we do celebrate as Canadian do.

An argument put forward by supporter of this idea goes that instead of a world famous signer that as something of an history with Quebec city, Quebec should be having a show by a French singer, preferably one of Quebec origin. Well, first off every French speaking Quebec’s artist were invited to participate in the celebration, a very small minority accepted the other declined for various reason, second ALL Canadian artist singing together on the stage for a show would not even come close to a single Beatle signing there. We are talking about a legend coming to Quebec to celebrate with us, not as part of some tour or as if Quebec was just one more city on his trip, Quebec is one of 3 cities in the World where mister McCartney will sing this year. It is a special event, to celebrate the oldest French-speaking city in America, the oldest true city in North America, a unique event that marks Quebec as a famous city. So please mister Curzi leave your inferiority complex toward the English at home, stop making stupid claims about how the people of Quebec fell and try to enjoy that Quebec as spoken French for the last 400 years despite having being abandoned by the French.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Questioning the validity of argument for the “truthfulness” the New Testament

I’ve come upon an argument on Facebook tonight and it got me to think enough to make a new blog post (and just for you). One of the arguments I’ve seen to justify the New Testament being the “words” of god is that it was written by Jesus’ follower a mere 40 years (which as been proven false but lets assume for the sake of argument that it is true) after it’s death at around 33. The argument goes that 40 years is a short time there would still have been people remembering the actual Jesus and they would have shot down anything that would have been a lie right?

Well this is where everything fall apart, you see even if 40 years is not that long of a time for our civilization, and that the average person lives much longer then this in our society it was not the case in the roman empire. The average men life expectancy was only around 46 years. That means that most people did not see their 50th birthday and given that the disciple had to have been at least 14 when they where with Jesus, it would be doubtful that they would still be alive 40 years later. Not to mention that even if they were, just about no one else that had lived through the life of Jesus was and could contradict their account. You have to realize that 40 years at the time was the equivalent of 2 generations, the children of the Jesus’ follower had had children, died, and those children would have had children of their own. So by that time the story of Jesus was the story of someone your grand father might have known. Not exactly first hand account, if you catch my drift.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Aspergus on mars!

No, no don't be mislead by the title we haven't found aspergus on mars (now that would have been a scientific discovery worth a blog post!) but one of the newest probe exploring mars the Phoenix mars lander has found that the martian soil is much more hospitable to life than we hoped. You can read all about it here on the BBC.

You do realise what this mean right? Colonization is probably much more possible now, the amoungt of terraforming we will need to do is much lower with this discovery. Not to mention that if we have 2 planets in a single solar system with condition that seems to be favorable to life, the probability that life is commun in the universe increase dramatically. Now, those preliminary result do not imply that life exist on mars only that with a little work we could grow vegetables with the Martian soil and appropriate sunlight. But still it is great for colonization and maned exploration as it implies the possibility of growing your own food there with "minimal" effort.

However I have to emphasis that these results are preliminary, there could be a major change and it could be that the soil is not hospitable to our kind of life afterall. Still it is a good news for space exploration.

Particule zoo

I was just made aware of a place for gift for your future geek (take note yofed!) it's a "zoo" of elemental subatomic particules in plush form! Also since this is aimed at geek you'll find that each plush weight is relative to it's "true" weight (i.e photon are lighter then anything except tachyons and stuff like that). So if you got to seduce that elusive particule physicist geekette, you want to introduce your future genius to the wonderfull world of subatomic particules, you want to see what the hell they are talking about on Star Gate when they talk about neutrinos, or you just want to do something sweet but amazingly geeky for that significant other well you've found the right place!

Note: this is nowhere as geeky as computer related underwear.

A secular world is a sane world

Peace, but not at any price now those are words of wisdom.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Computer, one day of walking and if possible an even more tired asaathi

I really think my laptop is dying, it took me 4 tries to boot up correctly today, even the fix of booting up without the batterie doesn’t seem to work correctly anymore. I really hope it doesn’t mean I’ll have to get a new laptop I really can’t affort it right now. Had I not traveled to Europe I wouldn’t like getting a new one but at least I could better affort it. Well at least affort the battery I need.

Anyway, now about my day, well I made a day walking trip suggested by my traveling book, it was nice lots and lots of walking and a few sights to explore off the city center. Nice, parks, a few historical house and coffee shop, I was supposed to visit 2 museum as part of the tour but the long line and 10 Euro entrance fee kinda stopped me. Writing that I am thinking of doing a 20 Euro museum visit tomorrow.. well it won’t be a art gallery kind of museum so it’s probably going to be more fun for me. Oh well I’ll tell you tomorrow about how I decided to go, if my laptop is still working.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amsterdam, one day, one walk, one tired asaathi

So it’s my second day in Amsterdam and like the first I’ve been exploring the city. A long long long walk around the city, around 9 hours of walk to be exact. I’ve seen a lot of Amsterdam and I now know where most of the tourist attraction are, and some of the prohibitive cost of their visit. I even saw the Red light district, much smaller then what I have expected. It’s at most a rectangle of 4 by 4 street, but there is a lot of red light windows with prostitutes for most (or all) taste. Personally I found only a few of the prostitute to be physically attractive and even then, well the idea of a mechanic sex act is not at all what I want. And I must say that the sollicitating in underwear in their window is just a turn off. Also the area is just weird, you get those hard sex show and theater, with the prostitute in windows right next to small family restaurant and shops. I’ll probably take a guided tour of it latter just to understand the thing. Also, having walked for like 9 hours I’m quite tired I’ll leave you on that. Oh, yeah, sorry I also remove my statement that Amsterdam is expensive, you just have to find the right restaurant.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beer, beer, more beer, and pretzels.

Germany is in part the land of beer, almost alcool free beer but beer nonetheless. Knowing that you can probably figure that I drunk quite a lot of it, well you aren’t far from the truth on average I drunk 1.5l of beer every day Well actually every evening, during dinner. The thing is that beer is really not expensive, 2 Euros for half a litter of great beer. (5 Euro for the 1L buck that I had to try twice). They have a very nice tradition of the Beergarden (those of you with a little flair for language will notice the similarity with kindergarden) basically a garden where they serve beer. It’s very informal, picknit table like area with friendly staff and one of the only place that the German actually look friendly (well drunk german don’t invade other country so that might be the reason ;-)) . It also serves at least in Garchin very good food, some of the best I ate all week here. Considering the amount of beer we drink in Quebec it might well be a good idea to build such a meeting place. Now about the pretzel I finally understood yesterday why pretzels are good, well no actually I finally ate good pretzels. The monsters two km tall German pretezel that instead of being a dry hard thing are actually moist and tasty. A big contrast with german bread that is usually dry and hard.

Their breakfast are strange with fish and cheese and meat with cold eggs (tho that might have only be in my hotel) and hot milk. The lunch are a little closer to what we are used too but since we had to eat at the Max Plank institute Cafeteria we did not enjoy the quality of food that we might have. Not that it was bad but it was plain, luckily I had access to my trusty live saving Red Bulls (otherwise I do not believe I would have survived listening to talk all afternoon. The evening meal were quite good, my first night there I ate some kind of german sausage with Choucroute followed by a good hot chocolate for desert. Afterward with alternated between typicall german dish and foreign food. Last night we ate at the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been too. Tasty, spicy, hot and good looking food with weird sangria (probably made out of Tequilla or a very sugar filled wine) and beer, always beer.

Anyway I’m getting ready to go on the plane and head out for my vacation in Amsterdam, I only hope for one thing that there are there as many beautiful blond as there is in Munich around the university. It might seem weird for me to mention blond specifically since I really do not have a thing for blond but it seems that in Germany 9 out of 10 beautiful women are blond. Ok, there is a hardness to their face that steal a little of their beauty but not enough to make them plain or ugly. It was quite the sights. My only regret about Germany now is not to have gone to Munich a second time and taken pictures after pictures of that amazingly beautiful city

I betted about that

Before leaving Canada I had betted with one of my co-student that I would have some problem with the Hotel reservation in Munich. So no problem on monday I was expecting to loose the bet… well you can probably guess by the fact I’m writing about it that I did not in the end lose. Yep I had problems, nothing major luckily but enough to stress me quite a bit. I was splitting the room with another student and her part was getting paid by an European agency. So she left before I did and simply left her keys and told them who she was. No problem there, when I got to pay, they hand me the bill, I see the total room cost minus the cost of a single room (which is what the European agency was paysing for my co-student) and the reaming on a separate bill for me. I hand out my credit card and when I’m about to sing to pay I see that the amounts is way more then I should be paying. I point this out to the deskwoman. At first she does not believe me, I convinces her to look into her folders and she looks, doesn’t find anything at first, I continue to insist (it’s around 1000$ you know) and finally she finds the information and apologies. However she explains to me that it would be more complex to unbill my credit card than it would be to give me cash. Believing I was in an hurry I took the cash. Luckilly I already know what I’ll do, pay my Amsterdam hotel with it, I’m gonna save a 5% credit card surcharge. Still you can imagine that I do not like walking around with that much money on me. At least it got solved to my satisfaction and I did not have to pay for the whole room. Not to mention that at least I had a room!

A week in Munich, well Garching

Hi faithful reader, I’m quite sorry that I have not being posting much during my stay in Garching, mostly it is a quest of not enough time to write the post. The days were filled to the brink with conferences and by the time we were done with the eating (and drinking, it’s Germany you know) well it was past time to go to sleep to wake up for another such day. When I’m telling that the conference was filled to the brink, I mean that in 5 days we had 70 talks, most of which lasted 25 minutes. We also had 3 discussions sessions in which many important things was said. Now, I must say that I’m a little disappointed with the meeting, it started very annoyingly for the 4 Canadian that came. To make a long story short I could say that roughly half the talk on the first day where exactly the same presenting the same result from the same surveys. They also took short cut that I find unacceptable and concluded from very little data things that I know are far more complex. The meeting was also mostly about kinematics while I’m working on population synthesis. While you might not know what each of them are you probably realize that with different name come different field.

However, thankfully on the second day, talk that have meaning for me (still some with “questionable” science) where presented and I got to discuss with some very interesting people about my project. I found that what I was doing is way in advance of what most of the European are doing and in fact that some of them don’t even think it is possible. So that’s nice, now I also learned that Astrophysics is an amazingly powerful force for technological develloppement. In the next 5 to 10 years because of astronomers need we are first going to double the amount of data of the English internet and then we are doing to DOUBLE the world internet data transfer. Ok, not exactly, new network for large scale interferometers are going to 1st in England transfer each second as much data as the entire British section of the Internet (about 1 Gbps (that Gygabites/seconds)), then either in Australia or South Africa the core of the “Square Kilimoter Array” is going to by plugged into a network that is going to transfer as much data as the entire internet (that 1Tbps, or Tera or 1000 Gygabytes/second). Now those network are going to be independent of the Internet for simple reason, they would actually slow it down! Think about it we are actually talking about doubling the bandwidth of the internet here, the internet which is the largest most extensive data transfer network in the history of mankind. And that only for astronomers, aren’t we nice?

Ok you might say that it will be only for astronomers and that you aren’t going to profits from that technological advancement and it’s true. Except that sooner or latter the computer, optical-fibers and technology that are use for our telescope will be implemented into the global network and then, think about it we can double the data transfers of the internet in a single country. That mean that we can probably EASILLY multiply the internet by 4 or 5 in every country. We’re talking about real time 3D images and data transfer AND manipulation here. That simply amazing.

Well I will talk more about the meeting in a following post when I have time to write them, now I’m waiting for my holyday flight from Munich airport to Amsterdam. I had a few revealation as to why KLM services as degraded since my last flight with them… a merger with Air France! Well ok, probably not but I’m not a fan of Air France except for the fact that I always have services in French. One more thing, the Munich airport is slightly weird, usually you have every check-in counter in the same place (or in two places one for international flight and one for internal flight) but in Munich you have check in counter at each terminal branch, so you have to know where you will be boarding to get to your check-in point. Well it makes the distance between the check point and check-in shorter but you have to walk quite a lot so I don’t know if it is really an advantages because I prefere to walk without my big backpack.

No more news for a while

Short story short: my laptop appears to have died, do not expect any update until this problem is resolved probably when I am back from the Netherlands in a few days. Sorry for all of you that were waiting for my exiting post, at least 3 are still on that dying/death laptop hardrive. Well I'm on a paying computer so I'm not going to be writing more. I hope to see ya all soon with hopefully a working laptop.

edit: Laptop alive, batteries dead. so able to update lucky you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Madrid airport, a well deserved face lift.

Last time I was in Madrid I was very disappointed by the airport, it felt third world and cheap with dirty terminals, an annoying speaker system and almost nothing in the way of conveniences for the passenger. Well this year I’m happy to report that the airport had gone throught an amazing facelift, it looks on part with modern airport and maybe even as good as the PET airport in Montreal. Sure there are things that are still annoying, the speaker system is still the same but the look, the fell, the services and wireless access (sorry I’m not paying for more wireless access so you’ll only get that post when I’m within a free wireless zone hopefully not to far from the day I wrote it). Anyway, my point is that Madrid airport people and administration really did a great job to make this airport an international one with potential for many many more passengers and flights. So congrats!

Memories from Toledo

Well I got back from visit the medieval city of Toledo yesterday with something to fill up my luggage. You see sword, and other medieval weapon are a lot cheaper in Europe then they are in Canada (and by a lot I mean something like a factor 5 or 10) so I took the opportunity that I had while I was there and bought a dagger. Joy to bring it back to Canada don’t you think. Anyway aside from my unplanned, unbudgeted for purchase I also visited the city of Toledo. It as one of the most majestic church I had ever seen in my life frankly at least for my taste Notre Dame in Paris is nothing compared to this church. It build on a plan very different from the tradition Catholic church of America, in fact it is more like a fortress for it’s design then a church. Also, it feature a lot of 6th century Visigoth art and it as been added upon in the centuries following it’s construction. Unfortunately I could not get any picture, photographies where forbidden within the church (and since we got in while their was a mass it would have felts wrong to take any.) Speaking of mass, the hearth of the church is an amazing example of baroque art and the mass itself is told according to Visigoth tradition! During that day I also saw a few reliquaries, with the relics in them, I must say that I find the idea of keeping the bones of saint for centuries after their death well a little morbid. Not to mention that there is apparently the head of some saint or another as a relic… we saw a wax one, perhaps this is the relic but like creepy!

Anyway, Toledo is an amazing and beautifull medieval town, build around a castle and many many church. I think we visited 4 or 5 before getting tired of paying the 2 Euros entrance fee. Not to mention that in one church the ONLY thing we saw is a single painting, yes it was a master piece, but 1 painting for 2.30 Euro is a little on the expensive side of my taste you know. Well one thing is for sure if I ever do my visit the castle and city of the Templar tour of Spain I’ve got to go back there (of course it is one of the city associated with the knights Templar, it’s in Castille!). well honestly even if I don’t do that tour I’ve got to go back to that city and spend a few days there just to see the sight, understand the history and find a way to bring back more swords and dagger to Canada.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Post 666 MWUAHAHA



Any song that has to be introduced with: it,s not that type of song, it's the type of song you sing siting in bed with bubble head Darth Vador, is a great song. It as to be! I'm nost sure about the Velma-Daphne action but hey the rest of the song is fun!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Now that freakishly disturbing poor girl



Like YEEEEEWWWWW! pervert psy. It does make you what to refrain from going to them for help no?

Science, where we hide all the cool stuff

Well physicist (who else) have proved that it their is a way to levitate object, not a way your usual mystic would do but a way that might actually work. Read the link it's facinating. Now, let me just put a damper on things, the levitation bit is probably just the journalist fantasing since the physicist work on the Casimir effect an effect that only work at very short distances by definition. But still it is cool stuff and you learned of it throught science remember that!

Friday, June 06, 2008

4th Edition...and D&D PSA 50!

So funny, oh and my internet connection here is not too good.. it took me 3 hours to be able to see that 15 minutes clip!!! that annoying.

Another day, more fun!

Well today marks an end to my first week in Madrid, and since I’m only here for 3 more days I won’t be seeing a second week. Kinda of annoying since I was just starting to get used to Madrid and the group there. But anyway it has been quite fun, now today I made a presentation about the work I do. Well I had one hour, and guess what with only 30 slides I finished the whole hour! Hoory for me, well frankly that not much of an exploit, I did a 1h30 presentation with only 25 slides once but it normally not when talking about my project and mostly no feedback from the audience. Even more strange, Spanish student apparently are taught not to ask question directly during or after a presentation. So the only questions where from one of the teacher there, luckily these were very good question, question I’m very happy to have had now instead of at my thesis defense. Well mostly because I’m now pretty sure I’ll get one of those questions at my defense and now I can find that answer. Aside from that well I will probably go to Madrid tomorrow again, see some sights and stuff. Oh and I’m very happy that the mosquitos in my room hate the A/C so turning it on reduce the amount of sting I receive! Oh and watch the PSA from the previous post it’s hilarious.. if you’re a D&D geek.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Who would have guessed...

That I would need mosquito repellant in my dorm room in Madrid? Yep, there are mosquittos in my room, at least 3 or 4 of them, female of course so they sting. Don’t worry I’ve check there is no case of malaria in Spain that came from Spain. It might be because they usually have such a dry weather. It’s an annoyance, a minor one at that but still.

An interesting talk

After the anecdotic encounter I meet up with one of my fellow astrophysic grad student in the physic’s kitechennet and we had a very interesting talk. He knew French and English so it definitively helped getting the ball rolling. Anyway we talked a little about everything but mostly about Spain and how it got where it is and maybe what’s in store for the future there. First off he started by explaining the very very few Spanish have a second language, must less a third, it as something to do with the post World War II isolation and from having too many educational reform in too few years. Apparently the older Spanish know French but they do not know English something to do with the proximity to France and the league of nation whose official language was French. Now in recent year young Spanish have decided to take up English but… no one can teach them! The teachers know French but not English and those that do teach English are learning at the same time as their student. Not a good idea.

I also learned that the Spanish where very wasteful in term of energy and water, well energy I can understand since they have plenty of it (and with lots of sun their sun power industry is growing well). But water is more of a puzzle, water is kinda rare in Spain, since it as very few above ground lakes and river. But they are apparently very wasteful of it.. and here I was in my room trying to conserve it as much as possible. Oh well shows you what I know. Anyway back to the energy waste, Spanish people like to live in an American way (not because of love of the americain but they apparently have similar mentality) and they like the A/C unit. Now running an A/C full blast is a waste of power anywhere but in country where there is no isolations in wall it is a double waste. Most of the energy you’re spending end up wasted by the heat transfer from outside.

We also talked about something I found very interesting the similarity between how Spain is governed and how Canada is governed. Both use a model where the central power power’s is deniable in many areas by the provincial power. With the same result we see in Canada. Very interesting to see such similarity in two places that are very different.

An Anecdote

Well first the anecdote, I was ordering food this afternoon and the waiter ask me a question, fast like Spanish are usually talking and with a tick accent. I don’t understand it, I try to understand the cafeteria is pack, then a girl tries to help the waiter with her broken English. She said it’s a sandwich with tease and ham, ok, ham I understand but what is tease? So the situation is getting a little comical with the girl asking her friends tease, you know tease without any success. Finally a guy steps in and “translate” the girl’s accent… She meant cheese! Funny no? and the whole thing was simply to confirm my order, apparently the fact that I selected, paid and took a meal ticket with what I wanted on it is not enough to confirm that what I ordered is what I ordered. In the moment I felt pretty embarrassed and even a little lost but looking back it must have been a very comical situation. I’m sure that if my life had a laugh track it would have been running all along.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Working more then 6000 km from the lab

A lab is a lab apparently, I’m working from the astrophysics labs in Madrid and well while the language is way different (tho something with our two Spanish speaker it sometimes sounds the simillar) the ambiance just about the same. The only major difference up to now seems to be that the student lab is not climatized. It might be a problem normally but for some reason Madrid is experiencing an unusually wet and cold spring. Well that and no one is playing poker while complaining that some people are talking too loud, but I guess that this is a particularity of our lab. I just spend the day there, working, differently that when I’m at home I wouldn’t say better but differently. I accomplished roughly the same amount of work I do back home but it was more tiring as my laptop screen is so much smaller then my usual lab computer screen.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to Madrid, visit a little I’m guessing. My colleague will be busy and she suggested, twice, that I should take the opportunity to visit the city. I’m guessing I either look dead tired and in need of an holyday or that she wants me far away not to embarrass her in the day. Speaking of which my lack of Spanish is more and less of a barrier then I though. More of a barrier because I end up being excluded from every natural conversation around here, also even if I can figure the meaning and broad stroke involved in some conversation I can’t get the details and when people are talking normally (I’d say fast but I’m guessing there are no speed speaker amongst them) I have a very difficult time finding individual words in a sentence. It is less of a barrier because well they all understand English and because they do not speak as much as we normally do in the lab. Some people would love that I’m sure.

Aside from that there are minor inconvenience, the dripping water noise the toilet makes is distracting at night, the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to get warm water this morning for my shower, and my lack of energy to get food, well strangely I’m simply not hungry. Well the last one my be part jetlag, part language barrier, try going to a restaurant, a campus restaurant where no one seems to understand English and ordering a meal. Anyway, from my room in the residence I’m feeling lonely, more exactly I’m realizing I’m always feeling lonely lately. I don’t know I feel like I should be with someone else on this trip, you know, a girlfriend type of person.

Oh and one last thing because I go to sleep, if I can kill the headaches that killing me, one thing struck me as I got to Madrid, how much is stunk of cigarette smoke. Everywhere outside you smell cigarette and many place inside! Hell people smoke in non smoking area all the time and of course the doors of every building are crowded with smoker. And of course the windows of the lab open close to an area smoker like so it’s smells like smoke too!!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Working from the airport

One thing you’ll find surprising I’m sure is that I’m not on vacation for the moment I’m actually working. Well yeah I’m working from the airport on a presentation I’ll be giving in a few day in Spain. You could say that not the best place to work but seriously I don’t know when I would work beside this hours before my flight’s boarding. Working on a presentation from my lap is not really what I’d recommend for the best presentation possible but hey when you don’t have a table you work with what you can.

And now my plane as docked with the unloading bridge to obviously unload the previous flight passenger. They’ll clean the plane and in about 1 hours I will be able to get in. Should be fun it’s a big 747 instead of a smaller planes like we where supposed to get I just hope I get enough room for my legs. Speaking of room in flight I just though about a problem we might have in the near future with airplanes. Passenger weight, as the average weight of people increase it should get harder and harder to fit as many people as we do in planes. Something will have to give and probably it will be something like a maximum total weight, passenger+luggage or simply a maximum weight for passenger.

Asaathi is on the road again!

Well I’m once again on my way to visit the old countries. I can’t really say that I’m more prepared that I usually am but hey that allows for the fun of travel. Now, seriously I must say that I wonder about a few things at airport. You’re (according to the website) supposed to arrive more then three hours before your flight. Well ok, sure no problem but it’s now 2h30 before my flight and I’m waiting for it to arrive… it took all an all a big 15 minutes to get check in and go through security. Ok, I arrive about 4 hours before my flight but still if I have to arrive MORE then 3 hours before my flight it should mean that on average security and check in should take at LEAST an hour (the extra too hours to account for boarding and problems) because come on who needs three hours to check in and go through security???

I’m guessing you’ve been missing my ranting so I’ve decided to try and rant a little more while I’m away it’s gonna be hard since I’m quite satisfied with my trip but hey I can rant about minor inconveniences no? Ok, now to continu and sideline this rant I have to speak about a few of the problem of public transportation. Namely the time constraint, I’m guessing that quite a few people that take the bus from Quebec to Montreal do it to go to the Airport. Ok, it’s probably getting smaller because Quebec airport is getting bigger and is getting more flights but still I would expect they would try to time the arrival of their intercity bus with the shuttle to the airport. Well I was wrong, and because of that inconsistency I had to leave an hour earlier. Quite annoying, I’d prefer to leave latter and get more sleep. Oh well at least I had a few laugh on the trip; apparently I found the point where my holyday started. Yep an hotel told me in bold latter that my holyday started here. Amusing no?

Oh nice I just noticed that Air Canada has changed it’s planes color, from black white and red to some kind of ugly pale green and red. Sorry I did not have time to take a picture and post it here, maybe next time. Oh speaking of pictures I will try to have some when I post. Which should be every day until the Amsterdam part of my trip. Anyway, you’ll see and I hope enjoy my many comment on life and travels. Don’t worry I’ll try to be my usual geeky self.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sexy Single Chicks - Imaginary Bitches Episode 4

A relasionship dominated world... sometimes the world feel likes that, if I look at my friends just about none of them are single.. quite distressing in a way.

Oh, life goes on...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Atheism - Greatest Danger to Humanity

Nice I'm part of the greatest danger to Humanity!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I don't believe in evolution.

Interesting no?

Cognitive surplus

Well I know I haven’t been posting in like forever and it is not for lack of thing to talk about. No, it is mostly for lack of will to devote time to the blog away from my phd thesis, my facebook account, my salsa classes and everything else that going on in my life (sorry no girlfriend yet). I’ve been wanting to post something new and intriguing for a while and now thanks to Monte Cook I’ve found something: this.

Now, normally I’m very skeptical about social science and what they deduce, predict and propose. I’m sorry but when someone comes and tells me that all science is a social construct and that science has a weak link with the truth, well I get skeptical. Yes I will agree that society as a very strong influence on what science get promoted and also gets funding but nonetheless the observation of science (if not the explanation) remain independent of human society. Remember whatever the true explanation of gravity is Newtonian Theory, Einstein Theory or something else altogether the observation remains that objects fall toward more massive object. Anyway, the article point is that society is close to a changing point into a new version of itself, kinda like the industrial revolution but on a different level. He talks about how TV as been a way to “waste” the extra free time we did not know what to do with in the past and that now new “productive” things are emerging. He even goes into quantifying the amounts of time and cognitive power we have “available” for those new endeavors.

Think about it, the US populations collectively watch about 1 trillions hours of TV a year (which probably means that Canadian watch around 100 millions hours of TV a year) and a project like wikipedia (in all languages not just English) required about 100 millions hours of work. That mean every year, just in Canada we could do something as big and as impressive as the whole wikipedia project, the US could do 10 wikipedia EACH YEAR… now imagine if the whole planet worked on project like that. Ok, true it is doubtful that all hours spend on TV would be transferred to “productive” project but even if 1/1000th of those hours was transferred that would give us an amazing amongst of idea and new project. Imagine all that brain power, coding power and time that could be used for bettering mankind and society. That just amazing, once science and technology as brought us amazing ideas.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Guy's Guide To Zombies

Zombies are your friends! Please dis... euh enjoy their compagny will I go get am... beer yeah, beer that it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Important leason


Somehow I really see this being aimed at me, with all the strange music I have on my Ipod the shuffle option is probably the greastest mood killer of all time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

He won't see HAL

One of the great writer of science fiction of our time passed away. Arthur C. Clark died today, before we got a a moonbase or artificial intelligence. He had writed over 100 science fiction novel and anticipated many of the technologies we have today and some we might just get in the future. He apparently arranged for a strand of his hair to be sent into space, so perhaps one day he will be cloned with super powers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nuclear safety for everyone



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Listening to: Lola
via FoxyTunes

The sexiness of Nerdiness

I'm off to save the world! Beware evil intergalactic alien zombies with laser eyes! (which are so much cooler then laser shark.)



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Listening to: Lola
via FoxyTunes

Leaked Expelled bootleg

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

See they do exist!



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Listening to: Berlioz, Hector - Cellini- Final: Ah! maintenant de sa folle impudence
via FoxyTunes

I felt a great disturbance in the Game, as if millions of elfes suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Today, Gary Gygax the creator of Dungeon and Dragon died at the noble age of 69. He will be remembered by millions of gamers around the world for chaging their life in way they had not thought possible. It is only approriate that the first DM passed away on the first DM day sealing is name in legend once again.

Farewell mister Gygax, your game procured me with thousan of hours of fun and got me to meet amazing people. I hope that your legacy will be continued for years to come. Thank you fyour game.

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Listening to: India - Si Tú Eres Mi Hombre
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 03, 2008

Highway to Hell

Watching this and laughtning might send you to hell... but at least you'll laught.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ah how about that life of yours?

I started this blog about 3 years ago to talk about myself, well to talk mostly. Tell my opinion, to self analyze, to give news of my life to my friends abroad. I’ve noticed a few weeks ago, that I had not talked about myself for quite some time. Well, I’ve been meaning to, strangely. I came to a few realizations about myself and my criterion for a girlfriend. I’ve been pretty sure I was not a breast man, you know big breast don’t do much for me, piccolo might argue that it as something to do with the fact that I do not like woman that are “healthy” (I’d say big, or fat myself but lets use the politically correct term.) No, after much deliberation I’m pretty sure am more of an ass man, I really do like cute woman ass. But hey that not much of a realization, since I already knew that more or less, not the biggest realization I’d say is that the first thing that attract me to a woman is not her ass or how hot her body is, it’s her smile. Yeah, her smile it turns my head quite fast, and unlike the other thing that might turn my head, it will keep it turned, and make it turn again and again.

Aside from that well Salsa as been a great idea for me, I’ve meet a lot of new people, at least 3 woman I’d been interested in, and another I’m very interested in. Well not that I’ve talked to her a lot, but still I really have to remember to ask her number (or e-mail) next time we meet. Yeah, she as that much effect on me, I forget dance step when I’m dancing with her, I have trouble keeping the beat and I forget stuff, like that the song has ended, where I left my beer and that I want to ask her number. And yes, if you must know I noticed her thanks to her smile, which goes well with the rest of her. Of course, since I did not talk to her that much I’m not yet sure about exactly how interesting she is, you know a pretty smile and an all is quite good to draw attention but if she’s got nothing to say, no personality or no opinion she falls into the really not interesting category. Oh well, if anything need to be updated someday, you’ll be sure I’ll talk about it here.

Now, on completely unrelated news, my phd is going relatively well, I’ve started writing my thesis, I don’t think I have any more code to write and I’ve started to look for a job, without much success but hey I’ve just started. I’ve started playing poker online, no not with money but poker nonetheless, I can’t say I’m really good but I haven’t lost more then I’ve won (or even close to what I’ve won). Oh well that about everything for now, I hope to have more realizations, news, and stuff about myself in the near future.

Protect the local producers

Read the letter of a french economist about what step should be taken to protect the candel maker from an unfair outside competition. Afterwar, thing about what it really mean when politician tell you they will use your money to protect such and such industries from unfair foreign practices...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh my god please think of the children!

Children preacher... I don't know if I should be amused or scared but I do know that this is wrong. I've heard of parent living their fantasyh through their child and that looks just like it.. in a perverted, twisted kind of way.




Their are three other parts that you can watch here.

More good news for diabetics!

Wow, regenerating the cells that produce insuline now that is a great news, an amazing treatement option if the result we found on mouse are reproduced in human. Science is wonderfull no?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wow

This is the kind of thing we need more of, comprehensive, adaptable, fun knowledge ressources.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Identity theft break-in

Now this is scary, needing so little information to get someone to unlock a door for you. Guess it shows that you should try to keep your identity information secret. Oh yeah, that is also true on Facebook, be carefull about who you invite as your friend and who you message, they can see your profile for 1 month.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Russia

I’ve said for a while that I’m very worried by Russia’s actions in the world. First there was the start of a new nuclear attack submarine program, then flyby with nuclear bombers of NATO’s bases and now, Russia is threatening Ukraine that it will become a target should it joint the US missile shield project. Now I don’t know about you but if someone tells me, if you try to protect yourself from me I’ll hit you I tend to regard that person as dangerous. I’d even say a little crazy even more so when we are talking about nuclear weapons and not just punch and kick.

While I am not advocating any sort of threat against Russia, or any measure, I’d advice the world to watch it carefully. While it does not have the military power it had at the height of it’s power it is still one of the world largest military and it own more nuclear weapon then anyone else. Not to mention that unlike the US it as plenty of neighbor country it could invade while the opposition mobilizes it could have conquered a large fraction of Europe and Asia. Such a scenario is very unlikely, but still Russia is acting like a bully looking for a fight and that is worrisome.

Great news for diabetics

Research is still trying to find a cure for diabetes, luckily it is making progress and thanks to a Canadian discovery we might be closer to a cure then ever. It was found that you can transplant pancreatic cells from a healthy (non-diabetic) patient into the liver of your diabetic patient and those cells will produce insulin. This as apparently removed the need from daily insulin injection in some patient and it as severely reduced the risk of hypoglycemia in all patients. Of course, there is a cloud in this blue sky, under that treatment, patient must taken immunosuppressant to prevent, his body from rejecting the pancreatic cells, he will probably needs to have multiple cell transplant to keep the benefits. This technique probably opens the way to other advancement, such as creating artificial cells to replace the transplanted one, or extracting cell from the diabetic’s body, changing their nuclei’s (with non-diabetic one), cloning the new cells to put them back in the patient body. There is a lot of potential in this and it might lead to a new treatment and perhaps as we understand more and more of the genetic base behind the disease a cure.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

British law to include Sharia.

As an atheist and someone that feel strongly about the separation of church and state, I find news telling me that the inclusion of religious laws in public law worrisome. While I understand the argument made by Dr William that it is a cultural thing and would serve to help the Muslim immigrant to integrate into the country, I fear that it is a dangerous precedent. Remember that British law is based on a system of precedent and allowing part of a religious text to be used at law for one thing set the possibility to argue that another part could be used. Pretty sound you find that your old law system, as been mostly replace by the religious law and you are a theocracy. Now I don’t think such a problem is likely in America since we have a strong laic influence in our law system. However if Britain was to adopt it, it might become an argument to adopt it in Canada. Not to mention that if Britain was to become a theocracy it might be a prelude to a holy crusade with one of the world major military power as its instigator, not a though I like to contemplate.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Atheist sect...

Well here is what you have to do to become an Atheist and what you loose once you do. The clip is from a silent movie by Cecille B. Demille called: “The Godless Girl”

Just how sturdy is life?

We very often talk about the fragility of life, how humanity must be careful less it destroy life on earth. Well, apparently life could much more sturdy that we gave it credit for. And when I say much more sturdy I mean in the senses of surviving the death of a star kind of sturdy, you know just about undestroyable level of sturdiness here. You see in a new that is very interesting for the search of life in the universe scientist have detected organic molecules in the starburst galaxy Arp 220. Now of course organic molecules are not proof of life but if organic molecule that we considered very fragile can exist in a starburst environment well other more advanced molecules or life itself can probably survive.

To give you an idea of what kind of condition exists in a starburst galaxy, imagine a place where a new star is born every month, a star bigger then our sun. In that place the “emptiness” of space is a burning hot 10 000 K, the quantity of light is strong enough to blow use gas cloud away over billions of km. The stars are so close together that if a planet could exist there (at 10 000 K most planet will evaporate) it will exist in a permanent day with no shadows. So think of it, if life could appear there or close to those condition how strong and resilient life must be.

Of course that is not a reason to stop valuing our life and the life on our planet, but still it means life is amazing. The universe might yet be filled with life and exploring the stars to search for other with whom we can related is such a high goal that humanity should not pass it by.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What's the harm?

When I go and tell people that some beliefs they have are false. I sometimes get the well what the harm? Its all harmless belief and we can believe anything we want. Well I’ve been shown to a web site that might change that answer, it is appropriately called: what the harm. Its shows the harms that have been done in the past by those harmless beliefs, the death toll is quite impressive. I’m not saying everyone should abandon every irrational belief but maybe we should reconsider them in new light.

Monday, February 04, 2008

You do not understand...

Once again the people of Quebec City were told that we did not understand how things work and that we are a bunch of uncultured moron. This time however it did not come from a politician but from an artist, the artist that build the Quebec’s 400 celebration opening show. A show that was decried in Quebec as been unrepresentative of the city, confusing, badly built and disappointing, it was also described as such in English Canada by other media and if you look at the world coverage of the New Year did not put Quebec’s celebration on international media like it was supposed to. Not to mention that they did the countdown to the New Year a good minutes into the New Year! But not, even with all the flaws that seems to be found by everyone but him it is us in Quebec city that do not understand, we cannot see good talent it seems and we should be ashamed of having ask for something great when we paid around 3 million $ for a show.

This seems to be a common answer in Quebec when someone opinion diverges from your own: he does not understand. After all it is clear that there is only one possible conclusion to every situation and if you do not find that holy conclusion you must not understand the situation right?

Well, I think I will ask you something, instead of telling me that I do not understand why don’t you try to explain the situation to me and try to listen to why I came to my conclusion or opinion. Chances are it won’t be because I heard it was a good idea on the radio and I might have made a bigger analysis then you think. So why don’t you stop saying that I don’t understand and I will not start thinking that you are a moron who’s opinion isn’t strong enough to be defended. Thank you.

Friday, February 01, 2008

War against Atheism?

I often hear about the war against religion from fundamentalist of all species, yet it is an atheist group that gets canceled from MySpace not any religious one. Would it be that religious fanatic would like us to believe they are attacked to stand on the moral high ground when they strike back? A sort of preemptive strike without the negative press since it is not a preemptive strike they were under attack first right?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Alternative Aviation

Sorry for the lack of post those past few days, I was feeling a little under the weather from a cold. While down I was pointed to an interesting blog article about applying the alternative medecine idea and logic to the airline industry. Read it you'll have fun.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not a surprise to me at least.

About a week ago l’Université Laval held a referendum to see if the student agreed to an increase in technological fees to pay for a new management software. The University asked for something close to a 300% increase to buy something that according to the student groups already exist in some faculty (Science and Engineering not to name it) and that could be expanded by student with a much smaller cash investment. Now, you probably guessed that the student voted massively against that increase (79% in fact).

So the day the result were announced, I told the very happy student that it didn’t matter in fact, the University will simply disregard the referendum and increase the fees. People told me I was wrong that they could not ignore such a large majority. Well I just received a message this morning telling me: The administration council of the university increased the technological fee by more then 200%. So forgive me if I go and say: I told you so.

Now the saga is not over, I predict that the student groups will vote for protestation (they already sent an ultimatum) that might even go up to a strike. Said protestation will result in a negotiation that will end with a 50 to 100% increase in technological fees and a reduction of some services to pay the difference. Student will then complain about the reduction in services, and Science and Engineering student will be pissed because they are once again paying for the rest of the University to have something they already had.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Self-fulfilling prophecies?

For a few years now I’ve made the decision not to involve myself in my friends’ love life, even if I think they might be in a bad relationship and making a mistake. One of the reasons is that most people don’t really want someone else opinion about their love life. Seriously, do you know many people that listen to their friend when one of them tells them: “I think that girl (boy) is bad for you.” They know that person better then we do (usually), they like (love) that person and what they want to know is that they make a great couple and that it is going to last forever. Saying anything else is probably going to be seeing as being a bad friend, being jealous of them or not knowing the person well enough. Another reason I took that decision is that frankly all my friends are adult, and are responsible for their action. If they really want to know that I think about their relationship they will have asked me to tell them what I think before they are in any relationship. The only problem with that approach that I’ve seen is that only one of my friends asked me this, and her standard for a boyfriend are so high they make my standard for a girlfriend looks easy so I doubt that she’ll even find a guy that won’t fit well with her.

However the main reason is that these opinions can become self-fulfilling prophecies. You see, maybe someone I see as being bad for someone else is in fact very good but telling that person that I think she is bad for her lead the person to question her relationship. He stars to become more distant thinking about what I said trying to find flaws in the relationship; his idea is to prove me wrong, of course. But when you start to search for flaws and things that do not go well in something you can usually find some. When you start to put all your attention on negative things well you start to see everything in a negative light and the words instead of being falsified become more and more possible. In short, by looking at only the bad part of the relationship and not the whole your making the idea that it is a bad relationship a lot more interesting. After a period of time of feeding this circle of negativity, it becomes clear that the person was not the good one and the prophecy fulfill itself.
The question then becomes, would it had ended without the prophecy? And was it really a bad relationship or was it ruin by the words of another? It’s not that I find the “responsibility” of that too high, it’s more than I hate self-fulfilling prophecies, they stink of bad writing and are too linear.