Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu

Lil Cthulhu is your friend.. or at least you sanity destroying planet killing monstruosity.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The stupid it hurts!

Ok, now clearly that person doesn't understand anything about physics. If you put all the mass of the universe in one place you will get something much smaller then a bowling ball.. you'll get something with no dimension called a point. Why? because that much mass you'd instantly collapse into a black hole like object.

Let us not forget that according to our theory of how the universe came into being, all the mass AND all the energy (which thanks to Einstein theory of relativity we know are the same thing) was present in a dimensionless point (i know tautologie here but it illustrate the point).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For all of you that belived math was useless

It has no shown it's ultimate use, teaching us how to prevent the otherwise inevitable zombie appocalyspe. Read about it, here...

Monday, July 20, 2009

A giant leap for mankind.

40 years ago today the Appollo XI mission landed on Earth’s Moon and Neil Angstrom pronnonced the now well known: “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Like I said in my facebook status, 40 years since our giant leap… maybe it’s time to try another one. Mars is something like 35 Millions km away, yeah that a terrifyingly farther then the Moon is, but the reward for going there are so much greater.

First because the challenge to get there are so much greater, think about it to get to Mars we have to be able to create a environnement that can sustain human life in the most hostile environnement known to us. Not just for minutes, hours or even days, but for years and without the protection of Earth magnetic field to protect the astronauts from the sun deadly radiation. Second because Mars is another planet and if we listen to the doom prophets and we are indeed using with our lifestyle 7 Earth worth of ressources the ability to harvest another (or more) planets worth of ressources would give us a lot more time to figure out a solution to this problem. Third it will be a steping stone toward the Asteroid belt and beyond where even more fantastic discovery awaits humanity and for the capitalistic minded even more ressources.

Some of you might say that before we go to another world and destroy it with our crap and stupidity we should solve our problem here. Well, part of the solution to our stupity and crap rest in being able to expend and understand more and more of the cosmo. Most of our problem and the source of a lot of our stupidity can be tranced back to bad gestion of ressources and/or distribution of those same ressources. With space exploration we need to find away to reuse as close to 100% of the ressources we have as we can. It’s simply not feasible to be as wastefull as we are on Earth with it’s wide open space and plentifull ressources in the close small dirt poor confine of a spaceship.

You might also say that our money would be better spent ending hunger or curing disease. Well consider this: the world space exploration budget (25 G$) is small then Quebec’s health care systme cost (29 G$), it doesn’t register on the global budget (being less then 0.05% of the world GDP). The amongts of money expended toward space exploration could be multiplied by 20 before it reached level significant on the world scale.. and you know what even mutiplied by 20 it would be less then Canada’s GDP (it would only be about a 3rd!) Not to mention that even multiplied by that 20 it only be the level of the US military spending. So the point is that humanity could spend those 500 G$ on space and still have enough money left to fight disease, cure world hunger and teach every kids on the world to read and write, hell they’re would be enough money left to keep enough armies around to wage wars for years.

The main difference is that instead of looking at our feet, we would be looking upward, toward a bright future, wonderfull discovery, amazing adventure and new worlds. So I say onward toward the stars!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An explaination why religion and god don't matter

I've been ask a while back by a girl I was meeting for the first time how come an astronomer with all the stuff that we can't explain and the majesty of the universe was an atheist. Well PZ Myers (from the atheistic biologist blog Pharyngula) as posted links to two pages with approximatly the same answer I gave that girl.

While science can not test the existance of god it can test the effect of it's existance on reality. i.e instance where the known principles of the natural world would be altered/broken by the action of this supranatural being. You know those divine intervention, miracle, vision, prophecies, explanation for natural phenomena and all? Well in all the cases tested a naturalistic explanation was shown to be correct, i.e nothing outside of the known (or to be more rigourous knowable) principles of the world was at work. Now, if you have something that act exactly like the natural principle, is undetectable and is unknowable, doesn't it make much more senses to just go and say: well it doesn't exist or at least matter. You'll get the exact same result with or without it's presence anyway...

Don't give me the argument, well god set those natural principle into place in the first place! AHAH checkmate atheist. It's an argument from ignorance we don't know how those principles came into being in the first place however just look at the few millions argument from ignorance for god and you'll see that up to now the it's not god after all answer comes up.. well all the time. Beside we already have theories about how those law came about and you won't be surprised to learn that exactly none of them involve supranatural beings...

Now the religion part, if religions was something that stabilized society and lowered crime rate we would expect the country with the smallest religion base to be the most unstable and with the highest crime rate. Well strangely the crime rate is inversely proportional to the pourcentage of atheist in the country... Also atheist are the only underepresented "religious" group in prisons. It should make you think about the value of religion no?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Welcome to the Universe - III: The Size of Things

The size of things in space... impressive isn't it?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where as astrogeek being?

Hi, very faithfull reader to still be coming here after what 4 months semi hiaitus is very commendable. So, Anyflower asked if I’ve being either dating or writing and surprisingly the answer is: both. Mostly writing but still I went on a few date with a nice woman, it didn’t work out in the end but still it was fun going out a few times and meeting her. There’s not much else to say, an aborted relationship and a new friendship are not really post worthy in the situation.

Now about that thesis writing, well it’s still not done (I’m procrastinating by writing on this blog at the moment) but it’s close. I’m at more then 400 pages, 13 of my 14 chapters written down, and only the conclusion needs to be finished. Ok, the last 3 chapters will probably need a major revision before I can call them truly finished but at least the first draft is writen down and most of the idea are there.

The next step, once I’m done with that first draft of a conclusion is seriously looking for a job. I’ve half heartedly looked in the past year or so, but when you’re not sure how long it will be until you’ve finished writing you’re a little less attractive to prospective employers. So in the next few weeks I’ll be looking forward to getting paid more then minimum wage.

Now for the final thing that keeps me from this blog, I’ll be moving very soon, after a month of hell thanks to my landlord renovation of my appartement for his future use. Yes, that cheap on his part and his employee are apparently not the best construction around because they start project but apparently don’t finish them… it’s been about a month now, there are 5 projects started in or around my apparentement and none of them are completed. Hell one of them has not moved in 2 weeks and the only thing left to do is put in stairs! It’s now way beyond the point where I feel I’ve been cheated by his settelement. What he gave me falls way short of the annoyance his work caused me. Not to mention his latest annoyance, he called me on the 23rd late in the evening to tell me that someone would be working in my apparement on the 24th in the morning… I’m sorry but last time I looked 8 hours is a lot less then 24, particularly when you’ll be bothering someone on a holiday at ungodly hours in the morning.

Well I’ll be gone from there soon, that might not mean I’ll write more on the blog but at least I’ll have one less annoyance in my life.

Isabelle Fleury - Emilie

I love this song, however like I teased Isabelle about, this story only proves that there is no scientist or intelligent people either in Heaven or Hell. Any scientist would figure out that the lenght of the spoon's handle doesn't matter, what matters is where you hold the handle.

Yeah I know that would remove the moral of story but still you've got to admit it's a pretty clever work around the problem.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why date a geek

I think this link says it better (and with exemple) that I ever could. Now if only this could get sent into the general population...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"The Internet Symphony" Global Mash Up

The concept is just fantastique, the execution is beautifull and my friend sings in it!

So enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soooo cool



the only thing I'm not too warm about is the person tag part of the video. Aside from that I want one of those! Oh and ain't science cool?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Free speech is sacred

Free speech as a religiion... well if you can make law that defamating religion is illegal, why not make Free speech and atheism religion and religion a defamation of those...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TED talk



Once again a very interesting TED talk

Friday, March 06, 2009

Nuclear Information Reel

Well I guess only the loyal subject of the queen can and will survive a nuclear appocalyspe...

Rejecting Atheism

Pearlist, hmm nice title no?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Susie Smartypants explains the evolution!

Come on we really need a serie called someone Smartypant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things people do to save the world...

You might find this article interesting if your interested in the things we are doing to "save" the world.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Annoying rule bound people

Ok, I like to write, I mostly follow conventions of writing and even if my spelling tends to be atrocious my text structure and ideas are usually above average. One thing I don’t do when writing is assume that there are strict don’t break or the police will arrests you rules in the format of the text. For example I believe that I can write a 4 paragraph long introduction for a text, even if the text is only about 10 paragraphs long, simply because I can use the paragraph divisions as a way to bring forth the topics the following paragraphs will develop. Sure in some case it might be better to write only a single paragraph for the introduction but it’s not rule, I don’t have to use only a single paragraph or else my text won’t be read by anyone and will spontaneously combust.

Now, I agree that there are “rules” for writing text, there is a certain order to the paragraphs and the introduction usually precede the conclusion. But the format of each of the part can be pretty loose, and trying to enforce a set up is writing by rote, not understanding writing. It following a recipe for a text instead of cooking your own, while that is not bad it can lack a certain level of originality and it can often make for dry text and in my opinion most of those people would make pretty bad poetry writers.

Ok, that just a minor inconvenience, but I suffered through it today so I’m gonna share it with you. What the person really wanted to say was that my introduction was too long, and he was right it was. However it was not too long because I use three paragraphs, it was too long because I was too verbose and went into too many details in my examples. In a way I was using a story as an introduction for the rest of my text and telling the story in one paragraph would make for one giant weird looking paragraph so I split it off where the ideas demands it, in a way the introduction is it’s own text, with an introduction to the story, the story itself and a short conclusion that introduce the main topic of the text. I do not think I have to do all that in a paragraph, in fact I’m sure that it would harder to read.

Ok, enough ranting about a minor thing oh and in case the person reads my blog that rant is not directed at you, you just triggered something that had been waiting for a event to be released.

Wrong solution

I was reading a link posted by yofed about the cost of food in Halifax and while I find it strange that it cost more there then it should there is something in the article that makes me thinks Halifax won’t see a lowering of it’s food price anytime soon. You see Patty Williams one of Halifax nutrition expert is proposition a very bad solution for the healthy food problem faced by “poor” families. Her solution: raise the minimum wage by 4 to 5 dollars an hour.

Now maybe you think, what up astrogeek that a good solution! Give more money to those that receive the less and they should be able to afford all the stuff they can’t right now. Well let me ask you something, do grocery stores hire lots of employee at the minimum wage rate? Then, consider that raising every minimum wage employee wave by 4 to 5 dollars an hours should cost that store about 160$ a week for each employee. That add up to 8320$ per employee per year. Doesn’t sound like much for just the grocery store but then remember their is a chain of people working for minimum wage between the food production and the grocery store each one costing 8320$ a year more. Now, no business men wants to reduce its profit (or worse go into deficits) so the easiest and most logical choice would be for them to increase the prices of everything. The end result being that the minimum wage worker have at best as much spending power as it had before and at worse less, because other employee that where paid above the minimum wage would like an increase in their wage to keep up with the increased cost of living which will by itself also increase cost of living.

This increase of minimum wage idea is the start of a vicious cycle, every time you do that, you actually make the situation worse by increasing the prices across the board. Now a wiser solution (at least according to me) would be to lower one of the many taxes that are imposed on the food from its production to its consummation. One tax that would really benefits everyone (and the minimum wage worker in particular) is a lowering of the fuel tax. The amount of fuel required to take food from our field to our homes is staggering and it account for a significant part of the price of everything, lower that cost and you should lower prices across the board making healthy food more accessible. And that would also strangely give more spending power to the minimum wage workers. Wouldn’t that be a better solution?

Happy Darwin's day

200 years ago one that was to be named Charles Darwin was born. His contribution to science was so great that 150 years after the publication of his world changing book we are still using the basic idea he was proposing. Today celebrate the advancement of human knowledge and Darwin's day.

oh a weirdly related note, today the campus for christ organisation is having a talk about 5 reasons for the existance of god and 3 reasons why it matters. I'm sure it just a coincidance but considering the anti-evolution sentiment I've read in their promotional leaflets in the past I have to wonder.

Playing god

Skepchick as a great article on "playing god" and what it seems to be meaning now a day. I found it very interesting.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Leave my internet alone!

Once again Quebec’s artistic community is asking the CRTC to impose regulation on the internet. They want to force TV and radio station that stream content online to follow the same quota and regulation that the non-internet radio must face. Once again the argument to justify those regulation comes from the idea that we must protect our culture. Ok, lets make something clear: If I’m not watching your TV, listening to your Radio or reading your newspaper it’s probably because your culture isn’t mine. STOP fracking trying to force me to listen, read and watch your crap, produce something of quality and you can be sure I will read, listen or watch it but for the moment you’re of not interest to me. Imposing more regulation on my internet content will only push me farther away from your culture and will insure that I will look to go elsewhere. I want to be free, not controled, I want access to information and content not censorship, I’m an adult human being I can decide for myself what is right or wrong from me (provided I have the information of course) so I don’t need you to control, censor or decide for me. So please, CRTC, Quebec artist and whoever else want to regulate the internet: LEAVE MY INTERNET ALONE!

Guys and girls

I had an argument today about boys and girls, more precisely the existance of the difference between the two. Now I was arguing that part of the gender identity comes from genetics, and that boys are different from girls. Now, I admited that part of the identity also comes from society and education but there are still difference in gender beyond (and maybe reinforced) those of society. Now the argument continued toward the fact that we should not teach little boy the “stereotypical” male attitude of when you’re hurt you don’t cry you continu and do the job. My vision of the thing is that there are times to “cry” and times to keep it inside to finish what needs to be done until it is possible to “cry”. Some people can also keep things inside and then let them go, of course there are also some people that keep things inside and then explode.

Now someone argued that it was bad and that humanity would be better without that social phenotype (the guy that don’t cry). That is something I can’t agree with, I think that humanity need this social phenotype. There is a need (and a place) for people that will not stop and cry or explore their feeling everytime something “hurt” them and simply do the job that need to be done.

In a way I think that rejecting this social phenotype is rejecting the male social phenotype. I think that it would be a great lost for humanity and that it does a great diservice to future generation to try and make sure everybody cries and explore their feeling the moment things hurt them. Now I’m not saying you should encourage guy never to cry or explore their feeling, but letting it be ok not to explore them right away is probably not a bad idea, sometimes times is what it takes not crying. Oh well, I just had to rant about that conversation even if that rant ended up being confusing.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The teaching of history

The whole Battle on the Plains of Abraham once again made me realize how crappy the education system is at teaching history. When I was in high school we could take at most 3 history class, the first one on the ancient world, the Greek, the Egyptian and the Roman (go forbid we talked about the Celt, the native American, the Aztec, the Maya, the Chinless or the Indonesian civilizations) while the second is supposed to be on the world history until world war 1 with emphasis on Quebec and Canada. Now my memory of that second class is pretty hazy I know we talked about the end of the renaissance and the beginning of the colonization of Quebec. We saw in some details how the colony was settled up until the English conquest and then learned about that battle (and that battle only, nothing about the rest of the war, such as Chevalier de Levis’ attempt to capture Quebec). Then it was major event in Quebec with particular insistence put on event that the English minority at the time put inflicted on the Quebecers. The patriot revolt (with failure to mention the English patriots), the declaration of the high and low Canada and all the other stuff that reinforce the idea that Quebec is an oppressed province in Canada. But we skip over any realization by the Canadians and most of the thing involving Quebec that are not “inflicted” by the English.

Sure I understand that the class is limited in time and that we have to cover the “important” event but I fail to see how skipping part of the patriot revolt really inform Quebec student about it and how failing to mention the treaty of Paris influence on English rule really help. I would think that the history we teach should at least be complete and true. Now if I was redoing the curriculum for high school there would be history class at every grade. I would also insure that the program includes both Canadian and Quebec history and that it goes up about 10 years before the last class (i.e. 1999 this year). I think we need to learn a lot more about our history to understand where we come from and to be ready to step into a greater role in the world. Not to mention that it would help us take another look at the decision of the past and if we can give the next generation a better understanding of these decision they would be better equipped to see if we need to change them. It probably would reduce Quebec’s reliance on the: “it’s a choice we made as a society” answer when we question our model.

Well, in a way that part of my a better education is the best way to solve most of our society problems and to insure that our society’s future is bright and free of tyranny. I really think that education is much more important the health care (well one is actually part of the other, a good education includes preventive health care which is sorely lacking) and should involve a great deal more of our effort.

Public speaking

Last Monday I had to give a talk at an amateur astronomer club and well it went relatively well. I say relatively well, because my one hour talk lasted for 1h45, and well I didn’t go through all of the stuff I had prepared for this presentation. I was supposed to talk at length about the Canadian telescope and the science we do there. In fact the talk was intitled: “Canadian Telescopes: Unsong heros of astronomy” and I barely got to talk about any modern telescope (the last one I talk about was the cloud covered pic of Mont Megantic which is hardly the most recent one). Part of the reason for this “failure” lays squarely with me, I underestimated the amount of talking I would do at each telescope and the amounts of question I would receive, another part of it lies with the club that held a 45 minutes talk about february night sky, right before my presentation and the last part comes from a question that really surprised me. Someone asked me to sell to the group the idea of the Quebec-Canadian governement building a Megantic-like telescope today within the current economic crisit.

I really liked that question, even tho I had absolutly nothing prepared to answer something of that kind (according to the asker I succeed quite well). I like the question because it forced me to think on my feet, to convince someone that my science was worth investing in even when the economy isn’t that strong and to answer something I’m prepared for on the fly. In short, that might be a good preparation for my thesis defense!

Nonetheless, that not what I brought up the sujet, I brought it up to speak about public speaking. Now, those of you that know me know that I am very verbose and that I can speak quite a lot. Given the evidence of my speaking too much above I assume that even those that don’t know me very well understand. You might think that my next sentence would something along the line: but I’m scared of public speaking or some such. You would be wrong, I love public speaking, it must be part of my attention whore side and no I’ve never been that scare of speaking in public. Still, I’ve heard and tried many of the “tricks” to help yourselve speak in front of an audience and frankly I don’t think any of them really works. Imagining people naked, yeah that sure is going to get me too feel better, I’m giving a talk in front of bunch of naked people. Finding someone that looks sympatic to me in the audience and looking at him while I speak, great only one person came to hear me. Looking above the audience to the wall behind, great no one came to hear me talk. None of that works, at least for me, I prefer to talk to the audience. I’m talking to everyone there as if it was a single person, when I answer question I start my answer toward the person asking the question but I go on to talk to everyone, using the logic that if someone asked the question most of the group probably was wondering the same thing.

Well that my idea about it, I’m certainly not an expert on public speaking and it probably doesn’t work for every kind of public presentation there is. I’m pretty sure that an act can’t work well with that technic or any kind of performace that doesn’t require feedback from the public but I don’t know. So what do you think?

Stimulus for your economie

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The conquest or the giving away of Quebec

I listened to Pierre Falardeau one of Quebec artist complaining about the recreation of the Battle on the Plain of Abraham in Quebec. Now in a previous post I said that I not a big fan of celebrating the defeat because for the french speaking majority of Quebec associate this historical event to a defeat and it could be seen as rubbing the defeat in their face. So I’m not hot on the idea, but I would welcome an historical recreation particularly if it was set in within the Fête de la Nouvelle France.

Now many of mister Falardeau’s follower parrot that the battle was the conquest of Quebec. Now while Quebec city was conquered in this battle, most of Quebec was still free, one proof of that is that Chevalier de Levis (a french general) fought for Quebec in 1760 and defeated the British at the battle of Ste-Foy. However the British managed to retreat the to fortification of Quebec and hold out the siege until English reinforcement arrived and forces Levis to retreat to Montreal where he was forced to capitulate by September of 1760. So while the battle of the Plain d’Abraham was a major defeat for the french it was by no mean the end of the war in fact if France had send reinforcement for Levis he would probably have retaken the city.

Next we have to remember that in the Treaty of Paris the French where given the choice between taking back Canada or the island of the Guadeloupe. They chose to take the Guadeloupe leaving the snowy fields of Quebec to the English. The nicely provided closes in the treaty protecting the french living in Quebec and giving them a 18 month period to move out (basically). So remember, France GAVE Quebec to the English, they could have kept the territory if they had let go of the Guadeloupe.

So yes, the British conquered Quebec, but the French did far worse they abandoned Quebec. For a few gram of sugar they gave Quebec away without a second though and without ever trying to retake the province from the British. Yes we where conquered but we should own no loyalty to the people that abandoned us, Quebecers are their own culture, we are one part french and one part english and completely unique. This is what we should celebrate, that our destiny was changed by a battle and a name on a treaty but that we nonetheless forged for ourselves a new destiny and a new identity.

Introduction to the Ontological Proof of God's Existence

An interesting arguement, however it suffers from a few flaws. First, it assumes that existance is a greater statuts then non existance because if you can imagine a being that which nothing can be greater and it doesn't exist well you can imagine a being that nothing can be greater and that would exist and say that this is greater. Second it is circular, the argument is that if you can conceive a being it must exist because if it didn't exist you couldn't conceive it.

Nice try but still no proof for or against the existance of god.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A little less game in my RPG please

In the last few month, Wizard of the Coast as produced two new editions of their award winning game, the Star Wars Saga edition and the Dungeon and Dragon 4th edition. I’ve started playing in a Star Wars Saga game and as the high level geek I am keep informed about the new D&D and I think I’ve come to a realisation. Theirs is too much game in 4th edition for me to enjoy it, in fact from what I read and seen you could probably remove the RP from description of the 4th edition. Star Wars Saga follows the same tread but it seems to be weaker.

It might seem strange for me to decry a game for being well, a game but let me explain and I hope you will understand. Like I said before I do RPG for the stories, the characters and the settings the rules are kinda like the physic behind the universe and while they shouldn’t be too quirky they should not endanger “belivability”. You don’t want people to read your rule, think for a second and see that if the rule existed in our world that would bring forth amazingly stupid situation.

Now when you see the RPG as a game first and the rest second those kind of rules “creep” in naturally with the rules to insure game balance. The idea that every character must have the same amongt of utility in combat (at least according to D&D and it’s descendant), most designer will claim that their system is made to represent both combat and non combat encounter but seriously when everything hindge on the mecanic that tract how close you are to dying it’s hard not to think of it as a mecanic for combat even more so when the mecanic only reproduce very short action. Sure it’s balanced and everyone has “exactly” the same amount of influence on the game and many people call that fun, but to me it’s so illogical as to make the game far less enjoyable.

Think about it, in Star Wars Saga some character can have the opportunity to recruit followers, in a way have someone follow them and their orders. Well to presever “game balance” the game designer made it so that for your follower to act you the character have to sacrifice one of his own action. Think about this in reality, the corporal and his soldier are in a fight, for the soldier to fire his weapon the corporal as to stand and wait! That just wrong, but it makes for a balanced game, the character with the follower does not get more “game time” nor does he get extra power.

I guess I prefer simulations to game, and roleplaying to game balance, sure I don’t want character x to be always better then character y in all situation and about everything but I don’t want character x and y to be completely identical except for the name of their abilities. So please tone down the gamy feel in future supplement I’m sure you’ll be able to get a larger share of the market.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Which century is it anyway?

I’m flabbergasted the Tulsa school district in Oklahoma as not only been suspected of witchcraft and casting hexes on her teacher but she as been suspended for it!!!! Read about the case on the ACLU website. I don’t think there is anything more that can be said about that, for got sake witchcraft!

Now, I’m sure they use the very serious and completely scientific process outlined below to insure her witchiness:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Harper might have lost the war to win the battle

The last federal budget was “approved” today by the last of the opposition party giving the conservative the vote they needed to stay in power at least for a while and prevent either an election or a coalition government from two of the three opposition parties. However, to have this budget accepted by at least one of the opposition party, they moved away from their theoretical right measure and embraced a far left lets spend everything we’ve got and then some attitude. It worked, the liberal choose to forgo their words and quit the coalition and vote with the conservative on the budget. However, no one is happy about the budget for the left, already opposed to the Harper government it doesn’t do enough, for the right it is a betrayal of the ideals and promises made during the previous elections.

I think that his will hurt the conservative chances at a majority government far more then anything they have done in the past. Simply because they alienated the people that viewed them as an alternative to the ever increasing bureaucracy and involvement of the state the Liberal and NPD propose. And, like the ADQ in Quebec politic they are still viewed by the more left leaning part of the electorate as dangerous Capitalistic Murderous, Environment Destroying Scumbag, who they would never vote for. In short, they lost the vote that usually go to them, and did not gain any new votes.

Now just imagine how bad things will be for them when the measured proposed fail and all the opposition parties blame them for it saying they did not do enough? Past tentative to save economies by massive spending and investment in infrastructures have not given any positive result, why should we expect it to be different in Canada?

I think the conservative should have gambled the government on making a budget that would have actually helped the economy instead of trying to force it to restart. First, I don’t think the governor general would have given power to the coalition (they are not numerous enough to pass any vote without the bloc which will had only agreed to vote with them on non-confidence vote, meaning the conservative could paralyze government by simply voting against everything) and second I think that people would be intelligent enough to understand while spending billions of dollars when you’re strapped for cash is not a good idea.

Oh well, all this to say that the Canadian left will probably have their wish, Harper and the conservative out of power in the next election. Some will say for the best, other will say it’s about time, many won’t care and the last group will go is there anyone out there would can represent me? That reminds I’ve got to go and see what the green party as to say about the budget, in the last election their fiscal plan was very interesting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'd like that kind of relationship

Those two videos are of the parent of a youtuber arguing philosophy about life and the universe. Isn't that a great relationship? Beign able to debate, argue and talk about deep subjet. Now, I'd like to have that kind of relationship with a woman, that would be nice and interesting. What do you think?



Starting the day well

This day started well, and aside from the minor annoyance of the federal budget went pretty well. I’ll go into how the day started well, it’s quite average but it really set the tone for the day. The day started exactly like every other and well seems to be normal or boring, until I got into the bus. I sat down, in a mostly empty bus so that a nice plus then, a mother with her small kid (can’t be more then 1 years old). About 5 second after the kid sat down he (or she I’m not sure, you with the winter clothes and all) started laughting, the pure, cute laught of a child. All along the bus ride, the little one keep smiling at people and laughting whenever someone winked or smiled at him. That made my day great, the kid laughting and smiling; sometimes it’s the smallest thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Praying and my atheism

I’ve said in the past that I’d pray for someone or to help someone, and I’ve pray in the past for myself. Now you might go, but asaathi you’re an atheist who the hell are you praying to and why are you doing that?

Actually, when I say I’ll pray for someone it’s mostly because I think (or know) that this person will fell better knowing that I would do that. It’s a way to tell them, I care about what is happening to you and yours and I would like it to be resolved in the best way possible. It as nothing to do with a creator or a god watching and waiting for prayer, and everything to do with sharing the fact that I care.

Now, how about when I pray for myself, well that I think is even easier to explain, first I’m not praying to any particular entities or even something with a conscience or intelligent. Praying is a way to articulate my fear, my hope, my dreams in a way that will make me fell better about them and perhaps find solutions to what ails me. It is a way to vocalize internally what I think, what I have problem with and in a way relieve some of the stress but making the problem more realm and more concrete. It’s also a way to analyze what I feel and think about a problem or a situation. I’m not expecting answers from an outside source or even miraculous occurrence to solve the problem or situation but it does help to talk about it, even if it is only to myself.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cooking with the Astronomers

Spicy and swirly galaxy
Preparation: 10 000 years or so
Cooking times: roughly 13.2 Billion years
Feeds: unknown un species as ever eaten a whole one

Ingredients
Between 10 to the 8 power and 10 to the 10 power hot stars of various ages and metallicity
Between 10 to the 10 power and 10 to the 13 power cold stars of various ages and metallicity
Neutral hydrogen gas, to taste
Ionized hydrogen gas to taste
1 super massive black hole (between 10 to the 6 and 10 to the 9 times the mass of a typical G stars)
10 to the 13 power cold dark matter as can be found in any good universal store
an hint of dark energy.

Cooking step
1. Put dark matter in a large empty area of the universe along with cold hydrogen gas
2. Add the cold stars of the lowest metallicity
3. Stir for a few millions years
4. Add a second helping of cold stars with an high mettalicity
5. Put the super massive black hole in the middle of the dark matter
6. Add the rest of the cold stars
7. Add the young hot stars all over the galaxy
8. Add the ionized gas
9. Stir for the reaming cooking time
10. For extra spice add more ionized gas around the super massive black hole

Here you go a perfect, spiral galaxy with just an hint of nuclear activity. And aside from the fact that the neutral gas is actually the sources of all the stars you will find in the galaxy that a pretty good interpretation of how galaxies are made. And that actually part of what I do for my PhD, of course since I can’t mix the dark matter and cold hydrogen gas my work is a little more complex.

You see, what I do is kinda like trying to figure out how the cake was made simply by looking at the cake (nope not tasting it) and in what proportion everything is present. Let me tell you I’ve made cake and it quite easier to make them from the recipe that to figure out the recipe from the cake. Now luckily I can look using special tools otherwise well the information I could get would be much more limited. You see light contain an amazing volume of information about what emitted it and what stood between you and the source. You can actually measure temperatures of the gas, quantities of elements, velocity of the stars and gas relative to the line of sight and of course what happen around those pesky black hole.

You see, every elements emit in very specifics AND unique way so you can differentiate between the elements simply by seeing what light you are receiving. Also, movement cause the light to either become bluer (if the object is moving toward you) or redder (if it moving away from you), then the intensity of the emission depends on the temperature, pressures and other condition in the medium. The dependence is not unique but every light depend more strongly on one or the other of these condition so you can compute them from the ratios of many lines. So you can tell quite a lot from just the star, but you need to understand quite a lot of thing to make senses of all the information. It’s fascinating to say the least.

Taureau Rouge Glace Concassée

What is:”Taureau rouge Glace concassé” well that would be the french title for the Red Bull Crashed Ice event (that not an official translation, but the words are all correctly translated). Why would I speak about a non-existing translation of a sporting event name? Well you see this week-end in Quebec City, were hosting the what seems to be becoming an annual event of the Red Bull Crashed Ice, and their has been a manifestation to give the event a french name. Now, that perfectly reasonable… if the manifestation was done by people from Quebec City in Quebec City, the problem is the manifestation was held in Montreal, by people from Montreal.

Excuse me Montrealer, don’t you have enough problem with the well everything about your city (remember, in the last year part of the subway threaten to collapse, many important water conduit broke, you lost the Canada’s formula one race and not to mention report that the main bridge into the island is not that safe anymore)? I don’t think we need more of your opinion about what is happening in Quebec City, please let us enjoy our sports and well work out to fix your city. Oh and BTW, if Quebec ever become a part of the Red Bull Air Race, I sincerely hope it will remain the Red Bull Air Race and not some weird french translation of the words.

Remember if you want French name for your event, start them yourself don’t complain when someone else comes in to host an even and doesn’t call it to your sensibilities. Beside, I don’t think anyone is forcing you to watch the event and if you don’t like the name don’t participate it will move away if no one get involved you know.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Higher dimension video


How To Imagine The Tenth Dimension - Watch more How-to


I'd like to point out that even if this is a pretty good way to see higher dimension it is by no mean the only way, and even if it does claim that we cannot think of anything beyon 10 dimension, this is actually quite false as some version of string theory require up to 24 dimension. But still it should give you an idea of how to interpret dimension higher then 3. And the balloon and flat-lander is a good analogy to us and the expension of the universe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Recreating the battle of the “Plaine d’Abraham”

Apparently for the 250th anniversary of the Battle on the Plaine d’Abraham, the Canadian Battlefield commision as decided to recreate the battle in Quebec City on the plains. While the idea as some merits, it is afterall the battle that deceided much of the fate of Canada. However, it is a french defeat and the french speaking majority in Quebec associate itself with the french for some reason, I’m guessing it’s the kisses. Now, the historical value of the battle is indeniable, but well I kind of a thing agains celebrating defeat and I can justly imagine that the separatist of Quebec will see any comemoration of the Battle will be seen as a slap in the face. I don’t oppose slapping the separatist movement in the face (expecially with it’s current leaders), I think that many Quebecers will feel slapped with such a celebration. It’s a very thorny issue I guess. Hmm maybe there is a way to make such a recreation in a way that won’t make Quebecers looks like losers, we could for example make a demonstration not protesting the recreation but honoring the French’s death that fought villiantly, even if they lost, to protect Quebec City. Imagine, a few hundred people all dressed in black watching the baltle. When it ends they walk away in silence up to a cimetary and then a simple word for the French soldiers. I think that this way we both remember the importance of this battle in our history and the value of our french heritage. What do you think about this recreation?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So about that girlfriend issue

Well since you haven’t seen any announcement on facebook that my relationship status as changed you probably guessed that there hasn’t been any change in that area of my life. You might think it is because of my astronomical standard for a girlfriend or that I’m simply too geeky to get a girl. While both might have something to do with it, I’m pretty sure it as more to do with my lack of social life at the moment, aside from gaming with my friends and my salsa classes I’m basically spending all my time in front my Mac typing away at my thesis.

Now, in the last few years I’ve gotten to the point where I believe that the most important factor in getting date is being out there. Without much of a social life there is very little chance your gonna find anyone. Even dating web site, while they are useful and can work will not be very successful if the only thing you are doing is looking at pictures of woman and not sending hundreds upon hundreds of messages (and that’s in the hope of getting a few answers).

So how do I feel about still being single? Well, honestly, I pretty much don’t care at the moment. I’ve got little to no time to spend on thinking about a date, no woman I’m interested in hooking up and very little change of meeting any and well I’m so unsure of my near future situation as to make meeting someone problematic. Just imagine if the only job get ends up three continent away… got to be the shortest relationship in the history of thing lasting longer then a one night stand. In short, I’m not worrying about, I still feel lonely at time but I guess that can’t be help, you can fell lonely in crowd so I guess it’s not hard to feel lonely when you alone.

Oh well, that was the romantic situation update, don’t worry most of the future post won’t be about things like that, beside it‘s not like I need someone’s approval to write on my blog. Not to mention that I don’t think I’ll get a girlfriend through well this blog, even tho at least one woman started speaking me because of it… hmm hey you never know.

I have Obamamaniistist

Yeah you read it right I’m sick and tired of Obamamania, mainly because that is what is keeping me from learning about Obama and his ideas. Sure Obama’s election is an historic event, the first African American elected to the post of president of the United State of America but we shouldn’t just all degenerate into a blissful unthinking state because it happened. Everywhere I’m turning to find more/learn more about Obama I’m greeted by journalist in the orgasmic bliss that tell me how great they thing he is without telling me a single thing about the man. It getting so bad that I’m actually avoiding news Channels because I’m starting to get angry the coverage, come on there are other things happening in Canada and the world beside Obama’s inauguration.

Also, but this is another rant, STOP DOING VOICE OVER TRANSLATION, I was trying to listen to Obama’s speech yesterday and after a few words in English we get that freaky, whinny voice doing the translation over Obama. Subtitle would have been so much more interesting and would have given me the opportunity to be sure that what I was hearing/seeing was what was actually said. I just can’t help but feel that someone is trying to hide the actual words when they are doing a voice over or that they consider me too stupid to read/understand the words actually spoken.

Anyway, remember journalist Obama did no cure cancer, fight off an alien invasion or staves off world hunger so please please oh pretty please stop treating him like some kind of messiah that as already saved us all from terrible danger. I’ve read part of his inauguration speech and yes he sounds like he as good idea, but give him time to show he can also accomplish them before you pronounce him a saint. Otherwise I’ll star to think your setting him up to fail by making the things people expect him to do actually impossible to achieve.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two kinds of people

There is two very different ways that people look at science and the answers and question it provides, the open minded way and the believer’s way. The open minded way require that you adress science as tool to understand that natural word, without alreay assuming answers for your question. While the believer’s way look at science as way to prove that his answers are true.

Most often this comes in the form of religion, where the believers need science’s answer to be god did it. Science might explain just about everything but in the end the result must be, god did it. This lead to twisting of observation and interpration of theories to give them supranatural weight or worse trying to force observation to fit with scriptures, which tends forbid avenues of knowledge and reduce the impact of science on humanity.

Will writing this post I realised something, the open minded person does not approche science without looking to prove his answer are true, but he is willing to accept his answer might be wrong. This is the greatest difference between the two, one is willing to accept his answer to be wrong, the other claims science is wrong with observation disagree with his answer.

Tell me, which one would you prefere the next generation of scientist to be?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Government should save the economy

Since the beginning of the financial crisis we keep hearing that the government should save such and such because if it doesn’t everything will fall apart. We’ve seen huge amount of money fuelled into banking but the crisis as not slowed down it speed up. Now all around the world people are clamoring for the government to increase spending, increase taxing do everything to save the economy, it sound like a panic where everyone is turning toward the first authoritative figure in the room and asking: SAVE US!

But shouldn’t look at the past action and result of that authority figure before we hope it will save us from this crisis? In the past years, at least in Quebec, the government has been involved in a lot of rescue attempt, to save companies from bankruptcy. Most if not all of them resulted in spectacular failures, oh some companies where “saved” and by that I mean that with constant cash inflow from the government they are spared the shame of closing, in the process keeping jobs in a region and vote for the political party that promises to keep the cash coming. In short, in the past government help seldom resulted in a real economic cure but it became an economic artificial life support.

What I don’t understand is that it quite easy to see why things happen this way, yet people continue to use that solution. It’s human nature at its worse, why find new and better way to produce our product so that we can compete with the other producer when someone is willing to give you money to offset your lack of sales? Companies doing this are easy to spot with a simple test, cut the money flow for one year, if they must close it means they did not use the cash to improve themselves and become competitive but instead to count as additional revenue and pocket it. It a show of laziness, but given that our society consider planning for 2 years in the future long term planning and that the average government exist for 4 to 8 years in Canada, it easy to see why it would be a preferred choice. Furthermore the basic principles of democratic society help this along, if party A give money to keep a companies and job opens in an area and party B won’t there are pretty good chances that the people working for the companies will vote for party A.

Now you might wonder what do I think the government should do in the next few years to help the economy go back on tract. Well, it not easy, it’s not simple and it involve been almost certain not to be reelected (particularly in Canada’s current minority government situation). First, reduces taxes given people and companies more money, don’t expect that money to be sent back in the economy and credit to soar again; instead it will be used to pay back debt and go into savings. While this will slow the economy down further it will also build back confidence and funds to be lend to companies with new idea and for new developments. Second, the government should reduce trade restriction (at least on basic material) to increase the volumes of trades going on that will really stimulate the economy, which is completely based on the amount of trade going on. Finally and that the biggest and hardest thing, reduce the amount of bureaucratic red tape preventing new companies from being open or closed.

That should really help people get back toward economic help, not giving billions after billions to companies that are only gonna use it to survive one more year and retire their CEO in golden paradise.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Battlestar Galactica

First of the last few episode of Battlestar Galactica aired yesterday. It doesn’t seem to be headed in the same direction as Stargate: Atlantis and was actually very interseting. I’m pretty sure one of the characters was wrong when he identified the fifth cylon and I’m very puzzeled by a few characters actions. However, it does seem like one of my theory might actually be true, and if it is that would be really an amazing result. Sorry to be vague but I don’t want to post any spoilers for you. On and if you haven’t started watching it yet.. what the FRAK are you waiting for?

Gaza, Hamas and Israel

Today, the security cabinet of the Iraeli prime minister Ehoud Olmert declared an unilateral cease-fire. To answer this declaration Hamas spokeperson,Faouzi Barhoum: Hamas will not stop fighting. Makes you wonder which side wants peace and security doesn't it?

One side, fires rocket from school, churches, hospital, and residential area trying to hit the same target on the other side and use (according to it's spokenpeople) human shield to deter the other side from striking back. The other side, build shelter from it's citizen, sound alarms and ready drill to try to protect them as much as possible, as in the past let rocket attack go unanswered in the interest of trying the diplomatic solution. Yes, that side also fired bomb and missiles at school, churches, hospital and residential area in the first side, but they also dropped tracs telling the civilian the area would be targeted for bombardement in the day.

I'm not taking side yet, this war is more complex then the actions taken in the last few months, but one side prides itself on it's use of woman, children and elderly as human shield...

edit: Today Hamas as decleared it's own cease-fire to allow the Israely troops to leave the area.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

TV science

As someone studying in science I must say that I find most tv series to pathetically bad at science. Most of science fiction use the concept of the super scientist, you know the guy he’s got a phd in Astrophysics but can in flash splice the genome of a new species, find the cure to an alien disease, understand language dead from millenia and of course build from scratch a device that interface amazingly advance technology with the USB port of a computer (what I call the Atlantis offense). Still that gringe worthy but well it’s not that bad and it can be considered an artistic license.

However, somethings are really scarry, you know the basic highschool science failure kind of thing. Like for example in the last Knight Rider (yeah they remade that) we saw a plane go beyond his ceiling, which could have made the presure destroy the plane while keeping a ground speed of more then 100 miles per hours and finally flying away from an exploding nuclear weapon (and surviving with it’s cargo door opened!). Now that like 7 imposible things before breakfast, a plane cannot go beyond his ceiling, the plane ceiling is the maximum altitude it’s wing can find enough air for it to fly. Past the ceiling, the plane doesn’t fly… so imagine 20 000 feets above the ceiling.

But still depite it’s outrageous science Knight Rider irks me far less the Fringe. Fringe is a show where “fringe” science is real, you know speaking to the dead, raising the dead, airborn chemicals that melt skin, instant cloning and all the rest of the paranormal stuff. In itself it as nothing to make me cringe but well it adresse everything with pseudo-scientific jargon, they also try to make everything sound scientific…. But they still get basic high school level knowledge wrong. Not to mention that the show isn’t that good.

But you know what really made me stop watching Fringe, while I’m still watching Knight Rider is that the first take itself seriously while the second doesn’t. Knight Rider science is outrageously wrong, mentally retarded wrong in fact, but the whole show fits in a parallele universe where holywood laws of physics rule. Fring on the other an take itself very seriously, the are a serious investigative team, involved in countering the patern in wich evil scientist experiment on the world, thankfully they have one scientist on their side who can explain everything “scientifically”.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The moon isn't turning around the Earth

Surprising right, but it actually true, the moon does not rotate around the Earth, its rotating around the sun and making a sinusoidale patern around the Earth. Now this illustrate a little misconception a lot of people have about gravity. You see the force of gravity doesn’t point exactly to the center of the most massive object. It points to the center of mass of the system, that means that for exemple the Earth-Moon system (if it existed outside everything else in the universe) would orbit not around the center of the Earth but around a point that correspond to center of the mass distribution between the Earth and the moon. Now since that Earth is much more massive then the moon this point is currently inside that Earth’s crust, but if the moon was farther away it could move outside the Earth and both would be turning around empty space. Fascinating isnt it? Oh and btw that also means that you are attracting the Earth toward you with the same force as the Earth is attracting you toward it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How and where is the universe expending

I was reading a post on anyflower’s blog and she was telling us that she is having trouble understanding that the universe is expending into nothing and that dimensions were folded into themselves. I won’t say it’s quite simple, because well it isn’t and quite frankly it is unintuitive.

First, let us set some base, there are two answers that are helping me understand the expansion of the universe: everywhere and 13.7 billions years ago. Like 42 these don’t help mean much without the question those answers answer. Well the question are: where did the Big Bang occur, and When did it occur. It might sound strange to say that the Big Bang happened everywhere but let me walk you through the reason. This reasoning is quite simple, we observe that the universe is expending, since it is getting bigger in the future, we can safely say that it was smaller way in the past. And if you continue to look into the past at some point the dimensions of the universe are going to be zero, it’s gonna be a point. Now, this point containing all the matter and energy of the universe is the Big Bang, well no to be completely accurate this point is the result of the Big Bang, it comes into existence at instant 0, which can only exist simultaneously with the Big Bang.

Now, this point contains all the matter, energy AND space in the universe. So all the everywhere of the universe is contained in that point. Which means that in that everywhere the Big Bang happened. You might wonder why when we do not know where the Big Bang occurred, how can we know when. Well through the same process as we figured out the entire universe was in that point. You see the reversal of the expansion produce this point some time in the past, that why we know “when” the Big Bang occurred.

This existence of a when with nowhere (or with everywhere) helps us in the where does this universe expend into. You see nothing is not exactly the answer I would give. While it is true that the universe does not expend into any space (if their was space to expend into it would be part of the universe…). You see everywhere stays the same, but when changes, in a way the three-dimensional expansion we see are the result of the explosion of the Big Bang but in time instead of space. Each second the universe becomes older and this manifest as space being a little bigger.

Now, this ties in with the folded dimension idea. This idea comes from string theory, which basically says that the universe is the manifestation of vibrating object. One of the interesting prediction of this theory is that their exist an number of extra dimension that are too small to be observed by humanity (depending on the version of the theory you see it, it ca be as much as 22 extra dimension). Now we explain those hidden dimension as being folded over themselves to insane amongst. Now “before” the Big Bang every dimension was folded in this way. At the moment of the Big Bang, 3 spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension for some reason unfolded and created the space-time we observe.

This lead to another way to understand the expansion of the universe, the dimension of space have not yet finished to unfold and are slowly relaxing into their full size. Kinda like a t-shirt that would be folded and help by only one layer of the fold, it would quickly restore itself to its original size. But that doesn’t really answer the question of what it is unfolding into, and one again we much go back to the time answer I am usually giving.

So here I’d welcome questions about the expansion of the universe, tell me about what puzzles you and I will try to answer. Now I do not hold all the answer, in fact I don’t believe science as all the answers to that question figured out yet. However I will try to answer and explain to the best of my abilities.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Science and religion

Listening to creationist videos and the biologist and other scientist to those videos makes me want to ask about science and religion. Some scientists expect religion to disappear replaced by the wonders of the natural world, logic and reason as the basis for or societies and laws. Other believe that religion will always exist as some part of humanity will be unable to leave behind the idea of god. But it all comes down to a single, are science and religion opposite ideas?

I would answer strangely, religion is the opposite of science, but science is not the opposite of religion. The opposite of science would ignorance and even the most backward of religion is based on knowledge, often knowledge without understanding but knowledge nonetheless. If we follows the thoughts of some anthropologist and biologist to think that religion arose from a new to understand the event of our life and feel that we have an importance in the universe it as no choice but to be based on a little knowledge. Any religion that would not offer explanation for natural phenomenon or would not thought its ritual offer observable protection from unexplained problem would quickly disappear in favor of more personal god. You just have to think about the rules against eating pork that many religion have, its easy to explain, undercooked pork meat as a very risk of making you sick or infecting you with parasite. You don’t need to know how it is dangerous but you need to know it is.

Now, I say that religion is the opposite of science for a simple reason, science is the quest for more understanding, for more knowledge with at it’s core the knowledge that there is no forbidden knowledge, that the problem is not in the knowledge itself but in how we will find ways to use that knowledge.

As a side note, this explains why I think the story of Adam and Eve depict god as a dangerous monster. Think about it, you have here an all powerful being creating intelligent being with curiosity, free will and the power to learn and grow; yet forbidding them the fruits of the tree of knowledge. Then, when those creature he created follow curiosity he build inside them, and use the free will he so graciously provided to disobey and taste the fruit to learn and grow, something else the creator put into them. This god, cast them out of paradise curse them to die and be tortured for all eternity afterward, curse them to pain and suffering and finally blame his creation for their own punishment. Already at the beginning of the story this god person sound evil, denying knowledge that he already has, and then he proves it by his action when things follow predictably from the condition he himself set.

Anyway, back to religion as the opposite of science, religion by it’s very nature as a set of ritual and an explanation for the natural world by an outside intelligent or energy must change very slowly or very rapidly but catastrophically (just look at Christianity schism in the Renaissance). Rapid change would not make sense to explain, things we see, as human, as unchanging, like the mountain and the stars. In short, to maintain it existence religion needs to oppose new knowledge and new explanation for things. It’s part of the god in the gap problem, most of our religions are based on what is missing from human understanding but as we fill those gaps the place for god seems to disappear. Even more problem start to appear when science contradict the teaching of religion by demonstrating that a phenomenon that religion explain do not work as religion advocate. Try think of someone today that would follow the Greek Pantheon of god, how do you reconcile Zeus sending lightning bold down from the star with humanity using electricity and producing it own lightning for experiment. If Zeus is supposed to smite the infidel claiming to use his power he is taking his sweet time about it.

One last thing, science is not a religion no matter how little some people understands science or how it works. Even if those people see similarity in how scientist act toward people with less knowledge and how priest and holy men act toward the less enlightened. Even if science looks like it as dogma that cannot be challenged just like religion. It is false, there is no absolute law in science, anything and everything can be challenge… but there is a few catch, you must have something to replace the law, that not only explains all the phenomenon the law you are challenging explained (it was obviously valid for some phenomenon otherwise it wouldn’t have been used), it also has to explain the phenomenon you used to challenge the law in the first place and it must not invalidate other laws (except if it respect the two first condition for those laws as well). This is why, you do not see many big changes in the theories of sciences, it is very hard to find something that would at once explain what was previously explained AND explain the new objection.

There are only a few good recent example, but they should give you the scope of the change that can occur in science: Relativity. Not only did it explain everything Newton explained about gravity (in fact General relativity is mathematically identical to Newtonian dynamics in the limit of slow moving object in “weak” gravitational field) but it also explained why Mercury was behaving strangely, how light travelled through space, what would happened if you increased an object mass to infinity, what were the possible future for the universe and many other unexplained observation of the time. As a second example, Quantum mechanic not only did it solve the problem of the single electron interference pattern, it also explained the radiation of the stars, the nature of light, the nature of elementary particle and so many other fantastic things that it is just mind boggling.

That last difference is quite interesting, when science change it is most often by building on what already existed, expanding our knowledge even as it is changing it. When religions change it is by tearing down the old and replacing it with the new. It burns what it didn’t like with the ancient and provides a new explanation and new sets of rules to go with that.

I wanted a House tonight

No, not the building house but an episode of House, md, well have been hearing for the past month or so that House was moving to Monday. So I expected the first one to be tonight, instead I got two hours of the new season of 24. I’m not really into 24 so you can imagine that it not really I was looking for. Oh, well it not like I’m gonna lose any sleep over missing an episode of House.

On a side note, I’ve been browsing dating site tonight and I’ve realise that education really shows in the message the people use to present themselves and to say what they are looking for. The average message looks a little like this:

“Hey, I’m a fun guy/girl who likes sport, good food and a good bottle of wine one in a while. I’m looking for a girl/guy like to have a little fun and maybe more.”

I kid you not, I just showed you about 90% of all messages over there, no wonder some guy use only the picture when they decide to communicate with a woman. Anyway most educated people will have a much longer message with, well sometimes the above message included but usally as part of something more or as a sarcastic remarque on the quality of messages they see. Oh and you also see that a lot of people have phd apparently… 18 years old with phd that type in SMS and barely string too sentenses together while saying they are studying to be hair dressers claims to have phd. I think it’s proof positive that their very little you can trust on dating sites.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A themed week

Last week, had a theme, a very annoying theme if you ask me but a theme nonetheless. The theme cancelled games. You see last week I was supposed to have 4 games, one Sunday, one Wednesday, one Saturday and one today. My first Sunday was cancel because of the DM note having any time to prepare since he was working over the holyday. Next my Wednesday game was cancelled because of snow, Wednesday night was one of the first snow storm of the year over here. Just as I am starting to see the patern emerging, my Saturday game is cancled on Thursday, because of one of the players being sick and hers and another player’s child being sick so no game. Then tonight, well I hadn’t hear from that game DM about a game so I send out an e-mail and made a few phone, turns out… no game tonight DM still isn’t ready. That’s what I would call a theme week, every single game I was supposed to have has been cancel.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Realisations come from the strangest sources

At the moment between my long bout of writing text and producing figures for my thesis I like to watch lighthearted comedies and anime. At the moment I’m watching the very interesting anime Pumpin scissors. It’s about the tribulation of a military unit after a large war (kinda like our second World War) that is assign to the task of helping society rebuild itself and fight “war aggravator”, i.e. people that are corrupt and keep thing bad for their own profit. While watching one of the episodes I though, wow: I’d love to tell that story in one of my RPG games. That when it hit me, one of the biggest reasons I do not like the new edition of D&D and I want my game to be interactive storytelling. I want to tell the story of the characters the players made in a situation or another. The latest D&D, the 4th edition, doesn’t feel that way for me, oh I’ve read the book and the feel I’m getting from them is that I’ll be playing a game, only a game. Not telling the story of my player’s characters and the world I am crafting. Already in D&D 3.5 (the previous) edition I’m finding it hard to tell some stories as the mecanic of the game, well more like the mood and feeling intrinsecly link with the game are pushing me toward a game and not a story.

Writing about this I also understand why some of our games have moved into legend. You know games that we talk about for years after we have stopped playing them, games where you find the old characters sheets and you go: man that was a cool game, remember when Alcarne did that? All of those game where about the stories of those characters. From the neonate vampire born in the first cities search for something that cannot exist, to the first 4 space cops in the starship Destiny by way of the young force sensitive that found and rebuild an hold jedi starship, those story have entered our memories has legend.

Through the magic of sharing an universe and the will to have our protagonist survive despite what the universe threw at them, I think we’ve made stories and myth. And that is what I try to recreate with my games, oh I often fail, well I think I fail most of the time. Yet, I must not be doing so bad, my player keep coming back to one of my game after 7 years and I learned that they even talk about the game with people that do not play any RPG (must be weird for them…)

Yet another realisation has hit me (must be the hour of realisation or something), gaming and interactive storytelling has shaped a big part of my personality. It as made me more expressive, more assertive, and it as gotten me to talk a lot more. Well, when you’re most often the world builder/main storyteller of your game you spend a lot of your time talking and well you end up enjoying it. Well, maybe I should try listening a little more, it might make my life even better… and my games too.

The futur of science-fiction on TV

I’m looking at what has been announced for the next season in term of science fiction serie and I must say it’s not really impressive. In short, there is the last half Season of Battlestar Galactica and the second half of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicle second season. However I have little hope to see a third season of Terminator, Fox as just moved the serie to Friday night and that usually a dead sentence (as was observe with Firefly and Dark Angel). So what else is in the work?

Well, Stargate:90201.. oups sorry Stargate: Universe, a new hippier Stargate, that sounds like a poor remake of Star Trek: Voyager. In short the show’s premise is that humanity learns that the Stargate ninth symbole is use to open a gate to a gatelaying ship the ancient sent off millenias ago. As can be expected they send an expedition to the ship which find it cannot gate back to Earth and while have to finish the ship mission if they want to see home ever again. Oh, did I mention that the ship is moving and that if they are not fast enough some people might get left behind and that they will be using a younger cast to attract a younger audience.

Also, Capriaca, Battlestar’s first spinoff is supposed to be in the work. It should be a look at how and why the cylons came to be be and maybe part of the first human-cylon war. It looks promissing but given they only gave the widely popular and interesting Battlestar Galactica only 4 seasons worth of money, I can only wonder how long and how deep the serie will be.

And that about all I heard about, kinda depressing. Particularly when you realise that there are new season of just about every reality show that are announced and that American Idol will once again be aired. I know I’m not the usual target democraphic of tv network but I’d at least expect an effort to get me to watch the network. Oh well, I guess it’s back to book and the internet for me. Maybe I should try to write my own series, you never it might not suck as much as instinct tells you it will.

Friday, January 09, 2009

National Novel Writing Month is a big challenge

I’ve always wanted to participate in the NaNoWriMo contest, I talked about this before on the blog, basically it s a challenge to write a 50 00 words novel in one month (november to be exact). Now, I’m someone that has little problem writing lots and lots of text, I’m easilly inspired so to speak. Well, as a way to have an archive of what I wrote on this blog I started to record all my post in a word document on my computer. The first post I recorded was the Anti-Religious themes about the golden compas. Well that was in 2007 (november to be exact) and you know that in word you can check the number of words you have written. Well in that more then 1 years of post there is less then 35 000 words in 50 pages of text. So in one year I’ve barely managed to word 2/3 of what would be required of me in 1 month should I participate in NaNoWriMo. Impressive when you think about it no?

Stargate:Atlantis is over, finally

Stargate: Atlantis is over, finally.

Tonight marked the abrubt ending of the Stargate: SG-1 spinoff of Stargate: Atlantis, while the serie had a very good beginning and lot of potential for great stories, something missfired and made the serie sucky. My observation is that the serie generation coincided with the end of Stargate: SG-1, i.e. the transfer of writer from the old serie to the new serie and the weird decision to aim for self-contained episodes instead of a season wide story. This lead to faillure to have any kind of continuity and lead to increased convoluted ideas and stupidity to make the plot of the week posible while still keeping a semblance of evoluting setting.

This is while I’ve decided in the post to talk about reimagining Stargate: Atlantis. I want to talk about what I would have done with it, how the initial story would have progressed and all that. I won’t go into 5 seaons of episode but I will try to go with the main lines and the critical season opening, mid season two-parter and season ending episode. So without further introduction here is Season 1:

Season 1:
Season opening:
Pilot episode would remains largely the same, Atlantis crew find itself on Atlantis with no way to get back to Earth, in the process of exploring the nearby planets of the galaxy meet with Teyla and encounter the Wraith. After invading the Wraith sleeper ship they keep the keeper and awaken this ship and it’s hive. The Atlantis expedition find itself at risk from an enemy that appeartly defeated the Ancients.

Before the mid-season episode, The Genni:
While looking for allies against the Wraith and supplies to feed Atlantis, Teyla brings the explorer group to the Genni home planets. While investigating strange neutron radiation reading the team discover that the Genni are much more numerous that any other planet they have seen before AND possess technologie on part with Cold War Earth. After being found the expedition is capture by the Genni, with a demonstration of superior technology and the revelation that the nearest Hive should be awakening. Humanity and the Genni strike a deal to try and destroy the Hive mothership. Follows the desatrous success of the mission, while the nuclear weapon destroy the mothership loses amongts the Genni are high because the Atlantis expedition refused to leave behind humans captured by the Wraith to be feed upon. The end is the same as with the initial Genni episode in the serie, the Atlantis expedition makes a new ennemi, the Genni.

Mid-season: Wraith awakening
The team find itself trapped on a world the Wraith are culling, while the Genni are building a weapon to destroy the Wraith destroyer in orbit doing the culling. Mckay is capture by the Genni and the rest of the team must dodge the Wraith dart and attemp a rescue attemp the construction of the Genni rocket progress rapidly, with Mckay’s help the nuclear weapon it supposed to be carried is improved the Earth standard, notably with the inclusion of naquada (revealing in the process the usefulness of the mineral to the Genni). The episode ends with Wraith dart attacking the Genni position after the rocket as been launched.

Second part:
As the Wraith dart are attacking the rocket hit and inflict critical damage on the destroyer. The destroyer crash land and unleash a torrent of Wraith on the population making the situation not that much better. The Atlantis team manages to rescue Mckay but with the Wraith in number on the surface and protected by dart they require the Genni help to get off world. Both the Genni and the team finally get off world and split off after a tense face-off, but facing Atlantis superior weaponry the Genni team backs off. The last scene of the episode show Sheppar asking Mckay where he’d lose his weapon.

Season final: The Storm, part I
This would be the season 1 mid-season that we got to see, the Genni trick the expedition and manage to invade a low on personel Atlantis during a catastrophic storm.

Season 2
Season opening: The Storm, part II
This would be the season 1 mid-season that we got to see, the Genni trick the expedition and manage to invade a low on personel Atlantis during a catastrophic storm. Sheppar manage to repel the invsion and the take a prisonner. Unfortunatly investigation reveals that a lot of advanced weapon and munition were stolen during the Genni retreat.

Before the mid season: The Genni
This would be the first in a serie over the season of episode feature Genni exploration team. We would not see anyone from Atlantis instead we would be following the Genni equivalent of the SG team. We would see what Earth could have been with less regard for exploration and more of a focus of survival and the aquiring of technologie no matter the cost. In short the Genni would be a dark reflexion of Earth.

mid-season:Distress call
While investigating a distress call on the ancient newly working sensor thanks to the fabrication by the expedition of a few new naqueda generator (naqueda is more common in the Pegasus galaxie then in the milky way) the team find itself in the middle of a Wraith gathering point. We see the Wraith fleet of 3 motherships and a few destoyer gathering for some mission that is still unknown. Using the cloaked jumper the team tries to locate the source of the distress call. They find it on the planet coming from a crashed ancient ship. It’s automatic system detected ships in orbit and activated its destress becon. Of course the Wraith laid a trap and manage to caputre the team

mid-season: Discovery
The episode open with the team trapped on a Wraith cruiser and Wraith very intrigued by the team appearance with highly technical item on a planet with no indigenous human population and with only a space gate. Thanks to Teyla previously unknown Wraith DNA they manage to hack into part of the ship computer and escape using a Wraith landing craft. The episode ends with the Wraith searching on the ground near the crashed ancient ship and finding the cloaked puddle jumper by running into it. One of the noble Wraith looks and the other and says as the screen fade to black:”It is as a we though Atlantis as risen from the sea.”

Before the season final: Letters from Atlantis
This episode is almost exactly the Letter from Pegasus season 1 episode.

Just before the season Final: The stand
The Wraith fleet is in route, the Atlantis expedition is preparing to abandon the city when the gate activate. It’s the SG-1 and as soon as the shield is lowered, soldier carrier heavy equipement come running into the Atlantis gate room. For a whole 28 minutes, soldier and equipement is being rush in Atlantis as tightly pack as possible. The leader of this new force inform Dr Weir that Stargate Command as decided that Atlantis secrets where too valuable to destroy and they send a force to defend the city with the most modern hardware human possess. He also mention that a small fleet of human warship is in route toward Atlantis, one should be there in a few days thanks to a ZPM plugged in a retrofitted ancient hyperdrive. The rest of the fleet should be there in a month. New and improved generator are plug-into every critical system they can power. Unfortunatly the shield would require more power then the human can produce without a ZPM. Luckily a few ancient weapon can be powered and the Asgard-tech weapons the human have build should be a nasty surprise for the Wraith. The season end on a massive Wraith fleet existing hyperspace above the planet and unleashing a torrent of dart.

Season final: rolling the dice
The Deadelus is still hours away from Atlantis and the Wraith dart are falling like plague of locus on the city. The defender put on a great fight, stoping the wraith initial assault completely thanks to very heavy anti-aircraft fire the like of which the Wraith have never seen in before. The seacon wave of attack include heavier Wraith attack craft some of which manage to land despite the heavy defense of Atlantis. Part of the fighting is moving to the streets of the city and yet more and more Wraith craft are being sent down. Finally the human defender fire the Asgard weapon to the ship in orbit instead of the incoming craft hoping to destroy the ship while still in orbit. The plan succeed however in retaliation the orbiting start firing at the defensless city, knocking out the asgard weapon on the first salvo and the moving to secondary batteries, without shield Atlantis is doomed.


Season 3:

Season opening, part II: Only the dead won’t weep
Explosion rock the city, the defenseur slowly retreat toward the city spire, destroying teleporters and computer terminal on their way out. Everything seems bleak, the Deadelus should still be horus away, the Wraith are gaining ground and the teams are hard pressed to destroy every computre access to the city before the Wraith capture the ground. Weir orders the destruction of the city just as an hyperspace window open: the Deadelus as arrived. With is shield and weapon powered by the ZPM the opening salvo from the ship destroying one the Wraith mothership. The Wraith are trown into disarray, their fleet is not quite large enough to destroy what they think is a new model of Ancient vessels. Under fire from the Earth ship the Wraith fleet flees leaving it’s ground troop without support and without protection againts the human ship and teleporters. Not only is Atlantis saved but it as gained a fully charge ZPM. However the episode end on a scene from one the Wraith mothership bridge, the Queen whispers to her ship captain: “The Ancient are back in Atlantis, we need to waken the other hives.”

Before the mid part: Unexpected surprise
Previous episode have shown strange symbole poping up on ancient computer since the ZPM has been plug-in and we see one of the expedition repair team moving along a corridor to repair a computer terminal that as been destroyed in the fighting only to find it fully repaired and fonctional. As the fighting with the Genni and the Wraith appears to be in a cease fire, Mckay explore the new possibility availlable to the city now that it as a ZPM as a power source. It finds that the city as rerouted power to many previously unused areas and that at least two of the unknown symbole are related to this area. After every commercial break, we come back to teams of P90-like weapon equiped Genni exploring and fighting strange creature in some unknown ruins. As the Atlantis team learn that the city is now repearing part of itself it also find that the city as tremondous manufacturing capability, as exposed by the fact that the city as build 2 more ZPM and require human input to plug them in it’s power generation system. The episode ends with the Genni existing the ruins, many wounded but smilling an carrying a device we recognize as a ZPM.

Mid-season: the ennemy
Atlantis sensors are now fully back only and they detect a fleet for Wraith warship heading for the Genni homeworld. Discussion follows about the morality of warning or not warning the Genni, warning finally comes as the solution and a team is prepare to be send with the warning to the Genni planet as the main team is away gathering intelligence on Genni activity. The gate open and the team comes through but does not radio back, humanity witness the first other civilisation to have put an Iris over it’s gate. The Atlantis expedition nonetheless tries to contact the Genni via radio to warn them of the danger. The Genni do not answer and the gate closes. After the main team arrival it is decided that three of the 2 of the 5 ship defending Atlantis will be sent to try and help the Genni. The episode ends with the Deadelus and the Apollo opening hyperspace windows.

Well, I’m gonna stop here tonight I’ve got ideas for still a few season but this post is already long enough and I’m getting tired of writing. Tell me what you think, wouln’t this be better then the Atlantis we’ve had. Putting the Genni as the secondary ennemies a dark mirror of Earth’s humanity, the Wraith as a slightly overconfident enemy that won against the Ancient mainly by numbers not technologie or tactic and mostly no FUCKING REPLICATORS!