A very interesting TED talk. I’ll the esteemed guest do all the talking…
In the middle of the quiet night, when I am asleep, my car travels through time.
Don’t look at me like that.
It is the only reason why the clock in the dash has been slowly gaining time.
Let me explain.
I was one of those people who set their clocks far ahead in a feeble attempt to make myself feel better.
I’d rush out of the house, look at the clock in the car, freak out a little that I was going to be late, only to have the delicate kernel of memory engage and remind me that I had set the clock fast, so that I would be happy that I wasn’t tardy.
In an effort to curb the insanity and to practice my, “holy hell, get out of the house and get to where you’re going” management skills, I reset the clock in my CR-V to the correct time. This was about two months ago. It was working well. I was getting to be a master. That’s until today. I looked from the digital clock on the dash to the XM radio that hovers slightly above it, and instantly noticed the disparity.
My clock had gained 10 minutes! In the course of two months, this car had done the impossible. It had found a way to cross the rift between time and space. And as I drove today, I realized that with the shift my car completed over multiple jaunts through different dimensions, that I too had interesting foresight. Behind the wheel, those ten minutes belonged to me. I could see that far into the future.
I know, this doesn’t seem like a whole lot of minutes, but it’s enough to win a football game, get out of the way of a speeding bus, catch a train, save someone from drowning, remember the crucial ingredient at the super market which will make or break a culinary masterpiece, grant insight to curb the words from your mouth in order not to have to say you’re sorry later, anticipate an important phone call… see this list goes on and on.
So thank you, my truly awesome time travelling car which grants me powers to see the future. I will not be resetting the time again. I will let you gain minutes and perhaps one day, I’ll be able to see farther than I had ever imagined.
Yes, I know this post will make me look like I’ve finally lost the last screw holding in my brain.
I’ve seen it.
**Incidentally, there is some truth to this story. While I may not have the time travelling or future seer powers, my car does continue to gain time. It’s very odd.
Yes, here comes another uber scientific study suggesting that people, specifically those who play first person shooters or FPS’, train their brains to amp up their visual rods. Rods in the eye are responsible for our ability to see in the dark, help guide our peripheral vision and act as motion sensors in low light situations.
Where was I when this study came rolling around? “Here, go play Unreal Tournament for 9 weeks, we’ll pay you and you tell us if you can see different shades of grays!” My luck though, I’d be in the other testing group that was forced to play The Sims. I probably at that point would have been purposely setting my virtual house on fire and letting my creations piss themselves. I hate that game. Sorry.
The good news out of all this is that kids have yet another excuse to play their coveted video games. Not only will hours fighting zombies and terrorists fine tune hand/eye coordination, but now, you totally get to be a color gray connoisseur. (On an unrelated side note: I totally spelled connoisseur right the first time).
Now, if only video games could help me land voice work jobs. 😉
*** Warning – contains spoilers from the series finale***
This particular asteroid was slightly bigger than the one that pretty much decimated 500,000 acres of forest in Siberia in 1908. I was going to originally insert a picture of the devastation surrounding that geological area however all I would be able to link to were sites involved alien/UFO conspiracies. One site claims that extraterrestrial artifacts and scribblings were recently found in that area!
This is a simple case of Occam’s razor, people. What’s more likely, a gigantic spacecraft hovering above our planet loses it’s orbit due to some catastrophic failure in engineering only after making it millions of light years in travel only to crash land in Russia? Or that a small eight-story sized rock, just one of many traveling through our solar system gets pulled in by our gravity and happens to hit in a remote area of Russia?
I know NASA and other space agencies continue to downplay the seriousness of something like a big rock hurdling through space aiming for Earth, but in all reality, it has happened before and it could happen again, although this time I doubt we’ll be so lucky that it lands in a sparsely inhabited area.
Hopefully it will be in a time where we will be able to spot it before it arrives and we will have the technology to avoid or at least mitigate the impending disaster.
Here is another paper that I wrote for college. I like the topic so much, I’ll post it for consumption. Admittedly however, I do have a bit of a problem with writing reasoned arguments. This was a little tougher for me than writing the other things I’m used to. Let me know what you think!
Edited to add: Something has been bothering me about this essay. When Pete gave me his crititque, it finally made sense. The title of this essay should be something along the lines of Bringing Back the Pride. While I ultimately want the point of the essay to be about space exploration, really the main theme of this work is the national pride and a wish to hope for something. I told you I was having trouble.
Investing in NASA = Investing in Humanity
“I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space”
— Stephen Hawking
During heightened tensions with Soviet Union in the 1950’s and 1960’s, one of the most
memorable occurrences took place on October 4th, 1957. In a blatant attempt to outclass its
enemy, Russia successfully launched a satellite named Sputnik into Earth orbit. The size of a
beach ball, the launch was a major slap in the face to the people of the United States, having
been promised a launch of their own not a few years prior. Despite our disappointed defeat,
the USSR may have won the initial sprint, but their victory only served as a motivation for our
own space program.
As the space race continued, we secured our label as a superpower by launching
multiple craft, including that of the Apollo missions and the first lunar landing in 1969. It was a
time when people cared and were generally excited with what happened in terms of our space
exploration. After planting American shoes in lunar soil, Astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered his
famous words, “That’s one small step for man, and one giant step for mankind”, and a billion
people of the world continued to hold their breath and look upwards into the sky. We were
successfully leading the way. We had something in which to place our pride.
Now, as time has passed and the infamous Soviet “Iron Curtain” has fallen, there is
nothing motivating the space program in the United States. Victim of multiple budget
cuts due to necessary war funding and social programs, the missions that the people of NASA
are able to accomplish are few and grossly underfunded. Using outdated, overly expensive
equipment and vehicles, launches are only of note if there could be an accident or in the
unfortunate cases where there are mishaps and disasters.
The only time our space program makes the front page of any reputable news outlet is if
a shuttle explodes, or disintegrates upon re-entry, or if foam breaks off the tank during launch, exposing the seven person crew to a dangerous return. It is in these cases when all the experts take notice and the opinions start to matter.
As the NASA budget continues to dwindle in favor of more socially acceptable programs,
amid fears of recession, China and India have ramped up their efforts in space exploration.
Aiming for a man on the moon in 2020, China recently celebrated their first space walk in
September. Couple this event with the recent Summer Olympics display and the national pride
in that country has exploded.
India, not far behind its rival in China, launched their first lunar probe, marking a
historic day in their space program as well. The United States used to know
what that type of elation and pride felt like, when we flexed more than our military might in the
To give credit, we haven’t been terribly idle on this side of the world. NASA and JPL have
managed multiple trips in the glorified, broken-down shuttle bus back and forth to the
International Space Station, sometimes piggybacking on the shoulders of Russia to accomplish
While we have launched missions to Mars (Phoenix) and Saturn (Cassini), it can be
argued that while notable in scientific discovery, these projects don’t fundamentally secure our
future in space. A sister planet in Mars may be a viable alternative in the long run, should the
data coming back suggest that life could be sustained with a little work. However, in order for
this species to thrive in the next 1-1000 years, we need to be looking for alternative
exploration, perhaps outside our little corner of the galaxy.
NASA’s focus in the next few years should be a viable craft, similar to the space
station but one that can be moved throughout the galaxy, encompassing an entire community.
Within a self sustaining environment, we would be able to live and seek out new worlds on
which to colonize.
If the government continues to deny proper funding to NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion
Laboratories), instead of being the ones to make the news of historic endeavors, we will be
cursed into living vicariously through other countries.
Humanity needs to have something in which to cheer for as we progress amidst the
global and socioeconomic turmoil, instead of remaining stagnant on blink of oblivion. Private
space exploration firms such as the Xprize and Amazon.com founder, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin
are doing more than their share to upgrade our failing systems and craft, however, in the end,
exploration of space will belong to the rich and elite. Thus creating more of a social dissonance
with avid fans and supporters who may not have the wealth needed to secure a ride into the
cosmos. At $200,000.00 a seat, space belongs to those who can afford it.
Stephen Hawking had it right. Our ability to survive as a species hinges on space
exploration and colonization of other worlds in other galaxies. If we aren’t taking the baby steps now to accomplish this goal, the problems that continue to plague the people of the Earth, (e.g. Overcrowding, pollution, global warming) will only grow, and when we could have had a “plan b”, we will be twiddling our thumbs and waiting for our demise.
Don’t get me wrong. As Americans, we have shown incredible moxie in the face of
disaster. We rally instead of divide. However, it has been some time before the American
people have had something to believe in and get excited about.
Awhile back in July, Mary Robinette Kowal notified the world of the incredibly awesome raffle that KGB was having. Figuring I’d support it, I bought a few tickets. As with every raffle I enter, I usually forget about it and go on with my overly paranoid life.
Imagine my surprise when I received a rather large certificate envelope in the mail from a Brooklyn address. At first I thought it might have been a prank from one of the UCF’ers, but upon opening the crisp manilla colored envelope, I was astounded to find a certificate proclaiming ownership of the next newly discovered Wormhole (oddly capitalized).
Yep! Take a look. Click to embiggen each of them.
Here we have the Wormhole posing with other things such as dragons and pigs that fly. It’s got wings, trust me.
You should note that it’s signed by a noted and famous theorectical physicist, which is cool all by itself. So, just think, when those worm holes are discovered, people will be paying yours truly for access! Hell yeahs baby. My children’s, children’s, children’s, children will be thanking me one day.
Edited to add: By some odd coincidence, Tobias Buckell’s “Sly Mongoose” is in that second picture, which oddly enough, has wormholes in it. I’ll be definitely hitting up Tobias for some phat royalties.
Nice to know that I would suffer incredibly. Bleh.
Go ahead and see how long you’d live!
Wow. Just wow.
A while back, I was quite skeptical that we would ever be able to safely grant Stephen Hawking a trip into space. Peter Diamandis founder of the X Prize, retells the story below and I for one was grateful that Dr. Hawking’s dream was realized.
Thanks, Gary for sending me the link to this site. There are wonderful videos on this site as well, so make sure you take a look.
If you’ve got two minutes, watch that video above. It’s very touching and I would think provides insight into the many things we still don’t know about the animals that roam this planet.