Henry Lewis Gates Jr. this morning on NPR pointed out that racism is always highly correlated with scarcity of resources, and that when we are uncertain of our economic future, it's easiest to preserve our share by dividing society into an us v. them, and looks happen to be a very easy way to group people. So maybe the first thing to do is figure out how to topple the economic system, with technology? Is it possible for us to overcome the basic struggle and competition to survive? We ought to have eliminated starvation and health concerns at this point, though we haven't.

Is there anything a baby can do that we can't build a robot that could do it also? That is, babies move, (mostly without coordination), they feed (take in energy), they excrete waste, they monitor a variety of sensory inputs, they record vast amounts of data from said sensory inputs... anything else? Facial recognition? But do they have a sense of self? are they conscious, in the way we find so mysterious? Or does that develop over time? They certainly don't sit around and think about things like what I've just written, which is the result of me sitting around thinking about consciousness. Wait a minute, do people find consciousness mysterious, or conscience? (I don't think either are all that mysterious.)

If you are willing to concede that animals have conscious brains, the question applies there too; and then you start to wonder, where is the line? Are our machines already conscious? (If this discussion ought to be about conscience instead, is it accepted that some animals have a conscience? that dogs can feel guilt?) (Because you can start to see that consciousness is not a defined feature, but rather a property of a broader quality that beyond some threshold deserves the label, much like beyond some size, grains of sand become a heap.)

So the program will: read in a sequence of photos (video frames); extract a specific line of each frame; reassemble the set of lines as a new frame; save the new frame; and then increment the line for extraction. Holy crap this is working! I need to figure out how to assemble them into a video automatically, instead of inside AE.

"Joseph Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity. He's an enemy of children who's bodies he's allowed to be raped and who's minds he's encouraged to be infected with guilt. It's embarrassingly clear that the church is less concerned with saving child's bodies from rapists than from saving priestly souls from hell, and most concerned with saving the long term reputation of the church itself. 

He's an enemy of gay people, bestowing on them the bigotry that the church used to reserve for Jews before nineteen sixty two. He is an enemy of women, baring them from the priesthood as though a penis were an essential tool for pastoral duties. 

He is an enemy of truth, promoting bare-faced lies about condoms not protecting against AIDS, especially in Africa.

He is an enemy of the poorest people on the planet, condemning them to inflated families that they cannot feed, and so keeping them in the bondage of perpetual poverty. A poverty which sits ill besides the obscene wealth of the vatican.

He is an enemy of science, obstructing the vital stem cell research on grounds not of true morality but on pre-scientific superstition.

Ratzinger is even an enemy of the Queen's own church, arrogantly dissing Anglican orders as quote, absolutely null and utterly void. While at the same time shamelessly trying to poach Anglican Vicars to shore up his own pitifully declining priesthood.

Finally, perhaps of most personal concern to me, Ratzinger is an enemy of education. Quite apart from the lifelong psychological damage caused by the guilt and fear that has made catholic education infamous throughout the world, he and his church foster the educationally pernicious doctrine that evidence is a less reliable basis for belief than faith, tradition, revelation and authority—his authority.  
—Richard Dawkins

Also, dear blogger: your editor here sucks. Can't you just give me a default button that actually defaults to the format of the rest of my post? maybe some day.


Completely Unannounced

Wherein I complain to myself.

Words: perfervid, sui generis, perspicuous

I've wondered frequently what it is that drives my humanism; why should I care about everyone so much? It'd be a lot easier to not care about people on the other side of the planet blowing themselves up in the name of ignorance, it's hard to really find a way to connect it to me. But I think I'm starting to get it now. I think it has to do with "the human condition." Which is a phrase I would have normally blown off as buzz-wordy or cliche, but I'm hyper aware of our position in the universe, and quite honest with myself about the prospects of their being more to life than what we choose to make of it. I guess I've noticed and shared an alarming degree of loneliness in the world. And it doesn't need to be, which is the strangest bit. People are so eager to form cliques, to belong to groups and for some odd reason, too often then expel others from those cliques. Divisive categorization seems to permeate our planet—nationalities, genders, ethnicities, religious belief, political opinions, social, personal. It's so vastly counter productive! And it is heartbreaking. And people are so susceptible to being told it's us versus them, but it so isn't!

God invented rainbows to remind himself not to exterminate all life on earth whenever he gets frustrated with their behavior. This isn't a joke, I didn't make it up, this is the story of Noah as written.

I'm beginning to view a lot of our behavior as humans in terms of pattern recognition that is trying to cope with a noisy and complex world. Superstitious behaviors abound wherever signal-to-noise ratios are high. I have a feeling the underlying mechanism that drives superstition is far more pervasive than I would have previously imagined—it doesn't always lead to clearly illogical or irrational behavior, like witch hunts or zeus, sometimes it may lead to mere confidence, or lack thereof. Which on the surface of things might never show up as superstition, if nothing ever totally shakes the confidence (or contradicts the doubt) strong enough to topple the superstition. I wonder how much of this I suffer from.

Go directly to work. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect 200 dollars.

What effect has the entertainment industry had on our hopes and expectations and dreams? Do we suffer from a dream bubble? (An artificially inflated sense of what it means to succeed, or be happy, etc., distorted by the limitless potentials portrayed in fiction.)

Holy fuck–to put the pope in perspective, can you think of any other group with a billion members? Most of whom donate money every week? for hundreds of years. Controlled by a single monarch? Not the Chinese, or Indians, whom have larger populations.

Watching the 10 commandments… is that a volcano? in the middle east? And did you know this movie is 3 hours and 38 minutes long?

Idolatry and vile affections
This sounds awesome.
I don't like how the pharaoh doubts Moses a whole bunch, passing off each demonstration of god's will as a parlor trick, but then he ultimately gets punished for being a doubter. All religions do this: the preach that faith and trust are integral. That you should question. Like that ultimate absurdity the garden of eden, where all of humankind is punished for a single couple's mistakes—if you can even figure out how to blame people who allegedly don't know right from wrong for breaking a rule. Yup, we're all sinners because a couple of people had to go ahead and express the most basic element of humanity: our curiosity. Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain. Ha ha, reminds me of Bill Hicks, "I'll show you politics in America, 'I think the puppet on the right hand shares my beliefs.' ... 'I think the puppet on the left hand is more to my liking.' Hey wait a minute, there's one guy holding up both puppets! — 'Go back to bed America, your Government is in control." Actually, I'm not nearly as cynical as he was, I still really like Obama, and Clinton, and I almost see the democrats as being a natural product of the divide between people who think and people who don't. It reminds me of how I'd expect both asexual and sexual reproduction to exist anywhere in the universe that life develops reasonably well, and single and multicellular life, and plant and animal. There must be a good science word to describe this... natural consequence of the rules or something, I'll ponder.

It is disgusting the way the Abrahamic faiths unnecessarily manufacture guilt where none need be. As Bertrand Russell put it, "So long as there is death there will be sorrow, and so long as there is sorrow it can be no part of the duty of human beings to increase its amount, in spite of the fact that a few rare spirits know how to transmute it." Yet we promulgate most effectively beliefs built on the looming fear of a creator who concerns itself with our personal habits and desires. Such fear mongers draw upon human nature for social approval to instill guilt in peers for behavior that most animals are free to perform without hesitation. 

Religion: the original slippery slope. (essay)
Topics: garden of eden, original sin, christ, made in the image of god, covenant with god
People talk about the purpose of their lives instilled in them by god; what is that? The command to be fruitful and multiply? To be his servant? To what end? It could be noble to be "christlike" or "godlike", as those behaviors (in the popular concepts of those things) would be good behavior, which would be more likely to please others. But to make someone who you certainly can't get to know in as personal way as you can get to know any human? Or just to have offspring? When the world runs out of resources, can we stop multiplying? cause thats kind of happening. Could we start living for ourselves, and the people we care about? How about we live for all humankind?

The whole Quran burning situation is difficult because, on the one hand, you don't want to side with the moron who is threatening to burn it, because he's a religious nut that doesn't think Islam is wrong because of the evidence, but rather because he thinks Christianity is right; he's participating in a religious war.

On the other hand, you don't want to support the Muslims who will undoubtedly take offense to him either. They too are participating in a religious war, though they might be escalating it quite a bit more than the idiot christian, if they proceed with death threats or actual violence. Though the idiot christian is already escalating it by burning the book, though such escalation is really much more mundane than violence.

You don't really want to condone either of their behavior, though you do want to protect the right to burn personal property, (whether books, or symbols of other people's cherished beliefs), and disrespect other's religious beliefs (or any beliefs). While you don't want to protect anyone's right to make death threats or commit acts of violence in the name of their beliefs. (Which doesn't actually exist as a right.) People need to separate themselves from their ideas more—I am critical of the Abrahamic religions, not of the people who practice them. I know that is a nuanced distinction, and it's easy to sound like I am attacking the adherents, but I'm not. I am motivated by what I view is the absolute best possible world we can make for ourselves, which first involves everyone calming the fuck down, and loosening up a little on their devoutness.

How ironic is it that those deeply offended by the actions of certain americans, like burning the quran, respond by declaring our insolence should not be tolerated, and then by burning our flag! Another Bill Hicks reference: the flag itself is nothing, it's a flag, a piece of cloth. But what the flag represents, is all of the freedoms we have, that make our country so much better than so many others (though certainly there are other countries with comparable, arguably greater degrees of freedom), the flag is just a symbol of freedom, including the right to burn the fucking flag.

The problem I have with people claiming there must be a creator, or really even, there must not, or "this is too complex to have evolved", is analogous to the statement, "I saw David Copperfield make the statue of liberty disappear, and I don't know how it could be done, except that if Copperfield is indeed capable of magic (i.e. violating the laws of physics). Since I cannot conceive of a non-magical way, David Copperfield must be magic."

The problem is that you are assuming your observations are strong enough to rule out an enormous number of potential alternative explanations. This would be just as wrong were one to say, "if Copperfield were to have put drugs in the audience's drinks, and then use video editing to fool the home audience, then he could make the statue disappear without violating the laws of physics, but I see no other way to both satisfy the laws of physics as well as make the statue disappear, therefore Copperfield drugged the audience," is just as wrong.

In both instances, the conclusion is built on observations too weak to rule out alternatives. The first situation is the issue that all arguments of the form "god must exist" suffer from; it's the sure sign of a retarded imagination (and I use the "r-word" in it's technical sense). The second instance appears to be what the current cosmologists are suffering from: confidence that their observations (as well as their ability to mathematically model) are both sufficiently complete and encompassing to rule out all possible alternatives. As far as the existence of supernatural beings is concerned however, none of this even matters; from a philosophical point of view, what possibly could be considered "supernatural"? everything that happens happens within nature, whether you can explain it or not. To presume that it violates the actual physical laws of the universe is to presume that we fully understand the actual physical laws of the universe; however, we do seem to have bounded the actual physical possibilities, and there could conceivably be extraordinary evidence that could topple our known laws, but it is inconceivable that such evidence could possibly defy quantification within a new set of laws, in any fundamental way. (Of course single events can appear to violate the current laws, and simultaneously be insufficient for the formulation of new laws, but not because they are fundamentally inexplicable but rather because too little data exists to model them.)

Furthermore, the assertion that a god exists is simply one of the most extraordinary claims imaginable, and correspondingly it requires some of the most extraordinary evidence imaginable; evidence which is entirely lacking in any meaningful sense. (All of the claimed evidence is far from useful---most appears to be evidence of the human imagination, human optimism, and the operational flaws inherent in brains.)
Is it possible that our entire universe presides within the event horizon of a black hole? in which case, what would the virtual particle background look like within the boundary? I think we can't live there actually... or wait, maybe we can... the key would be escape velocity, right? Or do destructive tidal forces always exist near and within the black hole...? Or does anyone even know yet?

The negative potential indicates a bound state. (Physics or poetry?)

So I'm thinking that many astronomers must draw an analogy between when Uranus was observed to have an anomalous orbit, and Neptune was predicted, to the observations of galaxy motion & rotation & the prediction of dark matter. So the question becomes, at what point is the search for dark matter sufficiently ruled out? In Neptune's case it was very straight forward: accurate observations would give a very narrow window for where to look. Dark matter however is postulated to be immune to most methods of observation, and therefore by definition much harder to observe.

I predict that the current trends of DM searches will continue to fail to find a clear signal, and that this will at some point be called a crisis of cosmology.

But its just plain old science.

Framing it in terms of a failure of Newtonian physics is interesting too; they omit it, but one good theoretical indicator that Newtonian physics was wrong was Maxwell's discovery that his equations predicted an absolute speed of light. I wonder if there are any analogous hints in theory with current cosmology... but what principle could change?

Ha ha ha, Nobel Peace Prizes awarded to Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore lead people to think the Nobel committee has a left-wing bias? Don't they see that the left-wing has a peace-bias? Who started which wars?

Much like Diderot spoke of the Christian god as being one who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children. Perhaps we are made in god's horrible image after all.

I'm just a measly atheist/antitheist, but didn't Muhammad forbid drawings out of respect? Not out of psychotic rage? 

For a religion of peace, or named after peace, or whatever, islamic extremists are fucking violent. Maybe they don't know what peace means...

I remember in 3rd grade, I had a book, probably from the library, that described peacemaker missiles. It was a terrifying topic to ingest as a young child, and it horrified me that they had named the thing a peacemaker. It's where I first learned about the massiveness of the weapons, and the multiple independent reentry vehicles, that allow each missile to destroy up to 10-14 cities, by separating the warheads up near space. And it had a diagram, I no longer recall the details, except it had distances and temperatures, I think at many many miles, perhaps 100, it claimed that witnessing the blast would be equivalent to standing in front of an oven set to 400F. That was the most distant scale. As it got closer the temperatures got far hotter, though I don't remember the examples, maybe they weren't relate-able.
"There is a famous anecdote inspired by Euler's arguments with secular philosophers over religion, which is set during Euler's second stint at the St. Petersburg academy. The French philosopher Denis Diderot was visiting Russia on Catherine the Great's invitation. However, the Empress was alarmed that the philosopher's arguments for atheism were influencing members of her court, and so Euler was asked to confront the Frenchman. Diderot was later informed that a learned mathematician had produced a proof of the existence of God: he agreed to view the proof as it was presented in court. Euler appeared, advanced toward Diderot, and in a tone of perfect conviction announced, "Sir, \frac{a+b^n}{n}=x, hence God exists—reply!". Diderot, to whom (says the story) all mathematics was gibberish, stood dumbstruck as peals of laughter erupted from the court. Embarrassed, he asked to leave Russia, a request that was graciously granted by the Empress. However amusing the anecdote may be, it is apocryphal, given that Diderot was a capable mathematician who had published mathematical treatises." 

Obviously the only people who think that story paints Euler in good light are people who both believe in god and also do not know any mathematics. As any one with any sense of math should know, that equation means absolutely nothing with respect to the existence of a deity.

I wonder what it is in our brains that correlates to feelings of importance. I think Ketamine might block it. Whatever it is, I seem to have droves of it with respect to a lot of things, like girls, and short phrases that appeal to me.

Whoa, I understand mitochondria all of the sudden. Of course mitochondrial DNA is in the cell, not the nucleus, and apparently it ends up in the ovum, not the sperm, which is not at all surprising.

From there you can conclude that the father has no influence on it, so all children carry their mother's mitochondrial DNA. In light of this, the various levels of inheritance are fairly complex; men get all of their Y chromosome from dad, and all of the mitochondrial DNA and all of their X chromosome from mom, while women get half of their X from mom and half from dad, and all mitochondrial from mom. It's as if our mitochondria are asexual independent creatures living inside the majority of our cells. 

It took 2.8 billion years to invent sex.
Then another 650 million years to invent a brain.

No fucking way... right? Could dolphins really commit mass-suicide?
And max the parrot, witness to a murder "Richard, no no no"

I tend to think it is much simpler than that: Obama was overly optimistic; he simply thought that aiming for moderate policies would unite both parties, and that he could disappoint the extremes of both sides equally. But he underestimated the resentment that the republican party would develop following their loses in 2008, and as a consequence, the unity in opposition to him that we've seen ever since. What he should do is advocate letting all the tax cuts expire. He should say the decision is not based on politics or re-electability, but obviously on what is best for the country. It is a reverting to tax policy that is proven to be effective (under Clinton), and it was only altered when the government had a surplus (also due to Clinton). The downside is that he wouldn't get re-elected, but that isn't going to happen unless the economy turns around anyway. Unless those morons select someone like Palin in the primaries.

I think I used to be more poetic in here, something more akin to romance of sorts. Or at least less political drivel. That seems bad, I am going to fix that. "More action! Less Tears!"


"Just Listen & You'll Hear"

Think you're pro-life? 65 people starve to death every minute. In 2010 America will spend about 758 billion dollars on military and homeland security, or about 22,187 dollars for each of the 34 million people who will die of starvation this year. If you're pro life, take whatever time energy and resources you are willing to donate towards your movement, and redirect it to these starvation victims. It will be a much easier battle, save far more lives, and won't contribute to social conflicts.

8·9·10 (!)
So here are some more thoughts on the whole "end result of capitalism" problem I'm always blathering on about. First, I recently noticed a compensating effect by which new jobs are invented, usually due to new technology that enables humans to contribute to corporations in a new way, (e.g., computers allow us to make all sorts of nifty charts easily—more seriously, they allow us to perform complex analysis tasks that we couldn't have carried out by hand previously). 

Second, I recently heard an advertisement for a radio story about farming cooperation, where a bunch of volunteers pick from a list of small farms and then show up on a scheduled day to help out. At least thats what the story sounded like. It's easy to imagine some work remaining human simply because humans enjoy it, doing it in their free time, free of charge. This is one way leisure time can be filled productively.

Thirdly, this article in the NYTimes  (use bugmenot if you want to try to avoid registered login), this article points out a certain demographic which seems to be valuing a less consumerist oriented lifestyle. I think this indicates two things (though the article doesn't really comment on either of them), one, that we have reached (maybe surpassed) a saturating point about material possessions, and the happiness incurred by reducing those things is statistically significant! And second, ———must finish reading the article first! Four pages, not one... also I forgot the second point I wanted to make—too many distractions.

There is talk amongst his enemies, of Christopher Hitchens experiencing a "deathbed conversion". Upon reflection, it's humorous to imagine that a human's decline from a healthy state to the moment of death would carry with it an increase in mental facilities of some sort, mostly because the opposite is so painfully obvious. Case in point, dementia, Alzheimer's, senility, these are all brain disorders leading to decreased cognitive capacity, and also strongly correlated with age. Case example, Kurt Gödel, among the most brilliant of logicians of all time, responsible for some very important 20th century results in mathematics grew severely paranoid as he aged. In one incident, a friend found him freezing in his home in (I presume NJ) winter, with all the windows open, convinced the KGB was filling his house with poisonous gas. He didn't die of "natural" causes, he starved to death. He did not trust anyone to cook for him except his wife, so when she fell ill and could not cook for him anymore, he simply did not eat. Even if a vocal atheist were to provide a deathbed conversion example, for these reasons, (as well as he fact that arguments from personal revelations are vacuous), there can be no value to it. 

Wait a second! Can we reformulate the position momentum uncertainty principle as a position/time uncertainty principle? And then we also have an energy time one? Can we view all this as time being fuzzy? Maybe not, I need to go check. Cause "fuzzy time" seems right up the alley of event horizons and gravity... update 9·15·10: This all seems too simple and obvious to actually have any meaning and yet have gone unnoticed. I need to stop thinking about complicated matters that I am not well trained in late at night.

"Tapping the earths enerkachoo."
"The horse says 'doctorate denied'."
"Something sinister won't build itself."

Ha ha ha ha ha! 
To all you intelligent conservatives out there, please, get a handle on this. Conservapedia isn't just making conservatives look stupid and ignorant, it's making them look absurdly ridiculous and paranoid as well. Compare Conservapedia's relativity denialism with this article.

It baffles me that they would dare challenge relativity. Andy must either be crazy, or clinically paranoid. He should realize that when his young followers take an interest in the lies of relativity, they are much more likely to find the millions of supportive papers and articles and related topics, with every degree of comprehensibility, and details ranging from the broad ideas down to the most specific nuances, all of the experiments and real life applications. Compared to his paltry claim of liberal conspiracy. 

"Science cannot move forward without heaps!"
"Dude, I bid you a fond cowabunga! I'm off to laugh with the reaper!"

Hitchens speaking about deathbed conversions:
"the idea that I would make a pact, or a wager, with the supernatural in which I don't believe, in the sort of fearful hope of better treatment… suggests that what people must think of their god is that he is either a fraud, or a monster. That he would smile on that kind of plea, and that kind of uh, loss of dignity."

To argue that we won't ever reproduce the human brain is to argue that some aspect of it is either unknowable, or un-build-able. But we know it can be built, (since the body builds it "naturally"), and it's hard to imagine that an aspect of it could possibly be unknowable, since the entirety is right there in front of us, at any stage of it's development.

It's interesting how many charity organizations we have dedicated to fighting currently incurable disease. Not that I oppose such organizations, it's just that there are so many other causes of suffering & death around the world that are immediately preventable, and which if we were to solve would result in huge savings. That is, instead of invading foreign nations and destroying their infrastructure, in the name of eliminating enemies, how about we flood foreign nations with aid, in the name of making friends? We've spent 743 billion dollars on Iraq. Sure Saddam was a terrible man, having committed the most serious of war crimes in the 80s, having seized power in a horrible way, and having suppressed dissident in the most despicable of ways. But most of his citizens had electricity! Oddly, it was after the first gulf war that Iraq's healthcare system went down the tubes.

I've written a few times before about how many people asked me about the LHC & black holes, leading up to the starting of the particle collider. But a new explanation suddenly occurs to me. People like to imagine black holes in space as being vacuum cleaners, sucking up any celestial body that wanders too near. But space is very, very large. Most of everything is empty space, whether you look at an atom, or a handful of atoms, or the solar system, or the galaxy. It's "power on all scales".

How do we verify that mass is exactly additive? In fact, with relativity, it's not constant (it transforms according to the specified inertial reference frame).

Forced to choose between your religious beliefs, and the life of someone you love dearly, which would you choose? Do the religious answer this question as easily as atheists? I would argue no, not at all. Many religious people, when faced to choose between their beliefs, and accepting a friend/child's homosexuality, choose their faith and reject their friend/child. (That's not to say there aren't plenty of religious people who accept homosexuality, nor to say there aren't atheist homophobes.)

"The result is that about two and a half of the thirteen pounds of plutonium in the pit, (about 20% of the 6.2 kilograms (14 lb) ) fissioned, and converted probably less than 1 gram (0.035 oz) of mass into energy, releasing the energy equivalent of 21 kilotons of TNT or 88 TJ."
Or about 722,000 gallons of gasoline. Update 9·16·10: this is why many people advocate nuclear power playing a role in the reduction of fossil fuel usage, because the energy released by fission (though far less efficient in an actual power reactor), is just insane—that 6.2 kg of Pu only takes up about 1.4 cups of space. This is also the reason why though breeder reactors greatly increase the power generated per amount of fissile material, there are great concerns of proliferation, since breeder reactors would increase the amount of bomb-ready material dramatically. (And we literally have to keep track of every kilogram of the stuff.)

The music here is so awesomely dramatic.
This is a longer documentary on monkeys, with many more interesting facts and behaviors, but also the dramatic scenes of nut cracking. And the stuff about dropping rocks on the cats!

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," is not always true. When the doctor calls you back and says you tested negative for disease X, she's telling you the search for evidence (the test), turned up no evidence. Obviously this is usually interpreted as good evidence of absence.

You can define marriage as between a man and a woman. And you can define voting as something white men do. And you can define non-white people as property. And in every case, you're treating one person as having more rights than others, effectively denying humans equal status. I don't get it, the progress of human rights has such obvious extensions, and yet people resist every fucking step of the way, even though in retrospect it's appalling to think that it was once acceptable to buy and sell other people. Even though that was only 150 fucking years ago! And interracial marriage was illegal only 43 years ago. For whatever reason, it takes humans a very long time to open their eyes to the obvious. Open your eyes!

"Freaquel Rights"

Draw map of inconsistencies in religion, small chains of logic that don't really fit together.
Draw map of scientific interpretation over top of all the small chains, showing they fit together fine.
A support group/relief fund for priests & others affected and afflicted by/with religion.

"This is the dangedest wang I've ever doodled." —Bubblegum Tate.

When someone says, "I can't imagine living in a world where god didn't exist", or something to that effect, are they saying they have too little faith in humanity to imagine we don't have a supreme ruler somewhere? Are they saying they have too little faith in themselves? Or instead of faith, confidence in their own abilities to make the world a better place? Maybe they're saying they don't want to live in a world where they have no chance of a pleasant eternity afterwards, like heaven, but is that any different than a child saying they wouldn't want to live in a world where santa didn't exist to give them gifts each year? Although I don't like my finite lifespan, I'm glad to know that there is no one so evil as to damn a fraction of my fellow humans to eternal suffering. Which I would find even more excruciating were I to find myself in the oddly rewarded heaven group. But regardless of all that, I aspire to leave this world in an even better condition than I found it, for whoever follows me. And in general, humans have done that. We've eliminated nearly every source of suffering that nature ever threw at us. Except one another. We don't fear being eaten—a fear most organisms battle daily, for their entire lives. We've manipulated our food supply to the point of common obesity, shaping both animals and plants into high-energy sources of nourishment, virtually eliminating the threat of starvation, another threat to every other organism on the planet, every day of their existence. We have mostly mitigated the dangers of weather, extending our habitat far beyond our natural hides would allow. We've even eradicated some of the most devastating and brutal diseases ever to afflict humankind. But I'm not sure we've made a lot of progress on the "don't kill each other". Unfortunately we've gotten much more efficient at that, and possibly even more frequent, though it's hard to say, with history's wild ups-and-downs of genocide. On the bright side, globally we have a policy of not condoning genocide, and slavery, and often the global community takes positive action in response to such actions, though we're not that great at it, and we do still ignore a lot of obvious human rights abuse. But it's improved!

People are often fond of saying "anything's possible", and "science has been wrong in the past, it could (or will!) be wrong again in the future", as if tomorrow up could be down. But most things cannot be, as they have been ruled out by observation. A trivial example is the solar system. For thousands of years, primitive humans believed Earth to be the center of the universe, and believed Jupiter orbited the Earth. Better observations ruled out such a model, and no new evidence will ever allow that model in, unless we rewrite the definition of orbit, which is obviously different than science being wrong. Isaac Asimov has an excellent essay I've probably linked before.

I don't understand people's concept of the supernatural, for logical reasons. I have trouble seeing room for something inaccessible to scientific probing and yet influential to the physical world. It seems to me that anything that happens must in fact be within the laws of nature, and any time those laws appear violated, it is merely an indicator that our model of those laws is incomplete (which as a physicist I find very exciting).
It's not even that I demand proof of the claim of the existence of the supernatural, long before that I want a logical explanation. It's as if you told me you had an object that was both very nearly spherical, and very nearly cubical, simultaneously. Obviously these two properties contradict one another, and I wouldn't bother asking to see such an object, I'd first want to know how it is someone can think both definitions can be satisfied simultaneously, without contradiction.

Where is my list of amazing science facts?
Including: trees are made primarily of air.
The earth is round.
There are more molecules of water in a cup than there are cups of water on the planet.
Nine out of ten cells in your body are not you.

Someone somewhere recently said that intelligence is not selected for. But that is completely incorrect! We most certainly were naturally selected, and it was clearly only our intelligence that was selected for—in the few million years we've been diverging from the other monkeys we've dramatically increased our intelligence and all but lost every other physical advantage we may ever have had. (Maybe walking upright? Maybe opposable thumbs?) And boy has the selection been driven far; we are the only species with any shot of surviving the death of our planet, or the foresight to prevent ourselves from causing our own extinction.

"On the first date? You know I'm not that kind of indescribable horror."
Ha ha ha ha, "there is no god."

Hmm… how about a program that takes photos or video and makes 3d models, then makes prints for paper to print & assemble the models?

I think I might heavily suffer from the false consensus effect
And an over-blown sense of concern for others' wellbeing makes me feel like I live inside the Abilene paradox.
"Moreover, novelty triggers attraction." I got that going for me.
But don't discount the role of inaction.

I was reading about plutonium today, and apparently the sum total of North Korea's plutonium production should be less than 70 kilograms (154 lbs). Some of this was used in the bomb they blew up, while the rest of it should still be lying around, with small amounts left in the filtering process equipment. Based on measurements of such equipment, the IAEA should be able to determine whether or not the amount they claim to have made is really what they made, and therefore whether it's all there or not. Though I have to wonder, what is to stop them from mixing it with a combination of say, tungsten and iridium, which would deceivingly increase its weight, so they could divert the rest off to a secret project? Thats how impossible it really is to track this stuff. A study advocated that the IAEA reduce its "significant quantity" (SQ) from the current 8 kg down to 1 kg (2.2 lbs), since a technologically advanced society can build a 1 kiloton yield device with only 1 kg of Pu. (A poor tech society needs 3 kg min for a bomb.) It's also worth noting that the whole 70 kg would only take up about a gallon of space. And there is about 500 tons of Pu on the planet. Oops. If the arms race and nuclear weapons stockpiling doesn't qualify as clinical insanity, what possibly could?

I want to switch to multiple posts a day, instead of one long ridiculous post every few weeks or months. I wonder if I'll do that. My wrist hurts a lot.