Archive for December, 2008

Leap Second vs. Creationism

Posted in Astronomy, Religion on December 31, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

Back in my college days, I went to several presentations by evolution-deniers trying to discredit evolution. Because their thinking was if they can show evolution to be wrong, then the Biblical version of creation was the only alternative. Now, the reason I mention this, is that one of the “facts” these guys used to try to disprove evolution was the leap second. His explanation was that the Earth’s spin was slowing down so scientists have to add in the leap seconds. But if the Earth’s spin is slowing down one second a year then if you run it back 6,000 years (to when some people think the Earth was made), the Earth spun 6,000 seconds (100 minutes) faster than now, which wouldn’t be a big deal. But 86,399 years ago the Earth must have been spinning once a second. That’s just silly, therefore it is impossible for things to have been here millions of years let alone billions of years. With the upcoming Leap Second, I thought it would be a good idea to write up a true story of leap seconds. With other things going on I didn’t get beyond the thought, but fortunately for me, the Bad Astronomer wrote up a blog titled Take a flying leap second, which goes into far more detail than I could have managed. Another good source is National Institute of Standards and Technology Leap Second page, which goes into even more detail. So if you want a true story of leap seconds, those are good places to start.

The upcoming leap second reminded me of these evolution-deniers and how bad their science was. So I think a project for me in the new year will be to write up some articles disproving their “facts.” I was going to make the leap second one the first one, but there is a timeliness factor and as I said I had other things to do. But the other articles can come out whenever I have time to write them, so you have those to look forward to.

Israel vs. Hamas

Posted in Odds, Politics on December 31, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

In an ideal world, if Hamas fired rockets into Israel, the perpetrators would be arrested and tried for terrorism. Israel would not be justified in firing rockets into Gaza killing more people than Hamas killed.

In the real world however, there is no one to arrest the terrorists. So what can Israel do? Just sit by with rockets raining down while the rest of the world goes, “Hamas, now stop doing that. I said stop doing that. Don’t make me count to three. One. One and one-half. One and three-fifths.” Of course now that Israel is firing missiles at Hamas the world is going, “Israel, now stop doing that. I said stop doing that. Don’t make me count to three. One. One and one-half. One and three-fifths.”

It’s times like this I wish there was someone who could slap all the parties involved and tell them to either learn to live together or kill each other off so the rest of the world will no longer have to put up with their shit. In the majority of cases I don’t think killing people is a solution, but there are … brief periods of time when I think the latter would be nice. Can you picture a world where there wasn’t a war brewing every other month in the Middle East?

This would be a BAD day

Posted in Astronomy on December 29, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

I would just embed this video, but you need to see it in HD and I can’t figure out how to just embed that version.

Scientology

Posted in Religion on December 24, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

If I knew more about Scientology, I would be doing this. So instead, I’ll post this.

What does Christmas mean to me?

Posted in Odds on December 23, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

To be honest, not much. Yes I’ll get to see my family, but I saw them for Thanksgiving. I do get some days off from work, so that’s good. But mostly, Christmas is annoying. From the long lines to hearing the same 27 songs over and over and over and over and over again, I mean, if the Christmas “season” was only a couple weeks, or even confined to December, it might not be that bad. But when you’re walking around a store in mid-October and they’re putting up displays of inflatable Santas and reindeer, I just get ground down and sick and tired of Christmas by mid-November.

It didn’t used to be like this. When I was a kid Christmas was fun because I got toys. Always good. But at some point I grew up and when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I replied along the lines of, “I do need new socks. And a calendar.” For the past fifteen-twenty years, Christmas has just been a way for me to get stuff I needed. And with all the adult hassle of dealing with Christmas, the thrill is gone.

Did You Know?

Posted in Odds on December 22, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

This is an interesting video I saw on Beam Me Up.

Spaceport America

Posted in Spaceflight on December 20, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

When I saw this yesterday, it just cheered me up. The FAA has issued a launch site operator license for Spaceport America. This brings the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport one giant step closer to launching the common man into space. Whether I’ll ever be able to afford to take such a trip myself, remains to be seen, but I believe this is a giant step towards making humanity a truly spacefaring species. The future is so close, you can almost taste it. :D

Have the people at Fox News taken a baseball bat to the head?

Posted in Odds, Religion on December 20, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

To be up front, I did not see this bit in its entirety. I came in late and I left because I was stunned by their … assholelery.

Apparently, there is a woman in Florida who has premarital sex with her boyfriend. She let this slip to a member of her church, who wanted her to go up in front of the church and confess her sins, or whatever. The woman refused, and left the church. But the church, I guess, is still planning on doing something about her situation and she is trying to get them to stop because her sex life is a private thing.

In steps Fox News. To discuss this pressing social problem, they tell the woman’s name, the name of her town, and even a picture of her. This woman who doesn’t want her ex-church discussing her sex life, doesn’t have to worry anymore because everyone who watches Fox News now knows that she has had premarital sex with her boyfriend.

Cool photo

Posted in Spaceflight on December 20, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

shuttle

Here is the caption from the NASA homepage:
“Fresh from the STS-126 mission space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, flew over California’s Mojave Desert on its way back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 10, 2008.”

Send a postcard to the ISS

Posted in Spaceflight on December 17, 2008 by The Prince of Pithy

This is something I found interesting on the NASA homepage. You can send a “postcard” to the International Space Station with a short note for the Expedition 18 crew. I sent them one with just a quick little note, but if I can think of something better, I’ll send them another.

http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/postcard/

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