Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Truthiest Science

I love the Colbert Report like all non-America hating Americans should. So as I was watching the other day, and examining it for ways to make my self better for America, and saw Stephen interviewing a Theoretical Physicist. She was talking with Stephen about how they make perdictions based on math and not the obesrevable world. I turned to Wikipedia my source for all knowledge and looked up Theorectical Physics to make sure what she was saying is true because her statement sounded pretty truthy to me. So here is a summary of Thruthiness and Theorectical Physics you be the judge.

Truthiness is a term coined by Stephen Colbert in reference to the quality by which a person claims to know something intuitively, instinctively, or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts.

Theoretical physics employs mathematical models and abstractions, as opposed to experimental processes, in an attempt to understand Nature. Central to it is mathematical physics 1, though other conceptual techniques are also used. The goal is to rationalize, explain and predict physical phenomena. The advancement of science depends in general on the interplay between experimental studies and theory. In some cases, theoretical physics adheres to standards of mathematical rigor while giving little weight to experiments and observations. For example, while developing special relativity, Einstein was concerned with the Lorentz transformation which left Maxwell's equations invariant, but was apparently uninterested in the Michelson-Morley experiment on Earth's drift through a luminiferous ether. On the other hand, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for explaining the photoelectric effect, previously an experimental result lacking a theoretical formulation.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mona Lisa's Voice

It has been a pretty interesting day in the Wiki world. I started looking at an article on the Mona Lisa because August 21 1911 it was stolen so it showed as part of the "On this day..." section. I was reading about all the abuse that the Mona Lisa received before it was covered with bullet proof glass. Then I got board but there was link at the bottom about how Mona Lisa's voice had been simulated. There is just something so irresistible about the concept of a painting having a voice. I had to click on it.

It turns out that the co-winner of the of the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 won for creating a product called Bow-Lingual. Was hired to figure out what Mona Lisa and Leonardo DaVinci would have sounded like as a promotion for the movie "The Da Vinci Code". This lead me to immediately look up Bow-Lingual and then the Ig Nobel Prize. Bow-Lingual is a device that can translate barks of dogs into "human" which of course is my favorite language.

The Ig Nobel Prize article lead to some research conducted on the
Five-Second Rule. It turns out you shouldn't listen to High School students or the MythBusters because both groups seem to have been infiltrated by people trying to discredit the Five-Second Rule( or as I like to call it the Five-Second Law). I don't have a source on this but I believe that it is Newton’s Fifth Law of motion.

1993 Literature - Presented to E. Topol, R. Califf, F. Van de Werf, P. W. Armstrong, and their 972 co-authors, for publishing a medical research paper which has one hundred times as many authors as pages.

1993 Mathematics - Presented to Robert W Faid of Greenville, South Carolina, farsighted and faithful seer of statistics, for calculating the exact odds (710,609,175,188,282,000 to 1) that Mikhail Gorbachev is the Antichrist.

1995 Nutrition - Presented to John Martinez of J. Martinez & Company in Atlanta, for Luak Coffee, the world's most expensive coffee, which is made from coffee beans ingested and excreted by the luak, a bobcat-like animal native to Indonesia.

1995 Chemistry - Presented to Bijan Pakzad of Beverly Hills, for creating DNA Cologne and DNA Perfume, neither of which contain deoxyribonucleic acid, and both of which come in a triple helix bottle.

1996 Chemistry - Presented to George Goble of Purdue University, for his blistering world record time for igniting a barbeque grill: three seconds, using charcoal and liquid oxygen.

1998 Safety Engineering - Presented to Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, for developing and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears. The source of an episode of The Simpsons.

1999 Peace - Presented to Charl Fourie and Michelle Wong of Johannesburg, South Africa, for inventing the Blaster, an automobile burglar alarm consisting of a detection circuit and a flamethrower.

2000 Peace - Presented to The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!"

2001 Biology - Presented to Buck Weimer of Pueblo, Colorado for inventing Under-Ease, airtight underwear with a replaceable charcoal filter that removes bad-smelling gases before they escape.

2001 Technology - Presented jointly to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, for patenting the wheel in the year 2001, and to the Australian Patent Office for granting him Innovation Patent #2001100012.

2002 Economics - Presented to the executives, corporate directors, and auditors of Enron, Lernaut & Hauspie (Belgium), Adelphia, Bank of Commerce and Credit International (Pakistan), Cendant, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Dynegy, Gazprom (Russia), Global Crossing, HIH Insurance (Australia), Informix, Kmart, Maxwell Communications (UK), McKessonHBOC, Merrill Lynch, Merck, Peregrine Systems, Qwest Communications, Reliant Resources, Rent-Way, Rite Aid, Sunbeam, Tyco, Waste Management, WorldCom, Xerox, and Arthur Andersen, for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world.

2003 Medicine - Presented to Chris McManus of University College London, for his excruciatingly balanced report, "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture."

2003 Physics - Presented to Jack Harvey, John Culveno, Warren Payne, Steve Cowle, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams of Australia, for their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."

2003 Literature
- Presented to John Trinkaus, of the Zicklin School of Business, New York City, for meticulously collecting data and publishing more than 80 detailed academic reports about things that annoyed him, such as:
What percentage of young people wear baseball caps with the peak facing to the rear rather than to the front;
What percentage of pedestrians wear sport shoes that are white rather than some other color;
What percentage of swimmers swim laps in the shallow end of a pool rather than the deep end;
What percentage of automobile drivers almost, but not completely, come to a stop at one particular stop-sign;
What percentage of commuters carry attaché cases; What percentage of shoppers exceed the number of items permitted in a supermarket's express checkout lane;
What percentage of students dislike the taste of Brussels sprouts.
2003 Economics - Presented to Karl Schwärzler and the nation of Liechtenstein, for making it possible to rent the entire country for corporate conventions, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other gatherings.

2003 Peace
- Presented to Lal Bihari, of Uttar Pradesh, India, for a triple accomplishment: First, for leading an active life even though he has been declared legally dead; second, for waging a lively posthumous campaign against bureaucratic inertia and greedy relatives; and third, for creating the Association of Dead People. Lal Bihari overcame the handicap of being dead, and managed to obtain a passport from the Indian government so that he could travel to Harvard to accept his Prize. However, the U.S. government refused to allow him into the country. His friend Madhu Kapoor therefore came to the Ig Nobel Ceremony and accepted the Prize on behalf of Lal Bihari. Several weeks later, the Prize was presented to Lal Bihari himself in a special ceremony in India.

2004 Chemistry - Presented to The Coca-Cola Company of Great Britain, for using advanced technology to convert liquid from the River Thames into Dasani, a transparent form of water, which for precautionary reasons has been made unavailable to consumers.

2004 Engineering - Presented jointly to Donald J. Smith and his father, the late Frank J. Smith, of Orlando, Florida, for patenting the comb over (U.S. Patent 4,022,227)

2004 Psychology - Presented jointly to Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University, for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it's all too easy to overlook anything else -- even a woman in a gorilla suit.

2004 Economics - Presented to The Vatican, for outsourcing prayers to India.

2005 Literature - Presented to the Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.

2005 Peace - Presented jointly to Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of University of Newcastle, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie "Star Wars."

2005 Chemistry - Presented jointly to Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota and Brian Gettelfinger of the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, for conducting a careful experiment to settle the longstanding scientific question: can people swim faster in syrup or in water? It was found that the increase in drag in a syrup pool is canceled out by the increase in "push" a swimmer gets on each stroke.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kami the HIV Positive Muppet

I was reading article about Sesame Street because it was a featured article and the Worlds Greatest Grandma has a "Sesame Street" shirt I figured I should look for some fun facts. In section called Rumors and urban legends they write in detail about the heterosexual or homosexual nature of Bert and Ernie. Then the article discusses the rumor that was started when Jim Henson died that Ernie would be "killed off" the show.
People figured that after the actor Will Lee died the character of Mr. Hooper was also killed off they would also kill off Ernie whose puppeteer was Henson. The rumors that was started where that Ernie would be either killed by a vehicle accident, AIDS, or cancer. A spokesperson for the series was quoted as saying "Ernie is not dying of AIDS, Ernie is not dying of leukemia. Ernie is a puppet". Then as a testimony to how when ever you want believe something will never happen it does in 2002 the South African version of the Sesame Street introduces the loveable Kami who in is HIV positive. Which brings up the question "What are those puppeters doing to the puppets?"; and shows us that one day a puppet will die of AIDS.

Like most other people I know I think Wikipedia is one of the most amazing sites. One of my favorite hobbies is to recount the amazing facts I read on Wikipedia, so one late night while recounting the amazing tale of the origin of Mountain Dew and the under appreciated story of 7-Eleven I decided to create this blog.