Thursday, November 18, 2010

I've recently been reading articles about biocentrism - a radical cosmological theory that supposes that it's so statistically improbable for the universe to develop in such a way to support life, that the only other reasonable scientific explanation is that life, or consciousness itself, is what shaped the universe. Rather than the other way around. And that concepts like "time" and "space" are simply constructs of our minds to help us comprehend what we perceive. In other words, "time" and "space" don't really exist beyond our own limited perception.

In the words of this article, by Rosemary Bachelor,

Biocentrism redefines our concepts of space and time. They aren’t as definite as we think. Everything we see and experience comes from activity in our mind. Space and time are merely tools mankind invented for putting everything together.
In a timeless, spaceless world, death doesn’t exist. Lanza tells how the great Einstein admitted this when speaking of an old friend: “Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us…know the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

There are all kinds of cool facets to this hypothesis. One idea builds on the proven theory that energy can be neither be created nor destroyed--and that includes the energy which powers our consciousness.

To Dr. Lanza, individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, but something important is left after they do. He calls it the alive feeling, the “Who Am I?” This, he says, is a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain and it doesn’t go away at death.
Is this immortality? Yes and no. A proven axiom of science is that energy never dies. It can neither be created nor destroyed. Okay, but does this energy transcend more than one world or universe? Where does it go when the body dies? Is this what religion calls our soul?
I find this particularly interesting as a Mormon. Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught the same principle of energy conservation. He also taught that God doesn't abide by our mortal concepts of time and space. Rather, He supersedes them. to Him, time is "one eternal round."

Check out a good summary of Biocentrism on Wikipedia. Who knows? That dude Lanza (who developed the theory) could be onto something.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Digital Youth of Jeff Bridges

I just saw the awesome latest trailer for Tron Legacy. Aside from the movie looking mind-blowingly spectacular, it was neat to see the young and old versions of Jeff Bridges.
I wonder if youthification through the use of CGI will become so cheap and easy that age will mean little when it comes to casting. When will we have a movie starring a digitally youthful actor for no other reason than billing that actor's big name? Time will tell.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Mormons the Most Bible-Literate? Who'd-a-thunk?

Being a Mormon, I get all the fun feeds about my religion. Today I learned from the Pew Research Center that Mormons, on average, possess a stronger knowledge of the Holy Bible than any other faith group. Says the report,
On questions about Christianity – including a battery of questions about the Bible – Mormons (7.9 out of 12 right on average) and white evangelical Protestants (7.3 correct on average) show the highest levels of knowledge.
It goes on to say that Mormons have the greatest overall religious knowledge, along with Atheists/Agnostics and Jews.

This is due in large part to the four-year seminary program that most Mormon youth attend during high school, along with the missionary program to which many young men and women devote two years of their life.

Mormon blogger Kevin Barney offers this additional insight:

Mormons discuss religion openly, both among themselves and with others. Religious discussion is not the taboo among Mormons that it might be for some.

Another possible consideration is that any time you are a minority (or other underdog type group) you are forced to be more aware of things than if you are in the majority. You just run across more resistance, more sticking points, little things it is easy to breeze by if you are in the majority. See also: race, being a woman, having grown up poor, etc. So the dynamic of being a somewhat exotic religious minority group may have something to do with the results.
What does it all mean? Nothing, really. I just found it interesting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chase Bank Website Down Again

Back in 2007 Chase's website went down. Looks like it's happening again, and it seems to be a more serious outage this time. Look at all the nasty comments over here!

It's been about 24 hours since the outage began, and people are worried about not being able to pay their bills on time. Some are also worried that the bank is the recipient of a malicious hack job. Whatever it is, hopefully they'll get it sorted out soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Social Security: Massive Ponzi Scheme

That Social Security is a decades-old, massive ponzi scheme that is reaching its foregone conclusion sounds pretty right to me. To quote a very interesting article on Bloomberg,
[Overwhelming debt] is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck.
The article delineates the reality that our government is totally bankrupt, but that thanks to politically expedient obfuscatory financial labeling, government debts are bearing down on us under the radar.

The article concludes,
Herb Stein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under U.S. President Richard Nixon, coined an oft-repeated phrase: “Something that can’t go on, will stop.” True enough. Uncle Sam’s Ponzi scheme will stop. But it will stop too late.

And it will stop in a very nasty manner. The first possibility is massive benefit cuts visited on the baby boomers in retirement. The second is astronomical tax increases that leave the young with little incentive to work and save. And the third is the government simply printing vast quantities of money to cover its bills.

Most likely we will see a combination of all three responses with dramatic increases in poverty, tax, interest rates and consumer prices. This is an awful, downhill road to follow, but it’s the one we are on. And bond traders will kick us miles down our road once they wake up and realize the U.S. is in worse fiscal shape than Greece.
Hold on tight, this is gonna get rough.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Tron Legacy Trailer

10 degrees of cool.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Grades Your Grades Could Be Like

Unless you've been disconnected from the Internet for the past few months, you've seen the universally praised Old Spice commercials, which have taken on a life of their own and launched actor/former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa into superstardom.

There's a parody of those spots making the rounds this morning--promoting none other than the Harold B. Lee Library, on the campus of my alma mater, Brigham Young University. The execution and delivery are nowhere near the impeccable Old Spice productions, but it's not too shabby. Check it out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poetry in Translation

A few years ago I stumbled across a technique to turn mundane text into wacky poetry – using the amazing Google Translate tool.

Here's a sentence from a news story from this morning.
In its first ruling on the rights of employees who send messages on the job, the Supreme Court rejected a broad right of privacy for workers Thursday and said supervisors may read through an employee's text messages if they suspect work rules are being violated.
And here's the glorious poem that results. (The line breaks are my own addition.)
In the first Human Rights Award
them the right way,
the Supreme Court rejected the rights and privacy
of its kind to work
last Thursday, he said,

can read text messages to officers, staff,
we suspect violations of the trade rules.
The technique? Simply translate some text into another language using the Google Translator. Then take the result and translate that text into a third language, and so on. Finally, translate it back to English. If you've done enough translations into enough languages, you should end up with something fairly presentable.

My example above translated from English to Afrikaans to Arabic to Belarusian to Catalan to Traditional Chinese to Czech to Irish and then back to English. Voila!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Human Flight to Mars - 20 years behind schedule

I stumbled across this 1969 news article stating that President Nixon wanted achieve a manned Mars landing as early as the 1980s.

Of course, back they all believed that in 2010 we'd have flying cars and unlimited energy. I guess dreams just became too expensive. They probably got sucked up by government social programs.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What's a crisis? Just about everything, apparently

How do you define the word "crisis"?

To read the news, that word covers just about everything. Here's a short, top-line summary of news topics from the last 24 hours featuring the word, "crisis."
financial crisis
debt crisis
Catholic abuse crisis
Madagascar crisis
oil spill crisis
energy crisis
Korean military crisis
Boy Scout abuse crisis
Asian financial crisis
Stephen Baldwin's cash crisis
Niger food crisis
Thailand's political crisis
MGM's financial crisis
school budget crisis
mortgage crisis
California budget crisis
Iraq election crisis
health care crisis
Iceland volcanic crisis
Canadian political crisis
student debt crisis
Toyota sudden acceleration crisis
Vermont dairy crisis
food crisis
Florida avocado crisis
Latino youth crisis
illegal immigration crisis
global warming crisis
Indian radiation crisis
obesity crisis
Now I'm sure that Stephen Baldwin considers his cash flow a serious issue. Even a crisis. But for me, it doesn't even come close to that definition.

How about something bigger? The Iceland volcano crisis. It shut down European air travel for days and cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. A true crisis? I'm sure it was to the stranded passengers, or to any airline employee who lost a job as a result. To me? No, not really.

Surely the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico counts as a crisis. That will cost billions in cleanup and damage wildlife, tourism and fishing/shrimping in the Gulf states. It will probably even increase the cost to fill up my tank. Yes, paying that extra $0.20/gallon will suck. But to me--it's not a crisis.

The economy? Okay, I'll go with that one. The effect of the mortgage meltdown and recession have without a doubt affected my economic well-being, and I surely would be living a much more comfortable life if certain economic opportunities hadn't evaporated. So yes, by that sort of estimation, the state of the economy is a crisis.

My point? "Crisis" is entirely subjective. It's a cheap word used to push news stories. If it's a crisis, it must be important. Sure, it's important. But usually only important to someone else.

The biggest crisis in my life right now is a loved one undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer. This crisis eclipses every other issue that concerns me or even holds my interest.

When a news story tells me something is a crisis, it's telling me what should be important to me. It may be preaching something that I happen to agree with, or that I am truly concerned about. But please: Stop cheapening the word, "crisis."

I'll decide on my own if it's important to me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cooliris - Pretty Cool

This is a pretty cool way to display photos or whatever on your blog. A 3-D browsable photo wall. Check it out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Echoes of Obama's National Police Force – in Chicago

There's a push in Chicago to bring in the National Guard to help fight crime.

The idea sounds eerily similar to President Obama's proposal of a "civilian national security force" back on the 2008 campaign trail.
"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
Is it a coincidence that this push is coming from Obama's own backyard?

Federal troops enforcing domestic law. The very idea sends a chill--and not a nice one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spirit Carry-on Baggage Fees: The Corporate Spin

In the corporate world, sometimes the spin is staggering. Having written marketing and PR communications for over 10 years, I find it quite easy to read between the lines and discern what a piece is really trying to communicate (or cover up). Sometimes the spin is so outrageous and exaggerated that I have to do a double-take.

I recently received an email from Spirit Airlines extolling the virtues of its new carry-on baggage policy, which states that your second carry-on will cost you an extra $30.

Here's what went through my mind as I read it.

(Click image to enlarge)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Obama Money Tied to Union Approval

It is truly the era of union labor. Forty-one states competed for a piece of $4 billion available to reform-minded schools. Of those 41 states, only two were awarded money. And those two states were the only ones claiming unanimous union support. As reported on ABC News:
Experts believed Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana all had strong -- if not stronger -- applications, but what they lacked was the nearly unanimous support from local unions and school districts obtained by Delaware and Tennessee.

"I think this is a win for the unions. What it shows is they have veto power over state application. If they don't sign on, their states are unlikely to get funding," said Michael Petrilli, vice president for National Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
What was that quote by Adam Smith?
"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public."
This is a great time to be in a union or on the government dole--especially while the rest of the economy collapses.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lunar Orbiter Spies Remnants of Soviet Moon Missions

Isn't this the week for interesting astronomy news.

Nasa recently released images taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter featuring the remains of old Soviet lunar soil sample missions. Pretty cool!

I guess you'd really have to know what you're looking for, and where to find it. Even so, the Soviets really knew their way around a moon mission. Their unmanned robots flew to the moon, then returned to earth with their soil samples. And do so in really cool Lost-in-Space Style!

Well done.


Are you a fan of ABC's show Lost? Do you like cake? Then here's a very random video you may enjoy: Lost cast members saying, "Mmm...cake."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unaccounted high-speed cosmic matter migration may point to influence from other universes. Woah.

According to, new studies reveal galaxy clusters that are zipping through our universe at an amazing 1 million mph--without any observable motivation. The really cool part of the story:

The researchers think dark flow may be caused by structures that lie beyond the horizon of our own universe. As odd as that may sound, some cosmologists think that our universe is actually only a bubble of space-time that was created during a period of rapid cosmic expansion, called inflation, after the Big Bang. Other bubbles may also have been created where inflation took place at a different rate, and perhaps something in one of the other bubbles is tugging at our universe.

That's almost mind-blowingly deep. So how do you go about verifying a force that resides outside the known universe? Beats me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Does anyone remember M.U.S.C.L.E.S., the popular pink collectible figures from the 80s? I do--especially now that I've dug up the old box where they've been stored for the past 20 years. Check 'em out.



These were totally fun to trade with classmates, trying to collect all 236 of them.

I wonder if they're worth anything today...hmm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Google Chrome Doesn't Trust Google Mail

So today I opened up Chrome (Google's web browser) and went to check my email at This is what came up:

Google's browser doesn't trust Google's email? That's odd.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Utah House of Representatives: Global Warming is a Fraud

Was it only a matter of time? The Utah state legislature is close to becoming the first state to officially repudiate the myth of manmade climate change. Ah, to live in a state with marginally more common sense than can be typically found. From the story:

 The Utah House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution that called for the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately halt its carbon dioxide reduction policies and programs and withdraw its Endangerment Finding and related regulations until a full and independent investigation of climate data and global warming science can be substantiated.

The resolution now goes to the Utah Senate. The full resolution is here at the Freemen Institute.


With Democrats in control, lobbying expenditures rise 5%

I don't this is the kind of change people were hoping for...

Last year saw a more than 5 percent increase in lobbying expenditures as compared to 2008, said a new report released Friday by the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog.

More than $3.47 billion was spent on lobbying in 2009, about $170 million more than in 2008, according to the watchdog%u2019s analysis.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Romney edges Palin in early, early, early poll

It's way early, but still good news for Mitt Romney, should he choose to puruse his presidential ambitions again in 2012. This is particulary significant in the face of Sarah Palin's front-and-center status during her whirlwind book tour and the national Tea Party convention. Can 2012 get here soon enough?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Quinessential Defnition of Synergy

Where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Mentioned on Mike's!

I monitor too many blogs and twitter feeds throughout the day, and some of my favorites are those of Mike Elgan, who maintains The Raw Feed and a somewhat-monthly newsletter, Mike's List. Anyhoo, in every issue of Mike's List he features a Mystery Pic of the Day--and the first person to correctly identify the picture gets a mention in the next issue.

Like this:

Isn't that just super?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Funny Metaphor of the Day (in the news)

"For [Barbara] Boxer, a favorite Republican target, a GOP win in Massachusetts would be a particularly dark sign representing "not just the canary in the coal mine," said Wade Randlett, a leading Silicon Valley fundraiser for Obama. "It's the flock of dead ravens landing on the lawn."

via the San Francisco Chronicle