Monday, October 31, 2005

Why Time Travel is Impossible

An interesting paper entitled Physics Has Its Principles explains why Time Travel, the Big Bang, multiple dimensions in the split second after the Big Bang, and creation ex nihilo are impossible ... or at least unlikely. The author is not a Christian and doesn't believe in any sort of creation, yet he is also a physicist who rejects the classic Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. Worth scanning if you grok math and physics.

He's probably right about time travel being a physical impossibility, but that sure takes the steam out of a lot of fascinating movies, books, and "Twilight Zone" episodes . . .

D. A. Carson discusses the Emergent Church

For those interested in the Emergent Church movement (shown by Brian McLaren et al.), professor D. A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School discusses this movement on Issues Etc. I've listened to the first portion and it's well-conceived and worth listening to.
  • Part 1 (Windows Media Audio; starts at 31:02)

  • Part 2 (Windows Media Audio)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Web searchers overconfident, underskilled

According to an article published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 38% of the people who use search engines are even aware that there is a difference between search results and paid advertising, and only 18% of search engine users can always tell the difference between search results and paid advertising.

Now the scary part: 92% of Internet users feel "confident" about their skills in doing Internet searches, and over 50% of Internet searchers rated themselves "very confident" in their search skills. Ouch! Full details here (PDF).

Internet Addiction

I knew there were Net addicts, but I didn't know that it had seriously been identified as a psychological disease. But here it is: Internet Addiction Disorder. You can also google for this term.

I also recall reading that in a recent poll of computer users, when asked if they would rather keep their web browser and lose every other application on their computer, or keep all their programs and applications but lose their web browser, most people would prefer to keep their browser and lose everything else. (Maybe it's because the geeks know that if you have a browser, you can also run an editor, a spreadsheet, games, listen to music, etc.) If I find the URL, I'll post it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Proof that 1 = 2

This is for my son, John. See if you can find the mistake:
         a  = b
a2 = ab
a2 - b2 = ab - b2
(a+b)(a-b) = b(a-b)
a+b = b
b+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1
So where's the mistake?

Paper-thin display released Oct. 19

The Philips Corporation in Japan demonstrated the production of a paper-thin display. The display surface measures about 8½-×5½ inches (the size of a half-sheet of normal typing paper). The flexible display packs 100 pixels/inch (more than a Mac!) and is about as thick as construction paper. Oh, I'll let them say it:

Less than 300 microns thick, the paper-white display is as thin and flexible as construction paper. With a 10.1" diagonal, the prototype achieves SVGA (600x800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch and has a 10:1 contrast ratio with 4 levels of grayscale.

That's pretty thin. For more details, see this press release, or these photos — they've even got them working in color!

Homer Simpson becomes Omar Shamshoon

Yesterday's slashdot carried this story of The Simpsons being reinvented for an Arab audience. They are now Al Shamshoon. Homer Simpson becomes "Omar Shamshoon," obnoxious Bart becomes "Badr", and so on. Instead of drinking Duff Beer (good Muslims don't drink alcohol at all), Omar drinks soda pop. He gets glazy-eyed over Egyptian kahk cookies instead of donuts. And of course, Moe doesn't own a tavern. Here's the full story from the Independent (a U.K. newspaper).

The dialogue and dubbing is all in Arabic, but the Shamshoons still live in Springfield in the U.S. I wonder if they'll have Marge wearing a veil?