Switch it on, already!

One of my favorite supergeniuses, Brian Cox, has a great piece today at The Guardian about the final months before the LHC activation.  Money quote:

Without exploration there is no progress, and without progress our civilisation decays. It takes machines like the LHC to journey to the edge of our understanding because, quite simply, the easy stuff has all been done.

It’s part of The Guardian’s larger series of feature articles on Cern.

posted 6/30/08 at 4:49pm to Science! · 0 replies · permalink

Lost another one

Carl Sagan.

Jim Henson.

Douglas Adams.

Arthur Schlesinger.

Kurt Vonnegut.

Today, George Carlin.  Sad.  Very sad.

It’s a strange time in a man’s life when his contemporary heroes and objects of inspiration and admiration begin to die out en masse.  Reflection is not my strong suit.

I have half a mind to call Bill Moyers and James Burke just to say, “Hey, are you guys feeling alright today? Take care of yourselves, please. I can’t afford to lose another one of you just yet.”

posted 6/23/08 at 8:28am to Me me me · 1 reply · permalink

Used and abused

Cover of Moon Knight issue #1

I was digging through a box of stuff from my youth the other day1, and among some bits of junk, lo and behold, I found the first issue of Moon Knight.  Wow.

I found it to be in surprisingly good shape.  I say surprisingly because I had tons of comics when I was a kid2, but I wasn’t one of the kids who kept their issues in nice mylar sleeves.  No, I read them and folded them and stuffed them in my bag when I went to grandma’s and dog-eared the pages and lent them to friends and kept them in untidy stacks in my drawers and closet.  The box or two of comics that still survive from that time are yellowed and worn and torn.  “Heresy!” I hear the comic snobs cry.  And don’t even get me started on what kind of shape my Star Wars toys are in; there’s not a single figure or vehicle still in an original box.  I’d scorch and paint X-Wings to make them look battle-worn.  Armies of Stormtroopers would be caked with the dirt and detritus of wars fought on some godforsaken swamp planet (i.e. my backyard).

And all things considered, I like rediscovering things that way.  They may have been abused, but they were used.  They were the fuel of my imagination, and when I come across them again after so many years, they help remind my why I do what I do, and how I became the person I am.  I don’t want to see an old comic of mine in a sleeve – I’d much rather see it bent and softened and remember the family camping trip that it accompanied me on.  I don’t want old toys in a box on a shelf, untouched – I want to find a carton of defeated plastic Imperial villains, worn and dirty from some epic battle fought with all the action figures of all the kids on my block, out in the big field behind the school.

  1. When my mom moved out of her house a few years ago and moved to Florida, she made me take home a few boxes of old crap from the attic. I don’t know what’s in most of them – just little things that escaped the Great Purge (for some reason during my college years, I threw out tons of stuff from my childhood I wish I had kept).
  2. and when I was an older kid. And a teenager. And, um, an adult..
posted 6/20/08 at 7:48am to Closet archaeology · 2 replies · permalink

Twitter’s First Law

The First Law of Twitter (the “Law of Word Proximity”) states that any instance of one of the following words: [ cry, vomit, tears, masturbate, whale, Velveeta, blame, jerk, @hotdogsladies ] that appears in your tweetstream will always occur within 280 characters of an instance of at least one of the other words in that group.

posted 6/18/08 at 10:02am to Slightly Too Long For Twitter · 0 replies · permalink

Stuff of thought

Steven Pinker, talking about language, social relationships, causality, and swearing:


And Steven?  Might be time to ditch the ‘fro.  Just sayin’.

(via New Scientist)

posted 6/17/08 at 8:15am to Science! · 0 replies · permalink