Thursday, November 15, 2012

And ever as he rode, his hart did earne// To prove his puissance in battell brave

Then freshly up arose the doughtie knight,          
  All healed of his hurts and woundes wide,
  And did himselfe to battell ready dight;
  Whose early foe awaiting him beside
  To have devourd, so soone as day he spyde,
  When now he saw himselfe so freshly reare,          
  As if late fight had nought him damnifyde,
  He woxe dismayd, and gan his fate to feare;
Nathlesse with wonted rage he him advaunced neare.

And in his first encounter, gaping wide,
  He thought attonce him to have swallowd quight,    
  And rusht upon him with outragious pride;
  Who him r'encountring fierce, as hauke in flight
  Perforce rebutted backe. The weapon bright
  Taking advantage of his open jaw,
  Ran through his mouth with so importune might,    
  That deepe emperst his darksome hollow maw,
And back retyrd, his life blood forth with all did draw.
- The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, Book 1, Canto 11

One of the Chinese students was asking me about graduation requirements.  After listing a bunch of things, a friend also listed "slaying a dragon".  The Chinese student was very confused by this, and so I drew this picture on the office whiteboard to illustrate (notice the thermodynamics scribblings on the top).  Then I felt really good about my drawing skills and decided to post it online.  And then I figured a suitably epic quotation was need to go with it.

In my defense, by the way, let me just point out the correlation between the rise of the University system and the decline in reported dragon sightings.  Coincidence?  Hardly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wherein Politics is Discussed

Apparently a number of states are talking about secession from the Union.  I live in one of the states with such a proposal.

Frankly, I can't see why anyone else would care?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Dirac Sea: Turtles All the Way Down

This semester, I am taking a course on relativistic quantum mechanics.  Currently we are covering the "hole interpretation" of negative energy solutions to the Dirac equation.

I've done this stuff before, as an undergraduate, in private study, and in various grad-level courses.  So I'm used to the interpretation being given.  But I decided recently that it is perfectly absurd.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why I'm Writing In Ron Paul

One day, maybe ten years from now, as I am standing in a breadline to pick up my weekly food rations for my "domestic cohabitation partnership", I want to at least be fed on the moral victory that I, apart from my fellow grumbling peasants in the breadline, that I at least did the most I could, and that I at least voted for the candidate who I actually thought could fix the country.  That I didn't cast my chips in with a candidate I found terrible even while calling him terrible.

At this point, that's the most I hope to get out of this election.

And that is why I intend to write in Ron Paul, and why I have decided not to vote for the other candidates.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adventures in "Christian Dating"

soure: http://phraseologyproject.comnce upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a beautiful princess, whose room stood atop the tallest tower in the land.  As she grew older and came of age, she began to wish for a valiant knight to come and rescue her from her tower prison.

She wasn't locked up there or anything, nor was she enchanted by an evil witch, nor was there really anything at all inhibiting her movement; she just didn't want to come down until a knight rescued her.  So she sat in her room, and stared wistfully out the window, longing for a knight - any knight - who might come to her aid.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


There's this particular scent that I catch sometimes, that smells like nothing so much as my grandmother's house.  To be around it, it's almost as if I had just walked in off her front porch, on to the atrocious yellow carpeting that had probably been installed in the 70's, and in to the kitchen where she was over-boiling green beans.  It reminds me of sitting cuddled up on her pseudo-suede couch while she read through one of her catalogues, showing me the things she thought were pretty, or pointing out articles in the Jonesborough Herald and Tribune, or trying to explain the bizarre comic strips that ran in their paper, like Snuffy Smith or Andy Capp or the Phantom.  I can barely, nearly even hear her voice - and her sweet country accent - explain her opinion on various characters in the panels.  Sometimes she would save clips from the paper, and after she passed away, as we went through the clippings, my cousin remarked wonder at whether she saved a clip because one side was about the king of England abdicating, or because the other side mentioned a sale at a department store.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thought Experiment on Entropic Restrictions in Time Travel

In a discussion of time travel, questions will come up about freewill and causation.  I have always found this conversation frustrating because the common view is just so plainly wrong.

The common view is the one espoused in Back to the Future, which arguably is where most Americans get their understanding of time travel. (I guess as opposed to empirical time travel science?)  Everyone knows this so I don't even have to summarize it, but here goes:  You go back in time but you have to watch out that you don't accidentally change anything, because if you change something because then you will change the future.  In particular, you need to make sure that your introduction to your parents when they were in high school doesn't keep them from falling in love, or else you would undo your own existence, the fact of which alone should point out that there is something screwy here.

In this idea, because you can change the future you came from, there are different "timelines".  When you go back in to the past you go to a different timeline or split the universe or whatever and the effects of your meddling will be in the new timeline and not the one you came from.

So why do we think there are multiple timelines?