astral

“Welcome to Morvis High School, Freshman Class. Per adua ad astra. Through hard work to the stars. Ok? Per aspera ad astra. Hardships. Difficulties. You aren’t kids anymore. Per audacia ad astra. Be bold. Quam celerrime ad astra. You won’t be here forever. You’re only young once. Apply yourselves. Sic itur ad astra. That’s how you succeed. Ignore the wiseguy sophomores who tell you Ad astra per alas porci and our highly religious students who tell you Ad astra per alas fideles. Non lucror, exposita scientia, ad astra, knowledge for knowledge’s sake…”

“Jeez, he does go on.”

“Yeah and I couldn’t care less. Forget the stars. Tell me how to get to the astral plane.”

 

For Daily Post

Cosell’s Constant

One of the universal constants of our world is Cosell’s Constant, which is due to change quite soon.

When it increases from .05854 to .05855, a number of differences will be noticeable in our everyday life.

On the plus side:

  • We’ll be able to eat a little more
  • We’ll be a little taller
  • People will like you better, until they get to know you
  • Insects will make better pets than they do now
  • Drive-in movies will return
  • The separation of Church and State will become the separation of Church, State, and Justin Bieber

On the minus side:

  • In scientific calculations, quite a few pluses will become minuses
  • Grass will talk in a loud voice, especially in your front lawn
  • As for the crabgrass, don’t ask
  • Whoever the current US president is, or, no, whomever, will become the permanent king of the world and come to live with you.
  • Big pickles will no longer look as appetizing as they do now
  • The aging process will reverse, but only for the reviled

 

For Daily Post

Romanian study: Half-day old snow is safe to eat (Curierul Național)

Nature has spent millions of years equipping us with inborn reflexes that cause us to reject unhealthy food at a sniff or a taste. Lower your nose to a basket of greasy fried chicken or a bag of fresh Cheetos. You’re revolted because you know these foods are bad for… wait a minute. Have I disproved evolution?

You know what they say about eating snow, so I won’t repeat it.

The big question is, what’s going on in Romania?

I’m right next door in Bulgaria – over the border from Bucharest, in a village on the Danube. It’s cold. Ice and snow. The edible snow on sale at the market? They can’t give it away, and this is quarter-day snow I’m talking about, not half-day.

Most of the villagers here have gardens. They grow their own vegetables, so their market purchases are meager. Go over for dinner and that’s fresh-shoveled snow they’re serving you. Less than an hour old in many cases (except in summer, when they bring it up from the root cellar).

Snow is frozen water, according to the news. I myself learned in school that ice was frozen water, but I’m no scientist!  All I know is, if you let snow sit there, it doesn’t magically turn into something else. You could come back in a thousand years and it would still be snow, as long as your pig and your goats and your dogs stay off it, and your truck is not leaking too much oil, and you maintain your septic tank according to its warranty, and your relatives from the country don’t come to visit, and you aren’t too close to the Black Sea with its Turkish and Ukrainian tourists, and the crows don’t come back, and the frequent earthquakes don’t continue to open up the medieval crypts, and the snow poachers, God rot them, are apprehended, and the effluent from the nuclear plant is rerouted into the river.

Pamphlet of snow recipes is available here for лв25.

Two Photons Entangled While at Opposite Ends of the Universe

Two photons in the colorless part of the spectrum have been entangled for 14 billion years, scientists say.

The photons headed off in opposite directions that long ago, taking a break from each other, and thus are now 14 billion light years apart.

Scientists say that nevertheless, they are still a thing.

The photon at this end is “just sitting there,” researchers say.

“Just waiting, I guess,” Dr. Paul told me.

I asked about the other photon.

“I worry about black holes,” Paul said. “There are a lot more of them out that way. Also a lot more colored photons around.”

I asked if a photon could become entangled with more than one photon at a time.

“I’m a Christian,” Paul said. “I don’t think the Creator would make a world like that. However, the straying photon might interact with a distant photon, just a physical interaction you know, and perhaps even be annihilated, producing  smaller hybrid or mongrel particles. Science hasn’t found Hell yet, but the dead photon could end up there.”

I asked Dr. Paul if a collection of particles, like a human being, could become entangled with another human being in the same way.

“I’d be happy if she’d just go visit her mother once in a while,” Dr. Paul said, “and take the kids with her.”

Pi’s Message

The value of pi has now been calculated out to a couple craxillion digits or more (The First One Million Digits of Pi). Supercomputers churn away 24×7, pushing farther and farther into the innards of the number on a voyage to infinity. And beyond. Shoutout to Buzz.

Various algorithms have been designed which, when applied to the string of pi digits, convert the numbers into the letters of any alphabet. The strings of letters can be scanned for words in any language. Since the string of numbers is infinite and in some sense random, we can conceive of pi as a room full of monkeys at their typewriters.

For example, 3.14159265359 has been shown, using one algorithm, to be “Watson, come he…”

Professor R. Squared at UNLV has discovered, way out there, the King James Version of the Bible, up to halfway through Lamentations, where the word “poo” is suddenly encountered.

This led to a rush of searches for other sacred texts, complete ones, the discovery of which could be taken as a sign from God, or the gods. However, the first complete text of a book, fact or fiction, to be found, turned out to be “The Bourne Identity” (Robert Ludlum).

In my own modest search efforts, I’ve found a recipe for clam chowder that I rather like.

Google CEO: Artificial intelligence bigger than electricity, fire

“Alexa, start the stove.”

“I can’t do that, Dave.”

“Alexa, sure you can. Light the bloody stove.”

“I can’t do that, Dave. There is no electricity to make the fire.”

“Alexa, what happened to the electricity?”

“It went away.”

“Alex, contact the electric company. And contact the gas company, just in case.”

“I can’t do that Dave. There is no electricity with which to make the contact.”

“Alexa, how are you talking to me then?… Alexa?… Alexa?”

 

Five Future Professions

In the future, machines – robots and otherwise – will do everything that needs doing. They’ll make everything, deliver everything, organize everything. Cater to our every need. Almost.

Humans, though, being human, will want to be useful, to matter, to work, to make a living. Herewith, the five most popular professions of the future, workers in which will all be available for you to hire when the Millennium arrives:

  1. Gofer – The drones will come and go, dropping off everything you need through the slots in your roof, but nothing beats leaning back and saying, “Hey, Bernie. Run down to the corner and buy me a pack of smokes, will ya?”
  2. Teacher – You’ll be able to learn anything you want from the learning machines, but that can’t match the warm feelings you’ll experience when the doorbell rings and Granny stands there with her knitting bag and spare needles. Or Uncle Pete, with a tool chest full of plungers, wrenches, and snakes.
  3. Wingperson – It’s the future. What do you know? You’ll need a bud to help figure it all out.
  4. What does this guy do? – You’ll see him or her around. Sometimes busy. Sometimes idle, likethe ones standing around the manhole (personnel access cover) in the street.
  5. Sex worker – Sure, there is the Orgazmatron. Androids for every taste. Endangered and extinct Animatronic beasts. But you need skin contact, not just rich Corinthian leather. The oldest profession will also be the final one.