I am a nerd

I recently gained access to a whole bunch of episodes of various Star Trek show (TOS, TNG, DS9) and have started watching some of the TOS episodes. This admission in and of itself lays a path out for me, but I've been finding a whole lot of scientific anomalies in what's going on. The errors that I'm finding are not the "you can't travel faster than light" kind, or super fantastic astrophysics errors, but the simple science kinds, like how NaCl acts chemically. On one hand, I feel good because I know all this science and am a little disappointed that the errors exist in Star Trek, and, on the other hand, I feel like a complete nerd for noticing things like this.

I guess that it's a good thing that I don't really mind being a nerd sometimes.

Achilles: The Movie

I saw Troy last night and I was both amused and very disappointed. I came into the thing expecting them to cut out a great deal of stuff, but I wasn't expecting them to go about completely rewriting the majority of it and changing the characters themselves. Worst of all, though, is that they decided to pretty much write out the vast majority of the hero contingent of the Trojan War. Basically, the movie was loosely based on the concept of the Trojan War and has relatively little to do with The Iliad. Besides my disgust, I thought that it was rather well done and if they had chosen to title the movie Achilles: The Movie, I would have been totally cool with the whole thing (the The Movie part is rather key).

Story: 2/5
Quality: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Action: 5/5
FX: 5/5
Accuracy: 1/5
Pacing: 2/5

Overall: 3/5

Prophecies are always self-fulfilling

Last night I saw the American Repertory Theatre's rendition of the Greek classic Oedipus. I already knew the story but that made rather little difference; the performance was spectacular. The play itself relies heavily on a variation of the concept of foreshadowing, specifically by making everything so blatantly obvious that it almost hurts (it's an amazing technique that works very well). This particular rendition of Oedipus adds a great deal of strange stylistic bits to the play. It was kinda weird and very good; I highly recommend it, especially if you've got a student ID and can get the cheap, student, day-of-show tickets.

Got a job at the MBL

I got myself a job for the summer working on a big web development thing at the MBL in Woods Hole, MA. The project I'm working on involves the development of a huge information system that serves information about various organisms (theoretically all of them eventually). My involvement is two-fold: phase one is to hack an information exchange protocol into the existing system (which is a huge mess that has been hacked together over the past few years), phase two is to work with a few other people (one or two I think) to completely rebuild the whole system in a modular and clean matter. It looks like it will be a pretty interesting project and it will give me something to do with my time (and some money too).

Tootsie Roll Pop: How Many Licks?

I have recently been conducting research in the field of Tootsie Roll Pops and have become quite enamored with the question of how many licks it takes to reach the center. I have taken a systematic approach and begun research in an attempt to answer the question. I am also in the process of writing a scientific paper on the matter. Feel free to read the paper in its current form, but I stress that it is a work in progress and that data is currently not sufficient to be reliable. If you or anyone else would be willing to conduct tests and provide me with data I would be greatly appreciative for the extra data points.

NPR and The Flaming Lips

I noticed a funny thing earlier today as I was listening to NPR (I think that I was listening to talk of the nation specifically). Between show segments they play little bits of music and one of the little bits of music that they played was from one The Flaming Lips' songs. Hearing The Flaming Lips and then realizing that it was NPR just reaffirmed my view that somebody out there has good taste in music (it was a good piece and I've also heard them play lots of other good music in their interludes).

National Gas Boycott or something like that tomorrow

This recently came in through AIM channels:

May 19th is national gas boycott day. With gas prices on the rise, something must be done to send a message to the gas companies. If no one in America buys gas on the 19th the gas companies will lose an estimated $45 MILLION dollars! If you're not happy with paying over $2.00/gallon please do not buy gas on May 19th. Please re-post this so that it will be able to reach as many people across the country as possible.

I guess that means don't buy gas tomorrow. A little late in tossing the post out what with the boycott tomorrow. Mind you, I haven't verified the statistics so don't yell at me if they're wrong and if it matters to you, check them yourself. I don't really know if it'll do anything but we can all go one day without purchasing gas, so why not?

The Outback at the end of the term

We (my friends and I) have this great tradition of going to The Outback Steakhouse at the end of every term and it's a nice tradition because the food is good and the company is better. I don't have very many more comments on the matter except in so far as to say that it never fails, in going to restaurants with a bunch of friends, that we always fail to have enough money to pay the bill and I have to chip in extra. This time I paid at least $10 more than I owed; what used to be a minor hassle has turned into something that really irritates me. Max had the bright idea of having someone play the role of bill dictator (sort of a Stalin for the dining group's Russia) and I am inclined to suspect that in so doing we would get the money together faster and I wouldn't have to shell out so much extra. Allow me to make the point that money is dirty and that it, alone, can cause me to become irritated with a group of my friends just points to its evil. My irritation passes quickly and this is mainly just a rant about how that pisses me off and I am going to look for ways of preventing it from happening in the future.

Irritation aside, man oh man, did I overeat. My insides are in a horrible state of feeling bad and spectacular all at the same time. I'm sure plenty other people understand what it's like to grossly overeat; that's what I did, but I'd do it all again if given the choice (and I will at the end of next term).

Mosquitoes

I love spring and almost everything that it has to offer, but there is one thing about spring that I simply abhor: mosquitoes. There was once a time when the little buggers didn't bother me, though I don't know if that was truly the case or is simply the way that I remember it. Life is a funny thing when you think about all the things that you have done and that at one time it was the present. No, life's not funny, time is. I was originally going to write about the seasons and mosquitoes but I think that I'd rather wax philosophical about time, so I'm going to.

About the only thing that any of us can say about time is that it passes. Though that's really all we can say, we don't need to say it in so few words. The present is something that is ever present but can never be caught. The moment you think that you've laid hold of the present, it's already the past. We know that there once was a present, but that's only through memory and if you really try to delve down in your own head sometimes you can almost relive memories as though they were just happening. The problem is that the almost bit is the key bit; memory is like an analog recording--technically is one--and every copy is worse than the last. That is all that memories are, an imperfect copy of what was once the present. The duality of the present, in that it never is but always has been and in that it always is and always shall be, is an odd duality, but if one considers how many odd dualities there are in all of reality (I wanted to use the words nature, life, the universe, existence and a few others here, but realistically have to choose one so I went with being but then realized that reality was a better one and changed it after I finished this parenthetical explanation [I also changed the tense of the second word of the greater parenthetical from want to wanted because that tense seemed more appropriate once I had finished]). I apologize if you found the parenthetical of the previous sentence to be cumbersome, but, when I get myself thinking about time, I can get recursive like that. In the case of most dualities it is possible to see things from either one of the two sides but rarely to see both sides at the same time (ex. those optical illusions that have an old woman and a young woman, IHTFP [MIT students and alum will understand], the radiation of our sun, etc.). All of my life I have seen time from the side that says that the present has always passed and is in memory; I wonder if it is possible to see time from the other side of the duality.

There is a part of me that would like to know what it is to see the present as something that always is, if it was even for just a brief moment. There is another part of me, a stronger part of me, that worries that if I ever experienced such a moment it would be so spectacular that I would spend the rest of my life seeking to relive it. That last sentence made me wonder something perhaps a little more frightening, if one managed to see the present as something that always is, it might not be possible to return to seeing the present as something that's always passed or it might be too glorious to ever return. Of course, it's probably better not to be frightened by the idea, but it's probably good not to search for it either.

So, in short, time's funny and I have a real distaste for mosquitoes.