## The Matrix Soundtrack on Piano

October 31, 2009

I just wanted to show you some insane piano playing skill. The soundtrack is from the Merovingian’s chateau fighting scene.

Here is the comparable scene:

(hat tip piano world forum)

## Homeopathy: The Stupid Strikes Back

October 31, 2009

Fear the stupid, fear it:

Stupid has no limits. It especially burns when you know something. And indeed, the following video is like showing a cross to a vampire, except this one is with science and educated people:

Just in case you don’t know, homeopathy basically says that if you imbibe something that caused harm in small amount, it will cure you of whatever you had. I know, it is like saying if you rub feces on you, you will get cleaner. Just doens’t make sense. Orac does a good job deconstructing these things (and hat tip to him for providing this entertaining and painful show). Of course, he focuses in the medicine, but he can also tell something is horribly wrong in her “physics” lecture. He covers the physics part pretty well, but I will go in more details in the physics side of things.. Even if I become Patrick Star stupid after this, I will at least have provided entertainment, so here I go. *gulp*

Note: I am not an expert in physics, but I did make as much as I could with what I knew, and a little research. Any errors, feel free to correct me.

And heh, she says at the beggining that she will “explain” things, heh, “explain,” followed by asking if anyone had chemistry classes. Probably none of them had it, and if they did, they must have failed horribly, or it is the suckiest school ever because as you watch the rest of the tape, you will start wondering what part of all of these were part of physics and chemistry classes.

Notice how she begins by throwing in a famous name? Makes everything seem a little bit oh so credible, doesn’t it. Immediately after mentioning his name, though, she begins to screw with physics and what he actually said. Okay, not so much, it is more of me nitpicking. C squared is speed of light squared, not speed of light. If it were speed of light, then you wouldn’t need that square, would you? But now the mental stuff begins. She claims that if you put all the mass in the universe so that there is no space in between the matter, that it would be the size of a bowling ball. Well, if she means by all the spaces an atom has because of electrons, you only need to look at neutron stars. Neutron stars are so massive that electrons are absorbed by the proton, turning into neutron. It happens to 1.5 solar mass core of  even more massive giant stars. So you see, if the whole universe is squeezed like that, it would certainly be much larger than a city sized neutron star, and then, it would squeeze into a black hole, which is mathematically infinitely small. Of course, mathematics does not reflect reality, but it is super small definitely. If you take account of the event horizon, that is a different story.

But no, the fact that she was wrong on that fact was not why it bothered me. Uh uh. If you keep playing the video, she is implying as if having small volume means that the amount of mass is small. That is incredibly stupid. Look, we are mostly empty space, all right? Because an atom’s size depends on the very small, very far apart electrons. I still weigh 70 kilos regardless! I would weigh 70 kilos even if I shrunk enough so that I become a neutron star. I would weigh 70 kilos even if I became a black hole, albeit a super small black hole. If you squeeze a cotton ball, there is  still the same amount of cotton. Volume doesn’t matter, only the amount of stuff matter. You still have to take account of the stuff.

And then she makes an even a larger leap of logic. She then claims that since mass occupies a small volume, the term mass(m) of e=mc^2 becomes infinitely small, and what is left is e=c^2! Ow, ow, I got brain fever. What a horrible abuse of math and physics. Firstly, as I said before, mass does not change! Secondly, if you make the limit of mass to zero, then it might as well become zero value. And if you multiply 0 value by c^2, guess what? E=0! Also, how does the unit m^2/s^2 makes sense? That is speed squared, not energy. Energy has the units kg*m^2/s^2. What e=mc^2 do say, though, is that if, say, you turn a paperclip into pure energy, it will probably explode with the power of a nuclear bomb. Tiny little mass=BIG BOOM! And even if there were a gazillion times more energy in the universe (well, there is dark energy, but that is a different story) than energy stored as matter, it doesn’t change the fact that those matter exist.

Then she mentions the fact that vision is important because energy=C^2. I don’t get it. More importantly, of course having “vision system” is important! We would die without the ability to sense our way around. We evolved that way. Life adapts to nature, and natural selection did the best it could by selecting genes for eyes. I don’t know who “Hanneman” is, but I strongly suspect I know why scientists didn’t fall in his camp (clue: he was wrong).

Afterwards comes another abuse of physics, this time throwing unceremoniously the name Stephen Hawkings. Can someone go to her and tell her to research things at least a little bit, or consult with a physicist, a little, at least, or something. Stephen Hawkings did not invent string theory, funnily enough (check year 1970). He is known for his work on black holes and Hawkings radiation, so I don’t know how someone came up with that connection. Anyways, string theory doesn’t say that there are whole other particles out there that are like strings. It states that those particles are made out of those strings, which vibrate at certain frequency (or was it wavelenght?). Different frequencies corresponds to different particles. And no, those strings are subatomic, so it doesn’t affect the macroscopic except the fact that normal matter is made of them. When she mentions that strings vibrating is energy, e=c^2… More research, ma’am, more research. The internet is awefully convenient for that, you know.

Then she goes on to the connection of physics and biology. Again, she makes the statements which I addressed before, cells are still made of mass, even if it is mostly empty space! And the fact that atoms are mostly empty doesn’t matter at this large scale either. She then talks of breaking the cells into energy, like protons, electrons, neutrons… Wait a minute… That is what atoms are made out of, and atoms are matter! *facepalm* With that logic, she says we are made of energy. Physics class indeed, physics class. With that comes the most incredible piece of stupid in the video yet, just when I thought it couldn’t get stupider. She declares we are energy and that diseases are caused by changes in energy state, like turning chemical energy into heat or something, except something else. Well, there goes germ theory of disease. People, I present to you a most puzzling and curious specimen, a germ theory denialist in the 21st century. Of course, she isn’t denying the germ theory only, since not all diseasees are due to germs, she is ignoring the basics of all biology, pretty much.

Okay, here comes the apex (or nadir, the bottom, if you will) of illogic of the whole piece, which doesn’t make sense even if all her other premises were true: We are energy, disease is caused by energy change, so to cure disease, you have to change it into a prevous state… by using the same stored energy that caused the bad thing to happen. All of it with the analogy of throwing a bomb to a neighbor’s house because a dog pooped in your home. Yup, even if her bad science were true, it doesn’t make sense. It is like saying that you can quench thirst by drinking salt water because salt water causes thirst. And all of that comes along with bad analogy. She is holding no punches back.

The rest is just the whole vibration/energy bull, along with an anecdotal story. If you know anything about standards of evidence, anecdotes are bad evidence. Primarily because human judgment and memories are unreliable. Which is why in a court of law, if you only have eyewitness, but no material evidence, you are screwed.

Oh, and one last comment on energy. You can’t just use energy as if it were something. It exists, that is for sure. Matter turns to energy, energy turns to matter. But mostly, energy is in a form like motion, stored due to position, or as light itself, all being work due to force. So saying we are all made out of energy is… Well, in a way we are because matter is basically condensed energy, but other than that, energy is an abstract concept relating motion with a number, and in case of light, wavelenght with a number, the numbers being energy. And using that number, we can calculate all sorts of things about that motion, and that number is conserved throughout the whole thing. Indeed, this is something that physicist Richard Feynman explains very well.

Now that this mega piece of deconstruction is done, I will end with one last note. “Dr.” Werner, I have never heard so much nonsense concentrated in such a short amount of time. I believe she deserves the accolade of, as the young people say these days (yikes, I am 19 and I already feel old ), “ignunt” of the month.

## Dear Vaccine Scaredycats (A Patronizing Personal Letter to Vaccine Misinformers)

October 27, 2009

As you all know, seasonal flu is coming around, and with it, the danger of swine flu. If you are informed on this, you know it can be a fatally serious disease. Then why did I hear from my brother, who got back from high school, that supposedly the vaccines were not safely tested when it was FDA approved? Considering that high school is a public space, it would be pretty useful if everyone was in on the vaccination program because you know, bad luck if that one sneeze sends droplets of virus infested mucus all over. Unless, of course, if you belive that the government and pharmaceutical companies are in a conspiracy to take over the world, and that the scientists are just souless machines that are in on it, not caring whether they themselves or their families get sick.  And please, don’t listen to those idiotic news media which likes to create manufactroversy just to get stories and sell them to drooling idiots all over the country. You don’t want to be part of them, do you?

Whatever the case is, look, for vaccines to work, you need a lot of people to get vaccinated in order to create herd immunity because if we don’t get herd immunity, the disease will spread like falling dominoes. So get educated, stop spreading lies or misinformation, and be actually productive to society!

Unsincerely,

IBY

## For The Love of Water

October 25, 2009

GrrlScientist recently posted a series of videos from the movie Flow: For The Love of Water. It is about how human activity is affecting the water supply available to us humans, and looking at this, things don’t look good. The first step towards solving any problem, of course, is being aware of the problem, so I suggest you see this excellent documentary. Here is part one:

Considering how large these problems seem, I wonder whether humanity has the will and tools to solve them. Frankly, I am slightly pessimistic, but we will see… We will see…

## A Few Links to Start the Day

October 23, 2009

Firstly, a blogroll, I found a good blog dedicated to challenging global warming denialism.

A lot of time, I hear people comparing science to religion. I don’t think science is a religion, and this person explains it perfectly. (hat tip primate diaries)

Also, can you believe it? Oprah talks about Denmark, its really good social situation, and  the fact that atheism might not be that bad.

Finally, there is the infuriating situation in Nigeria in which the rise of evangelical Christian is causing a witch hunt, specifically, children. Absolutely unfuckingbelieveable. What time period is this, the 13th century? Whatever happened to reality and the following lesson: you can’t trust a religious leader? Because like always, they are trying brainwash people in order to advance themselves, and they don’t care how they do it. Really, religion being a good force in the world. People always tell me that morality comes from God. It makes a stupid little difference if you believe in a god or not, if you are a piece of crap of a human being, you are a piece of crap, and I don’t care what you believe or how much it hurts your feelings. These sort of things is the reason why I care so much about rationality, skepticism, and reality. If you know what is real, you know what is harmful, and what is not, you are aware that doing certain things won’t do anything. You are able to navigate the world in the most beneficial way possible. You don’t use the stupid argument that superstition comforts you. Comfort my ass, if you want comfort  for the expense of everyone else, then such comfort is not worth it. The following video, oh I love it so much. The news analyst explains precisely why we need to explain things based in facts, why education and science is important in curbing superstition, and stresses the importance that we base our actions on what is real! Especially, he points to the fact that having beliefs that are not true, you enable such mode of uncritical thinking, which spreads like a virus, reaching moronic people who in turn brainwash others. We need more analysts like him who are able to defend skepticism and reality like that. So, credits to Cenk.

## Cave Hole On Mars

October 22, 2009

That is right, a shalower, more accessible cave was discovered on the surface of Mars by HiRise. And scientists, being scientists, sees it as an oportunity to explore Mars further. Of course, scientists knew caves already existed on Mars, it’s just that the other caves were no good for exploration. Anyways, here is another cool image of Mars, the cave news was an excuse for me to put up these images. ^_^

Oh, and just for another gratuitous Mars image, and Astronomy Picture of the Day:

## The October Astronomy Club Meeting

October 22, 2009

This month, they got to show the Galileoscope, as you can see the picture below:

According to the review (the picture below this paragraph), it is a decent sized telescope with good packaging. The joke went around that the really crappy supermarket telescopes have on their package always an advertisement saying how magnified it is, while at the same time having a Hubble picture on their sides. So the fact that they showed a good approximation of what the scope could do on the package was a good sign. It turns out that the viewing itself is pretty decent, you can see Jupiter, the cloud bands, and its moons, heck, you can even see Uranus. Also, it is a good educational moment, since you have to construct the telescope yourself from the various parts, so one can get a better understanding of the working of a telescope. Oh, and the lens is made of actual glass, while  the eyepiece has plastic lens. I just want to throw that out. Overall, it is a good scope for children and begginers. The downside is that it doesn’t come with a tripod, and it won’t hold well in a cheap tripod. But le’ts face it, there is only so much you can do with 20\$, and considering the price, they did pretty well.

Say, looking at this picture, isn’t the fact that I attend the club is a bit awkward? The meeting is full of old people, and around three young ones, including myself. And I am the youngest whippersnapper there, being 19 years old. I want more young people into science! ^_^

And finally, there was the hour long presentation, showing how astronomers eventually got to know the composition and lifecycle of stars, which also required the fundamental understanding of atoms. The man of the picture above is Bunsen, you know, of the bunsen burner fame. Also, it turns out that the man presenting this has also worked with one of the guys presented in there (don’t remember which one). Hearing the presentation, I thought it was amazing the way all of these people working separately were connected in one form or the other, almost as if they were all working on the same problem without knowing it. It is somewhat six degrees of separation-ish. Plus, sometimes, there were people who got the same result working separately, which happens often in science. Which is a good thing, of course, it tells us that reality is self consistent. Overall, it showed science as a process that got closer and closer to describing reality, often plagued with dead ends, egos, and personality clashes. Although it showed more of the latter two, the human aspect of things, the dead ends were rarely shown. But frankly, I think science classes has to show the human side of things more often, and this presentation succeded well.

## On The Limit of Poe’s Law (of which there isn’t any)

October 21, 2009

Often times, I like to think of Poe’s Law of absurdity, which according to rationalwiki: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing”

Another way to describe it is:

As limit of fundamentalism approaches infinity,

$A_{fundamentalism}=A_{satire}$

A being the absurdity values.

I know I know, putting it in math notation is useless, but I like math expressions. ^_^

Although I don’t think it has to be necessarily a fundamentalist idea, but any idea so absurd as to render satire meaningless. But then again such ideas seem to be fundamentalist in nature, so I come back full circle. Such ideas are inherently fundamentalist, I guess. That is the thing about extremist views, though. It does exactly what satire does, it takes a horrible premise,  and takes its logic to the furthest extreme possible, which is why satire and fundamentalist views are so similar. This is something slacktivist writes much better than I do, so I recommend you go there.

The reason I am doing this post is that I have been thinking hard about this. It seems like there truly is no limit to the absurdity that people will go through in order to maintain their belief. For some reason, this disturbs me greatly. Especially because I can’t understand their mindset, I can’t empathize, there is no way for me to see their point of view. It feels completely unphysical, as if something so absurd as that shouldn’t exist, and yet, they do. Take the following video, for example, of Colbert “supporting” Glenn Beck:

In that video, Colbert, which is a satire, compares Beck’s own performance to his. See how eerie it is to see Colbert compares himself to Beck? Beck feels and looks like a satire. The thing is, if Beck is dishonest and he is lying about his sincerity, that just makes him another Poe, albeit a dangerous one. You see, there are millions who watch Beck, and believe it is actual news. Can you see how astonishing that is? It implies that people are watching actual satires, and thinking that is news. Even if Beck is sincere, the implication of such is disturbing. The masses are unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, finding comfort in maintaining their beliefs, acting selfishly at the expense of others. Also, the thing is, there are tons of other people who support crazy right wing policies like him, not only from the general public, but people at the position of authority. Plus, when you find that there are people who think that a measly 2 ton spacecraft can alter the orbit of a giant ball of rock, I can’t help it, but find myself depressed.  And that is the kind of situation we find ourselves in 21st century America.

Look at the following video, it is something you can’t possibly make up:

Once again, if you take Republican logic of voting against the bill that would prevent rape in defense contractor workplaces to its full extent, yes, they are supporting rape, or they just don’t care. Such position is so indefensible, it is a wonder that they are not being fired at this very moment. At this time, I come wondering, what if not only is the absurdity of fundamentalism=satire, what if there is no singularity, what if fundamentalist absurdity is so ridiculous it can’t possibly be a satire? Because if it were a satire, it would be such a ridiculously unclever satire. Or it could be a point in which the fundamentalist idea reaches to the absurdity before a satirist even has a chance, or even beats the full extent of the ridiculous outcome of the satire.  in which case, we are almost there. I call that hypothetical point the Poe’s equillibrium. It is like a black hole’s event horizon, or the chandrasekhar’s limit, it is extremely hard to reach, but once there, the results are quiet explosive (spaghettification AKA rack extremo and supernova, respectively).

Of course, there is a cure for all of that, and that is a good education and skepticism. Unfortunately, those doesn’t seem to be a high priority for these people, and they delightfully relish in their ignorance. Ignorance is good, knowledge is bad. After all, experts are just corporate shills. Who needs experts when you have got the “University of Google.” Irony escapes them because while accusing others of being shills, they themselves are shills, gaining money using bogus facts and evidence.

Seriously, humanity can’t get any more disappointing.

## Bill Maher and the Antivaccine Idiocy

October 17, 2009

If you know me, which you probably don’t, then you know that I am a staunch defender of science and reason, and extremely allergic to pseudoscientific idiocy. Especially those that threatens the life of people, and antivaccine woo woo is one of those. And so, I am here to make you aware of one in particular, Bill Maher. Considering that he is a well known liberal comedian, he has an enormous potential for damage. So, I will take you to Orac’s post against Maher, who deconstructs him argument by argument far better than I ever will, considering that he knows on the subject far better than I ever will. And the thing about Maher, while he supports a lot of good liberal agendas, it seems like he doesn’t come to those conclusions in any intelligent manner at all. What I mean is that he is a liberal just for the sake of being liberal. What makes me suspect such a thing is that he supports the HPV vaccine. Now, that is like being against every dessert and pastry in the world, but then coming out and supporting chocolate. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? But then again, chocolate is special.

## Astronomy Links of the Day

October 16, 2009

Carnival of space 124.

National geographic: Space missions throughout history:

Another pretty Hubble picture of colliding galaxies:

Oh, and today, there was this really cool meteor falling on Earth, and there are very cool pictures of it:

If you go and lood at all of them, you will see it breaking into pieces as the atmostphere of the Earth compress and heats it up. (hat tip badastronomy)