Basic Math Literacy: Fail

July 28, 2009

Apparently, some idiot political commentator suggested that Canada has higher life expectancy because US has 10 times the population of Canada. Somewhere, someone lost a brain, an earthquake was unleashed, the fires of hell broke loose, and an entire civilization crumbled. Basic math literacy: fail. (hat tip: krugman’s blog)

Solution to Physic with Detective Conan

July 27, 2009

I have finally decided to write the solution for my previous pop quizz which I felt so lazy to write. Although you have to understand, writing math equations is really annoying. And I didn’t practice LaTex for a long time, so I felt apprehensive about it. Plus, I will have to make more diagrams, which is even more annoying. But still, I like physics and math, and I like writing about them. So, before you get to the solution, firstly, if you know high school physics or above, this could be cake for you, but if you want to proceed, you should see the problem in the link I put above first. Note, you may see that in the movie clip, the solution is already there, but I want to clarify it. Have you reviewed it? Good, now here goes the solution: Read the rest of this entry »

Solar Eclipse 2009

July 22, 2009

The longest eclipse of the century already happened. The path it went through was the following:

I found this one pretty picture from the internet:

When more interesting pictures come around, I will update it. I hope my relatives from Korea caught the partial eclipse, although it is doubtful they took a picture… But hey, one can hope! ^_^


I found videos from the blog Visual Astronomy, I will post one of them:


From carnival of space, I got to the blog of astropixie, who posted a very cool solar eclipse video, with a few extras also:

She also posted a very cool picture of the shadow of the moon on Earth, taken by the NOAA:

Plus, a few websites (hat tip from the same blogger)

There are galleries here of the eclipse.

Astronomy picture of the day, a panoramic view.

Also, this blog posted way more extra materials on the solar eclipse than I ever could, so you should check this out too.

Random Videogame Posts

July 21, 2009

Yeah, just random post on videogames which is either funny or interesting.

What videogame characters would Twitter.

Firsts in videogame history.

Famous/repeated game quotes.

First Wii Sports Resort injury recorded. (ouch!)

(Hat tip gonintendo)

Excellent Physics Lectures from Richard Feynman

July 21, 2009

I found it here on the microsoft research web page. Even though there are quiet a few mathematics, many of them are understandable enough. Even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. What matter is that you learn science, and indeed, he makes physics truly interesting. With him, you truly get a sense that nature is both beautiful and crazy. I hope this makes any of you who just have a passing glance at science to be truly interested. ^_^ (hat tip quantum pontiff) And if you are interested in the more advanced stuff, quantum electrodynamics, here is the link which I posted a long time ago.

Moon Day

July 21, 2009

Or at least that is what I like to call the time the first human set foot on the moon. ^_^ We should celebrate this amazing achievement due to centuries of gathered knowledge and the people who made such feats possible. While I made an early celebratory post, I found a few neato stuffs elsewhere.

Firstly, Google put up a celebratory logo!


By the way, the letter l is the footprints, just in case you don’ notice it. Plus, google released the moon in Google Earth feature:

Also, in the NASA webpage, there are plenty of videos on the moon landing, including the remastered ones. I can’t embed them, so I am using the one badastronomy blog uploaded it:

Finally, the coolest one of all, is that a NASA mission, LRO space probe took pictures of the landing sites! Those of you who don’t think it is amazing, think about it. It has only been recently that cameras have gotten good enough to take pictures with that high of a resolution. And you have to remember, the probe is high up above the moon! (around 19-124 miles, yeah, they are that exact) They pretty much imaged all of the Apollo landing sites 11-17 (13 is missing because it never made it, basically there was an explosion mid space, fortunately, they made it back safely). My favorite one is this one from Apollo 14, and you can see why:

Note, future images will have even greater resolutions! Plus, they carried over 1.6 million names to outer space!

This leads me to another thought that makes me sad. Certain people are so hung up over their own ways of thinking that no matter how much evidence and logic you throw at them, they won’t ever budge. Those are of course, the moon hoax conspiracists. Even looking at those pictures, they won’t be convinced, because it is not about the truth, but it is about maintaining such beliefs. Which means they will all be missing the beauty of the natural world, science in all of this, the knowledge that has been gathered, and that will be gathered. The greatest achievement in humanity ever is made and basically, this point in history flies by right past their brains. It is kind of like what MIT physicist and lecturer Walter Lewin says the difference between looking and seeing is. Just observing and saying, “oh, look, it is the moon, awesome” is looking. But there is more to the moon than being round and shiny. Observe closely at the craters, the black areas, and the long history they represent. Watch closely all of those wonderful lunar pheonomena, the phases, how they happen, and how they are inter-related to everything else in this universe. That is indeed truly seeing. For them, though, significance of it is gone, to be replaced by suspicion and mistrust towards the world and the people who worked so hard. It is still bizarre to think that such people exist. Plus, it is sad to think that a person mistrusts the world so much that they have to make things up like these.

Oh, plus, I would like to add my update to the Carnival of Space: 112

Reading List

July 10, 2009

It is summer and so far, I am reading two books.

Firstly, I am reading Broca’s Brain, by Carl Sagan. The book is basically about his reflection on science, knowledge, bamboozlers, religion, etc. Even though each chapter is separate, each one tells fascinating stories of science, pseudoscience, and the people involved in it. I really love the way he conveys ideas in a wonderful and clear manner. It really makes you see the beauty in science, and you can tell he himself loves science. So far, the reading is on hold because I am reading…

Death from the Skies by Phill Plait, AKA the Badastronomer. The basic premise of the book is that the universe is filled with dangers, and they could bring about the end of civilization as we know it. So far, I have only read a few chapters, and even with my large amount of basic astronomical knowledge (which means I don’t know much, really), I learned a lot. So far, I read the asteroid, sun bursts, supernova, gamma ray bursts, and death of the sun chapters, and there are plenty of horrors in each chapter to make you wonder at the humongous forces at play. My favorite chapter so far is the death of the sun. I knew pretty much the basics of it, like the running out of hydrogen fuel, the growth into red giant, the helium fusion, and the eventual demise into a white dwarf. But there was so much more to it than I ever imagined! The first thing I wondered after reading that was: “how the heck did they figure all of that out?!” Because the death of the sun is complex, and epic. It feels like reading a narrative of an epic story that went wrong for the travelers somewhere in the middle, and then the main character suffered a convulsion and blew up. ^_^ Indeed, the death of the sun in the book is as detailed as it can get, and yet, I promise you, this book is understandable to everyone. Basically, it is chock full of science, but it does not compromise the narrative nor its clarity. 

Oh, and a few more things. I like the puns of the book. Someday, I wish to live in a world where people don’t have to apologize for making lame sounding puns. People should appreciate them more. After all, puns are the basis of all humor, right? ^_^

Secondly, this book has a choke full of ideas for disaster novels and fiction. Plus, I feel sorry for the occasional people in the book, since Phil Plait subjects them to the occasional disasters each chapter. Like that poor astronaut who had his consciousness expanded in his last second for the black hole just so that the astronaut and readers could know what would happen.

And lastly, there is a note at the bottom of a certain page that says that the best way to tick off an astronomer is to call them an astrologer. I can relate to that. I was at an FFA end of year dinner, and in a page of one of the leaflets describing the event, it listed all members, the college they were going to, and the major. I want to major in astronomy. And guess what they put right besides my major? If you thought astrology, you got that right. Let’s just say I got really ticked off.