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Showing posts from January, 2009

Formatting Failings

Attention all readers, few though you may be:

The primary reader of this blog (me) today discovered that ALL my past articles have had their formatting seriously messed up. A few weeks ago I started having problems with getting line breaks to work properly in articles as I posted them, but now those problems seem to have come to all my archives, which are now bunched up single paragraphs - each and every one of them.
Idealistically, one can say that it's my words that matter and people will read through idiotic internet formatting. One can also say that my archived articles don't matter that much. I still want my blog to look correct though, so I'm upset. I am now going to be trying to use identation more instead of line breaks - so please, just sympathize with me as I try to correct these problems.
Correction: Actually it seems this plague has only selectively destroyed line breaks. I'm still mad though.

Particle Physics: Priorities?

In a strange series of coincidental events on Tuesday, my dad and I listened to the wonderful people of Coast to Coast while we drove back home from a soccer game. The topic of discussion was the Large Hadron Collider - the largest machine in the world - built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, abbreviated CERN. (If anyone informs me as to why the hell it's abbreviated CERN, I will give them major kudos.) The LHC is supposedly going to explore the tiniest properties of matter ever explored by man by crashing atoms together in its big underground magnetic tube machine. Coast to Coast was on the topic, obviously, because of the risk of black holes being generated that would destroy the earth.

Upon returning home I turned to PBS - the best TV channel ever invented - which was showing a film about Fermilab, the LHC's American competitor, and the race within particle physics to find these smallest particles of matter using these huge experiments. Obviously this coin…

Political Alignment

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I've always enjoyed measuring my political alignment with various online polls, and this latest one I've found is unique because it measures a person on a more uniquely American scale. Sure it's set in the context of the election that now seems long over, but I still think it'd be fun to check.

http://www.electoralcompass.com/

I was actually much closer to Obama than I anticipated, which is somewhat disappointing, since in reality his pragmatism will likely continue to divulge from my own idealism as his term continues. On the other hand, there are some things that really make me think that the crazy conservatives might be right: maybe Obama really is a big lefty who's just been hiding it in front of the American public. I shall hold out hope.

Then I took this British poll, which is interesting because it hass one simple left/right axis but then also has a pragmatic/idealistic axis. I was pretty far left, of course, but then I was barely an idealist, which is pretty …

Redecorating and Making a "Random" List

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Those of you reading this who have been to this blog before will most assuredly have noticed that the colors have changed. I do like the combination of blue and green; those have been the dominant colors here many times before. Just as with other changes, however, I went through several different combinations to arrive at this point. The first was red white and blue, using the exactly specified colors of the U.S. flag, but I disliked the red. Then I went to an Alaska-themed blue and gold, which in turn transitioned to blue, green and blueberry-purple, which now is only changed so that there's a bit of gold put back into the mix. There are six different colors specified by me making up the theme for the blog now, which is probably more than there's ever been for an extended amount of time. I assume I'll keep this theme for an extended amount of time, but if you have any objections go ahead and let me know. With as limited a readership as I have, you the reader should feel y…

Sweet Land of Liberty

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Yes, the inauguration of President Barack Obama is a testament to the freedom we enjoy in this nation. It's a testament to our democracy, our fair elections, our smooth transitions of power, etc. Every inauguration is - assumedly. (Note to the people who make the spell-checker in this word processor: assumedly is a word!)

Despite this, I find myself slightly confused when I've heard people say that this inauguration has somehow made us more free or will give us more liberty. As far as I'm concerned, however you think about the state of liberty in this country, the situation will probably remain pretty unchanged with President Obama.

There is the commonly held belief that we have a large abundance of freedom here in the United States. I acknowledge that comparatively this is a pretty great country to live in, but to believe that all the flowery ideas written about freedom throughout our history have ever been reality in that history (or our present) is to deny the frequent …

Let Freedom Ring!

Today is possibly my favorite holiday of the year. Actually it is. I don't even care that I still have to go to school; in fact that's good since I plan on posting a bunch of MLK quotes around the halls and playing "I Have a Dream" on the announcements. Well, I think I'll play the last five minutes of it. Here is the historic speech in its entirety: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Lengthen Your Shower, Save an Ocean

If there is one place in the world with a limitless supply of clean fresh water, it's Ketchikan, Alaska. Even so, in these last few months I've taken up one habit in particular that I think has probably saved a large amount of water: I've taken longer showers.Now, if you're a typical American, which I usually am, you probably take a pretty substantial shower pretty much every day. What I've been doing is quite simple; I only turn the water on when I need it. Basically it goes like this: Turn on water for a bit. Turn it off. Soap.  Shampoo. Turn on water for a bit. Turn it off. Condition (if necessary). Turn on water once more (if necessary). Turn it off. Now that may seem a little complicated, and indeed it will probably lengthen your shower, but showering does use up quite a bit of water, so think about what you could be saving with one simple habit.

Bill Moyers for the Win (A Serious Discussion of the Situation in Gaza)

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I use the above title in jest, although Bill Moyers is obviously an incredible journalist deserving of much kudos. In reality, there is no "win" in the situation in Gaza and in Israel. Here is a link to a video of some of Moyers' recent commentary, which I can almost unequivacally endorse and certainly can recommend for you to watch - that is, after all, why I am placing it here.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/01/bill_moyers_reflects_on_middle.html
Today there was a post on the Moyers' TV show's website detailing a letter sent to Bill and his response. 
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/01/exchange_between_bill_moyers_a.html
Again, I have to say, Moyers for the win. Or rather, I should say "Moyers for the truth." He may not be speaking it exactly - the truth is after all an abstraction of perfection - but he is certainly seeking it. You should too. Personally, I cannot say who is more to blame for the violence in Gaza. I don't t…

"And Then There Were None"

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This is an amazing and humorous short story. Please take my recommendation to read it if you have the time. If you're reading this blog, in all liklihood you do.

Enjoy!

- Peter, the Publisher

Image: "Yes I mean you!" (I think I may be building a theme here with hand pictures...)

Attention: Your Civil Liberties Have Been Violated

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Transportation Security AdministrationU.S. Department of Homeland Security Notificacion Para Inspeccion... Wait that's the wrong side.  Today I got a pleasant note from the government. I expected my baggage to simply be transported by the airlines, but it also received a complimentary re-packing. Here is their loving note to me, in italics, in its entirety. (Bold is mine.) Transportation Security Administration U.S. Department of Homeland Security I love how it becomes the homeland when we're destroying its very foundation. Notice of Baggage Inspection To protect you and your fellow passengers, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is required by law* to inspect all checked baggage. As part of this process, some bags are opened and physically inspected. Your bag was among those selected for physical inspection. I don't know how "physical inspection" of my bag protects me or my fellow passengers, but I guess that's just an idea we have to accept for the s…