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Odd Lots

  • Yes, I’ve been lax on posting, but we’ve taken a short vacation with Carol’s family, and I’m reading PDFs of the finished pages in my book, for reasons that I don’t need to go into here. I have lots to post about, but little time or energy to do it. Bear with me.
  • Our new puppy now weighs five pounds and is going on eleven weeks old. He still hasn’t told us his true name, but we’ve suggested Dash, Pascal, Dover (think “White Cliffs of”) and two dozen other things, and all he wants to do is chew on Carol’s slippers. At least he’s learned to use the potty pad, a trick Aero never quite mastered.
  • You can help classify galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey over at the Galaxy Zoo, which is one of the coolest crowdsourcing apps I’ve ever seen. You don’t have to know anything about astronomy to classify galaxies, but people who are passionate about galaxies may find the process less boring.
  • Anyone who has ever killed time with Conway’s Game of Life has got to see this video, of a spaceship gun: a large, complex GoL pattern that generates moving “spaceship” automata that then crawl away toward the right. The gun seen from a height looks stable and in its own way beautiful, but at higher magnification it’s full of furious activity, almost like a chaotic Pac Man game. How such things are designed escapes me completely, but this makes me wonder what larger and even more complex GoL structures exist and have not yet been designed. (Discovered?) Thanks to David Stafford for the link.
  • David’s hot this week: He also sent a link to an extremely intriguing article suggesting a different sort of cosmic cycle: After the Big Bang, time began running, but then gradually slows down until it stops. At that point, what had been the time dimension becomes a new space dimension, and (presumably) the whole thing blows up again with a brand-new time dimension, as a richer and in some respects more mature cosmos. Shades of Stapledon’s Star Maker.
  • Although we’re still seeing TV spots by the late, great (ok, loud) Billy Mays, Mays has an heir-apparent: Vince Offer, who has begun to saturate off-peak Weather Channel ad space with pitches for Sham Wow and the resurrected Blitzhacker, now unfortunately called Slap Chop in the US. (Carol and I had one thirty years ago, and it was indeed useful.) Mays had a certain goofy warmth about him. Vince, well, he’s just…scary.
  • “Sheesh, this thing is ancient! If it breaks, where am I going to find another?”

One Comment

  1. Aki says:

    Time is just an illusion, says a British physicist Julian Barbour.

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