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Misc | Contriving

Category Archives: Misc

Sorry about the repeating posts

I had a technical issue there for a few days where posts were getting repeatedly posted 10 or 20 times.  Sorry about that.

It might happen one more time, but then it should be fixed.

eyeballs


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Took this picture today…

It says "Your Hot"

It says "Your Hot"

I was behind this truck today.  I wondered:  “My hot what?”

Herein find out how to survive a nuclear war.

Picture taken of the atomic bombing of Nagasak...
Image via Wikipedia

Michael Anissimov talks about the book, Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny.  Some interesting stuff in there…

Kearny points out that many casualties in a nuclear attack might be due to people running to windows in major cities, looking at the sky lit up by SLBMs, only to be killed by blades of glass when otherwise-survivable ICBMs explode.

Different kinds of sci-fi. Or, why Star Trek barely qualifies for the category.

Science fiction encompasses a huge range of different types of stories.  More than it probably should, really.

Hard science fiction is considered by many purists to be the only true scifi.  In this type of story, all the rules of science are followed, or extrapolated from what is already known.  Sometimes these stories will have a scientific element that doesn’t seem possible, but, in the end, real science drives the narrative.

Some try to draw a difference between scifi novels that feature “softer” sciences like the various social sciences, and the novels that focus on the one true science: physics.  Personally, I’d put both into the same “hard scifi” category, as they’re both based on known science.

Something you’ll come to realize after pondering the above is that the majority of people have never seen a real scifi movie or read a real scifi book.

Take, for example, the new Star Trek movie.  While the general public would classify it as a scifi movie, it has more in common with fantasy stories than science.  Off the top of my head about the only thing in it that is based on real science is the scenes where it goes to dead silence in space (and it isn’t even consistent in that regard).  Most of the rest of the technology is pure fantasy.  This holds true for almost every major scifi-categorized movie.  They’re really just action-fantasy movies.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I think it does give the public a wrong idea of what much of science fiction is about.

One of my favorite hard scifi novels of all time, Rendevous with Rama, may become a movie.  With David Fincher and Morgan Freeman, it would have a good chance of being a credit to the book.  Unfortunately, there are rumors that this project may not happen.

Advice on punishing your kids.

As we have a little girl on the way, I find myself doing a lot of research into parenting methods.  While I’m sure we’re all aware of many of the failures of the “parenting advice industry”, this doesn’t mean that we should just discount all available advice.

What I like about this Slate piece is how it addresses the needs that a parent feels when their child makes them angry.

It’s difficult to work out a satisfying response to flagrant disrespect because you’re typically in the grip of at least four distinct, only partially overlapping, and often conflicting motives: an emotional urge to do something with the anger surging up inside you, a moralistic impulse to dispense justice in proportion to the offense, a social obligation to show yourself and your child and any others who might be watching that you don’t tolerate such behavior, and a practical intent to get rid of the problem so you don’t have to put up with such hassles in the future.

Something I’ve learned in my quest to learn the state-of-the-art in parenting skills is that children are different from each other.  For example:

Khamsa (Fatima's hand) used as a pendant {{es|...
Image via Wikipedia

The Evil Eye: Stare down your child with a dire expression and say nothing.

Immediate: The stare-down is likely to escalate and continue the child’s behavior, and the struggle goes on.

Personally, I can recall immediately falling in line when given the evil eye.  However, a key realization to anyone wanting to learn about … well, anything, really … is not to discount a source because one nugget of information doesn’t jive with your experience.  In this example, perhaps I was an abnormality.  Maybe the vast majority of children don’t respond to the evil eye.  Of course, that is the reason I prefer more scholarly pieces then this one from Slate.  A scholarly journal is likely to contain cites to studies that say, for example, that 77% of children don’t respond to stern looks from their caregivers.

Anyway, enough rambling.  Go read the article, parents.

Get fit with running, sit-ups, and push-ups

Uploaded by: Frank C.
Image via Wikipedia

This past fall I started this running program.

If you’ve done a lot of walking, but you’ve never run before, you might feel a bit intimidated to get out there and start running. This 8-week plan will help you ease into the sport. Before you get started with running, get familiar with how to do the run/walk method.

I’ve been idly looking for something else to do during the cold weather. Via Lifehacker I recently came across these two programs which I’m going to try implementing simultaneously.

one hundred push ups

If you’re serious about increasing your strength, follow this six week training program and you’ll soon be on your way to completing 100 consecutive push ups!

two hundred sit-ups

Think there’s no way you could do this? I think you can! All you need is a good plan, plenty of discipline and about 30 minutes a week to achieve this goal!

No doubt some of you can already do 100 consecutive sit-ups, but let’s face it, you’re in a big minority. Most of you reading this won’t even be able to manage 20 sit-ups. Actually, I’m sure many of you can’t even do 10.

I’ll update with some info as I try to implement these. This quote holds so true for these sorts of goals.

For love of reading

she really did read the impossible-sounding 462 books in 2008. Those 462 books marked a personal record — she’s been keeping a formal list since 2005. Below, she explains what it’s like to be a super-speedy reader.

From the LA Times.

462 books in one year.  Pretty impressive to me.  Granted, she’s a book reviewer so she has more time to read than some of us, but that’s still over a book per day.

One of my goals for this year is to read more.  Bare minimum, I’d like to read one book per week.  Since the 1st of December I’ve read the following:

  • Consider Phelebas by Iain M. Banks
  • The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds
  • The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbet and Kevin J. Anderson
  • The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbet and Kevin J. Anderson

I need to step up the pace a bit…

The US Debt

Mint has a pretty interesting way of visualizing just how much debt the US is in.

We could go on about the trillions of dollars in debt, but numbers that large can feel really abstract. So, let’s take the nation’s spending down to the household scale. The median household pulls in $50,233 per year, the federal government around $3 trillion. Some basic arithmetic will put them in scale.

They include some neat little graphics to help illustrate their points.

It really makes me wonder how much further down the debt road the US can go. It seems like at some point the public has to just cry out “That’s enough!”. Currently the US spends just shy of 10% of it’s annual budget paying the interest on it’s debt!