Words cannot express the magnificence of MC (Stephen) Hawking (and here's the home page.)
I'm back from the Electronic Entertainment Expo! And I didn't bring back just a nasty chest cold from Los Angeles, either. No sir, I have fully established my geek credentials and so I feel entitled to give you the following E3 impressions:
I'm off to E3, so service will resume on Sunday, May 26 (and I probably won't be able to answer any email until then.) See you later.
Geocaching is something straight out of a David Brin novel, I swear to Betsy: cheerfully decentralized abuse of technology (in this case, GPS receivers) for a purpose its creators never intended (in this case, treasure hunting.) I'm not complaining, mind you.
As long as I'm linking to science fiction writers, here's my favorite, Jack McDevitt. I note that he has a new book coming out in July. Ooo.
It's Architecture Day: here's the new Greater London Authority building, now in its later stages of construction, and a design taking shape for rebuilding 7 World Trade Center.
Hooray for arms control, of course, but I can't help but notice that W. talks like a badly translated Japanese video game. "When I sign the treaty with President Putin in Russia, it will begin the new era of U.S.-Russian relationships," Bush commented. "Launch all F-18! For great justice!"
Your run of the mill hollow-earth theory suggests that vast openings exist at the North and South Poles, through which an interior "shell" of the Earth, with continents on the inside and an artificial sun at the center, is accessible -- this interior being, of course, chockablock with lost civilizations, dinosaurs, evil robots and other such Doc Savage stuff. More audacious hollow-earthers have proposed that the continents and oceans of Earth -- the ones you're living on right now -- are actually on the inside of a shell drifting through space. The sun and planets move cunningly about in the center of the shell to give the illusion of the orbits we know and the stars, of course, are the lights of cities on the other side.
Now that's all good as far as it goes, but it lacks a certain punch. But I was impressed when I read a Martin Gardner article about Mostafa Abdelkader's "Geocosmos," which neatly dispenses with all the tricky orbital mechanics. By performing a geometric inversion with respect to the sphere of the Earth, a model of the universe can be constructed where all of infinite space -- hundred billion galaxies, quasars, cosmic background radiation and all -- is located inside the seven-thousand-mile-across shell of Earth. Light rays follow corkscrew paths, the speed of light varies with distance from the sphere's center, objects leaving Earth's surface become smaller and smaller as they rise into the sky, und so weiter; and the thrillingest part is, it's completely unfalsifiable! It's rather a breathtaking vision when you stop to think about it. There isn't quite a page on the Web devoted to Abdelkader's theory (which surprises me, actually) but an academic paper in Microsoft Word format with some excellent details and clarifying figures is located here; skip about two-thirds down or search for Abdelkader's name. Or if you like, there's Google's rather freeform HTML rendering here.
I was going to tell you about the smiley-face bomber and eternal spam lists and aerogel, but, uh, maybe I should just refer you to USS Clueless today instead and save myself the trouble, huh?
For anyone out there who likes lists of random quotes with obscure connotations, I've noted down all the tag lines from the old not-exactly-a-weblog I used to have on my site. So, you know, there you are.