December 30, 2011

Life lessons from a little man


       1)      If you stay focused on your goal, nothing hurts – he eyes a toy under the table, bangs his head on everything to get there, but arrives without complaint.
       2)      Love knows no boundaries – he will hug a real dog, a toy dog, and even a picture of a dog.
3)      Love yourself – when he looks in the mirror, he never complains, only smiles. When he sees a picture of himself, he always looks good.
4)      When life gets hard, take a nap and everything will be better.
5)      Everything can be a toy. You can make a game out of anything.
6)      Milk does a body good – he’s huge.
7)      Failure is no reason to fear – he falls down the stairs and within a minute or two is crawling back up with a smile.
8)      Busy is better than bored. If there isn’t a mess to clean up, make one.
9)      Sunlight is better than incandescent or fluorescent.
10)   Movies are cool in moderation – he can’t sit still staring at a screen for more than ten minutes, then it is time to do something else.


December 29, 2011

How to teach kids the true meaning of Christmas

Here's an ingenious idea I saw the other day.
The card ornaments are gifts to Jesus from kids. A picture of the nativity is on one side.
The other side is decorated to look like a present. Every time a child does a good deed for someone, he/she gets to hang another gift on the tree.

This is a good way to teach kids that Christmas is about giving and serving God. When they help others, they help God.

"[W]hen ye are in the bservice of your cfellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
 - Mosiah 2:17, The Book of Mormon 

The ornaments were made out of pass along cards from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but any picture of Jesus could work.

December 23, 2011

Dear Santa: My invention wish list



1.       Transition contact lenses. And the transition part only covers the pupil, so you don’t look freakish. I hate squinting, but I don’t care much for sunglasses. I would pay big money for a pair of transition contacts! If they already exist, they seriously need to become more widely available.

Imagine these guys, carbonated.
2.       Carbonated gummy bears. Carbonated ice cream. I know at least the latter already exists. I’ve tried it. It was ridiculously good. But that was in a lab a few years ago... Why hasn’t that deliciousness hit supermarket shelves yet?

3.       A stoplight remote. For the times when you don’t exist as far as traffic sensors are concerned.

4.       An everything-reader. Books on tape are the bomb. But not every book is on tape. I am looking for something I can plop in front of any text and it will read it for me. And be able to broadcast it to a smartphone, so I could go anywhere and still listen.

December 16, 2011

A letter to Aristotle


Aristotle,
            You’ve made the world a more orderly place through categories and classification. By explaining final and efficient cause, you shed light on why things happen and how. Through eudemonia, you helped people understand their ultimate happiness is largely up to them. While I’m grateful for those things, I most treasure your contribution to logic.
Thank you for building your reasoning on the assumption absolute truth exists. You once said: “To say that what is is not, or that what is not is, is false and to say that what is is, or that what is not is not, is true.” [1] I agree. As you said, the validity of an argument is based on the legitimacy of its premises and the relationship between them— not on popular opinion (or nomos). Thus, true arguments and those that convince sometimes differ.
Now, you are probably wondering if this is going to be more than a thank you note.
It is. I want to ask some questions— in case anything important fell through the cracks of history or the cracks in my head.
Do you think there’s such thing as situational truth? Are some things a matter of opinion? Can anything be neither true nor false? And, when we weigh arguments, can we ever understand all the premises involved and their intertwined relationships enough to be conclusive? I have some thoughts, but I would love to hear yours.

Sincerely,
            Adam


[1] Aristotle, R. B. (1963). The Philosophy of Aristotle. New York: New American Library.

December 15, 2011

Fire extinguishing wands, Li-Fi, and arm controllers


While I was waiting in the lobby at the dentist today, I picked up a Time Magazine featuring the “50 Best Inventions of 2011”. I didn’t get through the entire list, but here are some of the works of genius my cavity introduced me to...

Wave a stick, kill a fire
Have you heard of the wand you can wave around to put out fires? It creates some kind of electric field or magic that sucks the life out of nearby flames. It sounds a lot less messy than drowning flames with water or a traditional extinguisher. It also sounds a little hocus pocus.

Move over Mr. Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is the wave of the future
It’s time to turn your light bulbs into routers! Someone figured out a way to use subtle changes in light intensity to transmit data. They say it will be more secure than Wi-Fi. As I understand it, you can only connect to a Li-FI network wherever its light is shining. So, no more data leaking through walls and into the homes of neighbors. But as my dentist pointed out as we were waiting for anesthetic to seep deep into my jaw, it sounds like it would limit you to pretty much one room and a LAN line can already serve essentially the same function (just in a less technologically awesome way).

Surrender your arm to a computer
Imagine being hooked up to few dozen electrodes and your arm taking on a mind of its own (or at least the mind of a computer). Supposedly, you could program it to do anything from play guitar, to use sign language. Since I have never been possessed before... I can only imagine how freaky that would feel. 

I looked online to see if I could find the Time article, but it doesn’t appear to have hit the magazine’s website yet. 

Discrete time, living life frame-by-frame

I've been thinking about discrete time since I was a kid. The slight obsession all started thanks to a Scientific American Magazine article.

Discrete time is like grains of sand
falling through an hourglass
The discrete time theory's simple. Time isn't fluid or continuous. It's chunky. Like grains of sand falling through an hourglass. Life doesn't roll ahead smoothly, but pops forward like the frames of a movie. But just like a movie, the "ticks" are so small, they're indistinguishable to human eyes.

If that's true, all motion boils down to teleportation.

Think about it.

If you could go ridiculously fast, say three meters per tick fast, you would only exist every three meters. 

There doesn't seem to be any way to disprove discrete time. But if it's legit, maybe you could prove it by hurling something really small at a very thin wall. If you timed it right, the object might not hit the wall.

Now, if time really is discrete, what happens outside of the "ticks"? Does anything exist? Is that God's time? Is that how He can be everywhere and do anything - because at any given moment, He has an eternity at His disposal?

Who knows? I certainly don't.