Monday, December 29, 2008

On Atheism and the Sprituality of Science

When I'm confronted by theists over why I'm an atheist, this is usually my response:

"When I look at the universe around me, with all of its wonders and spectacles, I fail to find any phenomenon that cannot be explained scientifically or that definitively require the invocation of a supernatural entity. Furthermore, even if some phenomenon were observed that required said invokation, I fail to find any reason for why said supernatural entity should take any one form over any other."

Rephrase the last sentence to fit the theists' belief, e.g. if they are Fundamentalist Christians, I would say that there's no reason for why said entity should be as described in the Bible.


Sometimes, however, I do question myself (I'm paranoid), and I wonder if God (as we've defined him over the millennia) really exists.

When that happens, I watch a few videos on YouTube. I have them now on my iPod, so I can watch them on the go. I recommend that everyone wtach these videos, as they are probably the most spiritual scientific videos you will ever watch.

Neil Tyson --

Neil Tyson, on Stupid Design --

Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" --

"Pale Blue Dot" Remake (watch it even if you watched the one above) --


EDIT: Here, lemme embed the playlist:

Knowing the Digits of Pi

I have a side hobby of memorizing digits of pi. I've memorized about 140 digits by now. However, one day, someone directed me to an article saying that only 39 digits of pi ere really necessary, because past that level of accuracy, one can calculate the circumference of the known universe to within the width of a hydrogen atom.

I generally agreed with this, but until today had no real way of testing it. Thankfully, StumbleUpon came to my aid today, and I found a website with a built-in high-accuracy calculator. IT can handle thousands of digits of precision! Yay!

I started to work. I started by calculating the diameter of the known universe (~93 billion light-years) in terms of the width of a hydrogen atom (~2.4 Angstroms, or 2.4*10^-11 meters). The result = 3665954758333333333333333333333333333.333...

Now the trick is to multiply that number by pi with different level of precision.

First up, pi extended to 4000 digits:
Now, pi extended to just 39 digits:

Success! However, I'm not done. Can I still remain within a hydrogen atom's width even with less precision? The answer is yes, you can cut pi down to just 36 decimal places before you tip the scales:



Awesome uber-calculator here:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Arab Christmas!

It had been a long day, what with the car window being broken and everything. In Hebrew, the word for the day before a holiday is "erev." My dad wished us a Merry Erev Christmas. I, unfortunately, misheard him.

Merry Arab Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy happy happy happy

It's snowing! Huzzah! Woo hoo!

Sure, it's been too warm for it to stick in any measurable amount,'s still snow! Yay!

I think my favorite part about snow in NYC is how the combination of a blanketing white surface and total cloud cover causes all of the street lights to reflect off the ground onto the clouds. It's awesome.

And I had hot cocoa this morning!

In other news, I'm going skiing next week, so that's also awesome! Smuggs has been getting lots of snow, so it'll be awesome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank You, Time Warner!

Usually I'm not one to support a company with a stranglehold on its customers, but I just found the most useful thing. Channel 1000 is well-known as the movies-on-demand channel, where Time Warner will stream your movies to your TV, and charge your TV bill for the movie. It's insanely simple.

However, I just found that channel 1008 is FREE movies-on-demand. Sure, there a re far less and more crappy movies, but I just found that TNT was providing "Groundhog Day"! I love that movie! It's wonderful when you watch a movie that you didn't pay a cent for.

The best part: TNT added commercials in the movie, but someone goofed at Time Warner and made it possible to fast forward through the commercials. Woo hoo!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints and YOU!

Setting: Near a subway, I'm walking down the street.
Plot: A member of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints is trying to convert the masses selling holiday cards.

Her: Hello! Would you like to learn a little bit about Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior?
Me: No thanks, I'm an atheist.
Her: *extremely puzzled, stutters*
Her: Well, um, well, I 've always been curious: why si it that you're an atheist.
Me: I'm an atheist because I look at the universe around me and I do not see the need to invoke the existence of a supernatural deity in order to explain the universe's existence or its phenomena. Furthermore, even if a deity were requried, I see no reason why it should be one deity over any other.
Her: Well, that's, uh, interesting. If you ever want to learn more about Jesus--
Me: I'll stop by. Got it. Thank you.
Her: Er, no problem.

I love New York.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Close Encounters of the Theist Kind

The following is my response to a theist's answers to a list of questions posed to theists.
Why does the universe need a reason to have been made?

This question presupposes that one of my arguments for the existence of God is that the universe needed a reason to be made. The fact that a reason exists (God’s will) does not in any way indicate that a reason was needed. Saying that presence indicates necessity is ludicrous.

Presence indicating necessity is indeed ridiculous. However, you have misunderstood the question. Science gives us a few ideas on how the universe formed. If you believe that God made the universe, then you are rejecting those ideas. How do you propose God made the universe? Is the previous question really scientific?
What sanctioned your god making the universe?
Who says that God needs to be sanctioned? By whose authority do you propose He was bound? The idea that a sanction was required presupposes the existence of a higher authority. One of the fundamental properties of the very IDEA of God, is that there is none.

Again, you misunderstand the question. The question is: "Why did your particular god (over any other hypothetical entities) make the universe, and why did he make the universe in the first place?"
Can you prove that your god exists?
Nope. Can you prove He doesn’t? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Science.

Can you prove that there isn't an invisible unicorn in your bathroom which stays perfectly silent and moves out of the way when you walk in?

And actually, I can prove that the Semitic god (Yahweh/Allah) does not exist under the criteria supplied by theists. There are many proofs that omnipotentence, omniscience, free will, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, etc. are impossible. If you say that they are possible outside of out logic, then you have left the field of evidence and have moved into pure faith, where you can't trust anything.
Why do we use the original 10 commandments rather than the replacements that God gave to Moses after Moses broke the tables containing them?
Because it makes no functional difference? The only differences are ones of slight rephrasing. The order and meanings remain the same, so what difference does it make? Do you really care that much that we use the version that says “You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.” Instead of the one that says “You shall not kill. Neither shall you commit adultery. Neither shall you steal?”

If God is all-loving, why does he order people to death for crimes they DID NOT EVEN COMMIT?
That seems unfair to us, for sure, but again you are taking yourself outside the bounds of the argument. Your question assumes (in a very humanistic, atheistic way) that human moral ideals bind God. Who are you to say who God can and can’t kill? This is putting God beneath you, which is fundamentally against the spirit of Theism. God is transcendent of the rules of this universe. In fact, one could even argue that murder is only wrong because it is a sort of playing God. God can kill whoever he wants, but you can’t because you aren’t God.

So you are saying that our mortal definition of "moral" doesn't apply, because God might use a different definition.

Congrats: you have just killed religion. After all, if God can redefine words, what's to stop him from redefining everything in the fucking Bible? Maybe God is Satan, and Hell is Heaven and Heaven is Hell. All good Christians go to Hell. Interesting. Maybe by "no man shall sleep with another man" God really means "no man shall get to decide who can sleep with whom, because it's none of their fucking business in the first place."

Thank you.

Does God have the right to rule the universe?
The question of God’s right to be in charge is a very atheistic one.

Well, duh, we're atheists. And "atheist" is the adjective as well, so no need to "atheistic."
It is also not logically defensible. Firstly, it is based on the purely atheistic assumption that the universe would continue to function without God.

Why shouldn't it? The laws of nature hold up perfectly fine, and last I checked, God isn't in Einstein, Newton, or Maxwell's equations.
The fact that this is not true to a theistic cosmology means that this argument is not valid.

In other words: My beliefs say that your question is wrong, therefore your question is wrong. In other words: I say you're wrong, so therefore you're wrong.
Until you prove the proposition that the universe would function without God, and he is simply choosing to rule, your question has no meaning.

*observes that the universe keeps working*
*notes that no one's heard from your God in a few millennia*
Secondly, the spirit of the question is a bit silly as well. Let me give an example. The Large Hadron Collider. There are very few people who can operate it, and they, logically, are the ones who operate it. Theoretically, I’m sure they could just start it up, and leave forever and let be what will be.

Completely wrong. The Large Hadron Collider cannot and should not be compared to the universe. The LHC requires constant fine-tuning and control. It is a simulator at best, an machine for conducting experiments. The universe is simply a bunch of matter and energy following a bunch of rules.
They don’t do this because they want to have someone to make sure that things don’t get totally out of hands and explode and destroy all that work (not to mention the lives at stake). Nobody questions their right to be the ones operating the LHC, because that would be silly.

Actually, you're completely wrong. Many scientific boards weigh in on the functioning of the LHC, not to mention the European Union and multiple anti-LHC groups. And again, you can leave the universe alone and it'll work. The LHC will stop working immediately.
Can you show that God is not a malevolent, omnipotent and all-deceiving being?
Nope. Can you show that anyone is not a malevolent, omnipotent, and all-deceiving being? You just can’t operate under that assumption.

That's not an assumption, it's a question. How do you know that your God hasn't just lied to you all of the way through? He's told you a bunch of stuff that is completely untestable. That's part of religion: you have to take the Bible on faith. God could be completely bullshitting you, and you wouldn't know it. Heck, maybe God is gay, and he's really pissed off that you misread that part of the Bible. Prop 8 makes God cry rainbows. Ha ha.

On the other hand, science makes testable predictions. We know that Einstein isn't bullshitting us, because his work made many testable predictions, all of which were found to be true. It validated his work.
How is God going to punish me if I don't believe he exists?
If you believe Danté, you go to Limbo, which is essentially the Garden of Eden. It’s actually a pretty sweet deal; you get to hang out forever in like a really pleasant place and chat it up with Socrates and Plato. Not too shabby! You just don’t get to experience perfect alignment with God`s will, but if you don’t believe he exists then that isn’t much of a punishment.

And how do you know Danté isn't bullshitting us?
How can you prove that your scriptures (Bible, Koran, Torah, whatever) really represents the will of God, and not the humans, who wrote it?
How can you prove that your Scientific Laws really represent the way the universe
works and not the ideas of the humans who wrote it? Don’t hold Religion to more rigorous standards than you hold Science.
That is stupid. I hold science to much, much higher standards than I do for religion, and science still passes much more often than religion does.

We know that the scientific laws represent the way the universe works because the universe follows those laws. We've shown this experimentally millions of times. Were we to find that there was a discrepancy, we would observe the available data and develop several testable ideas to replace the failed idea.

Can God create a rock so big that he cannot lift it?
A big rock is only hard to move because it and you are affected by the laws governing the universe. God is not. Logically, God would never find a rock, no matter how big he made it, hard to move at all.

So you're saying that there's something that God cannot create.

That violates the definition of omnipotent. Logic is irrelevant: the definition of omnipotent trumps any natural logic.

And again, if you want to redefine omnipotent to be susceptible to logic, then I can redefine the Bible to promote atheism.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good job, Canadia.

It's incredible. Your prime minister has actually just usurped your government. Congrats. Stephen Harper has just shut down the Parliament in Canadia until January 26. I reckon that this is the first time an executive branch has shut down a legislative branch since King Louis XIV in France closed down the Estates-General in 1618. The Estates-General remained closed until 1789.

See you in 2179, Canadian Parliament.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Worst Thing Ever

This summer, I tried to think of the worst thing any human could ever possibly do, something that would make me give up my life and devote it to hunting them down and strangle them to death by hand.

What I came up with was horrifying. If anyone can think of anything worse, please, let me know.

Someone goes to Darfur refugee camps, gathers together the orphans, and makes them bulimic.

Seriously, that would be the lowest of the low.

Pretend to Be a Time Traveller Day, 2008?

I feel like this was one of the most brilliant ideas to come out of the internet in 2007, but unfortunately I missed it. I'm determined to not miss it again this year, but it seems as if all material relating to it is from last year.

Are we seriously going to only have this as a one-time thing? Come on!

Although it hasn't received much publicity, PTBATTD 2008 will be on December 7th 2008 (that's a Sunday).

Here's the info:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Open Plea to StumbleUpon Users

I am a big fan of math and science, and so ! have many mathematical and scientific topics in my SU queue. However, as of late, I have been stumbling to an inordinate number of pages listing nothing but an expanded of of the constant pi. Just now, I have been to several pages listing upwards of a million digits of pi.

I personally have memorized about 140 digits. That is enough for now. If I need to learn a million digits of pi, I am capable of Googling for them myself. I have nearly crashed my browser several times now with various pages that clog my bandwidth. Please stop.

Thank you.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Neighborhood Friends

As I write this, a well-known man in my neighborhood is doing his nightly rounds. Our local 9/11-truther is out preaching about Bloomberg's secret plans with the government to stage the September 11th attacks.

On the same level is the really old Catholic preacher who does round in my neighborhood. He's been out in the streets for as long as anyone can remember with this bible older than John McCain screaming all day long about "JEEsus...JEEsus...he LOVE you he LOVE you JEEsus HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!"

Oh, and the old Jehovah's Witnesses in the subway handing out pamphlets on the secrets to success and happiness.

Last Macy's Rickroll Post, I Swear.

I'm just posting some pictures from outside my friend's window. I saw Rick Astley live. Yay!

Funny Picture

I saw this on 5min Life Videopedia, and I laughed. I never knew the related feature was so dead-accurate faulty.

Side note: If you go to the "How to Spot a Pervert" video, the first related result is "How to Survive PMS."

Rick Astley Watch, Update

Now everybody knows, but I was extremely excited as I wrote that last post.

I was there. I was at a friend's house, I look out the window, and I watch the floats go by on Central Park West. All of a sudden, I see Rick Astley standing on a float. Oh shit, I think.

25 minutes later, Mr. Astley's float arrives in Macy's Square. The rest is now history.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rick Astley Watch

Breaking News! I'm watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (what's more American than that?) from a friend's house, when the great Rick Astley appears. As I write this post, Rick Astley is RickRolling every major USA news channel in America. Yes!

Video is going up on YouTube!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wow, time-shift

Has it really been a week since I last posted? Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter since no one really reads this blog anyway.

But I suppose it is important to maintain a steady rate of posting.

And why do we put up with the fuzz concerning Pez dispensers?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Timing Nim's Island

I recently happened to see Nim's Island, which I found to be rather interesting, and slightly funny, if rather unlikely. However, my favorite part was about 5 minutes in, when the father receives supplies. Among the stacks of book sis a bunch of magazines. The magazine on the August 25, 2007 copy of New Scientist.

Way to try to date the film by giving everyone 5-to-10-year-old Macs, and then give the father the latest copy of NS. Couldn't the OCD author just have used Google Earth to find the island?

View Larger Map

Could that be Nim's Island?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Immortality and Black Holes?

Time dilation occurs in the presence of gravity. Near a black hole, time dilation approaches infinity. If you were fall backwards into such a black hole, you would see the cosmic movie seem to speed up faster and faster until the infinity of time passed before your eyes in a fraction of a second. To an outside observer, it would simply seem that it was taking you an infinite amount of time to reach the event horizon.

Meanwhile, tidal forces between the top and bottom parts of your body relative to the black hole wil normally tear you apart. However, in a large enough black hole, the forces difference between your head and your feet is less, meaning that you survive for a longer period of time.


Now to the questions:

1. What is the minimum required mass of a black hole to allow you to reach the black hole without tidal forces tearing you apart? For simplicity of calculation, assume the maximum force your body can sustain is your weight (a.k.a. your mass and earth's gravitation acceleration of 9.801 m/s^2)

2. If you were to fall into a black hole of at least the size calculated in question 1, and the universe flashed before you, does that not mean that the black hole will have ceased to exist as well? If so, how can you fall into something which has ceased to exist? Have you outlived the universe and are you an infinite amount of time in the future? Does this count as immortality?

3. If the black hole vaporizes along with the universe, it must first get smaller, which will increase tidal forces. What are the required parameters of minimum black hole mass and initial velocity into the black hole to cause the following situation: time dilation is great enough so that the time (from your perspective) during which the tidal forces exist that are strong enough to kill you is short enough to prevent the atoms in your body from separating to dangerous distances?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Observation of the Day

Very few people have ever eaten a marshmallow in more than two bites.

I took a dozen bites out of one, and in slow-motion. The effect was amazing.

Send in videos of yourself eating a marshmallow in small bites and slow motion!

(Not that anyone reads this blog anyway ;) )

Flash Work

I've created a Flash app that realistically bounces a ball on a line which you make. It's pretty cool. I've also made a Newtonian physics engine, which is downright awesome. It's built directly from Newton and Kepler's formulae, and it works beautifully. I actually cheered when I got a sun-planet-moon system working.

User interface is in production, and hopefully it will be uploaded soon.


1. Ben & Jerry's Dough Balls

Google bless the person who came up with this: a chocolate-covered hunk of cookie dough. For a dollar.

2. "Whatever, Martha!"

It's quite hilarious, especially from the point of view of someone whose monther watched/watches Martha obsessively.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Videos, 11/11/08

Happy Angola Independence Day everyone! I can't really think of anything right now, so here are soem videos I've been watching:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hacking in SoHo

I went to SoHo yesterday, and lucky for me, it was a beautiful day, and almost no one was out. I stopped in one of the many furniture design stores in the area, and noticed that they had numerous computers set up to allow the customer to view more merchandise. I wanted to check something on Google, but they had set up strict parental controls.

Let the fun begin. Fortunately, the store, looking for the more upscale look, used Macs for the info consoles. It's harder to block certain actions on a Mac, so after a little experimentation, I found that the Command+Click system had not been deactivated. A few clicks, and I was on the desktop. From there, I was able to open up Time & Date, navigate back to System Preferences (many of the normal routes were blocked), and deactivate a few blockers. Then, back on the desktop, I made a new file, and started to rename it to

..when an attendant started walking over. I quickyl went back to the screen, pretended to ponder the merchandise for a few minutes, then walked out.

I had, however, left them a little present: I changed the display's sleep settings, so it goes to one of Apple's nice screensavers every 5 minutes. After all, what's a hack without a signature?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Car Alarms

Seriously, car companies turn out new cars every year, but it seems that no one has run a cost-benefit analysis on car alarms since they were introduced.


1. A disturbingly high number of false alarms. Seriously, any other product with this many false positives should be pulled.
2. The duration of the alarms. Why is it that about 25% of car alarms fail to turn off until someone actually jacks the car and tears out the speaker wires in desperation?
3. The intensity of the alarms. Why must they be so loud?
4. Chain reactions. This comes from #3, where one alarm is loud enough to set off another alarm. Actually, this could get rather humorous.
5. The sanity of the surrounding peoples. 'Nuff said.

Benefits: If you happen to live in a remote area with no neighbors for miles around and the alarm goes off, you might have a few seconds extra to reach for your shotgun.

Then again, I might just use the shotgun on the cars anyway.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Global Democracy

I was wondering: what if the entire world, not just Americans, voted in American elections? Would that help prevent us from electing people who would hurt the world at large? I imagine that foreign policy would become a much larger issue.

Nice, Mr. Olbermann

Obama is now President-Elect, and November 4 has come and gone. On his show, "Countdown with Kieth Olbermann," Kieth has overhauled his show's graphic design for the occasion. [Note the sarcasm.] He has gone from this:

to this:

Great show, Keith, but seriously, how much work did you spend in changing the date?

Woah. Mr. Wheeler, you have changed the world.

New Scientist posted this article on the concept of "flexi-laws" over a year ago, but it's the picture in the article that amazes me:

Don't you get it, sheeple? We have been duped! This experiment has changed something in the past, thereby breaking off a new timeline. We are not the original universe. We have created new timelines.

Matrix moment. There's only one thing that can help: xkcd. (Of course, not the original xkcd.

And now for the biggest shock: there is a very good chance that John Wheeler did the experiment one more time, and split off another timeline. However, in this timeline, he didn't do the experiment. So there is a good chance that there is another, more recent universe than ours.

We're obsolete.

More xkcd:

The last three panels are the really relevant ones.

So, I say to all: we are obsolete. Let's burn the world! (Or at least make me king.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I couldn't stop laughing and crying at this.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Be Prepared: Yahoo!

News came in just a little while ago that Obama has taken Ohio, along with PA. According to, there is no way for McCain to win now.

Yahoo! has reflected this with a new homepage:

Here is the URL of that picture of a confident Obama:

Naturally, I changed "barack" to "mccain," and found this picture:

I guess it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

UPDATE: I found some other pictures.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Palin - Wurzelbacher 2012

My own post inspired me to remake my favorite sticker in Photoshop. Yes, I suck at Photoshop, but the point of the image is clear.

Wow, am I scared.

The Greatest Costume to Ever Grace Halloween Politics

(cue the drama)

Check out my costume!

It's a swing voter, get it? Swing voter? *pauses for laughs*

Anyway, reception was fantastic. However, my favorite part of the costume was the back:

In case you can't read that, it says "Palin - Wurzelbacher 2012." Tell me that there's nothing scarier. Very appropriate for Halloween.

Also, check out my tribute to the internetz in the last picture.

Thank you, good night! (Oh, and I'm currently scaring myself by turning on the TV, watching commercials for future programming, and thinking about how I will most likely know who the next president is when that show airs.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Screwing with the English Language

I have invented a word which I, on the completion of this post, will submit to Urban Dictionary.

Behold: the world's first self-referential word.

tad‧stoop \'tad-stup\ adj : A person who does not know the definition of "tadstoop."

"You're a tadstoop."
"A what?"


On a different note, think of all of the common phrases that we say that make no sense whatsoever.

1. "Thank you"/"Bless you"/"Damn you"/"F*** you"/etc.: Without the subject in there, this almost sounds like a command, in which case it should be "___ yourself." Is it so hard to squeeze that "I " in there?

2. "Thank God": Similar to #1, but it's even more strange. I would expect this one to be more common among the fundies.

3. "No thank you": This is even worse than #1, because the "no" doesn't even belong there. If you want to throw out the subject, still, it should be "don't thank you." Alternatively, if you want to keep the "no," it shoudl be "no thanks for/to you."

4. "You're welcome": Welcome to what? It makes even less sense when looked at in context:
"Bless you."
"Thank you."
"You're welcome."
What? I'm welcome to sneeze on you? I'm welcome to be thankful to you?


One last thing:

Check it out. I tried feeding the least sensible paragraph in my knowledge (Miss South Carolina's abysmal response) into it, and got this:

i purson@lly belive taht u.s. americanz0rz r unable 2 does zo b/c, uhmmm, some peepul, outs thar n are nation don’t has maps en uh, i believe dat oor, i, education liek such az uh, sourff africa, + uh, tehz iraq, everywere lyk such az, anbd i believe taht thae shud, uhhh, are education ovr hear in tha us shud halp ff' u.s., uh, should halp souff africa, itz should halp iraq and da asian ocuntriez sew we wiull b able to bild op our phuture, phor us.

Friday, October 31, 2008

PC Programs, Part I: Applications

I wrote this a while ago, and thought I'd repost it here.

This post is dedicated to giving you a list of programs I immediately download for any new PC I get into my possession. Yes, I personally think Macs are better, but there are a few features on PC's that I like, such as the vast majority of software being written for them, MS-DOS prompt, and Paint. In this list, I will be talking about PC's running Windows XP. I don't know how the programs will work on other versions of Windows, but since most Winodws user use XP, I think everything will be alright.

  1. Mozilla Firefox: as soon as the computer finishes booting up for the first time, I use Internet Explorer (shudder), and have this downloaded IMMEDIATELY. Firefox is great, being faster, safer, and generally better than IE. Also, you can throw in some great add-ons:
    • Search Engines: when the day is done, I have Google, Wikipedia, Webster,, YouTube, and Metacafe.
    • Forcastfox: Cute weather bar, very useful. Included a pop-out radar tracker.
    • Adblock Plus: Pop-up/Advertisement blocker. You can use it to disable advertisements that you see.
    • Download Statusbar: Organizes your download into a compact bar on the bottom of your screen.
    • PDF Download: 'nuff said.
    • StumbleUpon: I'm planning to write a post on StumbleUpon, but until then, get a head start, get the toolbar, sign up for the website, and start stumbling!
    • A fast video downloading tool (there's too many, find one youreself)
    • GSpace: Turns your Gmail account into an online hard drive, with over 5GB of space!
    • FoxyMeter: Counts how many pages you have visited, mainly just for kicks.
    • Google Browser Sync: Keep all of your web history, bookmarks, passowrds, and more in sync with this app.
    • Homeland Security Threat Level: Ha! Gets me every time.
    • Sun Cult: Basically, an app for astronomy nerds, who want ot know when sundown is.
  2. ZoneAlarm: A great, free program that monitor incoming and outgoing internet traffic.
  3. PCTools Spyware Doctor: Anti-virus and spyware and Trojan and ad-ware and malware program, this is a must.
  4. Google Pack: Everything at once, very useful. I only download out of it Google Earth, Spyware Doctor (see #3), Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Photos Screensaver, Adobe Reader, Google Talk, and Skype. Overall, uber-useful.
  5. VLC Player: Universal media player. It rocks.
  6. Microsoft Calulator Plus: Geek calc from Microsoft.
  7. Quicktime: just get it.
  8. iTunes: Another media player. If you haven't heard of it, what are you doing here?
  9. Audacity: Audio editor It rocks also.
  10. AIM: again, 'nuff said.
  11. LogMeIn: Remote desktop any of your computers you have this on.
  12. Tor: Hides your identity, and I've heard it can be used to get free wi-fi at Starbucks...
  13. Unlocker: simple little program tht kill processes, allowing you to delete those "Cannot Delete" files.
  14. LimeWire: It's legal! Honest! Oh, if you want it better, download LimeWire PRO, through LimeWire!
  15. 7-Zip: zipping program. Just get it.
  16. CacheMan XP: This is a biggie. Manages your PC's memory usage, improving speed.
  17. CCleaner: Cleans more intensively than Disk Cleaner.
  18. GimpShop: I'm fine with Paint, but if you love Photoshop, get this instead.
  19. Launchy: THIS IS A MUST. Awesome program, activated by Alt+Space. It pops up this cute little black bar, from which you can run all of your programs, documents, and so forth.
  20. CALCULAT: For the die-hard geek. Calculate real and complex calculations, with 100-digit accurcy, in any base from 2 to 36. Just friggin' AWESOME!!!
So there's the list. If I left anything major off, leave a comment, please.

Halloween Costume Tally, as of 4:40 PM

6 Jokers (from "The Dark Knight")
14 Iron Men
12 other miscellaneous superheros
45 or so variations on a ghoul with this mask
9 babies dressed as pumpkins
2 actually creative costumes: a tornado and a Teletubbie with an AK-47.

Note the lack of political costumes on that list. I expect that to change tonight.

Owning Freewebs

My "homepage" is set up on Freewebs, mainly because I'm too lazy and cheap awesome to pay for a real website. However, free websites have their disadvantages: in Freewebs' case, all of my pages have to have a Freewebs promotion on the bottom.

That is, until now. I tired of the banners on the pages, and have managed to disable them. Yay! Here's what I did:

1. In my source code, I located the .js file which defines the banner.
2. I opened the .js file, and copied the text.
3. I created a new page on my site which I called "strechtest.js" and pasted in the code.
4. Then I altered the new .js file, by setting all widths and heights to 0 pixels.
5. Finally, I edited all of my pages to refer to my .js for the banner instead of Freewebs'.

It works! Check it out!

In case you want to do something similar for your Freewebs account, feel free to copy my .js alteration. Access it here:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick Thought

So today I was once again gawking at the ignorance in the now-famous event a few weeks ago when McCain had to confront his supporters over respect.

Question: In that video of that old woman who thinks Obama is an "Arab," who is that old woman? Why has she not been located and interviewed? Personally, I'd like to know what makes these ignorant bigots tick.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Viva la Evolution!

Yay! My evolution simulator is up and running! And it works, too!

I like cranking the speed and turning on auto-change environment. I ran it for over 130000 generations like that, and it was still going strong!

UPDATE: I set up a virtual computer, on which I'm running the simulation, so it doesn't slow down my computer. It's just passed 440000 generations,a nd evolution is still doing its business.

Halloween + Politics

Yeah, it's cool. I'm making a swing voter costume (I have a swing attached to a hat), and I'm making a bunch of buttons. Here's one of the templates. Enjoy!

Oh, and check this website out:

I liked Mount Rushmore.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something I Noticed a While Ago

Go to Once you're there, start refreshing the page like crazy, and look at the timer telling you how much space every Gmail user has. Notice anything? This is what I see:

Does anyone know why the counter displays that?

An Unorthodox Proxy

Proxies are a pain, mainly because a lot of websites block proxies, too. Here's a system I developed for bypassing restrictions imposed by the webmaster overlord near you.

1. Search for "source code viewer" on Google. Open a few of the first few links, as sometimes one of the sites won't work. I normally use this site.

2. Search for "HTML test bed" on Google. The first result works very well for what we are going to do.

3. In the source code viewer website(s), enter the address of the website you wish to view. When the source code of that website comes up, select the entire source code and copy it.

4. Now go to the HTML test bed, remove anything default text that might be in it, and paste the source code.

5. Hit the "test" button, and enjoy the website! (Note: Links will most likely not work, but will probably sitll show up, so you can copy and alter appropriately to render the next page.)

An explanation: this really is a very simple way to do things. HTML Source code is the code that defines the layout and content of a web page. You have two websites open: ones that fetches the source code for you, the other that displays the site for which the source code codes. And because external websites are the only ones interacting with the forbidden webpage, you can view the web page unhassled.

P.S. It is possible that the webmasters near you are rather clever, and so have blocked not only by URL, but also media content like images. The way around this requires the addition of another website: thumbalizr, which takes a snapshot of what the page looks like and brings it to you. Besure if you take this route that you click "page" instead of "screen"; otherwise, you only get a part of the page.


Hmm, maybe it would be good to set this kind of thing up as a website. *idea*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Logical Fallacy of "What if Everyone Said That?"

I am really bothered by this argument, and I hear it a lot. The argument goes something like this:

A: "I don't want to vote because I don't feel as if my vote will count."
B: "Well, what if everyone said that? Then no one would vote! Therefore, you should vote."

In case you can't tell, this argument is rather flawed. It's structure is as follows:

A: I want to do X.
B: If everyone did X, the result would be bad. Therefore, you shouldn't do X.

This argument makes no sense. Your actions are clearly not going to change everyone else's actions.

Example: replace "do X" with "eat a tunafish sandwich":

A: "I want to eat a tunafish sandwich."
B: "If all 6.7 billion people on this planet ate tunafish sandwiches, then there would be no more tunafish! Therefore, you shouldn't eat tunafish sandwiches."

See what I mean? It's ridiculous because whether or not you do some action, others will do otherwise.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Nations

1. French is to be pronounced as if you were a smug drunk.

2. Canada should be called Canadia. Yeah, I know this was some stupid meme at some point, but it's true. Bulgarians are from Bulgaria, Austrians are from Austria, Armenians are from Armenia, Canadians are form Canadia. Alternatively, you can call it Canada, but its inhabitants shoud be called Canadans, like how Americans are form America.

3. I've never completely understood nationalism. Why are we affected by the location of where our mothers shoved us out of their birth canals?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woo hoo!

Update on Evolution project: I'm actually talking to cdk007 about the mutation and mating system! Yay!

Oh, and I've got the background randomly changing colors working, along with the hex code systems. Yay again!

I'm now working on the evolution code now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Next Flash Project

Observe cdk007's program in this video.

Someone made a .exe program based on this idea, but I figured it might be best to make an online program that everyone could use.

Hence, my next project: a Flash-based evolution simulator.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Le Sigh

Daily cycle:

10PM: Turn off computer
10:30PM: Think of something to write about in blog
11PM: Sleep
11PM-8PM (next day): Totally forget thing to write about.
8PM: Remember that I thought of something to write about, but now I can't exactly remember what.


Oh, well. Expect a post when I can break that loop.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Atheist Math

Yes, I came up with that. Yes, it's crappy. Anything else?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Few Questions, and some Random Thoughts

1. Is it possible that Osama Bin Laden's opinion is the most listened-to in the world? Think about it: he makes a video, everybody watches it.

2. Has anyone else ever closely looked at the title font for the New York Times? It's rather intricate. And why do the t's look like backwards j's?

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain-Palin Mania!

What a day!

1. Palin is found guilty of abusing her power in Troopergate
2. McCain is booed as he attempts to calm a radically anti-Obama crowd
3. Palin is to appear live on SNL, and says she will be honored to meet the woman whom she gives so much material

Number 1 and number 3 were bound to happen sooner or later, but number 2 scares the crap out of me.

Honestly, these people are savage, barbaric, close-minded, arrogant, ignorant, uneducated, anti-intellectual, raging radical maniacs. Declaring that Obama was the Anti-Christ, that he should be killed, McCain decided to support Obama, in the hopes of quelling the nearly violent crowd.

They booed him.

Honestly, can we please abolish the minimum age to vote, and instead make a minimum IQ to vote? Please?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Origin of Life - Abiogenesis

cdk007 made a video a while back brilliantly detailing how abiogenesis works.

Here's that video, in case you've missed it:

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Owns Sarah Palin

Amazing points. Oh, and it along with this:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Internal Recording

I dislike torrents, mainly because I'm impatient. I mean, they're great for things like games, but when I just want to listen to some Bob Dylan, it's ineffective.

I little while back I find a website called GrooveShark, which allows me to listen to a huge collection of mainstream music for free. From online, that is. downloads are 99 cents a pop.

I was rather bummed out until I read about and straightened out a nice little solution to this problem. Basically, I set up a simple internal recording system for my Mac (sorry, PC users, I haven't figured out the Windows equivalent for this).

Here's what you'll need:
1. GrooveShark, open (don't bother to download the free listening software unless yu have a really slow connection; just stream it from your browser)

2. Audacity: if you don't have this, get it. It's a wonderful (free) audio-editing app.

3. SoundFlower: this is the essential piece. If you can't get this, just go back to your torrents. An it's free, too.

That's it. Now you've got to configure.

1. Launch Audacity. Under Preferences, click "Recording" and set the Input to "SoundFlower (2 channels)."

2. Launch System Preferences-->Sound. Under "Sound Effects," make sure that the box labelled "Play user interface sound effects" is unchecked. Under "Output" and "Input," set "Soundflower (2 channels)" as the device.

3. In Audacity, click "Record."

4. Launch GrooveShark in your browser of choice. Play whatever songs you want.

5. When the songs finish, in Audacity click "Stop."

6. Sleect the parts of the audio that make up the sons, and click File-->"Export Selection to MP3..."

7. Fill in the asked-for data, export, and open the mp3 files in iTunes. Tada!

Note: This system is known as internal recording, because SoundFlower is acting as a virtual sound card and redirecting the outbound audio back in as input. In other words, you can record in this manner anything that comes out of your speakers.

If you can figure this out on a PC, let me know!

DISCLAIMER: Do not use this system to illegally steal music and distribute it. This is for educational purposes only. Also, be aware that copyrighted music streamed and saved in this manner can be used only for "personal use only."


Wow, third post in and I'm already advertising. Wow. OK.

Anyway, check out my game, version 1.0.4:

AI is on the way!

At Starbucks

[One of] the Starbucks near my house runs a weekly promotion where the first ten people to correctly answer a trivia question get a free beverage.

Although I don't like coffee, nor do I like Starbucks, I don't really have a problem leeching them for free (Pumpkin Spice, FTW!) Frappucinos.

However, I am always surprised by how no one ever bothers to answer the questions. Admittedly, I don't always cash in on my rightful free weekly Pumpkin-y deliciousness, but at least I do occansionally. I doubt that there's actually been a week where all ten beverages have been given out. The really surprising thing about this is that the store alwasy has at least 5 people online inside of it.

For instance, a few weeks ago, the question was about the outside layers of a coffee bean. In the end only 3 people cashed in. And I was one of them.

Seriously, come on! You're sitting right there with the Google homepage open, and you're not going to bother to spend the 10 seconds it would take on Wikipedia in order to get a free second to your half-whipped no-fat semi-skimmed double-hazelnut-pump espresso? Come to think of it, all that money you'd be saving on coffee would probably end up paying for the WiFi!

A few days ago, I had had enough of this idiocy. I walked in, and found a woman in her twenties sitting in a chair surfing the web. I caught her attention, and explained the situation. "But isn't the special only good for ten people?" she asked. "Yes," I replied, "but nobody ever does it anyway."

She asked me for the question, I told it to her, and I walked out.

I hope she got the message.

First Post.

Uh, yeah. I've already tried making a blog the way I figured one was "supposed to" make a blog, but that didn't work, so now there's this.

There's a good chance that this will just simply be my rants about something or another.