29 August 2008

You know what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like this?

    When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that:
    "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?"
    "Yessir, the check is in the mail."
      Jack Burton
      Big Trouble in Little China

Last night Sharon and I stayed up and watched a movie. We could have watched There Will be Blood, which we have from the library and haven't seen yet. We didn't. We watched John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China.

I love this movie. It is not a good movie. It's a bad movie, but it is so deliciously bad. It is corny and cheesey and makes no attempt to be otherwise. If it did, it would not be half as much fun. At no point does this movie take itself seriously, and that is what makes it so much fun.

28 August 2008

You canna change the laws of physics

    All you are is a bag of particles acting out the laws of physics.
      Brian Greene

Assume the universe is infinite, but the number of possible configurations of particles in the universe, while tremendously huge, is finite. That means that at some point somewhere in the universe, a particular configuration of particles must repeat. Somewhere, an almost incomprehensible distance from here, there is another version of me writing this exact same blog post in an identical office when he should be coding. In fact, there's not just copy, there are countless copies.

That is just one of the concepts explored in this episode of the Radio Lab podcast. Brian Greene, physics and mathematics professor and director of the Institute of Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics at Columbia University, sits down with Robert Krulwich to talk about the nature of the universe.

Two other tidbits from the conversation:

  • The universe is actually a lot like a block of Swiss cheese.
  • If you think about it, it is actually more likely we exist in a huge computer simluation than in the actual universe.

Krulwich keeps the science content accessible and the conversation tone fun and interesting. Take a listen if you have a chance.

13 August 2008

Games' most ridiculous getups

    Nothing says “I’m a competent combatant and a smart scientist” like a butterfly mask, tassels and matching G-string.
      Winda Benedetti

A regular feature in the MSNBC gaming section is the Top 5 list. Many are what you'd expect: action games, strategy games, game villians, etc. This week's was a good one: Top 5 most preposterous getups in games. Reviewer Winda Benedetti channels Nina Garcia in choosing her top 5 examples of an "Absurd Outfit Obviously Dreamed Up By A Man."