Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just Got Back

The Nuclear Twins just got back from visiting the grandparents. Due to jet lag and having to go to school tomorrow, there probably won't be any posts before Labor Day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Not much time around a computer

The Nuclear Twins, having just gotten back from the 2010 National Scout Jamboree (where computers where understandably hard to come by), will be leaving to visit the grandparents on Tuesday. Since the grandparents whom we will be visiting haven't had a computer for a really long time, posts will be somewhat hard to make. Thus, no posts until we get back, two days before the school year starts.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


On Wednesday, the Nuclear Twins will be going to the 100th Anniversary National Scout Jamboree. As scouting events go, only the World Jamboree can beat it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Selections from the Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce

These are my favorite quotes from the A section of The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce.

ABATIS, n. Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside.

ABDOMEN, n. The temple of the god Stomach, in whose worship, with sacrificial rights, all true men engage. From women this ancient faith commands but a stammering assent. They sometimes minister at the altar in a half-hearted and ineffective way, but true reverence for the one deity that men really adore they know not. If woman had a free hand in the world's marketing the race would become graminivorous.

ABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.

ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.

ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.

ACCOMPLICE, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity, as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no one having offered them a fee for assenting.

ADDER, n. A species of snake. So called from its habit of adding funeral outlays to the other expenses of living.

AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.

AGITATOR, n. A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors —to dislodge the worms.

AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.

AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.

AMNESTY, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.

ANOINT, v.t. To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.

APPEAL, v.t. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.

ARCHITECT, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.

ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, lib. II., De Clem., and C. Stantatus, De Temperamente) if it is not a god; and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine.

AUSTRALIA, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to whether it is a continent or an island.

Go read it and other out of print (and copyright expired) books at

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6 - Year old on No Fly List?

Courtesy of Fox News' Mark Zinni we have this government outrage.

6-Year-Old Northeast Ohio Girl on 'No Fly' List

WESTLAKE, Ohio - Alyssa Thomas, 6, is a little girl who is already under the spotlight of the federal government. Her family recently discovered that Alyssa is on the "no fly" list maintained by U.S. Homeland Security.

"We were, like, puzzled," said Dr. Santhosh Thomas. "I'm like, well, she's kinda six-years-old and this is not something that should be typical."

Dr. Thomas and his wife were made aware of the listing during a recent trip from Cleveland to Minneapolis. The ticket agent at the Continental counter at Hopkins Airport notified the family. "They said, well, she's on the list. We're like, okay, what's the story? What do we have to do to get off the list? This isn't exactly the list we want to be on," said Dr. Thomas.

This is a prime example of why big government is bad. If the family had any connections with terrorists, then it would be better sense to place the entire family on the No Fly list - not just a little girl who hasn't done anything to deserve this. The government needs to learn a little common sense! More at the link

Friday, June 25, 2010

EMP Warfare - The Threat to Civilization

EMP (electromagnetic pulse) warfare could be the thing that brings about the sticks and stones that Albert Einstien predicted World War Four would be fought with. EMP destroys all electronics within its effective radius, and large scale EMP warfare or terrorist attack could lead to the destruction of civilian electronics in a large area. Unlike many military systems, most civilian systems aren't hardened against EMP, and while the internet is hardened, accessing the internet without a computer is pretty dang hard. Popular literature has already envisioned something similar - In the book One Second After,by William R. Forstchen, terrorists launch an EMP assault on the US. EMP is deadly because of how electronics have been integrated into society. It is theoretically possible to survive in the US without the use of personal electronics, but with the exception of those who live in handbuilt shelter and hunt with a bow, everyone uses electronics at second hand. Even excluding the manufacturing process, electronics are a vital part of the US economy. Trucks use electronics to start their engines, moving supplies and consumer goods across the US. People use cell phones to communicate.
EMP weapons come in three forms. The first of these forms is Nuclear EMP. All nukes produce EMP, but when a nuke is exploded in space, the EMP produced is many times that of a nuclear explosion in air.
Other EMP weapons, generally involving High Power Microwaves (HPMs), or flux compression generator bombs (FCGs) also pose a threat, but their "footprint" is much smaller than that of nuclear EMP.
Will EMP cause Einstien's sticks and stones?

Sources -
How Stuff Works, "How E-Bombs Work"
"The Blackout Bomb" by John Lewallen


In this post, meteors, asteroids, and comets are interchangeable.

Throughout history, meteors have hit earth, or have passed near earth. With the advent of the nuclear bomb, new preventions were discovered, and earth was safer. Yet most people are against the use of nuclear weapons to protect earth from an even greater catastrophe.

This catastrophe has already killed off the dinosaurs, if one of the current theories is to be believed. However, asteroids are what allow humans to exist: Comets brought the water on earth to earth, meteors brought rare metals, and asteroids added to the landmass of earth.

Friday, June 18, 2010

FTL communication and compression

Apparently, according to this website, FTL communication is possible. The FTL communication would apparently require less power for the same distance when compared to conventional communications. However, while the communication travels faster in the medium from which it is transmitted, it still travels at light speed when transmitted over air. This transmission is heavily compressed, which may help explain neutron stars random pulses.

Some of the implications of this technology are significant. For example, computer power would not be required to compress transmissions--it would occur naturally. Decompression may prove to be difficult however. The FTL communication also implies the future ability of humans to travel or communicate at faster than light speeds. Unfortunately, it is highly likely that the energy cost to travel at FTL speeds will be prohibitive.

The advent of the Personal Defense Laser

I found this courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and Miguel Gonzalez Jr.

"May The Force, and Safety Goggles, Be With You"

"Since Luke Skywalker first picked up a light saber in 1977, we’ve dreamed of wielding the laser sword made famous in the “Star Wars” movies—“an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” And while the technology isn’t quite there yet, we’re getting closer.

For around $200, Shanghai-based will ship you its latest laser device, known as the Spyder III Pro Arctic and looking suspiciously like the beloved science-fiction weapon. Using a blue-laser diode taken from a powerful film projector, the Spyder III emits a 445-nanometer wavelength beam of up to one watt in power. Or, as the WickedLasers site explains:

“Don’t let the Arctic name fool you, this laser possesses the most burning capabilities of any portable laser in existence. That’s why it’s also the most dangerous laser ever created.”

As the article goes on to explain, the laser is a Class IV laser product, meaning that it can be dangerous.

Wicked Lasers says the Spyder III isn’t to be taken, ahem, lightly, and posts photos of two surly-looking fellows arrested for pointing lasers at aircraft. The Spyder III is a Class 4 laser, meaning it’s so strong that it can cause blindness and color-perception problems, including the inability to perceive the color green for four to six months. Also, at a thousand times stronger than sunlight on skin, it can burn skin and may even cause skin cancer.

So Wicked Lasers adds an FDA-mandated safety sticker on the device, includes a pair of safety glasses and warns that you shouldn’t make direct eye contact with the beam. Or expose it to bare skin. Or shine it at anyone. Or shine it at reflective surfaces. And don’t use it near airports, highways or construction sites. Really, they say, it should be used only by “individuals who have appropriate laser safety training and product familiarity in using Class 4 lasers.”

But other than that, they add, “As a general concept, owning a laser is pretty fun.”

And that fun is illustrated on the site, using videos that show Wicked Lasers products doing such disparate tasks as burning holes in trash bags, popping balloons, cutting electrical tape and igniting matches. Not exactly the sort of swashbuckling space adventure we imagined.

They shouldn't be marketing this as a toy, but as a non-lethal self-defense weapon. It can cause blindness and burn skin, and while they made it to be a toy, it would certainly made an adequate non-lethal defense. If they can up the power levels, it could even become a lethal weapon. This is a great advance in the creation of laser weapons (for consumers - industry and governments have access to more dangerous lasers already) , and it is being sold as a toy.