Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Three Theys of Interstellar

Interstellar movie
I'm not going to explain everything about Interstellar. I'm just going to jump right into the discussion.  Please watch the movie Interstellar, if you haven't.  Or, if you haven't seen the movie in awhile, watch it again.  Here's my "film theory" about Interstellar's supposed Bootstrap Paradox, "The Three Theys of Interstellar".

The third "they"

The movie Interstellar runs deep with current known science and also notions of time (in a manner that is not well-enough understood by science).  In the movie, there are several discussions that refer to "they" as the architects (my word) of the events within the movie.  "They" is used to refer to the creators of the wormhole, the same wormhole that brings humans to a distance galaxy to find habitable worlds.  "They" is also used to describe the creators of the tesseract within Gargantua Black Hole into which Cooper falls.  There's actually a third "they" used by Brand (daughter of Professor Brand) where she unknowingly shakes Cooper's hand while she's in the wormhole and while the tesseract collapses around Cooper.  She mistakenly refers to Cooper as "them".

The second "they"


While in the tesseract, Cooper hypothesizes (or guesses) that "they" are future descents of humans.  When viewing the movie's narrative superficially, "they" are the ones who set everything up to allow colonization of distance worlds, and also to allow Cooper to survive within the Black Hole long enough to send back the necessary data  to solve Professor Brand's equations. The movie does not provide any further explanation, but does hint that Cooper's guess is not 100% accurate.  This hint comes when he becomes third "they" during the aforementioned handshake with Brand.  Also, Tars specifically calls the creators of the tesseract by the moniker "Bulk Beings".  

Cooper's explanation for "they" is flawed.  If "they" are our descents and also the creators of the wormhole, this forms a "Bootstrap Paradox". If the wormhole didn't exist, we'd have no ability to save humanity in order to have our descents create the wormhole.

Getting stuck on this Bootstrap Paradox assumes this movie presents the final and accurate explanation for "they" or the "Bulk Beings'.  However, if the creators of the wormhole are different from the Bulk Beings (creators of the tesseract), the paradox evaporates.

The first "they"

Cooper was right in his guess that we were solving our own problems.  We got our selves to the wormhole.  We investigated several habitable worlds on the other side.  Cooper himself fell into the Black Hole and interacted with Murph.  However, what's the moment that prevents the paradox and allows Bulk Beings to exist?  This moment is when Brand colonizes Edmond's Planet.  Her colony saved the human species, but not humans on Earth.  Her colony's eventual descents (the Bulk Beings) had to finish the job.  They had to enable the survival of humans on Earth.  They did so by creating the tesseract for Cooper inside of Gargantua.

So, who are the creators of the wormhole that kicked off human survival?  Who are the first "they" of Interstellar?  My best guess is that "they" are simply an interested party who provided us with a way to save ourselves, if we are ready to be saved.  The first "they" of Interstellar are different non-human related beings who were possibly even more advanced than the Bulk Beings.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Baseball obscure stat

Baseball obscure stat:  In modern era of Major League Baseball, no game has ever had an unassisted triple play in either the 3rd or 8th innings.



Friday, August 28, 2020

Charities suck and you suck for supporting them?

Presentations that provide misinformation or misrepresentations regarding charities are common.  Awhile back I ran into this seemingly well-meaning Youtube video  (below)  that attempts to expose the dirty underbelly of charities.  Normally, I don't promote content I see as wildly or widely off-base.  However, in this case, I feel it's important to see the earnest and confidence of the presentation and still be able to peer through the facade to come face-to-face with the video's deep flaws.

I've worked with funding of charities in the past.  After viewing this video, something just feels off about its presentation.  It's as though Thought2 (pronounce "42") is trying to promote an agenda of lowkey fearmongering rather than provide accurate information.  

Yes, administrative costs exist and are typically a large amount of where the donations are used in a well-run organization.  However, this video makes it sound like there are dozens if not hundreds of people on charity payrolls.  The truth is that most locally managed charities are scraping by with just a few people, who are often volunteers, in makeshift or hand-me-down office spaces.  

Yes, some charities are short-sighted in their march to achieve artificially important goals.  However, the video's example of water pumps drastically misses the point: most communities that were helped do have working water pumps, even if many do not.  

The video's example regarding clothes and electronic donations is also far off the mark.  As stated by another Youtube commenter (Tripe): 

"Blaming the entire collapse of the Kenyan textile market on imports isn't reality. He does state "domestic market" at one point, but that isn't the data he presents.  He blames charity for the loss of 500000 jobs, but those people were serving the entire industry, not only the domestic market. The same issues that lead to the collapse of exports were still affecting the domestic market as well.  They've had loads of problems including tariffs, labor prices, port prices, high energy costs, stiff competition from Asian countries, corruption, outdated machinery, credit problems, trade reforms and more. I think it would be more accurate to say imports are one of the factors that lead to the downfall of the domestic textile market and are currently retarding the resurgence of the domestic textile market in Kenya, (if they have the leadership for such a resurgence),  not the main cause of the collapse and the loss of 500000 jobs."

Also, I found the video's focus on Africa-support charities produces a dramatically skewed story.  IRL, many charities are for local benefit, so don't have same economic effects about which this video speaks.   Thoughty2 seems to be heavily focused on big-picture and grand-gesture charities.  The charity rating services that are mentioned in the video are heavily focused on these types of charities too.  This video makes no mention of rape crisis centers, suicide hotlines, or local food banks.

Oh, United Way also locally audits the charities that they support using similar criteria as the organization that this video promotes.  United Way audits charities within each community separately.  This means that even national organizations are audited at a local level to justify their funding in that area.  The problem with organizations that publish charities ratings is that the numbers are often misleading, with too much emphasis placed on making "administrative costs" out to be a bad thing.  Due to the nature of some charities and the location of the people they help, costs are naturally higher for some charities over others. United Way funds charities without making the mistake of assuming administrative costs are somehow bad just because.

I'm not sure if this video is well-intended, or if it intentionally misleads.  Either way, in my opinion, this video is completely unreliable for the topic of charities and should not be used as a reference in discussions regarding charities.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A missed call in a Baseball game that didn't matter (but might've if things where different)

Some missed calls in Major League Baseball will live in infamy forever.  Other missed calls are nearly forgotten.  I recently ran into a video by SB Nation where a nearly forgotten missed call is discussed.  Pivetta is the pitcher and Barnes is the batter.

Instead of me retyping the discussion, just watch the video here.




It's hard to judge the accuracy of the statement about the play without seeing the play.  So, check out the play here.



After watching the replay, it's clear the Home Plate Umpire did call the runner out as a result of the fielding of the ball, and not due to any action by the runner himself.  This means the Umpire stopped play while the ball should've technically remained in play.  Does it really matter?

Though the fielding of the ball was incorrectly ruled a catch by the Home Ump, it's the pitcher who fielded the ball.  The pitcher's next action would've been to throw the runner out at First, which should've been the real end of the play.  Now, there's a slight chance the throw to First would've been screwed up, so that is why the play shouldn't have been stopped.  However, most probably the result of letting the play continue vs ending the play with a catch call wouldn't have changed the outcome of the play in this case.  The runner would still be out and the inning would still have be ended.  Now, if other base runners where present, then this missed call would've been more consequential because this bad call would've stopped base running and ended the inning.  At that point, maybe this bad call would've been more memorable.  But even in this case, it's the last out of the inning.  The batter would've still likely have been thrown out at First.  The end of the inning would've still happened right then and there.  Austin Barnes wasn't robbed a base hit by the bad call.

There is one chance of Barnes getting on base in this scenario if it weren't for the bad call.  Had the Ump not ruled the catch and ended play, the pitcher may have thought he had a proper catch and failed to throw the ball to First, giving Barnes a chance to make it safely to First.  However, it can be argued that this would've been an Error by Pivette, still not a base hit for Barnes.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Words to annoy pedants with inconcise English


Ironic conflicting road signs
There are many ways English doesn't follow precise scientific style definitions.  Some English-speakers are annoyed by some of the inconsistencies and disorder of English words.  There are even some who take their annoyance out on others, just because others don't see a problem.  In this, there is movement that tries to bring hierarchical order to English.  When people defy this attempt for order, they can find themselves being attacked for their word choices.

I've talked about the phrase begs the question in a previous article.  Use of this phrase will trigger attacks by pedants.  There are specific words that elicit similar literary venom.  At the top of the list is ironical.

Ironical irony


There are many people that sincerely believe ironical is not a word, and that only ironic should be used in cases where irony is an adjective.  They will actually make fun of people that use the word ironical correctly.  I've used the term myself in an ironic sense, only to trigger people who don't understand the irony of being opposed to the use of the word ironical, and the double-irony that ironical is actually a real word, and the triple-irony that I used the word to make fun of something else (namely, being pedantic).

There was an episode on Seinfeld, where the character Seinfeld confidently declares there is no such word ironical.  I don't know if this started the hatred of the word, but it certainly popularized that hatred.

Another ironic fact about ironical is that it actually has a more concise definition than ironic.  Ironic has three distinct definitions, where ironical has two related definitions.

The word irony itself is also the subject to derision.  The definition of irony includes something being incongruous.  Yet, using irony in this manner can trigger pendants into criticising you.

Number game


Another example of people trying to bring order to disorder of the English language lies in the alternative terms for numbers.  Namely, couple, few, dozen, etc.  But, that's not good enough for some.  In some schools, kids are taught that there is a concise progression to these terms, where couple = 2, several = 3 and few = 4.

If you look up several in the dictionary, you'll find a variety of definitions that can vary between dictionaries.  Some dictionaries say that several means "more than 2 or 3", while others say it means "more than a few".  However, in all cases, several represents an "indefinitely small number".

If you look up few in the dictionary, you'll find that few doesn't actually represent any particular number at all in most definitions.  It doesn't mean "3 or 4" or just "4".  It simply means an "indefinitely small number", similar to several.

I've even heard some claim that the word some has a defined number of 2 or more, when in fact, some can refer to any number, large or small, including 1 or 1,000,000.

Orientation


Another word I've seen trigger people is orientate.  Orientate and orient both mean the same thing as verbs in most cases.  But, orient is also a noun.  Some people prefer to say orientate to identify the word as a verb since orientate has no noun meaning.  In other words, it's actually more concise to use the word orientate when talking about taking an action that will change the orientation of a thing.

Inflamed much?


Is it wrong to use the word inflammable when flammable means exactly the same thing?  Well, they both have the same definition, but for different reasons.  Root word for flammable is flame.  Flame is a noun.  However, inflame is the root word of inflammable.  Inflame is a verb.  And, inflammation is a noun with a completely different meaning than flame.  The word flammation is obsolete.  It meant to cause something to be set on fire.  What's the other word for that?  Oh, that's right, inflame.  So, technically, flammable should be the word we stop using if we were to choose between it and inflammable.  I wonder who would be inflamed by that?

What are some other words that bug someone you know?



Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Is it really Frankenstein's Monster?

Frankenstein comicIs the term really "Frankenstein's Monster" rather than just "Frankenstein" when talking about the monster?  How often has the term "Frankenstein's Monster" really appeared anywhere?   Why is there confusion about the monster's name?  Well, that's because he isn't actually given a proper name in the original story by Mary Shelley.

Without much context, a quick search on Google ngram reveals that the term "Frankenstein's Monster" does indeed show up in literature.  However, going back to 1800 finds that the term really didn't get started until well after 1870. Beyond that, the term wasn't really in use until the 1960's. Just for reference, the Frankenstein book was originally published in 1818.


So, what do we get when we compare the usage of the term "Frankenstein's Monster" with usage of just the name "Frankenstein"?


Well, usage of "Frankenstein" does occur well before 1818.  That makes sense since it is a real surname.  However, taking pre-1818 use of the name as noise, there is still substantial use of the term "Frankenstein" from 1818 and on.  "Frankenstein" appears so often that it literally relegates the use of "Frankenstein's Monster" to well below that of background noise.  Usage of "Frankenstein's Monster" is less than a blip, even nowadays.

Beyond that, is the distinction between the mad scientist and his monster really all that important, namewise?  If we count the monster as the scientist's child in a manner of speaking, the monster would carry the scientist's surname anyway.  Both the monster and the scientist carry the name "Frankenstein".  Maybe instead of trying to impose a ill-accepted term like "Frankenstein's Monster", we simply use the term "Dr. Frankenstein" for the mad scientist and "Frankenstein" for the monster.


"Dr. Frankenstein" appears orders-of-magnitude more often than "Frankenstein's Monster".  And, it's a bit more of a blip when compared to just "Frankenstein".



Friday, July 29, 2016

Trouble with Wikileaks emails from DNC: as far as I can tell, no "election manipulation" is actually in the emails

Anyone can go to the Wikileaks page and peruse through the DNC leaked emails.

You know what I've seen no one do? Look through the emails and talk about any actual evidence of election manipulation.  I've seen journalist use rather dicey innuendo regarding email content, but not much else.

Most of emails are just reports.  What conversations I've seen are just people expressing their opinions and/or making strategies in support of those opinions and desires (like how best to get certain points across to their constituents).  I've not seen anyone showing anything from the emails about rigging the primaries.

The party insiders are supposed to be neutral by their own party rules, but I don't really care about DNC or any party's rules.  I'm not a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Greenie, etc.  Even if I were, I still wouldn't care because I understand that people are people.  We Americans all have the rights to our own opinions, and the rights to pursue our own interests.  What would've suprized me?  Seeing every person in the DNC expressing complete neutrality regarding who is going to represent their party in the General Election.

The DNC rules aren't laws of the land. The only person that needs to be upset, maybe, is Sanders since he was working under one set of rules, and others where not.  In the end, it still just people expressing their opinions and trying to work towards goals they feel are best for their interests.  None of this has anything to do with me, and none of this is in anyway a "manipulation" of elections.

If someone can dig up something that shows election rigging, then we have a story, as well as an actual crime.  Maybe it is buried somewhere deep in the emails.   I've not see it.  I'd be interested to see if something like that pops up.   The fact that no journalist have dug it up suggests that it's just not there.

At this point, after looking through the emails myself, I'm forming the opinion that anyone that uses the terms "manipulate" or "rigged" in reference to the primary elections based on these emails is being dishonest or honestly doesn't know what they are talking about (which is still a form of dishonesty).

I'm also now of the opinion that Julian Assange, who has made several incendiary statements regarding the content of these emails, is full of nonsense.  What little good he did in the distant past is now been cancelled out by his modern behavior.