Wednesday, October 31, 2007

EWWWWWW! (Now I know who does this!)

He just ate ear wax!!! Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww Eww ...EEWWWWWWWWW!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Atlantis Honeymoon Day 2 (Part 2)

Our walk to the Dolphin Cay was our first chance to see the main areas of the hotel. On the way from the Coral Towers to the Dolphin Cay, there's a small couture shopping plaza, a sizable casino floor (but still small by Vegas standards), Great Hall of Waters which serves as the reception for the Royal Towers, convention room area, an outdoor walk next to some of the many decorative ponds, and a glimpse of the inner tube water ride. At that end of resort grounds, where aren't many food options. We had to walk around the pool areas to the beach side in order to find a food stand for a quick lunch. Simple hot dogs and fries would hold us over till the evening.

Back at the Dolphin Cay, we checked in and walked into the private area. The Cay is man made, of course. I'm not even really sure if cay if the right word for it. Either way, there's a large salt water pool where many dolphins reside. These dolphins where rescued in the ocean after being sweep out to sea by Hurricane Katrina a couple years ago. They were originally part of a water park in the New Orleans area, which was destroyed.
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The experience was fun. We got to get up close and personal with the dolphins. The trainers did use some of the usual tricks to make it seem as though the dolphins where interacting with the people more than what is really possible. It was all just trained tricks, of course, like the rest of the interaction. Sometimes the dolphins would go off and do tricks, and a couple times they did a trick or two without being asked. I like the spontaneous behavior prolly more than the instructed tricks just cuz it was the dolphins being themselves. We got to briefly handle the creatures, and feed them. Allie and I enjoyed our time there. We got a few photos to take back with us too. The photos where taken by the Dolphin Cay staff, and the cost to purchase printouts was a bit extreme, but supposedly a large portion of the proceeds go to wild dolphin and nature conservation, so I guess it was worth it.

Many Worlds Theory; Parallel Universes

This excerpt of the opening paragraph of a recent The Guardian article about the possibility of parallel universes attempts to reopen the debate about parallel universes within the public arena:

In 1954, a young Princeton University doctoral candidate named Hugh Everett III came up with a radical idea: That there exist parallel universes, exactly like our universe. These universes are all related to ours; indeed, they branch off from ours, and our universe is branched off of others. Within these parallel universes, our wars have had different outcomes than the ones we know. Species that are extinct in our universe have evolved and adapted in others. In other universes, we humans may have become extinct.

A parallel Universe is supposedly a Universe like our own. It would develop along a parallel path to our Universe and would therefore be very similar to our Universe. People in our Universe (you, me and almost everyone else) would likely have a counterpart doppelganger in this other Universe.

Modern scientific theories suggest that other Universes do exist. However, only hypothesis and notions exist that suggest these Universes are parallel (similar) to our own. One notion about parallel Universes is that every decision and every possibility for every action in the Universe immediately creates branches of similar Universes. For example, if I flip a coin and it comes up heads, an alternate Universe instantly branches off where my coin comes up tales. This means that all possibilities of an action do actually occur in their own Universe. This notion is fuel for Science Fiction, but I cannot see how such a system could exist.

For a Universe to be similar to our own, it would require some common branch point with our Universe. In other words, our Universe and a parallel Universe would split off from one another. So, here's the problem with parallel Universes magically branching off from one another: Where is all the energy coming from to produce all these infinite parallel Universes? If such a system did occur, there would have to be some infinite energy source to drive it, and some magical mechanism in place to funnel that energy into each Universe. When Universes like our own are created, they consist of a certain amount of energy. For a Universe to split, energy would need to be split between the new split Universes. Of course, one could then argue that perhaps parallel Universes are really just versions of the same Universe, but existing in different states. The problem here is that an infinite amount of energy would still be needed to drive the structure of that system as well since it would still have to create an infinite number of possibilities.

Given current theories and arguments, I don't doubt that other Universes could exist. However, I sincerely doubt that parallel Universes constantly branch off from one another.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Atlantis Honeymoon Day 2 (part 1)

After being a bit disappointed by the room they gave us late the previous night, I got up fairly early and went down to the front desk. They had put us into a smoking room, when I requested non-smoking. We had a great view of the Atlantis Royal Towers, but the our room just sucked. It was small with furnishings that appeared to be crammed in without any forth-thought. The TV cabinet and wet bar fridge where jammed next to each other, barely fitting between the bathroom door and the sliding door to the small balcony. One of the room's lamps was placed high on top of the TV cabinet and was butt up against a large framed painting, completely blocking it. Next to the bed, crammed between the balcony window was a chair. It was obvious that no placement consideration was done before the furniture was purchased. Based on the smoking issue alone, we got moved to another room in another tower. When we got to that room only to find we had a wonderful view of a big wall (the side of the tower we just got moved from). So, we went back down to request a room with a view that I literally paid for. Finally, we got a room with the proper view. The funny thing is, the rooms in this tower where twice the size of the rooms in the other tower with more furniture and amenities, yet the price for both rooms was the same (too much). This new room was more satisfying at least. After we settled into our new room, we slept some more, then got up in time for lunch and our Dolphin Cay experience.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Atlantis Honeymoon Day 1

Allie and I had our Bahamian vacation at the Atlantis resort pretty much planned out even before we had our wedding plans ironed out. I've been looking forward to visiting Atlantis for a long time now.

I had the flight planned through Delta. Wow, that was a mistake. After spending over 5 hours on board the flight from San Jose, CA to Atlanta, GA, would have nearly a 5 hour lay over. We planned on this, so no big deal. It was planned this way because the flights to the Bahamas from Atlanta where so limited. So, when we go it to Atlanta's airport, we didn't even think twice about just going to get lunch in the terminal. After lunch, I noticed something that started to worry me. The afternoon flight to the Bahamas which was scheduled to leave at 2:50pm had not yet even arrived at 4:00pm. The flight should've been taking off just as our inbound flight was arriving. So that fact that it was over an hour late was a bad sign. I played with the idea of trying to get on to that flight via standby, but I thought better of it just in case there was a mix-up with our checked-in luggage. We waited for our flight. Waited. Waited. It was scheduled four about 7:30. Of course, 7:30pm came and went. Our flight's gate was moved. This was bad. Our flight finally got in but was held at the gate behind another plane that was stuck for another hour. We finally boarded around 9:00pm.

The next leg of the flight wasn't as long. We arrived on New Providence around 11:00pm and checked in to the hotel at almost 12:00am. The room was very disappointing. It was also a smoking room. However, we were too tired that night to deal with it, so we settled in and slept. We would change the room in the morning. The they put us in the first night left me with a some concern.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Allie and I just returned from our honeymoon at Atlantis. More on this soon. For now, I'm enjoying the vacation from the vacation. :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chronicles of Iran

Alright, I'm being a bit of a video whore today. Here's some brillant digital shorts from SNL. This stuff is like instant classic material.


Marvel Vs. DC

I'm not much of a comic guy. I do enjoy the occasional movie based on comic characters though. There's been some pretty funny videos about the DC and Marvel comic book charactors and their big screen adventures, using action figures and really cheesy voice overs. Highly recommended stuff: Here.

There's over twenty videos there. Here's the one that started it all seven months ago, as a parody of the Mac Vs. PC commercials.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Two stories, a bit funny and odd

It's not often that two news stories catch my attention, and never that this causes to write a third blog entry in one day.

First is the report that a society representing blind persons was conducting a protest today against hybrid cars because they are so quiet. Unfortunately, I can say that I think this is one of the most ridiculous protests I've seen in a long time. This is one group that is kinda missing the point. We all hafta adapt to the ever changing world. Things change. Paradigms of the past become out moded. This protest strikes me as a bit underthoughtout. Instead of protesting the quietness of a new car (which is preferred since it reduces noise pollution, among other reasons), they need to start working with cities about better city management of crosswalks and driveway entrances onto public streets. Also, discuss this matter with technology groups to get people to start investing in portable motion or metal detectors, or some other proximately alert system. Protesting the advancement of technology? Can anyone say "Amish"? It would be much worse to implement some arcane artificial function that would create stigma against the blind.

Another story that seemed a bit odd was recent industry comments regarding the Northwest Passage which will likely be opening up during summers within the next 20 years. It is the much fabled passage through the Northwest Territories of Canada that would shorten trips between Europe and Asia by several thousand miles. The route is currently frozen over most of the time. I'm commenting on an article that was highly critical of the idea of using the Northwest Passage once it opens up yearly during the summer months. The article made several points about its danger and unpredictability. The conclusion of this "news" article was that any use of the NW Passage would be unlikely. To this I say, what complete nonsense! The nature of industry is to take risk in the effort to make money! The more risk, the more money to be made. The challenge of the NW Passage isn't going to scare everyone away. It's going to be a magnet for profiteers looking for a new way to make big money in the shipping industry. Some of these dissers quoted in the article would likely be the first in line to take advantage of the NW Passage if it were to open up today.

flight home

On the flight home from Orange County last Friday, I was looking out the window and realized I was looking at contrails from above and close up. In the afternoon flight, there where three layers of partly cloudy skies. My flight was flying at about 56k feet, just skimming above the top layer of clouds. It was an interesting site that made me think of what it must've been like for WWII pilots duking in and out of similar cloud layers over the Pacific. That's when I started noticing the contrails of other flights that had been through the same airspace earlier in the day. It was the first time I've seen contrails close up and from above. The closest trail was prolly no more than a mile away. It strikes me just how common place flight is nowadays, and how extraordinary it really is. I know the basic principles behind flight, but it is just odd. I just assume that one day, air travel (or all travel for that matter) will not be aerodynamically dependent. For this short period in human history, we have this planes that relay of wings and massive rear thrust propulsion to work. I don't know that history has an simile that can compare to this thought. The white puffy clouds, blue sky above, partially visible ground below, and the contrails just kinda mesmerized me for awhile with such thoughts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How many wars does it take?

U.S. cannot afford another war? Huh? Iran’s foreign minister recently commented on the U.S. ability to wage war against their country, stating that we couldn’t afford another war. There’s several problems with that statement. First, the U.S. isn’t waging any large wars right now.
I blame President Bush Jr. for fostering the incorrect notion that we are at war in Iraq. There, our forces are an occupational force as part of a much larger effort to restructure Iraq in a way that makes its existence favorable to U.S. policies. The Iraqi War itself is long over. It was over when the government controlled by the Bathe Party collapsed and Iraqi forces scattered, soon after the invasion. We’ve only been in Iraq four years. Compare that with Japan after WWII. That was a relatively peaceful occupation that lasted seven years. The occupation in Iraq is not peaceful. How much more is expected as a result? Yes, the occupation is a drain on U.S. resources. But honestly, this occupation is being funded with our economic surplus. Our economy is so efficient and vast that we can maintain a full scale occupation without adversely impacting our economy. We never had to switch our economy over from a peacetime focus to a wartime focus. We are currently in a peacetime economy. We can’t afford to wage “another” war? If the Iranian leadership truly believes this, they are kidding themselves in the worst possible way. If necessary, the U.S. could switch over to a wartime economy to wipe Iran off of the map (without the use of nukes). With that said, I don’t feel it is in the U.S. best interests to do so. In general, I am against the idea of war. I also think that anytime someone thinks it is necessary to kill another person, then that person needs to re-exam their thought processes. (Self-defense is one thing, but war is about control over resources, not normally self-defense.) So here, I’m just pointing out the obvious flaw in recent Iranian official comments.
Ok, we are also in another on-going conflict. It is arguable that the limited U.S. operations in Afghanistan constitute a war, but those operations are barely a blip on the radar. Those operations in no way limit our ability to wage a full fledge war.

Birthday surprize

I was out of town on a business trip for Allie's birthday. Well, to make it up to her, I planned a little surprize for her. She's been talking about music she likes recently. Several artist and sound tracks come to mind. I got the bright idea to just add to her music collection based on what she's shown interest. Additionally, I got her a little something nice too. I then wrapped and hid the items in rather an obvious spot that I know she wouldn't look at for no reason.

With the trap set, I called her up on the evening of her birthday from Irvine. I directed to the location of the gifts. I can say she was really surprized and enjoyed my thoughtfulness. It gave her something to brag to her mom and friends about for the remainder of the week (though I'm sure she wouldn't characterize it as bragging). It was a lot of fun to pull this on her.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hyatt review and stuff

This past week I was in Irvine, CA at the Hyatt Regency for an educational seminar about plastics, hosted by the Society of Plastics Engineers. I was down there with Elvis. We had a couple of the classes together. One of the many things we agreed upon is that the Hyatt Regency in Irvine does hella nickel-and-diming. They charge over $200 a night for each room (though I paid less). There’s no free breakfast. I didn’t really expect any since higher end places don’t usually offer it. However, they charge at least twice the going rating for any restaurant food. Two tiny little milk pints cost $4.00. They charged for internet. Seriously, who charges for internet anymore, posh places or otherwise? The wet bar snacks where 5 times as expensive as market, plus 20% local tax and gratuity, which pushed their cost to 10 times the value club prices (which is where they likely get these items). Elvis tried to use the business center only to find out there was a huge time-based fee for that. The room service didn’t even leave new soap each day when the old soap was removed. About the only thing that was free was the daily local paper which didn’t cover national news on the front page.

The rooms themselves were very clean and tidy. The bathroom was a little dated in layout. The whole hotel (rooms and open areas) all had this floral scent that was just annoying. I couldn’t get away from it. It was supposed to make everything smell fresh, I think. But it just made me feel like I was supposed to be having a hay fever attack. Fellow seminar attendees also complained about service when they had issues with their rooms.

I’ll be looking at other hotels in the area for any other seminars held at a Hyatt in the future.