High-tech Christmas Gifts

  • Internet-ready Christmas tree
  • Battery-operated self-centering nails with laser target (pack of 20)
  • Self-aware carbon nanotube beach towel
  • 12 inch globe with LCD countries for dynamic motion cloud coverage based on current satellite pictures
  • Solar panel-powered winter hat
  • Rear-camera glasses to see what is behind you as you walk
  • AM/FM muffin

Beauty Of The Natural World: Appreciating the Structure

Macro-appearance of Micro-arrangement
The electron are orbiting pretty far from the nucleus. When the atoms are combined to form matter, the macro-scale structure can appear solid and without gaps, while if you zoom it to the atomic level, you’ll see mostly void (1 to 1,000,000,000,000,000 scale of matter to void!).

Fractality of Natural Structures
Fractals are patterns created through seemingly random processes, no matter the zooming level. If you use start from a satellite photo of a coastline, then zoom in to molecular level, you’ll always see an irregular pattern.

Scale Range
The scale of the universe is absolutely astounding. It stretches from the observations of particle physics (composition of the atoms) to cosmology (the whole universe).

Our Atomic Makeup
The number of known elements is now up to 118, with the first 92 occuring naturally. The Earth itself, all the mineral, vegetal, animal and human life are mainly composed of the 10 most common elements. Organic life (vegetal, animal and us) is mainly composed of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. All elements the humans are composed of are found on our planet — we are not alien being but physically a part of our environment.

Magnificent Natural Objects
Geodes, crystal formations, blossoming cherry tree, planetary rings and nebulas are some of the amazing products of the bonding of atoms in different environments.

The recent scientific concepts imagined to describe the inner workings of the natural world are fascinating. Multiverses, Multiple Big Bang theory, Superstring Theory, antimatter, quantum entanglement are only some of the those ideas.

Sweet Science Talk

Scientific languague is not just descriptive and accurate; it can also be mysterious and beautiful. Just read or listen to “The nature of Space and Time” by Stephen Hawkins and you’ll see what I mean.

You don’t have to know the deep meaning behind the concepts to appreciate the beauty of that specialized language. Just read the following expressions to experience some of that modern poetry:

  • Quantum gravity
  • Theory of causal dynamical triangulation
  • 4 dimensional spacetime manifold
  • Virtual blackhole as a quantum fluctuation of spacetime
  • Discretionary access control in a heterogeneous distributed database
  • Parallel Jacobi algorithms for the algebraic eigenvalue problem
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid
  • chromosomal crossover
  • Algebraic lattice
  • Chronostratigraphy
  • Cathodoluminescence

Now, try to drop “Finite-state automata with recursive-call state transitions” in a conversation…

Small Manageable World

The more I learn about politics, current events, religion, “creation science/intelligent design”, the more I realize that we have a closed and personal version of the general absolute reality. I think that our personal reality is shaped by their beliefs and by the limit of their knowledge.

We seem to find security in knowing ALL tof our universe, even if it’s extremely small, not mater how unreliable or unlikely its foundation really is. At least we understand it — at least it’s simple and obey some rules.

If you start to ask questions, if you leave the mental security blanket of having an overall explanation of reality, things begin to become less comfortable, even unsettling. By expanding your mental reality, you run the risk of loosing your landmarks, to venture in the unknown. You leave the small closet you know well and come out in the open field, at night — full of strange noises, peculiar lights, and unknown shapes.

I think that open field is worth exploring for the sake of finding the truth, even if it’s less comfortable and reassuring.

Non-evil Secret Societies

Not all secret societies are evil underground cults designed to control the world (at least, that’s what the masked whispering man ordered me to say).

The Cloud Gazers
They meet in a secluded field, lay down in the grass, and watch clouds for hours. Their hierchy is as loose as the object of their observation.

The Fraternity of the Muffin Gobblers
Affiliated with the The Secret Society of Pie Eaters and The Order of the Crumpet Crumpers
These societies are organized around a specific culinary treat. Factions have been known to appear when a group realized they wanted nothing to do with the unnatural preferences of others. We’ll recall the Vanilla Ice Scream incident that lead to the formation of the Orthodox Apple Pie Movement.

The Order of the Whimsical Head Cover
This group meets once a month, wear funny hats and giggle. They are occasionally bullied by the Pokadot Beret Sisterhood.

The Nihilists
The only group that denies its own existence on a regular basis.

The Magic of Christmas Explained

Number of Children
In 2008, there are approximately 6.7 billion people on earth, with 2.4 billion children , with around 650 million being Christian. With an average of 3.5 children per household, we then have 186 million houses around the world that are expecting Santa to show up on Christmas night.

Time Available
Santa Claus has to deliver all his presents in about 31 hours, counting the different time-zones, which means he has to visit 1667 houses per second. In about 0.001 second, he has to get to the next house, land on the roof, unhook his safety harness, get out of the sled, find the toy in his huge bag (that is several kilometers high as we’ll see), enters the chimney, place the gifts under the tree, eat the cookies, drink the milk, get up the chimney and get in the sled and tie up his safety harness.

Distance to Cover
With a planet circumference of 40,076 km and with 186 million stops in all countries of the Earth (starting from the Canadian North Pole and excluding Antartica), we can grossly estimate a total travelling distance of 150 million kilometers.

Speed of the Sled
Since Santa Claus has 31 hours to do 150,000,000 km — he then has to travel at almost 5 million Km/h. This does not include any time for the Santa Claus and his reindeers to rest or to take a pee break. Such a speed would create an enormous air resistance which would have to effect to heat up the 2 front reindeers. Actually, they would heat up so much, they would be vaporized within the first 0.001 second. The acceleration would be about 20,000 G, which would instantly liquify Santa Claus and his jolly reindeers. The air resistance would then affect the second pair of reindeer in line, vaporizing them. Within 4 thoussandth of a second, the whole gang, including Santa, would be vaporized.

Weight of the load
Assuming an average weight per gift of 2 pound and an average dimensions per gift of  1foot x 1foot x 1foot, the weight of the sled would be about 1,300,000,000 pounds or 589,670,081 kg.

Size of the load
Assuming a cargo area of 6 feet wide x 4 feet long, the height of the sled load would be : 27,083,333 feet or 8,255 Km high. Planes fly to at 30,000 feet or 9 km, so Santa’s sled could hit several planes during his tour.

The Milk & Cookie Situation
During Christmas night, if every house leaves only 1 cookie for Santa, this means a total of almost 2 million Kilos of cookies (based on a 10g cookie) and 18.7 million liters of milk (based on 0.1 liter per glass)! I assume he would have to find a washroom once in a while…

Protective Gears Required

  • He would have to have a extremely good collision avoidance system to drive at that speed.
  • He would have to wear fantastic goggles too, since the speed of the wind in his eyes (4,838,710 Km/h) would be intolerable.
  • A powerful safety harness would be required for the quick turns and abrupt deccelaration.
  • They would wear kevlar/carbon microfiber blend body armours, to prevent such appaling scene.
  • In order to drink 2 cookies and eat a glass of milk at each stop (in less that 0.0003 second), Santa Claus would have to have a special titanium alloy digestive system.
  • He would also have to have a special skin and skelettal structure to withstand such speed.
  • The sled would also be equipped with radar deflector and stealth external structure, to avoid being detected by radar from NORAD.
  • They would have to be protected by a strong force field (which has not been invented yet).

Ahhh, the magic of Christmas!

Based on an ideas, assumptions and base calculations of my friend, Frankie The Lone Ranger

Do you believe me?

This morning, I saw a cute unicorn being chased by a dragon and a troll in my backyard.

Do you believe me? Why not?

Those creatures are part of the world folklore for thousands of years and thousands of stories were written about them. You can also see them in paintings and in movies.

Of course, you could say they don’t exist based on the total lack of archaeological evidence and the absolute lack of credible eye witnesses in recorded history.

Then, how can anyone believe in other creatures that share the same mythical characteristics, such as angels, demons and ghosts?

How do you know?

  1. What percentage of your knowledge are you absolutely sure of?
  2. What are your criterias in evaluating the reliability of the information?
  3. How do you know that the information is not biased?
  4. Do you know which piece of information in your brain comes from gossip, false assumption, TV show fiction, unchecked fact from a magazine, an opinion from a blog or a well-documented piece of reliable knowledge?
  5. Can you differenciate between accurate memories and false/distorted memories from 20 years ago?
  6. How do you know that even a well-documented information from a reliable source is not false?

Sports of the Gods

Celestial Bowling
You take a moon and throw it as far as you can, using the planetary gravitationnal slingshot effect to produce nice curve balls. The goal is to knock the most planets out of orbit. The fun never stops!

Spacial Origami
When you have unlimited powers, you can fold space and time. The most popular shapes among gods are swans and frogs.

You create a population on a planet. You then unleash earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions and watch them scream and run! Gods never get tired of that one.