Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Europe Messing Around With AI in Space; Someone Should Tell Them "Not Cool, Dude"

Hooray! Another space post! Someone needs to reign me in before this gets out of control.

Anyways, the European Space Agency is using artificial intelligence to assist its Mars Express orbiter as it searches for water and other stuff on Mars. Yes, you heard that right, ARTIFICIAL FUCKING INTELLIGENCE, as in Skynet or the Matrix or that crappy movie by Steven Spielberg. I'm very torn by this news, since I am equally as excited about exploring Mars as I am fucking horrified by the prospect of the inevitable robot apocalypse that this sort of behavior will surely bring about. And since time travel is now officially impossible, we can no longer count on a friendly Terminator coming back in time to protect us.

Please Science, don't let the Robopocalypse turn out like this!!!

Goodbye Titan 4, Hello SpaceX Falcon!

The Titan 4 launch platform in Cape Canaveral was demolished this past Sunday after 15 years of excellent use (the Titan 4 series was decommissioned in 2005, and only exploded 2 out of 38 launches). This was done in order to facilitate the construction of the new launch platform for the arguably cooler-named 'SpaceX Falcon' delivery vehicle. The company behind the Falcon, SpaceX, aims to "improve the cost and reliability of access to space by a factor of ten". Definitely a step in the right direction.

God speed, Titan 4!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't Be Dumb

Yep. Someone out there decided to make a Dodge Caravan (circa 1988) in to a pickup truck. This awesome engineering feat was spotted on Interstate 405.

He Returns

Most glorious director Mel Gibson will return to the silver screen.

Gibson has spent the last six years making movies about the Mount Vernon/UW Jesus and Mayans.

The latter is perhaps cinema's greatest film of all time, inspiring countless Beer Pong names.

Book Recommendations from the Men and Women of Science

In my recent Internet meanderings I stumbled across this list of 17 book recommendations from leading Scientists in various fields. I've only read two of the books on the list, but they are two of my favorite books, so I have high hopes for the rest of the list. Though the recommendation for the Handbook of Mathematical Functions leaves me a bit incredulous.

Gchat Fun: In case of nuclear holocaust...

1:52 PM manuelv19: oh jesus science
alberto gonzales
could have ruled the u.s.

Attention All Humans: Hurry to Space!!

Q: Why did the dinosaurs go extinct? A: Because they never went to Mars.

Note: Since today is a slow day on the tubes (it happens), I'm posting one of my favorite Space-related articles that was included in my 'Space: part x' note series on Facebook.

A scientist, with the badass name of J. Richard Gott III, has predicted with 95% SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY that humanity has at least 5,100 years left to exist. Beyond that, all bets are off, unless we get to Mars within the next 46 years. Why is he so sure? I'm not telling. Read the article and find out. It's very interesting, and definitely worth your time to read if you are a Space-oriented individual like myself.

p.s. If NYT asks you to log in, just sign up. It's free, easy, and this article is rad.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cycles for Science

What does your computer do in its spare time?

Probably not much.

Every day thousands of unused CPU hours waste away, while important scientific endeavors starve for processing power. The BOINC Project aims to solve the world's CPU cycle hunger.
Simply install the BOINC client, select one or more of your favorite projects, ranging from protein folding to the search for extraterrestrial communications, and start computing. The program can be set to run only when your computer is idle, so it doesn't affect normal computer usage. I personally choose the Einsteinathome project, which searches the skies for gravitational waves.

My Computer Searching For Waves of Gravity

A squid taller than your house

The deep sea is an awesome and scary place. Little is known about what lurks at the bottom of the sea, except that whatever is there will most likely be able to eat you whole.

Today, New Zealand scientists are thawing a colossal squid to begin a dissection. It has apparently been frozen for 14 the chicken with freezer burn in my freezer. These squids can measure 50 feet long and attack whales. Since no mating has been observed, and the squids lack a hectocotylus, wikipedia authors speculate that, "they probably use a penis instead, which would be used to directly implant sperm into females" Moral of story, don't go into the waters in Antarctica, unless you want to be impregnated and eaten by one of the squids.

And this is just a small one

Things I Wish I had in College: Home-Ethanol Maker that Converts Stale Beer to Gas

Inventor Floyd S. Butterfield has invented something that I definitely would have liked to have in the old Blue Railing days: a machine that converts sugar and/or stale beer into 100% car powering ethanol. How many gallons of post-beer-pong leftover beer did we waste? If only we had had this device... On the other hand, if we had the $10,000 to afford one, we probably wouldn't have given a shit anyways.


Reader Chris has pointed out to me that it has been two days since a fresh PS post. Unacceptable. I blame the other writers and not myself, since I was tragically without internets for almost the whole weekend. Most of you probably can't even begin to imagine what going two days without the internet is like.

Anways, here are two articles that he recommended while chastising me:

I should have gone to college in Belgium


North Korean Mole People are taking over the UNDERWORLD!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Seattle Public School District Students' Future Determined by Archaic VAX Machines

For those uninitiated in old mainframe computers, VAX systems were manufactured by the Digital Equipment Corporation starting in the mid 70's. As the article describes, the UW CSE department has one on display as a piece of historical interest. We used to laugh at its refrigerator sized frame and almost non-existent computational abilities. The Seattle Public School District is still using these machines to place students in their respective schools, and after a scant twenty years of service they are planning an upgrade, for a paltry $2 Million. Why does it cost 2 million to replace an anachronistic machine that has less processing power then many modern cell phones? Bureaucracy, of course.

Artist Representation of VAX Mainframe during the Late Triassic

Friday, April 25, 2008

'Recent' Weather on Mars Means... Nothing, Really :(

Mars has weather! Or did, 100 million years ago, which in Mars time is like half of a split fucking second. How did they figure this out? Glaciers!
Super duper high resolution imagery taken a year ago by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provided images like the one above and some pie-throwing Smart Dudes at Brown University have deduced from it that Mars had an active atmosphere as late as 100 million years ago. What does that mean to us space-travel-interested types? It means that:

This evidence of recent activity means the Martian climate may change again and could bolster speculation about whether the Red Planet can, or did, support life.
How... mild.

Praise Science is ONE WEEK OLD!!

Hello loyal readers, newcomers, assorted Dino-Frenz, and others. Thanks for reading our totally radical blog. After one week, we have a total of 85 unique visits and 314 page views, all thanks to you (and also Manuel and Aaron who won't disable their ips on Sitemeter). While most of these hits are located in the Seattle area, homeboy Darren has been checking us out from Thailand, and someone mysterious from Hermitage, Tennessee has been stalking Manuel's Facebook observing the wonders of Praise Science.

On that note, we (and by we, we mean me) would like to know more about who you are, where you come from, and what you would like to see more of on PS. Leave us some feedback in the comments so we can feel better about ourselves provide a more valuable reading experience for you!!!

Have a most scientific weekend!

Great Names In History

"Eugene Hilary Magruder"

They just don't name people like that anymore. There was a bit more class in names back in the old days.

Now, people just name their kids crazy names just to match celebrities doing the same. Le sigh.

(Okay, okay, Nic Cage did give his kid a pretty rad name.)

Magruder was in the obits page of the Seattle PI today. He was born in 1912 and worked on the Grand Coulee Dam.

Bearded Viking Queen Returns from Valhalla to DESTROY US ALL!!!

Tipster Tyanne has informed us about some recent findings regarding the remains of two viking-era women found in the wicked awesome Oseberg ship. Forensic evidence indicates that both of these women (the older of which is "assumed to be the paternal grandmother of Norway's first king, Harald HÃ¥rfagre") lived a most grim and frostbitten life. Additionally, they were so badass and strong, that one of them had a beard!!!

She probably looked like this... but with a beard.

Space 2.0

NASA has announced that it has plans to begin building so-called 'tiny satellites' weighing between 11 and 110 pounds. Apparently these things will be able to 'network' with each other to form satellite 'constellations'. Pretty soon satellites will also be sending you event invitations and changing their statuses on a daily basis.

The Hottie and the Nottie worst movie of ALL TIME

You heard that right. Now Paris Hilton's epic about the hottie and the nottie, who is actually a hottie herself, but doesn't start out that way, plus there's an awkward guy who falls for the nottie, but started out in love with the get the idea. As good as that sounds, this movie now ranks, officially, as the worst movie of all time...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Environmentalism at its best or Mr Garrison's invention from South Park?

You decide...(link)

Annoying, now-skinny, pseudo celeb divorces

And it's somehow news.

BREAKING: Sorcerers in Congo on a Black Magic Rampage

I don't even know where to begin with this one. A top secret source Ninja Intertuber Aaron 'Tron' Westfall has notified me that there have been multiple reports of motherfucking sorcerers stealing dudes' penises in the Congo. WTF?!?!

Can you smell what Ba-rock is cooking?

Say what you will about the candidates, no one can argue that this election season has gotten ridiculous and everyone is pandering to the lowest common denominator. In one corner, we have self-aggrandizing, self-proclaimed "Hil-Rod" (team 'ram-rod,'?) who is going to apply 'the people's elbow' to Barack...and terrorism. Barack lost some points when he said 'I hope you're enjoying the program,' a little too bourgeois for my tastes. Also, Hil-Rod and B-Rock both called out Randy Orton (below) to a cage-match brawl, we'll see what happens. Not to be sequestered to the old folks home, Johnny-Mac(cain) fought back and said he and his 'mccainiacs' will run wild on ya, he will 'introduce Osama Bin Laden to the Undertaker' and that he wants you to 'smell what the Mac is cooking'

You really can't make this stuff up, I wish you could, but you can't:
Later, they fought:

80s Robots > 00s Robots?

Is it just me, or does it seem that robots in the 80s were way more badass than more modern robots (maybe with the exception of Big Dog). Take, for instance, this wicked awesome synth-organ playing robot named Wabot-2. As far as robots go, it doesn't get much more functional or awesome than that.

Hero Thomas L. Friedman Dodges Pie Bullet!!!!

NYT columist/globalization advocate/beer-pong team sponsor/hero of America Thomas L. Friedman narrowly survived a close encounter with a pie-wielding hippy-commie-liberal Brown University student yesterday. He apparently was trying to protect his fellow students from Friedman's blasphemous world-is-flatisms with the most effective censorship technique of them all: humiliation in front of young people via being covered in green pie filling.

You're goddamned right it is, Thomas L. Friedman!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich is my favorite cartoonist out there, and he's from UW! Hurrah!

Hands off my Internets

Old people in Congress and the FCC are debating the future of the Internets. They're talking about "network neutrality." Apparently, some people don't believe in the freedoms of the webs.

Ha! We'll get the last laugh when Google buys Congress.

College Drinking Habits

First of all, I would like to thank Pete and Manuel for allowing me to contribute to PraiseScience, even though they had absolutely no faith that I would. For my first post, I would like to turn to the brand new research on college drinking habits. This is a topic near and dear to all of our hearts.

These new findings, such as '3% of people got drunk and hit on some chick for like 3 hours before she said she had a boyfriend' just confirms what we all believe.

In all future work on this site, I hope I can continue to live up to the high standards that my fellow brethren have set. Thank you

More Facebook Antics

Facebook is on a roll: a day after unveiling their exciting/terrifying new chat feature, they have debuted the interesting "Facebook Lexicon" which allows users to input multiple keywords and return results based on how frequently the words are used across every user's wall in all of Facebook. Actually kind of cool...

Praise Science isn't doing very hot so far... so all you readers better get a fucking hand in and fire up those wall posts regarding our most prestigious site or you will face the wrath of the BAN HAMMER!!! EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!

UPDATE: FYI: 'xoxo' is a much more popular wall phrase than 'xoxoxo' with both experiencing spikes in usage around the winter holidays and Valentine's Day

Gchat Fun! Our new contributor!!!(?)

me: aaron liss is a contributor?
i just added him

me: does he know?
manuelv19: i don't think he'll
yeah, he does.
me: he better
or i'll ban him
manuelv19: lol
me: i'll wield the ban hammer with a mighty vengeance
manuelv19: We have the power of GOD
Sent at 9:57 AM on Tuesday
manuelv19: a GOD, at least

Happy Birthday NASA (almost)

NASA turns 50 on July 29, and although that is still a while off, Stephen Hawking spoke at George Washington University in honor of the occasion. Among the topics he spoke on was his opinion on the status of extraterrestrial life. He also gave some very prescient advice on why we should be wary of seeking out said aliens...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gchat Fun! Trent

2:09 PM Pete: dumb
street racing is retarded
2:13 PM you should ask trent about it
he is from that area
me: hahaha
2:14 PM isthat an albino moose?!
what if trent is actually a street racer
Pete: he might be
like racer x from speed racer
yeah albino moose

People should pay

attention to the oncoming train.

Time Haters

Apparently, some hater scientists have announced that time travel into the past is impossible. Major bummer. Okay, okay, I know that no scientist is going to invent a time machine in their basement or anything, since the physics behind time travel require massive amounts of energy (like on the small star scale amount of energy) and we are already flailing on managing our own energy resources on Earth. Still, I find their lack of faith disturbing.

If only Lord Vader was in charge of Earth's scientists...


Found on the wire at work:
^BC-Beavers Mean Business-Glance,0287<
^Facts about the beaver<
^Eds: Moving on general news and financial services.<
^With BC-Beavers Mean Business<
^By The Associated Press=
¶ NAME: Castor canadensis.
¶ SIZE: North America's largest rodent, generally 35 to 50 pounds, with some reaching 80 pounds. Nearly 4 feet in length.
¶ APPEARANCE: Reddish brown to black fur, with webbing on hind feet and valves that cover ears. Broad, flat, hairless and scaled tail. Its four front incisor teeth grow continuously.
¶ DIET: Various vegetation, preferring woody plants for winter food. Favorite trees include aspen, alder, willow, poplar and cottonwood. Beaver often will travel more than 100 yards from water to find preferred foods.
¶ HABITAT: Virtually anyplace with a year-round water source.
¶ HABITS: Mostly nocturnal but might be seen at dusk or dawn.
¶ LIFE SPAN: Average of 10 years; some known to live to 21.
¶ BABIES: Three to four kits are born between March and June and nursed from six weeks to three months.
¶ HISTORY: Beaver were eliminated from much of their historic range during the 1800s by overtrapping. Now, nearly all of Illinois' waterways are home to the beaver.
¶ HOMES: Beaver lodges are dome-shaped and can stand 10 feet high, their entrances under water to bar predators. Made from interwoven branches of aspen, birch, willow, cottonwood, basswood or poplar trees that the beavers fell with their sharp incisors.
¶ OTHER FACTS: Can hold their breath for 15 minutes, mate for life. Produce a rich oil to waterproof their fur. Can cut down a willow 5 inches in diameter in minutes.

Internet Meme Watch!!!

Caught in the act!

In addition to the recent "Travis Moger Gay Sex Straight Sex" meme that has sprouted like a weed on the tubes, "Ben Simons Sucks Huge D" is making a soaring comeback in the Kobylarz/Valdes Meme Straw Polls. Stay tuned for the latest numbers.

Gchat fun! Ben Simons

10:37 AM something good on the webs?
Pete: nah
boring morning on the tubes

32 minutes
11:10 AM me: BREAKING: Ben Simons, originally from Colorado and lover of all organic things, will take the GRE today.

Is this the end?

When I got to work this morning, I was pleasantly surprised/absolutely horrified to find that Facebook has implemented a new chat feature. Although I would probably wither away and die without my daily dosage of IM, FB chat might just be taking it too far...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

re: gchat fun

"If I knew the future was going to suck so much, I never would have signed up for the Robot Apocalypse"

Although I don't understand why Manuel picked this particular entry for gchat fun, it does bring up two important points: Wall-e DOES look like it will be rad, and that Silent Running is a true science fiction gem. It doesn't fall into the laser-filled space shootout trap that many so called "science fiction" stories inevitably suffer from. Instead it addresses potential issues, consequences, and emotions like loneliness and isolation that the future may bring. Plus it will make you cry harder than the last 10 minutes of Terminator 2. If you don't believe me, just ask Jeff Collamore.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Comment watch

From Wonkette:
"Hillary's "win or die trying strategy" aka "it takes a Hillary to burn a village" was especially disturbing at the debate where she happily played into the Rovian line of questions spewed forth by ABC. She could have taken the high road with Barry and together they could have vanquished the enemy. Instead she pandered to flag pins. She'll never drop out. Unless Obama somehow wins PA this will go on until the Convention, or until Howard Dean starts poppin' caps."

Gchat fun!

3:38 PM Pete: i want to see wall-e
3:39 PM me: me too
i fucking love Pixar.
3:40 PM Pete: i like concept too
3:41 PM it reminds me of silent running

A tale of Travis Moger

One time I saw Travis Moger google image 'gay sex.'

Okay, actually that was me, but Travis looked at the many pictures of men doing it.

Semester on the moon

Assuming that the next fleet of spaceships NASA uses don't crash and burn a dime a dozen like the current shuttles, Amurica will want its American Cosmonauts to stay on the moon for six months. NICE!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Welcome friends, enemies, and neutral parties to this brand new and shiny Weblog!!!

Yes, it's true; after countless hours of incredibly intellectual and important g-chat conversations, fellow Internet aficionado MV and I have decided to make a blog dedicated to sharing our profound insights regarding LOLcats, Star Wars pop culture references, Vladimir Putin, outer space, and numerous other things that we love and/or hate. Why, you ask? Because, face it - you suck at the Internet.

So join us on this fantastic voyage and prepare yourself for some serious lulz. Oh yeah, and SCIENCE BE PRAISED!!!!