Saturday, July 26, 2008

I think I can see my house from here

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games aka ShitStorm 2008

Everyone loves the Olympics. For two weeks every other year, the world's fastest, strongest, and most skilled do their thing and impress us all/make us all feel disgusted at ourselves for being such out of shape slobs. I am probably more excited for the upcoming Beijing Summer Games than I have been for any other Olympics, but not because of the feats of athletic prowess that may (or may not) occur. No, dear readers. Instead I am eagerly anticipating how much of a fucking disaster it is likely going to be. This Olympic Games has the potential to go down in history as one of the most fucked up, if not the most fucked up ever. Below, I shall list a sampling the reasons why the International Olympics Committee is going to be pissing their pants come 8-8-08:

  • Drought! China already uses pretty much all of the water from the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers as well as many other water sources to (not really) provide enough water for its cities. Will the increased demand for water during the Games lead to disaster? It's a good bet.
  • Ter'rists! Between al-Qaida, Muslim extremists in Mongolia, and Tibetan activists, somebody is sure to try to kidnap someone/blow something up. China is not fucking around with their security. Be prepared for either an act of terror or an extreme (and probably lethal) crackdown on protestors by over-zealous police forces.
  • Weather Control! (Aha! Here's some Science!) Not since the Weather Dominator exploded in Cobra Headquarters has a weather control experiment had the potential to go so wrong. In a highly publicized attempt to prevent rain during the Games, China is using the controversial technique known as cloud seeding (which nobody is sure even really works). BONUS!!! China has some of the best smog and air pollution in the world. I'll do the math for you: The world's best athletes + the world's worst air = EPIC FAIL!!!
  • China's Media Paranoia! Although things are not as bad as they used to be, China is still a communist state, and thus is a huge control freak when it comes to free flow of information. NBC has a $1.5 billion exclusive contract for coverage of the Games, but even they are having issues figuring out how the hell they are going to pull this off. When you turn on the teevee to see the Olympics will anything happen? When someone breaks a world record in Beijing, does it make a sound?
Science, I cannot wait!!!!!! It's not that I hate the Olympics. I just can't turn my eyes away from the planet sized trainwreck that is probably going to occur. Do you blame me?

On a related note, here is an interesting article from the best sci-fi blog on the tubes,, entitled "Five Ways Technology has Changed the Olympics". Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

39 Years Ago Today...

... mankind first stepped foot on the moon. So sit down for a moment and consider this most inspiring and technologically challenging feat accomplished by your fellow man. What would the world be like today, 39 years later, if we hadn't busted our asses (with a little Soviet encouragement), and done some Science that is truly worthy of Praise...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Probably Shouldn't Ever Say Anything Over the Phone Again...

Yesterday, the Democratic-majority United States Senate (which shall henceforth be known as the Super Awesome Patriots for Liberty and Constitutionality Senate FOREVAR!!!!!!11) passed the controversial FISA bill, which will expand Federal wiretapping powers (read: no warrants required) and grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies that participated in illegal wiretapping under orders from the Bush Administration.

We here at PS try not to dilute our Science with too much politics, but this law definitely affects those of us who value the free transfer of information and communication, be it over phones or the Internet or whatever. I personally am horrified that so many Democratic Senators (aka spineless coward bitches), including one particularly hope-infused Senator, voted in favor of this unconstitutional bullshit while George Bush cackles maniacally in the background.

My advice to anyone scared of being snooped on? Pull a Gene Hackman, a la Enemy of the State, and surround your private quarters in a giant mesh Faraday Cage. Even if it won't block direct wiretaps set up by service providers, it still would be really cool.

"I told you they were listening."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ask the Science Times!

It appears that the New York Times has been stealing ideas from Praise Science (we wish) ! Through July 11th (I know, that's only like 2 more days), you can send in your Science related questions to be answered (in a very "Ask Praise Science!" like fashion) by writer Dennis Overbye, who seems to be a very intelligent and funny guy. The page containing all published questions and answers to date is here. You can send all of your questions to Or you can just send them to if you don't want to be a giant douche bag.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Praise Science Call to Action: Save Arecibo!!!!

The Arecibo Observatory (aka Earth's largest radio telescope) is being threatened by Alec Trevelyan and the Goldeneye Satellite by massive budget cuts that will shut down most of its operations, including collecting interstellar radio transmissions analyzed by the SETI@home project, which we mentioned here oh so long ago.

The Arecibo Observatory is an amazing feat of Science and stands today as an incredibly inspiring and functional monument of human daring and ingenuity. It signifies our collective voice shouting into the heavens and our collective ear turned to the stars. Cutting funding, shutting down operations, and dismantling it would be not only a shameful admittance of defeat, but also a step backwards as a species.

I find this news slightly heartbreaking, and since you're reading this blog, I assume that you do too. If you are heartbroken enough to want to do something about it, you can go here and print out a letter to send to your congressmen expressing your concern. You can also email if you are too lazy/cheap to send a letter (although legislators are more likely listen if you do send snail mail). So, as a community of Science loving people, perhaps we do a little something to help make a slight difference in the struggle to save Arecibo.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Researchers at the University of Washington pwn the RIAA

Researchers of the University of Washington's Computer Science Department have successfully framed a network printer as a culprit of Internet piracy, demonstrating how rather pathetic the tactics of the RIAA/MPAA really are. A DMCA take-down notice was even sent to the university naming the printer as a copyright infringer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NASA's Hyperwall is King of All Displays

Over at NASA, they have created the largest, fastest, and sexiest display in the world, aptly named Hyperwall 2. The 23' by 10' Hyperwall consists of 128 high definition displays driven by 128 graphics processing units with a total of 1024 processor cores. Hit the link for some more computery specs.

Although we know Hyperwall is used for important Space stuff, every gamer in the world can't help but imagine using it to achieve 250,000,000 pixel h34dsh0t perfection.

Hmmmmm... I wonder what happened to Hyperwall 1... You know, that sure would look good in Praise Science's Ivory Tower...