Fun with Wikipedia

In light of the radioactive banana post, what are some other weird facts that can be found on Wikipedia? Read more

Egypt in Wisconsin

25,000 protesters are in the streets in Madison and 40% of Wisconsin teachers have called in sick, forcing cancellation of schools, as  new Republican governor Scott Walker is getting pushback for his proposal to limit collective bargaining by unions for public employees and to cut back on the cost of their benefits. Walker’s plan would allow collective bargaining for wages only and force state workers to pay 5.8% of their salaries for pensions, up from 0.2%, and 12.6% for health… Read more

CliffsNotes of CliffsNotes

As a literature professor, I just hate CliffsNotes and their ilk.  Reading isolated facts about a book is not the same thing as reading a book.   I consider using CliffsNotes instead of reading the assignment as cheating.  But now CliffsNotes are evidently considered too long for today’s students to handle. According to various news reports, that company is now producing brief internet videos of its famous crib notes which will be shown initially on AOL, since “everything in today’s… Read more

Radioactive bananas

Thanks to Webmonk for alerting me to this interesting fact cited at the blog Watts Up With That, which quotes from Wikipedia: A banana equivalent dose is a concept occasionally used by nuclear power proponents[1][2] to place in scale the dangers of radiation by comparing exposures to the radiation generated by a common banana. Many foods are naturally radioactive, and bananas are particularly so, due to the radioactive potassium-40 they contain. The banana equivalent dose is the radiation exposure received… Read more

Updates

The rest of the story on recent posts. . . . The computer named Watson ended up wiping the floor with the human used-to-be champions on Jeopardy. The human race is evidently doomed. So if Watson is smarter than people, should we elect him president? What does this mean? The Patriot Act, which gives the government expanded wiretapping and surveillance powers in fighting terrorism, is being extended, for three to ten months, depending on how the Senate Bill and the… Read more

How much information is there?

Science Daily has a story about “the world’s total technological capacity — how much information humankind is able to store, communicate and compute.”  It cites some unimaginably big numbers.  But what was most striking is this last sentence: Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that’s a number with 20 zeroes in it.) Put another way, if a single star is a bit… Read more

The Gospel according to Sling Blade

I am happy to report that Anthony Sacramone, once of  Luther at the Movies, is back from his blogging hiatus and is posting  again at Strange Herring.  Amidst his wry observations, humorous rants, and theological zingers, he will post thoughtful meditations and perceptive film criticism.  For example, here he discusses What Is a Christian Film? and puts forward an unlikely-seeming candidate: To me, the most explicitly Christian film ever made is Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade. Consider: the central figure… Read more

Time’s Person of the Year 2045

I’ve been posting on the Singularity hypothesis and have already alluded to this big story in Time Magazine.  It’s worth reading as perhaps a foretaste of an emerging secular religion, one that will solve all of our problems and bring us everlasting life.  A sample: So if computers are getting so much faster, so incredibly fast, there might conceivably come a moment when they are capable of something comparable to human intelligence. Artificial intelligence. All that horsepower could be put… Read more

Killer asteroid may interfere with Singularity

Wouldn’t that just be humanity’s luck?  An asteroid hits earth and wipes out the human race just 9 years before the Singularity comes to pass and we all would have been made immortal. From AOL News: Not to alarm you, but Russian scientists estimate Earth will be hit by an asteroid on April 13, 2036. Should we start packing our bags now? And where would we go? In 2004, NASA suggested the possibility that the asteroid called Apophis, bigger than… Read more

The King’s Speech

We finally saw the multiple-Oscar nominee The King’s Speech.  What a great movie!  I had expected in this account of King George VI and his speech therapist a light-hearted and humorous ‘enry ‘iggens My Fair Lady story in reverse.  But it was so much more than that, an in-depth character study of the king’s second son, so dominated by his royal father and tormented by his shallow elder brother that he suffers from a major speech impediment, a problem with… Read more

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