Friday, May 27, 2005

Top 10 Ways To Destroy The Earth

Thanks go to Tsykoduk for pointing me toward this article of sillyness.

In addition to being entertained by the author's great wit, you also come away with the understanding of just how huge a task it would be for anyone, or anything, to be able to actually destroy the Earth.

Oh sure, we can certainly ruin it by exploding nuclear weapons, polluting the surface, and generally making the Earth uninhabitable for living organisms, but to truly destroy the entire planet so that when intergalactic visitors drop by they find nothing in its place is a bit more difficult.

The great thing about an intellectual exercise in the absurd is that it can spark the imagination and maybe even cause us to think of things we ordinarily would not have thought about.

Take a gander at science fiction shows. It seems many folks either love them or hate them, when all the dust settles, the reality is that much of our current science has originated in the world of science fiction. That's right, those geeks that think up things like space travel, wireless communicators that flip open, huge thinking machines, and cooking food faster then using fire, are the true fathers of our scientific achievements.

Young children today that are watching science fiction shows will one day become scientists and inventors, and they will remember what they saw as they were growing up.

Imagine a world with clean energy, instant global communication without carrying around a cell phone, security in our homes, cars and businesses that require no card readers or passwords, traveling anyplace in the world instantaneously, or traveling to Mars in a day!

Many of these things are being worked on right now. Some are close to being accomplished, others have a way to go. It seems that the human intelligence is capable of turning science fiction into science reality within a very short time. I wonder, given enough time, if there is anything we can't do.

Future discoveries are being talked about in elementary schools right now with comments like, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could ."

So I submit to all of you people who view television and movies as an evil box that is sucking the intelligence out of our children. Where would we be without the entertainment of science fiction?

In addition to kicking your children out of the house to play and get their physical exercise, don't forget to turn on a little of the science fiction as well. Let them watch "Star Wars", "Star Trek", and "The Last Starfighter", or perhaps you can toss in some "Batteries Not Included" and "Buckaroo Banzai" for fun. Who knows, one day your carpet muncher may one day be the inventor of the holodeck.

Don't know what a holodeck is? It may not be too late for you. Go buy the "Star Trek - The Next Generation" series and start your education now, before little Timothy grows up to be just another mindless dolt in a bar that was ruined by their over-protective parents trying to shield them from the evil world of science fiction.

Come on! Open your mind, and the minds of your children before it's too late.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Taboo Scenario 4: Incest is Best

There is an interesting discussion on morality going on over at Justus For All.

The article in question is from an answer to a morality test that Dave took. Stop by and join in the fun!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Express Lane

I tend to do a lot of traveling and enjoy observing the people and situations during every trip.

This journey to Las Vegas, or Lost Wages as my step-father would refer to it, was overflowing with interesting things to watch and wonder about.

One of the things that really sunk in this trip was the use of express self-service lines.

Many airlines have been doing this for years now. If you have not flown in a while I'll tell you how things now work so you won't feel completely confused.

Basically, you don't normally stand in long snaking lines anymore. Now, you find a kiosk at your chosen airlines counter and swipe your credit card to verify who you are. Some airports even have kiosks where you can check in to any airline from the same kiosk.

Following the on-screen instructions you get your ticket printed out and then just hand your bags to the agent behind the counter.

I do miss watching the counter agents typie for 20 minutes to get me a seat assignment, but I think it's a procedure I can live without.

At the Excalibur hotel in Las Vegas they thankfully have installed the same basic kiosk type of system. Having to wait in tedious lines after traveling all day is really frustrating so this was a welcome addition to find at the hotel.

Checking into the hotel was another quick card swipe and I was off to my room in a few minutes. Checking out was equally as sIimple.

On the airport shuttle some ladies summed up my feelings about gambling. As we were driving away from the hotel they said, "Bye, bye Excalibur, we hope you enjoy all of our money."

Back to the airport for my return trip brought more fun to this adventure in the form of a huge line to go through security. Geez they move a lot of people through the Las Vegas airport.

A nice addition to the line waiting scenario was the addition of television monitors. Now I realize this in itself is nothing new and that many airports have monitors and videos showing the best way to go through the checkpoint, but Las Vegas added entertainment to the video.

The Knights from Excalibur were shown removing their swords and even squirt guns. The Blue Man Group were demonstrating the need for having your boarding pass. A Starfleet person was even abusing a Klingon because he was listening to his Walkman.

Some clowns even got into the act with a demonstration of shoe removal and taking a child out of its stroller so they could be carried through the metal detector.

The funniest of these scenes was watching Carrot Top with what appeared to be a backpack the size of half a door and he was carrying a tiny little purse looking piece of luggage. The whole area chuckled at once.

My flight is delayed for an hour so here I sit in the airport letting you all share in my thoughts. Aren't you lucky?

After sitting in the airport for several hours I can honestly say that I'll be happy if I never have to hear another slot machine yell, "Wheel Of Fortune!"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sunshine and Sharks

This was my second Interop, and my first Adtran party. All I have to say is, what a hoot!

The party was at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Resort, and the two guys on stage in the roles of Jake and Elwood were awesome!

At one point during the show one of the main Adtran folks named, "Kim" showed up late and Jake asked her where she's been. She said she was still working so they did a complete rerun of the show with little blurps of each song. It was very funny.

Another amusing moment revolving around the same topic was when someone yellled out a request and they said, "We're not doing a show for one person.". Then he looked over at Kim and sai, "Well, maybe we are."

I don't want to delve too deep into the rest of InterOp since there will be plenty of other sources with better overall reviews of the show, and it's not something I want to cover here.

Instead, let me jump into some observations I have made while visiting "Sin City".

I have been to Las Vegas now so many times that the gambling does nothing for me anymore. It.s great that there are other things to do here besides gamble and drink, or I would probably never leave my hotel room.

Watching other people feeding the "one-arm bandits" just reminds me of why I don't. All over the casino.s you see couples where one person is playing and one person is sitting there watching, looking like they are not to pleased with the arrangement.

Next there are those who keep digging for more money and saying a few choice words to the machines each time they play on lose.

Is the lure of Vegas the pretty flashing lights, the feeling that you can drink yourself stupid, or that just maybe this time you'll strike it big? This is not unlike the people that came West to strike gold or silver only to die trying or end up old and penniless.

Then there are the brides. Women everywhere in bridal gowns being followed by their entourage of ladies and gentlemen equally overdressed for the area. I wish them all well, and hope the dream of a happily ever after comes true for them all. I won.t make fun of them because hey, to each their own.

To end this article back on a haapier note, the "Shark Reef" exhibit at the Mandalay Bay Resort was nicely done. I especially liked the tank where the sharks were on display. The shark display gave you the feeling that you were walking out of the stern of a shipwreck, and you were looking through the ribs of this sunken ship and seeing sharks all around you including above and below. Very nicely done.

If you find yourself in Las Vegas in the near future I would recommend you check out Shark Reef.

There it is, my quick observations from the land of sunshine and sharks.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Why Are We Here?

Life is an interesting thing to ponder. Not only the lives of human beings, but animals as well.

What is it that drives us to go on day after day?

Animals have an instinct for survival, they really don't sit and wonder why they are here. They live day to day eating, drinking, breeding and fighting without really giving it much thought.

People, on the other hand, go beyond instincts. Perhaps it is our intelligence that has helped us cope with questioning our place on this planet, or allowed us to create mental shields to prevent insanity to creep in if we do.

When civilization was young we had the ability to wonder why we were here, but no knowledge to answer such a cosmic question. As humans formed into groups to enhance their chance of survival, there had to be pressure for their leaders to explain the mysteries of life.

Science was way out of the grasp of these ancient wisemen, yet they needed an answer for their followers.

Enter religion.

The leaders of the ancient cultures came up with the only answers they could, they made stuff up. Tales abound throughout history of all manner of gods, goddesses, and other spiritial beings in an effort by man to explain the unexplainable.

These stories were told for so long that they were believed to be true. After all, the wisemen and leaders of mankind would not lie to their people.

We now know that the Sun and the Moon do not rise and fall at the whim of the gods. Our weather is not controlled by sacrafices, and people do not get sick because the spirits are angry.

Many of you who are with me so far are about to tune me out, get upset, and maybe even stop reading.

People have been under the influence of religion for so long and believe in these stories so strongly that they are willing to kill, and die, for these creations of ancient man.

We no longer fear the biological events that once demanded an explanation, yet society still cannot accept the fact that human beings are in control of their own lives and nothing more.

It seems to me that the next logical step is for people to realize that there is no supreme being guiding their lives and determining their destiny. This is already starting to happen.

Unfortunately, before many people will arrive at what to me is an obvious conclusion, they will bounce around to other religions trying to discover something that is not there.

If you're still reading and have not ran away screaming "Blasphemere!", then at the very least you are thinking I don't know what I'm talking about.

I think your anger and denial is preventing you from seeing the truth in what I say. Think about your belief system and compare it to all the other religions of the world, old and new. Can you say with a clear conscience that your belief is the only true one and all the rest are made up?

Why then are we here on this planet if not for some divine purpose? Alien experiments I tell you!

We're here because that is how we evolved, nothing more, nothing less. We just happen to be a species that was lucky enough to make it to a position near the top of the food chain. It's our intelect that got us where we are today, just like it was our intelect that helped us cope with scary questions thousands of years ago.

Since we are no longer afraid of the dark, it's time more of you step into the light and drop silly superstitions.

Monday, May 02, 2005

My Inner Blackberry

Another business trip, and another opportunity to use mobile technology.

The week before I left, my company swapped my cell phone for a Blackberry.

A Blackberry is a device that basically integrates a cell phone and a handheld organizer, such as a Palm device.

Because I can now work with my e-mail and surf the web with this Blackberry, I have elected to leave the laptop at home and try my hand at communicating using a "QWERTY" keyboard that was designed for little people.

I have become more aware of the layout of my websites as well, so I am working on making them more friendly to the little-screened citizens, of which I have become a member.

Although I have discovered that I can download a spell checker for the Blackberry, I have not done that yet so please bare with me if you run across any poor spelling.

Likewise, while on the road I am posting these articles to a few of my sites via e-mail, so I am not including links because I don't want to accidentally blow-out the formatting of the page. If there is something you find interesting you'll just have to head to your favorite search engine, such a Google or Dogpile, and perform a search for the term.

As funny as this next bit may sound, I have found a use for the Blackberry that they will probably never put in their advertising. With a Blackberry, you are never without reading material no matter what restroom you're in. Whether it's at a friends house, or a public toilet, your e-mail, the Internet, or even a game, is just a tiny key-click away!