June 28, 2007

iPhone Videoconferencing

Filed under: Apple/Mac, drawing, pointlessness, whatever — Brian @ 7:24 pm

Wouldn’t this be cool?
I mean, in a wierd sort of way…


…inspired by…

June 14, 2007

The Bible on Pi

Filed under: pedantry, pointlessness — Brian @ 7:36 pm

I found this post today in the WordPress Dashboard, making what at first almost appears to be a Good Argument that the Bible Is Wrong In This One Case Someone Pointed Out Here in I Kings 7:23, which says,

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.

The argument is that the Bible says pi equals “3. Also known as 3.00 or 3.0.” Well, 30 divided by 10 is 3, so it sounds like he’s got a point. Pi never ends, so if you say “it’s 3,” you’re really kind of wrong.

But you’re still wrong if you say it’s 3.14159. There is no string of numbers you can point to and say, “that’s pi!” and be correct. Even if the Bible used digits instead of words, here, there is no way it (or any other text) could state pi “correctly.” Sure, you can state it with more digits, and be less wrong. But it is not possible to state pi with any number of digits and be correct.

But his argument immediately goes off the rails in another direction, too. “3.00” is not at all the same thing as “3”. “3” could be anything from “2.50” through “3.49.”

In math, you cannot get a result that’s more precise than its least precise input. Said another way, the maximum allowable precision in an output is equal to the lowest number of significant digits in any of the inputs. And “ten” and “thirty” are the only inputs, and they each have one significant digit. So the output cannot have more than one significant digit.

And pi – to one significant digit – is three. That is, 3. Not 3.0, nor 3.00.

So the Bible implies that pi, to one significant digit, is 3. Which it empirically is.

To be clear, I’m nothing close to a Biblical scholar. But you can spot the holes in this “scientific” argument 1.609344 kilometers away.

June 13, 2007

Bumper Stickers Are the Answer

Filed under: humor, pointlessness, whatever — Brian @ 7:01 pm

I love bumper stickers. I don’t have any myself, but I love to read the ones on other peoples’ cars and try to figure out what they’re really saying.

Quite a few of them are opposed to something, but don’t offer an alternative, which kind of limits their utility. I know – they’re bumper stickers, not essays – but still. It occurs to me to run around with a pad of post-it notes and leave followup questions on the driver’s window. Sometime, I’ll start doing that.

Here’s one I’ve seen a few times around here: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

I don’t know what that means. Women in general rarely make history. Same with men. That’s the whole point – something that “makes history” is by definition rare. So, what do “well behaved women” have to do with anything? It seems to want to imply that poorly-behaved women frequently make history. And so, if you’re a woman who wants to make history, be sure to behave poorly.

Hmm. Now that I write it out, I see the wisdom. Change “make history” out for “make headlines” and it’s unquestionably true. Check the “popular stories” on any time for the photographic evidence.

Another one – you’ve seen it – seems to imply an unanswerable question. “War is not the answer.” That’s just teasing. Don’t just say what the answer isn’t. Tell us what it is!

I found out today on a bumper sticker. In white letters on a green background, it said, “Trees are the answer.”

So, there you go. War is not the answer. Trees are the answer.

Next up: what was the question?

June 10, 2007

Skip this post if bragging parents are not your thing

Filed under: fatherhood — Brian @ 8:03 pm

…to borrow a perfectly appropriate title from Jim

My younger son, who turned four this past winter, decided he wanted the training wheels off his bike on Friday. He’d been riding quite a bit with them on this spring, and I convinced him he could go faster with them off. So, Friday after work, off they came and we practiced for maybe 20 minutes that night.

Saturday, we practiced all day. It was only two or three laps around the court before he could go a good ways without my holding the seat, and another 20 minutes or so before I’d let him get far ahead of me. He fell a few times, but every time got right back up on the bike to try some more. Every time.

After lunch, I was following him on my bike.

Today, that’s all we did – he rides, I follow. According to the little “computer” on my bike, we’ve gone about seven miles together this weekend, up and down the driveway, and a bit around the neighborhood.

He learned to ride a two-wheeler in one day. With very little help.

June 8, 2007

B is for…

Filed under: pointlessness, The Neighborhood — Brian @ 6:19 am

From Gwynne, who used it as an excuse to get away from politics, to me – I’ll use it as an excuse to get away from being away.



Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following categories.
They should be real places, names, things…nothing made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it….

Copy and Paste to answer in your blog.

Your Name: Brian

Famous singer: Bob Marley
4 letter word: Beer
Street name: Busch Blvd.
Color: Brownish-amber
Gifts/presents: Beer Helmet
Vehicle: Beer Truck
Things in a Souvenir Shop: Bottle Opener Keychain
Boy Name: Brian. As previously stated.
Girl Name: Betty
Movie Title: Brew, Strange
Drink: Beer
Occupation: Brewmaster
Flower: Barley
Celebrity: Burrows, James
Magazine: Brew Your Own
U.S. City: St. Louis, MO
Pro Sports Teams: Brewers, Milwaukee
Something found in a Kitchen: Bag of mixed nuts
Reason for being late for work: Beer, excessive, recently.
Something you throw away: Bad Beer
Things you shout: hooray, BEER!
Cartoon Character: Barney Rubble

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