Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Popular" Science

Yes, I know that it's the name of a magazine that's been around since the 50's, or 1872 or whatever. What I'm referring to is the concept of mass consumption of the theories that are put out by researchers while attempting to explain the universe. And boy is it frustrating to read, knowing that folks are hanging onto some of these hypothesis' as fact.

My example for today is the "Wunder Blog" by Jeff Masters. I found the article, and his blog, rather interesting; in fact, I found that the concept that ocean life could play a major role in our climate is astounding. What I found disheartening is the fact that he states in the blog that "While the authors admit that their calculations may have large errors, this research shows that marine life may have a heretofore unappreciated large impact on Earth's climate"; he states that the "proof" of the concept is unsound, but the results are not! This is not the foundation that our scientific "forefathers" set forth, and definitely not a part of any "scientific method" that I've used both in school and outside of school. This is more like the "facts" that religions used in ancient Rome and Greece than anything else, to be honest. There is a hypothesis, some calculations, and a result. But the result is not proof yet, because the calculations are under speculation.

I really don't have a problem with this being spread as a "theory", but sadly most people today have no clue what the difference between theory and fact are anymore. They do not allow their minds to have conflicting concepts and linger on it like a wine connoisseur would let a flavor linger and appreciate it for the possibilities that it has. They take all "theories" as facts, and one cannot overlap another. If the conflict, one must be right, and the other has to be false. This "fast food" science intake is creating a society that really does not want to think for itself, and I fear for that.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Low Country

I had a chance to spend a few days up in Connecticut last weekend, and it's interesting to really look at places, people and things when you travel. My family is originally from the central part of the state, and we happened to be there to intern my Grandfather's ashes. For those that haven't been there, the Central part of Connecticut is full of large hills (I'm not sure I'd really call them mountains) that consist of a lot of rock. The roads in many places are cut into the sides of these, and at times you'll be on a road and be at rooftop level of the houses just beside you.

Then, you can travel less than an hour, and be to the "low country" of the state. They are not directly on the Ocean, but rather their beaches are on Long Island Sound. You can see Long Island in the distance. There aren't really "waves" like a Florida-boy would consider them, but it's not still waters, either. The land is rather rocky, and the sand on the public "beach" we went to was much more coarse than I'm used to.

The thing I was amazed at was how much more I was drawn to the "low country" than I thought. I don't know if that's because I grew up on the beach or not, but I've found that while I'm not drawn to the concept of going "to the beach", I like the areas that are by the water. I find I'm more at peace for some reason. Maybe the concept of the vast ocean calms me or something.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


One thing that I'm not, is patient. I've learned to force myself to do a lot of things, but in general the ability to "wait" has never really been in my nature. Waiting to see what the future holds, and not being able to interact with it is a very frustrating thing for me. It makes me become introspective and question what I'm doing with my life and if where I am is where I should be.

Am I doing the right things? Is the path for the future what I want to be doing? I have always had problems "seeing myself doing what I do now in 5-10 years", and I've been doing this same type of job since 1994. I started doing it as a help-desk position at UCF, and it's grown into a career. I just have never really seen where it's leading to, I just focus on the now and the things I need to do to take care of my current needs, seldom looking at my future goals.

At some point, things change. Time for hobbies and being introspectively visionary gives way to doing the dishes and taking out the trash. The problem really becomes times when you really notice it, and how you deal with it.

Right now... I'm not dealing with it very well.

Monday, May 7, 2007


It was one of those weekends, more planned than we really thought we could manage.

We had planned on going down to EPCOT to watch the Nelson Brothers do a set at the Flower and Garden festival, but we were tired. It had started to rain, and the kids were not in the best of moods. Somehow we got everything together, the rain had stopped, piled us and the kids into the car, and headed out. For those that haven't (or will never) experience Orlando traffic... it's an adventure. We get down to EPCOT and park, and praise God, we get a spot 4 rows from the front gate. Pretty amazing for 4pm on a Sunday at the parks, really.

We get inside, and the park is busy (like you would expect from Disney) but a fair number of people are heading out. We make it around to the World Showcase, and it starts to rain again. Again, for those not familiar with Florida showers, they are usually fast - lasting only 20-30 minutes on average - but they are wet. So we duck into the shops over in the Norway pavillion to stay somewhat dry, of course by now we are all soaking wet, but it's what is done. The kids gravitate to the "Kidcot" kids corner, where they can color a mask, and Christy and myself poke around a little bit in the shop. After 20 minutes or so I look outside, and the rain looks like it is letting up. The kids are all but finished with their masks, and I know it's going to be relatively crowded at the show.. so we head out. Now, it's still raining when we head out but we are wet already so I figured it wouldn't make that much of a difference. Christy decides to encourage the kids to jump in puddles and dance around in the rain. And watching them experience dancing around and playing in the rain brought back memories, and feelings. We both recognized that we were experiencing, through them, what it was like to be kids again. We both grew up around Disney, the parks were special experiences.

And we got to share those memories - not the ones of "Mission Space" or "Journey into Imagination" that make the Disney experience special, but rather the little things like running around in the end of rain, jumping in puddles while the tourists are spending $5 (or whatever crazy amount they are now) for plastic ponchos and attempting for all their life to stay dry. It cost us nothing to get up the energy to take them down to the parks, but what we got in return was priceless.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Memory Game

I really hate it when I try to remember something that was so ingrained my skull at one point, and after some period of time it's lost to the "ether" around me somehow.

The latest of these "memory lapses" comes in the form of Mexican restaurant names. At one point there were two Mexican places literally beside each other around here, one was a local "chain" called Amigo's, and one was a national chain, which turned into Chevy's back about 10 years ago. Now for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the place.

I have 7 years of email from this job, every email that ever entered my yahoo or gmail account, and enough documents that I've written since college (including some printouts of Modula-2 programs that I did my freshman year on a VAX mainframe!), but little things like this will consume me until at some point I figure it out.

Doesn't help that wikipedia states that Chevy's is just a front name for a conglomorate now (used to be Pepsico, but they sold it off in the late 90's). I'll figure it out, it'll come to me at 2am and I'll blurt it out.. then my wife will be wondering what caused me to think of it then.

Edit: Many thanks to John, who's mad Google-fu skills figured out that it was Rio Bravo I was trying to remember!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

School Boy Heart.

Every so often, I get moments of Clarity.. things just seem to make sense. Been avoiding the "blog" scene .. well.. since it started, but I'm thinking it's time to start putting my thoughts into words on a screen, for my own edification.

I'm not intending this to be a "regular" thing that folks intend on getting an RSS feed of or anything, but rather more like a way for me to track myself.

If I had to use one word to describe myself, it would be "eclectic". I'm into an insanely large variety of music, love gaming in a variety of methods (PC, table-top RPG, minatures, Console), collecting Toys (one of these days I need to get up enough time to put all my Star Wars 3 3/4" figures up and take pictures again), and had a desire for music as well as art. I'm a Networking Professional (they call me a "Technology Development Engineer" at my job) by trade, and a Parrothead by heart.

This week, after nearly 20 years of avoiding it, I picked up a guitar and amp. Nothing fancy, nothing "expensive" (although it was painful for me to see the price tag, I mean it was in the triple digits!). I got a "Squire 51" guitar, and a Roland "Micro-Cube" amp to plug it into. That, a few books on how to play, and some determination is all that I have to go by right now. After 3 days of working on it, I'm still building up the callouses to have any length of play, but I'm determined to play some "six string music" eventually. For the first time in months I was drawn to listen to some of my Buffett collection, and picked "Far Side of the World" on my iPod while at work (I've loved "Tonight I just need my Guitar" since the first time I heard it), and the track list got to "Someday I will".. I think that's motivation enough for me right now.