Archive for the ‘love’ Category

A Quick Scientific Limerick :)

March 30, 2010

Here’s one way I can show my  love for science and poetry. 🙂 I’m quite sure a lot of you guys out there can also think of your own science, math, or any other limerick under the freethinking Sun no? :)

There was a guy named Schroedinger

who was quite an exceptional thinker

He posited that

there’d either be a dead or live cat

Even before you laid down a finger

(to appreciate my limerick even more, here’s a good reference on Schroedinger’s cat) 🙂

And I don’t want to leave another favorite subject of mine (among others) without its own limerick. ;)

Newton discovered calculus

So did Leibniz, plus its use

There was some dispute

on who’d bring the discoverer’s loot

But Isaac won over a ruse.

(to appreciate my math limerick, please see the Wikipedia article on the Calculus discovery controversy) 🙂

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My list of some of the most romantic sci-fi lines

February 14, 2010

Okay guys, this is, among other things, a work/list in progress, so please feel free to suggest others I might have missed/forgotten. I’ve very limited time but I managed to draw these out of the top of my head. In no particular order, here they are:

“John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn’t know why at the time. It was very old – torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have”

-Kyle Reese, father of John Connor, talking to Sarah Connor in the movie Terminator (1984) while hiding form the terminator. Aaww. That is so romantic,  moving across time (and space) to be with the one you love. 😀

Mulder’s email to Scully:

I’ve resisted contacting you for reasons I know you continue to appreciate. But, to be honest, some unexpected dimensions of my new life are eating away at any resolve I have left. I’m lonely, Dana, uncertain of my ability to live like this. I want to come home. To you, and to William.

Scully’s reply to Mulder’s email afterwards:

I hold no hope you can respond to this. Or that it reaches you. I only hope that you are alive.

I cannot help believing that you jumped off that train because you knew what I now know – that these “super-soldiers,” if that’s what they are, can in fact be destroyed. That the key to their destruction lies in the iron compound at that quarry.

I am scared for you, Mulder. And for William. The forces against us are unrelenting. But so is my determination. To see you again. To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time.

Until then, I remain forever yours… Dana

– In ‘The X-Files’ season 9 episode, ‘Trust No 1″. Mulder is separated for a time from Scully and their son, because if he hadn’t, he would be putting Scully and their son in danger. Aaww. Sniff sniff. 🙂

Just remember…no matter what happens…I’ll always love you. ALWAYS.

– Superman to Lois Lane, before finally dying at the hands of the monster Doomsday, in Superman #75  (1993). The line really isn’t something new, but the situation and the overall atmosphere made it really special in my opinion.

So there you go sci-fi buffs, geeks, and nerds. Happy Valentine’s day. 😀

Quotable Quotes: Avatar

January 14, 2010

Finally, my first 2010 post and it’s about the movie Avatar.

After watching it for at least 4 times, here are some of the more memorable quotes (for me) from the breathtaking, astonishing,  overwhelming, psychedelic, staggering, eye-popping, wondrous, awe-inspiring, (anybody notice that these are more or less synonyms of mind-blowing? 🙂 ) absolutely cool movie:

(Quotes updated)

Jake: “Tommy was the scientist, not me. He was the one who wanted to get shot out in space to find the answers.

(Jake Sully talking to himself after getting out of cryo)


Jake: There’s no such thing as an ex-marine. I may be out, but you never lose the attitude. I told myself I could pass a test any man could pass. They can fix the spinal (chord) if you got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy.

(Jake Sully to himself right after landing on Pandora)


Quaritch: You’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact, every second of every day. If there is a hell — you might want to go there for some R & R, after a tour on Pandora. Out there beyond that fence, every living thing that crawls, flies or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubees.

(Miles Quaritch, during initial security briefing)


Grace: How much have you logged (link training)?

Jake: Zip. But I read the manual.

Grace: Tell me you’re joking.

Grace: So you just figured you’d come out here, to the most hostile environment known to man, with no training of any kind, and see how it went? What was going through your head?

Jake: (smiling) Maybe I’m sick of doctors telling me what I couldn’t do.

(Dr. Grace Augustine talking to Jake before his initial avatar linking)


Grace: (seeing avatar Jake curious about his queue) DOn’t play with that, you’ll go blind.

Jake: That’s kinda freaky.

(Grace to Jake before turning off the lights for bedtime)


Jake: Am I still with (Grace) Augustine?

Quaritch: On paper. You walk like one of her science pukes. You quack like one. But you report to me.

(Jake talking to Quaritch in the hangar area)


Grace: (To Lyle Wainfleet) Stay with the ship. One idiot with a gun is enough.

Jake: (smiling)

Wainfleet: You the man doc.

(During Jake’s first trip into the forests of Pandora)


Jake: So what about this one? Run? Don’t run? What?

Grace: Run! Definitely run!

(Jake asking Grace what to do with the Thanator eyeing him)


Neytiri: Don’t thank. You don’t thank for this. This is sad. Very sad only.

Jake: Okay, okay I’m sorry. Whatever I did I’m sorry.

Neytiri: All this is your fault, they did not need to die.

Jake: My fault? They attacked me. How am I to back–

Neytiri: Your fault! (pinning Jake to the ground). Your fault.

Jake: Easy, easy.

Neytiri: You’re like a baby, making noise, don’t know what to do.

Jake: Fine. Fine. If you love your little forest friends, why not let them just kill my ass? What’s the thinking?

Neytiri: Why save you?

Jake: Yeah, why save me?

Neytiri: You have a strong heart. No fear. But stupid, ignorant like a child.

(Jake and Neytiri talking for the first time, after Neytiri saves Jake)


Jake: I was a marine. A warrior — from the Jarhead clan.

(Jake talking to Eytucan during his interrogation)


Neytiri: Now you choose your Ikran (Banshee). This you must feel inside. If he also chooses you move quick like I showed.

You will have one chance Jake.

Jake: How will I know if he chooses me?

Neytiri: He will try to kill you.

Jake: Outstanding.

(Neytiri helping Jake to get his Ikran)


Grace: This is going to ruin my day

(After finding out that she’s been shot)


Norm Spellman: What’s the plan Jake?

Jake: There’s no plan.

Norm: (baffled) Tsu’tey’s olo’eyktan (clan chief) now, he’s not going to let you near that place.

Jake: I’ve got to try.

(Norm talking to Jake after they arrive near the Tree of Souls)


Outcast.

Betrayer.

Alien.

I was in a place the eye does not see.

I needed their help, and they needed mine.

But to ever face them again, I was going to have to take it to a whole new level.

(Jake’s ikran (banshee) arrives)

Sometimes your whole life boils down to one insane move.

(Jake talking to himself before bonding with the Toruc (the great Leonopteryx) )


The way I had it figured, Toruc is the baddest cat in the sky. Nothing attacks him — so why would he ever look up?

That was just a theory.

(Jake talking to himself before jumping to bond with Toruc)


I was afraid Jake, for my people. I’m not anymore.

(Neytiri to Jake after Jake arrives and has become Toruc Macto)


Jake: Look where we are Grace.

Grace: I need to take some samples.

(Jake brings the deathly ill Grace to the Tree of Souls)


Jake: (talking to Tsu’tey) With your permission, I will speak now. It would honor me by translating.

(Tsu’tey agrees to translate Jake’s speech into the Na’vi language)

The sky people have sent us a message, that they can take whatever they want.

And no one can stop them.

But we will send them a message.

You ride out as fast as the wind can carry you.

You tell the other clans to come.

You tell them Toruc Macto calls to them.

You fly now, with me. My brothers! Sisters!

And we will show the sky people, that they cannot take whatever they want!

And that this — this is our land!

(Jake giving his battle speech to the Na’vi, after Grace dies)


Jake: Give it up Quaritch. It’s all over.

Quaritch: Nothing’s over while I’m breathing.

Jake: I kind of hoped you’d say that.

(Jake to Quaritch in their final battle)


Quaritch: Hey Sully, how’s it feel to betray your own race?

You think you’re one of them? Time to wake up.

(Quaritch to Jake, before trying to kill human Jake in the link room)


Neytiri: Jake! My Jake!

(Gives human Jake the re-breather mask since human Jake is dying due to his exposure to Pandoran atmosphere)

Jake: (After several gasps of clean air) I see you.

Neytiri: I see you (eyes wet with tears).

(Jake and Neytiri touching each other’s hand, after Neytiri saves human Jake)


Jake: The aliens (humans) were sent back to their dying world, only a few were chosen to stay.

The time of great sorrow was ending. Toruc Macto was no longer needed.

(Jake’s monologue during the retreat of some of the RDA forces back to Earth)


Jake: Well I guess I better go. I don’t want to be late for my own party. It is my birthday after all. (smiling)

(Jake, during his last video log before finally being permanently transferred to his Avatar)


See an earlier form of the Avatar movie script, in PDF format,  by James Cameron from Fox’s own site here.  Some of the lines in that PDF file made it to the final version of the movie. It’s quite likely some of the other missing lines or scenes will make it to the extended DVD/Blu-Ray release, such as when Jake and Neytiri made love.

(Spoiler Alert!)

I’ve still yet to determine which ones from that earlier PDF file are canonical and which aren’t, such as Neytiri being 18 (in human years) during the events of the film, as well as her having a deceased sister, among others. Apparently, also in the earlier PDF file, Neytiri became pregnant at the end of the movie. I guess the scientists really did their homework when they mixed human and Na’vi DNA (according to Jake). 🙂

Things I’m hyped-up/excited about in 2010

December 15, 2009

This is still a work-in-progress list, so it will still be updated. I’m so excited about these that I managed to will myself to write a blog post about them… :). Anyway here they are (lo and behold, geeks and geekettes). Time to get your geek on:

Caprica – Back to the roots of BSG. Oh yes. Lots of sci-fi and sexy goodness.

The Flash: Secret Files and Origins By Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, bringing back the long dead Silver Age Scarlet Speedster.  With Geoff’s hot writing (especially post-Blackest Night) and Francis’ fantastic pencils, hopefully they’ll stay longer in the Flash books after this limited series ends.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne – Need I extrapolate any further? In case I do, Bruce has always been my favorite Batman, and somehow I knew DC wouldn’t keep him out of the picture for long. This reminds me of Reed Richards though, when he was sent in another time and place by Doctor Doom, as  a final strike against the fab four. Reed was found by his family though. However in Bruce’ case I think he’ll be the one responsible for bringing himself back to the present (?).

Supermand: Earth One and Batman: Earth One –  Graphic novel format! Retelling of Superman/Batman origins in modern times (ala Ultimates of Marvel)! J. Michael Straczynski and Geoff Johns (again) as writers, respectively! Need I say more? 😀 Anyway,  in case it’s not too obvious, I love the writers, the heroes,  the concept, and the format. I think it’s a good way to get away from the monthly format (I’m not saying I dislike them), and a good way to save money while salivating for the next graphic novel installment. I read that each graphic novel is about 100 pages, which reminds me of mange-type publications. Oh boy!

Iron Man 2 – Scarlett Johanssen as Nastasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow!  Downey Jr. and Paltrow returning as their original characters! War Machine! Samuel L. Jackson again as Nick Fury! Jeez, need I go on and say more? 😀

Planet Hulk – animated film. I’m not sure how well received the previous film incarnations which featured the Hulk were, such as Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, as well as the Hulk Vs short films. But it’s good to see ol’ greenskin again, doing hulk smashes and proving once again  he’s a real force to be reckoned with in the Marvel U.

More updates soon.  Oh and suggestions are welcome. 🙂

\\//,

Math is probably for you

November 22, 2009

Math can be really fun. Seriously.

This post is the 2nd in a series of posts I’m planning to have about why math is such a beautiful, useful, and awe-inspiring subject, and that a lot of us can do math (advanced/seemingly difficult math even). Math is such an integral part of humanity since our cave dwelling days, and much more so now in most of our technology driven lives. Previously I wrote about how even advanced math, particularly advanced geometry, can be easily tackled with just your imagination. This time it’s about probability. I can just imagine some of you cringe at the thought of math, let alone probability. But I’ll try to show you that often times, logical reasoning is all that it takes to wrap your head around probabilities, even the ones that confound a lot of brilliant people, even some mathematicians themselves. In fact, we’ll end this article with a simulation of a game/game show. Not bad huh? 🙂

Probability and people

In a nutshell, probability is the area of math which deals with the likelihood of an event happening. It is usually expressed as a number, whether a fraction or a decimal, between 0 and 1, with a probability of 1 meaning the event will surely happen and a probability of 0 meaning the event won’t happen.

Now, don’t be too hard on yourself thinking that probability is too hard for you, unlike most of the human population. In fact, probability is one really confounding area of math and problems in it that seem to be easy in hindsight, turn out to be deceptively difficult or tricky, even for  mathematicians, teachers, and other brilliant men and women around the globe. In fact a lot of us have trouble wrapping our heads around probabilities. You mix that with human hopefulness and also the difficulty of grasping very large numbers and what you get is the staggering number of people around the world falling in line to get their lotto tickets so they could win the multi-million prize money.

In fact, if we do the math, in a typical 6/49 game of lotto (6 unique numbers chosen out of 49 numbers, where the order of the 6 numbers is not important) we find that your chances of winning today after buying that lotto ticket is 1 in about 14,000,000. So if Lucy (one of the earliest hominids/proto-humans known to us) or her people, or perhaps even Neanderthals started betting on the lottery at the beginning of their lives, some of them should be millionaires by now. That’s how bad we are at assessing odds, especially coupled with large numbers. So when you go buy that lotto ticket later, I’m afraid the odds are so much against you.

However, I’ll discuss next a particularly perplexing probability problem pondered by people, even brilliant ones, and found the solution to be deceptively trivial after all. Actually, even after you get the explanation, from a practical standpoint it doesn’t seem like so. But the logical reasoning will quite surely buy you out. But don’t fret, all you need again is imagination and logical reasoning. 🙂

Game time

Some of you may have heard/read about the American game show Let’s Make a Deal. The Monty Hall problem (MHP) was named after the show’s host. Simply stated, the rules of the game are as follows:

The game master (GM), has 3 doors: 2 with goats behind them and one with a car behind it. The GM lets you choose one door, which you think holds the prize car behind it. Since the GM’s job is to make you and the audience excited and enjoy the game, the GM opens another door. But since the GM knows the placement of the goats and the car i.e. which door has which item behind it, the GM opens a door which has a goat behind it. Now, the GM poses a question to you: Do you or do you not want to change the door you initially picked i.e. the GM gives you an opportunity to stay with the door you originally picked, or to choose the other door, knowing that one of the doors, which the GM opened, has a goat behind it.

The GM in the show is of course Monty Hall (MH). Now, you’d most probably think that since there are only 2 doors left unopened, that the probability of getting either a goat or a car is now 50/50 or 50% right i.e. it doesn’t matter whether you switch doors or not?

Nope.

In fact, however counterintuitive this may seem, your chances of getting the car at this point of the game doubles if you decide to change the door you initially picked. How? Let’s find out shall we? 🙂

Goat, Car, Goat

Now let’s strap on our imagination and logical reasoning caps to find out how the probability of getting the car increases two-fold if you switch your chosen door, and that it’s not a 50/50 chance of getting the car once a door with a goat has been opened by the GM.

Monty Hall problem

Monty Hall problem

One way of looking at how this counterintuitive probability problem is correctly tackled is by taking the possibility of the events one at a time (refer to the figure above please). In this scenario we show that when you switch doors, you always double your chances of winning. Here’s how:

1. First event, say you picked a door and it happened to have the prize car behind it.  Regardless of which door the GM opens, switching in this case either gives you goat A or goat B i.e. you lose the prize car. Out of the 3 possible scenarios (2 of which are listed right after this one), in this one event/case do you lose the prize car.

2. Second event, you choose a door with a goat (goat A) behind it. The GM opens a door again with a goat (goat B) behind it. If you switch in this case, you get the car. This event, wherein you get the car by switching, is one event which you get the prize car. Score one for you. 🙂

3. Third event, you choose the 3rd door with a goat(goat B) behind it. The GM again opens a door with a goat (this time, goat A). So when you switch, you get the car again. Yay. 🙂 This event, wherein you again get the car by switching, is another event which lets you take home the prize.

So what did we get from all this? We saw that out of 3 events/cases of picking either of the 3 doors, you always get 2 events (event 2. and 3.) which favor switching and which lets you walk away with the prize (or in this case, drive away with the prize). So the odds of getting the car/prize in the MHP is not 50% as a lot of us would initially assume, but instead, is really 2/3 or approximately 66.7%.

It can take a while to sink in, but the reasoning/explanation is quite logical and sound.

Try it out!

I actually tried this out with my mother and at another time with my younger brother. What I did was I got 3 opaque plastic cups (simulating the doors) and 2 toy cows (no goat toys in our house at that time) and 1 robot toy that transforms into a car (not bad for a prize no?). I made them act as a GM at one time, with me being the game contestant. Of course to prove my point I always switched. We did this about 20 times and I got the prize car (or robot) at around 14 times out of the 20 (roughly 2/3 of 20). Then I acted as a GM and they acted as the contestant. Then their job was not to switch doors (or cups), just to prove my point that you get the prize more often than not (2/3 of the time remember?) by switching instead of staying with your original door/cup.

They even asked me if I was doing a magic trick on them. I told them it was the power of mathematics and of logical thinking. 🙂 Imagine what much more primitive, let’s say Bronze-aged men, would think of me, with this knowledge, even without modern devices like a cellphone. Perhaps they’d think of me as an oracle or even a god. 🙂

Great, great. But what’s the use?

I think one important thing we can get from this (other than to show you that you can do maths you thought were too hard or complicated for you) is that with math, we can make decisions in our lives (sports betting, lottery, game shows and so on) with more clarity, logic, and sound reasoning, instead of just blind optimism.

If you didn’t get the logic on how to win the game at first glance, or if you thought it was 50/50, don’t be ashamed, a lot of people (some brilliant even) fell for it too. In fact, out of 228 subjects in a study, only 13% chose to switch, and that the rest (87%) assumed that the switching didn’t matter since the likelihood of getting the car out of the 2 unopened doors are equal (research by Mueser and Granberg, 1999).

Quoting cognitive psychologist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

“… no other statistical puzzle comes so close to fooling all the people all the time”

and

“that even Nobel physicists systematically give the wrong answer, and that they insist on it, and they are ready to berate in print those who propose the right answer.”

So, not bad eh? Still think math (or at least those areas you think are too advanced or complicated for you) isn’t for the average person? If so, then look forward to my next posts about math. 🙂

References, resources, and further reading

Gather ’round kids, it’s time for math!

November 1, 2009

Mathematics is for everyone. Really.

This article ( and the succeeding ones in the series) aims to prove that point. That everyone has a mathematical brain. Specifically, I’ll concentrate on a certain area of mathematics in this article known as geometry, and then go to more advanced geometry (usually college or graduate level geometry). Don’t fret! There are no equations here which will make your eyes wander and do something else (at least while you’re reading the article). There are a lot of  science articles around, but what you usually don’t get often are articles about math, how beautiful and useful it is, and how important it is to science and modern civilization.

(more…)

Falling In Love: The Physics Of Attraction

October 12, 2009

This article discusses why the colloquial expressions such as “That’s why I gravitate towards you”, “I’m falling for you”, and “She is attracted to me” can be quite scientifically accurate. The following article muddles up the meanings of casual words like “falling” and “attraction” with the currently accepted theories, studies, and findings of physics on the related matters. I’ve done something like this before , similar in fashion to how the word “God” is poetically and figuratively used in relation to the “religious”  views of Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and other physicists . This time, it’s love. 🙂

First we have Space-Time

Space-time or spacetime is a mathematical model that you get when you combine the 3 dimensions of space with a 4th one,  the dimension of time.  In a nutshell, space-time is similar to a landscape where a point locates an event i.e. a 3 dimensional location + the time when it happened, instead of just a usual, spacial point in space like in maps, even if it’s a 3D map. Since space-time involves 4 dimensions, even most scientists find it very hard to imagine what 4 dimensions would look like, since us humans are accustomed to only 3 dimensions of our space. We always look at time as something that is fixed and unchanging. Newton certainly did when he wrote the laws of motion. One of the most impressive feats of Einstein was that he showed this was not so, and that time is as maleable as space.

To see this graphically, observe the image above. Since scientists are only humans, they have difficulties imagining warped 4 dimensions, and so 2 dimensional analogs are used, which are enough to illustrate the point. The image above shows a distortion in space-time.  These imaginations of space-time were first thought of as what are famously now known in science as thought experiments, with one of the most popular users being Albert Einstein himself.

Then there’s Gravity

General relativity describes gravity as a curvature in space-time and that, again in a nutshell,  gravity is a dent in space. To further picture this, consider again the image above. Ordinary matter, which makes up everything we see in the universe, causes space-time to warp and bend around it. The more matter there is in a given object or point, the more warping, denting,  and bending of space time, and therefore the stronger the gravity. The image shows the Earth, which is relatively quite massive, making a dent in the space-time continuum, thus creating a gravitational effect which pulls us, the moon, and other objects in space towards it, even including the Sun. The Sun of course has the strongest gravity or pull in the Solar system, since it’s the most massive object in it. Again, remember that the image is just a 2D analog of a 4D space-time continuum. The Earth does not immediately plummet towards the Sun since the Earth has its own gravity, which counteracts the Sun’s pull. But nevertheless the Earth is slowly circling down the drain/dent of the Sun in the space-time continuum (Sun’s gravity) and in a few billion years, the Earth and everything less massive than the Sun will quite likely plummet towards it. In other words, gravity is just an illusion since we can’t quite really conceive a 4th dimension in our minds, and that gravity is really just a warping of the space-time continuum.

You can then further imagine or create a thought experiment that other less or more massive bodies than the Earth in the Solar system create their own dents or warps in space-time. These include the other planets, asteroids, and even us humans, albeit in a very minute fraction only.

In fact, one of the suggested ways of mitigating a future asteroid impact on Earth is based on the premise that mass causes denting or warping in space-time. The gravity or gravitational tractor, as it is known, deflects an asteroid many years prior to its impact on Earth, by simply hovering or “parking” beside the asteroid. This form of asteroid mitigation does not really require cutting edge scientific discoveries or engineering feats, it does not need to physically contact the asteroid, and does not necessitate the need for the mechanical and structural composition of the asteroid in advance. Simply put, it works by allowing the relatively massive object, the gravity tractor, to “pull” the asteroid towards a direction which will lead it away from a future Earth impact. The “pull” comes from the fact that, slowly but surely, the tractor’s warping of space imposes a pull, albeit tiny, to the nearby asteroid.

Finally, Falling in Love

So, by now perhaps you’ve already surmised my coy and sly use of the words “falling” and “attraction” with respect to falling in love, as well as how physics currently views gravity and space-time. In other words, geeks and nerds like me often joke about how a girl could “fall” for you if you simply sit near her, since you do have mass, however minute. That mass of yours will eventually make her notice you, or perhaps not, but it will certainly impose a “pull” on her towards you, or vice versa. Of course technically speaking, it will take millions to billions of years before the more massive one between you two finally pulls the other. In this case, it’s better if you just ask her out, and that sometimes physicists, geeks, and nerds like me don’t really give that much good an advice. Still, as I mentioned earlier in this article, phrases such as “I’m falling for you” and “We’re attracted to each other” are quite scientifically accurate. Ah, love in geek or nerd speak. So romantic. 🙂

Which brings to mind the fascination of some men in today’s times to skinny women. Based from what I’ve pointed out here, it’s physically (by this I mean in physics) understandable why some men would prefer heavier or more massive women, but what about skinny women? I suppose the social sciences have more to learn and discuss in these matters. 🙂

Resources, references, and further reading: