Monday, April 25, 2011

Pareidolia: n + 20

Looks like Jesus is hanging out in pizzas now.

Beyond the general personal incredulity at such things, this one goes to highlight the general nonsense when it interviews some fool from an Australian Catholic university who said
''There are a lot of misunderstandings in the making of saints and miracles,'' he said.

He said generally only "medical miracles'', such as healings, were accepted by the Catholic Church because those incidents could be tested using scientific means.

"We often rely on medical miracles because there is scientific proof it can't be explained by conventional science, that's where the validity comes from,'' he said.
Summary, "I can't explain this but it's not a miracle. Things happen in medicine that I can't explain. But those are miracles."

Herp derp.

"Validity" as an absence of evidence. Right.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I've been somewhat ambivalent on e-readers for awhile now. I love the idea of having portable text readers with me. My netbook isn't too bad for it, but a tad on the large side to carry around and not super easy to read just anywhere. My phone is an antique palm trio and far too small as well as lacking the software.

So a dedicated e-reader doesn't seem too bad.

My main concern for the past year or so has been which reader would eventually wind up winning out: The Kindle, Nook, or something else?

So far, Kindle's look to be far ahead so I'm pretty set on getting one of them if I do decide to get an e-reader of some sort. I'm also quite enthused about the Kindle library lending program that was just announced that lets you digitally "check out" books from 11,000 libraries and save all your annotations for later use. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds like a lot more titles available for free. At least, temporarily. Still, I'm quite good with that!

However, the big issue is still title availability. I went through my reading list and for the books on my "Still to Read" list, 4 of the 8 had Kindle versions available. This is a fair amount and I'm happy with it.

I popped through the listing of science books in the Kindle store and there's some 2,500+ titles available. Not too shabby! However, looking through them, there's a lot of self published nonsense out there. Like this piece of stupidity from Richard Hoagland. So I guess the number of titles isn't all that impressive when any idiot can slap their crap up there to make a quick buck.

So, does anyone have one? If so, how have you found it on good sciencey books like the ones on my reading list? Is the 3G version worth the extra $50? I do like the idea of being able to pull up Wikipedia anywhere, anytime. Choices, choices...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Astronomer's Humor: Part 4

In browsing arXiv this morning, I found an article that's guaranteed to be interesting. The title is "Haloes gone MAD: The Halo-Finder Comparison Project". The MAD in the title isn't an abbreviation for some instrument, but rather, the paper takes its name from a conference from May 2010 in MADrid, Spain.

Tee hee.

So why do I know this paper is going to be interesting?

They told me so.

"27 interesting pages, 20 beautiful figures, and 4 informative tables accepted for publication in MNRAS."

We'll have to see whether it's interesting enough to write about for UT.