Archive for December 30th, 2010

A Cyclical Universe?

| December 30, 2010 | 7 Replies
A Cyclical Universe?

I like the proverbial “outside the box” thinking, and you don’t get much more outside the box than this interpretation of patterns found in the cosmic background radiation.

The beauty of science is that it is a well-constructed box we’re trying to get outside of, and it is logical plausible thinking that gets us there. The math behind theories like this involves tensors and the like that my courses in partial differential equations touched on so many years ago, and that I was forced to play with on a graduate level in fluid dynamics somewhat later, but still also so many years ago. I neither remember any of it, nor knew it well at the time. Amazing stuff, this theoretical physics.

Science does have all the answers. We just don’t have all the science.

Share

Read More

Maddening Blather on Hold with AT&T

| December 30, 2010 | 2 Replies
Maddening Blather on Hold with AT&T

We lost our Roku internet connection this evening. Also the laptop connection, and the main computer. Basically, my internet was down.

So I went through all the usual things to find the problem. Computer was talking to the router that was in turn talking to the modem. So far so good. I managed to tell the router to tell the modem to change my IP address. Everything was working.

But I could not reach any web sites, email, or ftp servers. I finally figured out that the DNS must be down. Domain Name Service is the internet utility that converts name addresses (like DangerousIntersection.org) to numerical route addresses (like 206.225.8.91) so your packets (requests, pages, images, etc) can find their way through the web.

So I called AT&T and answered a series of questions, like “Can you get online?” (No) and “Did you try rebooting and turning the modem off and back on?” (Yes). Finally, I landed in the service hold queue.

What to my wondering ear did appear in the cannot-get-online and did-reboot queue? An annoying loop of messages telling me all the wonderful support I can get online! This, plus the repeated suggestion that I try rebooting.

ga-ah!GAA-AH!ga-ah!

I sat on hold for 35 minutes before I decided to vent on this forum. Well, at least to write about it. I have to wait till either they fix the problem, or I get through and can ask for a numerical address for the address server to bypass the broken automatic one.

After 73 minutes (1:13) of this, I reached an actual person. I started with asking if she knew how long the DNS would be down, largely to jump past all the AnyKey suggestions. No, but similar problems typically are resolved in 4 hours. Then I asked if she had a bypass DNS address that I could use until theirs was working. No she didn’t have this information. I suggested that she pass upstream my frustration with the “just go online” message piped in to people who were calling because they cannot get online. She had no mechanism for this. Oh, well. I stayed polite. Tech support folks are in a miserable position when they have no way to fix anything, and the problem is real.

Share

Read More

Indiana crackdown on snow sculptures of penises

| December 30, 2010 | 9 Replies
Indiana crackdown on snow sculptures of penises

A mere sculpture of a mere body part is obscene, according to authorities in Indiana. Listen to these victims, who appear to be scarred for life. I feel scarred for life merely by hearing about this display of a human body part.

I can understand those who think it is in bad taste. Terror Management Theory offers me an explanation for the extent of the outrage. And see here: “We are gods with anuses: another look at ‘terror management theory.’”

Share

Read More

Experiencing a dust storm

| December 30, 2010 | 1 Reply
Experiencing a dust storm

A photographer from National Geographic shows what it’s like to be in a world-class dust storm in Mali.

Share

Read More