December 13, 2008

Exact temperature of heaven

The temperature of heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is Isaiah 30:26, ''Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days.'' Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition 7*7 (49) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or 50 times in all. The light we receive from the Moon is 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the Sun, so we can ignore that... The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for radiation, (H/E)^4=50, where E is the absolute temperature of the Earth (-300K), gives H as 798K (525C). The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed ... [However] Revelation 21:8 says ''But the fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.'' A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C. We have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C. 
Applied Optics, Vol. 11, A14, 1972

On the hash, plus two more thoughts

The symbol "#" has too many names, including octothorpe, pound, hash, number, square, and splat. It seems like the English-speaking world hasn't really decided what to call it. That's kind of like the kitten we have in our house that is usually called "kitten" because we've tried so many names but not decided on any.

Are the ways of humans wicked and warped against the way of nature? Or have the idealists among us misunderstood nature?

Here is a new philosophical consideration: Some people believe that it is best to give an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, but others just don't like eating cat food!

July 02, 2008

The evolution of shrinking blogs

The posting of short status messages on services like Twitter is often called "micro-blogging." The messages are limited to 140 characters. In a ridiculous development I have seen a service called Adocu in which you can post only one word, and the website calls it "nano-blogging." If this is the trend, then I propose the next step to be "pico-blogging" in which you can only post a three-character code to communicate your status. After that there will be "femto-blogging" in which you can only post a single character. The logical conclusion will be "atto-blogging" in which you only set a flag, a one or a zero (on or off, yes or no). I don't see how we can miniaturize any further. Micro-blogging is wacky enough already.

May 27, 2008

Notary public

I got my commission to be a notary public today. You know, many notaries public take their position rather lightly. They're easily pressured by employers and clients into violating their oaths of office by doing things such as notarizing a document without a personal appearance by the signer or fudging dates. For that matter, many people see the execution of documents and taking written oaths as exercises in collecting signatures rather than the important acts that they usually are. Some people also think that signing contracts are mere formalities. Maybe this comes from the overload of paperwork in our overly complex society, but people should slow down before they commit their seals and signatures to things.

Originally posted as a Facebook note.

March 23, 2008

Email names

The form of names chosen for email addresses has changed over the last decade. For personal accounts, people used to use cryptic and cutesy names, either something like CB handles or weird abbreviations that only the user understood. Nowadays people seem more likely to spell out their full names. Maybe people were scared of the Internet back in the day but now it seems normal. Another thing is that people used to use AOL and other services that limited the number of characters in your name, so abbreviations and numerals were essential.

In other news, people I know on MySpace are being weird and shocking.

March 19, 2008

Law practice

Today was the first day I ever practiced law. By being a third year law student, I have been authorized to appear in court under the supervision of the managing attorney of the Family Violence Clinic. Today I merely presented a consent order to a judge, but that marks a first in my career. The real work was in the negotiation, though.

March 13, 2008

Friends versus allies

It seems it is hard to find good friends. I'm not a very social person, so I don't interact with people very frequently outside of school or work. When I do get to know friends and neighbors, there are inevitably politics that arise among them -- someone doesn't like someone else for some random reason. And it is hard to find someone who doesn't eventually do something I don't like myself.

Could it be easier to simply find allies? If I have an interest in learning or accomplishing something, maybe I could forget about finding friends and just focus on finding people who share my interest. I could ignore someone's negative character traits but just seek interactions with him to advance my goals. It seems that any group with politics -- whether a neighborhood, an office, or a dinner club -- really just functions by getting along rather than trying to be Best Friends Forever.

But shouldn't I draw the line somewhere? Is there a point at which someone is so rude that associating with them could hurt me? When is one "judged by the company you keep"?

March 10, 2008

Horological persuasion

Five o'clock is the new six o'clock (or is the other way around?). It's amazing how a little clock reset can persuade us to rise at five in the morning instead of six like we used to.

I'm happy that my radio-controlled clock somehow picked up on the new Bush time change.

March 01, 2008

Earth and sky

If I could design a mansion to live in, I would have two studies. One would be in the basement, and I would use it in the daylight hours to be protected by the cool earth from the harsh light of the sun. It would be a cocoon for my mind to escape distracting energy. The other study would be in a small tower with lots of windows and skylights so that the inspiration of the stars could reach my mind in the magical hours of the night. I would be eccentric.

February 23, 2008

Online calendar

I started using Google Calendar last month. It's useful and very fast. But then I'm bothered by its lack of a task list. Yahoo Calendar has a task list, but their calendar service isn't as fast and convenient. (I have used the Yahoo task list before, so sometimes I look at the tasks I set in 2003 and think how weird it is that they're still there. I wonder if I ever printed out those lecture notes from Chapter 10 -- whichever class that was -- or completed my site inventories for Bank of America.) Yahoo and Google can't share the same file formats, so there is no direct importing and exporting. I guess I will continue my search for an online calendar solution, and maybe one day I'll even have a smartphone to access it.

February 17, 2008

12 Angry Men

I have finally seen the 1957 movie 12 Angry Men. It wasn't the most exciting thing to watch these jurors sit around in a room deliberating over a verdict in a murder trial for the whole movie, but it had enough highs and lows to keep my attention. At first, eleven of the twelve voted for a guilty verdict, but the one doubting juror started a series of questions and discussions that resulted in a unanimous verdict of not guilty. There were all the dramatic moments of fiery discussion in which those who were sure of guilt inadvertently argued their way into expressing doubts, and some of the jurors had to face their own prejudices and personal demons in front of the group.

I don't know what real jury deliberations are like because I haven't served on a petit jury and probably never will. That's something special about a jury: it operates in a black box that cannot be penetrated by an inquiring court unless there is some kind of improper outside influence. Juries even have the power to ignore the law and render a not guilty verdict for someone they actually think is guilty (jury nullification). Our institution of the jury is 800 years old but is kept a somewhat mysterious invocation of humanity and values.

February 09, 2008

Saving Silverman

Saving Silverman is a hilarious movie. I was skeptical because a lot of movies with people like Jack Black and Jason Biggs are just stupid and formulaic. But the thing about this movie is that it entered the next level of absurdity. It wasn't one of those nearly believable movies with slapstick action and bad jokes added -- those movies are like leftovers warmed up. This movie was so comfortable with its absurdity and contrived developments that it was pure comedy, much like a cartoon instead of a comedy that tries to be endearing in some way. I found bad reviews online, but that just shows that the reviewers didn't get it.

Nose blowing

I do not like to blow my nose when it gets mucousy. Why? Glad you asked. Let me explain. If I try to blow my nose I do not get good results. First, my nostrils just get clogged up. I would rather suck in the small amount of mucous that is there, even if snorting sounds gross you out, because if I have snot in my nose then there's more where that came from. Second, it causes sinus pressure in my head to increase, and that hurts. So I am just going to inhale and snort, and don't suggest that I blow my nose -- I already thought of that.

January 27, 2008

Missed major cities

I have regrets over missing easy opportunities to see major cities.

Ottawa: I overslept and missed the bus for a college trip. A roommate could have woken me up but thought I wanted to sleep in. I was really planning to go.

Philadelphia: About 30 miles away in the late afternoon I thought I had done enough driving for the day and dismissed the idea of visiting. Now I realize I should have just forged ahead and seen at least a couple of sights.

New Orleans: I had driven a charter bus for a fishing trip less than 30 miles away and the idea of visiting was proposed. Since I had not researched where to drive or park, I was too nervous about the idea to consider it. This was a few months before Hurricane Katrina, and now it's too late to see the city the way it was at that time.

January 03, 2008

Southeastern drought

Adrian in Lake Hartwell
Originally uploaded by Adrian P.
Seeing one of the region's lakes in person rather than TV really makes a strong impression. Yesterday Amy and I visited Hartwell Lake at its upper reaches near Toccoa. I could walk dozens of yards into the lake away from its usual shoreline. Here I am on a tree stump that should be submerged. I bet you could put on wading boots and walk across to South Carolina.

January 02, 2008

Trio Reunion 2007

On December 28 there was a rare meeting of the Trio in Mac Town/Flag City/Macon. The Trio is Alvin, myself, and Michael as appearing this photo, left to right. We figured our last ever meeting was in 2003. Somehow time flew since then. We were pretty tight back when we all lived in the MGA, but now I'm over an hour's drive to the northeast and Alvin is a citizen of Indiana. Fortunately, the old chemistry was still there among us. Michael had a friend take this photo with his camera. Notice the sign over each of our heads.