Thales

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Everything posted by Thales

  1. The Shawshank Redemption

    What a way to feel!
  2. Incredible learning aid

    Speaking of which, that's one of my all time favorite websites. I discovered it several years ago, and have used it to good effect many times since. ...John
  3. Incredible learning aid

    One word: Powerful!!
  4. The Shawshank Redemption

    I've not seen Kill Bill, but I have seen Shawshank Redemption. I held off watching this movie for the longest time, because prison scene movies don't appeal to me. I was expecting depraved people, behaving in depraved ways. Seemed like a waste of my time. Finally, after seeing so many positive reviews from people I respect, I decided to bite the bullet and see what I'd been missing. How could a movie in this setting be so good? Well, there were depraved people behaving in depraved ways, but it was against that back drop that the heroism of the primary character shined. He fought great injustices from start to finish. He fought long and hard, relentlessly. Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post. "Get busy living or get busy dying. That's god damned right." Without a doubt one of the best lines of any movie. Something you can put to work in your own life. Also, what was surprising is how well the music from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro worked in this movie. Contrast really made it work, along with Red's narrative. All of the prisoners solemnly standing there in a cold, grey concrete world, transfixed by a glimpse into a beautiful dimension they may never have known. The scene was so far removed from day to day prison life it was striking. Brilliantly done.
  5. Incredible learning aid

    Quite funny! Does anyone recall Google's PigeonRank technology from a couple of years ago? If not, here is a reminder: http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html I remember reading this with seriousness, trying to figure out what they were talking about! not realizing it was April 1. I think what made it most effective was that at the time I simply didn't expect a company like Google to do an April Fools joke. Stephen, that's shocking! You're the last person I'd have expected to succumb to the power of the Dark Side! тм
  6. Jokes

    What does an agnostic, insomniac, dyslexic do? He lies awake late at night pondering the existence of doG!
  7. Second Law Thermo. & Evolution

    Well, the point was to provide a clearer description of entropy. I was hoping this would help get you part way there. As I think of it, evolution has a primary power source, the sun. It's like the batteries you place in an animated toy. Slowly the batteries wind down, and the toy stops. The sun is continually winding down, i.e. losing power and moving toward a more stable state, but so long as it generates power, and the earth holds the basic conditions for life, life is sustained. Solar energy, in effect, puts chemicals in a more active state. This activity causes interactions and these interactions result in complex processes. Life forms are derived from carbon chains. Carbon atoms have the ability to link at four sites and form long complex chains of hydrocarbons. Other elements, such as oxygen and nitrogen also will connect to a carbon. Examples of a complex hydrocarbons are amino acids, which are also the building blocks of proteins. So, carbon atoms are great building blocks, unlike most other elements. Water is also important. Most chemical intereactions involving life require water. Solar energy is required to provide energy to atoms so that they are in a more active state, and to keep water as water and not ice, thus providing a place for the reactions to occur. So, a primitive life form would get its ability to exist from solar energy. And, in fact, all life would get its ability to exist from solar power, since all life is built on the same kinds of chemicals. When the sun winds down, and other smaller energy sources cease to be, life will come to an end. [*] Chemical intereactions will be slowed down, and water turned to ice. So, I say, in conclusion, evolutionary theory does not violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics. [*] Note, I'm ignoring man's ability to generate his own power sources.
  8. Second Law Thermo. & Evolution

    How about this. Entropy is stability. The more entropy a system has, the more stable it is. So, for example, if a marble sits atop a high parabolic curve the system has low entropy, because it is unstable. However, if the marble rolls down to a parabolic trough and rests there, the system has high entropy, i.e. is stable. Systems tend to move toward stability and away from instability. Evolutionary theory works by the mechanism of natural selection, where the fittest survive. The stability of the system is determined by which species is more fit. Note, this is me surmizing, so don't take it as absolute!
  9. It's also interesting to note that when you blow on the embers of a hot piece of wood, you are feeding the fire. It glows all the brighter. So, while a candle can't feed the fire fast enough when blown on, wood is able to.