Stuff I Found

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Christmas Story: The Musical

Well... that looks interesting. I find the film to be quite hilarious, but I can't imagine it working as a musical at all. I look forward hearing samples of the songs...

Rarararara rara ra ra...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Penrose says physics is wrong

Here's an interesting article in which Roger Penrose mentions that he thinks modern quantum physicists are going about the science all wrong, viewing the world as a collection of probabilities instead of as determistic, as it was viewed by Einstein (God does not play dice). I agree with Penrose, mostly just from my own world-view that the universe is completely deterministic, as I certainly don't have the mathematical skills or experimental experience to call myself a physicist.

I think many non-physicists like me, who just have a general interest in the subject, often blindly just believe what they read elsewhere, thinking that it is smart to believe and repeat such things, even though they don't understand it. (They often then apply to MIT and don't get in.)

By the way, I once has an opportunity to hear Roger Penrose give a lecture at George Mason University, but one of my stupid professors scheduled a mid-term for that day, so I couldn't make it. :-( But on the way to the exam, I did have to pass the room he was giving a lecture in, so for a moment, Roger and I were on the opposite sides of the same wall. And that was the closest I got.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How to make space pictures

Here's a pretty cool article from Wired describing how one "space photographer" creates his space photos, showing how you too can create mind-blowing photos with just time and a few $10,000's of dollars. I found the process to be very interesting, and the results will have you seeing stars.

I only take issue with one thing: this quote:

So, we live in a golden age for space photos, but looking at the technicolor images of what appears to the naked eye to be a fairly bland sky, we find ourselves asking: Does it really look like that?

As we find in this behind-the-scenes look at the making of a mind-blowing space photo, the answer is yes — but just not to your eyes, which are pretty poor sensors, compared with purpose-built astrophotographic equipment.

But that doesn’t mean the photos aren’t "real." Most astrophotographers have an ethic: They won’t add color or lasso just a part of an image for editing. They can only bring things out of the data, not add them. The photos are often processed in Photoshop, but what they do is the opposite of falsifying the visual record. Astrophotographers are using digital-editing tools to find the truth in the noisy data that are the heavens.

Uh... no. "Color" is a qualia, something that only exists because we perceive it. You can't say: "Oh, yes, space is very colorful! We just can't see it." Well, if we can't see it, then it isn't there. If you're using filters to bring out colors, it doesn't matter that your not using Photoshop. You're still creating an unrealistic photograph.

That said, there's nothing wrong with an unrealistic space photo. Just don't defend them as "real." You can't see it with the naked eye. It's not real.