Shatner meets the Beatles in the Sky (with diamonds) – hilarity ensues

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I’m speechless.

It’s no secret that William Shatner went on to some fairly questionable performance activities immediately post-Star Trek the original series, include some spoken-word albums, and a schlock-horror film or two.

But this takes the cake. I found it in the comments section on another blog, with the point being made that people should stick to what they are good at; or rather, that success in one field does not guarantee success in another.

To take a charitable view, this video is an homage to 60’s TV culture, done with tongue firmly planted in cheek. But the more realistic one is that Bill Shatner thought he was being arty.

You be the judge.


EMF Devices – How to really build them

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I’ve been thinking.

Following my previous post on the preposterous EMF devices, I decided I would think about them in a bit more detail, as they present an interesting engineering challenge. Normally I don’t advocate spending too much time on the preposterous – my main example is academic debates about religion, for example ‘What is the ontological status of God’, which sounds impressive, but just asks, ‘does god exist’. So what’s the point? How can you academically prove that God doesn’t exist. It’s like debating the existence of the Easter bunny. The best you can do is show that the proponent is inconsistent or illogical, but that never phases them anyway.

So spending any time on the EMF con is similar. The difference here is that the real work I’m supposed to be doing this afternoon is boring me shitless, so I’ve decided to pull on the engineering hat again. Ok yes, it has a propeller on it – what’s your point?

In any case, I think it’s actually useful to understand WHY such devices are SO preposterous.

So after that long justification giving myself permission to spend time on this, let’s at last talk EMF Crystals! If you haven’t read the piece on EMF crystals already, it would be useful to do so now.

The reality

Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a pond, and waves are coming at you from all directions from other people frolicking, and also leaving you as you flap around your arms. This is only a 2D example, but in reality it’s happening in 3D. And the waves are a very broad range of frequencies, all mixed together – some visible, some radio, some UV, some very low like power lines, some extremely high like mobile phones. To take two extreme examples, power lines have EM waves at 50 Hz – that is, each second in our pond we get 50 peaks and troughs. For mobile phones, it’s around 2 GigaHerz, or 2,000,0000,000 waves per second in our pond. Not only that, for digital communications like phones, the waves are chopped up into billions of little packets for transmission, and reassembled by your phone to turn into something you can hear.

What it needs to do

So, what this device is supposed to do, is to take this vast array of EM fields hitting you from all directions, adjust them, and rebroadcast them in a more ‘user friendly’ form.

Technical problems abound, but just some of them are:

  • Firstly, the device is on your belt or your neck or somewhere, and would need to somehow deflect the waves from hitting your body, and suck them into the magic disk. If you think it would be messy trying to stop the waves hitting you in the pond, it would be many orders more difficult to stop EM waves hitting you.
  • We need different devices and materials to capture different frequency EM. An antenna or material to capture TV signals is quite different to capturing mobile phone signals. Just look at your TV antenna. TV is just a minor band in the EM spectrum, but to capture the different frequencies efficiently, we need different lengths of material, ranging from a meter or so, down to a few centimeters for UHF channels.
  • That’s just to capture the EM waves – we also need to stop them from hitting parts of our body. Ummm, not sure how they even might do that, because shielding is a big issue. Remember that we manage to receive a lot of EM inside solid structures – otherwise we moan about our phone coverage. So how we would stop phone signals in the air and from our phone from hitting our body is a decent engineering problem.
  • OK, so let’s grant it the ability to do all the above, thanks perhaps to ancient Egyptian materials. So now, it needs to ‘harmonize’, ‘clean’, and rebroadcast the signals to us in a form that doesn’t screw us up, and in fact can cause us to sing all day, according to one testimony. Firstly what needs to be cleaned? Cleaning implies there is something dirty or unwanted in the signal. Well, true, there is always noise in the system which needs to be filtered out, but this isn’t the bit that’s hurting you, according to our friends selling these devices. It’s the actual signal. So how do we ‘clean’ it? So we remove some frequencies? Well, that would alter the signal, so there goes your phone reception. Do we make them smaller? Yes, you could attenuate them, but that would kill the range of your phone so as to make it useless. What about ‘harmonize’ – this means to synchronise two or more frequency so that they are in harmony – so what are we harmonizing with? You body’s ‘natural frequencies’ they would say. Well, they don’t exist, but even if they did, and even if we could, harmonizing with them would mean changing our EM signal, so there goes our phone signal again.
  • And to do the cute bit in the previous step, the device would also need to keep track of all the EM it has collected, and presumably have some sort of storage while it does the cleaning and harmonizing and so forth, and then rebroadcast according to a schedule that doesn’t screw up our communications. If we did manage to screw up the timings between signals, then things like GPS – which relies on nanosecond timing – wouldn’t work. Yep, you’d need to be quite careful with this bit.
  • Lastly, to rebroadcast our captured, cleaned and exquisitely scheduled range of EM signals, we need two things – antennas and power. As for capturing the signals, we need the right sized antennas to re-broadcast whatever it is we now want to substitute. So that in a ceramic disc will be challenging. Then of course we need power, and the only way I can see of building this thing is with a miniaturised Zero Point Module – which is of course fictitious.

All in all, this is a bugger of an engineering problem, which would need some major break-throughs in physics to achieve. In fact, I’ve tried to think how I would even build one of these using ANY of the technology in the world of science fiction, and it’s still tricky. Let’s try:

  1. Stopping the EM from hitting the body – perhaps generate a warp bubble around the body to deflect the waves; or else use the warp bubble to dip the body in and out of an alternate universe (one without EM fields) long enough to really reduce the intensity of EM received by the body. Then we just have the radiation of travelling between universes to deal with, but that’s a problem for another day.
  2. Collecting the desired EM – Hmmm. I suppose we could modify the above warp bubble to act as a lens in all frequencies, but modulating its fundamental frequency through the entire band, so that it acts as an antenna itself, which then just leaves the problem of getting the energy, and associated data on the composition/timing of that energy into our crystal. If we could get the crystal to resonate at the same frequency as the warp bubble, then at least the impedance could be matched, and thus facilitate a transfer of the energy. Encoding data about the content would need a decent kilobit quantum computer on the crystal – with that, we could just about process all major communications frequencies in parallel.
  3. Cleaning, Harmonizing, and Rebroadcasting – I think once we have our information stored and sorted in our crystal, it’s then a trivial problem to present the information to our person in a gentle form, perhaps directly injected into the cerebral cortex would remove the need for re-broadcast EM altogether. Alternatively, an artificially generated Vulcan mind-meld with the crystal would do the trick too, but I suppose we’d need to replace that Egyptian sand with Vulcan, and that’s hard to get these days.
  4. Powering this thing – as I mentioned above, we’d need a ZPM out of the Stargate universe, and even that would need to be miniaturised. Alternatively, a few grams of black hole would give us enough for a miniature reactor and that would also do the job, but create a couple of other problems to solve – firstly carrying the crystal would be a challenge due to the massive curvature of space-time in the crystal, and secondly we would need to stabilise the black hole so that it didn’t kill us with radiation and also didn’t suck in the known universe; that latter would be kind of counter-productive. And to stabilise it means – yes, you guessed it – another warp field.

Let’s just hope they don’t invent sub-space radio for real, because that would totally bugger up my scheme, since as we all know, warp fields are transparent to sub-space radio.

Kirk out.

Boats to the node!

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He he he…

Nice one, Jon Kudelka.

boats to the node

Job of the future?

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quantum_mechanicThis could be a confusing job, though.

You would simultaneously have it, and not have it, which could get a bit annoying.


Nostrodamus – the fantasy that keeps on giving

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Is it that time again?

It’s a bit like an asteroid on a long orbit. Every few years it visits the Earth to create some great concern, and then disappears from view. Yes, it’s Nostrodamus time again.

In fact I would say this has happened every decade or so of my life. Someone mentions Nostrodamus or makes a documentary of writes a book, and all of a sudden it’s on.

All of sudden, every logical fallacy in the book permeates the conversation in news and TV circles, and no doubt the internet will be pumped up with them as well.

Firstly, we will have the Nostrodamus scholars, waxing lyrical about the great vision of the man, when all they are doing is retro-fitting vague statements to recent events. It’s kind of reverse paradolia; instead of looking at noise and making out a previously unseen pattern, a current event is taken and superimposed on some general statements, looking for a good fit. Obviously, 9/11 is a good candidate.

This will then happen ad nauseam, with every recent event – reactor melt-downs, global warming, tsunamis, tornados, oil rig failures – you name it, Nostro will have predicted it.

And then will come the conspiracy nutters, claiming that these predictions have been suppressed by governments, and use this for the excuse that the discussion only surfaces every decade or so. Yes, Nostro has been suppressed because governments know they can’t change any of his ‘predictions’.

It’s just that his so-called ‘predictions’ have no predictive power at all. Zilch. It’s not a lot different to your daily horoscope. The statements sound vague, but when you do find the dollar on the ground, you suddenly remember that prophetic statement in Woman’s Day – ‘You will come into money unexpectedly’.

Do I need to lecture you on confirmation bias again? No? Excellent.

I’m not going to quote Nostro – it’s pointless. Just think of any variation of: “A thing will happen to the person at the place when some other thing happens“. I bet that happens, seriously. You can quote me.

Anyhow, brace yourselves for the onslaught of Nostro-accolytes, whose tiny minds will be blown by the unerring accuracy of our most famous fortune teller, and will want to share their insight with everyone.

This is my prediction.




Thought for the week

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Most religion is like doing semaphore without flags. Folks just go through the motions and don’t really think about the message.

– George Hrab