Show! While waiting for my new audio equipment to arrive, I wasted a couple of hours animating a studio audience for Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show. It's not as easy as you might think. I ran out of ideas for different people "looks" after four characters, yet had to come up with a minimum of 36 to get the effect I wanted. I'm still not sure how I am going to assemble "cuts" in Toon Boom Studio, but I am quite pleased I was able to build an entire studio audience in just 90k. I rule.
Stats! It's interesting to note just how few people were surfing my blog over 4th of July weekend. Traffic was cut nearly in half! In some ways, this is kind of nice, because I barely made it through last month's bandwidth allowance (again).
Lego! I just got the latest Lego Shop-at-Home catalog. If anybody wants to buy me a present, I am so wanting the new "Dino Attack" T-1 Typhoon Helecopter vs. T-Rex set! It's unbelievably cool...
Withdrawals! I have been attempting to wean myself from Coke with Lime, which has been keeping me going over the past three weeks of 16-20 hour work days. I'm down to two cans a day, which is a marked improvement from the 6-7 I was consuming daily just last week.
Answers! Science Magazine has listed the "Top 125 Things Facing Science Over the Next Quarter Century" as a cornerstone to the essay entitled "What Don't We Know?" Since I know everything, I've decided to take a dozen of the questions and answer them. Uhhh... well, I'm answering them the best I can given the limitations of human understanding. After all, it's not my fault I'm so much smarter than today's top scientists. The boring answers (with absolutely no scientific basis) are in an extended entry...
What is the Universe Made Of? Scientists are forever trying to quantify the universe in terms that can be calculated or observed (and even quantum theorists limit their more abstract theories into concepts mere humans can grasp). Unfortunately, the true nature of the universe is more more complex than that. Much of the universe (nay, most of the universe) cannot be observed or extrapolated from calculation. The reason for this is not so difficult to understand when you accept one thing: The universe does not EXIST all at the same time! All matter and energy is actually passing in and out of various states of existence like ripples in a pond. On top of that, a "ripple" can affect other ripples "near" it. This is why we have a "lumpy" universe that doesn't seem to make sense... it is constantly being affected by universal pieces both yet to be created and already passed from existence. So-called "dark matter" is actually a bleed from one ripple of universal existence to another, and a tangible remainder of this effect. The last piece of the puzzle is a new form of matter that buffers the "ripples" as they transition between states of existence... I call it the "Daveon Particle" but it is actually a form of energy that is time-independent (meaning it exists even when outside our current existence in time... which is the only way it can exist). Without the Daveon Particle, the universal buffers would be eliminated, and all matter scattered throughout ripple-time would collapse upon itself. If this were to happen, the good news is that THEN scientists could finally see all the universal matter they're so worried about. The bad news is that they wouldn't survive to be around to observe it because they would cease to exist.
What is the Biological Basis of Consciousness? Argh. Philosophical debates aside, here on the physical earth plane, the brain is the seat of consciousness. You do not need a complex biological basis, because that's all there is to it. If the brain is removed or damaged, your biological specimen is no longer conscious! Now, outside of this earthly plane where biological matter no longer restricts conscious thought, it is another matter entirely. Think of the brain as a conductor that stores thought energy and allows it to function here on this mortal plane. It is this biological necessity that gives rise to conscious thought in our physical forms. As to how this actually works... you'd have to define the intricacies of consciousness first, and this will vary widely... even in a scientific context.
Why Do Humans Have So Few Genes? The way to examine this query is to actually take the opposite approach... why do we have so many? Think of the genome as the English alphabet, and then rationalize the letter "c." Why is it there? All of its various sounds can be replicated by other letters... a hard "c" is just a "k". A soft "c" is just an "s". So why wasn't it dropped as the English language developed? The answer, of course, is that somewhere along the way, it was needed or made sense... then it just kept hanging around over time and ended up staying there even though it's ultimately redundant. The same is true for all the genetic crap that litters some life forms you would expect to have far less material... certainly far less than humans. The answer is that our particular branch of the genetic tree was more efficient at streamlining the system and eliminating redundancy and extraneous information... it's really no more complicated than that. The more philosophical answer is that we have no more or no less than what is needed (and I kind of like that approach).
To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal Health Linked? They are intrinsically linked in ways we are not even close to understanding, and it is a ridiculous notion to assume otherwise. Take just one of hundreds of things that affect our health... environment. If everybody's genetic make-up were identical in terms of relating to health, then environmental factors would affect each person the same. We know that this is not true. Some people smoke for two years and get cancer. Others smoke for 90 years and are cancer-free. This is why we can only claim that smoking contributes to cancer because, in some people, it doesn't. Sure your odds are much, much greater from a statistical standpoint but, for reasons unknown, some people's genetic make-up refuses to propagate cancer. How can you put a limit on the "extent" of this link, when the link will forever be as diverse as the people on this planet? In the physical sense, genetic variation makes us who we are! Since our health (or lack thereof) is a part of who we are, that would make the answer "about 96%."
Can the Laws of Physics Be Unified? No. It's a pipe dream. Our limited perception of time as a malleable force will preclude such a theory in any form we can grasp. Scientists will get closer, of course, but until they mutate brains able to think in multi-dimensional terms, there will always be an unknown "x" variable in the equation to explain away those things our meager human forms cannot perceive or even begin to understand. This is not really our fault, we just don't possess the faculties to observe the "real" universe from a point of reference removed enough to truly understand it in physics-based terms.
Are We Alone in the Universe? No. And I, for one, welcome our alien overlords when they should choose to reclaim this planet.
How Much Can Human Life Span Be Extended? Life spans over 200 years will not be possible, even if technology can extend the biological aspect of our physical selves past that point. Even given cellular regeneration and such radical concepts as recombinant gene therapy and cloning, the energies of consciousness begin to degrade dramatically and are unable to maintain a cohesive presence as you close in on the 200-year mark. There is promise in electrical duplication of our thought energies in the far future, however, allowing a semblance of our consciousness to occupy an artificial physical presence (like a photocopy of the mind, so to speak).
How and Where Did Life on Earth Arise? We were seeded by aliens near what is now known as Tres Arroyos, Argentina (though the physical geography of the area was quite different at the time). Aliens explain everything so neatly, that it must be true. The BIGGER question, of course, is "how and where did life in the UNIVERSE arise?"
Do Deeper Principles Underlie Quantum Uncertainty and Nonlocality? Yes, of course. Unfortunately, the absurdities assumed by most of today's quantum theorists are so inexplicably off-track, that it will be generations before the true nature of existence can be explained in terms of quantum mechanics. Quite sad, really.
What Can Replace Cheap Oil--and When? Bio-fuels will only get us part-way. While a "true" replacement for cheap oil does not exist on this planet, the ability to use electromagnetism as a source of energy should come into being around 2085 once the new element "Davenium" is created. Unfortunately, this comes too late to avoid the depletion of cheap fuels in the 2040's and the oil riots that plagued much of the 2050's and 60's.
Is an Effective HIV Vaccine Feasible? Why yes. Yes it is. Unfortunately, due to deteriorating health care and an unregulated drug industry, nobody will be able to afford it except the upper, upper-class (which, coincidentally enough, are the least in need of it).
Will Malthus Continue to Be Wrong? Unfortunately for us, no. You can't have unlimited amounts of people on a planet with limited resources. This is a problem so serious that most people choose to ignore it, lest they go insane. I hope I'm dead by the time clean water runs out.