Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earn a lot of money by getting free tattoos

This is a business idea that will make millions. Please someone take my idea and turn it into reality. I'll be a customer.
Woman with a full back, or full-body tattoo
I really like post apocalyptic or dystopian future stories, like Hunger Games, Brave New World, and Blade Runner.

Even though interesting, these dystopian societies are problematic in that they kill too many people, and are controlled by an overly heavy-handed government. Here's a way to bring dystopian elements to our lives today via a reality TV show experience that would be a lot more entertaining than Big Brother.

Summary of the business: A model gets paid for other people deciding and paying for which tattoos that she gets all over her body. This would work with a male model, too, but women would generate more money.

The average human body has 2700 square inches of tattoable skin on it (less fingernails and eyeballs). For this project to net $1,000,000 in revenues, each square inch would only need to sell for $370. This project could still be profitable if the total revenues were only $100,000, and the price per square were reduced to $37, so the risks of this business would be very minimal.

There are only three expenses for this business:
  1. Tattooing.
  2. According to Cha-Cha, a tattoo shop will charge $10,000 to $30,000 for a full body tattoo. I'm sure with the free advertising that they would get from this, there will be tons of tattoo artists willing to provide their services for free, but to get the big money, we would probably pay the tattoo artists well. 
  3. Modeling fee. I'm sure there are dozens of beautiful people in the US who would be willing to get their body completely inked for $20,000. The more we increase the inking bounty, the more we expand our potential model base. For $200,000, we probably get thousands of people who want to get fully inked.
  4. Digitization of the model. It would cost about $10,000 to get the model's body digitized onto a website, so that people can purchase square inches of her body for their tattoos.
This business will generate $1,000,000 of revenue per model, minus a maximum of $300,000 of expenses, equals $700,000 per model that gets completely inked. And that's only the guaranteed revenue from the core business, not the additional revenue from advertising and additional sales. We only need 1429 models to make a billion dollars.

Differentiation Features:
This business has a huge opportunity for massive price differentiation based on what people are willing to pay for. Here are additional things that people would pay for, in addition to the price per square inch.
  • Premium body space. Every part of the body will have a different price per square inch
  • A premium design charge if the buyer doesn't choose from the pre-selected tattoos
  • Charge for a signed photo of the tattoo
  • Charge for a video of the tattoo being inked
  • Charge for a live video broadcast of the tattoo being inked
  • Premium for company advertising, instead of individual designs
  • Premium for the option of 'model choice,' because this whole concept is based on the model not choosing the tattoo, but the buyer.
  • An exponentially greater premium for more square inches of adjacent tattoos. For example, two individual one inch tattoos in different areas would cost $370 x 2. But, put two of them together, and make the design together, and a one inch by two inch tattoo would cost $370 x 2 + $200 premium. Then a two inch by two inch tattoo would cost $370 x 4 + $800 premium. So someone that would buy the entire surface area of the body would pay a very, very high premium.
  • Charge for the buyer to be part of the reality TV show
  • Charge for a high resolution image of the pre-inked area, available immediately after purchase (encourages impulse buys), with a computer generated future predictive image of what the tattoo would look like.
Additional revenue generators:
This business would be rife with opportunities for generating additional revenue besides the core business:
  • Reality TV show of each model going through the whole process, from signup, to the inking, to the aftermath
  • Website advertising
  • Premium membership on the website for exclusive photos and videos
  • T-shirts and other premium items
  • Speaking engagements on talk shows
There are a few things that will guarantee the wild profitability of this business so it will make millions of dollars. Here they are:
  • The model cannot accept or reject individual tattoos, it is either a 100% or nothing deal
  • Besides the signing bonus, the model receives no, or very little, money until 100% of their body is tattooed. This is because the money gets refunded if the model doesn't go completely through with it.
  • Money is charged to the customer when a commitment to buy is made. Money is only refunded if the model does not get the tattoo.
  • The buyer can either choose from a bunch of pre-made designs, submit their design in a certain format, or can pay a premium for a pre-selected designer to turn their idea into a tattoo. Certain non-flat areas, like the nose, require the professional designer fee.
Here are some other notes about the business:
  • The higher the percentage of the model's body that gets inked, the higher the revenue. For example, there is a big difference between completely inking someone's hands, and not. People would not pay very much for a hidden back tattoo that nobody ever sees. This plan is for 100% of the inkable area of the model's body.
  • Inking would probably take months, because of the time it takes tattoos to heal. This is a good thing, because it would provide a lot of material for the reality show.
  • The model would have to shave her head while getting tattoos, because there is a lot of profitable surface area under the hair.
  • This would work as both a PG13-rated business and as an R-rated business. We can still show 99% of the surface area of someone's body and keep this PG13, and it will generate a lot of money either way.
From the model's perspective:
There are a lot of people out there who want a lot of tattoos. There are also a lot of people who want a lot of cash. Someone who would be a model for this might say:
  • I get a signing bonus of $20,000, and then a cash payout of $200,000 when I get fully inked
  • I get a free full-body tattoo
  • I get to be famous
From the buyer's perspective:
This would appeal to people with a lot of money. People who finance this might say:
  • I get to decide where and what tattoo a person wears
  • I can buy a bunch of customizations
  • I can get exclusive photos and videos of someone getting inked
From the TV viewer's perspective:
This would be a fascinating viewing experience, like watching a train wreck, but no one gets hurt (besides the inking needle). People who view might say:
  • I can watch someone doing something super crazy
  • While watching, I imagine what it would be like to get totally inked
  • No matter who I am, this appeals to me
Who this appeals to:
Here's a detailed list of who this appeals to:
  • Reality TV viewers
  • Jackass TV viewers
  • Very rich people who have run out of interesting ways to blow their money
  • People who want to leave a permanent mark on the world (or on someone)
  • People with tattoo fetishes
  • Corporations who advertise
  • Everyone who likes to watch weird things happen to beautiful people, which is everyone
I like donating to charities, and I always try to donate to unique charities. Once, a friend of mine told me that I should find a charity that helps people who survive traumatic events to get tattoos to commemorate their strength. Unfortunately, there are no charities like that. Besides the one charity in New York that sponsors a tattoo festival, the only tattoo-related charities are dedicated to removing tattoos. The dearth of free tattoos out there is the reason for this idea.

One of my favorite things is to tell people, "I'll pay for your tattoo, if you tattoo my name across your chest." So far, nobody has taken me up on this. But, if somebody makes this business, then I can finally get my name permanently etched across someone's chest.

And I'm pretty sure this business would be legal.

Photo purchased on iStockphoto.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to prevent baldness

woman getting her head shaved bald
There really is just one reason for baldness. The reason for baldness is certain types of stress. Exactly which types of stress cause hair loss are really hard to figure out, so that's why we don't have any relaxation techniques to restore your hair.

One thing is for sure about the stress that causes hair loss. An alpha male rarely feels this kind of stress that causes hair loss, and the lower a man feels on the male hierarchy, or the less alpha a man is, then the more of this stress that he feels. This stress causes baldness, so if you can eliminate this stress, you can ensure you will always keep your hair.

What is an alpha male, and how can you become one to ensure you keep your hair? Notice that in every group of men, there is one man who bosses the rest of the guys around. This man is not necessarily the loudest one, as men can be silently bossy, such as Don Corleone. The man who can boss the rest of the men around is the alpha male.

Men are very similar to dogs, in that there is always one dog who is the boss, the leader, the captain, of the rest of the dogs. Similarly, there is always one man who leads the rest in any group of men.

The secret to preventing baldness is to feel like you are an alpha male almost 100% of the time. Here are a few tips for accomplishing that.
  • Become the leader of 5-6 male friends. This is critical for being the alpha male. If you're not picky about who your friends are, any man can very easily amass 5-6 men as subordinates for friends. Just make sure that your group of friends feels that you are superior to them, and make sure you regularly boss them around. Make sure you hang out with these friends almost every day to reinforce that you are their leader.
  • Get a boss at work who respects you. The easiest way to shatter your illusion that you're an alpha male is to have a boss who bosses you around and demeans you. Avoid this boss at all costs. The best way is to find an old, carefree boss who doesn't care as long as the work gets done, and transfer under this boss. Compliment this boss regularly, and make sure your boss compliments you in return, so that you can reinforce the illusion that you're the alpha male. Make sure you manage a few people, and boss them around all day. Or, start your own company so that you are the boss for sure.
  • Make sure that your wife doesn't boss you around. The best way to accomplish this is to become such a fantastic lover that your wife is in perpetual ecstasy. Then she won't be able to focus on much else besides her state of euphoria and delight and she'll just crave more and more, and she'll forget about ever bossing you around.
  • Make sure that your parents don't boss you around. The best way to do this is to earn a lot of money, and pay one of your other siblings to take care of your parents. Your parents will boss around this sibling instead of you, and you'll feel superior because you're paying for your parents care.
  • Interpret everything that happens as that you are superior to people. If someone honks their horn at you, interpret that they're paying obeisance to your greatness. If you get junk mail, tell yourself that they're only sending you the junk mail because you're so much better than others. Take online quizzes until you get a 100% on one, and then print it out to prove that you're perfect. Everything that happens, interpret that as you being an alpha male.
If you do this one simple trick, and become an alpha male in every aspect of your life, you will stop the stress that causes hair loss, and you will stop losing hair. I guarantee it.

However, there are costs associated with this cure. I'd feel like a jerk or an asshole if I actually followed through with this advice. But, this method will work, if you really want to keep your hair at all costs. Notice that the times your hair has fallen out the most is when you felt least like an alpha male.

How do you regrow hair? I don't know, as this technique is just for prevention. All this will do is prevent further hair loss. Oh, and this only works for men.
Photo purchased from iStockphoto.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Homeless people are bad karma

A homeless person who wants money, holding a blank and dirty sign
This is a story from a few years ago when I thought it was good to buy homeless people beer and that homeless people were always bad karma. Well, neutral karma at best. I was hanging out with a friend of mine. He's the kindest, gentlest person I know, similar to how I picture Gordon B. Hinkley or Mother Theresa. He's a really swell fella who nobody could say anything negative about.

I was leaving a restaurant with my friend, when a homeless man accosted him. I was interested to see how someone less jaded at the world than I would deal with the homeless, so I watched carefully. The homeless man said, "Got any spare change?"

My friend lied and said, "No," and got in his car.

What the homeless guy meant was, "Do you have any spare change you're willing to give to me?" But, the way he phrased it set my friend up to either lie or lose his money. Lying to homeless people is bad karma, and so probably is wasting your cash.

There is another option, which is to act like an asshole. To answer the spare change question truthfully, without giving any change, you'd have to say something like this, "I do have change. However, I choose to spend my change on something besides you." That is acting like an asshole. I guess you could just say, "Yes," and walk away, but that's being even more of an asshole.

My friend lied, but, his choices were all bad choices. They were: 1) act like an asshole, 2) lie, 3) foolishly throw away his hard-earned money. Since he picked one of them, it was bad karma.

Good karma comes from being nice, telling the truth, and spending money on something meaningful. I can't figure a way to win with homeless people. I can't even figure a way to not lose.

A homeless man hugged me once. He's also the homeless person who swindled me out of the most money.

He said to me, "Sir. Excuse me, Sir. I am very, very sorry to bother you, but..." and then he told a sad story where I assumed he was an executive from a California company who just took a bad turn in Minneapolis.

He kept talking to me about his leather jacket and how a common bum wouldn't ever wear clothing like that. He said he was really embarrassed to have to ask me for the money. Then he said something about his car being impounded and how he needed twenty bucks to un-impound his car.

His wallet and keys were locked in his car and the bums at the impound lot wouldn't even let him hire a locksmith to get his stuff out of his car until he paid the twenty bucks to get his car back.

Plus, the Minneapolis police were assholes, he said. He may have used another expletive, but I do remember him saying, "Pardon the vulgarity" as a preface to his comment about Minnesota's finest.

His story went on and on. He also told me if I were to give him the twenty bucks, then I would get it back very, very soon, because he had the money, but just didn't have current access to it.

He then referenced his leather jacket one more time.

I, being the kind of guy who always gets tricked by homeless people whenever I hear a new variation to the story, decided to give him money. I thought, "Well, if his story is true, then he will need more than just twenty bucks." I reached in my wallet and gave him forty bucks.

He smiled, tearing up, and then gave me a huge hug. He was a large man, and smothered me with his hug.

He reeked. You know the kind of reek that some people have on them and when you even get close to them, you smell their smell on you for days? You know the kind of reek where you can smell it even after you take a shower? He reeked that kind of reek.

I then knew he was actually homeless. Plus, he skipped down the street, yelling "Yippee! Yippee!"

I was left standing there, forty bucks poorer, reeking, and thinking, "Didn't he just say I would get my money back soon? Since he skipped off without even taking down my address, how's he going to get it back to me?"

As a change of subject, if I were homeless, I would drink all of the time. Homelessness is probably just like camping. I really want to like camping, but I used to hate it as a scout. My plan to make camping cool is to be drunk the whole time. If it were me, and if I were homeless, I would want to drink all the time.

This is why I strongly advocate buying alcohol for homeless people. I tried it the first time on a trip to Vegas. But, it was with some of the Utah 3.2% alcohol beer I purchased in Saint George on the way to Las Vegas, not the 7.5% beer you can get in Las Vegas. My guess is an hour later, after the homeless man drank my beer, expecting pleasant drunkenness, he was probably still sober thinking, "Oh man, I'm not drunk at all. This camping homelessness isn't any fun, man." So that probably wasn't good karma for me.

Like I said, homeless people are neutral karma at best.

Photo purchased from iStockphoto.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Smokes on a plane

Flight attendant discouraging smoking
Ever since I saw the movie Labor of Love, I always try to listen carefully to the flight attendants on the airplane, as "what they're saying really is quite important."

In particular, I always listen to the smoking stuff the flight attendants mention. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I don't smoke.

Here are some important points that all airlines make:
  • Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with posted placards
  • Federal law prohibits: tampering with, disabling, or destroying any smoke detector installed in an aircraft lavatory
My point #1: Here's something that would be against the law:

Someone taking an unopened pack of cigarettes and throwing it away in the trash can in the airplane restroom.

Inside the restroom, there's a posted placard on every trash bin that indicates, "No cigarette disposal." At first, I thought this sign was funny, because the following situation played out in my head: Someone smokes in the airplane restroom, illegally, breaking federal laws, and is left with their cigarette butt. They're about to throw it in the trash, but they see the "No cigarette disposal." Overcome with remorse, and not wanting to break another federal law, they cram the crumbly butt in their pocket, and save it for the trash cans inside the airport they'll be arriving at, so they don't break another federal law.

Upon retrospect, they really should put those posted placards on any crack or cranny that could contain a butt. They should put them on the toilet, the drain to the water basin, and the place where the paper towels are hidden, in a Seusical fashion, "Do not dispose it in the can, do not dispose it with a plan."

My point #2: Here's something that would not be against the law:

Obscuring a smoke detector. You'd have to do it very carefully, and in a way that doesn't tamper with or touch the smoke detector. You'd also have to make sure that the smoke detector was fully functional, or not disabled in any way.

The way to do this would be to attach something to the wall around the smoke detector, and completely contain the air. It would obscure the smoke detector from the rest of the air in the bathroom, while still rendering the smoke detector enabled, not tampered with, and fully functional.

Of course, you still couldn't smoke in that bathroom, because that would be a federal offense. But, there's nothing currently against the law, as far as I can tell, about obscuring an airplane restroom smoke detector.

Those are the thoughts that go through my head while the flight attendants give me their speeches about smoking.

Whether against the law or not, I discourage people from having anything to do with smokes on a plane. Except, of course, buying duty free cigarettes. Those are for sale on every international flight. I wholeheartedly encourage people to buy duty free cigarettes on airplanes, whether you smoke or not, just for the irony of it all.


Photo purchased from iStockphoto

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to live forever in 7 easy steps

An immortal woman who figured out how to live forever, with wings.
The smartest people I know are obsessed with living forever. I've spent the last few months learning about immortality, since I felt I needed to figure out what all the fuss is about.

I obviously assume immortality is possible, and you want to live forever. If you have a miserable life and want to die, you might want to insert the pre-step of: love yourself and love your life. I'm also assuming there are already immortals walking the Earth today, as a how-to manual is easier to write than describing an invention that doesn't yet exist.

Step 1: Replace anger and hate with love
Only the most advanced humans are going to be able to live forever. The easiest way to become advanced is to get rid of all of your anger and your hate. It's actually pretty easy to do this. Hate always results from letting anger stew around too long, and anger is always a secondary emotion.

The primary emotion behind anger is almost always embarrassment or fear. However, it's easier to say, "that guy really pisses me off," rather than, "that guy really embarrassed me last Wednesday," and so we often take the anger route rather than the emotionally mature route.

By love, I don't mean just human love. Mother nature isn't going to let folks who continually kill tons of other organisms and who generate literally tons of plastic waste per year live forever. Being an eco-friendly vegetarian doesn't guarantee you'll live forever, but it will help.

Step 2: Eliminate suppression, by feeling all of your feelings
A lot of people call this living in the moment. It's a little different and a little the same, because this means acknowledging every single feeling you have.

Feeling your feelings is a tricky balancing act, because the more you focus on an emotion, the stronger it becomes. You can test it out now, by focusing everything and all of your efforts on a small pain you have. If you're able to focus almost 100% on that pain for over 24 full hours, what was once a minor hurt will become almost unbearable. The trick is to be brutally honest with yourself with every emotion, but then quickly move on from the negative emotions to focusing on something positive that's happening now. That's where living in the present ties in.

Step 3: Learn every lesson
If you feel time is getting faster and faster, then you are slowly dying. Time speeding up for you is the biggest sign you have lessons to learn that you're not learning. Have you said lately, "This week has gone by so quickly?" or "I can't believe it's summer already!" or "Didn't 2010 just fly by?" If you say this kind of stuff, you aren't learning the lessons you should be, and time is speeding up for you so you die a quick, relatively painless death.

Contrast that to immortals. They are always learning. Jesus is a great example, since he was still learning and being tested throughout his documented history.

Step 4: Have a strong connection to a god that tells you to live forever
I'm not completely certain about this step, but I think unless God tells you that you should live forever, you're never going to muster up enough emotional intensity all by your puny mortal self to be able to pull off immortality.

To complete this step, simply find a god, ask that god to give you a witness you should be immortal, and then wait for your answer. I guess if you don't get an answer, you can keep moving on to different gods until you find one that tells you that you should be immortal.

Step 5: Nutrition
This is an optional step, as it's theoretically possible to generate everything your body needs by using the molecules of just the stuff you breathe in through the air. However, I think the only immortal who could pull this off is Jesus. The rest of us should take this step seriously.

Both Alobar and Ray Kurzweil are immortal wannabes who have dedicated a large portion of their lives to figuring out their unique nutrition and supplement profile that will maximize their chances for immortality. I think everyone, with our different bodies, has a nutrition profile unique to us that will maximize our chances at immortality. If we can figure that out, we'll have a much better shot at immortality.

As a minimum first step, take a multivitamin and a fish oil pill every day.

As a second step, find a nutrition guru like Alobar, and read everything this guru publishes, and try out all of the stuff the guru recommends.

As a third and final step, become a guru yourself, because your nutrition profile and needs are going to be at least a little different than your guru's.

Step 6: Regenerate yourself
This should be a little easier than levitating yourself, and it involves roughly the same steps. Here are the steps for both:
  • Become obsessed about levitation/regeneration
  • Learn everything you can about it
  • Start practicing on something that would have happened anyway. For levitation, put a piece of paper in a windy field, and using just your mind, make this paper blow away. For regeneration, when you get a small cut, practice healing yourself as rapidly as possible
  • Supplement your growing knowledge by intense study of areas of the brain you think are related to levitation/regeneration
  • Practice weird/unusual exercises to hyper-develop the parts of your brain you feel are related to levitation or regeneration
  • Gradually increase the intensity of levitation/regeneration until you are able to levitate yourself and others, or you are able to instantly heal or regenerate anything on yourself
If you practice every day for about 12 hours, over about a 20-year period, you should be able to easily levitate yourself. And because regeneration is easier than levitation, then regeneration should take a year or two less. And, this will be a cool step, because you'll be able to regrow hair, or de-grow hair in embarrassing areas, or build big muscles without working out, or turn your body into any shape or appearance you want it to be in.

Step 7: Insert regenerative nanotechnology into your bloodstream
This is obviously an optional step, since there are probably already immortals now without nanobots, and since this technology doesn't yet exist. All nanotechnology does is makes the above steps easier, or lets you make more mistakes on the above steps, so you can be a lot sloppier of an immortal than the immortals who really take immortality seriously.

Save up money now. These nanobots are going to be expensive.

Photo purchased from istockphoto

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My mom was right, about one thing

Where has that money been?
When I was young, my mom told me I shouldn't put money in my mouth, because "you never know where that money has been."

I could alway understand that about coins. Coins get dropped in the gutters and then given back as change ten minutes later at the Seven Eleven. Coins even get fished out of the toilet and reused.

When I was young, I got a science kit for Christmas. My favorite thing from the science kit didn’t even need the science kit. I learned that if I mixed baking soda and vinegar, and then dropped my dirtiest pennies in the mix, then they come out ‘clean.’ It’s not really clean, but this shiny alien-like, neo-neon type of penny that is technically clean but is rendered completely non-penny-like.

My point is that pennies are really dirty. So, it’s obvious you shouldn't put them in your mouth.

Bills on the other hand don't get dropped in the gutter or fished out of the toilet. That's why I didn’t believe my mom about putting those in your mouth. I did see this mobster movie where there were tons of bills with blood all over them, but the nice mobsters washed the bills all clean and hung them up to dry.

The worst I could picture a dollar going through is being dropped in the mud. I've eaten dirt before and it wasn't that bad.

Then, a few months ago, I was at this strip club. The stripper was just wearing a thong.

She bent over, and this guy with a dollar bill moved her thong aside, spread her cheeks, crammed the dollar bill up to her nether regions, and twisted it back and forth, for a very, very long time. Now, I like beautiful strippers in thongs and nice behinds as much as the next guy, but something just struck me as unsettling with what I was looking at.

Suddenly my mind turned into one of those movies where a tape played fast backward through significant points in my life.

I was ten years old again, with a dollar bill crammed in my mouth, smiling sheepishly, and my mom yelling at me. 'You don’t know where that’s been! Get that thing out of your mouth!'


Photo purchased from iStockphoto.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to buy a CR-48, and how to sell a CR-48

Note that I'm not encouraging you to buy or sell a CR-48, I'm just giving you info on it if you choose to do so. You should obviously check with Google before you do anything.
Woman thinking about checking with Google before she sells her CR-48
The CR-48 is the prototype netbook from Google for Google's new operating system, Chrome OS. Google gave out about 90,000 of these for free, but now you can't get them anymore.

Either the new Chrome OS laptops coming out late 2011 will have the sweet deal on Verizon internet that the CR-48's do, or the CR-48's will be in very very high demand later this year. In addition to this being a cool computer with a cool operating system, it turns wireless broadband from something that's ridiculously expensive to something that's very economical.

Here's a list of FAQs for buying and selling a CR-48.


Q: How easy is it to transfer ownership of a CR-48?
A: Extremely easy. You should do a factory reset, and then you're good to go. However, this is an optional step that's only needed if you want to get rid of the previous owner's icon on the startup screen.

Q: What if the person I buy the CR-48 from doesn't disable the administrative account?
A: There's not really an administrative account, just an owner account which can be deleted by restoring to the factory default. Because this really is a cloud computer, each person who logs in gets their own account with the exact same rights. So everybody is either an admin on the computer or a guest, depending on how you look at it, and there's no way to give any user more rights or less rights. Except for the owner account, which really doesn't do much.

Q: How do I reset the CR-48 back to factory default?
A: Take off the battery. Remove the piece of tape by the battery. Turn the switch to the left (dev mode). Replace the battery, and turn it on. Click through the frowny face screens. Turn the computer off. Take off the battery. Turn the switch to the right (regular mode). Replace the battery, and turn it on. Attempt to log in, and it will power down. Turn the computer on, and it is completely reset.

Q: If I log onto another CR-48, will it remember my extensions and passwords and stuff?
A: Yes

Q: How does the previous owner transfer ownership of the Verizon 24-month internet?
A: No transfer is needed. If you just use the previous owner's 100 MB per month, then you'll have the length remaining on the previous owner's remaining internet. However, if you ever buy more than the basic 100 MB per month, with a different account, then the whole thing will reset, and you'll get 24 more months attached to your account. I read somewhere that you can get it reset, without an additional purchase, if you call Verizon, but I think you should test out how much 1 GB of internet is.

Q: Is the Verizon 24-month internet tied to the user who first activated it?
A: Not really, it's more tied to the computer. Anyone who logs onto the CR-48 can use the Verizon 24-month internet.

Q: Is there a Verizon card that someone could take out?
A: If there is, it's deep inside the computer, and not something removable like an SD card. Someone would have to open the CR48 with a screwdriver to even see it.

Q: What are the rates for buying more internet bandwidth?
A: $20 for 1 GB, $35 for 3 GB, $50 for 5 GB, which all expire in a month, and a 1-day unlimited pass for $9.99. You should start out testing with 1 GB, because 5 GB is super hard to use in a month unless you're downloading stuff all the time, and you won't download too much with the CR-48. Also, you have to run out of internet before you can buy more, or even see what the rates are, which is kind of a pain.

Q: How much stuff can I do with 100 MB?
A: This will give you about 10 hours of light internet time, meaning everything but videos and downloads.

Q: How fast is Verizon broadband?
A: I average about 1 Mbps.

Q: Does the wireless broadband disconnect all the time?
A: No, it's very reliable. I used it as a passenger in a car driving all over New Mexico, and it only disconnected once, for about a minute.

Q: Is it easy to turn off the Cellular (Verizon) so I don't accidentally use all my allowance?
A: Yes, just click the internet icon at the top, then click "Disable Cellular"

Q: Is there a better deal anywhere on wireless broadband than what you get with a CR-48?
A: No.

Q: Which takes preference, Wi-fi (wireless internet), 3g (Verizon), or does it pick the fastest one?
A: It always uses Wi-fi when it's connected, so temporarily disable it if you have slow wifi and want to use Verizon instead.

Q: How do I sell a CR-48?
A: Either eBay or craigslist or your local classified ads. However, Google is regularly removing these, so make sure your auction is either a 1-day or 3-day auction. Buy it now with a low price is the best way. If you have a lot of positive feedback on your eBay account, you probably want to use a friend's account to sell your CR-48, so your good account doesn't get a bad status from getting your items de-listed. Also, you really should check with Google first.

Q: What's the current street value of a CR-48?
A: $350 to $450 used, $450 to $550 brand new, untouched.

Q: I see eBay auctions for CR-48s for only $100, what do you mean it costs $400-500?
A: Those cheap auctions are still in the early bidding process, and will probably even get removed. Check what auctions actually sold for. Also, some sneaky eBayers are just selling the box or a non-working laptop. Check the listing thoroughly before you buy.

Q: Is Google tracking who's buying and selling CR-48's?
A: Probably, but right now they're not doing anything but reporting and de-listing eBay listings every two weeks.

Q: What inputs and plugs does it have?
A: Only the following: VGA, SD card, USB, power, headphone/speaker, battery, developer mode switch (hidden). There's no ethernet port.

Q: Where's the right click on the CR-48?
A: It doesn't exist. You right click by either Alt+Click, or by clicking on the touchpad with two fingers instead of one. As a side note, the whole touchpad can be clicked, but it's easier if you click the bottom.

Q: How do I scroll with the touchpad on the CR-48?
A: You can't use the side of the touchpad to scroll. You have to use two fingers, anywhere on the touchpad, at the same time, to scroll.

Photo purchased from iStockphoto.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Calculator implants in the brain could happen today

The problem with our memory is that it is fuzzy, and it changes.

My grandma memorized a poem in her youth. The older she got, the more unmemorized that poem became. It was cute and endearing when she recited most of the poem in a somewhat jumbled fashion, but by the time I heard it, it was never a verbatim recitation. I'm sure she had that poem completely memorized for probably about twenty years of her life, before her memory started to unwind itself.

As far as I know, every single part of our brains is subject to change. That's cool, because that means that it's theoretically possible to rewire our brains in any way that we want to, and change ourselves in any way that we want to. That's uncool, though, because that means that nothing is ever for certain, and that everything in our heads may change at any time.

Here's a way to test this yourself. Count backward from 100 to 1 by threes, so 100, 97, 94, 91, and so on until you get to one. Do it again and again, and you'll notice something. You end up with a different ending number almost every time. We've all been adding and subtracting by threes since we were about five, so why can't we do a relatively simple math task like that perfectly every time? It's because no part of our brain is fixed and permanent.

I heard once that math is the most useless skill to have. Sure, it's important that 1% of our population knows math really well, but in reality, most of us don't need to know math at all. If you really need a math equation solved, you can just google it, and if you really need an answer to a math problem that google can't solve, you can just ask someone who's good in math.

The problem with math is that you have to spend years memorizing a bunch of boring stuff just to have math be any use at all, and we have very simple calculators with reliable formulas inside that bypass the need for any math memorization and really make the need for learning math obsolete.

But, what if our brains all included an unchangeable calculator? Maybe math wouldn't be so useless then.

If we could just think and instantly figure out the probability of beating the dealer in blackjack with our current hand, then maybe math would be worthwhile.

If we had math so integrated into our brains, that we could shoot pool, and know for 100% certain where the balls were going to go, then maybe math would be worthwhile.

If we could go to the grocery store and instantly be able to figure out which stuff is the cheapest per ounce, then maybe math would be worthwhile.

Calculator implants in the brain should be relatively easy to do. They're already implanting computers into the brains of paraplegics to allow them to move stuff with their thoughts. And I'm sure that a basic calculator is much, much less complicated than wireless robot technology, because even a relatively complex calculator is only about 5 kilobytes of information. That's just as much information as is in the text of this article, which is not much. You'd probably only need to connect the tiny calculator in and out of the brain with a couple of connections, which means it would be a relatively simple surgery.

Why a calculator? Because it's the best combination of simplicity and usefulness in something that we could program and permanently put in our heads

The cool thing will be once our brains start to rewire themselves around the implanted calculator. Then we could do some truly amazing things, that would only be indirectly related to math but would use the brain math calculator heavily. Pro golfers could hit holes in one almost every time. Bowling wouldn't be the super frustrating sport that it is today. Poker would be elevated to a whole new level. You'd be able to tell if a piece of furniture would fit through a door before you moved it up the stairs. You'd never accidentally mess up a recipe you were doubling. And, finally, math would get some credit.

All of this can happen with something the size of a piece of glitter in our heads.

Boring math calculations for the size of a brain calculator:

  • A Blu-ray disc weighs about 20 grams, has a surface area of 113 cm^2, and contains about 50 gigabytes of information. 
  • You can make a simple calculator with 5 kilobytes of information. 
  • With current technology, it would be possible to make a calculator that weighs 1.9 micrograms and is 32x32 micrometers wide. 
  • That's a square where one side is a little smaller than the width of your hair, or like a super small piece of glitter, so basically this calculator would be so small you couldn't see it, unless it was glittery.

Photo purchased from istockphoto.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Venusforming‭ ‬Earth

There‭ ‬are‭ ‬microbes‭ ‬that‭ ‬exist‭ ‬in‭ ‬200+‭ ‬degree‭ ‬temperatures‭ ‬in‭ ‬sea‭ ‬volcanoes‭ ‬here‭ ‬on‭ ‬Earth,‭ ‬so‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬not‭ ‬unthinkable‭ ‬that‭ ‬something‭'‬s‭ ‬alive‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬But‭ ‬if‭ ‬it‭ ‬is‭ ‬alive,‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬definitely‭ ‬different‭ ‬than‭ ‬us.

If‭ ‬there‭ ‬were‭ ‬life‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬then‭ ‬it‭ ‬would‭ ‬have‭ ‬to‭ ‬survive‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬tough‭ ‬Venusian‭ ‬environment.

Venus‭ ‬is‭ ‬completely‭ ‬uninhabitable‭ ‬for‭ ‬us‭ ‬humans,‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬few‭ ‬reasons.
  • Days ‏on‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬last‭ ‬243‭ ‬days,‭ ‬meaning‭ ‬nights‭ ‬would‭ ‬be‭ ‬worse‭ ‬than‭ ‬winters‭ ‬in‭ ‬Alaska
  • There‎'‏s‭ ‬no‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬field‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬so‭ ‬your‭ ‬compass‭ ‬wouldn‭'‬t‭ ‬work,‭ ‬plus‭ ‬you‭'‬d‭ ‬get‭ ‬radiated‭ ‬to‭ ‬death‭ ‬by‭ ‬solar‭ ‬flares‭ ‬a‭ ‬few‭ ‬times‭ ‬a‭ ‬month
  • The‎ ‏atmosphere‭ ‬is‭ ‬96%‭ ‬carbon‭ ‬dioxide‭ ‬and‭ ‬about‭ ‬0%‭ ‬oxygen,‭ ‬so‭ ‬you‭ ‬couldn‭'‬t‭ ‬breathe
  • The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is 90 times more than earth (90 atms), so you'd be crushed to death just by the air
  • Oh,‎ ‏and‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬over‭ ‬400‭ ‬degrees‭ ‬there.‭ ‬So‭ ‬your‭ ‬egg‭ ‬would‭ ‬fry‭ ‬before‭ ‬you‭ ‬could‭ ‬crack‭ ‬it,‭ ‬which‭ ‬means‭ ‬you‭ ‬could‭ ‬only‭ ‬get‭ ‬hard-boiled‭ ‬eggs‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬Plus‭ ‬you‭ ‬would‭ ‬melt‭ ‬like‭ ‬a‭ ‬marshmallow‭ ‬in‭ ‬a‭ ‬microwave.
This gave me an idea for what I think would be an interesting story, so fast‭ ‬forward‭ ‬to:

March‭ ‬2015:‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬discover‭ ‬a‭ ‬ginormous‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬about‭ ‬as‭ ‬far‭ ‬away‭ ‬from the Earth as‭ ‬Jupiter is,‭ ‬but it's headed‭ ‬directly‭ ‬toward‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬It‭ ‬will‭ ‬pass‭ ‬by‭ ‬far‭ ‬from‭ ‬earth,‭ ‬but‭ ‬it‭ ‬appears‭ ‬that‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬headed‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬direct‭ ‬collision‭ ‬course‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬Most‭ ‬news‭ ‬stories‭ ‬focus‭ ‬on‭ ‬whether‭ ‬or‭ ‬not‭ ‬the‭ ‬resulting‭ ‬Venusian‭ ‬dust‭ ‬cloud‭ ‬from‭ ‬the Venus‭ ‬impact‭ ‬will‭ ‬affect‭ ‬Earth,‭ even though the‭ ‬projected‭ ‬path‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬is‭ ‬far‭ ‬from‭ ‬Earth.‭ ‬Some‭ ‬enviro-friendly‭ ‬people‭ ‬suggest‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬do‭ ‬something‭ ‬to‭ ‬alter‭ ‬the‭ ‬course‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid,‭ ‬but‭ ‬the‭ ‬President‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬US‭ ‬announces‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬won‭'‬t‭ ‬do‭ ‬anything‭ ‬about‭ ‬it,‭ ‬because‭ ‬it‭ ‬won‭'‬t‭ ‬impact‭ ‬earth‭ ‬and‭ ‬it‭ ‬would‭ ‬be‭ ‬too‭ ‬expensive‭ ‬to‭ ‬do‭ ‬something‭.‭  (‬This‭ ‬shows‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬humans‭ ‬are‭ ‬insensitive‭ ‬to‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬that‭ ‬doesn‭'‬t‭ ‬affect‭ ‬us.‭)

November,‭ ‬2015: (six months later)‭ ‬A‭ ‬few‭ ‬weeks‭ ‬before‭ ‬impact‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬starts‭ ‬reacting‭ ‬to‭ ‬what‭ ‬seems‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬an‭ ‬anti-gravitational‭ ‬or‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬force‭ ‬emanating‭ ‬from‭ ‬the‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬The‭ ‬planet‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬appears‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬magnetically‭ ‬affecting‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬This‭ ‬is‭ ‬somewhat‭ ‬ironic,‭ ‬since‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬doesn‭'‬t‭ ‬have‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬poles,‭ ‬like‭ ‬Earth.‭ ‬The‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬barely‭ ‬clears‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬skimming‭ ‬its‭ ‬atmosphere,‭ ‬and‭ ‬unexpectedly‭ ‬hurls‭ ‬back,‭ ‬directly‭ ‬toward‭ ‬earth.‭

This‭ ‬time,‭ ‬we‭ ‬do‭ ‬everything‭ ‬possible‭ ‬to‭ ‬stop‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬project‭ ‬it‭ ‬will‭ ‬land‭ ‬on‭ ‬Los‭ ‬Angeles,‭ ‬and‭ ‬this‭ ‬will‭ ‬be‭ ‬a‭ ‬dinosaur-extinction-level‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬disaster.

January,‭ ‬2016: (two months later)‭ ‬Everything‭ ‬we‭ ‬shoot‭ ‬at‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬gets‭ ‬deflected‭ ‬around‭ ‬it.‭ ‬We‭ ‬try‭ ‬a‭ ‬bunch‭ ‬of‭ ‬stuff,‭ ‬like‭ ‬in‭ ‬that‭ ‬movie,‭ ‬but‭ ‬we‭'‬re‭ ‬thwarted‭ ‬at‭ ‬every‭ ‬turn,‭ ‬by‭ ‬what‭ ‬seems‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬an‭ ‬invisible‭ ‬force‭ ‬emanating‭ ‬from‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬The‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬starts‭ ‬gradually‭ ‬changing‭ ‬its‭ ‬course,‭ ‬so‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬new‭ ‬projected‭ ‬impact‭ ‬point‭ ‬is‭ ‬anywhere‭ ‬between‭ ‬LA‭ ‬and‭ ‬Japan,‭ ‬and‭ ‬this‭ ‬is‭ ‬hotly‭ ‬debated‭ ‬by‭ ‬different‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬and‭ ‬astronomers.‭ ‬We‭ ‬start‭ ‬preparing‭ ‬the‭ ‬coastal‭ ‬cities‭ ‬for‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬tidal‭ ‬waves‭ ‬ever.

March,‭ ‬2016: (two months later)‭ ‬Right‭ ‬before‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬impacted‭ ‬Earth,‭ ‬it‭ ‬did‭ ‬some‭ ‬really‭ ‬weird‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬with‭ ‬its‭ ‬impact‭ ‬angle,‭ ‬and‭ ‬started‭ ‬spinning‭ ‬really,‭ ‬really‭ ‬quickly.‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬were‭ ‬able‭ ‬to‭ ‬develop‭ ‬mathematical‭ ‬models‭ ‬for‭ ‬how‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬strangely‭ ‬behaved,‭ ‬so‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬still‭ ‬thinks‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬is‭ ‬a‭ ‬natural‭ ‬phenomenon.‭ ‬When‭ ‬it‭ ‬impacted,‭ ‬it‭ ‬hit‭ ‬Hawaii,‭ ‬but‭ ‬because‭ ‬of‭ ‬its‭ ‬spin,‭ ‬it‭ ‬had‭ ‬a‭ ‬ricocheting‭ ‬effect,‭ ‬so‭ ‬it‭ ‬actually‭ ‬hit‭ ‬and‭ ‬re-hit‭ ‬the‭ ‬earth,‭ ‬causing‭ ‬what‭ ‬felt‭ ‬like‭ ‬earthquake‭ ‬after‭ ‬earthquake,‭ ‬felt‭ ‬worldwide,‭ ‬for‭ ‬about‭ ‬two‭ ‬days.‭ ‬During‭ ‬the‭ ‬two‭ ‬days‭ ‬of‭ ‬earthquakes,‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬pressed‭ ‬up‭ ‬against‭ ‬a‭ ‬wall,‭ ‬if‭ ‬they‭'‬re‭ ‬inside.‭ ‬Stuff‭ ‬outside‭ ‬that‭ ‬wasn‭'‬t‭ ‬nailed‭ ‬down‭ ‬moves ‬dozens‭ ‬and‭ ‬sometimes‭ ‬hundreds‭ ‬of‭ ‬miles‭ ‬away.

Three‭ ‬days‭ ‬later:‭ Very‭ ‬surprisingly,‭ ‬most‭ ‬buildings‭ ‬are‭ ‬still‭ ‬standing,‭ ‬almost‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬still‭ ‬alive.‭ ‬The‭ ‬tidal‭ ‬waves‭ ‬ended‭ ‬up‭ ‬not ‬being‭ ‬all‭ ‬that‭ ‬bad,‭ ‬either.‭ ‬New‭ ‬Orleans‭ ‬got‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬of‭ ‬it,‭ ‬since‭ ‬they‭ ‬never‭ ‬put‭ ‬great‭ ‬levies‭ ‬in‭ ‬there.‭ ‬True,‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬natural‭ ‬disaster‭ ‬since‭ ‬probably‭ ‬when‭ ‬the‭ ‬dinosaurs‭ ‬got‭ ‬destroyed,‭ ‬so‭ ‬things‭ ‬are‭ ‬pretty‭ ‬bad,‭ ‬but‭ ‬almost‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬thankful‭ ‬they‭'‬re‭ ‬still‭ ‬alive.

The‭ ‬weird‭ ‬thing‭ ‬is‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬sun‭ ‬never‭ ‬sets.‭ (‬At‭ ‬least‭ ‬for‭ ‬us‭ ‬Americans.‭)

May,‭ ‬2016:‭ (two months later) ‬After‭ ‬we‭ ‬get‭ ‬the‭ ‬power‭ ‬back‭ ‬on,‭ ‬we‭ ‬realize‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬only‭ ‬real‭ ‬impact‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬was‭ Earth‭'‬s‭ ‬rotation‭ ‬has‭ ‬been‭ ‬slowed‭ ‬to‭ ‬a‭ ‬crawl.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬that‭ ‬and‭ ‬a‭ ‬huge‭ ‬volcano‭ ‬close‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬north‭ ‬pole‭ ‬that‭'‬s‭ ‬now‭ ‬even‭ ‬taller‭ ‬than‭ ‬Mount‭ ‬Everest,‭ ‬due‭ ‬to‭ ‬shifting‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬tectonic‭ ‬plates,‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬say.‭ ‬The‭ ‬equator,‭ ‬which‭ ‬used‭ ‬to‭ ‬rotate‭ ‬at‭ ‬over‭ ‬a‭ ‬thousand‭ ‬miles‭ ‬per‭ ‬hour,‭ ‬now‭ ‬only‭ ‬rotates‭ ‬at‭ ‬about‭ ‬6‭ ‬miles‭ ‬an‭ ‬hour.‭ ‬This‭ ‬means‭ ‬a‭ ‬new‭ ‬day‭ ‬will‭ ‬last‭ ‬about‭ ‬a‭ ‬year.

Needless‭ ‬to‭ ‬say,‭ ‬GPS‭ ‬devices‭ ‬no‭ ‬longer‭ ‬work.

May,‭ ‬2018: (two years later)

The‭ ‬new‭ ‬volcano,‭ ‬which‭ ‬we‭ ‬called‭ ‬Mount‭ ‬Vesuvius,‭ ‬put‭ ‬a‭ ‬bunch‭ ‬of‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬into‭ ‬the‭ ‬atmosphere,‭ ‬so‭ ‬that‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬say‭ ‬that‭'‬s‭ ‬why‭ ‬the‭ ‬days‭ ‬don‭'‬t‭ ‬boil‭ ‬us‭ ‬and‭ ‬the‭ ‬nights‭ ‬don‭'‬t‭ ‬freeze‭ ‬us.‭ ‬Plus‭ ‬as‭ ‬a‭ ‬weird‭ ‬aftereffect,‭ ‬the‭ ‬winds‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬upper‭ ‬atmosphere‭ ‬blow‭ ‬almost‭ ‬a‭ ‬thousand‭ ‬miles‭ ‬an‭ ‬hour,‭ ‬even‭ ‬though‭ ‬winds‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬surface‭ ‬have‭ ‬slowed‭ ‬down‭ ‬considerably.

Life‭ ‬is‭ ‬pretty‭ ‬much‭ ‬the‭ ‬same‭ ‬except‭ ‬days‭ ‬last‭ ‬130‭ ‬days.‭ ‬And‭ ‬nights‭ ‬last‭ ‬130‭ ‬days‭ ‬also.‭ ‬So‭ ‬most‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬technological‭ ‬development‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬last‭ ‬two‭ ‬years‭ ‬was‭ ‬focused‭ ‬on‭ ‬how‭ ‬we‭ ‬can‭ ‬grow‭ ‬food‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬bright‭ ‬side‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬world‭ ‬and‭ ‬transport‭ ‬it‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬dark‭ ‬side‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬world.

This‭ ‬is‭ ‬also‭ ‬the‭ ‬same‭ ‬month‭ ‬we‭ ‬discover‭ ‬another‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬headed‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬collision‭ ‬course‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus.

May‭ ‬2019: (one year later)

The‭ ‬same‭ ‬thing‭ ‬happens‭ ‬with‭ ‬this‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬as‭ ‬with‭ ‬the‭ ‬first‭ ‬one. It barely misses Venus, skimming its surface, and turns back on a collision course for Earth.‭ ‬The‭ ‬only‭ ‬difference‭ is this‭ ‬one‭ ‬misses‭ the ‬Earth‭ ‬and‭ ‬becomes a‭ ‬secondary‭ ‬satellite‭ ‬to‭ ‬our‭ ‬planet. The effect of this satellite is that 95% of the time, the Earth’s magnetic field is neutralized.

Solar flares severely affect Earth now. People don’t want to go outside, because skin gets fried pretty easily now, and electrical stuff only works about half the time.

June 2019: (one month later)

It’s pretty obvious now that these two asteroids weren’t accidents, and something in Venus is trying to transform Earth into a Venus-like environment. We react to this in just about every way possible. The people who have been saying this since the first asteroid hit instantly become celebrities. We start sending peace messages to Venus. India launches a nuke at Venus, but before it hits, some force pushes it so the bomb goes around Venus and heads toward the dead of space. People start praying to the gods and goddesses of Venus.

June 2025: (six years later)

Life has been pretty much the same for years. Lots of people died, because of the problems of transporting food around the globe, but we fixed enough of them so most of the Earth’s population is still alive.

In this month, where Hawaii once was, this massive bubbling, or boiling comes up out of the water. We find that it’s ice-cold carbon dioxide vapor, and that something or someone is turning the oceans and the biomass in the oceans into carbon dioxide and this kind of salt-like substance.

September 2025: (three months later)
The carbon dioxide vapor has kept coming, so much that it’s very hard to breath, so almost everyone who can afford it is wearing supplemental oxygen devices. The atmospheric pressure is rising rapidly, and so are the carbon dioxide levels, but surprisingly because the vapor steaming out of the ocean is super cold, it stabilizes the Earth's temperature. So the temperature has basically been the same as it always has. So much for all of the greenhouse effect warnings we heard over the years. We’d stopped trying to make contact with Venus the last few years, but with the carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, everyone starts trying to make contact with Venus again.

December 2025: (three months later)
The temperature starts to rapidly rise, because of a massive greenhouse effect. We try to stop the oceans from boiling, but find that it’s being done by this kind of indestructible nanotechnology that will turn pretty much anything into carbon dioxide. Most people think that the Venusians just can’t see us, and so we focus most efforts on experimental technologies and communication methods, trying to tell the Venusians that we’re alive and we want to keep living.

January 2026: (one month later)
We start to die, some from heat, some from lack of oxygen, some from being pressurized to death, and some from starvation. We did shoot a few pods off into space with cryogenically frozen humans in hopes of preserving humanity, and also so this story isn’t ultimately depressing.

January 2126: (ten years later)
Venusforming of Earth is complete.

January 2226: (one hundred years later)
Venus explodes.

January 4226: (two thousand years later)
Beneficent and advanced aliens find the pods and construct a new Earth for us. Or at least for the ten humans they saved from the pods.

The End.

This is a plot outline of a movie I think would be cool. Hopefully someone takes it and turns it into a book or a movie. If you need a moral, it’s that maybe we should be thinking now about how life might exist in forms that are much different than us. Almost all of us believe we have souls that are alive, yet those souls are as strange and elusive as the aliens in my story who couldn’t see us and we couldn’t see them.


Photo purchased from istockphoto.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How to play the longest word in English possible, in Scrabble, ethylenediaminetetraacetates

Why is ethylenediaminetetraacetates the longest word in Scrabble? There are other longer, more popular words, like floccinaucinihilipilification, the act of esteeming something as worthless, antidisestablishmentarianism, which is wanting to keep the Church of England together, the Mary Poppins originated word of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and that one volcano ash lung disease condition, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

Before I answer that, here's how to play ethylenediaminetetraacetates:
It's a hard word to play in Scrabble because none of its obvious compound words of ethylenediamine, diaminetetra, and tetraacetates are words. What is ethylenediaminetetraacetates? It's the conjugate base of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or EDTA, which is some kind of industrial compound.

The longest word that anyone's actually heard of is electroencephalographically, which is a form of electroencephalograph, an EEG, which is when they put a bunch of wires on your head and the read your brain waves.

How to play electroencephalographically:
However, both of those words don't fit on a regular 15x15 Scrabble board. They're only theoretically possible, because The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary only has 7 and 8 letter words as the longest words, and the official Scrabble dictionary says, "Words that exceed eight letters in length and are not inflected forms of words entered in this dictionary should be looked up in a standard dictionary. The National SCRABBLE® Association recommends Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, as a reference for additional words." And, the longest word in that referenced lexical tome is ethylenediaminetetraacetates. So, that's the answer to the question above. That means you'll either need to play this on Super Scrabble Max Ultimate® which only exists in the future, or find an online word game like Word2 or Lexulous.

So, what's the longest word that you can actually play on a real Scrabble board? Actually, there are thousands. Because of all of the crazy words allowed in the Scrabble dictionary, there's a theoretically possible way to play almost every possible 15-letter word. I did an in-depth analysis where I analyzed each of the possible words based on their letter frequency, and found that interpenetrated or interpenetrates is the easiest word to play, based just on letter frequency.

How to play interpenetrates or interpenetrated:
  • play IN
  • skip 3 letters and play PEN
  • skip 2 letters and play RATE
  • turn PEN--RATE into PENETRATE
  • add a D or an S for the glorious finish
Based on my mathematical analysis of Scrabble letter frequency, the following 15-letter words will be the easiest to play in Scrabble, out of about two thousand possible 15-letter words. Of course getting both wild tiles will help a lot. Because Scrabble has so many allowed crazy 2- and 3-letter words, you should be able to make all of these. For example, MO, LO, and RE are all allowed Scrabble words.

And the hardest 15-letter words to play in Scrabble, based on letter frequency are PSYCHOLOGICALLY and PSYCHOPATHOLOGY.

Image purchased from istockphoto

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A literal interpretation of the Bible, and the Fermi paradox

According to some literal interpretations of the Bible, the world is only a few thousand years old.

Here's the math. One day to God is like 1,000 years. God created the world in six days plus one day of rest. That equals 7,000 years. Then Adam and Eve were born or hatched or created about 4,000 BC, and we're all currently at 2,011 AD, so that's 6,011 more years, so Earth has been around for 13,011 years, as far as I can tell. Please note that I didn't actually consult a Bible in coming up with this literal interpretation of the Bible.

The Fermi paradox basically says that it's paradoxical that we haven't yet found evidence of aliens. Assuming there are trillions of aliens on thousands, if not millions, of planets in our galaxy, why haven't we seen any yet? That's the paradox.

Another way of asking Fermi's antinomy is, why hasn't SETI, the alien-hunter organization who's scanning the skies for radio waves from distant planets, found any alien radio waves with alien signals? As Khan said, "Let them eat static!" So far, after years of listening to radio waves, all the SETI folks have heard is static.

If we consider a literal interpretation of the Bible, we have an answer for the Fermi paradox.

But, first, I should explain how Earth can be only thirteen thousand years old, when we have hard evidence, in the way of fossils and other rocks, that proves Earth is millions or billions of years old. God actually created Earth in only one thousand years. The rest of the time, God spent making plants and humans and stuff. So, to create Earth in a thousand years, he couldn't have used volcanoes and tectonic plates and all of that other stuff that scientists talk about. God must have a huge Earth-O-Matic™ machine that he used to fabricate Earth. Think about it, if God's all powerful, then he can certainly build a Jupiter-sized factory somewhere in the galaxy that makes to-scale models of Earth, starting with just digital plans and a lot of spare matter, and make this Earth complete with fossils that seem millions of years old, and a bunch of fossil fuels ready for our use, and accomplish all that in only a thousand years.

This means that dinosaurs didn't really exist. There simply wasn't time enough for God to let them roam around and evolve. At least on this earth.

Somewhere, sometime, in another solar system, billions or trillions of years ago, dinosaurs probably existed. But as soon as God got the Earth evolution template correct, complete with fossil fuels, he probably digitized that planet, and sent the plans back to his Jupiter-sized factory, and started mass producing these perfect Earth planets. One of those, our Earth, got delivered to our solar system. And within a few of God's long days, Adam and Eve were busy getting busy.

This should explain every inconsistency between science and a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Back to the Fermi paradox. Obviously God doesn't want us to interact with aliens, for some divine reason. So, after he created Earth, he whisked it away to a solar system that had the least likelihood of receiving radio waves from inhabited planets. God obviously has the most powerful computer available to any being in the universe, so he could have easily done the calculation on which solar system in the whole galaxy would be least prone to pesky alien radio waves.

Thus, the answer to the Fermi paradox, which is that God put us in a very statistically unlikely position in the galaxy to be able to communicate with aliens.

Photo purchased from iStockphoto.
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