Science Saturday – The Truth About Electrons And Photons

Spherical Harmonics

Veritasium published a really great video which answered a lot of questions related to electrons and protons.

For example, if you use Zeno’s paradox for a moment, and you divided the distance between your finger and the computer screen and divided it by half, and then by half again, and then again, ad infinitum, in theory, you would NEVER touch the screen, because you can divided that distance into smaller and smaller divisions. Yet, we can FEEL the screen when our finger touches it….so how is this possible?

Or another good one….if you remember your high school physics, we were taught that atoms “want” to have their outer-most electron shell full, and will willingly become ions in order to have it that way. Or another, that electrons inhabit shells with holding capacities of 2, 8, 18, 32 etc….but why?

Well, if these are just some of the questions you’ve always wondered about, but never knew the answer, then Derek might have answered some of these mysteries in this week’s Science Saturday video. Enjoy.

Facebook Fonies

Crisis Relief Ad_WarCrisis Relief Ad_Flood Crisis Relief Ad_Earthquake

These images are from a striking, heart wrenching and powerful press ad campaign from Crisis Relief Singapore which sets out to mock the false, fake and futile habit of guilt ridden Facebook Fonies who “like” shared photo’s of people in extreme distress as the result of war and natural disasters, and whom seem to think that that is enough in terms of their contribution to making things better, adding that people should do more than just “liking” and should volunteer instead.

The copy is “Be a volunteer. Change a life.” The ad agency used real press photos, and then expertly Photoshopped in the “thumbs up” hands.

Words are meaningless. “Likes” even more so.
Ad agency: Publicis, Singapore.

So the next time someone sends you a photo of a dying child and asks you to “LIKE” it, you have my permission to slap them upside the head and ask them what the fuck they’re REALLY going to do to help the suffering of the person/people in the photo.

Your Life – In Jelly Beans

Jellybeans

If measured out in individual jelly beans, there really isn’t much time you get to actually LIVE your life.

And that’s exactly why zefrank’s philosophical, yet tasty, approach to showing us exactly how much time we REALLY have for ourselves, really does make me wonder what the fuck is the point to life? It’s not that I’m harbouring suicidal thoughts or anything, but when you count it out in jellybeans, and take into account all the stupid things we find ourselves wasting our time on, there really isn’t that much of it…..i.e. time.

Think about it, you will only experience, on average 65-70 springs, summers, autumns and winters. So that means, assuming you can afford to, there are really only 65-70 places you can choose from to go to for your summer holidays. When you see how many amazing places there are on this Earth to visit, you begin to wonder, short of joining the merchant navy, how is it even possible to visit all THOSE places too?

Or, that there are only so many days left between now and the day you croak, but an infinite amout of yummy things you could be eating for your lunch right now. You might get to eat a new thing every day, but then, would you want to waste a day and eat the same thing twice, or risk not eating something that could taste so incredible that you might miss out on it because you’re now dead.

Or maybe I’m just getting overly morbid over the fact that I’ve just celebrated another day in my life whereby people feel the need to celebrate another 365 day trip around the sun, which happens to be in the same astronomical position as on the day I was born. Who knows.

KLM Have Created A New Country

Southern IrishAccording to KLM’s marketing team, I am a citizen of Southern Ireland, not the Republic of Ireland. Not merely content with flying people across the globe, but they’re not busy renaming its countries and citizenships of said globe.

I discovered this when I was asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding my most recent trip to Moscow. Well, you can imagine my delight when I saw that I’m not really Irish, but rather Southern Irish.

I’d best inform an Taoiseach and an Uachtarán na hÉireann about the changes thrust upon us by those crazshy Cloggies.

In the meantime, I’ve off to rename this blog www.southernirishmanabroad.com!!

BMX Tricks By Danny MacAskill

Redbull Danny MacAskill

If you were like me, you probably had a BMX bike when you were growing up, and there were probably some coller older kids who could do all sorts of tricks, like bunny hops and 180’s and they had them fitted out with trick nuts and stuff.

And if you’re like me, you were probably no good on your BMX, so you traded it in for a racing bike and used it to cycle the highways and byways, enjoying your new found adolescent freedom.

But Danny MacAskill (also known as “Danny MegaSkill), was probably one of those older cooler kids who could do loads of tricks. And he has become THE master of BMX Trials biking. I won’t bore you, because it’s better to see it for yourself.

Here, in a technicolour playroom supplied by Redbull, Danny shows us what he gets up to in his spare time 🙂

Now…..where did I put my bicycle pump?

The Greatest Speech Ever Made

Chaplin The Great Dictator

This amazing video, of Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in the film “The Great Dictator“, mixed with a splash of modern imagery and the ethereal song “Window” by The Album Leaf probably really does deserve the accolade of “The Greatest Speech Ever Made”

Chaplin’s prophetic speech was as true then in the early 1940’s as it is today. Maybe even more so today. In a world gone mad, where celebrity, materiality and greed take precedence over education, common decency and compassion towards our fellow man, his words instill a passion that seems to have been lost on most everyone across this spinning blue and green piece of celestial rock we call home….we call Earth.

Hell bent on killing each other just as quickly and callously today as we did in the previous two world wars, our continued intolerance of one another has fanned the flames of hatred and instilled an ideological mistrust of one another over religion as great as the same mistrust that was once fueled between the West and East during the Cold War.

We say to ourselves that we have achieved greatness. Our intellect is unmatched amongst the animal kingdom, that we dominate the world we live in. And yes, we might be clever and make the most use of having opposable thumbs. But what use is that intellect if we don’t do anything good for humanity and for the generations to come. We continue to pollute the planet, rape it of its resources, all the while killing off species after species, over-fishing, over-farming and never ensuring that we can continue to inhabit this planet for years to come or ensuring that the food and wealth and education are fairly distributed among the entire world’s population. And we are the ONLY animal on the planet actively engaged in self destruction of the world in which we live.

I’m no eco-warrior, nor am I a multi-billionaire philanthropist. I am but one man. And though I might not be able to make a huge impact individually, I will endeavour to do so nonetheless. Because I want to ensure that I set an example for my children, my nieces and nephews, to ensure that they see someone whom they love and respect living by the same set of values he preaches to them about. And maybe along the way I will be able to meet other like minded people who are inspired to do the right thing and live as harmoniously with the planet AND their fellow man to make this world a better place than that which we ourselves inherited.

Sure, I’ll still drive my car, and fly on holiday. But, I can choose to eat the food grown locally, turn off the lights when I’m not using them, recycle as much as I can and cycle short distances instead of driving my car.

Sure, I’ll still get pissed off with bureaucrats, or obtuse, single minded individuals who can only see the world in black and white, rather than in the rich technicolour in which it’s painted. But I’ll teach my kids to understand the differences that make each person who they are. To accept those differences, to try and understand them and to cherish them, because variety REALLY IS the spice of life.

We as individuals CAN, in a small way, make this world that bit better. The more of us that try, means the quicker we can collectively achieve a world of harmony, peace and understanding.

Irish Mammies – And The Wooden Spoon

Wooden SpoonYou didn’t have an Irish childhood unless the wooden spoon was involved.

‘Tis true. Many a wooden spoon was broken in our house, between me, my brother and my little sister. While some nations preferred using, for instance, a belt, Irish mammies always relied on their trusty wooden spoon to mete out justice, Irish-mammy style. Or, they would use psychological warfare against use and just use the open threat of taking out the spoon if you were acting up and didn’t listen to your Mammy. It was a little bit like a nuclear deterrent. You knew it was there and what is was used for, but you hoped to fuck she never grabbed it from the kitchen counter to use it on you.

I even had my own mother break my Tech Drawing T-square over my back as she chased me up the stairs because I took a step too far….which was followed by the taunt of how I would have to explain to my teacher WHY I couldn’t finish my tech-drawing homework. Irish mammies are great when it comes to psychological warfare…must be the Catholic Church’s influence 🙂 And yes, I readily admit it…I was testing her to see if her threats were idle, and if she’d follow through. It’s part of that child/parent dynamic where the child is constantly pushing boundaries.

We usually had the wooden spoon thwacked on our open palms. And it stung like fuck! Three was the optimum number for your average infringement. And almost anything was classed as an infringement – answering back, telling lies, stealing biscuits when you were told “No”, not doing your homework, coming back with a note from school, not eating your dinner, not doing what you were told….for the umpteenth time. The list was long and (sometimes) arbitrary, the sentencing varied, but discipline was abided by.

It was an era when the phrase from parents, aunts and uncles was “Children should be seen, and not heard” was oft used. I never really knew what this meant as a child. But now as an adult, living in a country whose idea of disciplining their children is a simple “Jan, sweetie, you cannot do that”, or “Jan, honey, please stop that”, rather than the Childline like disciplinarianism that was doled out in my childhood home, I can now understand why adults prefer their children to go up to their room or out to the garden and play rather than hanging around adults all day long.

And whilst some of you might think how horrible it must have been to have grown up with “the wooden spoon”, let me tell you this. It taught us respect, manners and how to behave. Unlike today’s 21st Century kids who haven’t had it so good – am starting to sound like my old man now – and have no fecking clue how to behave, either with adults or with their peers. Sure, there was bullying when I was growing up. But I don’t think it was ever as bad as it is today with kids thinking that the only solution available to them is to take their own life, because they can no longer handle the constant barrage of hatred and violence they experience from fellow children. If it was 1980’s Ireland, and a school headmaster complained to a bully’s parents, you could pretty much guarantee that those childs parents would swiftly and surely sort out their little gurrier, and some semblance of civility would soon take hold once again.

And as a “wooden spoon boy”, I don’t think I am a mal-adjusted adult, with social or mental problems. In fact, I think I am the exact opposite….a hard working, law abiding and sociable person who understands right from wrong, and will always try to err on the side of doing what’s right. Why? Because my Mammy (with help from her trusty tool) taught me what was right and what was wrong. Ireland back then was a very black and white world. Unlike the world of today with its 50 shades of grey and everyone’s opinion chiming in from all sides…Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, 24/7 News Channels, Talking Heads etc.

What’s the point of this article? I guess that I am reminiscing of a childhood that once was, and I find myself comparing the kids of today to the children of my own yesteryear and asking myself are we the same or were we really very much different. And I guess that I am in a round-about way, asking all those who are parents of children, to actually educate your children, to teach them right from wrong and to not settle for mediocrity when a child just can’t be arsed to do the right thing, respect others and just do their very best in life.

Maybe the wooden spoon is not the 21 Century answer, but neither is the constant “Good Job” philosophy that Americans are so quick to afflict the rest of the world with. As did I at an early stage of my life, so too must every other child discover for himself, that life is NOT a bed full of roses where you always get everything that you ever wanted, handed to you. You have to graft and doggedly pursue what you want. As a parent, your job is to make sure that they have the skills to make their own dreams come true, to encourage them to pursue their dreams, and to comfort them when they feel that the world has crushed and defeated them. But they should do so whilst ensuring deferential respect for their peers and fellow man.