Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pirates, keep an eye on your parrots!

Converting iPhone Voicemails to Custom Ringtones

Recently, I received a voicemail from a friend that was so endearing that I not only wanted to preserve it, but I wanted to turn it into a custom ringtone and associate it with the Contact for that person.  Unfortunately, the iPhone provides no straightforward mechanism for doing this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

DSCOVR May Fly After All

Paid for, built, and grounded by the Bush Administration to gather dust in a Maryland warehouse, DSCOVR may get off the ground after all.  Designed to sit at the L1 Lagrange point between the Earth and the Sun in order to measure the Earth's albedo, the Deep Space Climate Observatory has the potential to settle the climate change debate once and for all. Now Congress has apropriated $9 million to start the process of refurbishing the probe in order to get it fit to launch again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This is why Alton Brown rocks

On the Jimmy Fallon show, A.B. demonstrates a novel approach to making smoothies. It involves powertools and a fire extinguisher....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Denial of Reality

Skepticism is a good, healthy thing. It is a key component of rational empiricism, the bedrock of the scientific method, which in turn is the only "way of understanding the world" which has a proven track record of actually working. Skepticism is a powerful tool for avoiding deception, especially self-deception. I love skepticism, and feel that the world would be a much better place if more people employed it. By all means, challenge assumptions. Challenge the status quo. Employ critical thinking. Use the large cluster of neurons between your ears. Just make sure you have the facts to back it up.

That said, it should come as no surprise that too much of a good thing can be bad. To be a skeptic in the face of overwhelming evidence (with absolutely no contradictory evidence) is simply being obstinate. It is even worse when such stubborn skepticism is rooted in nothing more than ideology.