Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Saturday Afternoon (and someone's META-THIRSTY)

You are puzzled, frazzled, confused, disheartened, disenchanted, etc.... ??????

Q.  What question do you wish someone (e.g., Yaro, God, your school's president, your dean, Michelle Obama, Leslie K) would answer for you?

A. (actually Q.)  ______________________________
                                                                   Be honest, dammit.


  1. How can we convince Bubba to stop using the tiny fonts? :)

  2. Why is it that, during Fall 2013 semester, I got my worst-ever general-ed astronomy class for non-majors at the same time that I got my best-ever third-semester, calculus-based physics class for scientists and engineers? Is the increase in the number---and, I don't believe it, but also quality---of STEM majors a national trend, encouraged loudly by the federal government and the press, or is it just my department, since our service-learning, public-outreach class has been so active lately in K-12 schools?

    Also, if I'm allowed to ask Yaro:

    How's retirement going? We miss you!

    If I'm allowed to ask God:

    - If You are omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, and sovereign, why does evil exist in the world? If this is the best of all possible worlds, then why does the syphilis bacillus exist?

    - Why do fluids become turbulent, in certain circumstances? Why is c invariant in all inertial reference frames? Why does the Pauli Exclusion Principle hold? Why is the fine structure constant approximately equal to 1/137? Why does inertia exist, aside from being a consequence of conservation of energy? And why is it so difficult to define energy, time, and order precisely?

    If I am allowed to ask my school's new president:

    Why are you pushing getting tablet computers for every student, when a much more worthwhile project would be to get fee waivers for our graduate students?

    If I am allowed to ask anyone who claims to be an extraterrestrial, or to be in contact with them (my dean may qualify here):

    - Would you please take a medical examination?

    - What is the composition of interstellar dust?

    It's surprisingly difficult to come up with other questions the correct answer for which would settle the issue of whether or not this person was of extraterrestrial origin. "How did your society survive the period of technological adolescence?" and "How do you build a starship drive?" are not helpful for this: I don't know how to build a starship drive, so even if someone were to tell me the correct answer, I wouldn't know whether it was correct or not, unless I were to build one and it worked.

    If I am allowed to ask Michelle Obama:

    Would you please ask your husband to quit spying on law-abiding Americans?

    1. Another one for God: Would You agree that every observable effect has a physical cause? In other words, do supernatural phenomena exist?

    2. GOD: I'm the wrong person to ask. But Feynman, Dirac and Martin Gardner are here discussing this very topic, let me check with them.

  3. My dean:
    Why do we force students to take upper-division courses not in their majors?

    My U president:

    How about teaching a required freshman-level class every semester as part of your duties, so you can see for yourself what we all have to deal with?

    Michelle Obama:

    Would you suggest to your husband adding a (working) link to the ACA sign-up site that says "if you'd like to become eligible for Medicare, state so here and we'll relay it to your Representative"?

    To God:

    Give me an idea to prove the Riemann Hypothesis. C'mon, You can do it.

    OK, if that's too hard: show me how to build an example of smooth initial data for 3D incompressible Navier-Stokes that develops singularities in finite time.

    Failing that: are there any provably secure cryptographic hash functions? If there's a security flaw in SHA-256, would You please tell me what it is (just to me)?

  4. Replies
    1. Specifically the lottery winning numbers. And what did happen to Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater.

  5. God: why is my sibling such a jackass?

    College Pres: Can we please have a faculty bar on campus? The board room is a nice space for this.

    Leslie: What does the fox say?

  6. Is the new snowman background ironic?

  7. Bubba, are you reading this? Here's a newer version of my last video with extra dog footage...I made it for my mom and for you...

    1. Thanks, Cal. That's beautiful.
      Stanley Coren, eat your heart out.


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