Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bad Idea #2

Welcome to part 2 in this recurring series. The motivation behind this series can be found at Bad Idea #1. This bad idea is once again for a really bad movie. I've written the first page of the script, and the rest pretty much writes itself.

Movie Title: Neuron 5 and the Fall of Humanity

We see nothing but darkness, as a narrator begins to speak.

"Every morning within the skull of one James Sittler, a resident of San Diego, California, a neuron would fire. The firing of this neuron, henceforth referred to as neuron 1, would be followed by the firing of neuron 2 a fraction of a second later. Then fired neurons 3 and 4. At this point, neurons 5, 6, 7, and 8 would, for all practical purposes, fire simultaneously. This interesting series of events corresponded to the thought inside the skull of James as "A new morning! It is time to get out of bed. I feel like some coffee." Neurons 9 through 21 would then fire in such a sequence as to generate the thought "But you don’t look like coffee", followed closely by neurons 22 through 29 firing giddily, saying "That’s mildly humorous, but why do I make this joke every morning?"

These neuron firings happened the same way every morning for most of James’ adult life. Unfortunately for the human race, the sequence of neuron firings outlined above, but with one small change whereby neuron 5 did not fire, generated the thought “It’s time to devise a plan to end humanity.” Due to a quantum slip, neuron 5 failed to fire one sunny June morning, 2011. It should be mentioned that determinism had long since decided to put James in a position whereby he could act on this thought. A truly horrible twist of fate indeed! For James was a world leader in the fight against bioterrorism and was employed at a biosecurity firm, the very firm that was designed to stop humans with quantum slips in neuron 5 from ever succeeding in their plans. This was the beginning of the downfall of humanity, which would be wiped out in a few short years. I am the lone survivor, and I have a built this time machine to go back to 2011 and kill James Sittler!."

Lights turn on in his garage, to reveal the time machine. It's big and metallic.


From here we follow the heroes plight as he battles forces, neither good nor evil, in his attempt to stop what at first glance appears to be unstoppable. Will determinism eventually have its way? Is there anything our hero can do about it? We are led to question the concepts of free will, determinism, time travel, and probably God. In the end, it appears as though our hero has overcome the forces and has subdued James Sittler. It will turn out that the head injury James received in the scrum is the reason for neuron 5 not firing the next morning. That is a twist that is almost unfathomable, as our hero was in fact being used as a pawn in the twisted game that determinism plays on us all.

I may end the movie with it all being a dream, but I haven't decided one way or the other.

I don't think anybody has thought of anything remotely like this before.

A lot of my ideas seem to involve time travel. I'm just going to go ahead and pretend that doesn't mean anything.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Book Review: Degrees of Freedom

I just finished reading my copy the new book "Degrees of Freedom", and I echo the sentiments of many reviewers in saying that this book truly brings us into a new era of the written word. This book accomplishes so much and is so entertaining that I barely know where to begin. I almost feel embarrassed in putting myself in a position of judgement over this book, as if I can adequately assess this profound work of genius using my reptilian mind.

The book begins in a lecture hall, circa 2005, location: Madison, Wisconsin. A physics professor is lecturing clearly and concisely on the concept of "degrees of freedom", a really boring idea in physics that you shouldn't care about. That is until this author weaves this idea seamlessly with that of another important concept, the concept of slavery. After our brief encounter in the lecture hall, we are taken to late 18th century America, where we meet our hero, a slave named Mercury. As it turns out, Mercury is really sad (due to the slavery). He sets on a course of action to try to free himself from his "yankee oppressors". Through his adventures we come to learn more and more about this character, including his proficiency at manipulating the laws of nature to serve himself. I don't think a lot of slaves had this power, but Mercury sure does. The interesting thing though, is that instead of smiting his captors, he decides to travel in time, to you guessed it, Madison, Wisconsin, circa 2005. Yes, he's the physics professor! Holy smokes, crazy time.

I won't give away too much of this book, mostly because of the difficulty I would have explaining the mirrored story lines in the two eras. For example, it is difficult to imagine how the author could successfully draw parallels between an increasing heat capacity of a gas as the degrees of freedom increase, to that of a slave being exposed to a higher level of freedom, and the emotional toll it takes. But he does it! And in the end, we are led to the questions that we must face ourselves: What is freedom? Am I truly free? The answers may surprise you! (Hint: No, you're not free, metaphorically speaking. If you're an alcoholic, you're a slave to alcohol.)

There are a number of smaller themes throughout the novel as well, which if it weren't for the majestic story drawing our full attention, would surely draw our entire planet further into the truth. It will take years, and many rereadings, for the full glory of this book to shine through. For example, the author manages to finally unite science and religion, rewrite the rules of poetry, and make giant strides in the theory underlying nanotechnology.

Most people are probably hesitant to read 3000+ pages, but if you do, you will come away as a changed human. I used to do cocaine every day. Since I read this book, I no longer have to. The rate at which endorphins are no being produced in my brain has skyrocketed 10-fold.


You may be confused at this point, as there is no book entitled "Degrees of Freedom", or at least I hope not. Often I read a book review and conclude "I wish I wrote that book." Well, now I can. I'm going to email this review out to various publishers, and once someone agrees that they would like to publish a book with that kind of review, the writing process will begin. It is likely that I'll be very rich in a few short weeks.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Vacuously True (and Hilariously Over-the-top!) Statements That Can't Be Denied

  • Every time I murder a small puppy, I feel absolutely delighted! (What?)
  • Whenever x2 < -23 (assuming x is real of course), I like to douse myself in gasoline, and light myself on fire! (That's an over-the-top statement if I've ever heard one! And hilarious too.)
  • Every day that is February 30th, I like to recommend heroine as a cure for the common cold! (No doctor in his/her right mind would agree with the implication of my statement. Yet it is true nonetheless, or at least vacuously so. That's what makes it really funny.)
  • You will never see a sad face on the dance floor (That one is just true, as I've stated before in an earlier entry.)

So you see, math can be fun!

In addition to being able to make such statements as these, I also advise you to make use of the following rebuttal when someone makes a conjecture that a certain statement is true. When your nemesis, or friend, or girl you are trying to impress says "X is true", you reply with "Yeah, vacuously true!" It rarely makes sense, but on the off chance it does, well it's seriously worth it. You will be honoured for years to come. People will reminisce about the time you said "Yeah, vacuously true!" and it made complete sense, as the premise of your foe's statement could never be fulfilled.

Is my blog getting better and better? Answer: Debatable.
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