Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow: False Alarm

The blizzard didn't make it to Provo.  They wouldn't even delay school in the Tri-Cities with what we have here.
Oh well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monty Python: Dead Parrot

It's time for a classic. For those of you who are not Monty Python fans or who are not familiar with such sketches as this, I apologize for not sharing this sooner.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haiti v. DR

For all those who don't know, this is what the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic looks like.
The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Cobb, Charles E. 1987. “Haiti: Against All Odds.” National Geographic, Vol. 172, No. 5: 645-670. Photo by James Blair

The same view from NASA. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center - Scientific Visualization Studio

Apparently many of the economic and environmental problems in Haiti are a result of deforestation and resultant erosion.  These pictures seem fake to me...  (of course these pictures aren't really fake).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If I knew who these guys were, I wouldn't say - Police search for LDS Church Office Building BASE jumpers. Apparently Police and News people are pretty upset about this, but I think it is quite awesome. Congrats to these mysterious adrenaline junkies.

Is Anyone Interested?

  1. abject- low to the extreme; extreme (humility, baseness, or sorrow).
  2. moratorium- a legally authorized/required postponement or suspension of activity.
  3. bifurcated- divided; made up of two distinct parts.
  4. salacious- characterized by lust; prurient, lewd.
  5. vis-à-vis- face-to-face.
  6. indelible- cannot be removed or defaced.
  7. fallow- intentionally left barren, as a field.
  8. sanguine- confidently optimistic; cheerful.
  9. glebe- plot of land belonging to the church, for the support of the priest.
  10. nosocomial- taking place in or as a result of a hospital.
  11. sword of Damocles- a constant, impending doom; (based on a Greek legend).
  12. sacrosanct- beyond alteration; must be kept sacred.
Does anyone ever look at these words?  Let me know if you're interested in new words.  Otherwise I think I'll keep them in a One-Note document to myself.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

It’s like The Matrix, only better

Kira and I went to see Inception this week. We had previously seen the first half, but finally got out to finish the flick. I admit that I am quite impressed. With Batman Begins, the Prestige, the Dark Knight and now Inception, Christopher Nolan is officially my new favorite writer/director.

I’ll first mention the special effects. I still recall when the Matrix was the hit movie because of its unique visual style and effects. Every few years, a new movie makes me think that we've finally reached the point of "if you can dream it, we can see it on the big screen." This movie, literally about our dreams, may have actually succeeded.

My favorite scene was one in which Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) floats around (and fights hand-to-hand) inside of a hotel with shifting gravity.

Opponents of James Cameron's Avatar know that in the movie world, special effects are not enough to make one great.  Nolan's prowess in creating original, captivating stories is also evident in this film.  Inception introduces us to the complex world of our own subconscious, our power over subconscious and its potential power over us.  Three simultaneous adventures--including a high-speed car chase, a hotel shootout, and the invasion of a mountain stronghold--are interspersed with Cobb's (DiCaprio) struggle against the grief within his mind.  Throughout the complexities, I was also impressed that the plot unfolded in a way that was not too hard to follow.  Important details were gradually introduced into the storyline, in contrast to the you-blink-you-miss-it aspect of similar films.

I also enjoyed the cliffhanger ending of the film.  I love it when movies don't tie up everything all nice for you.  It leaves you something to think about as the credits role and in a way, the film encourages you to take a piece of it with you.

Great story.  Great presentation.  A great ride.

10 Latest

  1. culpable- deserving blame; (same root as culprit).
  2. verdigris- a blue or green powder used as a paint pigment.
  3. cant- to slant; to lean; slang, jargon.
  4. wan- pale; dim.
  5. squalid- morally degraded; run-down and dirty.
  6. tableau- a dramatic scene or image.
  7. coup de grace- death blow, to end suffering; (blow of mercy).

  8. arcane- esoteric; requiring secret of mystic knowledge.
  9. nonplussed- bewildered, perplexed; pathologic confusion resulting in disorientation.
  10. ambivalent- uncertain; unable to decide; having a divided opinion.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I have heard several people recently explain that we have to be careful what we take for granted from other people's presentations because "we all have biases."

On the surface, this makes sense because anyone who shares information with you has their own perception of how that information fits into the big picture. In essence, we should not accept everything presented to us, even if it comes from a relatively reliable source (such as a professor, or an expert in that field). I believe that this is sound advice, but this leads me to another thought.

The word "bias" literally implies some sort of error, or preference that potentially keeps us from the truth. My question is: if we are aware that we have some sort of bias, why don't we elect to get rid of it?

The answer most likely lies in the fact that individual preferences for comfort and/or aversions to change often outweigh any preference to truth. In other words, many of us are okay with accepting a skewed view of the world because the effort involved to change our views is not worth the truth that we would gain.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Words of the Day

  1. sundry- various, miscellaneous, assorted (maybe at random).

  2. trollop- a dirty, untidy woman; an adulteress.

  3. throes- severe spasms of pain.

  4. brigand- bandit; an armed thief, usually part of a gang.

  5. adz- an axlike tool, with a curved, chisellike head.
  6. image obtained from

  7. alacrity- liveliness, eagerness, enthusiasm.

  8. retinue- a group of servants, attending to someone important/noble.

  9. reticent- holding back; restrained.

  10. archipelago- a chain or cluster of islands.

  11. compunction- a feeling of deep regret; remorse.