Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, April 21, 2003day link 

 Smoking guns or not?
picture NY Times reports that an Iraqi scientist is suddenly talking, and saying that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, but destroyed them a few days before the war. That sounds a bit overly convenient for Bush. Both justifying the war and also justifying why none of the purported 'weapons of mass destruction' are being found. Very clever. Oh, it might be true, but that would have been extraordinarily non-sensical from Saddam's perspective.

And what's with not being able to find Saddam Hussein? If they end up not finding him at all, I'd say there's a pattern forming here. Osama bin Laden was enemy number one, as the supposed mastermind of 9/11. For months everything was about him. He's here, he's there, maybe we got him, maybe he's dead, blah, blah. And suddenly nobody pays any attention any longer, despite that he wasn't found and probably isn't dead.

Same thing with Saddam Hussein. If they don't find him, and the media suddenly loses interest, I'd say something very sinister is going on. It was simply a matter of George W. being business partners with Osama bin Laden, and with Saddam Hussein. Shouldn't be much of a stretch, as his Dad pretty much hired them for their jobs in the first place, as CIA director. So, they did their scripted part, and we have a phoney chase trying to find them for a few months. And then they go into the equivalent of the witness protection program. They get plastic surgery, new passports, a few billion in a bank account, and spend the rest of their lives in underground palaces in Bora Bora. Or they moved on to the black government's bases on Mars for all I know.
[ | 2003-04-21 14:45 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 The Multiverse
picture Paul Hughes posts an article by Max Tegmark about several different possible models for the multiverse, involving various scenarios of parallel realities in one form or another. Fascinating reading.
"So should you believe in parallel universes? The principal arguments against them are that they are wasteful and that they are weird. The first argument is that multiverse theories are vulnerable to Occam's razor because they postulate the existence of other worlds that we can never observe. Why should nature be so wasteful and indulge in such opulence as an infinity of different worlds? Yet this argument can be turned around to argue for a multiverse. What precisely would nature be wasting? Certainly not space, mass or atoms--the uncontroversial Level I multiverse already contains an infinite amount of all three, so who cares if nature wastes some more? The real issue here is the apparent reduction in simplicity. A skeptic worries about all the information necessary to specify all those unseen worlds.

But an entire ensemble is often much simpler than one of its members. This principle can be stated more formally using the notion of algorithmic information content. The algorithmic information content in a number is, roughly speaking, the length of the shortest computer program that will produce that number as output. For example, consider the set of all integers. Which is simpler, the whole set or just one number? Naively, you might think that a single number is simpler, but the entire set can be generated by quite a trivial computer program, whereas a single number can be hugely long. Therefore, the whole set is actually simpler. [...]

A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel universes by default. To deny the existence of those universes, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. Our judgment therefore comes down to which we find more wasteful and inelegant: many worlds or many words. Perhaps we will gradually get used to the weird ways of our cosmos and find its strangeness to be part of its charm.
Heheh, that's the cool part. Somebody who proposes anything other than this wonderful infinite unified multiverse will have some serious explaining to do, as to why things would be only that one particular way, rather than ALL ways. I think I'm going to chuckle the rest of the day.
[ | 2003-04-21 23:25 | 9 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Sex in the MRI Scanner
picture Xeni on BoingBoing:
If you liked Susannah's BoingBoing guestblog post of yore about The Operation (thanks, Kai), the experimental art-porn film shot with infrared, then you will dig this story about a French (of course) medical researcher using magnetic resonance imaging to observe how female internal anatomy accommodates a penis in a variety of sexual positions. I want pictures. The first BoingBoing reader to score them and post urls in this discuss forum -- or roll their own MRI erotica and post them online-- wins my undying blog-respect.

Update: Boingboing reader "ellison" shares these clinically accurate and decidedly non-prurient links to photographs from an earlier MRI-sex study referenced in the story above. Erotica, they ain't, but MRI images, they are. Link one, link two. > Update Two: aktiv1 shares a link to this very funny testimonial from a female Dutch anthropologist who discusses what it was like to be the subject of an earlier MRI-sex-photography project.
Great, science can be a lot of fun. We need to see a movie of course.
[ | 2003-04-21 23:57 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

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