Christmas Weekend 2011

Your temporarily jovial Curmudgeon wishes a Merry Christmas to one and all!

The way the calender works out for the year, this weekend is likely to be the least active in our blogging history — both in terms of news to discuss and the number of visitors we’ll receive. The same may also be true of next weekend, but let’s take these one at a time.

Cyclical peculiarities of the the Gregorian calendar notwithstanding, we know you’re there, so we’ll treat this post as an intellectual free-fire zone for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Christmas Weekend 2011

  1. SC, I created a ice sculpture in my neighbours yard in your honour but I don’t know how long to make the … nose.

    It is red, isn’t it?

  2. Tundra Boy says: “It is red, isn’t it?”

    At this time of year, definitely.

  3. Merry Christmas and Festive Festivus and Happy Monkey

    from

    Doc Bill and Kink the Cat

  4. Happy Holidays to SC and the rest of y’all.

  5. Merry Christmas, all!
    (And gobless us everyone)

  6. Merry Christmas and Happy Monkey everyone.

  7. And a wonderful Solstice Celebration for each and every one of us.(12 seconds more daylight tomorrow here in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts!)

  8. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster heap a load of Marinara sauce on your plate this Holiday Season.

  9. I really enjoy the group here. Happy Holidays to all.

  10. To RetiredSciGuy: I’ve tried twice to respond to you, but my email keeps bouncing back. That thing you wanted to post about could be posted right here.

  11. Tomato Addict

    Merry Holidays everybody.

    For your entertainment, Terry Gilliam’s Christmas Card:

  12. Ceteris Paribus

    @b_sharp: “SC, I created a ice sculpture in my neighbours yard in your honour…

    Good job. We never got to play much in our neighbor’s yard because they had a pack of dogs and all the snow was yellow. Eeewwww.

  13. Merry Christmas, all!

    SC, I sent another email with my correct address. At any rate, what I was going to post about was a news report of a trillion frame per second camera developed at MIT that can capture a laser pulse making its way through a water-filled Coke bottle, similar to the famous bullet-through-the-apple slo-mo.
    I was wondering if this camera could be used to put the supposed anisotropy of light controversy to rest. (Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D. of Answers in Genesis is stating that light might travel at different speeds in different directions, thus allowing for a VERY young universe.)

    Here’s the link to a news article from PBS. (SC, perhaps you could clean it up.)
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/13/143666285/video-worlds-slowest-fastest-camera-captures-the-movement-of-light

    [The clouds part and a Curmudgeonly Hand descends] ‘World’s Slowest Fastest Camera’ Captures The Movement Of Light

  14. I was wondering if this camera could be used to put the supposed anisotropy of light controversy to rest.

    No, because the the different parts of the light pulse, as well as the camera, are in different places and so there needs to be a synchronization convention to decide what parts of the light are where at the same time.

    Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D. of Answers in Genesis is stating that light might travel at different speeds in different directions…

    It is not his idea. The discussion goes back as far as Einstein and Poincare. Lisle has chosen to hijack it for his own purposes but it is not his idea.

  15. Merry Christmas morning!

    Kink the Cat is warming himself by the fire and I’m warming myself with a large mug of Starbuck’s Christmas blend coffee. (I’ll need another pot at this rate!)

    And in Seattle there is only moaning:

    “Whaaaaaaa! Uncle Westie, I got a lump of coal AGAIN this year!”

    “Shut up, Luskin, and eat your gruel.”

  16. Best Christmas story ever Doc.
    I can hear Luskin crying from here.

  17. Thanks, Gabriel. I hardly understand the anisotropy issue at all, so I wanted to get your take on this. It seemed to me that if the camera could image two separate laser pulses traveling in opposite directions, any difference in velocity would be readily apparent. However, that must not be the issue.

    I didn’t intend to give Lisle credit for coming up with the idea. I should have been more specific in my wording.

    All that being said, the trillion frame/second camera is a fantastic accomplishment. I recall a Nova program from the ’80s concerning slow-motion photography in which such a camera was envisioned but was thought to be technologically a pipe dream. Well, it looks like the impossible has been made possible.

  18. RetiredSciGuy says:

    It seemed to me that if the camera could image two separate laser pulses traveling in opposite directions, any difference in velocity would be readily apparent. However, that must not be the issue.

    I suppose that even if the two opposing beams were triggered by the same button, and both were photographed by the same camera at the same time, there’s still the question of whether the beams were literally started at the same time, as a signal has to go from the button to two different lasers.

  19. “…a trillion frame per second camera…”
    Wow. Seriously? Too bad Zapruder didn’t have one of those- would have put a lot of that grassy-knoll nonsense to rest, eh?

  20. “Merry Christmas”

    Christmas is an offensive word because millions of people have been murdered for Mr. Jeebus Christ. Also, atheists are sucking up to religious morons when they use religious words like Christmas.

    It’s called Santa Claus Day. Normal people should say “Happy Santa Claus Day”. Mr. Claus might be a mythical person, but at least nobody has been murdered for him.

  21. Human Ape says, “Christmas is an offensive word …”

    My apologies. Merry Winter Celebration. If you happen to reside in the Southern Hemisphere, then Merry Summer Celebration.

    When I wish you a Merry Christmas, it’s shorthand for wishing that you are the beneficiary of others doing unto you as they would have you do unto them. Nothing more.

  22. aturingtest comments, “…a trillion frame per second camera…Too bad Zapruder didn’t have one of those…”

    Except for the fact that by the time we played it back at 60 frames/second, we’d all be dead. If they used this camera to record a bullet passing through an apple, the playback would take three and a half years. ( I didn’t do the math. That’s just what they said on the ABC News clip.)

  23. RetiredSciGuy:
    True. And it still wouldn’t get that damn sign out of the way, either. Guess we’ll have to continue to rely on the converging lines of evidence pointing to Oswald alone.