Apr 6, 2012

This Presentation Sums Up the Issues With Twitter

If you've never heard of TED talks, it's a great opportunity to learn about it. It's basically a collection of speeches that inspire us and makes us think. Sound boring? Well go and check out their site or their podcast. You'll be amazed at how all the presenters grab the audience's attention in their speeches. I've heard it being likened to potato chips, you never get bored with it. 
I've recently subscribed to TED's podcast, and it's great. I watched this one episode that made me really think, and here it is. It's a bit long, but I'm pretty sure you'll not be looking back at the 19 minutes thinking it wasn't worth the time.
(if you're on a smartphone and can't look at it, try searching "Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?" on the web or on the iTunes store)
Well, what did you think? I think I'm not much of a Twitter addict, but I still spend way too much time on the Net. Now that I've listened to her speech, I want to find ways to make time on the Internet worthwhile.

I think of all those people on the trains, tapping out on their smartphones, and I usually bet they're on Twitter, and most of the time I'm right. (FB isn't that popular yet in Japan.) They're afraid of being isolated from their "friends" who they probably have never even met, and so they want to know what they're doing, up to the milliseconds. 
It sounds extremely unhealthy, and I bet it is too. 

If you or your friends fit some of her description of a "connectivity addict", @mention the link to them- on Twitter, where else?

Apr 3, 2012

Why Do the Planets Spin Counter-Clockwise Around the Sun??

All the planets in our solar system rotate around the sun counter-clockwise. No single planet goes against this rule. But why? Is some mysterious force working on the planets to make them move like that?
First, rotating directions aside,  let's look at why they're rotating in the same direction. When you think about how the solar system was formed, the whole thing was just a cloud of interstellar gas. The particles began to cluster around by their own gravity, and started to rotate as it gathered. A lot of matter gathered near the center of the rotating "cloud", forming a body which we now call the sun.
Then after a while the dust around the sun began to gather into smaller counterparts of planets, which collided with each other forming planets.

When you think about it, it becomes pretty obvious why they are revolving in the same direction; it's because the particles were swirling in the same direction around the sun, and the planets were formed from the particles.

And for the question "then why are they rotating counter-clockwise?", I have to say it's a dumb question when you think it through. The concept of "counter-clockwise" is very self-centered; it depends on where you look at the solar system from. Because we usually look at the system from the "north" side of Earth, we tend to be led to believe the planets revolve counter-clockwise. But look at it from the other side, and- the planets rotate clockwise!! It's just like how space doesn't have up and down, it just depends on your perspective. So it can be said that it is pointless to say "the planets in the solar system revolves counter-clockwise around the sun."

note: it's all right if you say where you're looking at it from, i.e. "When seen from the direction of the Polaris(the northern pole star, the planets in the solar system revolves counter-clockwise around the sun."

Apr 1, 2012

James Cameron's Dive; Science or Publicity?

I was amazed at movie director James Cameron's dive into the Mariana's trench. I thought going into the Titanic was enough for him, but looks like it didn't satisfy his love for exploration.
But is it really? I am wondering if this was some sort of publicity stunt, to get more attention to his new Blue Man Group movie that's based in Pandora's ocean.
Of course, we can't really determine if that was the case or not. But we can say that this dive will affect science for the better, whether it was a stunt or not. Just think about what can be happening 10.9 km below sea level! I wonder if the creatures there might even give us clues to what aliens might look like.

But don't think I don't like James Cameron- I've watched Avatar and Titanic, and I think they're both great. And when you think about it, those are the two top-grossing movies of all time. He's really talented, and not just at moviemaking too.
I've already mentioned him as a deep-sea diver, but he's participated in the designing of it too. So don't go off thinking he just paid the money to go down there. Wikipedia also lists him as an inventor and environmentalist,  and the list just goes on and on.

I hope he'll share the stuff he took with his 3D cameras miles below the sea, and that he'll make the sequel to Avatar quickly, too.