Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clinton Apologizes to Obama Supporters for Temporarily Referencing Reality

Senator Hillary Clinton yesterday apologized to the nation for drawing reference to the fact that this is far from the first primary election to stretch into May, and beyond. Clinton's apology came one day after making the following statement to a South Dakota newspaper: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."

Uh oh.
Did she just mention an assasination? A Kennedy? The past? First off, haven't the Kennedys been through enough? And, who does she think she is, drawing upon the past to explain the present, Lewis Lapham? Come on, Hillary, an assasination? Didn't you get the memo? This is the year of hope, as in "I hope you realize that you are being made to apologize for telling the truth while making a cohesive and relevant statement about why you are remaining in this race."
Reports indicate that Clinton decided to go with the Kennedy reference at the last moment, opting out of issuing this statement in its place:
"In 2004, the primary election season wrapped up nice and early, and George W. Bush won the general election. Let's change that. That's right, change. And you know how I'm going to do it? Well, first off, Senator Obama wants us to wrap this primary up right now. I'd like to sit down with John McCain. Republicans have been in office for too long. Together, we can change that."

Fox News is looking into allegations that Clinton was under the effects of her lady hormones while making this decision, and whether her lying, cheating husband played any role in this.

Barack Obama's campaign chose to issue the following statement in repsonse to Clinton's comment - "Sen. Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," - apparently opting out of "Good point" at the last moment.

John McCain has yet to comment on the situation. Nap time, apparently.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Open Letter to Senator Arlen Specter

Senator Specter,

I feel moved to direct this public essay towards you as a means to communicate, in plain public view, with what low regard it is in that I view your recent antics regarding the National Football League and the New England Patriots. Before proceeding further, and in the interest of full disclosure, I must make it known that I consider myself a Patriots fan, much as you consider yourself to be a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. As we are brethren in this loose fraternity of fandom, I would like to assume that I may skip the details that define the fandom of a modern, educated, and civilized man and proceed directly to my main point of contention; however your recent actions lead me to believe that such an assumption may not be entirely safe. Make no mistake, Mr. Senator, I do not question your impressive academic and professional credentials, nor do I imply that you are uncivilized, but rather, I doubt the context within which you view your relative place within the dynamic of sports fanaticism.

The so-called "Spygate" incident, as you know, is a sports scandal of historical proportions. Few events of the like can be drawn upon for reference, whether from a perspective of perpetration or punishment. A highly regarded, highly successful and highly profitable organization has been caught breaking the rules of the league within which it operates. The organization has been investigated, publicly and privately, and punished, publicly and privately. The infractions in question have been viewed by some within the league as simply gamesmanship, while others have been more harsh with their judgements. You sir, seem to be the harshest voice of all. For your voice is that of a United States Senator making no effort to conceal the fact that his voice is carrying the full weight and authority of his office. To this, sir, I must object.

Allow me once more to insert a side note, again in the interest of full disclosure. Senator Specter, when I set out to write this essay, I had intended to include within it an indictment on your past actions regarding matters that many of your Pennsylvanian constituents, and many Americans, would consider to carry far more gravity. I intended to use allegorical references to the Iraq War, in an effort to illustrate your misguided ferocity in the search for truth. I was operating under an assumption that an examination of your public record would present me with ample ammunition with which to fire holes in your credibility on matters of truth, ethics and jurisdiction. What I found instead was an impressive collection of accomplishments, a body of work molded in a fashion consistent with the values and dedication required to distinguish oneself from such esteemed company. Yet, the more and more I found myself tempering my unfounded criticisms, more and more was my disappointment growing. For now, Mr. Senator, I am truly at a loss when trying to rationalize your activities.

Your decision to interject yourself and your office into the matters of a professional sports league, matters containing no legal or Constitutional significance, is flatly outrageous. As I write this letter, you and your staff are presumably preparing for your upcoming meeting with former Patriots employee Matt Walsh, who has recently turned in video evidence to Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League. By all accounts, this evidence will shed no new light on the matter, and many close to the situation feel the tapes, and Goodell’s own meeting with Walsh, will serve to put the matter to an end. Why then, Mr. Senator, do you feel it appropriate to interject? Why must you criticize the League for its handling of the situation? Why the meeting with Walsh, the meeting with Goodell? A man such as yourself, so critical of our Presidents forays into domestic surveillance and wiretapping, surely know the bounds of jurisdiction. Then why have you such blatant disregard for your own?

Allow me to close by returning to the issue of my fandom. The actions of the New England Patriots over the last several years have brought delightful highs, and agonizing lows. The recent revelations about their videotaping abuses has cast a pall over their accomplishments, one that will never diminish. As a fan the team, I wish it could be forgotten; as a fan of the sport, I know it cannot be. Senator Specter I urge you, out of respect for you and your office, to stand down and remove yourself from this issue. Your actions will stand for history to examine, and against the context of our tumultuous times, even such a talented litigator as yourself could not convince me that this is time well spent.

Sincerely and with Highest Regards,
Ian McCarty

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Knock Knock Knockin'...

In the summer of 1945, as the United States prepared to detonate the first nuclear weapon in the American southwest, several scientists on the Manhattan Project team, most notably Edward Teller, expresseed concern that the kind of fission reaction utilizied to trigger the explosion may not be containable. What Teller and the others feared was that the reaction would spiral continually, growing larger and exponentially more powerful (all within microseconds), and eventually ignite the planet's atmosphere. After debate, the team agreed that this was a possibility, albeit a very small one, but decided to move forward with the test as planned.

Obviously, the Earth's atmosphere survived. However, a very important ethical lesson can be drawn from this: Mankind will try anything once. One of these days, once is all it's going to take. Case in point: not satisfied with the strength of the first two nuclear devices deployed over Japan in August of 1945, the United States got right to work inventing larger, more powerful nuclear weapons. Edward Teller himself, obviously relieved of his fears of world annihilation, went on to invent the hydrogen bomb, exponentially more powerful than its predecessor.

As the video clip above points out, the Large Hadron Collider presents science with another risk / reward scenario, this one containing even more potential for unwanted disaster. This time, though, instead of approaching a frontier with a 'best guess' attitude of gauging the probable outcomes (a la those on the Manhattan Project, who had no hard data either way), scientists working on the LHC are working within the framework of the Standard Model of Physics, which, despite what they say about the specifics on black holes and supersymmetrical particles, does provide strong data that the fabric of spacetime will be stretched to its limit, so to speak, when these collisions occur. The reward to be gained is the completion of the Standard Model of Everything, or a completed Grand Unified Theory, as explained in the clip. Attaining this knowledge will allow scientists to define our universe with a single set of fundamental laws and values. This would allow for the expansion of our knowledge of the universe around us to expand exponentially, pun intended. Hopefully, though, one of the lessons we will not learn from this new set of rules is "never collide two protons at 99% of the speed of light."

Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity is the real wild card here. This is the model that has many scientists worried. Einstein's Theory would, in this case, point to the creation of these micro black holes that, being caused by release of energy from a single point in spacetime, would be stationary. Most theories regarding stationary black holes leads to them growing. That's the big risk in this case. There are also other, less disastrous, and even quasi-comical potential side effects, like the creation of CTCs (closed timelike curves), and the theory (presented in this article in the U.K.'s Telegraph), that we should look forward to welcoming time travellers when the LHC is switched on in the coming weeks.

There are times it seems that humankind's search for knowedge resembles that of a child crawling along the floor, constantly needing an adult to warn "Don't put that in your mouth." In reality, though, we are neither the adult (coincidentally, the Higgs boson is referred to by most as the God particle) nor do we seem intent on listening. Humankind's propensity for the bigger, faster stronger, more attitude leads one to suspect that if unsuccessful in this endeavor, manknind will surely find - to mix metaphors - somewhere else to stick his finger.

For the record, Albert Einstein disagreed with Edward Teller's concerns about runaway fission in 1945. He was right that time, let's hope his theory is wrong this time.