Science

Gravitational Waves

This is a great little video explaining gravitational waves and the significance of their discovery.

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On the Afterlife

After reading my friend Jerry Ford’s thoughts on the thoughts of physicist Stephen Hawking’s regarding the afterlife, I was compelled to reply. I feel this post is best served writing from the Jewish side of me, after all, this is on the afterlife. But don’t worry, I’m not going to get too biblical. I’ll speak mostly from experience. Please chime in on the comments with whatever you’d like to add. (more…)

2010 in retrospect and 2011 prospecting

There was a movie produced in 1984 called 2010: The Year We Make Contact. While we haven’t had business lunches with aliens this year (which I don’t consider to be entirely bad considering the bad rap they have), we have had some spectacular astronomical discoveries. We discovered a “potentially habitable planet of similar size to Earth in orbit around a nearby star” in Gliese 581. Another important discovery, whether you are a proponent of the eternally cyclical or eternally expanding model of the universe, is that we have discovered evidence that there may be multiple universes. I’m starting to think that Men in Black was written by scientists with inside information who were trying to let the masses know what’s going on.

Both of these discoveries are amazing. Things that were merely figments of science fiction only a few years ago are becoming science. I’m left breathless when I think about it too much. The problem now is we have no way of going to see and experience these things first hand. Maybe 2011 will be the year we make contact and we can stop pussy-footing around our solar system and get out to the deep waters.

On a very light note related to science, if you’re into science fiction and a little bit of suspense, you should watch Sunshine. The story is a little far-fetched, and there’s a pretty big plot hole that leaves you wondering, but overall the it is very entertaining and there are some great special effects. This turned out to be a great segue for…

Movies of 2010

This was a great year for some enjoyable films, but none of them come to mind off the top of my head… wait… … there was an alien movie I had high expectations for but it turned out to be quite bad. It’s called Skyline and the best thing about it was leaving.

Defendor was a fantastic movie. I was expecting a silly Woody Harrelson film, but got so much more. It’s a very enjoyable movie with an unexpected presence of sweetness, honesty, and truth. Have a box of kleenex handy for this one. It came out 2009, but it was released in the US February 2010 on video. This was a Canadian movie that did not get the publicity it deserved here.

I enjoyed The Crazies, a remake of a ‘70s b-film by the same title. How to Train a Dragon was a great movie I saw with my older boys. We all enjoyed it. My wife and I had some good laughs with Hot Tub Time Machine. Date Night was a bit of a let down on our date night, but Kick-Ass totally made up for it. Get Him to the Greek was funnier than I expected, and the remake of The Karate Kid was enjoyed by my kids and my wife and I who remember the original. RED I saw twice, once courtesy of AMD, and the second time with my aunt while she was visiting—a very enjoyable flick, but not for those who dislike violence. And finally Shrek Forever After was a great wrap-up to an amazingly funny series of films.

I’d like to see Tron: Legacy and I hope it’s better than the original which moved about as fast as cold molasses, but the effects were good. It was ahead of its time. While Yogi Bear doesn’t interest me I did enjoy this alternate ending:

While this final movie does not pertain to 2010, I am anxiously looking forward to The Tree of Life. It looks like a brilliant piece of work.

Music

It’s no surprise to me that my favorites have stayed the same. If you know me even moderately well you probably already know that my favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s an almost spiritual connection with their music—something in my soul connects with what they say in their beats, rhythms, and lyrics. There’s a new album coming out soon and I can’t wait for it.

This year I took a liking to John Mayer’s music. I didn’t like him too much at first, but his work has grown on me. His songs have meaning and depth that ask questions and deal with being a man. It’s good stuff.

Finally, my interest in hip-hop/R&B has stepped up a notch. It’s a mix of Kanye West and Professor Elemental. Yeah, some of it’s a little silly, but so am I.

Goals for 2011

There’s a lot this year to think about. Bithia and I feel quite positive about the new year. There are a couple of things cooking on the side that may turn into additional revenue for us. And for a single-income home (Bithia stays home with kids) you can use all you can get.

On the more important front, I think I’m finally coming out of the last two years of being a caregiver. It’s been a long and difficult road, and as normal shifts again I’m wrestling with G~d, and trying to understand where I fit with the whole scheme of things. While the last 2 years have been personally challenging, the year before we experienced some life-altering events with a very close friend that forever changed the way we view the world.

In short, and to be plain, G~d’s sovereignty is the question. What is His role in the world? Does every event, good and bad, bear his impression, or is the world merely left on its own and we as Jews are responsible for following the instructions and showing the world a better way? I know there are no simple answers, but it’s something to try to come to grips with and try to learn what He expects of me. I guess I’m at a place of making Judaism my own this year and understanding how I should view the world as one. Maybe I can even pick up a couple of mitzvot this year too. I’ve certainly let enough of them go by the wayside…

And with that, let’s see how it goes and what we can do.

Godspeed, everyone.