thatscienceguy:

John Conway first theorized that it would be impossible to create a forever-expanding universe using these rules, which was proven wrong by a team at MIT, creating the “glider gun,” which is featured in the third gif. 

Since then, thanks to computers, people all over the world have added new designs to the database, creating amazingly complex designs.

For example Andrew J. Wade created a design which replicates itself every 34 million generations! Furthermore it is also a spaceship (permanently moving pattern) and not only that, it was also the first spaceship that did not travel purely diagonally or horizontally/vertically! These types of spaceships are now appropriately named Knightships.

The simulation has some interesting properties, for example it has a theoretical maximum speed information can travel. Or simply, light speed - as that is the limit in our own universe. The limit is set to 1 cell per generation - after all how can you create something further than 1 cell away in one generation if you can only effect your immediate neighbours? And yet you can get things like the ‘stargate’ (Love the name, huge SG fan here.) which allows a space ship to travel 11 cells in just 6 generations.

Some smart people have even designed calculators, prime number generators and other incredibly complex patterns.

You can create your own patterns here: http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

All gifs were made from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2vgICfQawE

Oh wow, this takes me back a few years… I wrote numerous versions of Conway’s Game of Life for various computers starting back in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s not hard to code. You set a basic design then start it running and sit back and watch. You can end up with ‘guns’ that shoot cells across the screen, spaceships that travel, static ‘civilizations’ that seem to exist forever, civilizations that expand and grow, and then suddenly go extinct after many iterations… I spent a lot of time setting up different cell patterns, then starting the program and watching what happened.

mostlycatsmostly:

MoMo’s carrot top hat (by Chip_Molly)

A cat in a carrot hat? Damn right I’m gonna reblog that stuff…
Tumblr can still sometimes make me giggle like an idiot :)

mostlycatsmostly:

MoMo’s carrot top hat (by Chip_Molly)

A cat in a carrot hat? Damn right I’m gonna reblog that stuff…

Tumblr can still sometimes make me giggle like an idiot :)

Coming Next Week On Stuff and Nonsense:
  • Five things almost everybody does better than you!
  • Pictures of cute kittens! And maybe ducks!
  • Middle School Child Says “F-Word”! Is the world doomed?
  • Semi-Naked Celebrities!
  • Still More Celebrities! With Even Less Clothes!
  • Kim Whatshername buys a pack of gum! Sign of the End Times????
  • You’re All Gonna Die! (Except for that guy over there because he eats weird stuff that makes him immune to this week’s disease.)

Yeah, I’ve been reading the Daily Mail again…

Frustrations…

It’s been a frustrating week, computer hardware speaking.

My MSI gaming lap top, the sleek, slick, maxed out, over powered and ridiculously big and ridiculously fast gaming computer, puked. It had been giving me odd errors for a few weeks, crashing for no apparent reason while running Skyrim, spontaneously rebooting for no apparent reason. I’d turn my back on it to do something, turn back, it it would be restarting itself. It finally went totally bonkers early last week, jumping straight to a BSD right after booting up, then going into an endless re-boot cycle.

I figure the hard drive took a dump. Steve isn’t so sure and suspects it’s the memory. In either case, it’s not hard, nor expensive, to fix. Hard drives are cheap and I think I’ve got a 512G SSD sitting down in the basement somewhere anyway that would drop right in. Memory? We got that laying around too. If not here, Steve has some at his place. And the MSI isn’t that hard to get apart.

Anyway, as soon as it’s up and running again and I’m sure it’s stable and not going to fail, it’s going away. Once it’s going again, I’m going to donate it to the ARES/Skywarn group after replacing it with something else.

We badly need a computer down in the emergency communications center at the court house to run our radar software and other stuff. Plus we have an ICom HF rig down there with a long wire antenna that no one ever uses. We’ve been talking about breaking down and buying one for a long time now, but the group’s never had enough money in the treasury to do it. So we’ve been schlepping our personal laptops along with us when we get called out, and it’s been a pain in the neck. And as often as not, we end up getting called up when we don’t have a computer with us, and we don’t have one at all down there. I can hook the laptop up to the ICom rig for both controlling the radio and for digital communications, something that’s becoming increasingly important in emergency communications. 

And it’s tax deductible for me :)

One of our printers, the ink jet, has been having ‘issues’ as well. Not the printer itself. It’s been rock solid. It’s ancient in terms of printers, but it just keep chugging along, and if it works, why fix it, right? And I’ve found a source for ink cartridges that cost less than half what HP charges for ‘em. It’s an ‘all in one’ type printer, that scans, copies, faxes (does anyone fax anything any more?) has a document sheet feeder for copying/scanning multi-page documents. Even does a pretty good job printing photos if you use the right paper.

But HP’s in this habit of issuing updates without bothering to tell us. Or at least that’s what we think happened. The printer is on the network so all the computers in the house can print to it. And the printer seems to be downloading and installing it’s own updates without our intervention. One of those updates screwed something up, and it got knocked off the network. We ended up having to “upgrade” all of the drivers for the thing on all of the Windows machines in the house, and I have never, ever, seen such a poorly designed user interface in my life. We finally got it figured out (I think).

My wife was trying to print out a photograph. Simple with the old software. Just bring up the print utility, select the image, tell it the print quality, size, and away it goes. The printer would snag the photo paper tray and away it went.

Well, not any more. The new software can’t automatically select the photo paper tray even when you tell it you’re printing a photo. We ended up having to go to the settings, manually selecting the photo paper tray and paper size, then doing the print. Then we had to go back into the settings and change everything over to normal paper again. Sheesh… I suspect we’re missing something, somewhere. I mean, HP wouldn’t do something that stupid, would it? 

And to top things off, my DasKeyboard (yes, that’s really the name. It’s German) has been acting up. I loathe and despise modern keyboards. They are, frankly, crap. The keys feel like mush, they’re hard to type on, sloppy, horrible feel to them. Just nasty. I cut my teeth as a programmer typing in endless pages of COBOL code in college working on IBM terminals, which arguably had the best keyboards ever made as far as ‘feel’ is concerned. They were noisy, true, but if you were a genuine typist, as I am, the feel was outstanding. The early PC keyboards shared that feel.

The Das Keyboard is one of the very, very few aftermarket keyboards that damn near duplicates the feel of the old original IBM keyboards, with rock solid keys, excellent feel when typing, actual Cherry keyswitches instead of those horrid membrane things… I’m on my second one now. They’re pricey, around $130 or so, but I love ‘em. The first one just plain wore out after long and honorable service. This one has a bad F6 key now and the built in USB port on the side doesn’t seem to be working any more when I plug a flash drive into it.

Sold….

Well, my friends, the farm is sold. We signed the papers on Friday, turned over the keys, and it’s all over at last.

It’s been both sad and a relief at the same time. I hate to use the term ‘closure’ because it’s so misused these days, but that’s probably the most accurate word to use: closure.

Our first decision to keep the place was based more on emotion than reality. The plans we had too difficult to accomplish because of simple logistics. There was no way we could do what we had thought about doing while living many miles away, working full time jobs and all the rest. As we found out when we tried. My sister and I were finally able to let go, and realize keeping it was a mistake.

It was harder for our kids, though. They had this idealized memory of what the farm was like when their grandparents were still alive. They remembered tractor rides, the cats, the calves, playing in the creek, going to the hardware store with Grandpa and stopping for treats on the way home… They didn’t remember the work, the sweat, the financial difficulties, the broken equipment, waking up in the morning and finding your prize cow dead for no apparent reason…

It went to the people we wanted to have it, the family that had been renting the bulk of the land for the last 15 years or so. They’re local farmers, and are great people. We really wanted them to have it. I’d called them up, told them I’d rather see them have, and rather than put it on the market or put it up for auction, if they felt it was fair, give us the price from the latest appraisal, and it’s yours. And that’s pretty much what happened.

Listen to Judge Richard Posner destroy arguments against gay marriage.

Oh my… This is priceless. Listening to Judge Posner a conservative judge, destroying Wisconsin’s and Indiana’s attempt to discriminate against gay people, is priceless.

Posner repeatedly comes down on the attorneys for both states, pulling down their house of cards, pointing out that their arguments against gay marriage are ridiculous, hypocritical and, when it comes right down to it, utterly and totally baseless.

Wisconsin apparently trying to argue that gay marriage harms someone, somewhere, somehow. But when pinned down couldn’t come up with anyone who is actually harmed by it.

Posner destroys the argument that it’s somehow bad for children, the judge points out that same sex couples do have children, whether the state likes it or not, and that preventing these couples from marrying is what’s causing the harm, not allowing the marriages, because it denies children the rights and advantages children in families with married parents already have.

Well worth listening to the sound clips over at Slate. You can almost hear Posner banging his head on the table at the stupidity of some of the arguments Wisconsin and Indiana were digging up.

And Posner wasn’t the only judge almost openly ridiculing the two attorneys. Judge Williams chimed in, as Wisconsin’s attorney was running out of them “the light (indicating his time was up) won’t save you” which had everyone in court (except the Wisconsin and Indiana attorneys) laughing.

Basically the arguments of both Wisconsin and Indiana against gay marriage amount to “we don’t like it, so we won’t allow it”. They’re actually trotting out the same arguments that were used to defend laws that denied minorities their rights and which were soundly defeated decades ago.

It’s interesting that Wisconsin’s Attorney General, Van Hollen, is vehemently defending the anti-gay marriage laws in Wisconsin, but isn’t getting any backing from either our governor or the state legislature. Except for ‘the usual suspects’, the right wing extremists in the legislature, no one seems to want to take a side in this. Our governor, “Waffling Walker” has flipped so many times on so many issues he doesn’t know which way he’s supposed to stand any more. So Walker, who once supported the gay marriage ban strenuously, now simply won’t talk about it at all.

But then again, Scotty has other, more important things to worry about after it was let slip that right before he and the state legislature gutted Wisconsin’s environmental laws so an enormous open pit mine could be built right in the heart of our most environmentally sensitive and beautiful wilderness areas, the company behind the mine ‘donated’ $700,000 to the group that just happened to fund most of the pro-Walker ads in the state.

Christian Parents Disowning Their Gay Son Are Everything That's Wrong With Religion | The Daily Banter

It’s stories like this that make me despair over the ultimate fate of the human race. How someone who calls themselves ‘Christian’ can have this attitude infuriates me.

I’m not an atheist. I used to be roman catholic at one time, am an ordained minister in another denomination, have a fancy degree, used to be a religious education instructor… But I left all that behind long ago because of hypocrisy like this.

Once upon a time, I had the honor of working with one of the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, sympathetic, understanding priests I’ve ever met. He accepted everyone. He didn’t give a damn if you straight, gay, bi, trans, having sex out of wedlock, a sex worker, drug user, thug, drunk, homeless, rich, poor… None of it mattered. What mattered to him was you. He read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the stories of Jesus. He really read them. And that’s how he lived his life and how he treated other people. He loved them. Everyone. He did not condemn, did not threaten hellfire.

He genuinely felt his job was to love people. All people, as Christ did. Jesus ate with prostitutes, forgave criminals, healed the sick, helped the poor, taught you should give everything you own away to the poor. “What you do for the least of these, you do for me”, I think was the phrase Jesus used. Father Stencil really believed that, and really lived that way.

He was a Christian, a real Christian. I don’t know what the hell these people are.

(via Grocers Introduce Kid-Friendly Snack Section In The Produce Aisle : The Salt : NPR)
I ran across this over at NPR’s The Salt blog about a grocery chain, Giant Eagle, trying to use the crapfood makers own marketing techniques against them. If you want to get kids (and adults, for that matter) to eat better, you are going to have to use the same marketing techniques Coke, Kraft, McD’s and the others use in order to get their attention. It doesn’t matter much now good your product is, how healthy it is, what benefits it offers people. People don’t seem to respond to logic and science any more, only to hype, flash, glitz, celeb endorsements, ad nauseam (egads, did I actually spell that right? damn, krippner, maybe all that time spent studying the classics in college is finally paying off after 40 years?)
The techniques work. We know that because they’ve allowed some of these companies to grow filthy rich selling people basically what amounts to salt, fat and waste materials left over from food processing operations, at enormous markups.
At the same time, I found it curiously distasteful at the same time, as did several other people who are proponents of healthy eating. It took me a while to figure out why, but I think I did.
We felt that real food, healthy food, shouldn’t have to stoop to their level, so to speak. Let’s face it: the crapfood marketing system is laced with unsubstantiated health claims, misinformation, misleading statements, legal lies and every other kind of psychological trick in the book to get people to buy their stuff. We shouldn’t have to resort to that kind of garbage to get people to buy real, healthy food. Do we?
But we do. People just don’t make logical decisions a lot of the time. We’re easily distracted, easily mislead, because we make a lot of decisions based on emotion, momentary desires, envy, a need to be one of the crowd, to fit in with our peer group. It’s hard to fight that kind of thing with logic and science.
So, yeah, maybe we do need to start doing this just to get people’s attention away from the sugar laced cereals, high fat snacks, high salt processed foods, fake cheese and the other crapfood they’re pushing.

(via Grocers Introduce Kid-Friendly Snack Section In The Produce Aisle : The Salt : NPR)

I ran across this over at NPR’s The Salt blog about a grocery chain, Giant Eagle, trying to use the crapfood makers own marketing techniques against them. If you want to get kids (and adults, for that matter) to eat better, you are going to have to use the same marketing techniques Coke, Kraft, McD’s and the others use in order to get their attention. It doesn’t matter much now good your product is, how healthy it is, what benefits it offers people. People don’t seem to respond to logic and science any more, only to hype, flash, glitz, celeb endorsements, ad nauseam (egads, did I actually spell that right? damn, krippner, maybe all that time spent studying the classics in college is finally paying off after 40 years?)

The techniques work. We know that because they’ve allowed some of these companies to grow filthy rich selling people basically what amounts to salt, fat and waste materials left over from food processing operations, at enormous markups.

At the same time, I found it curiously distasteful at the same time, as did several other people who are proponents of healthy eating. It took me a while to figure out why, but I think I did.

We felt that real food, healthy food, shouldn’t have to stoop to their level, so to speak. Let’s face it: the crapfood marketing system is laced with unsubstantiated health claims, misinformation, misleading statements, legal lies and every other kind of psychological trick in the book to get people to buy their stuff. We shouldn’t have to resort to that kind of garbage to get people to buy real, healthy food. Do we?

But we do. People just don’t make logical decisions a lot of the time. We’re easily distracted, easily mislead, because we make a lot of decisions based on emotion, momentary desires, envy, a need to be one of the crowd, to fit in with our peer group. It’s hard to fight that kind of thing with logic and science.

So, yeah, maybe we do need to start doing this just to get people’s attention away from the sugar laced cereals, high fat snacks, high salt processed foods, fake cheese and the other crapfood they’re pushing.

Fonterra Deepens Chinese Links With Baby Formula Partnership - Bloomberg

Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, based in New Zealand, has always had deep ties to the Chinese market. China buys most of the co-op’s powdered milk, and has for some time, except for a brief time last year when there was a false positive bacteria test on some Fonterra products and China instituted a temporary ban.

Fonterra knows where it’s market is, China. But it can also see the handwriting on the wall as Chinese consumers begin to regain confidence in domestic milk products after the 2008 Melamine disaster, when contaminated Chinese milk sickened an estimated 30,000 people, mostly children, and caused the death of several infants. That spiked a demand for milk products from outside the country, especially milk based baby formula. The demand is shrinking, however. China is ramping up domestic production, and consumers are regaining trust in the domestic product.

All of which means Fonterra is going to lose sales unless it does something. And it’s done it. It’s buying a 20% stake in the fourth largest infant formula maker in China. The deal will allow fonterra to expand it’s sales of it’s own infant formula into China, a market that could hit $25+ billion in the next few years.

Australia is also trying to pick up market share in China. Milk processors there are investing large amounts of money to expand production of infant formulas, cheese and dairy drinks for export to China and other parts of Asia.

In Wake of Arizona Uzi Killing, NRA Tweets About Kids Having Fun With Guns | Mother Jones

When I heard about this incident, I couldn’t believe it. What rational person gives a 9 year old kid a bloody Uzi? We’re not talking about taking a kid out plinking at tin cans with a 22. We’re talking a full auto military firearm that shoots 600 rounds per second.

And they give it to a nine year old…

And yes, this is 100% legal.