Monday, May 28, 2012

Godless Geek Blog Year one, A shiny new Domain Name, and things to Come...

Earlier this month, May 9th, to be exact, the Godless Geek blog completed it's second year. Yes, I know the title says year one. But being that I'm all science-y and stuff, I thought it'd be clever to start with year zero...What?... Stop looking at me like that.  ANYWAY- Looking back over last year, I'm more than a little disappointed in my overall volume of output, but I'm generally pretty happy with the majority of things I did manage to put out. Plus, depending on your source for the statistics on such things, it's my understanding that the average blog is long dead by now. So if nothing else, at least I'm still here. But my goal, is to do a lot more than just maintain a minimal presence. And now that I've (hopefully) gotten all my brooding over a minor... Okay, major personal crisis out of the way, I think I can get back to doing that.

 The whole reason I started this page in the first place, was not to entertain myself or to feed some some narcissistic need for attention. Sure, I'm here in part to talk about my own interests, share my art and other projects, and, on rare occasions, little bits of my life. And yes, I'm obviously promoting a very specific and personal world view; it's called The Godless Geek Blog, for Araya's sake. What did you expect? But I started doing this, primarily, as a way to try and join the cause of promoting a greater interest in, and understanding of, science and critical thinking, while hopefully being entertaining enough in the process to trick some people into sticking around long enough to get to, all that other stuff. Which is why, looking forward, I've decided to concentrate my efforts into growing this site into something, bigger.

To that end, I have finally registered a domain name for the site, which you can now access by going to, or .net.

As you may have noticed, I also spent some time this weekend making the blog easier for you to share, if you are so inclined. So you can now share individual posts on Google plus by clicking the G + icon beneath each post -or- you can share the entire page, by clicking the same icon in the sidebar; this same function applies to all the other share buttons on the page as well. If you are on Google plus, you'll also now find a link in the sidebar to add my profile to your circles. And if you STILL like Facebook for some reason (why?), I also decided to resurrect Geekblog's Facebook page; which I would greatly appreciate you taking a moment to like since I hate Facebook, and am just looking for an excuse to kill it again. =)

And finally, there's also a very good chance that I've been toying with producing a podcast to go along with the site. So if you're into that sort of thing, keep an eye out for updates on that as well.

So weather you've been following the site for a while or this is your first visit, thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate even the most minor validation of my efforts. And if you enjoy the site, and would like to see more content from it  more often, please- share it with your friends. And be sure to let me know what you think, and what you'd like to see more/less of,  in the comments.

Thanks again, more to come shortly...


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quantic Dream: Kara, PS3 Tech Demo

Posted by YouTube user: BrioCyrain
Okay, so this is another one of those things that made the rounds a while ago, so I'm sure you've already seen it. But, It's been sitting in my bookmarks for a while now, I need something to break up the science talk and gratuitous religion bashing with, and it's awesome. So I'm sharing it anyway.

Kara, is essentially a seven minute long animated short film, created by Quantic Dream -creators of the game Hard Rain- to show off their new graphic engine and hopefully, in the case of Kara anyway, the level of voice acting they plan to strive for in their next title. Because that was one of the most common criticism from fans of the game -including me- and those who hated it, alike. And then there was also that bit where you had to control your character during a sex scene... But that was just, weird.

Pope's Butler Arrested in Vatican Leak Scandal. In Other News: Pope's Got a Butler!?

As you may already be aware, for some time now the Vatican has been dealing with a bit of a "scandal".

What?...No, not THAT one.

I mean, geez, how many times must the Vatican barely acknowledge the church's long standing practice of both harboring and enabling pedophiles by shielding them from prosecution and paying victims to keep their mouths shut, before you, insensitive, immoral heathens, stop harping about it? [What sarcasm?] No, this time it's something - apparently- even more, embarrassing, scandalous, and inconvenient to admit, than the fact that the religious cult on which your city-state is built, is filthy with pedophiles and the men who love to help them get away with it.

Saturday, the Vatican charged the Pope's personal butler Paolo Gabriele, with aggravated theft, in connection with the so-called Vatileaks scandal -Ya, I know. But at least the media's not making everything a "gate" anymore- after claiming to have found him to be in possession of confidential documents. Encouragingly -where public perception of the Vatican's credibility is concerned- many seem to feel Gabriele is not actually the man behind the Vatican leaks, but, rather, a scapegoat in the organization's attempt to save face. Which seems likely, given the circumstances. Me personally, I'm still just trying to process the idea that the pope has a butler. When did he become Batman?

For those of you unfamiliar with the whole Vatileaks thing: For several months now, the Italian media has been publishing leaked letters from the Vatican concerning various conflicts, power struggles, and potential corruptions, within the church-state. As usual, the holy state has done it's best to try and minimize damage from the leaks, and challenge the validity of the claims made within them, by painting itself as the victim of an insidious plot designed to undermine the church's authority and moral standing. But that task got a lot harder this week, with the publication of; Your Holiness: The Secrete Papers of  Benedict XVI.

Published by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, Your Holiness, is filled with even more leaked documents and letters from within the Vatican city walls, including some directed to Cap'n pointy-hat himself. And following the book's publication, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, head of the Vatican Bank, opted to step down from his position, due to information in the book regarding his mismanagement of said financial institution.

As for the feelings of the man in the silly hat on the subject. Pope Palpatine didn't actually address the scandal or his butler's arrest directly in today's pentecost Sunday address. But he did have the following to say: 

"Communication between people is becoming more superficial and difficult. We see daily events in which it appears men have become more aggressive, confrontational, they seem to be concerned only with themselves, their own interests,"

Translation: It's getting way harder for us control information, and people are starting to actually question what the Vatican, as well as the church, say and do, rather than blindly following whatever I say out of fear- and that makes pope-y all sad and junk.

We can only hope he's right, and the current level of distrust surrounding his silly little country spreads to his religion and grows, and grows, until finally- no one cares what he, his alleged country, or his church, has to say about anything, anymore.

In closing:

Posted by YouTube user: fraserdldavidson


VIA: (and various others)

Higgs Boson And The Research Surrounding it Explained, in Cartoon Form

Via: phdcomics on:Vimeo

While we're on the subject of quantum physics, and sense this video is all about two of my favorite things; cause I'm the kind of guy that picks complex scientific disciplines and theoretical particles as his favorite things. Let's talk about the Higgs boson. Well, let's have someone who might actually have the required knowledge to talk about particle physics and the research surrounding the search for this theoretical bit of matter, talk about  it- in the form of a cartoon. Cause I believe, no matter how old you are, there isn't anything you can't learn by watching cartoons.

In all seriousness. I've written about the Higgs and particle physics in general, several times before. But the Higgs Boson, and the quantum world in which it exists, is without question, such a complex subject, that it's always worth revisiting. 


Source: Camels with Hammers -VIA: Left Hemispheres

Chinese Researchers Set New Distance Record For "Teleporting" Qubits

One of the most astonishing and confusing properties of the quantum world is the phenomena of quantum entanglement. Through this effect, it's possible for two individual particles to become linked to one another and act as single system, regardless of the distance between them.

Say, for instance, you managed to entangle a couple of particles, A and B. Even if particle A were residing quietly inside an accelerator here on Earth, while particle B was busy floating along through space on the other side of the galaxy, this entangled pair would still act as a single system. If one were to then try and observe particle A - thus causing a shift in it's quantum state through the mere act of observation, and the joy of  the uncertainty principal, quantum superposition, and all that - particle B, would instantaneously adopt the same quantum state.

Now, I'm not going to pretend to understand exactly how quantum entanglement manages to happen in the first place, or how scientists manage to deliberately produce the effect for experimentation, because, I don't- in my defense, neither does anyone else. But the phenomena of quantum entanglement is one that's been known to, and studied by, quantum physicists, for quite some time. And while it's easy to imagine a whole host of spectacular Sci-fi applications for the effect (some of which might also become a reality someday), currently, one of the most promising, real world application for entanglement, is in the field of data transfer, processing, and communications.

Enter, the Qubit. Which is the quantum analog to the the digital bit.

Now then, if I've done a fair job of explaining the concept of entanglement to you, you'll understand why the word teleporting appears in quotation marks in the title of this entry. Because when a group of scientists from China recently managed to set a new record for quantum "teleportation" by successfully transferring information between 1100 photons, across 97 km of free-space, they didn't actually teleport anything. Rather, they managed to successfully entangle and effect one group of particles, by manipulating another, across a previously unachievable distance. In other words, they were able to transfer data (qubits), from one place to another, without actually transferring anything at all. Which is kind of what makes Quantum entanglement such an attractive means of communication and data transfer in the first place. Since there's literally nothing to intercept, eaves dropping on this form of quantum communication,  would be nearly impossible. I say nearly, because, I can easily imagine some clever person finding a way to entangle a set of particles of their own, in order to intercept transmissions. But that too is just my own bit of speculative science fiction, at this point.

One of the (many) current problems and limitations of this particular method of quantum transfer, and why this groups achievement is a significant one - aside from just being cool as hell- is that entangling particles is understandably difficult. So the entanglements currently being created, are easily broken and interfered with. Which is why the previous record for such a transfer, which was also set by a group from China, in 2010, was just 16 km,.Which still seems an impressive feat, by my standards. But if the results of experiments like these can be reproduced, and the entanglements themselves can be made more stable. I think communications through quantum "telepotation", might actually be a reality, someday. Though certainly not anytime soon.

As for actual the actual teleportation of complex matter, which is what we all think of when we read the word... Sorry, but I still don't see it happening.

But that's a discussion for a different day.


VIA: Wired Science -And-

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Towel Day

For those of you who are unfamiliar with towel day.. Just turn around, and quietly walk away. I'll just pretend I never saw you here. Or you could just go here:

Now, so long, and thanks for all the fish.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Week's Time Lapse: Annular Solar Eclipse

Posted by Youtube user: mrcorypoole

Last week's Annular solar eclipse, in just over a minute.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creepy/Weird Japanese Thing of The Week: Shiri The Emo Robo-Ass

Posted by Youtube user:novriki

From last week's Compendium:

Built by Nobuhiro Takahashi and his team at the Tokyo University of Electro-Communications,Shiri is the most advanced robotic ass ever made! At least, I assume it is. I’m gonna be honest here. I’m weird, but I’m not comparison shopping the net for robo-asses weird. So I might be wrong about that whole most advanced robot-ass ever thing. If I am, well, allow me to go ahead and preemptive-ly yield to your, no doubt, Superior knowledge of mechanized hind quarters.

 [There’s a sentence I never though I’d write.] 
 Well, Shiri does!

That’s actually the excuse behind this particular bit of creepy. It’s about how the robot mimics emotions, with tactile transformations of…

Okay…Ya know what;

IT’S A ROBOT-ASS THAT TWITCHES AND CLENCHES ITSELF WHEN YOU SPANK AND TICKLE IT! There, ya see what I had to write? Anytime the phrase, “Spank and tickle it” appears in any description of whatever the hell it is you’re doing, it’s not science anymore! It's recreation! And it's creepy.

I feel dirty again.

I’m gonna go now.


VIA: Gizmodo

Meanwhile, In The Bible...

I usually try and reserve most of the photo only stuff to the tumblr, but this one was just too good.

And just in case you don't get the reference:

2:23 And he (Elisha) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.  

2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

So remember kids. Before you go calling someone "bald head". You might wanna make sure that someone isn't one of god's crew. Otherwise, the all loving, benevolent super-being in the sky, just might send bears to rip you, and forty of your innocent adolescent friends into tiny, little, bits. And That'll show ya.



APOTD: Late Afternoon SHadows at Endeavour Crater on Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in this dramatically lit view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars.

The rover used the panoramic camera (Pancam) between about 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. local Mars time to record images taken through different filters and combined into this mosaic view.

Most of the component images were recorded during the 2,888th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity’s work on Mars (March 9, 2012). At that time, Opportunity was spending low-solar-energy weeks of the Martian winter at the Greeley Haven outcrop on the Cape York segment of Endeavour’s western rim. In order to give the mosaic a rectangular aspect, some small parts of the edges of the mosaic and sky were filled in with parts of an image acquired earlier as part of a 360-degree panorama from the same location.

Opportunity has been studying the western rim of Endeavour Crater since arriving there in August 2011. This crater spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, or about the same area as the city of Seattle. This is more than 20 times wider than Victoria Crater, the largest impact crater that Opportunity had previously examined. The interior basin of Endeavour is in the upper half of this view.

The mosaic combines about a dozen images taken through Pancam filters centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet). The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see, such as the dark sandy ripples and dunes on the crater’s distant floor.


Space X Launches Falcon 9 and Dragon Capsule

Now, I can't imagine that anyone who'd be following this blog wouldn't already know all this. But just in case...

After a delayed launch on Saturday due to a faulty valve, Space X successfully launched it's Falcon 9 rocket carrying it's unmanned Dragon capsule into space early Tuesday morning. Once the rocket achieved orbit, the capsule itself was then able to successfully decouple and deploy it's own solar array.

On Friday, the capsule will undergo a series of maneuvers near the ISS to confirm it can be controlled well enough to dock with the station. When and if it does, it will then approach near enough for a crew member aboard the ISS to grab the capsule with the station's robotic arm, bringing it in to dock and deliver supplies. Assuming all goes as planned, the Dragon capsule will then return to earth, splashing down in the Pacific ocean off the coast of California, where it will then be retrieved.

If successful, Space X will become the first private company ever to deliver cargo to the ISS.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Week's Brushes Doodle: Greenman

Yes, I suppose he is kind of yellow. But calling him yellow-man felt A LITTLE racist. Although with the eyes I suppose it's... Never mind, I'm making it worse.

Dammit, I thought I had this one schedule to post on it's own. Apparently, I did not. So technically, this is last week's phone doodle-thingy. Whew, glad that's cleared up. ANYWAY-

So obviously, I was full of fail again this week where blogging was concerned; and pretty much everything else for that mater. But I did manage to do another digital doodle with my iPhone. Ya, I know. But hey, at least I did SOMETHING other than watching House and playing Age of Booty this weekend. Which, sadly, is NOT a euphamism for my sex life, but a mini-game on the PSN. Although, if I spent as much time trying to meet women as I do playing pirate-themed video games, I suppose it could be... But I digress.

First, before you start flinging your poop and judgment at my artistic ability: In an effort to get back into the habit of drawing again -which is something I used to do a lot, but haven’t really done much in the past decade or so- I’ve been using the Brushes app on my iPhone to do a doodle of some form, at least once a week. Typically, as was the case with today's example, this happens over the course of about an hour, while swilling beer and eating horrible, greasy food, alone at Chili’s; cause that’s just how awesome and exciting my existence is. Besides, have you ever tried to finger paint something on a 3.5 inch touch screen?  It’s kind of a pain. And the Yuenglings probably don’t help the cause much either.

Oh well.

More science and such to come, shortly...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eye Candy: Ruin

 So I actually found this animated short from OddBall Animation a while ago, and just haven't managed to get around to posting it. Simply put, it's amazing. Probably even more so if ,unlike mine, your Internet provider has not throttled you down to point where you cannot watch things in HD. But what makes this 8 minute short even more impressive, is the fact that it's mostly the result of the work of just one person. Though the films creator and director Wes Ball, does point out that he had a bit of help on the model rendering for the drone and main character, as well as a single intern to help with some of the animation. CHEATER!

Seriously, it took one person two years worth of work to make this. I can't even manage to post a single blog entry once a day, much less design my own, photo realistically detailed digital world, from scratch.

I am Jack's deep, burning, sense of shame and inadequacy.


VIA: Oddball Animation

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Creationsm vs Evolution: Watching Evolution Go

Last week I finally got around to writing about Tennessee's new monkey bill and the creationist/intelligent design movement's ongoing efforts to subvert science education, by forcing the fantasy of their belief system into the classroom. Since then, I've had creationism and evolution on the brain. So I thought I'd try writing up a series of posts about the subject. Today: A few examples of science directly observing the process of evolution as it happens.

But first, a quick reset.

In case I wasn't clear before, there is no question amongst scientists as to weather or not evolution took place, either in our own genetic past, or that of every other living thing on the planet. We know this because, contrary to creationists arguments, fossil records alone -though certainly not "complete*"- are enough to confirm that evolution is a real process responsible for the forming of all species, and almost certainly life itself. Modern genetic studies have gone even farther in mapping, not only the relation of all species to one another, but the points at which specific biological mutations led to their diversification; the point at which one genetic makeup changes (evolves) enough to become another. But in the monkey bill entry, I brought up the idea that evolution was not only a scientific reality of our biological past, but that it was still an ongoing process in the world today. One of the things that makes this, as well as the idea of evolution in general a hard fact for may people to accept, is that evolution happens too slowly in complex, long living organisms, to be observed in real time. But that doesn't mean it can't be observed at all.

Because of their rudimentary genetic makeup and brief lifespans, which can allow for the passage of  thousands of generations in a relatively short amount of time, single celled organisms like bacteria, are invaluable in the study of evolution. The E. coli bacteria in particular, has played an integral role in it's study.

 Arguably one of the most definitive and direct observations of evolution ever made, was published in the 2009, result of a research experiment conducted at Michigan State University. The experiment was conducted by Professor Richard Lenski, on a sum total of 40,000 generations of  E. coli bacteria, grown over the course of  20 years. By the 20,000-generation midpoint, researchers discovered 45 mutations among surviving cells. Mutations, which, in accordance with the theory of Darwinian evolution, afforded those generations of the bacteria distinct survival advantages over their ancestors. One of the the most dramatic examples of the evolution of the bacterial colonies in Lenski's experiment, was one population of  bacterias development of the ability to utilize a carbon source other generations and populations could not.

The Michigan state experiment is just one of the many examples of E.coli in particular, being used to directly study and observe the evolutionary process as it takes place, and there are countless other examples of similar experiments to choose from. A recent favorite of mine -What? How could you not know by now that I'd be the kind of guy who'd have a list of favorite scientific experiments?- was a result published just this year.

In an experiment lead by researchers Travisano and William Ratcliff , brewers yeast was successfully coaxed into evolving into a multi-cellular organism. The yeast was grown in flasks of nutrient rich broth. Those flasks were shaken once a day, and the yeast which sank to the bottom of the flasks was removed, leaving the free-floating yeasts behind. After just 60 days, the yeasts which clumped together had grown into permanent clumps of individual yeast cells, displaying all the tendencies associated with “higher” forms of life, including: a division of labor between specialized cells, juvenile and adult life stages, and multi-cellular offspring. Now, because the yeast was exposed to artificial pressures to grow larger, including artificial selection at the hand of the researchers involved, it could be argued that this was not a "natural" evolutionary process. But it does show that seemingly complex traits like multicellularity, can actually develop astonishingly quickly under the right conditions.

But let's be honest, all the bacterial experiments in the world, no matter how unambiguous the result, aren't about to convince the hardcore evolution denier; which is the only proper way to describe someone who chooses to ignore the factual reality of evolution, in case you disagree with my usage of the term.


* The incomplete fossil record is something of a logical fallacy. Not only because most creationists choose to ignore the existence of transitional fossils, but because it implies 1) That all the steps in the evolutionary process from point A to point B, have been identified. And 2) That such a thing could even exist, since, given that many creatures would not have left any physical evidence behind, it could not.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sometimes I Take Pictures

This is one of four, looked to messy here all together. If you're interested, you can see the full set on the tumblr site.

Yes, I know I promised Science blogging. But that was before I got distracted by art projects and web designing. I'm gonna get to it, I SWEAR!


VIA: GGB on Tumblr

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Creationism by Lewis Black

As usual, my work schedule has kept me from getting to the blogs all week. But I've got a whole onslaught of evolution vs creationist-themed posts planned for the weekend. For now, here's Lewis Black's take on the "scientific theory" that the Earth is 6000 years old, and all Dinosaurs used to be happy vegetarians that lived peacefully along side man in the garden of Eden.

More to come tomorrow...


Friday, May 4, 2012

May The Fourth Be With You: SAber 2, Sexy Jedi Bubblebath

Posted by YouTube user: Nerdist

It's a pun, see. 

Cause, today's... um... the 4th. 

LOOK. I don't like puns either. But I didn't make it up, okay. It's just a thing that...

Ya know what, SCREW YOU GUYS! 

Just watch the damn video.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SPIRALS ON MARTIAN SURFACE PROOF OF ALIEN...Nah, just kidding. They're Giant Lava Coils

 Image Credit: NASA

No, the corkscrew patterns you see in the image above, taken by NASA's HIRISE spacecraft, are not evidence of an ancient alien civilization on Mars. Nor has anyone (that I know of anyway) suggested they were. I just thought I'd try and beat the conspiracy guys to the punch for once. Though I still wouldn't bet against them making their way onto the next season of Ancient Astronauts.

Instead, the shapes you see are actually giant lava coils, ranging in size from 16- 98 feet (5 - 30 meters) across, seen here for the first time on the Martian surface, in a region called  the Athabasca Valles .

Like those found on Earth, which tend to be much smaller in size, closer to the one to two foot range. The giant coils in the image were formed as opposing currents of molten material met and twisted against one another. That molten material would have then cooled and hardened, as molten materials are want to do, leaving behind the formations in question.

Because we understand how these features are formed on Earth, the hope now, is that future computer models might help to determine the compositions of the Lava flows which formed them on Mars. And, in turn, provide us a better understanding of the composition of the Martian crust and mantle.

Oddly enough, this isnt the first time Martian lava flows made the news last month. As it can also apparently draw elephant heads. Not really, it's pareidolia.


No, seriously, it is.


VIA: Wired Science and

New Trailer: The Dark Knight Rises

Posted by YouTube user: WarnerBrosPictures

Usually, I manage to stay at least a week behind the rest of the world when it comes to current events of any sort. And I'm really not what you'd call a movie buff; given that I watch an average of  MAYBE four movies a year; the last two movies I saw in a theater were the X-files sequel and the first Hellboy. But a new Batman movie obviously falls well within the realm of "General Geekery". So I thought, what the hell. Let's be current for once.

As for my own impression of the new trailer.

Nolan's Batman series has, hands down, been the best at building as believable a reality as possible for a superhero* to exist in, and this newest installment looks to be on par with the other two. Cinematically, I think it looks impressive as well, and I certainly think it's going to make several metric shit-tons of money. But the truth is, while I've enjoyed a number of recent comic-book-based movies, I've found myself  largely uninterested in Superhero* movies. I dunno, maybe I'm just too old, or just too picky. Either way, I know I'm WAY in the minority where my lack of excitement is concerned.

But what do you think? Are you counting the days until the Dark Knight's release? Or, like me, do you find yourself  too distracted by giggling fits whenever Christian Bale uses his "Batman Voice", to go in for a third round? If so, I predict you're actually giggling about my usage of the phrase, " the Dark Knight's Release", at this very moment. Which makes you highly immature. And I respect that.


* I realize that Batman is technically not a "superhero". I was referring to the movie genre. So go unleash your nerd-rage elsewhere.