Archive for March, 2010
Last night, a friend of mine proposed an interesting way to think about light. Although, it wasn’t until later that I actually understood what he was proposing. When he said it, I really wasn’t sure what he meant. Let me first try to describe the idea as it was described to me:
Imagine that light is neither a particle nor a wave. Instead, we only see light because there is a potential path for light to travel between whatever object we’re looking at, and our eyes. So then, what is dark? Dark is the impossibility of light.
Now, I had a couple problems with this. First off, if this is the case, then where does the light come from? The only answer I was given was basically “we don’t know”. But, I think I’ve solved the puzzle that is this proposition. Again, let’s imagine that light is neither a particle nor a wave. Instead, think of light as a field of potential. If you don’t know what a potential field is, think about gravity or voltage. We can describe both of these as a type of potential, and observe the potential compared to other places in the field. These fields are not local fields, they are everywhere, but they are very weak away form the sources. (continue reading…)
If you use a computer (and, since your reading my blog, I assume you do), you might have heard the term “defrag” at some point or another. Maybe instructions for installing a program said you should defrag your harddrive before you install it (I believe “The Sims” had this in their instructions), or perhaps you’ve just heard one of your friends use the word. Today, I received an e-mail from my dad asking me a seemingly-simple question: “Should I periodically de-frag my laptop? What does this do? How do you do it?” My response, however, was a bit more complicated.
In this blog post, I’m going to attempt to explain, very simply, what defragging a harddrive actually does, and why you should, or shouldn’t, do it. Some of my more technically inept readers may think I’m oversimplifying things by not dealing with the different filesystems, not explaining exactly how data is written, etc., but that’s not the point of this post. My goal is to explain, in the simplest terms possible, how your harddrive works, and what defragging the harddrive does, in terms of how data is stored on the drive. To start, I’ll explain the typical way data is stored on the drive, then I’ll talk about what types of situations create harddrive fragmentation, next I’ll explain why fragmentation is bad for your harddrive, and, finally, I’ll give an argument about whether or not you should run a defrag tool. (continue reading…)
Meant to post this earlier. Just a small post to admit that I was wrong in my prediction of best picture. If you watched the Oscars, or have talked to someone who watched the Oscars, you probably know that The Hurt Locker won best picture. This is slightly surprising. At its peak, The Hurt Locker was in a mere 323 theaters. Compare that to a major picture like Avatar, which had a peak of 3,461 theaters. That’s over 10x the number of theaters. Not that this number should, or does, matter, but a film with such a small release is a surprising pick for best picture.
Another interesting fact about The Hurt Locker is that it is the lowest grossing movie to ever win the title. The current estimated gross is about $16 million. Although, the low gross of the movie could be, in part, due to the limited release of the film. Again, this isn’t something that should, or does, matter, it’s just an interesting tidbit.
One final note on The Hurt Locker. The director of The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow, one of James Cameron’s ex-wives. Apparently, Kathryn Bigelow was debating on whether or not she should actually direct the film. So, she called her good friend James Cameron, and he convinced her to do the movie. It’s quite possible that if The Hurt Locker had not been in the running for best picture, Avatar might have one (although, history isn’t on Avatar‘s side, read my previous post). James Cameron, however, has said that he really liked The Hurt Locker, and even voted for it to win best picture, instead of Avatar.
So, there’s a blog post that’s about a week overdue. Now, on to write a more technical blog post!