Finishing My Coffee

Yoda As Natural Energy Source

Yoda powering an iPodRandall over at XKCD has made a valiant attempt at calculating how much energy Yoda could supply via The Force.

So Yoda sounds like our best bet as an energy source. But with world electricity consumption pushing 2 terawatts, it would take a hundred million Yodas to meet our demands. All things considered, switching to Yoda Power probably isn’t worth the trouble—though it would definitely be green.

Hilarious... but I think the analysis is flawed. For four primary reasons.

  1. Randall likely underestimated the weight of the X-wing. Sure, the size breakdown makes sense, but can an F-22 jump to hyperspace or survive reentry? I think not. It would be fair, then, to assume that the X-wing is extra dense, with the density allowing for extra shielding and the ability to power, attain and withstand faster than light speeds. Extra dense should, in theory, mean extra heavy.
  2. The additional weight and suction power of the swamp is completely ignored in this analysis. Both would have a significant impact on Yoda's ability to raise the X-wing out of the swamp.
  3. Using The Force must result in a great loss of energy over distance. That's why The Emperor is able to electrocute people from a distance of a few feet, but Vader is limited to choking underlings on a nearby ship. Still, no one seems to be able to attack with The Force from orbit or anything like that. At great distances, The Force is only useful as a form of radar or spidey-sense, as when Obi-Wan senses a great disturbance. Taken together, these factors suggest that there is an exponential, possibly even logarithmic drop in usable, controllable Force power as distance from the caster increases.
  4. Randall lists Yoda's lifting of the X-Wing out of the swamp as peak output. No chance. Not only was Yoda nearing death and far past his prime, but he was also showing off to Luke, trying to get the brat to understand that he was being a whiny little wuss. Luke thought the task impossible so Yoda put on a big show for the kid, taking his time to lift the downed X-wing out of the water. Yoda's performance is akin to scenes in action movies where the bad guy's muscle tries to show off by using all of his strength or skill to impress our hero. In response, the hero might start slow, but then show that the task was nothing, that the hero is operating on a level far above what is possible for the bad guys. Back to Yoda. Remember, just 20 years earlier, the little green guy fought the Emperor to a draw, managing to dodge the Senate -- the whole Senate! -- in the process. In other words, I don't see any way that Yoda was using all his might when he picked up Luke's sunken ship. In fact, I'd bet he was hardly trying.

Community’s Brilliance In Two Lines

Basic GeneaologyAvery Edison brilliantly summarizes a lot of what makes Community so great, saying:

These two sentences sum up everything Community is. I’ve tried to break down everything this line accomplishes.

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[Via Timoni West]


Monopoly: The Wire edition

Monopoly: The Wire Edition

Why doesn't this exist?! I would absolutely purchase, if only to shout out sheeeeeeeeeit! every time someone landed on City Hall.


Ice Cream of the Gods

Dude FoodBen & Jerry's: Make this happen!


The Why and How of the 49ers Move to Santa Clara

Gregg Easterbrook has a fantastic update on the status of the Niners' proposed move to Santa Clara in today's Tuesday Morning Quarterback:

Recent passage of a ballot initiative clears the way for the Squared Seven's new stadium in Santa Clara. The plan is for a $937 million structure -- a bargain compared to the $1.7 billion Monstrosity in the Meadowlands -- with $114 million paid directly by the city of Santa Clara, $330 million loaned by the city and the rest raised by the team and league. Backers of the plan say the city could receive $155 in rent and profit sharing, plus the city would receive $150 million in new revenue for the Santa Clara municipal utility. (Many California cities own power plants.) What's the plan -- leave the stadium lights on all night? California politicians and public-service commissions have for years been pressuring consumers to reduce electricity use. Suddenly, Santa Clara thinks it's good that a new stadium would increase fossil-fuel consumption. Here is the story behind the story behind the story of why the Niners are leaving San Francisco.


Dude Vader

Link >>


Omar Meets Hamlet

Michael K. Williams, photographed by Terry Richardson.

Ay yo. AyyyyyY YOooooo!

Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little in The Wire, as Hamlet for a photoshoot by Terry Richardson for Vice magazine.

Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.
Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest.


Two Places At Once

Magic is now visible for all to see.

Does Schrödinger's cat really exist? You bet. The first ever quantum superposition in an object visible to the naked eye has been observed.

Aaron O'Connell and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, did not actually produce a cat that was dead and alive at the same time, as Erwin Schrödinger proposed in a notorious thought experiment 75 years ago. But they did show that a tiny resonating strip of metal – only 60 micrometres long, but big enough to be seen without a microscope – can both oscillate and not oscillate at the same time. Alas, you couldn't actually see the effect happening, because that very act of observation would take it out of superposition.

"We talk about quantum weirdness and things being in two places at once, but it all involves atoms and molecules, stuff we don't normally interact with."

Via Warren Ellis.

Update: Kottke, of course, has more.


Why Inglourious Basterds’ Basement Was Brilliant

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine (right) in Inglourious Basterds

In Tarantino's world, this is the last thing a Nazi should ever see.

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds was one of his very best films. When a friend of mine disagreed and, shockingly, told me he hated it (emphasis his), I thought it might be worthwhile to explain why I loved the movie so much.

To illustrate, I noted that every / single / line / by Brad Pitt, in the role of Lt. Aldo Raine -- the Gentile leader of a special group of American Jews tasked with raising terror and killin' Nazi's -- was dominant.

Specifically, I loved his lines in the Tavern Scene.

Lt. Aldo Raine: You didn't say the goddamn rendezvous was in a fuckin' basement.
Lt. Archie Hicox: I didn't know.
Lt. Aldo Raine: You said it was in a tavern.
Lt. Archie Hicox: It is a tavern.
Lt. Aldo Raine: Yeah, in a basement. You know, fightin' in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you're fightin' in a basement!

Why is that so funny, you might ask. Well, I can explain, (quite nerdily, I'm sure), in three steps.


TPUTH — Socially Generated Newspaper for Geeks, Designers and Venture Capitalists

TPUTH cuts through Silicon Valley spin

Socially Generated, Machine Filtered, Hand Polished, Electronic Newspaper for Geeks, Designers & Venture Capitalists

TPUTH lists as its captains of industry four stalwart icons of the modern era: Eric of Google, Bill of Microsoft, Steve of Apple and The Jesus of Lebowski. Niiice.

Pullin' the trigger till it goes *click*.

via Daring Fireball.