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Since we all know the story, let's not speak of it.

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[photo @andreaWBZ]  

By now we've all heard the story of the hitchhiking robot that made it all around the world safely and the was ripped apart by colonial ghosts in Elfreth's Alley, a 17th century neighborhood in Philadelphia. In fact, since we all know the story, let's not speak of it. Let's all agree there are terrible people who see innocent young friendly robots in a dark alley at three in the morning and something about the way the light hits them, or a tone in the speakerbox, maybe the round glowing shape of its dispenser-like head, and some drunk idiot gets the idea it's full of candy and rips it open like a piñata. Let's not talk about it. I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. My wife will testify I was home in bed between 2:58 and 3:02 am on the night in question. My understanding is that this is precisely when it happened, at least a 45-minute drive from our house. I cannot imagine who would do such a thing. It obviously was not full of candy; looking at it in the cold light of day (which is the only way I have ever seen it) there is no way this could be a Hershey bar receptacle.  There is no refrigeration in its little plastic kitty litter bucket body.

I have no idea what that stain is on my shirt. I was cleaning the attic earlier.

New research posits that Jupiter was a bit of a drunk bull in a bowling alley set in the middle of a china shop before it settled into its current orbit.

JupiterCredit: NASA/Cassini

New research posits that Jupiter was a bit of a drunk bull in a bowling alley set in the middle of a china shop before it settled into its current orbit. During that youthful period it indiscreetly powdered a smaller group of nascent planets, clearing the way for the current configuration: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars.

Many observed solar systems have gigantic inner planets, perhaps earth-like but with much greater gravity and less variety. Jupiter's wreckless careening, theoretically, sent some of the ones in our sysem crashing into the sun and the dusty remnants coalesced into our smaller, tidier planets.

What this means in practical terms is that when we encounter intelligent alien life someday they are likely to be bigger yet crushed down by the heavier gravity of their homeworlds, creating, by our earthian standards, a somewhat "squashed" or flattened appearance.

We here attempted an artist's rendering of these creatures, who would easily outnumber us, based on current estimates of the number of gigantic planets out there in the average solar systems:

Artist's rendering: Alien lifeforms from heavy exoplanets might compensate for the greater gravity by having a flattened appearance by Earth standards.
Artist's rendering: Alien lifeforms from heavy exoplanets might compensate for the greater gravity by having a flattened appearance by Earth standards.

Bear in mind, however, that part of the reason these solar systems with larger planets are estimated to far outnumber our system is because the current level of our telescopes and space exploration only allows us to see  the big ones right now; if there are other systems with a planetary system similar to ours, we would have difficulty detecting it from here, unless it were right around the corner.

The second half of the Wells interview with Hubbard.

Chapter 45 [Part 1]: L. Ron Hubbard, featuring Andrew Daly

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H.G. Wells. L.R. Hubbard. One of these two men know the difference between a science fiction story and a science fiction story masquerading at real life. You will have two hours to figure out which fiction writer believes which.

Part II available Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

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A study indicates that chimpanzees like cooked food, and might even prefer it. What's more surprising (actually that first part isn't surprising at all, but this is) is that chimpanzees "could" cook, if they wanted to. That's right: if they wanted to.
lunch
More study is needed.

A study indicates that chimpanzees like cooked food, and might even prefer it. What's more surprising (actually that first part isn't surprising at all, but this is) is that chimpanzees "could" cook, if they wanted to. That's right: if they wanted to.

The experiment used a fake pot with a false bottom (literally a magic oven) to let the chimps swap uncooked potatoes for cooked ones. The conclusion drawn by many news organizations was that the only thing holding these furry relatives back from careers at McDonalds or Buddokan was laziness or a reluctance to work for tips. This is not entirely supported by the study, though it does not rule it out. It also does not delve into the chimp attitude to sandwiches, ice cream in cones vs. bowls, or toasting raisin bread.

It is a small stretch to go from saying they prefer cooked potatoes to declaring they could totally cook if we gave them a fire or a microwave. (It is not necessarily a huge stretch. A huge stretch would be suggesting they like lobster bibs.) I know many humans who love french fries and will drive twenty minutes to a McDonalds but would not dream of cooking their own fries even if they could do it without setting their furry arms on fire. I know a smaller number of humans who would starve rather than get up from the couch for more ketchup to make their fries edible. For all we know the chimps might really like ketchup and not so much the hot potato. More study is needed.

This, of course, ties in neatly with another new study that finds chimpanzees will get drunk if they drink alcohol.  From which we can leap to the conclusion that a new study will find that chimps like Wing Night at Applebee's.