Archive for the ‘Science’ Category


Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


God or Science?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

This post I read tonight sums up how I feel about religion perfectly.

The question: “Does anyone else think that the truth of this universe is more beautiful than religion?”

The answer: “Well I will put it this way: imagine if you found out the Christians were right. Just imagine you died and it all turned out to be true, even the parts that contradict the other parts of it. There is a big space-monkey with a beard who made it all, who made stars so we could look at them, who put dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith, and so on.

I would be so disappointed, so utterly revolted. The universe turns out to be an idiotic morality play written in fist-grasped crayon, ignorant slavishness turns out to be the only worthy virtue, the slack-jawed jeebus-lickers turn out to be right…at that point, hell would make no difference to me because I would be in hell even if I were not in hell.

The Christian version of reality is just so utterly fucking stupid it would horrify me beyond sanity. So yeah, the truth is infinitely more beautiful.”


Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The best estimate for the overall mass of the universe is 3.14*1054 kg The average weight of an adult male in the United States is about 86 kg

That means that the average person is only .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000027388535% of the universe.

To give you a sense of scale, your body is made up of atoms which are far too small to see without highly sophisticated measurement equipment. The mass of atoms is measured in AMU (atomic mass units) which are equivalent to about 1.66053886e-27 kg. Again assuming an average mass of 86 kg, that means that a single proton (1AMU) is .0000000000000000000000000000193085914% of your body

So comparing these two numbers, we get the following equation (conveniently formatted for Google calculator if you’re interested): (1.93085914 × (10(-29))) / (2.7388535 × (10(-53))) = 7.04988105 × 1023

That last number, 7.04988105e23? That is a comparison of the relative mass of a single proton to the average human body, compared to the relative mass of the average human body to the rest of the universe.

That means that a single proton, a particle so small that it’s all but impossible to comprehend its insignificance is nearly seven septillion times more significant to your body, than your body is to the universe.

Taking things a bit further, if you look up paleodemography you’ll see that the best estimate for the number of people who have ever lived is somewhere around 115 billion.

With that in mind, let’s calculate the mass of everyone who has ever lived compared to the mass of the universe (not accounting for the fact that we sometimes share atoms with our ancestors): 115 000 000 000 * (2.7388535 × (10(-53))) = 3.14968152 × 10-42

And let’s compare that to our proton: (1.93085914 × (10(-29))) / (3.14968152 * (10(-42))) = 6.13033136 × 1012

So this means that a single unimaginably tiny proton is still over six trillion times more significant to your body than the entirety of the human race compared to the universe.

Think about that the next time you get really angry about something.

(copied without permission from

Why I hate Nickleback

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Fiber and fibre, both good for you.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Preface:  I did not write this, some guy at reddit did.  Here’s the original source:

You understand that we begin the digestion process by processing the food (chewing it) into fine (hopefully) particles, then enzymes & acids in the digestive tract break those particles down into smaller particles still until you have individual molecules of fat, individual molecules of protein, and individual molecules of sugar.

The reason for this digestion process is to break the food down into it’s smallest possible unit so that it will actually pass through the lining of the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream.

Sugar is a carbohydrate. In fact, all carbohydrates are composed of repeating units of sugar.

The bond connecting the glucose (sugar) molecules in starch (you might call them so-called “complex carbohydrates”) is very weak, the process of breaking those bonds is rapid and begins as soon as you put it in your mouth and begin to chew (see: amylase).

The bonds connecting the repeating units of sugar comprising fiber (also a carbohydrate – made of sugar) are different and stronger, so different and strong, in fact, that you and I cannot digest them, therefor they never enter the bloodstream.

Many people envision the fiber entering the bloodstream and cleaning the arteries much like a Scrubbing Bubbles commercial – nope.

So what’s the benefit?

Well, if there’s enough fiber, that is, the fiber in a given food is not overwhelmed by sugar or starch, the fiber will act as a mechanical inhibitor, slowing down the digestion and absorption of the sugars/starches in the food/meal. This is beneficial because it creates a “time release” effect of the nutrients of the meal, especially important in regards to sugar, because excess blood sugar is toxic if chronic, and fattening, because of excess calories, andexcess insulin.

An average “Fiber One” bar, for instance has:

9 grams of fiber

20 grams of sugar (10 grams of sugar + 10 grams of starch (sugar)

While the box (Fiber One marketing), of course, brags about a bar being 35% of your “Daily Value of Fiber”, as if fiber were a nutrient, like protein, sugar, fat, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, etc…(see, all these things enter the bloodstream, fiber doesn’t), what you’ve got here is too much sugar and too little fiber in relation to that sugar.

Take spinach, for instance (a carbohydrate). A serving of spinach or broccoli, or asparagus, has about 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of sugar….along with the lion’s share of it’s mass & weight coming from vitamin/mineral-rich water. So much nutrition, in fact (in the vitamin/mineral profile), that’s it’s an embarrassing comparison for any of the grains.

Fiber is not a nutrient. Fiber is “bulk” in our diet. There are nutrients found in foods that contain fiber, but fiber is not a nutrient.


Saturday, August 21st, 2010


ScienceWorld that is. Followed by a trip to Splitz Burger, mmm.

I miss Assembly and BASIC. POKE 43602,0

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Travelling back in my mind, inspired by this article Google executive frustrated by Java, C++ complexity

Today’s commercial-grade programming languages — C++ and Java, in particular — are way too complex and not adequately suited for today’s computing environments

I remember the good old days:

10 for a = 1 to 26
20 print chr$(a+64);
30 next

(or something like that, its been well over 20 years since I actually wrote anything in BASIC).

I also remember the good old days of programming in 6502 raw assembly code, man that was fun. I had no idea what I was doing at first or even what assembly was, but I coughed up huge allowance dollars for a thick, dry, purely technical book, figured it out, and churned out really cool things.

When I first caught wind of the C programming language, after having taken a few years off from doing anything with a keyboard, I just didn’t get it. Something about it became ugly, heavy, overly complicated and unnecessary.  I didn’t get why I couldn’t just inject my code straight into memory from a text file anymore.

I wrote some really nice stuff in assembly back in the day, sound and fast video and cool graphic effects.  At least that’s how I remembered it.

While I don’t have any source code for that assembly stuff anywhere, here’s a game in BASIC I wrote in that first 6 months of touching a computer.  Requires an Apple //c and every single spare byte of memory.

Jens loves Andy

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Android, that is.

And yes I have a little crush on this operating system, with good reason:  It rocks, kicks Blackberry and Apple OS to the curb, and has a better mascot.

So its pretty obvious why I want this shirt:

Dear Bear Grylls

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Dear Bear,

My wife has a question she told me to ask you.

See, we live in a 3-floor townhouse and often think of stupid things while we’re on long road trips.  One thing that came up a few times is how we’d escape from our top floor if we woke up in the middle of the night to find our middle floor engulfed in a huge inferno.  Hopefully it never happens, but I was a Boy Scout … and you can relate obviously … so I like to be prepared.  I’m the kind of guy who went so far as to stash a spare set of shorts and flip-flops in the car in case I get wet somehow far from home.

If any part of the house were on fire, we’d have to run down the stairs from the 3rd to the 2nd floor, and through the 2nd floor to get to the back door or to reach the stairs that lead down to the bottom floor which also has an exit to the great outdoors (the building dissects uneven land, so we can reach the outdoors through the back of the 2nd or front of the 1st floor).  So it stands to reason that if the middle floor (where our kitchen is) was on fire, we’d be screwed.  Following me so far?  Of course.

My wife’s idea is to buy one of those emergency hang-from-the-window ladders and scramble down.  Oh did I mention we have a 3-year-old boy whose room is also on the top floor?  Well we do.  He thinks you’re awesome by the way, I said you’re Superman and this show we’re watching is what Superman does when crime takes a holiday.  That’s why you’re always in such a hurry to get out of wherever you are, because crime takes short holidays.

The ladder would work, but getting the boy down would be hard if not impossible.  I can’t get him to stand still long enough to put on his socks, nevermind hold onto me so I can climb safely down a ladder.  He’d probably survive a straight drop to Mother Earth but likely wouldn’t enjoy it, and as the apple of my eye my entire life is now devoted to making sure things are enjoyable for him.  And I’m horrible on ladders, climbing up is OK but I freak out going down.

Idea #2 is to prepare some decent rope under the kid’s bed, so if there’s a fire we’d just tie it around him and lower him to the ground (did you see the movie Up?  Kinda like that but hopefully without dropping him.)  Then again, if the kitchen was on fire we’d be lowering him right to it.  Outside, but still, the big patio window is right there and seeing his artwork on the fridge go up in flames would likely be life alteringly terrifying.

Another problem with idea #2 is that while the kid is on the ground we’d still be stuck in the room.  I guess we could try to shimmy down but we’d probably just end up with horrible rope burn at the least.  Likely we’d simply fall and die.  And then he’d be outside alone, terrified from the flaming-fridge-artwork horror and run off screaming towards the train tracks.

Back to the original point:  What Would Bear Do?

I imagine Bear would just grab the kid in one hand, grab the wife in the other, leap from the window with a grin and eat a cockroach at the same time, land happily and put out the fire with spare urine you had lying about in spare snake skin bladders hanging off the back fence for just these kinds of emergencies.

Well, best of luck with this season’s amazing adventures.  If you’re ever in Port Moody, BC and want to do something really manly show me how to escape from our townhouse.

Jens “Narwhal” Petersen

Fatty fatty two-by-four

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

In case you’re wondering how that low carb diet thing has been working out since I last posted a month ago … well, I’m down 15 pounds and am continuing to lose fat even though I’m “cheating” now and eating carbs again.  Very very few carbs, definitely no sugars or starches, all mainly from veggies and fruit and the occasional non-processed grain like flax.

Everything about me feels better.  This rocks.