Religion


I wish I had the blind faith of an atheist.

 

SeeNoEvil

e horne and j comeau, asofterworld.com

Brigitte Gabriel responds to a Muslim woman claiming Muslims are portrayed badly.

“It is the radicals who kill.”  Look at Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China or Imperial Japan, “The peaceful majority were irrelevant.”

Facts are not good or bad; they are correct or incorrect. And a policy based on hysterical refusal to consider all possible facts is neither good, nor correct.

— Megan McArdle, Climate Science Shouldn’t Be Religion for Left or Right

Another in Britain’s proud science fiction tradition.

Mass migration northwards to new towns in Scotland, Wales and northeast England may be needed to cope with climate change and water shortages in the South East, according to an apocalyptic vision set out by the Government Office for Science.

. . .

The vision is published today in a report entitled Land Use Futures: Making the Most of Land in the 21st Century. John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientific adviser [science fiction writer], who directed the research, said that climate change and the growing population would present Britain with difficult choices about how it used its land.

. . .

The report, compiled by 300 scientists, economists and planners, includes three scenarios to “stimulate thought” and “highlight difficult policy dilemmas that government and other actors may need to consider in the future”.

All the scenarios involve dramatic changes in lifestyles and landscapes in response to climate change. In the most extreme scenario, world leaders hold an emergency summit in 2014 when it becomes clear that the impacts of climate change are going to be far worse and happen much sooner than previously envisaged.

The Government responds by taking control of vast tracts of land and using it to grow wood and crops for biomass power stations. An agricultural productivity Bill requires farmers to increase yields per hectare but most have to sell up because they lack the resources to comply. “The average farm size in the UK increases from 57 hectares to 500 hectares; farms in the East and South East of England increase to 5,000 hectares.”

The report says that satellite images in 2060 would reveal dramatic changes in the countryside. “The landscape is mottled with wind turbines; the patches in the patchwork are bigger; there are more forests and fewer animals; there are fewer vehicles moving along the roads.”

In another scenario, the Government redefines land as a national resource and the rights of landowners are balanced with “society’s rights to public benefits from the services produced by it”. Home ownership falls as people begin to embrace the idea of “stewardship” of shared natural resources.

“People are more interested in leasing or sharing goods and less interested in consumption that threatens sustainability of supply. The UK makes a significant cultural shift away from meeting present desires and towards protecting the needs of future generations.”

The report concludes that failure to manage land in a co-ordinated way could result in severe shortages of resources and “public goods” such as water, wildlife and urban green space.

Professor Beddington said: “Over the next 50 years we cannot manage land in the way we’ve done. We’ve got too many competing issues, so much change going on, and we need to get much smarter about how we manage land as we go on.”

I hope they make a movie.

Oxfordshire 2010

Oxfordshire 2050 -- It is amazing what 40 years can do!

(Via the Englishman)

I found this idea fascinating. 

I was thinking recently, one day we might run out of new images. Let’s take the current standard for high quality images, 1080p hi def video. It’s surprising to realize that that frame contains a finite number of possible images. I thought it would be interesting to figure out just how many, so I wrote a little Python expression to do the math. The total number of pixels is 1920 horizontally x 1080 vertically = 2,073,600 pixels. There are 256 possible intensities of red, green and blue for each pixel, so that’s 2563 = 16,777,216 possible colors. To figure out how many possible images there are, we need to raise the second number to the power of the first, so 16,777,2162,073,600 = 1.5 * 1014,981,180 possible images. That’s a pretty big number – it’s almost fifteen million digits long. Printing it in 10 point Monaco would take over 2,700 pages of paper. Scientists estimate that there are 1080 atoms in the observable universe – a tiny number in comparison.

However big it may be, the fact that the number is finite is a surprising thing to realize. It means that every possible image has a unique ID number.

Given enough time this machine will display every possible picture within this array of 64 x 64 black & white pixels.

What makes this interesting is that among those pictures will be those of all your ancestors and descendents, the first words of every book that will ever be written. The true digital face of God.

It brought to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s brilliant short story The Nine Billion Names of God.

“This is a project on which we have been working for the last three centuries — since the lamasery was founded, in fact. It is somewhat alien to your way of thought, so I hope you will listen with an open mind while I explain it.”

“Naturally.”

“It is really quite simple. We have been compiling a list which shall contain all the possible names of God.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“We have reason to believe,” continued the lama imperturbably, “that all such names can be written with not more than nine letters in an alphabet we have devised.”

“And you have been doing this for three centuries?”

“Yes. We expected it would take us about fifteen thousand years to complete the task.”

It’s all in there, every possible image.  There’s an image of me sitting in front of my computer just as I am right now.  And there’s an image of my Great, Great, . . ., Great Grandfather hefting up the megaliths at Stone Henge.  And there’s an image of my Great, Great, . . ., Great Grandson basking on the beach under the alien sun of Fhloston Paradise.  Even if it didn’t, or doesn’t, happen.

Don’t worry too much though.  At a TV frame rate of 30 images per second, even the super low resolution 64 x 64 black and white version would take 359,676,102,360,200,472,965,684,305,166 years to watch from beginning to end.

There has been a lot of noise about what Audi’s “Green Police” Super Bowl is supposed to mean.

Given Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen’s recent comments on the Chevy Volt, I think it was firmly tongue-in-cheek.

No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it.

— Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen speculating on the success potential of GM’s Volt hybrid-electric car, as quoted in Car & Driver (Jan. 2010).

I don’t know what de Nysschen is on about. It’s only a 19 year return on investment. I could probably break even by the time the crown prince finishes college.

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