A while back I found a file with all my old high school reports – which, apart from their wonderfully silly judgements of my nature – reminded me of the adventures I had in high school English. In the first term of my sixth form year at Napier’s Tamatea High School I had a great … More Ironic adventures with my high school English teacher, part 483,586
One of the main tropes of science fiction has to be the self-aware robot or computer – one mobile, the other not, but both presented as self-aware and able to think as we do, although often better. Often, Frankenstein-style, the AI develops malevolence. That was a trope long before HAL; virtually all of Asimov’s robot … More Why AI won’t work. Probably.
I’ve been getting the disturbing impression of late that the default human position isn’t generosity and kindness; it’s selfish malice. I’ve blogged about this before, but it won’t go away. Life, it seems, is a zero-sum game in which all that counts is self, and the way to get ahead is to break somebody else. … More What ever happened to all the good in the world?
I got home from a trip north a while back and checked the news to discover that a couple of guys on sports bikes had been clocked at 247 km/h, earlier in the day, on the same stretch of road I’d just driven. I’ve driven that particular road many times. I know it well. Personally … More Science tells me there are some mad motorcyclists out there
If both Special and General Relativity didn’t work precisely as Einstein said it did, GPS would be far less accurate than it actually is. Like, way off, meaning those auto-drive cars wouldn’t even get to the right road. Or any road. And we’d all be lost. Let me explain. GPS works by very precise distance … More How GPS finds you and lets Google send you adverts
New Zealand’s Civil Defence has a new alert system that pushes a really irritating sound out to every compatible phone, no app required, and it can’t be switched off. They tested it on 4 October at 1.32 am and, the other weekend, tested it again. About a third of all cellphones in New Zealand can … More New Zealand’s looming seismic time-bomb
It’s two years this week since my Mum passed away. She was hugely interested in the why of the universe and usually asked me if she wanted something about it explained. It’s a while since I’ve done a science post, so I thought I’d run one this week. It’s about why our law of energy … More When energy isn’t conserved – a physics conundrum