Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chewbacca And The Great Puppy Escapade

So about a month ago, we brought a new member into our family. And I think it is about high time to introduce him to the world. His name is Chewbacca (officially) and he is a mixed breed, mostly Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso, about (?) a year old. We adopted him as a stray from the Humane Society, so we are unsure of the age, but their vets thought about a year.

Due to the way names evolve in our house, he also goes by any one of the following names: Chewy (most commonly), Chewbear (from Pooh Bear), Chewbert (as in Cuthbert of SK's Dark Tower), Chewstopheles (from Mephistopheles of Faustian legend) and Chewseph (like Joseph). And unrelated to his original name he also goes by Coldnose, Wetbeard and Sir-Licks-A-Lot. No wonder he never listens to us when we call him. Poor puppy is confused!

He really is a pretty great dog, though. He has only had two accidents since he has been at our house and he plays fetch like no one's business. He will literally play with his squeaky tennis ball for hours! He thinks he is the most fierce and tough dog in the world also. On walks he will literally choke himself trying to get at other dogs. Mostly this is for playing, but if they bark at him, he will not stand down. He will bark and growl and I'm sure if Chewy got the chance he would try to tear the other dog apart. He's therefore good guard dog around the house, growling and barking if people approach the front door. This makes sense however, since I read up on the Lhasa Apso. It turns out these little cute dogs were actually bred to be guard dogs in Tibet! Who would have guessed, since they are generally very small and cute. The only bad things is that I think Chewster (there's another name he goes by on occasion) might be a tad OCD. He will literally lick things for hours. Whether it be the wood floors or the walls of his crate where he sleeps at night or the futon cushion when he is sitting on it with us, he will not stop. It drives us nuts sometimes. And then there is the fact of him going around the house and trying to eat everything that is in his path. I just now found him with a glass marble in his mouth! We don't even own any marbles... I have no idea where her picks up this crap. But enough of the bad, he really is a great dog.

Anyway, I never wanted to be one of those people who go on and on about their pets, as if they were babies or actual people, but here I am doing it. I really don't like those people and I don't want to be one. So, I will let it go for a while. We are supposed to be those trendy gen x'ers who have no kids and plenty of disposable income (yeah, right) and who travel the country, living in big cities with trains and expensive groceries. And now I'm sounding all domestic. Sheesh. :-) So whatever, it's fun. I'll now leave you then, with a couple shots of Chewy and the infamous tennis ball. He really loves that darn ball. I tried to get him to carry around a little stuffed dog that we got for him at the beginning (is that creepy, a dog with a pet dog?) but give him any toy with a little fluff in it and he will tear it apart in a matter of minutes. He's gone through about 3 of them and he's not getting any more!

"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement." Charles M. Schultz as Snoopy (1922-200)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008: The Year Of Choice For The Savy Time-Traveler?

According to New Scientist and a couple of Russian physicists, 2008 may just be the beginning of it all. The dawn of time travel. Because according to these guys, general relativity and quantum physics says one important thing... that if past time-travel is possible, it will only be possible as far back as the creation of the first time machine.

And 2008 is that year, it looks like. With the completion of the Large Hardron Collider at CERN (the European Council For Nuclear Research) later this year, scientists will have at their disposal the largest and most energetic particle accelerator ever built. And these Russian guys are saying that with the TeV charges the protons will be traveling with, that it will be sufficiently powerful to create (if aimed properly) the first artificial wormhole (a.k.a. time machine). At least half the time anyway... The other half the time, they say, instead of a wormhole, we will get a mini-black hole. Which other physicists are saying will be no problem since black holes decay via Hawking radiation. Which unfortunately is unobserved and only theoretical at this point, but I digress. Black holes are no problem!

So now we have the wormhole. This is the future proto-travel-device? Not quite yet. It's still only going to be big enough to pass sub-atomic particles through. And in order to make it stable we would need to thread the worm hole with something that repels matter (the exact opposite of all normal matter) so maybe anti-matter or dark matter? That's still up in the air yet, also. And then when you have built all of that you are still left with a physical transporter, not a time travel device. One end of the wormhole still needs to be in the "past" and one in the "future" per se, for this to actually transport someone/something in time. And the only way we have figured to do that so far would be to attach the end of the wormhole to a neutron star, since they are so massively dense neutrons' significantly distort the fabric of space-time around them. And yeah, that seems like a viable platform for the future Grand Central Station. But anyway!

So are you with me yet? Didn't loose you in the thought process? 2008 is it, folks. The is the beginning of the greatest adventure and dreams of mankind. Baring any future complications with the LHC accelerator, we should be hosting our great-grandchildren as house guests sometime soon (if they choose to visit, that is, but who wouldn't want to check out our world as it is now?) And don't forget, smart money is also saying to buy some land in Geneva for new hotels now, while the buying is good.

"Between too early and too late, there is never more than a moment." Franz Werfel (1890 - 1945)