Well this month’s issue is number 66 and, in tribute to that old, old song, we are going to discuss proper and improper ways to get your kicks. On the proper side, by all means enjoy the fall weather, when sunny, or kick back with a nice drink and a good book when its rainy. Spend some time talking with friends and enjoying family. Play a board game or catch a movie. Go to the gym or head out for a bike ride. But under no circumstances should you do what these folk did in South Africa.
According to an article from IFL Science, two ‘activists’ penetrated BayWorld a marine amusement park in South Africa and made off with Buddy, an African Penguin who lived at the park. Without even bothering to understand the situation and the myriad points-of-view, these pin-headed zealots elevated their personal philosophy to the only thing that mattered and, in the process, most likely resulted in Buddy’s death. See Buddy was born and raised at the park, essentially meaning that he was domesticated and incapable of living out in the wild. Claiming that they couldn’t bear penguins kept in captivity, the pair released Buddy back into nature because that’s where all animals belong. In addition to almost certainly ending Buddy’s life prematurely, these activists also consigned a chick that Buddy was caring for to death. All this destruction and, it seems, that it never occurred to them to think that maybe Buddy was better off where he was. Not to mention the fact that they stole someone else’s property under the theory that they knew exactly what was best. Perhaps the Blog Wyrm staff should journey to South Africa and liberate their cell phones and big-screen TVs under the theory that we can’t bear quality electronics to be held in captivity by for senseless people.
If only those two had been following Blog Wyrm, they would have realized that things aren’t always what they seem on the surface and that one needs to think through things and not just emote and then react.
This month’s Aristotle To Digital shows how a simple algorithm, in which an integer is halved if it is even or multiplied by 3 and then added to 1 if is odd, can lead to surprising complexity when applied many, many times. The Collatz Conjecture claims that this process should eventually settle into the same pattern regardless of the starting point but, as the name suggests, no proof has ever been found.
As another example of a surprising amount of complexity packed into a simple idea is the concept of plasma oscillations. That the individual positive and negative charges in a plasma can move cooperatively in an analogous fashion to point masses on a spring is a discussed in detail in Under The Hood.
This month’s installment of About Comics finishes the three-part comprehensive study of the short-lived New Universe publication line. This installment looks at the 4 longer runs that formed the central core of the experiment and the strange and surprising evolution of these books.
And in the final slot, Common Cents ponders whether serious economics should stop focusing on game theory and instead just focus on games. From MMORPGs to Fantasy Football, microeconomies spring up all the time and seem to make a great laboratory for performing experiments in the dismal science.