Melanie Sharing

In your opinion, what’s the closest thing to real magic?

Machine programming is very close to real magic, as a machine sits and waits for instructions and then it follows what it is told to do.  At first, there may be some bugs in the program and the machine is not acting like expected, but this usually boils down to some bad code or operator error.  Thorough testing will solve many code errors and over time the code can be adjusted to account for most operator errors.  A properly functioning machine will perform the particular task that it was made to do, and when that happens, it is magical.

Where is the worst smelling place you’ve been?

I worked in a steel foundry when the workers went on strike.  I had just started and did not have enough time in to join the union, so the workers let me cross the picket line, because they knew that I would not be taking away any of their work.  Management was in meetings the whole time and they gave me a shovel and a bucket and instructed me to clean out the pits, which had not been cleaned in over 30 years.  The pits always gives a negative connotation of something that is very bad or unpleasant like armpits or the pits of hell and nobody wants to be down in the pits, but I was happy to have a job and I was willing to do what ever work they required me to do.  The pits were fine as long as they were not stirred up and that is what they asked me to do.  When the stink lays there, the stench does not hit you and you can ignore it for the most part.  I shoveled it out bucket by bucket and nothing smells as bad as a dead rat, which I found a lot of in those pits.

What are some things that you’ve heard in your own life, which sounded like compliments but were actually insults?

I was never a really good golfer, but I always enjoyed playing.  I always played with my friends and when I hit my ball in the sand trap, or in the water, or in the woods, or out of bounds, somebody would always say, “Nice shot” and then they would laugh.

What incredibly common thing have you never done?

One time I smelled a beat, but I have never eaten any.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World.

Ponderous Questions

Must we have evidence to know the truth?

Yes, in this day and age evidence is more important than it ever was before.  There are so many lies on the internet and on TV and because of this, you can’t trust a lot of the stuff that you hear,  We have a president who lies everyday and not only do people swallow all of his bullshit, they applaud it like idiots.

How much control does a person have over their life?

I don’t believe in fate or destiny, so everyone has some control over how they live their lives.  If life hands you lemons, then make lemonade, but there is such a thing as luck and because of that, some people will face less tragedies in their lives.  No one ever said that life was going to be easy, as you are born, you have to pay taxes and everyone ends up dying in the end.  Some things you can’t control, so you try to make the best of these situations.

What is gravity and how does it work?

Understanding gravity is complicated and many people are able to know that it exists, but they will bever know how it works.  Our knowledge of gravity has changed over time going back to the ancient Greeks, being improved by Newton and rewritten by Einstein.  Galileo reasoned that a projectile shot from a cannon is not influenced by just one motion, because it is composed of two, one being the motion that acts vertically which is called the force of gravity, and this motion pulls the projectile down toward the Earth by the times-squared law.  Giovanni Battista Baliani described the correct laws of gravity, movement on inclined planes and the movements of pendulums and he enunciated the law of acceleration of a body and to distinguish between mass and weight.  Torricelli determined a “universal theorem”, which would allow someone to find the center of gravity of any figure.  Huygens formulated a theory for finding a curve on which an object falling under gravity will reach the bottom in the same amount of time, no matter from where it starts.

Sir Isaac Newton, the man who sat under an apple tree and had his “eureka” moment concerning gravity, spent a lot of his time trying to figure out the slope of a curve that was constantly varying, when he was formulating his Laws of Motion.  Newton was the first person to wonder if gravity extended beyond the Earth and perhaps this was the force that was keeping our Moon in orbit around our planet.  With Newton, gravity became a field of attraction, instead of being a vague phenomenon that nobody understood.  Before Newton, people understood that if they were to jump up into the air, that gravity would pull them back down, but they did not know how it worked, so they just classified gravity as a law of nature.  Because of Newton, we know that all objects have a force that attracts them towards each other, which is called gravity.

Einstein discovered that the usual concepts of physics embodied in Newton’s laws, simply didn’t work at very high speeds or under conditions of extreme gravity or in many other situations, so he came up with his General Relativity (GR) theory, which is considered to be the most beautiful physical theory ever invented.  The mathematics involved in general relativity are quite complicated and it involves curved space geometry that is not easy to comprehend.  Gravity is a force like electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces.  Einstein’s theory of General Relativity describes the force of gravity, and it gives us black holes, while discussing the expansion of the universe, and the potential for time travel.  Albert Einstein turned things upside down when he suggested that matter and energy warp spacetime, producing the phenomenon we call gravity and he predicted that light would be bent by gravity.  Einstein spent most of his life trying to make things simpler, to find laws of physics more general than known before and to unite gravity with electromagnetism.  Because of Einstein, gravity can be described as motion caused in curved spacetime.

Richard Feynman took an untraditional non-geometric approach to gravitation and general relativity based on the underlying quantum aspects of gravity and he offered his insights into gravity and its application to cosmology, superstars, wormholes, and gravitational waves.  Stephen Hawking predicted that gravitational black holes would emit thermal radiation and decay, which is known as Hawking radiation and this helped in the development of a quantum theory of gravity.

We still don’t know if gravity is strictly an attractive force, because dark energy seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, and this suggests that gravity may work both ways.  We have not come up with a “theory of everything” yet, and this is mostly because we really don’t totally understand gravity yet.

Can a person be happy if they have never experienced sadness?  How about vice versa?

Is there light without dark?  This dichotomy is much deeper than trying to understand gravity.  I guess that if a person is born without a brain and they are happy, that it is possible to be happy without ever experiencing any sadness in their lives.  If a person is happy all the time, are they really happy?  The village idiot would be an unrealistically optimistic or naïve individual and although they may look happy 24 hours a day and seven days a week, because they are smiling and grinning all the time, this permanent happiness is a mental dysfunction.

Melanie says that we should share something that we are grateful about after answering her questions and I am grateful that I can work on my computer without using my glasses anymore.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World.

Sharing My World

I have never participated in any of Melanie from sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World prompts before, but I do enjoy reading what others write and today the questions hit home for me.  I used to smoke, drink and dance the hoochy-coo, well you really could not call it dancing, as it was more like falling down after I drank too much. 

Have you ever ‘dined and dashed” (i.e. eaten the meal and then run out the restaurant door without paying)?   

I was working in a tobacco plant in Brazil and there was this really cool nightclub in town which had good music and a lot of Brazilian girls dancing in their skin tight leather pants.  I met a few guys that I knew from work there and we had a table close to the stage.  This town was in Southern Brazil and there were a lot of transplanted Germans there and as you entered the town you would go past these statues of Fritz and Frida that were holding mugs of beer which makes you thirsty just looking at them.  They served these 20 oz. brown glass bottles of beer and everybody at my table was buying rounds.  The thing was that they gave you a slip of paper and when you bought beer or other drinks, they marked it on your tab, which I kept in my pocket.  I drank a lot of beer that night and I walked back to my hotel room without paying my bill.  The next morning, I was hungover and I saw my tab said that I owed them for 50 drinks and I never went back to pay them.  I felt bad about this and one day I want to go back and pay.

Have you ever been in a car accident and either left the scene of the accident (providing it was a fender bender and not serious) or denied culpability for causing it when you did, (if it were minor or serious)? 

I used to drink a lot, oh wait, I already said that.  One night I sideswiped another car while driving my friend’s car.  We were bar hopping and I left my car at this one bar and then I went with him in his vehicle.  He left the bar with this girl and gave me his keys and told me to park it in the bar where we met.  I drank too much and his car was faster than mine and he had this great stereo and I scrapped this car as I went around this bend, because I was driving too fast.  The police found his car in the bar parking lot and matched up the paint with the car that I scratched, but by this time I was sleeping in my bed.  They eventually arrived at my house about 4 AM and my dad talked them out of giving me a breathalyzer test, but they did give me a ticket for hit and run.  I had to pay my friend back for the damage to his car and also pay for the car that I sideswiped.

(Oldie which has been asked many times before)   Have you ever found a wallet or purse or some money (over $20) in the street and just taken it, thinking ‘finders keepers, losers weepers?   Or would you be ‘good’ and hand it in?  

I worked on a golf course as a caddy and you would work for 4 hours and end up getting paid $20 for that.  As I was walking in from the last green, I saw a 20-dollar bill laying on the ground, so I picked it up and then I told my friends of my good fortune.  One of the other caddies had just been complaining that he lost his twenty after he got paid, so I figured that it must have been his that I found and I gave it to him, telling him that he had to buy me a beer.

What was the last thing you stole or shoplifted?   If you never ever considered doing that, tell us your secret! 

When I was in Seventh Grade, I stole a candy bar and I felt terrible about it, because my dad always told me not to steel.  One time I went to Home Depot to buy some molding and after I got home, I noticed that on my receipt, they only charged me for one piece, instead of two.  They got stuck together and I can see how the cashier made the mistake, so I went back and told them that I wanted to pay for the one that they did not ring up.  The manager said that nobody had ever come back to the store before wanting to pay more money and that made me feel good.

Written for Melanie’s Share Your World.