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Month: August 2022

Visiting Tokyo on the regular

Visiting Tokyo on the regular

I’ve been to Japan twice and loved each time I went. With the age of the internet, live streamers, and travel streamers – you can visit anywhere in the world at any time without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Over my 20 years of international travel, one thing I’ve learned is that you can never visit the same place twice. Time marches on in every country, every city, and even every life. Places you visited one year are gone and replaced the next. Cultural trends you loved in one place have been replaced with the latest new thing. Nothing stays the same.

That’s why I love checking up on the places I liked visiting using Twitch, Youtube, and other streams. Thankfully, we’re moving beyond the era of screaming, idiotic streamers into something more refined. I prefer streams from people that live in the countries and travel like locals and not tourists and Instagram influencers. The latter often rarely have any real curiosity or respect for a culture. They do culturally rude/insensitive things, forcing their way through a place with money and brashness. They pressure the goodness of kind locals just to get the shot they want and then go on to culturally pillage some other location for likes. They rarely leave a place or people the encounter better – or actually learn anything about the cultures that produced what they’re traveling through.

Here’s a few of those better channels. Do you have some?

An example of some good quality content. Bonus points for the fact I remember this guy when I was in Akihabara.

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems

Two of the the greatest intellectual achievements of modern times might surprise you. Both were developed by Austrian mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel in 1931. They are called simply Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and apply to all of mathematics, formal logic, and even philosophy (epistemology in particular). The implications turned out to be deeply profound and have thrown all of mathematics, logic, and even philosophy into disarray ever since. Despite almost a century of attempts, no one has been able to disprove them. In fact, almost all attempts end up supporting, and even reinforcing and expanding them. They now are accepted as almost certainly true.

The theorems sound simple enough at first blush. The first incompleteness theorem states that in any consistent formal system (mathematics, logic, physics, etc) in which a certain amount of arithmetic can be carried out, there are statements of the language of which can neither be proved nor disproved in that language. According to the second incompleteness theorem, such a formal system cannot prove that the system itself is consistent (assuming it is indeed consistent).

What is so shocking about these two simple theorem? They prove something devastating: that mathematics and logic is not complete. There will always be truths in reality that the system cannot prove. It means that some problems can NEVER be solved in some kinds of mathematics or logic. You can even try making new systems of math/logic (Algebra, Calculus, etc) but they ALL will have things they cannot prove. It meant that you might work on a mathematical, physics, or logic problem your whole life, and none of the systems we know about might be able to solve it – even though it might have a solution. There might even be some problems that if we make infinite numbers of logical or mathematical systems, we might STILL not be able to find a solution.

Veritasium did an absolutely fabulous video on the topic that’s worth a listen.

It blew my mind when I learned about Godel’s incompleteness theorems in college. Knowing that our tools are limited is frightening at first. It completely unseats our certainty that known mathematics or science as we have today is sufficient. In fact, we know it is NOT sufficient. In fact, we know that we’ll almost certainly have to make more logical systems for the rest of eternity. We can never have a grand unified theory of everything. There is no ‘bottom’ to reach.

Yet this opens the reality that there will ALWAYS be something new to learn and know. There will be countless other models that might work for problem we have but we haven’t found yet – even though each one will be flawed and incomplete in their own way.

Many purists find this knowledge to be disastrous. It rips the rug out from anyone that asserts we can know everything. Others were excited by the fact there will always be new developments. Others are left in awe that even our very universe/reality itself lacks the limits we have. Still others have taken this as proof of the infinite. I know at least one mathematician that believed it gave us proof of God.

I do believe in God – without question. Many people forget that the vast majority of modern science was developed by believers in God that saw no conflict with discovery of properties of the physical world. The idea that faith and science are incompatible is a very modern and absolutely incorrect train of thought.

Instead, I see this reality as much like ourselves. None of us are perfect, yet each of us has a uniqueness that might just express a great truth no one else in history has seen or could see. This is why life is so infinitely precious and a tragedy to all when even one life is lost. This is why it is a crime to all humanity when we decide suffering is reason to end a life or that a disadvantage life is a life not worth living when we have such contrary examples and saw exactly where that idea led too in the early 20th century during WW 2.

Teaching an old Vectrex new tricks

Teaching an old Vectrex new tricks

I’ve always wanted to own an old Vectrex, but the Vecfever cartridge amps that desire up to 11. Not only can it let you program your own Vectrex games, but it also allows you to play actual arcade vector-based ROM chips like Star Wars, Battlezone, Tempest, Lunar Lander, and many other vector-based graphics classics.

Check out this wonderful video (and many other fascinating retro computing videos) from the guys at The Cave.

You can also replace the CPU of an old Vectrex with PiTrex – a Raspberry Pi based emulator.

There’s also a lot of replacement parts from tenpencearcade if you need some replacement Vectrex parts.


Pugs and Steam engines

Pugs and Steam engines

Some of the clever and interesting sound sources used to create the audio in Halo Infinite. From renting out airfields to record blackhawks, to recording old steam tractors, to visiting Tasmania to record lions and chickens, to pugs used for groundhogs. Foley artists are quite an interesting breed.

Make-A-Will month

Make-A-Will month

Our ultimate journey to eternity is something Catholics know a lot about. Sadly, 2/3 of all Americans do not have a will. Without one, loved ones not only have to deal with grief, but with difficult estate issues without legal protections, knowing your wishes, locations of assets, etc. Sadly, in too many cases, the people left to deal with these legal and financial matters are not equipped to deal with them emotionally or fiscally.

Each August, the Church encourages everyone to get a will made. This year, they have partnered with FreeWill for members to get a will made free of charge. A link to getting a free will made was sent if you’re on the archdiocese mailing list, or contact the archdiocese office/your parish for more information.

Here was the info:

August is National Make-A-Will Month! So this month we’re encouraging our entire community to consider how they can plan for the future in a way that honors their loved ones, community, and faith.

No matter what your “estate” includes, everyone needs a plan. But ⅔ of Americans don’t have one, and many in our community may not have a trusted place to start!

That’s why we partner with FreeWill to offer members of our community this free estate planning tool. Having a legal will in place is more than checking something off your to-do list — it also provides the opportunity to create intentional plans that have a lasting impact on what you love most.

If you don’t have an up-to-date will in place, you can use this estate planning resource from FreeWill to get started. FreeWill is a trusted online platform that can help you write your legal will in 20 minutes or less at zero personal cost.