Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exercise can make you smarter!

While it is fairly well known that exercise provides cognitive benefits, I think most people would be hard pressed to explain exactly what those benefits are. I was sent this handy graphic that does just that.

So next time you find yourself being lazy and uninspired, think of how much better you could be doing if you just got some exercise. This goes double for any kids you may have. Unplug that TV, turn off the video games, and ship those little people outside to work up a sweat!

How Working Out Can Make You Smarter Infographic
This graphic provided courtesy of OnlineCollegeCourses.com

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dura Ace Di2 - Failure to Downshift

If you have a Dura Ace Di2 electronic shifter and you find that it cannot shift the rear cassette to a larger gear (downshift), you might have forgotten to put your rear wheel back on in the same gear in which it was taken off. The Dura Ace Di2 rear cassette electronic shifter does not appear to sense its position. My guess is that it has absolute locations for shift positions, and you can confuse it by putting the derailleur back on at a different position.

But wait! If you return your wheel to a different gear it should automatically find the gear it was previously on, simply because the derailleur  is in that position. For whatever reason, that may not always be the case with the Dura Ace Di2 electronic shifting system. I have had it happen both ways. Sometimes the chain moves to the right place on the rear cassette, sometimes it does not.

In my case, I solved this by removing the rear wheel and shifting all the way to the outermost gear. When I put the wheel back on, I made sure that the chain was on the outermost gear.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Testing Psychic Abilities

This morning I was listening to Brian Greene on the Point of Inquiry podcast and came up with a hypothesis that may effectively test psychic abilities to a very high degree of certainty. I hasten to add that I am highly skeptical of the claims surrounding psychic abilities, but like a good skeptic, I leave open the possibility that even outlandish claims may someday find experimental support.

If you have studied quantum physics, or even higher level chemistry, you are familiar with the "Uncertainty Principle" and "Quantum Superposition". In a nutshell, these ideas say that a particle can exhibit the property of superposition, which is a complicated sounding way of saying that a particle can be in multiple states at the same time (like being alive and dead at the same time). Once this superposed particle is measured or otherwise observed, it "chooses" one state or the other (the technical term for "choosing" is known as "collapsing the wave function"). Yes, these ideas may seem counter intuitive, but there is nearly a century of experimental evidence backing this up. You can also do the experiment yourself if you are still unconvinced (science is cool that way).

Given that a person with psychic abilities claims to be able to see and control things outside of the realm of normal senses, we should be able to apply the Uncertainty Principle and Quantum Superposition to this claim.

Thus my hypothesis would be worded as follows:

"A person with psychic abilities should be able to collapse the wave function of unobserved particles."

This hypothesis implies a certain contradiction - how do you maintain the wave function (a.k.a. the superposed state) of a particle and still observe it? Given that particles have been observed in their superposed state, our hypothesis could possibly be tested by repeating those experiments in the presence of a psychic. If the psychic is indeed causing the collapse of the wave function in the unobserved particles, the experiments would fail to replicate in a reliable fashion as there would be no superposed state to observe.

All that being said, if you really are convinced that you have psychic abilities, there is an easy $1 Million waiting for you...