Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year?

What exactly do we mean when we wish someone a happy new year?

I believe that most people are mistakenly wishing that their friend has a happy New Year's Eve, or maybe at most happy New Year's Day.

When in fact wishing someone a happy new year is wishing that person has a happy new year for the entire upcoming year.

The way I see it the expression is somewhat goofy.

We guzzle down some booze, gather together to watch some common events, and pretend we care so much about other people that we start making wishes.

And just what is a wish? Is it a magical incantation? Does it carry any weight at all in this world?

And if we really cared at all wouldn't it be better to wish people a happy life?

Why is it that the only time we wish people a nice life - it's meant in sarcasm, "Have a nice life", and it's used when we're telling that person good bye?

Anyway, that's it for me tonight.

I had some bubbly, and too much food so I need to sleep it off now.

Happy Nice Life Everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Virtual Particles Revisited

Note to self, virtual particles have in fact been confirmed, via the Casimer Effect (see PhysicsWorld's The Casimir effect: a force from nothing, 2002).

In this "effect" we find verification of the probabilistic nature of the quantum world. Particles simply pop into existence, and then back out of existence. Proven.

While the Casimir effect is a label for a force which exist at a quantum level I wonder if the Casimir effect could be sensed, or even manipulated, at a larger classical scale.

If the Casimir effect could be verified at a cosmic scale then that discovery could be used to support the argument that what happens at the quantum scale continues in fractal fashion into the classical large scale world.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask this question, and my next step is to search around on the net to see if any research has been done to see if the Casimir effect has been detected on a classical scale - perhaps with low frequency large wavelength electromagnetic waves, or if the Casimir effect could play a role in the discussion of dark matter and dark energy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Reamed On Text Messaging Cost

Interesting article in the NYTimes on how cellular text messaging works.

Turns out that the digital systems that the cellular carriers use sandwich text messages within packets of data that are already required for a cellphone to keep in constant touch with a cell tower.

That's right, the cellular companies aren't using any extra bandwidth at all to accommodate text messaging.

The cost of providing text messaging is very very very small and yet the cellular companies are charging customers big time.

In fact the cellular carriers are making so much money on a service that is costing them so little that none of them are prepared to release the actual numbers on this incredibly profitable area of their operations.

Now this might seem unimportant - so what if Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all charge from fifteen to twenty dollars per month for unlimited texting, or around 20 cents per text outside a package?



Since the cost to the carriers is very, very, very little this would imply that competition would drive the price that the carriers charge down - but this hasn't happened at all.

Which means - you guessed it - price fixing - which is illegal.

The carriers are facing dozens of class action lawsuits, and in the future we should see some rebate checks headed our way, as well as a reduction in the cost of texting, and a probable increase in the portion of our cellular bills for other services - because in the end - we is screwed.

email jp






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