katy’s chicken test and the brave chicken

You have to wonder if it’s narcissism or stupidity in chickens that cause them to challenge animals with big teeth and 10 times their size .

Anyway, I actually set up this supervised chicken test in the images below because katy the big white dog failed an unplanned and unsupervised chicken test a couple of months ago when one happy just for a moment chicken escaped the chicken pen.  I can sum up the results of that earlier test with two words – “poor chicken.”  Even back then katy had already been taught that chickens are not simply fun flappy chew toys.  However, dogs are a little like children when you’re trying to teach them what not to do.  As soon as you have your back turned you’ll discover whether or not they have really been taught to avoid certain things.

So I’ve been working with katy to try to get her trained not to kill chickens.  To begin with this is mostly done by scolding her if she acts like she’s going to eat the chicken.  Most dogs are pretty smart and they quickly learn if you don’t approve of them doing something.  And then at least while they know you’re around they’ll mostly try to behave.  After she learns that part then the 2nd phase of training is to get her to follow the training when I’m not around or she thinks I’m not around.  This is mostly through having her in close proximity to chickens while I’m close enough to hear the chicken scream if katy forgets her training.

So i’m glad to announce that katy passed her one day supervised test and no one is more happier than the test chicken.  The chicken was being bullied by the other hens so I decided to separate her for a little while and let her participate in some exciting dog training.

Katy hasn’t graduated from chicken training yet so there will be more tests and test chickens but maybe she’ll continue to do well.  Katy is in a large pen with another dog, a blue heeler we call sargent, and he’s been trained not to kill chickens for many years.  But if you put him with an untrained dog that attacks a chicken, he’s not able to override his pack instinct to join in on the carnage. 😦

 

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Katy’s not to sure about this chicken test.

 

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The chicken is really getting into the testing spirit by challenging Katy and her food bowl.

 

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This was Katy last April when someone abandoned her on our road.

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small rivulets of watercolor danced back and forth as I whimsically attempted to sketch and paint in the backyard swing

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small rivulets of watercolor danced back and forth as I whimsically attempted to sketch and paint in the backyard swing

I had finally sat in the swing enough days and watched the dogs play that I decided I’d try to do a quick and simple sketch and watercolor painting.  I think somehow they know when I try to sketch them because they won’t stay still and I’m not very good at sketching especially dogs from different angles and perspective.  Although sketching and painting in a swing doesn’t make things any easier either.  LOL.

Anyway, I figured I’d use the opportunity to blog about a watercolor field kit I bought and some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.  I think i only paid around $15 for the kit and you can find it at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby both of which have weekly coupons for 40% to 50% off.  Here is a link to amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sakura-XNCW-24N-Assorted-Watercolors-Sketch/dp/B001OVG40E

So here a few tips and tricks.  As you can see a 4×6 index card fits neatly in the case.  What isn’t visible is a small ring in the bottom of the case so you can hold it securely with your finger.  Back when I used to dabble with watercolor more often I always used traditional brushes but a few months ago I discovered watercolor brush pens and luckily the case above comes with one.  It holds the water inside the pen and you squeeze it slightly to wet or clean the brush.  It works pretty well but you’ll still want to hold onto your classical brushes for more options.

As you may notice the mixing tray will fit on the left or right side of the case.  This is a convenient design and it fits in the middle so you can close it inside the case when you’re done.  The water brush comes apart when you’re not using it so it also stores inside the case.  The lighter can be used to strike a flame close to wet paint to dry it quickly so you can close it in your case – just be careful not to burn your paper.

When it comes to drying the brush or cleaning it during painting, you could use a paper towel or cloth but it could be tedious to keep up with.  So while the kit comes with a small sponge on both sides with one visible in the picture, I decided to wear an old cotton sports wrist band also visible in the picture.  It actually works better than the small sponge that’s built in the case and it gives a nice artsy color pattern to an otherwise dull white sports band.  🙂

The silly sketch and painting is of two of my four small dogs.  There is a debris pile in the backyard that I need to clean up but a colony of lizards have claimed it as their home and the dogs love to chase them 24×7.   The clumsily sketched and painted drum in the picture is what I plan on burning the wood debris in.  That is if the wood doesn’t naturally decay first.

I had always thought watercolor painting was too messy to do quickly and I wasn’t familiar with these field kits until I saw a video of someone painting watercolor with one on a public bus.  I then decided I had to get one and try out so I can do more watercolor.  It is really quick and easy to do use watercolor almost anywhere with one of these kits.

One final tip that I’ll share is one I’ve read about but haven’t tried yet so test it at your own risk.  🙂   If you want to swap out any of the individual paint colors that originally arrived in the kit, you can pop out the cell and replace it with another one of the same size.  Also, if you have watercolor paint in a tube and you want to use it in the field kit then you can pour the watercolor tube paint into an empty cell and leave the kit open for a day or two for it to dry out.  Then it should work like any of the other colors since you have to add water to activate them.  Good luck and if you need any tutorials on how to get started or learn about advanced techniques check out videos on YouTube.

 

 

My somewhat inchoate diet and my new fitbit badge.

My somewhat inchoate diet and my new fitbit badge.

I have type 2 diabetes and though I’ve been able to hold my current weight without gaining, my blood sugar has been slowly creeping upwards so I’ve been ramping up my diet strategy yet again.  I’m probably on version 42 of my diet (and a long ways to go) and I feel like by the time I get to version 100 there will be nothing left I can actually eat except maybe an avocado and celery both of which i want to like but currently find yucky.

Here are a couple of tricks I’ve learned recently to help eat healthier.  In the past, I’ve used these square containers like in the images below for two turkey sandwiches – one for lunch and one for supper.  I can’t consume two sandwiches in one meal and control my blood sugar or weight.  Even though I get pretty hungry throughout the day by just eating one sandwich I’ve learned that I have to get used to being hungry.

Instead of putting the turkey meat on bread, I put it in a salad and fill the sandwich container with salad.  Ingredients I typically use in the salad are lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, sweet onion and green onion, green pepper, two jalapeno slices (finely chopped), broccoli, cauliflower (both of which i cut up fairly small so it’s not big chunks), green or black olives, dill pickle slices, banana pepper rings, and a little bit of shredded cheese.  I put a small amount of salad dressing in a small container and keep it in the cooler with a salad.  I generally put black pepper on it when i prepare it but don’t salt it ahead of time or it’ll turn the lettuce to mush because salt leaches the moisture out of veggies in a short amount of time.   The green olives, banana peppers, and sliced dills from a jar typically have a lot of salt so I find that I don’t have to add more salt with those and those don’t turn the salad to mush.

I also like to experiment with other dry seasonings such as McCormick’s salad supreme or even Cajun spices such as Tony Cachere’s or Zatarain’s sometimes to keep from getting so bored with salads.  If the lettuce is pretty fresh I have been able to get away with preparing the salad in the container the night before but I usually prepare it the morning if I’m going to have it for lunch.  Since it can be a bit time consuming I try to have all the ingredients washed and chopped in containers in the fridge so I just have to combine them in the morning.

There are a lot of other ways to make a salad including using sliced or chopped boiled eggs or other sandwich meats.  Or if you’re worried about processed sandwich meats, I like boiling split chicken breast with seasonings and pulling the meat from the bone and putting it in a container in the fridge.  It can then be used as a topping on a salad, in chicken salad, chicken pasta, chicken chilli, chicken pizza, or home made chicken soup just to name a few.  Boiled chicken if done right can be very tasty and healthier than fried (but if you have fried chicken leftovers you can pull the meat from the bone on it and use it in same recipes i mentioned above).  I’ll post the seasonings and some other tricks I use for boiled chicken in another post.

Cashews in moderation from what I’ve read have a beneficial affect on blood sugar so I’ve been taking those in my lunch.  They can be eat as a snack or put in the salad.  I’ve also been eating a lot of oranges lately so I’m not sure if that’s why I haven’t caught the cold or flu bugs that everyone else keeps getting but I’m sure the vitamin C helps.  The halo brand oranges are easy to peel and they’re pretty tiny so just right for peeling at my office cube without making a mess.

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Salad, cashews, and an orange. Yummi.

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I put pickle slices and green olives in there which takes the place of salt.

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Instead of putting the turkey meat on bread I put it in a salad.

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This is what I’m not supposed to eat. 🙂  This was the first time I bought fresh seafood from Publix and brought it home and cooked.  The shrimp and catfish were on sale half off.  I make the shrimp scampi by drizzling it with olive oil and putting a small amount of butter in it.  Then I add garlic salt and some pepper and then bake or broil it for about 6 minutes.  The corn nuggets are just bad all the way around when it comes to health.  LOL.  This is at least 4 servings maybe more.   

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Yay. This is since January of 2017.  I’m still too heavy to run much so most of this is brisk walk.

I’ve experimented with a lot of containers for salads to take them to work and eat at lunch but the square plastic container above seems to work pretty good so far.  I’ve also thought about glass mason jars.  With the mason jars you put salad dressing on the bottom and then when you’re ready to eat it just pour it into a bowl.  You can find the book below on Amazon and other places.

Image result for 150 best meals in a mason jar book

Well good luck if you are trying to eat healthier and/or lose weight.  It’s a constant struggle for me but I’ve lost around 40lbs with many more to go but I’m getting there slowly but surely.  🙂

 

Trying out an old camera and my recent Goodwill Haul

Trying out an old camera and my recent Goodwill Haul

Quite a few years back my wife and I bought this Cannon Power shot A495.  It’s never worked very well but I decided to get it out and try it again and snap a few pics of a recent Goodwill thrift store trip.  Goodwill prices are a little higher than they used to be but I still shop there often because the money goes to a great cause and overall the prices are still awesome.  I mean you never know what you’re going to find mixed with good prices and helping out others so how cool is that.  The first pic was taken with my older on it’s last leg iPod touch.

 

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Little blue guy approves of the blue camera but the pig just wanted to be the center of attention.

 

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The cool looking yellow bowl was 99 cents.  I figured it would make a good soup or cereal bowl after an industrial strength cleaning.

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The pink globe was 2.99 and the yellow and blue vases were 99 cents each.  All the toys came in a plastic bag for 2.99.

So came out to 8.95 so not bad for all the stuff.  Now I just got to go out in my yard and find some flowers to put in the vases – I think some roses would work well.  🙂

 

 

 

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.”

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” – Sigmund Freud

Child wearing red sleeves creates chalk art on sidewalk

While I’m not a big fan of Freud, I think he may have been on to something here.  Today we give children medications to calm them down and make them tiny sleepy minded zombies and are constantly shushing them when their wonderful little minds race and they want to share their uncontainable but fun thoughts with us or worse yet they are told by adults to shut-up or stop asking so many questions.  Maybe it’s a conspiracy by some adults to bring their children’s intelligence down to the level of the adults.

Personally I’ve always thought we should encourage children to think on their own and not be afraid to ask questions.  Maybe that way they can grow up to be above average adults.  🙂

Betrayed again, my all too common unwitting chat with those pesky Nigerian Scammers.

Betrayed again, my all too common unwitting chat with those pesky Nigerians.

As I was having a long overdue but friendly chat with a somewhat distant relative whom I thought was either drunk or possibly sleep deprived, I finally figured out he wasn’t a relative at all but the danged ol lochness monster and you know what he said to me, he wanted to know if I had about tree-fiddy.  Ok so he asked for an iTunes $15 gift card instead of $3.50 but it’s close enough I suppose.   Image result for tree fiddy meme no profanity

I was gonna include a YouTube video about this scene but it had too much profanity for me to post.

 

 

Far in the distant darkness, a dim light flashes slowly like a tiny lighthouse

far in the distant darkness, a dim light flashes slowly like a tiny lighthouse

 It’s almost 9 PM I’m sitting outside in the backyard swing under the Dogwood tree looking up at the moon.  The moon is bright however occasionally the fast-moving clouds obscure its  the view.  It’s slightly cool, breezy and in the distance ahead of me I can hear the wind blowing through the top of the pines.  The night sky is just bright enough that I can see the pines swaying gently back-and-forth like concertgoers at a late night music concert .  Behind me is natures concertgoers a chorus of frogs that occasionally stop singing I guess to catch their breath maybe. 

 I’m on a top of a hill in a wooded area of North Florida.  I have to believe that many many hundreds of years ago that this same hill wouldnt have been a bad spot for the Native Americans living here the time to peer up at the moon just as I am doing tonight.  I know they were here because they left their stone artifacts as arrowheads a tangible reminder of a long distant past.  

 The image below is what I see tonight.  Although it shows the moon through the distant Pines as the Native Americans might’ve saw it, it also shows a nightlight a friendly reminder of our modern conveniences.  I’m sure the Native Americans too were serenaded by the multitude of frogs as well as harassed by the relentless mosquitoes.  In some ways we probably have a lot in common even though we are separated by long spans of time we are connected by the timeless land and by nature.

 While the dim slowly flashing light mentioned in the title isn’t visible in this picture, I’m sure that the Native Americans would’ve been all-too-familiar with it as well.  But I can’t help but wonder how they would have pondered those lightning bugs.  What magical properties may they have thought the lightning bugs possessed.  For when I see lightning bugs through my modern educated lens I think of insects and evolution things we were taught in biology.  Special properties of behavior and adaptation that allow the lightning bugs to keep their tiny light house lit.  Only for short time when I was a kid could I look at those dim slowly flashing lights as magical and wonder probably as our ancient Native American ancestors did what magical lands must they have traveled from and from what magical hands must they have been created.

Thinking the neurons would congregate sufficiently in action to support the cognitive endeavor, he soon realized…

Thinking the neurons would congregate sufficiently in action to support the cognitive endeavor, he soon realized…

 I’ve learned a lot about writing since my early childhood, however,that’s not to say I’m an expert by any means.  For instance, one thing that I’ve learned  along the way about writing is that when you make a promise to the reader that you have to keep it.  Obviously one example of that in this case is the title.  While it sounds a little bit like mad Libs or ad lib.’s which was an old favorites of mine as a kid, tonight my cognitive endeavor if I can call it that is an attempt to write this whole passage or blog with my Kindle using audio dictation or voice recognition.  

 Tonight I’m sitting in the swing under the moonlight in the backyard surrounded by woods and mosquitoes which are unfortunately for me enjoying it a bit too much and alas I wanted to write this blog completely outside.  Additionally, I’ve been playing around with ultra portables also called convertibles or hybrids; these are touchscreen devices that have a keyboard like a laptop, they’re also very light and some of them fold all the way around or have a detachable screen like the Microsoft surface.  Originally, my plan was to use one of these ultraportable devices to write the blog using a standard keyboard but I haven’t figured out how to do that comfortably in the swing. I was gonna build a frame out of wood to hold the device and fit in the swing but I haven’t done that yet.  So that brings me to where I am currently and I’m using the Kindle Fire HDX which is a standard tablet and voice recognition to write all of this and so far so good.  Yay.
 So to finish out the title of this blog, he soon realized that speaking is not the same as typing when writing as apparently it uses a different part of the brain and mine isnt quite as exercise as the typing part of my brain.  While the Kindle is doing pretty good with accuracy I can still tell it’s having difficulty with my southern English.  This reminds me about reading some twilight zone history about Rod Sirling’s writing method that with a lot of those old stories he actually recorded on audio while he was outside by the pool with a nice view and had somebody dictate them later.  While my view isn’t quite as nice as Rod’s was probably I’ll take what I can get.  And so far this little experiment hasn’t been too painful.  I have learned that with the Kindle I have to say the word period quickly after finishing a sentence or it ll put a space before the period like this .  

 While writing this I’m also using a Kindle app for WordPress so I’m not sure if it’s saving it every so often like the web version does so I maybe taking a little bit of a risk here.  I guess I’ll have to hold my breath when I press the publish button and hope for the best. 

 I have a long commute to and from work so I also use an audio recorder for a lot of my science fiction writing ideas and this is a little bit similar that when trying to collect thoughts and record them with audio. I’d also consider getting some PC software called DragonDictate and play around with it but their versioning schemes were very little bit much for me and I was afraid that the functionality I needed would not be in the version that I acquired.  If you don’t have a Kindle tablet you can also use I’m sure a different device such as an iPhone or even Google’s voice recognition.  I will probably try one of those other devices with a future blog post.  I’ve used Apple’s voice recognition and Google’s voice recognition and I’ve had various results with those so I have to say that Amazon’s voice recognition isn’t too bad. Tonight I probably got an accuracy of somewhere around 92%.  

 I meant to time the blog tonight to see how long it took me to compile it but I didn’t do that. I suppose it’s about 45 minutes so it’s not nearly as efficient as typing but it has been interesting nonetheless.  Okay so I guess I better press the publish button now and see what happens.  There are two firsts tonight, using voice recognition to do this whole blog (mostly) and using for the first time the WordPress app on the Kindle. I kind of feel like one of those wheel of fortune contestants that will spin the wheel and clap while saying big money big money so…  big money big money or please dont lose my post wordpress.  🙂  And if you’re wondering… I did get that emoticon or emoji (I  always forget which) by saying the word although it added a nose and I did take the nose off 🙂

how connected to past you is present you?

how connected to past you is present you?

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unsplash-logoLuke Chesser

This evening I’ve been listening to a playlist i created on amazon music a couple of months ago – (a lot of people don’t realize that if they already pay for amazon prime that they can get access to a lot of music included with their membership just by downloading the amazon music app.)  The songs roughly a dozen carefully chosen and sorted are by only two artists – sia and rachel platton.  I know listening to the same songs over and over would drive most people crazy but I’m weird like that.  Before dark I fed all the animals – 6 dogs, 1 cat, and 9 chickens while listening to the playlist.  Then i cooked some frozen zipper peas (that I bought from a local farm last summer that me and my family shelled by hand back then) and washed dishes while listening to the playlist.  Then spent some time on the treadmill while umm well you know.  Then to cool down i went outside to the backyard swing (the one that swings fast) in the cool night air – again same playlist.

I chose music to talk about because a lot of people relate to it when tying to memories from their past.  Usually in that context it’s just one song or maybe even one way of listening to a song such as listening to an old album you had on vinyl that had a scratch on one part of the song.  Maybe it’s a song that you and an old friend related to or maybe it’s one that only holds special meaning to you.   It’s pretty undeniable that when a past event or events are tied to specific music that listening to that music helps you recall and experience in more vivid detail those old memories.

I enjoy being a life long learner especially when it comes to the sciences so i’ve always been fascinated by psychology and neuroscience.  Therefore, i’ve noticed something strange about the “strange” way i listen to music.  It took me a long time to utilize playlists on the many music devices i’ve had over time but several years ago i started building special playlists of carefully selected songs.  I used these playlists for weeks or even months at a time.  I had an old one made of celtic music, love and rock songs, instrumental, and even a few country songs that i listened to when i started walking and trying to get in better shape several years ago.   Some of the songs in the collection were from movies that I liked and some i watched with my wife and daughter, and some were instrumentals from documentaries that I liked.  Therefore, a lot of the individual collection were handcrafted from different pieces of my past and some that friends had recommended.  It’s almost like the playlist was a type of tapestry of a timeline from my life.

Back then i listened to that playlist which was roughly 90 minutes long because a lot of my walks were 90 minutes at that time.  I had some custom walking tracks that i cleared through the woods here and I also walked very consistently at a public park in Alabama in the city where I work.  I found that old playlist a while back and listened to the songs again and I remembered specific rainy days where i walked my 90 minutes here at home in the rain refusing to call off my walk due to weather.  I remembered many windy days at the public park in great detail just from listening to the songs in the same sequence that i had listened to over and over.

The playlist is the same concept as you experience from that one song you remembered from high school or your childhood but with the playlist and the additional number of songs, it’s like you have more resolution within your brain to map to those old memories.  That is if you can stand listening to them over and over.  It’s probably not something you should do if you don’t already enjoy listening to playlists but if you do then maybe you should save all those playlists so years from now you can recall them and maybe even get back to some of those old memories.  Assuming you want to get back to those memories.

I’ve done a similar experiment with memory by trying to remember the many books i had as a child and reacquiring them cheaply from thrift stores or from online stores like amazon.  It’s been amazing that when i see certain pages with unique color patterns that i can actually remember seeing those pages as a child and thinking wow that’s a weird choice of colors on that particular page.  It’s neat to re-experience the artwork from those old children’s books too.  A lot of them have beautiful and very unique art styles in addition to the story woven within the book.

The real question that I pondered tonight while swinging high (as in fast not as on drugs b/c drugs are bad mmm-kay) on backyard swing is how is current me connected to past me.  I’ve read in biology articles and books that we as a living organism are really made up of mostly water and bacteria (some symbiotic, some evil, and some in between)  in addition to our many specialized cells and then those are made up of atoms are actually rebuilt nearly in their entirely every so often.  So in some ways your cells (an thus atoms) if you can say that they are you are mostly new and not the same cells and atoms that made up you just a month or two ago.

One common thread at least a little more so, however, is our memory.  But even that is questionable because is the current you really the same you as 10 years ago?  Unfortunately other than sharing experiences prior to that time with old you and having the same genetic material, you can’t ever be that old you again.  You can’t even be the person you were yesterday or last week precisely because you can’t unlearn or unlive all the experiences and memories since whatever point in history you choose to consider.  So in that way each day we are a new person and are never quite that person we used to be.  It doesn’t take a life changing event such as loss of a loved-one or a breakup with someone close to us for that to be true because it’s always true.

The memory experiment with music and playlist is just one i chose to illustrate as a way to recall memories but it doesn’t really change anything.  It’s just an interesting observation and if you enjoy listening to music like me then it can be an entertaining little experiment.   And i always try to include a few nuggets of knowledge that I’ve learned or a quote here are both.  The quote by T.S. Elliot which i suppose the place in the quote may be a physical place like home or it may be a place within our mind meaning that one day we may come full circle back to all our memories before us and truly understand them for once in our life.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
And what is a talk about memory with mentioning deja vu?  And if you’ve ever wondered if there was an opposite of deja vu then you’d be happy to know there is.  It’s called jamais vu – it means you’ve seen something before and thought it was the first time you’ve seen it but in reality you have seen it before but only forgotten it.  Maybe if the memory of it had only been connected via music that wouldn’t have happened.  🙂  Good night.

 

 

 

Infinity’s Conveyor of Numbers and Thoughts

 

Infinity’s Conveyor of Numbers and Thoughts

If I take the concept infinity as it applies to numbers and add something to it such as thoughts then do I still get infinity even if that something else isn’t purely a number?  So David Hilbert had his infinity hotel and I have my infinity of thoughts?  No?  Maybe?  LOL.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert%27s_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

And what does this have to do if anything with Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise?  And more importantly will these thought experiments lead to an infinite loop inside ones mind?  Nah, that would only happen if you were more connected to the other yous in parallel universes of course assuming such things exist.

So why even consider such profound and incomprehensible ideas that some people would consider useless and headache invoking?  I think I agree with many ideas Max Tegmark lays out in his book Our Mathematical Universe and Andrew Liddle summed up nicely in a review for Nature,

The culmination that Tegmark seeks to lead us to is the “Level IV multiverse”. This level contends that the Universe is not just well described by mathematics, but, in fact, is mathematics. All possible mathematical structures have a physical existence, and collectively, give a multiverse that subsumes all others. Here, Tegmark is taking us well beyond accepted viewpoints, advocating his personal vision for explaining the Universe.

Ok, now may be a good time for me to admit that I’m a Math major and a bit obsessed with math and physics but please don’t hold that against me because if Max is right then we’re not only related genetically as humans but also as numbers.  🙂

And so you don’t consider me as being totally biased I’ll even include in this fanboy glorification of science, physics and all things math, for your viewing pleasure since you’ve made it this far – a dissenting opinion from an old show I somehow got exposed to as a kid and still enjoy today…

Not every show can get away with having a weather balloon as the evil villain:

And so you don’t think I’m the only one who thinks of the risks of infinite loops, I end with an interesting thought by Douglas Hofstadter ingeniously named Hofstadter’s law that says “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”  The “it” in this case is describing my point.  Good Night.  🙂