Monthly Archives: November 2007

The First Anti-Solipsist

Schroedinger's Cat
Can this cat be saved from evil physicists?
Does the cat even exist?

I’m reading this interesting Scientific American article last night about Hugh Everett. Everett was the first guy who came up with the theory that there might be more than one universe that we live in. In fact, a lot more.

Up until Everett, quantum physics had a problem: at the small level everything was in a probability wave, and at the large level things were obviously not in a probability wave — they really existed. This quandary was illustrated very well by Schroedinger’s Cat.It is accepted that a subatomic particle can exist in a superposition of states, a combination of possible states. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, the superposition only settles into a definite state upon observation. This is known as collapse or measurement.

Schrödinger proposed his “cat”, after a suggestion of Albert Einstein’s. Schrödinger states that if a scenario existed where a cat’s state of life or death could be made dependent on the state of a subatomic particle, and also isolated from any possible observation, the state of the cat itself would be a quantum superposition — according to the Copenhagen interpretation, at least.

It’s true: the cat would be both alive and dead at the same time. Or better stated, it would be in a superposition of both states.

That’s some kind of cat.

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Take Me To Your Leader

Oyuki
Oyuki, who probably knows her way around a shotgun

In an effort to both kill as much time as possible and also to destroy other people’s productivity, I ran across an interesting blog article today. Top Ten Hottest Gamers of 2007. This is my kind of post! Cute girls, hot games, and pleasing to the eye. Can’t beat that with a stick.

But of course I bring this up purely for academic purposes. Who says that girls aren’t into technology? Yes, yes. Academic purposes only, of course.

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He saw it too

Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington
Pilot, former Air Force officer, and former Governor:
“Craft did not resemble any man-made object I have ever seen.”

Fife Symington has something to tell you. Back in 1997, when half of Phoenix saw strange lights in the sky, he saw them too. They were not flares, they were a solid object, and something is going on.

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How Many Fishes for the Gladiator?

I am not a fan of machine translation. I guess for some things it’s fine, but I have played around with it off and on for years and it just never seems to work the way it is supposed to.

That’s why when I read this article today I had to laugh. I don’t like quoting other people’s stuff too much, but what the hey.

An email sent to the Dutch foreign ministry by a group of Israeli journalists has sparked a diplomatic row, thanks to an unreliable translation by Babelfish.

The journalists wrote a set of questions before a planned fact-finding trip to The Netherlands, running them through the online translation tool to turn them into Dutch.

The beginning of the email read: ‘Helloh bud, enclosed five of the questions in honor of the foreign minister: The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian.’

The translation was flawed as Babelfish confused ‘ha’im’, the Hebrew word for ‘if’, with ‘ha’ima’, which means ‘mother’.

Another question in the email asked: ‘Why we did not heard on mutual visits of main the states of Israel and Holland, this is in the country of this?’ And a third said: ‘What in your opinion needs to do opposite the awful the Iranian of Israel?’

“How could this email possibly have been sent?” an Israeli diplomat told the Jerusalem Post. “These journalists have sparked a major incident.”

All I have to say is that if aliens from the planet Kryptor visit next year and land on the Whitehouse lawn, I sure hope we don’t have to talk to them using something like Babelfish. If we do, I’m hiding in a bomb shelter.

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Pon’far Approaches

Spock
So. You said what about Ron Paul?

It’s that time again. The time that every true consultant dreads:

American elections are just around the corner.

Once you get the bits and bytes of making software happen, you realize that the biggest problem is people. People have counter-productive attitudes, people have pet causes, people have grudges and people have irrational beliefs about other people and the way things work.

In short, people are tough. Much tougher than algorithms. It’s what keeps me coming back to strategic technology management consulting. The technical problems might be very similar, but the people you get are always a completely new universe of interesting stories and perspectives.

So it’s with a sick sense of dread that I realize that we’re in the last year coming up on a presidential election.

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Programming with Python – the Other Guys

Let’s say you bought a new enterprise software system. Reading the brochure, it does everything except make sliced bread. Now that it shows up, oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to do what they promised — or at least not easily. Does this sketch sound familiar?

Perhaps your software is just pining for the fjords.

Let’s do a couple more.

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