Monday, November 24, 2008

A Hypothetical Situation

Imagine you are standing by a train track. The track leads up to a hill in the distance. You look at the hill and see an evil man with a mustache up there with an empty train car. He pushes the train car down the hill and it is quickly gaining momentum while the evil man cackles maniacally. You look the other direction and see the track splits into two tracks. You see that on one path the evil man tied five completely random people and on the other one he has tied two completely random people. That is when you notice that in front of you is the switch to direct the path of the train to one side of the track or the other.
What do you do? Do you push the switch so that the train is directed to hit the two people, the five people, or do you choose to not make a choice and let fate take its course?

Some people say that there is inherent evil in making a decision, such as choosing to kill someone. It is evil no matter what and if you push the switch one direction or the other, it is a very serious crime.
Others believe that decisions themselves are not evil, but the intent behind them dictates the evilness of the act. They say it is better for fewer people to die than a whole group of people. They may also argue that it is completely irresponsible to not make a choice when the opportunity is given to you.

Now, let's make it a little bit more complicated. There is a extremely fat man standing next to the track.
You know that if you give the fat man a little nudge, he will fall across the track and when he is hit by the train, the train will only kill him and the people tied to the track will be saved. Would you push the fat man? If you do, only one person would die instead of many.

When you think about it, choosing to push the fat man on the track is essentially the same thing as choosing to move the switch in one direction or the other--you are in effect making a decision that will kill a person or persons.

What do you do?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Answer

I will first address some concerns that people had in the comments of last post.

-The tricycle was supposed to have two wheels in the back. The two wheels lined up so well that you could only see one... also, I was too lazy to draw it in perspective on Paint.

-If there is air resistance, the bird will speed up slightly once it enters the car. What I like to do is imagine the car not as a cage of steel, but as a pocket of air going as fast as the bird. If the bird enters that pocket of air, it would be like entering a slipstream where there is less resistance to it's forward movement. So I believe that if a bird was flying next to your car and flew into the window and kept on flapping at the same rate, it would hit the windshield.

Here's what you all have been waiting for...

The answer to the tricycle problem is:

a) it will roll to the left!

Crazy, huh?

So, I guess no one won...except for kind of Anna. So you get a kind-of prize! You get honor in almost getting it right! Yay!
Is that the answer that you would have said, Chris?

I'll try to explain why it rolls forward.

Imagine that the rope was tied to the bar below the handle bars. If you pull on it, the tricycle will obviously go the direction of the pull. If you tied it to one of the pedals, and the pedal was pointing up, then it will also obviously go forward again. If you keep on pulling on the rope even when the tricycle is moving, it will continue to go forward, even when the pedal is pointing down.
This is the hard part to understand: if the pedal is pointing down and you pull on it with a rope, it will have the same effect as you pulling on the bar below the handlebars. The bike will move forward while the pedal stays in place in the horizontal direction and rises in the vertical direction.
Imagine yourself walking. Your body moves forward when one of your feet is planted on the ground, not moving. If you pulled someones thigh, there body would move without necessarily causing the pulled leg to move.

Look at the flowers in the picture as a reference point. See how the down-pointing pedal stays relatively in the same place until it loops around the top?

Physics is amazing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Physics Problem

I would like to preface this post with an introduction. I really enjoy physics--I have loved it ever since I took a physics course in the ninth grade. I was actually planning in majoring in Physics until I took the advanced calculus course as a prerequisite to the physics major when I was a freshman here at BYU. I passed the class, but I lost all my free time on Saturdays as a result.
I realized that I loved physics because of the thinking and understanding of the physical world and the knowledge of how things work and are interconnected, not because of the math. That's when I decided to major in art, then industrial design, then construction management.
Anyway, this is a physics problem that boggled my mind at first. After thinking about it for a while, I understood. Let's see how you do. Leave your answers in the comment box and those who answered correctly will receive a reward.

Here is a digram of a tricycle with a rope attached to one of the pedals. Notice that the pedal is pointing down.
If you pull the rope to the left, the tricycle will:
a) roll to the left.
b) roll to the right.
c) be dragged to the left.
d) be dragged to the right.
e) stay where it is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No legs!

Where the heck are this kids legs?! Are his feet floating in midair?!? Is he magic? WHAT'S GOING ON??
OHHH..... I get it now. He's wearing camo. Huh, no wonder it looked like he was floating. Those pants blend into every surrounding, especially concrete.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Glass House

I checked out a book from the library called "50 Buildings You Should Know." It turns out I only knew 34 of them. The ones I never heard of were like the Horyuji Temple in Japan, Borobudur in Indonesia, the Mesquita in Spain and some other random ones.
One of the buildings that I did know was the Glass House in Connecticut designed by Phillip Johnson.
I remember learning about this building in my Social Studies class in the 5th grade. My 5th grade teacher's name was Mr. Idio, and whenever he did spell check on his assignments it would change his name to Mr. Idiot. He was from Nigeria and he pronounced soap "sap" and pizza "peetzer." When we did spelling tests, I had no idea half of the time of what he was saying.
This glass house is cool. The are no walls in the building, just "flowing spaces." He was a student of Walter Gropius, founder of the International Style.
The funny thing is that it costs $30 to visit the building, when you could just walk up and look through the walls...
Maybe if you closed one eye you would only need to pay $15 to see the building. You are only seeing half of what you would normally see, after all. (That comment provided by Katie)

Maybe you wouldn't have to pay at all if you promised to close your eyes.

Do blind people have to pay money if they go to a museum?

Speaking of art and blind people, I found this picture of braille graffiti.

I'm not sure what it says. Hopefully it's not swear words or something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a poem by nathan

i asked nathan to write me a poem, and this is what i got. enjoy.

The Tale of the Dog and the Hamburger

A dog once ate a hamburger,

(now mind you it wasn't a lambburger)

It was mashed out of the freshest meat,

not the kind that smells like feet.

After he was done eating it,

he went to the kitchen and threw quite a fit,

for on the box of "hamburger,"

it said "Prepared by the hands of a Turd herder."

So, the dog thought very hard,

and realized "This Turd herder is a tard,

he probably didn't wash his hands,

so now I have Turds in my stomach-gland.

Oh me, oh my, what shall I do?

In order to get rid of all this poo?"

And that dog thought and thought,

and thought and sought after an idea.

Then it occurred to him:"It will just pass through, easy and slim.

There is nothing to worry about,"

and with that he ceased to pout.

i can only say one word: awesome.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

voting like a felon

So it's been a while since I've posted something. I was just keeping you all in...

Actually, my life so busy and interesting, I had no time. Uh, yeah.

I am currently trying to start a club at BYU for pre-architecture students. It's harder than I thought. We had our first meeting this last Monday, but only one other student showed up. Sad day for me. But I have had ten more people sign up since then, so we'll try to meet next Saturday and merge with the already existing Design-Build Club, with the Architecture Club being a sub-club of Design-Build. I like the sound of "sub-club." Design-Build is actually a pretty cool program. It's the kind of company that I would like to start someday. It's where the construction manager and the architect belong to the same company, ao that things happen a lot faster and smoother. It's like the old system of building something, such as the old cathedrals in Europe, with a Master Building overseeing every part of the construction process. That's what I want to be when I grow up...a Master Builder. Doesn't that sound cool?
This week, I have to give a persuasive speech in my public speaking class. I was trying to think about different topics to persuade people of. At first I thought about school prayer, but I wasn't sure if I was for it or against it. I mean, I think it's good to have a separation between church and state--that's the type of government Christ will organize when he comes again, with the Old Jerusalem being the center for the church and the New Jerusalem being the center for the state--but I also believe that the Supreme Court could've taken it a bit too far.

So instead of deep contemplation, trying to figure out what I thought would be the right balance, decided to talk about the voting rights of felons. Did you know that in ten states, once you have been convicted of a felony you become disenfranchised forever? No matter how good of a citizen you become, you will never, ever be allowed to vote again. That's pretty crazy when you think about it because some Senators have been convicted felons. Sen. Ted Stevens has been convicted of seven felonies. And in some states, once you're a felon, you can't become a school teacher, a firefighter, serve on a jury, or even be a barber.
However, in Vermont and Maine, they let everyone vote, even those serving their sentences in prison. That seems a little extreme to me. I think what should happen is that those in prison have relinquished their right to vote (after all, prisons are made to restrict people's rights), but once they are released from prison and have paid their debt to society, their right to vote should be restored.
Political scientists say that if felons were allowed to vote in Florida, Al Gore would've won the 2000 election. That's with the calculatino that only 33% of the felons would actually vote and that a third of them would vote Republican.
Crazy, huh?