The End of Eternity… again

The-End-of-Eternity-Isaac-Asimov-Pa18-medI just finished re-reading Isaac Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” last night. The last time I read it I was a teenager… I saw so much more in it this time. Definitely Asimov’s single best work.

I hear a movie version is stuck in development hell, and that’s just as well. I think Hollywood would screw this up royally. They’d probably try to turn it into some mindless “sci-fi action thriller” with Will Smith and The Rock playing Time Cops who take names and kick ass. I fear the same thing’s going to happen to Hollywood’s planned movie on Asimov’s Foundation series.

Tinnitus research breakthrough

Could be another breakthrough in ongoing research into causes and possible treatment of chronic tinnitus.

Australian researchers say they have identified a new brain region, the ventral subdivision of the cochlear nucleus, as a possible factor behind tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a potentially debilitating disorder of hearing which is characterised by the perception of non-existent sounds, usually roaring, hissing or ringing in the ears.

The changes in the brain that cause tinnitus are poorly understood. It is clear however that alterations in nerve cell electrical behaviour must underlie the abnormal “phantom” perception of sound that is experienced by tinnitus sufferers.

For many years, the exact site in the brain where this abnormal nerve cell behaviour occurs has been a contentious issue.

Read more: New Brain Region Linked To Tinnitus

Tinnitus treatment video

Video about a type of tinnitus treatment that’s helping some sufferers:

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is the number one service connected disability for Veterans. In tonight’s Health Watch, Ninnette Sosa introduces us a young vet who gets a promising therapy to help him with the anxiety that often accompanies Tinnitus. Watch video.

Harold Camping was wrong. Again.

Harold CampingThe last time Harold Camping said the Rapture was happening was 1994. He was wrong. He says he made a mathematical error.

And it appears he’s wrong again.

So what will Camping’s excuse be this time? Some say he’ll probably play the “Nineveh” card — “Because we turned to God and prayed, he changed his mind and spared you. So you should thank us for saving you!”

He could play the faulty math card again, but it seems he’s closed the road on that one

Camping, however, will be awaiting Jesus Christ’s return for the second time. He said his earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994 didn’t come true because of a mathematical error.

“I’m not embarrassed about it. It was just the fact that it was premature,” he told The Associated Press last month. But this time, he said, “there is…no possibility that it will not happen.”

So what excuse do you think he’ll use this time?

Not that it matters much. Camping doesn’t really care that he was wrong again. Just like before, he made millions selling the end of the world to the gullible. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The End of Eternity

End_of_eternityI first read Isaac Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” when I was a teenager. Re-reading it now, I’m convinced it’s Asimov’s best, and maybe one of the greatest sci-fi novels of all time.

It’s not that the concept is so mind-blowing –it is – but that the writing itself is so damn good.

And the idea of time travel as a sci-fi plot device is older than, well, H.G. Wells, but Asimov turned it on its head here: In the far future, mankind has mastered time travel, and a benevolent organization outside of time controls the destinies and fates of trillions of people, by managing the flow of time and events throughout future centuries.

I hear they’re making a movie out of it – I don’t see how, but I suspect they’ll ruin it and try to turn it into an ‘action thriller.’ Ugh.

Set your clocks for the Rapture this Saturday!

According to end times huckster Harold Camping, the Rapture – where all true Christians will suddenly vanish from the earth – is happening this Saturday. (Never mind all those other times he was wrong.) For Camping’s followers, how about letting me have all your money and belongings now, since you can’t take them with you and me and all the other nonbelievers are going to be left behind anyway?

theendisnigh

Of course, not every Christian who believes in the coming Rapture thinks Harold Camping knows what he’s talking about. While they may not set a date like Camping has (several times), they do fervently believe that some day, they and all other true Christians will suddenly disappear right before our very eyes… and what’s more, this could happen at any moment.

I have a question for these people: If you really, really believe that at any moment, without warning, you could suddenly go poof, why the hell do you ever get behind the wheel of a car? Or pilot an aircraft? Or drive a bus?

Don’t you care that your sudden disappearance will cause untold death and destruction? Don’t you care that your suddenly pilotless plane or suddenly driverless bus could kill and injure many men, women and children? Don’t you care your suddenly driverless car will run up on the sidewalk and mow down some poor pregnant woman?

Or do you not care because those left behind are going to burn in hell anyway, so they’re not worth one ounce of your concern?

If you really, really believe you could be Raptured away at any instant, that is. Maybe you don’t really believe that.

Mozart myth debunked

You’ve heard the story time and time again, saw it portrayed in the movie Amadeus: Mozart, arguably the world’s greatest composer, was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Except that he wasn’t. Mozart’s pauper’s grave burial is a myth.
Here’s the real story:

mozartVienna Mythbusters and scholars will be quick to tell you Mozart indeed had money troubles when he died in 1791 at only 35. But his style of burial wasn’t determined by his lack of wealth – which seems to have been due only to a short-term credit crunch rather than real poverty.

We can blame this erroneous Vienna urban legend on Emperor Joseph II. After all, it’s his fault we don’t know exactly where the great Maestro was buried. Inspired by the New Enlightenment, Joseph wanted to be rid of traditions he associated with the backwardness of the Catholic Church, so he targeted funeral rites.

One of the Emperor’s rules was that members of Vienna’s society (except those with a high social status) were buried in reusable coffins. The end of these caskets had swinging doors and the body was tipped through them into graves. The graves weren’t mass graves, as is often written. Mozart had his own grave, but every 10 years, the Emperor decreed, all the graves would be plowed over so that the land could be reused for new graves.