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Red Stick’s Raucous Royalty

English

Thanks to the peculiarities of the Catholic calendar, Mardi Gras is extraordinarily early this year. Fat Tuesday falls on February 5, which means that we don’t even get a full month of King Cake season. With so many diabetics in Louisiana, though, maybe that’s a good thing.It also means that the Spanish Town Parade, by far the largest one in Baton Rouge, falls on Saturday, February 2. Since the parade rolls on Groundhog Day, the theme of this year’s festivities is “Flamingeaux Phil Predicts.” What does he predict?

Trekonomic Incentives

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There was a commercial once where the guy who was captain of the space station on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine said, "I want my flying cars." He was talking about why we hadn't moved further technologically than we had at that time. He sounded serious, but it was because he was being paid to sell credit cards or insurance or something.I don't want credit cards, insurance, or flying cars. I'll tell you what I want, Captain: I want that damn space station.We went to the moon before half the people reading this were born. That's right, folks: believe it or not, we went there.

War on Wires

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Wires suck. They tangle. People trip over them. Animals gnaw on them. Musicians lose them. Nerds collect them.We need wires to connect things that need to be connected. How do we connect things without wires? We also use wireless to connect things that need to be connected. We have two options when it comes to connectivity: wires and wireless. Seems like there should be a third option, but that's pretty much it. From there, we just have to work on making more things wireless.

Cellulosic Ethanol: Tomorrow’s Fuel for Drinking and Driving

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Everybody loves alcohol. It has helped us start and win wars, it’s why we changed the constitution twice, and it just makes sense. It is the social lubricant that keeps the cynically self-righteous, moral fabric of our society from chafing against the swollen genitals of our collective guilt and denial. Alcohol is natural, legal, and moral, and you can drink it off of parts of sorority chicks.

E.T.: Illegal Alien

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The current political debate over illegal immigration has little to do with science, or reason in general. However, when you think of immigrants as “aliens” and allude that this group may include extra-terrestrials, the debate begins to fall within the realm of pseudo-science and metaphysics, or something like that. That's good enough for me.Illegal aliens come in all shapes and sizes, including brown, black, and off-white. The illegality of their alienness also comes in troubling variety.

Thinking: The Mental Challenge

English

Nerds like to look at their brains and say "Hey there, sexy, that's a nice big brain you got on ya’." Admittedly, I include myself in this group. I think my brain is sexy; I know it's not the size that counts. I'm not going to say I've ever thought about the fact that my brain has cleavage, but I just did, so now you know something about me you didn't want to.I'm not just a neural narcissist. I like all kinds of big brains. Big, sexy brains make big, sexy ideas. Smart people who figure stuff out are my heroes, them and the cyclops from Krull, and Sloth from The Goonies.

Earth: Magnet for Change

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Any geologist worth his basalt will tell you that the Earth is overdue for a Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. That's when the Earth’s magnetic poles flip-flop like they're running for office. This impending geomagnetic reversal means that, sometime soon, magnetic north will be south and vice versa.Scientists are still debating what causes this event, let alone the consequences. The prevailing theory is that the Earth’s chewy, caramel interior ripens and becomes too delicious.

Stem Cells: The Root of All Evil

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Life, like breakfast, is best when it begins with an egg. The egg is one of the most common reproductive formats. Even complex mammalian organisms such as humans have eggs somewhere, so I’m told. These mammalian eggs are only one part of the elegantly mysterious equation describing the circle of life, which, in our world, inevitably results in babies – plump, tender, delicious babies.Babies, according to Wikipedia, come from mommies and daddies.

Relativity, Part 1: Special

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The year is 1905. You are a zany German, working in a Swiss patent office. You are young, trying to impress women, and without warning, you grow a head of hair that challenges classical physics. All you want are fast women and fast, horseless carriages. Your hair wants to change the world.This was Albert Einstein’s life at the age of 26. He was faced with a choice: cut the wild hair and get back to his life, or let it grow and allow each strand to wander into new dimensions of truth.

Relativity, Part 2: General

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Gravity strikes without warning. It is the silent killer, the thief, the undertaker. It can be completely unpredictable, despite the fact that it has been doing the exact same thing for around 14 billion years. The human race has lost countless lives to the merciless will of gravity, and even today, it looms as an ever-present threat to all things that are made of matter, which most things are.Human beings have feared gravity since the tragic realization that babies do not bounce.

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