October 20th, 2010

Dr.F: Logic is Hard!

Two Weirdly Cool Items

Sometimes the Internet manages to collectively do something nice.

A 90-year-old veteran put up a sign saying "Wanted: people for birthday party". And the Internet took notice. It was somehow touchingly tragic.

Turns out, as his grandson clarified when 4chan grabbed it and ran, that they were just trying to get creative with the party posters. He had a family and lots of friends in their local community. Since the venue was small, they asked people to please not show up but feel free to send cards or make donations to vet organizations in his honor.

It was a heck of a party (and not too heavily crashed by random people). William evidently had a great time and was amused by the whole affair. He got a pile of cards from around the world and 50 bouquets of flowers.

Chaotic Good rocks.

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In totally different but still weirdly cool news: One person attempts to build a telegraph using stone age materials.

Now he was interested in doing this not to actually create a working device but as a proof of concept. He wasn't interested in showing that telegraphs were special and somehow waiting to be discovered. Instead, he's showing that what prevented telegraphs from being built was only missing knowledge. It was possible, if impractical and difficult, for one person to create electrical devices from natural elements by hand.

You may object that the video doesn't show him building a full telegraph. He's going for proof of concept and attacks two key parts: a battery (voltaic pile) and the ability to smelt metal for parts. At that point, remaining barriers are an insulator (seems reasonable as a gimme) and lots of time (hey, he had other things to work on, I'm sure).

Thought-provoking intersection of thought experiment and wilderness trial.