The Meaning of Life

General relativity

Einstein’s gravitational equation, just an illustration.

 

(-80538738812075974)^3 + (80435758145817515)^3 + (12602123297335631)^3 = 42

There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the definitive answer to that famous question, what is the meaning of life? This equation comes from the web site www.livescience.com and is the answer to the Diophantine equation x^3 + y^3 + z^3 = k, where k in this case is 42.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t immediately know the required numbers for x, y and z. It only took a worldwide network of around 500,000 home PCs around the globe working as a crowdsourced supercomputer and 1 million hours of processing time, and it finally came up with those numbers. I should add that 33 was one other number that had defied solution until recently.

This is mind boggling, a brute force solution to something that had defied solution for centuries. It’s not an elegant way of solving things, but “it does the job”.

We really have reached the age of advanced technology, or the very start of it, where massive computing resources are linked together worldwide via the internet to store incredible amounts of knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia) and provide massive parallel computing.

In addition, metals and materials technology and advanced manufacturing are providing us with beautifully designed products which are ultra reliable, yet very reasonably priced. I’m loving it.

I realise there are some problems with these products (they’re not all reliable, and they usually don’t bio-degrade) but that’s a separate issue. If you think about it, at the rate technology is advancing, do you really, desperately want your TV or toaster or laptop to last more than five years?

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Speaking of computing power:Type exampleI use a Photoshop-equivalent program called Affinity Photo. A few weeks ago I was just fiddling around to learn it and randomly typed these letters as plain text. Then I converted them all to a nice font, broke them apart so I could manipulate each letter individually, and finally applied an overall metallic effect. Neat, eh? My point is that this takes graphics and computing power that we just didn’t have 15 years ago, yet now I can do it in real time with no lag. Wow.

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Two points about politics today:

  1. The former Chinese citizen Gladys Liu, now an Australian citizen and a member of Federal parliament, has been revealed to have been a member of Chinese government organisations before her election, and perhaps subsequently. She at first denied it, but was shown to be lying, then protests her allegiance to Australia, but refuses to criticise China’s annexation and militarisation¬† of the South China Sea.
    It’s the same as the former senator elected as a member of Clive Palmer’s party a few years ago. He also said that China has the right to shoot at Australian military ships or aircraft if they go too close to those islands. Where was his loyalty? He was an Australian citizen, elected to our Senate, yet he was taking China’s side. To me that was treason.
    My point is that China can NOT be trusted. They lie as if it doesn’t matter (look at what they are telling their people about the Hong Kong riots). They break international law as if there is no law, then defy the courts. They steal, they spy, they takes our citizens prisoner, they run secret trials where the prisoner is denied a lawyer.

    China is a renegade country which cannot be trusted in any sphere. Ms Liu can protest her innocence but I can’t believe her. She lied at the start this morning, so how can she be trusted. Oh, I forgot, she’s a member of the Liberal Party, and the Liberals always lie to you.

     

  2. The Minister for the Environment David Littleproud, and the four other Liberal ministers with portfolios in similar fields, have all said they don’t accept that global heating is caused by man. This is unbelievable. Even at this late stage, when we’ve got less than 12 years to get things reasonably right in terms of temperature rise and CO2 emissions, we are STILL governed by climate science deniers!

    If you voted Liberal in the 18 May election, is this OK with you? Because you’ve put them back in power. And after all these years, this Liberal government STILL does not have a climate change policy framework. Their attitude is to sit on their hands and deny the evidence.
    We have a government of fools, and those who voted for them last May are guilty of causing me, us, actual harm. I may sue.

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