Author Archives: bcramer

Bitcoins – Another Key Component in the Ariel System

In case you’ve never heard of them, Bitcoins are a decentralized digital currency based on peer-to-peer Internet connections. The Bitcoin system relies heavily on cryptography and has a nifty feature where the transaction log is stored by everyone so that transactions can be verified by a safety-in-numbers approach. Also, it takes computational “work” to update the transaction log (called a block chain), so forgery is difficult and becomes impossible the more time passes after a transaction. It’s quite clever – you can read more about it on the Bitcoin Wiki page. Continue reading

The Origins of Ecchi

Foreign words are great. Sometimes we use them to soften or obscure the meaning of a traditionally vulgar or taboo word or subject. Other times they are used to add a certain flare to a subject, or to form a slightly different connotation than that of its literal interpretation. It seems that both the Japanese and the Americans, or at least a small otaku (nerd / anime and manga super enthusiast) subculture thereof, have been doing this with each others’ words and in some cases the words gets passed back and forth. Continue reading

Cramer’s Guide to Visiting Japan

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Japan twice so far – once in 2007 and then again in 2008, both times with my friend Ryan. The following are my closing thoughts on our second trip as well as a few tips to anyone who wants to try visiting Japan for themselves. These are based on my experiences mainly in Tokyo and not necessarily Japan as a whole, so it is akin to judging all of America based on a visit to New York City. Still, I think my impression of Japan would be similar regardless of where I had gone. Continue reading

Cramer’s Special (Education) Theory of Gravity

Albert Einstein created the General Theory of Relativity to explain and mathematically model gravity. As he was finishing it, he had an oh-shit moment and realized it wouldn’t balance out properly unless he shoved in an arbitrary number that he called the Cosmological Constant. Without this number, his theory would show that the universe was expanding instead of being static. Years later, physical evidence was obtained that the universe was, indeed, expanding. This evidence was the “red shift” – the color shift towards the red of the returning radiation from distant stars in comparison to closer stars. This shift is due to the Doppler Effect. This is the same effect that causes an ambulance’s siren to sound differently to us when it is coming at us than when it is traveling away from us. Eventually, Einstein acknowledged his mistake and removed the constant. The funny thing about this is that he was originally right, but then a simple assumption of the way the world worked did him in. Continue reading

Cramer Explains How to Mod an XBox with Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics is the study of the relationship between energy and matter. It provides us with accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena such as black body radiation and stable electron orbits.

But quantum mechanics is a desperately crazy and interesting science that contains several preposterous sounding theories that are surprisingly being proven correct day by day. I’ll touch briefly on some of these. Continue reading

Cramer Explains Why Metal Feels Cold

Nature is a whore. It likes to spread itself all around until it’s been everywhere. Most everything in nature seeks a balance, a point where it is evenly distributed. The greater the disequilibrium, the more it tries to even the score.

The water on the Earth is constantly seeking a common level. This causes the formation of rivers and streams to channel the water from high to low. The more water there is upstream, the more the rivers will flow. Electrons seek a common level as well. Whenever there is a pool of electrons, you can be sure that they are trying to disperse themselves and when they do, you get an electric current. The more electrons you have in one spot, the greater the electric current will be when they disperse. Heat is the same way, constantly trying to even itself out. The greater the source of heat, the quicker the heat will transfer itself to somewhere colder. Continue reading

Cramer Explains Alternate Dimensions

I’m sure most of you are aware that we live in a world with three standard dimensions – length, width, and height (or X, Y, and Z if you are a mathlete.) Less of you are probably aware that there is also a fourth dimension. No, it isn’t a wormhole in your clothes dryer in which socks escape from our reality. It’s much simpler than that. The fourth dimension is time. Time is a funny one because it relentlessly progresses in one direction. Lots of scientists say you can slow it down by traveling really fast – much faster than even I drive on the highway – close to the speed of light fast. But none of them has figured out a way to make it go backwards, though. Thank Bob for that one! I’d probably end up spending most of my days going back in time and slapping myself silly for something dumb I was about to do, and that would get tiresome for all of me. Continue reading

The Old Soul

Flickers of meaning shimmer on the surface of uncertainty while the air thickens with anticipation beneath a swirling sky. Time accelerates towards an end but hints at a new beginning. An old soul is watching, hoping, praying for respite. Saturation drains, existence spreads thin, memories fade. It’s been so long that seconds, days, and years have become the same. Transient flames pass by and form a soft, warm glow that highlights flecks of color on the background of life. Continue reading

Easy Peasy Japanese Pronunciation Guide

Foreign words can often be intimidating since we English speakers have no frame of reference when it comes to pronunciation. This guide is intended to alleviate the intimidation when it comes to Japanese words. After reading this guide, you will no longer feel self-conscience when ordering at a Japanese restaurant, pronouncing a Japanese person’s name, or talking about your favorite anime. Continue reading