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Why We Are NOT In a Video Game - A Response to Elon Musk
Category: Misc.
Tags: elon musk computer simulation

(This past June, during some downtime at a NJ campground we were visiting, my 11-year-old daughter was perusing my Kindle for something to read, when she came across an article I had read and had been pondering. In it, Elon Musk puts forth the notion that, in all likelihood, our “reality” is actually a very sophisticated computer simulation. My daughter was interested enough in the idea to read through the article, consider it, and formulate her own opinion on the subject. “How about writing down your thoughts?” I suggested. “Okay,” she replied.


So, in the spirit of thought experimentation, my daughter adds her voice to those of others contemplating the nature of our existence. Are we living in a computer simulation? Makes for an interesting writing prompt or topic of discussion or debate -- or to just get you thinking).


by Anna

Elon Musk stated that we might be in a video game. Though he may seem to have some good points, I have some ideas that contradict what he says.

“Rapid advancements in video game technology mean we’ve moved from Pong to augmented reality in a short span of decades. We’ve moved so quickly, and tech has advanced so much, our own reality might not be distinguishable from a simulation. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will become indistinguishable from reality.

Though at first this seems like a valid point, if you look closer into this there is a very obvious flaw in this idea. Though video games have been progressing rapidly during the last few decades, video games could never truly look so realistic that it isn’t distinguishable from reality. The reason of this is because of pixels.

(how digital images work)

Though they can make things look very realistic, they can never make something so complex look real. This is because of atoms. They’re so precise and small, that they keep the entire world together, without being seen with the naked eye. If you look closely at any electronic screen you have, you can actually see each individual pixel. If you try seeing each atom in the real world with no aid for your eye, you can’t. They’re much too small to see. There are more atoms in your pinky finger than pixels on a screen. That means your pinky finger is actually more detailed than anything on a computer. If that’s so, how would something like a video game be so detailed, that it could look like it’s real? It couldn’t, as long as we still use pixels. If we tried improving to the point it would look like reality, it wouldn’t work. Even if we tried to put something like atoms into a video game, it would fail. For instance, instead of square pixels, you would put circles, just like the shape of atoms. That would probably be the only way to improve it to look more realistic. However, circles don’t fit together perfectly as squares do. You would have to keep putting more and more circles between the gaps, which would virtually go on forever. That would mean we will probably never achieve the standards to make it look realistic.


(Click here for more free resources on atoms and elements.)

“Quick. Stop what you’re doing and look around. Everything you see, think and feel is fake. You’re living in a video game coded by intellectually elite robot overlords.”

If what I previously said was true, then the world would be way too precise to just put in a video game. Even if there was some intellectually elite master race, I doubt they would be advanced so much as they would be able to fit atoms to actually create an entire universe, let alone the world. Even if they were advanced enough, it would probably be too much effort only to be put into a video game. Also, why put an entire gigantic world of human beings into a video game? Every human being has their own DNA, their own personality, their own looks. And why put space in this video game? Every star has its own size, color, and temperature. There are billions of very detailed stars in the universe. There are also different planets, galaxies, everything that you can think of has too much detail. This also seems like it would be too much trouble to put in a video game. Thus, the world cannot be a video game. It’s much too detailed even for a master race.

You may also like: 58 Sci-Fi Writing Prompts

Happy Independence Day, America!
Category: Misc.
Tags: 4th of july fourth of july independence day independence day holiday 4th of july holiday

American Revolution: Free resources and activities for exploring the causes, plus a grade 4 reader and activity book, additional history readers, and links to animations and games.

Oh, say can you see: This unit on “The Star Spangled Banner” is comprised of two parts: the origin of the anthem, and the symbolism of the flag. Discuss importance of the flag, what it means, how the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” match real events. There are a lot of resources here to cover the topic broadly or as in depth as you like, with background on the War of 1812, and links to additional image, document and web resources such as Smithsonian’s “Star Spangled Banner” site.

War of 1812: Grade 2 Reader: Begins with a pictorial timeline of the founding of the U.S., and ends with chapters on the National Anthem and Dolley Madison, and a glossary.

4th of July Binary Bracelets: Use different color beads to represent “0,” “1,”, and “space” to encode our nation’s birthday into a wrist band. In so doing, learn how to change base 10 numbers into binary. Make  more personalized bracelets by encoding individual birthdays or ages.

Anatomy of fireworks  interactive from Nova

WatchKnow 4th of July Videos 

4th of July Jokes, Facts, Games

Tribute to Moms
Category: Misc.
Tags: happy mothers day mothers day quotes mothers day sayings mothers day ideas

* Mother’s Day, observed on the second Sunday in May, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

* Celebrated Around the World: Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries.

* Tributes to Mom:

   ** Gifts for Mother’s Day that Americans spend the most on include cards, flowers and dinners out.

  ** Let’s hear it for Mom! A traditional way to show appreciation is with loud and hearty clapping of hands, a custom that goes back at least to Roman times. Roman citizens applauded speeches and dramatic performances they liked. In England, those in the British Parliament approved of what someone was saying by shouting, “Hear him! Hear him!” (The shortened form, “Hear, hear,” we still use today). So, let’s all shout, “Hooray for Mom,” and give her a well-deserved round of applause.

 **A toast! How about raising our glasses and saying some nice words honoring Mom. It’s an idea that dates back to the Romans, who spiked glasses of wine with spiced toast during special ceremonies to pledge friendship. The toast enhanced the flavor of the wine by making it sweeter. This Mother’s Day, be sure to make your Mom the “toast of the town,” an 18th century custom that entails drinking to the health of a celebrated person – who better than Mom? 

* “Elbows off the table!” (and other well-worn platitudes): It’s generally considered proper etiquette to keep one’s elbows off the table during dinner, but the origin of this custom wasn’t necessarily about manners. According to one explanation, during medieval times, the common people were so eager to take advantage of an opportunity to dine at court, that they would pack themselves shoulder to shoulder on long wooden benches, leaving little room for arms on the table. Even today, following this rule can keep errant elbows from knocking over glasses and bowls, and creates more personal space. So Mom’s not really being a nudge. She’s just being practical. 

Other Classic Mom-isms There are many -- and many variations -- but these are some of my Mom’s personal favorites:

 Keep your wits about you!

You’ll get rickets! (if we didn’t eat our vegetables)

You’re not going out with me looking like that.

Because I SAID so!

Oh, fiddlesticks! Or Hells Bells! (to express frustration)

Finish your food; there are children starving all over the world.

This room is a pigsty.

When I was a kid, I had to walk miles through the deep snow to get to school.

What, you expect to be entertained 24 hours a day? (if we said we were bored)

This isn’t the Waldorf, you know.

Dont sit too close to the TV; it’ll ruin your eyes.

Let’s face it, if it hadn’t been for our mothers, we’d all have been standing in the middle of the street, talking to strangers, without our jackets. 

* “Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother.” (Beverly Jones) Hey, Mom. Aren’t you glad that methods of cleaning clothes have progressed? Throughout dirty laundry history, Moms have done everything from pounding clothes against the rocks in a river, to dragging clothes through the seawater while riding in a boat. Not to mention washboards and all of that scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing. Talk about labor intensive. Fully automated washing machines finally came along in the 1930s and 1940s – and a new day dawned. 

* The Old Gray Mare: If your mom colors her hair, she’ll be interested to know that particular element of her beauty regimen dates back to the Assyrians, circa 1500 B.C. Like the ancients, if Mom wants to employ natural dye methods, she can use what the Greeks used: yellow pollen, flour, or gold dust for blond. For brunette, she can try a Roman concoction made of boiled leeks and walnut shells. More daring Moms might want to sport the bright hair hues most often associated with 1980s punk rockers -- but the Saxons actually did this first, dying their hair red, green, orange and sky blue. 

* “Mama-mia, that’s a spicy meatball.” (1969 Alka-Seltzer ad slogan):  Just like “comfort” is associated with Mom, “comfort food” is associated with Mom’s Kitchen – or sometimes, Grandmom’s Kitchen. Those family recipes passed down from generation to generation. Just to smell them cooking takes you back to some warm, childhood memory – relieving pain, providing a sense of well-being. Kudos to all our moms who keep us nurtured and nourished – even if some of their meals, at times, result in some minor indigestion. 

“I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.” –Terry Gullemets

 Thank-you, Mom. And Happy Mother’s Day.

Much of the information on customs came from a cool book I checked out at the library: An Uncommon History of Common Things

 Fun book to read with the kids.  


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