Consider the Moon

The following from Bill O’Reilly distressed me.

“I’ll tell you why [religion’s] not a scam, in my opinion: tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication…It always comes in, and always goes out. You can’t explain that.”
Bill O’Reilly

Of course the tides can be explained. Google offers three million results for “what causes the tides.”  The Earth and the moon revolve around a common center of gravity.  Centrifugal force creates a bugle in the ocean that accounts for a high tide.  On the opposite side of the Earth, the  gravitational pull of the moon creates a second bulge , accounting for another high tide.  As the Earth rotates on its axis each day these two bulges circle the earth creating two high tides a day.

O’Rreilly’s misplaced confidence & shoddy workmanship

My distress come not from O’Reilly’ not understanding the moon’s effect on the ocean. I am sure he does stand alone in that failing. What distresses me is that he took on it on faith that he had his understanding of the tides was complete–that he knew that the the tides were unexplained. Furthermore he was so sure, so willing to express this view on TV without first taking two minutes to research it or ask some productions assistant to check it out. That is a frightening amount of confidence about a subject he is clearly not familiar with.

When I first read about his comment I thought maybe it was an off-the-cuff remark that just came to him while taping. But the clip indicates he had plenty of opportunity to prepare. The topic of the segment was atheism and this point–the inexplicable tides–was his main argument for the existence of god. God should get a better pitchman.

To be fair, a few minutes before making his comment about the tides, O’Reilly warned the viewers by admitting he is not “the smartest guy in town.”

International Linguistic Magic

Arthur C. Clarke formulated three “laws” of prediction.  My favorite is:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

This video for a new translation app for iPhone/iPod Touch is magic.  It seems too good to be true I am shocked that this technology exists,  let alone can fit in a $200 hand held.  Oh and it is a free app.

Check out Word Lens on iTunes.

“Please Vote For Me”

“Please Vote For Me”

Hood To Coast Video

This August my friends and I ran the Hood to Coast Relay race.  I put together a video of our experience.

An MP4 version. (High Resolution; 64mbs)

And a shorter version I made on my iPhone on the way back to Portland. (High Resolution; 106mbs)

Hood to Coast

See the complete collection at Flickr.

How to copy voicemails from your iPhone to your Mac

Sometimes you receive a really great voice mail from a friend or a loved one that you want to preserve or share. Getting off your iPhone can be real pain. Lifehacker instructs you to jailbreak your iPhone or use and audio out cable. Both of these methods are less than ideal. Jailbreaking may void your warranty and in this digital age an analog transfer is weak sauce. The best solution I have found is pretty quick and all digital. It retrieves actual voice mail file from the backup of your phone made by iTunes. Using Pádraig’s iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor, voice mails can be easily extracted. Below is an overview of the process followed by a quick screencast walkthrough.

  1. Download the free iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor.
  2. Make a small donation to Pádraig.
  3. Sync your iPhone.  Note that if you encrypt your  iPhone backups, you will not be able to extract the voicemails.
  4. Launch iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor.
  5. Click Read Backups and select the backup that contains the voicemail you want to extract. For most people there will only be one backup to choose. Only people with multiple phones will have to choose the correct backup. For them the name of the phone and the date of the last backup will help.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the list of Application Names that appears, select iPhone OS Files, and click Extract.
  7. Switch to the Finder and navigate to the folder into which you extracted the iPhone OS Files.
  8. Your voicemails are in iPhone OS Files/Library/Voicemail/.
  9. The voicemails are numbered files with the file extension .amr. Quicktime will open an play them. iTunes won’t.

If you have any suggestions or improvements for copying voicemails from an iPhone please let me know.