Thursday, February 23, 2023

Robots Writing Blog Posts

I've been seeing the ad to the left on Facebook a lot. Blog posts written by robots! That's interesting.

I try to write a blog post once a week. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and have a few lined up. 

I can't imagine what a blog post written by AI would look like (probably less spelling errors). And I wonder what it costs (I'm sure it's not free). On their website (, They claim to have 3,000+ 5-star reviews. And they say, "Artificial intelligence makes it fast & easy to create content for your blog, social media, website, and more!"

There's an offer for 10,000 free words. But then they get into plans, the cheapest of which is $40 a month. But they try to upsell you to "Boss" level with is $82/month.

I'd almost like to try it, but I don't want to spend the money. 

Interestingly, an AI expert says that 90% of online content could be produced by A.I. by 2025. Which isn't far away.

And then there's ChatGPT, an AI chat bot. It's supposed to do amazing things. I just went there and was told it was "over capacity."

What do you think about blog posts written by AI or ChatGPT? Is this the future? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Charging More for Good Seats

When people wait in line for something, that's an inefficiency in the economy. It's a cost the consumer pays that the seller doesn't profit from. 

One example is waiting in line for movies to try to get good seats. I remember waiting in line for two hours to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in Seattle. I still got lousy seats because, apparently, I didn't start waiting in line early enough. 

My idea to reduce this inefficiency was have movie theaters charge more for opening days and then have the price of tickets reduced as the film was out more. That would mean people who really wanted to see it early would pay more to do so, and not have to wait in line as much if at all. 

Now, AMC Theaters is trying another idea: charge more for good seats.

This has met with universal derision on the news programs I've watched. Nobody seems to like this idea.

But I do. I'd gladly pay more for a good seat so I didn't have to wait in line for two or more hours. (Full: disclosure: the last time I waiting in line for a movie was Return of the King.) This would eliminate an inefficiency in the economy. To me it's a win-win. You don't want to pay more for a good seat,  you can sit in a not-so-good seat.

I would change this a bit, though. I would stop this pricing once the movie has been out for a while and there are no longer lines. When I show up for a movie and there's almost no one else there, I wouldn't want to pay more for a good seat.

What do you think of this idea? Good idea or bad? Let me know in the comments below.

(I put this under "science" because economics is called "the dismal science.")

Thursday, February 9, 2023

"Disposing" of Metallic Sodium

Metallic Sodium
There's a video on YouTube of Army engineers "disposing" of metallic sodium by dropping it in a lake in Eastern Washington after World War II. There's no mention of why the military had so much metallic sodium. I wonder if it had to do with the nuclear reactors built at the Hanford Site in south-central Washington. Liquid sodium metal is used as a coolant in more modern nuclear reactors.

The lake was Lake Lenore which is just off Highway 17 south of Grand Coulee and north of the town of Soap Lake

Watch the video, it's interesting.

When the sodium hits the water, it reacts violently as the metal gives up an electron easily (it has only one in its outer valence) to the water (which is normally not a very reactive substance).

The sodium and water reaction makes sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. Because the reaction is very exothermic, the hydrogen gas can ignite to react with the oxygen in the air to make more water. Here is the balanced formula of the sodium reaction (I can't do subscripts):

2Na(s) + 2H2O → 2NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

The (s) means "solid," the (aq) means "aqueous," and the (g) means "gas."

The hydrogen plus oxygen reaction looks like this:

2H2(g) + O2(g) → 2H2O

Interestingly, chlorine has only seven electrons in its outer valence. It wants eight to be stable. This is why chlorine is very reactive, too. When you combine it with sodium, it gains an electron from the sodium and they are both stable. This makes sodium chloride or table salt.

These days, Lake Lenore is stocked with fish and is a popular recreational spot. 

What do you think of the Army's method of disposal of metallic sodium. Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Evolution Messed Up!

Evolution messed up! At least with vertebrates.

Let me explain. There are two most vulnerable parts of the body: the heart and the brain. Now the heard is buried inside the chest and protected somewhat by the ribcage. But the brain... the brain is protected by a shell of bone (the skull) but it sticks out on top on the end of an appendage (the neck). And the neck, to be honest, isn't that tough. 

And, because the brain needs a lot of blood, and it is farther from the heart in the head, critical veins and arteries run through the neck. Not to mention nerves. 

Now, maybe evolution thought our eyes should be high up to see threats better. And, for some reason, wanted a short run of the optic nerves. (Actually, I read somewhere that the optic nerves and the retina are extensions of the brain.) So it put the brain high as possible. And, apparently this is helps with survival more than protecting the brain like the heart.

So maybe evolution didn't mess up. 

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.