Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Fermi Paradox

Representation of the Milky Way. The approximate location of the Sun is noted.
*Check out the companion video too:*

Hey everyone. The Fermi Paradox, for those who do not know, is based around the idea that since our Galaxy is so old, advanced civilizations should have colonized it in its entirety by now.

Even though it would take a while to traverse the galaxy at sub-light speeds, it would still be possible given enough time, say millions of years. Over generations, an advanced civilization could theoretically develop an autonomous machine (usually called a "Von Neumann Probe") that would travel to nearby solar systems, collect resources, and duplicate itself. Then the original and its clones would journey to other solar systems, and the process would continue.

As you can see, this system grows exponentially and over a million years much of the galaxy would be explored or visited by these machines. The question then is why this has not occurred yet, as the universe had already existed for billions of years by the time life on Earth developed. Indeed, you would think that during that time some sort of civilization would have arisen and colonized the Milky Way.

Various theories have been proposed as to why we see no evidence of such an alien race. Some say that we truly are alone in the universe, others that we as humanity are one of the first intelligent species to arise in all of space, and therefore perhaps we will be the ones to launch probes and create an interstellar empire.

There are others ideas as well. Some state that a Galactic Alien Empire exists, but intentionally inhibits our ability to detect or make contact with them. In other words they either don't want to deal with us or do not want to meddle in our development. This is normally referred to as the zoo theory, for obvious reasons.

Then there are more sinister theories, such as those that state that the reason we do not detect life is because there is a malevolent force out that that intentionally eliminates it. The less horrific and Lovecraftian version of this theory is that there are just natural occurrences (such as gamma ray bursts) in the universe that eliminate intelligent life before it ever develops far enough to truly form any sort of Galactic Civilization.

Either way, whatever the answer to this paradox, the day we discover the truth will be earth shattering indeed. Pardon the pun.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mike Brown = Train Wreck, Part Two

Well it's obvious with the Lakers game going on right now that my last post did not fully address the absolutely pathetic coaching abilities of Mike Brown.

Currently the Lakers are playing the Suns (it is half time right now) and already a couple of Mike Brown's disastrous coaching tendencies have revealed themselves. For starters, he continues to play the disgustingly poor backup point guard Steve Blake an excessive amount of minutes. The Lakers' standout acquisition at the trade deadline, Ramon Sessions, was iced on the bench for nearly 10 minutes while Blake traipsed around the court playing matador defense and a form of offense so horrible that I cannot even properly describe it without the veins in my forehead bursting open.

To make matters worse, Mike Brown continues to play the now infamous lineup of Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, and Matt Barnes. To give you an understanding of what exactly that entails, imagine if NASA sent up three plumbers to man the rocket that landed on the moon. Insane right? If you envision Peace/Blake/Barnes as the plumbers then you can begin to understand how incredibly bad this group is on the court.

Furthermore, with Kobe out of the game tonight, you would expect that the only other Shooting Guard on the team (the aforementioned Andrew Goudelock) would get some playing time. You'd be wrong.

Instead, Mike Brown continues to keep Drew in the doghouse in favor of players like Steve Blake. It truly is a shame that the Lakers' prime scoring option on the bench (this isn't really much of a compliment in reality but it is true nonetheless) is being disrespected in this manner.

In closing, Mike Brown is a terrible coach due to his love for Steve Blake, his adoration for insanely ineffective lineups, and his continued benching of effective scoring options like Goudelock. It is safe to say that the majority of Lakers fans feel as if they could coach this team better at this point (and I am one of them).

An NBA coach making over four million dollars a year should never garner criticism such as this if he is truly worth that amount of money.

Mike Brown = Train Wreck

After watching several Lakers losses it is relatively safe to say that Mike Brown is one of the more inept coaches in the NBA.

Despite making a staggering $4.5 million dollars in salary and beating out proven coaches such as Rick Adelman and others for the job, Brown has shown zero ability up to this point of living up to his paycheck.

One of my main critiques for Brown is his incessant lack of awareness when it comes to player rotations. Instead of playing his best players and matching up to the opposing team in an effective manner, Brown sees it fit to stick to an asinine rotation that he formulates before any action occurs on the court, and which he sticks to despite how poorly it performs.

Another of Brown's limitations is his inability to get the most out of his team. By this, I mean the bench mainly. The Lakers have one of the worst second units in the league due to a few very simple reasons:

Goudelock (left) and Brown (right).
One, Mike Brown insists on icing Andrew Goudelock, his best scorer off of the bench in favor of Steve Blake, who is one of the most unproductive, timid, and incompetent players in the NBA.

Two, Mike Brown doesn't match up bench players with starters who they would be most effective with. In other words, Ramon Sessions and Matt Barnes. Also, Pau Gasol and Josh Mcroberts have decent chemistry together but the latter is usually benched in favor of Troy Murphy.

I am not saying that playing Goudelock more often and pairing Sessions and Barnes makes a great bench. What I am saying is that there are obvious tweaks that Mike Brown could implement to get more out of his second unit, which for some reason he is neglecting to do. 

Until these changes are made (or better yet Mike Brown is fired and replaced), the Lakers will be inhibited in their ability to win a championship this year.

**For more on this subject, head to the second part of this article using the link below**

About The Author

My photo
Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.