Fear and Loathing at SciFiComCon

Green skin AND red shirt - time to go pro.

History is written by the victors

Fun fact to know and share: There were two versions of the famous Godzilla v. King Kong movie of 1962; one for Japanese distribution, in which Godzilla won; the other for American distribution, in which King Kong does.

I think we can all learn a lesson from this.


Gold Man was here

I do not envy Gold Man as he painted that far side.

A Fighting Force of Extraordinary Magnitude

Obama and I now have the same Black Belt. Better all check yourselves. Yo.

Fun fact: In South Korea, you can go to college and major in Tae Kwan Do. Doesn't seem fair to me - they're so much better!


What up, dog?

Just chilling.

By the by, this image is iconic in certain parts of the web.  For  good reason - it's hilarious.

Was Jesus more like a Vampire or a Zombie?

A difficult question with no simple answer. Plenty of work left for future theologians.



Be careful what you wish for

Remember that story "The Monkey Paw" or whatever it was called? Yeah.


There's a faction of anti-government folks who may seem aligned with the Teabaggers, and may pull common cause for a while with said Teabaggers, but are not Teabaggers. Generally. The Ron Paul Horde. They're all fairly crazy, and are really just against everything. Which I can respect as a cohesive philosophy, but have to chuckle at in practice.

They also had a blimp at one point. Also. 

Concern Troll is Concerned

I've said it before, I'll say it plenty of times in the days to come: I loves the interweb! So many fascinating phenomena. Fer instance, The Troll - a person who exists on the internet to get some kind of rise out of a specific audience. 

I only came to realize what a troll was via the interent, but the truth is that Trolls have always existed. It's just much, much harder to pull off that BS in person than anonymously via the intertubes. Example: Socrates is one of the greatest trolls in history.

There are many forms of trolls, and many techniques, but they usually all can be dealt with in one of two ways successfully: Ignore them, or mock them relentlessly. That's it. Any attempt to actually discuss, persuade, or even compel a troll will almost always meet with failure, and it is far, far, far more likely you are simply playing their game -- giving them what they want - by trying. So my very considered and wise advice is: Don't feed the trolls!

The Concern Troll is a type, a very interesting type in our new media age. The Concern Troll has actually gone mainstream and there are many occupying global media positions. Example: Almost anything you read from Karl Rove these days are examples of a Concern Troll in action. He'll write some Op-Ed for the WSJ warning the Democrats not to get caught up in this healthcare debate lest they lose congressional seats in 2010 - HEAVEN FORFEND! You know Karl would hate to see that, right?

Thus, a Concern Troll: A troll who's main technique is to employ insincere concern for the group he's actually targeting. 

Also, this: 


Man saves bear

True tale. They had tranqued her and then she ran in the water, to collapse. Nice man here swam out and dragged the bear back, where she was revived successfully. No word if the man later married the bear, though it might be irresponsible not to speculate.

The Church of 4th and Inches

You're this close to Salvation; are you going to go for it?

Funny note! I tried to start an internet meme way back in 1998 with "The Church of 4th and Inches". I composed a fake funny religion and wrote it up in a concise email. I then got about 300-400 email addresses from various "sources (Thanks!)", and sent out the missive. To little effect. In fact, of the handful of responses I got, this was by far the most common response: "Who are you? How did you get my email address? How dare you email me if I don't know you! Don't ever do it again.", which, fair enough. But hilarious, given the soon to come wave of Spam that would drown everyone.

Anyways, if you're interested in joining the Church of 4th and Inches, enquire within.


Join The Snuggie Crusade

Oh savage Wolf, humiliated so.

We Would Be Honored If You Would Join Us

The Last Supper was on a Thursday, apparently. From this we get the ancient tradition of "Thirsty Thursdays" with discounted bar snacks.

I'm Gonna Stay Away From You, Suckas

Really - this is an actual photo (false color) of squid suction cups. Taken through a microscope. I know, I know, looks fake. But it's real. And yes, terrifying.

Remember: The Macro is mirrored in the Micro, and vice versa.

Thar's Water In Those Thar Hills!

Well, apparently our WAR ON THE MOOON was more successful than initial - and lame - reports indicated. Apparently, in this close up here, you can see the white poofy cloud in the depths of the shadows. Water, NASA tells us.

There are actually two possible sources of water on the moon - in old craters like the one above, that have not had any direct sunlight for a loooong time; and 2. in the the lunar soil itself, everywhere. It's theorized the water could be mined out of the soil, but that would be a big effort.

So, for whatever it's worth - not much, it seems - yay! Water on the moon, which makes it much more theoretically feasible that we will one day colonize. Maybe in 2212.

Revenge Of The Ice Queen

With the immanent Oprah broadcast and "Goin' Rouge!" book release, it looks to be "Alot of Sarah, alot of the time". Joy! You might want to stay away from tv/interwebs for a week or so.

Personally, I'm with Levi - start dishin' boy!


Let's Check The Bible, Jim

Ms. Prejean gave a hard-hitting interview to "Christianity Today" and had this to say about her breast implants:

No, I don't think there's anything wrong with getting breast implants as a Christian. I think it's a personal decision. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn't get breast implants.
So, now that that matter is settled....

Let Us Beat Deathstars Into Plowshares

You can take the helmet off now, Soldier.


Armistice Day - 1111

“I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
“It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
“Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ day is not.
“So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
“What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
“And all music is.”

- Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions 

1111 Never Forget

There are FOUR freaks!

I don't want to see Snuffleupagus.

Only a matter of time

Maine got a lot of grief this last week, due to voting down Gay Marriage. But don't blame Maine -- what other civil rights question would you like to put to voters and see if they reject it? Women voting? African American civil rights? Legal Immigration? Point is, civil rights shouldn't be up for a vote. They should be Rights.

Anyways! Two great things did come out of the election in Maine last week: A voting down of anti-tax program which is a darling to the Sophisticated Teabagging set (read: Grover Norquist), and, best of all, legalization of state approved marijuana dispensaries. Maine now has the most liberal marijuana laws in the land, bypassing California with this latest act. It's a huge deal - it allows folks to sell medical marijuana from stores, all licensed by the state. It also expands the list of conditions covered, and protects against discrimination due to the activity. It's not complete legalization of course, but it's getting closer.

And this is the point: The War on Drugs has been as damaging and destructive - more so probably - than any other "war" in America's history. I don't say that lightly. It's put countless hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people in jail, around the world, spread violence and death wherever enforcement goes, enslaved millions more to suffer the pains of addiction with little legal option, but most of all, it has corrupted our laws, our police, our governments, and in turn much of the rest of the world. Have you seen your typical cop these days? He's closer to a Stormtrooper than Andy Griffith. 

We've lost our freedoms and part of the very idea of what it is to be American, all to deny someone else the freedom to get high, or whatever. It's the worst strain of Puritan meddling, and it has no place in what is supposed to be the land of the free. And to be clear: It's not about the drugs. It's about the principle of whether you should be free to do what you want as long as it harms no one else.

Are you?


Let This Be Our Final Battle

One can hope, at least.

Ten quid on the Pterodactyls if there's any wagering to be had.  

For Your Entertainment

When in Rome, you might as well race lions around spherical tracks.

Indubitably more dangerous

So, mobile phones. I hate 'em, but I'm a bit grumpy like that. However, mobile phone use while driving is outright dangerous. Here's a brief blurb from a driving and talking study done in 2006:

Motorists who talked on either handheld or hands-free cell phones drove slightly slower, were 9 percent slower to hit the brakes, displayed 24 percent more variation in following distance as their attention switched between driving and conversing, were 19 percent slower to resume normal speed after braking and were more likely to crash. Three study participants rear-ended the pace car. All were talking on cell phones. None were drunk.
The conclusion was, talking on your mobile while driving is as dangerous as being drunk while driving. We all know by now how dangerous drunk driving is; and yet, people around the world are blabbing away on mobiles, oblivious in part to their surroundings. This leads me to the following:

1. It's not me! I've been going a bit crazy while driving (more later), for a variety of reasons, one of them being I don't recall people driving this badly in the past. But I have to doubt that kind of recollection, as it can be tinged or influenced by a variety of factors. However, given that I learned to drive in the mid 80's, did a good deal of driving up to 1994, and then stopped driving for the most part till 2007, and now am full time again, it occurred to me I missed the introduction of the mobile phone on the roads, and now deal with it at full strength. So, given that a mobile phone user is just like a drunk, then yes, objectively, people are much worse drivers now, and driving is more dangerous.

2. Also, I'm convinced there's an evolutionary effect going on with mobile phones. To wit: Our brains are not designed to carry on a conversation with someone who is not there. It causes our mind to attempt to create them and their surroundings, mentally. This act perforce takes away your concentration on the here and now. Which is fine if you're in your living room; not so fine when you're speeding along at 75MPH. I've seen my first scientific study partially confirming this thesis, but I can't find it to link to it right now, so trust me. I believe I'm right.

3. Remember: A car is not a toy. In fact, it's likely you will do nothing more dangerous today or any other day than drive. So take it seriously!

Old Man Redshirt, signing out.


Attack of the Giant Rubber Duckies

They'll find you, eventually, provided you're near some large body of water....


Fire on those Rival Taggers

When in Rome!

Also about Fire

Fun fact to know and share: Fire on earth is roughly only 500 million years old, dating back to the point in Earth's development when there was enough oxygen in the atmosphere to sustain the reaction. Now, no doubt there was fire on Earth before this period, but it would have been quickly snuffed out. Only when the oxygen content hit a certain percentage - and this was based entirely on the amount of plant material on Earth (as, most of the oxygen on earth comes from plants)  - could fire burn freely. This is all established in the fossil record, as prior to 500 million years ago, there is no evidence of charcoal.

Which makes me think there must have been some magic moment, a tipping point, when the first fire caught and then spread, and fire was truly born on earth. Let's pretend that happened 500 million years ago today.


Fire is Life

In my new religion - to be revealed in the fullness of time - we have a saying: Fire is Life. Meaning, life is "to burn". All life is a fire, consuming anything given to it, and dying when the "fire pyramid" breaks down (fuel - heat - oxygen). The very cellular processes that make us up could be described as "fire", since their purpose is to take fuel and "burn" it, converting it to energy. Consider glucose, for example, and the role it plays in our functioning.

By this same logic, of course, fire is alive. I challenge anyone to tell me how fire is NOT alive. It's born, it eats, it reproduces, it dies. 

And to conclude this Friday Philosophy, the answer to the question: What is fire, what is life? Is: An oxidation process.

Think about it: In the vastness of the universe, with matter, energy, gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear forces, etc, what is life? My answer is: A chemical reaction, an oxidation process.



Space Hotel Maitre'D

According to some PR flack, this here Space Hotel is slated to open up in the great year 2012. I would put the odds of that at 1%, but I'm rooting for you, Space Maitre'D!

It's a cool concept, and one I bet catches on in future space craft: Inflatables. You lift the deflated structure into space, then inflate it to full size. Given the hybrid rubber/plastic/nano materials available, it can actually be quite stronger than spaceships today, which are litterally as thick as a couple of soda cans.

Inflatables will be big on any Moon/Mars base... but who am I kidding? We have better odds of regressing to a Puritanical Luddite society than a space faring one, these days at least.


Now I know how the Pilgrims felt....

You've no doubt read by now in the "real" news how Obama suffered a big defeat last night, or how this election is a sign the GOP is on the rise, or how Health Care Reform is now in danger...

Judge them by their words - pay attention who spins things this way. For, while no doubt the Democratic party lost two Governor elections to their Republican opponents, and that can be spun as "good" news, it's not critically important either. Rather, Democrats picked up 2 seats in Congress last night, including the highly contested seat in NY-23 which, get this, had not voted Democratic since 1871. 1871! And yet now, because of the TeaBaggers, they have a newly minted D representing them. Fun fact: North of Pennsylvania (i.e. NY and New England) there are 57 congressional seats, 55 of whom are Democrats.

And so, the Teabaggers were able to force out a moderate GOP rep who probably would have won and replaced her with a Glenn Back Teabaggin acolyte who lost. But they are claiming it as a victory! And maybe it is, from their insane perspective, since news just broke that the NRSC - the National Republican club which backs Republicans in primaries and elections with money and support, will no longer back candidates in primaries. This is an amazing deveolpment and essentially gives the Teabagger (Via the "Club for Growth) a blank check to attack everyone they deem "moderate".

So the purity purges will continue. The next super fun election will be Florida senate race, specifically the Republican primary. Watch to see if the somewhat reasonable Charlie Crist (current Gov of FL) can defeat raging wingnut Marc Rubio. It will be a harbinger.

To wit: Expect more craziness in the short to mid term, with possible long term positive resolution (that is, the GOP has been destroyed, or so reformed that they no longer resemble today's party). 

Form is Emptiness, cont.

The old Buddhist maxim: Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form. Its one of the foundational concepts of Buddhism, and can be difficult to fully grasp. I'm not sure I do, even to this day, even after decades of thinking about it.

But look at this here picture of a Helium atom. Some key concepts to realize, about our reality: According to quantum physics, there are no concrete and tangible "things" in this picture. There are just probabilities that a molecule will be in a certain place at a certain time - witness the "cloud" around the central nucleus - it's not an electron shell or wall, but rather a range of electrically charged orbits.

Consider also the vast emptiness contained within each atom -- atoms are, by far, mostly empty space. That is, the very thing that builds up everything we are and see around us are by far, empty spaces. This vast emptiness is mirrored on the macro scales in the distances between stars, between galaxies, between galaxy clusters, and so on till no doubt we're talking about vast, vast, vast distances between different universes.... and this is all within our "dimension" - there could be many, many (infinite?) more.

Finally, consider that matter is simply highly compacted energy (E=Mc2). 

I could go on and on and on, and even then I know I'm missing something. To wit, however: Some 2500 years ago, The Buddha and his Buds somehow understood the very foundations of physics, of our reality, and our place in it. 

It's inspiring.


Where my holograms at?

I've been patient enough: Where the hell are all the holograms? And flying cars?! And moon bases?! DAMN YOU SCIENCE YOU OWE ME!!!!


Purity Patrol is in Pursuit

Some fun updates from the heated contest in NY-23. Dede Scozzafava (R) dropped out of the race this weekend, and at first was non-committal about what her supporters should do, but then on Sunday came out in support of the Democratic candidate in the race (Owen). The Offical RNC had backed Scozzafava, as did a few big name Rethugs, but plenty more came out in support of the Conservative Party candidate in the election, a creepy wingnut named Hoffman. Now that the (R) is out, the official RNC and laughable poster boy Michael Steele, as well as embarassed Newt, have swung their support to the Teabagger.

Who knows who will win -- it's a heavily conservative district that has voted Republican for about 120 years. Regardless, the Teabag/Wingnut/Nutjob Fundie takeover of the Repuglican party is now official and complete -- that is the only way to describe these events, where an actual Republican candidate is hounded out of running by Right Wing Nutjobs. The loathsome Michelle Malkin described Dede as a "radical leftist".

It's all so hilarious, the destruction these fools wage upon themselves in the name of ideological purity -- purity to an ideology that is dissonant in the extreme and makes no logical sense! That is, it's hilarious when these fools destroy themselves. Not so funny to consider they were running the nation just a short time ago, wreaking the same destruction on America and the world.

Also, to once again show how brilliant Obama is: There is an election in NY-23 only because Obama appointed the sitting Representative from NY-23, a REPUBLICAN, as Secretary of the Army (or something like that). That appointment directly caused this special election which in turn has shown a deep and seemingly unbridgeable rift in the Repuglican Party.

So you know,  I think this is going to go all "Way of The Whigs".



Everythin's biggah in Tejas, Hoss!

Click pic for biggerness.