The next logical step

Enterprising nerds of the world! I present to you a market opportunity! Based on my 5 minutes of research, the Stormtrooper wedding is seriously under-represented in the "Fan" weddings category! Seize this chance! Start a Star Wars wedding service and see all of your dreams come true!

It's interesting, and bolsters my theory that in the "Redshirt v. Stormtrooper" debate, the Stormtrooper has gained enormously in popularity over the last ten years. I attribute this entirely to our growing fascist society.

But in the wedding genre, Redshirts still clearly rule. If you'd like proof, contrast Star Trek weddings versus Star Wars weddings. A clear imbalance in numbers.

Which is probably decreasing by the week.


I do (I guess)

It's a trap! For her, I suspect.
"Fairy marries Tinkerbell"
The dowry was a 30 pack of Bud Light.

All that's missing is a shotgun. Pretty damn sad, actually - can you feel the love?

And that, dear readers, is where babies come from.


We are all the sum of everyone's issues

Born into a losing ticket in the parent lottery, from afar, it's easy to see how having horrible parents/childhood will create an adult with little chance for success or happiness. Rather, sadness, addiction, crime, violence, etc. And once an adult, this sad soul will proceed to fuck up whatever poor child happens to cross their path. And so it goes.

For all of human history, and no doubt before - our parent's issues getting imprinted onto their kids, who in turn imprint their issues onto the next generation. A cycle as old as consciousness. The cycle of suffering.

It is possible, however, to break it. You just have to start anew. To quote Yoda: "You must unlearn what you have learned". Unfortunately, that's pretty much everything.

And who has the time and/or the energy for that?!


Baby on board

Whee! I'm sure the kid is digging it; wonder what the po-lice might say?

I'm still waiting for my Segway future, by the way. Alas, given the nature of our infrastructure, and the ever more obtuse dimensions of the average American citizen, we need enclosed Segways with four wheels, and Ottomans, with mini-fridges, blinking lights, subwoofers, and somewhere to affix bumper stickers. Throw in an LCD TV and now were talking the new future of transportation. Till then, only Yuppies need apply.

Also, Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway and many other cool things) has a super sweet island off the coast of Long Island and IF there is ever a zombie apocalypse, it's one of my goto destinations. If I happen to be in the area during the zombie uprising. Wouldn't work for the robots, though - need something different for them.

Also Also: One of those "random" things: Just a co-incidence I posted about Segways when the owner of the Segway Corp (not Dean Kamen) just died by driving his Segway off a cliff. Jungian!


Familial Honor

Honor is such a loaded concept. It can cause people to perform heroic deeds of selflessness, but it can also cause a man to throw acid on the face of a woman. But then, perhaps that's the human condition in a nutshell.


There but for the grace of Gak

Kahless bless her heart - and I mean that sincerely. It takes a lot of self confidence and/or social retardation to dress up like this. And I applaud her for it, as I applaud all the nerds dressing up as fictional characters - for each of them have crossed the inner line that mocks and critiques. These courageous nerds have affirmed: "I don't care what they say. I'm dressing up as a Pink Klingon!"

Tyrants turned to trifles

Or is it truffles? Chocolate covered, but of course.


Pink Hitler (Fashion Fuhrer)

Behold a monster rendered ludicrous by color. Color, of course, is simply the wavelength of the photon hitting your eye, translated by your brain into "pink". Shorter wavelengths are "purple"; longest are "red". And all the other colors in between. Look at this complicated diagram!
And here's a far simpler diagram that shows the small slice of the overall energy - just at different wavelengths - we call "color":

Oh yeah. That pink hitler picture was from an actual ad campaign by a fashion something or rather in Italy:

The use of English in an Italian ad featuring Pink Hitler intrigues me.

A Moran Gallery (It could happen here)

Who would have thought the new face of American fascism would like this? Mean Girl Dictator? Make no mistake though - Sarah is the appointed figurehead of this growing fascist movement.
Which has plenty of loyal American followers:
Now, of course, even these despicable signs are well within the rights of the folks carrying them - free speech and all. What strikes me - over and over again - is this: 1. Where were these people when Bush was running up historical deficits, and actually curbing Constitutional rights? and 2. Remember whenever a Democrat criticized a Repuglican plan or policy? TREASON!!!! But now, it's A-OK to make the most debased claims against the Commander-in-Chief. Again, all within their rights - but does hypocrisy mean nothing to these morans?

Of course not. Cognitive Dissonance is their operational mode, at all times. There are no limits to the contradictory notions these folks can juggle in their confused heads.

And thus, facts don't matter, truth doesn't matter, all that matters, as always I might add, but so nakedly apparent here, is the "Will to Power".

This is a common phenomena in any Imperial enterprise, of course. The reasons for doing anything get lost, and all that remains is the unabashed desire for money and/or power.


Desecrations (of imaginary totems)

If you have a military background, or were in the Boy Scouts, or are otherwise a huge nerd (that's me!), you're familiar with the Flag Code. To wit - it's filled with rules and regulations on what you can and can't do with a flag. Prominent among these restrictions is a ban on using the flag as clothing. 

Alas! Much like Teabaggers understanding of the Constitution (they have none), you can assume anyone wearing a flag as a piece of clothing has no idea. About anything, most likely. Or they don't care - but how could that be? These are REAL 'MERICANS!


And here's a quote from the GOP Candidate for Congress from Delaware, Glenn Urquhart:

Do you know, where does this phrase separation of Church and State come from? Does anybody know? … Actually, that’s exactly, it was not in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. He was reassuring that the federal government wouldn’t trample on their religion. The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they’re Nazis.”

Clearly, another GOP Constitutional scholar.

The pogrom is just warming up!


The Soiling of Old Glory

April 5, 1976, Boston City Hall. This pic by Stanly Forman won him a Pulitzer. It shows proto-teabaggers attacking an African-American man on his way for business in City Hall.  One of the more ironic - and dynamic - pictures ever. Sad, though, of course, how easily we segregate ourselves, and then use perceived differences to ostracize and organize.

Nadir (Nay, Dear)

Boston City Hall Plaza, June 13, 2001 (before 9/11 changed everything). I did not take this picture, but I was at this rally - I challenge someone to name a more.. pitiful, abstract, and somehow wonderful rally.

Everyone was there because Ray Borque won the Stanley Cup playing for the Colorado Avalanche a few days earlier. Think of it - a rally for a dude on a different team. But consider the context - at this date, Boston had not won any title since 1986. So, all these poor sports fans were simply starved for something - anything, really - to celebrate. Now, I didn't really care about any of that - I was there because I worked right around the corner, a bunch of people from work were going, it was an awesome June day to skip out of work, and, really, I was in awe of the pitiful, pathetic nature of it all.

Sports - a charade, literally, our bread n' circus - stirs such primal, tribal feelings in people. It's religious in its fervor. I wanted to witness it, soak it all up, in person. Also, I wanted to see the Stanley Cup, mostly for the fascinating, totemistic qualities people have invested in it.

There's lessons there, future oppressors.

Also, look at all the white folks!


a poem eternal

Here's good old Carl holding what will most likely be one of the longest lasting artifacts of humanity. This plaque was attached to the spaceship Pioneer, currently heading towards the star Aldeberan. We lost contact with the tiny ambassador in 2003, and so now she's destined to silently float forever, unless there's an incredible stroke of bad luck (like .0001% chance). We're talking hundreds of millions of years, flying black out into the deep darkness.

As an example of what makes Carl the man, he and some fellows put together this plaque made of pure gold, which tells a little story about mankind. Here:

It is of course highly, highly unlikely (like a .0000001% chance) that anyone(thing?) will ever read this - that would assume aliens, our some futuristic, peace loving human explorers of the far distant future. But does that matter? It's a wonderful expression of the human spirit, of awe and wonder, dedication and curiosity. It's what makes us human.

For all our toil and grandeur here and in the days to come, it's far more likely all life will be wiped out on Earth than anything will ever happen to this plaque. All kinds of bad things could happen easily enough and, poof! All gone. But this golden plaque is safe as the safest house you ever knew. And thus, a poem eternal, floating in empty space, waiting for SOMEONE! to show up to the reading, forever...

Also, Boston City Hall - pretty futuristic on the outside. You'll be dissuaded of the notion, however, if you are ever unfortunate enough to visit an office inside.

Pixels in the Solar Wind

When I officially establish my new Religion (so close!) Carl Sagan will be one of the patron saints. In fact, this effort is largely inspired by the passion Sagan displayed towards all things science. It IS possible to maintain a sense of wonder, even of the mystical, while adhering rigorously to the Scientific principle. I mean, quite simply, if a Black Hole is not enough to convince you of the miraculous nature of our reality, what will? O right, some fairy tale about a stolen God... Boring!

Anyways, the quote above sums up much of my thoughts on the always interesting subject of "perspective". This picture was taken in large part because Sagan pushed for it, convincing otherwise skeptical NASA administrators it would be worth it. So, as Voyager 1 streamed well past Uranus (hehehe!), they turned the spaceship around and pointed it back at Earth - the pale blue dot above.

Here's some recent homages:

  Click for big - Earth and the Moon as seen from Mercury

 Earth, as seen from Saturn - we're in the upper right, magnified in the upper left.

This is a more complicated phenomena than it might appear on the surface. To wit, Religion placed Mankind as the center of the Universe - God made us in HIS image! But since science has come on the scene, our "place" in the Universe has been constantly demoted. From the Earth no longer being at the center of the Solar System (Copernicus) to the discovery of other Galaxies, the discovery of other planets, and so on, all the way to the Darwinian concept of Evolution - which states we're monkeys!

So, on the one hand, we realize we are just dust motes in the grand scheme of things. It might be depressing, but it's the truth. In fact, from this perspective, you can do away with any objective, external sense of "worth", and instead accept the Existentialist viewpoint: In a reality of no meaning, the only meaning that can exist is the meaning you create.

OR! You can deny it all, and live in a fantasy created by men over the years designed to enslave you, in the name of God - God has a plan for YOU, child.

The choice seems simple to me. I realize this is not the case with many others. What to do about it, however?

New Religion!


On the verge

This is beautiful Europa, moon of Jupiter, King of Planets. Like Enceladus, Europa's surface is frozen water ice, covering a deep liquid water ocean. However, unlike Enceladus, it does not appear to have any water volcanoes or other vents. No one knows for sure yet how thick this ice surface is - estimates range from a few miles to hundreds of miles. It's likely, in my opinion, that it's 9 miles thick. Approx.

I say this with confidence due to the discoloration on the surface - all that brown. What could that be? Once again, in my opinion - certainly not confirmed! - this is in fact life. 

Consider it for a moment, a "what if", if you will: What if you were looking at alien life on a foreign world, right here:

A close up of the surface - looks like veins, eh? And perhaps, metaphorically, it is, with life welling up from the ocean below and filling these cracks in the ice surface.

Again, this is only my thesis, but I am confident it will ultimately be proven correct (20 years from now?). And this is our next step, is it not? To join a solar system, a galaxy, a Universe of Life? To solve this grand mystery together?

Or to blast these aliens with the biggest lasers we can weild.

Regardless, consider it for a moment, evaluate what if this were true - this was actual, living Life, on Europa. What could be lurking in the warm ocean below?

And thus, we are on the verge of two momentous discoveries that when considered together will reveal a Universe teeming with Life: The first is the discovery of Earth-like planets around other stars, referenced below. The second, the discovery of alien (that is, of a 100% different genetic structure yet still "alive") life - even if it be rusty red microbes scraping a living on the underside of a giant Ice moon.

When I consider this, and all of the other wonders of our Reality that have been revealed to us via Science over the past 100 years, and the discoveries we are soon to make, I realize we are living in a golden age of human history, an epic moment of rapid evolution.  We are blessed to be living right now.

In my younger days, however, I thought the discovery of even microbial life on another planet would be enough to usher in a revolution in human kind. Alas, this past 20 years, 30 really, watching the Crazification of America, and thus the world, due to the evil workings of the vile Repuglicans and their enthralled minions, I've come to realize there is no fact that cannot be ignored, no Truth that cannot be denied. Indeed, it is entirely possible and perhaps even more likely to create a fantasy world, and live in that instead.

And so, sadly, for the majority perhaps, IF that were life in the surface ice of Europa, they'd shrug, if they even heard about it at all. I mean, is there really any lasting drama the 24-7 news entertainment industry can milk about this story? Nope. Any way to pin it negatively to Obama or the Democratic party or the Progressive mindset in general? Nope.

Thus, a blurb on page 11 of USA Today, then back to the latest Wingnut Poutrage.



Say hello to Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn. Its outer crust is water ice, and as discovered by the Cassini probe, it is filled with, and gushing, water.

And not just water, but complex organics too. Cassini flew through these plumes, and measured the following:

So, right here on this small moon, are the three basic ingredients required for life: Heat, water (liquid), and minerals (fuel).

The water which escapes from Enceladus instantly freezes in space, and then goes into orbit around Saturn, forming the outermost ring of Saturn, the E-Ring, as pictured here:

The takeaway here is water is actually plentiful in space. In fact, Earth - the so called "waterworld" - is a dry, barren world in terms of total water content as compared to the moons and planets of the outer solar system.

And where's there water - liquid water - there could be life. And there is no doubt there is liquid water below the surface of Enceladus. Thus....


Dione and Titan

In the foreground, Dione; in the background, mighty Titan. Both moons of Saturn, who has many moons. Titan is a wonder - a thick atmosphere obscures the surface, a surface which holds liquid flowing in rivers, streams, flowing into lakes, swelling in to the wind lapped oceans. This liquid is methane, but still, it represents the second of two planets with liquid flowing on the surface. The other being, Earth, of course.

You know, if we could (somehow) redirect all the military spending on Earth towards space travel, we would already have colonized the inner solar system. It is within our grasp right now, but our desire to fear our brothers and sisters causes us instead to gird our collective loins in nuclear girdles and robotic drawers. We easily - if we all chose - could be one people, exploring the solar system, instead of a collection of petty tribes bickering over a lemon tree.

As the Buddha might have said: Paradise is already here; we just have to realize it. 



This amazing picture (click for big) was taken by Cassini, which is currently orbiting Saturn and has been for some time (originally launched in 1989!). It shows a remarkable phenomena - a solar eclipse, except Saturn is the Eclipser, rather than the familiar Moon.

Amazing fact: It is pure co-incidence that we see full solar eclipses on Earth - no where else in our Solar System is it possible, and maybe no where else in our Galaxy, or heck, even our Universe (though I doubt that)! The lucky break is the moon is precisely the right size in relation to its distance to the sun to completely block out the sun when in eclipse.

Alas! The Moon is moving away from Earth every moment - about an inch and half per year. Consider! The Moon is 5 feet further away now than in 1970. Amazing, eh? Give that a few million more years, and eventually, the Moon will be so far away we will no longer get full Solar Eclipses on Earth.

So! Enjoy it while we can!

Islands in the Sun

Lookee here at the ISS and the Space Shuttle transiting in front of the sun - picture taken from earth based telescope. Of course, these two objects are in Earth orbit and not close to the sun at all, but as always - PERSPECTIVE!

Here's a magnification from a slightly different angle:
Pretty neato!

And for your moment of zen today, stop for a moment and consider that there's 3 people right now, floating above the Earth, orbiting the planet every 90 minutes or so. They live up there! Like some type of Gods.....


The Coolest Window in the Solar System

Coolest being a subjective term, I realize. Most expensive? Yes, I challenge anyone to find a more expensive window in the Solar System than this one - a recently added addition to the ISS. 

What a view! 

EDIT: After reflection, this is indeed the coolest window in the solar system, literally, since it's in space, and space is cold. So there!

Death Star Contractors

"Right Livelihood" - The Buddhist tenant that you are indeed responsible for the results of your efforts. For instance, say you are an Accounts Receivable person working on the Death Star. You, personally, are not killing or torturing anyone, but of course, you are supporting an enterprise which is - you are, in this view, just as morally culpable for any actions taken on your behalf.

By this logic, of course, every American is responsible for everything that happens in Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere else the American Empire is working these days - their works are our works, and each of us bears their weight.

So! What are the fruits of your labor, and can you be proud of them? Do you stand behind everything associated with your efforts?

Another example of "If everyone lived this way, the world would be paradise"



Hot for Empire

Would the Empire really call it "The Death Star"? Perhaps instead, "Defensive Orbital Platform" is a bit more innocuous? 
 Glorious! And for glory! Given the average life of quite desperation, why not sign up instead for the life of an anonymous footsoldier in service to an evil Empire? At least you'll get to "stick it to the LIEbruls!"
Hmm. How to convince someone to give their life to a cause from which they will receive nothing but suffering and death? I know! INCLUSION! You may just be lasercannon fodder, but we value you as lasercannon fodder. We NEED you, in fact! Cuz, Palpatine knows, we're not doing it ourselves!