Crimes Against Humanity

Truly, of all the horrors America has unleashed upon the world, and there are many (and there are many wonders too - America is a land of EXTREMES!!!), Jersey Shore ranks among the worst. Perhaps THE worst. Sorry, World.


Hobbies are Habits

We are mostly creatures of habit, especially as we get older. Routines settle over the years, ways of thinking, ways of feeling, ways of acting in specific situations. This can form a huge rut that is difficult to dig out of. Or, one can "keep it fresh", and trod new ground, new sights, new sounds, and I posit this is the difference between being "young" or "old". Note! You can be old while young - old in mind, old in outlook - or young while old, or some mixture of both (of course). It's all a matter of your perspective.

Habits are the way we form our minds - we are mostly creatures of habits. We have some say in the deal, but it takes effort, will, constant application of energy, and it's oh so tempting and easy to give up, let go, settle down nearer the LCD.  Why not, right? But this is the secret of a good life, right here, so listen up!

We are our habits. Make them good, and you can reasonably expect a good life (there's always bad luck and loss and disappointment, but what are you going to do?); make them bad, make them lazy, self destructive, self defeatist, self denying, then, well, it seems equally reasonable to expect negative results. Thus, you are the author of your life, so write if you want to write, or let it be written for you.

A hobby is a habit, by definition. It requires attention, positive repetition (if you enjoy your hobby) and a focus on concepts out of your normal day-to-day. If your hobby is good, therefore, you can expect an equally good return for your time, not just enjoyment in the moment, but in the quality of your life. 

Are there any bad hobbies? If these guys above have wives, or girlfriends, or Mothers paying the bills, think they think this is a good hobby?

Also too: Check out the etymology of the word "hobby".


Tribal Beats

Thesis: Tribal allegiances allow cognitive dissonances to flourish with little impediment, since support of the Tribe - whatever it's for - trumps all other considerations. 

I view "tribalism" in all its many flavors as one of humanity's greatest burdens. It served us well, way back in the day, but now it seems only useful for violence and hate, to pit one group against another. In fact, one could see the whole of human history as the story of a Tribe, and the expansion of the definition of tribe. America, for instance, is a polyglot hodgepodge of different races, religions, regions, etc. But, due to effective mythology, we're bound up in a tribe called "America", and this, ultimately, allows all the other dissonances to be subsumed, though we all know they're still there. 

So, the goal for a hopeful future is quite clear: Expand the definition of Tribe. An alien invasion would be very helpful towards this goal! 

Let's take a tour of one of the sub-tribes of America: The Wingnuts:

Note the many references to putting things in one's ass. No projection here, I'm sure!
 "Palin-Coulter 2012". For real, I assume. Ha! If I thought that were in any way possible, I'd start buying Mayan Futures stat.
 Just for reference, so you know what "Truck Nutz" are, or in this case "Skittle Car Nutz". Also, I appreciate the parking job. No BIG GUMMINT gonna tell me where to park!

Now, I feel as if the Wingnut and his many bumper stickers is closely related to an old favorite: Crazy religious nut.
I'm sure there's a close tribal allegiance between the two, in parts.
 What I find kinda interesting is I think these people exist in every culture at all times. I just wonder how they used to express themselves before cars. Rambling around the town square in a horse and buggy, maybe? One thing's consistent though:
 We're all Brothers and Sisters in Christ's love. Well, except for all the sinners, pagans, heathens, harlots. etc.... They can all burn in EVERLASTING HELLFIRE!



I almost hope this is really some ultra-hipster from Austin or somewhere being super ironic. But I doubt it - note all the things Evil Calvin pisses on. He's pissed! Not sure what role the Cross is playing here, other than convincing the person who would put such a sticker on their truck that they're one of the "good guys". 

By the by, Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, of course has nothing to do with this epidemic of "Calvin pissing on things" window decals - he's never really licensed the characters for anything. It must be so odd: To lose control over your creation, forced to watch it perverted and debased, and there's little you can do about it. 

I'll say this though: Bumper stickers/decals are excellent clues in making snap judgements about other people. You can tell so much about a person from what they choose to stick on their car. Or hang from the bumper, in Truck Nutz cases.


Please make a note of it

I'm impressed they would be so bold with their prediction. I'll try and remember to post an update on May 22nd.

If you are a believer, I suspect this gives you another month of so of sinnin', then you better get to the atonin'.


No idea where this billboard is from, but what do you want to bet it's the South? They know their Jesus! "After hanging on a crucifix for a few hours, I really enjoy the smooth, refreshing taste of Budweiser. If it's good enough for the Son of Gawd, it's good enough for you."

Also too:


Miss me yet?

Hells to the no. But it's funny some in the media are trying to push this theme. Good luck! In honor of their diligent propaganda efforts, let's take a stroll through a series of posts I like to call "That's Our Bush!":
Here's our Bush pretending to read a top secret security document entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike US". Pshaw! It came from a Clinton appointee, so it has to be rubbish. Anyways, on vacation.
 His finest hour - and perhaps America's darkest. When the morans got everything they ever dreamed of. "My Pet Goat". Bin Laden struck the US - who could have known?! At least Our Bush kept us safe, right? For real - recent spin from the Rethugs is to pretend 9/11 happened sometime other than during Bush's presidency. No doubt there's a Demoncrat to blame.
War's over! Whoo-hoo! Let me take a tangent at this moment, and reveal another Repuglican technique: They make their own reality. The banner says "Mission Accomplished", doesn't it? War's over. This is a powerful tool the Rethugs have used to shape all aspects of American society since St. Ronnie showed them the way - just make up whatever it is you want to be the truth, repeat it incessantly, and viscously attack anyone who would disagree. It will often work, and if it doesn't, try again with something else - not like anyone in the media will call you on it (IOKIYAAR). For example, the crack McCain team released this photo before the first Obama-McCain debate was over:
You see, it didn't matter what he actually did in the debate - they were going to push the "We won" theme regardless. And they certainly tried - the 27%er's will believe it, and accompanied by a pliant media, perhaps they could get another 23% to as well. And that's all it takes. You will see this technique used ALL THE TIME. Watch for it. Moving on...
Yeah. But even:
Pop psychologist diagnosis, 25cents worth: These27%ers want a strong Daddy, they want to be told what to think, what to feel (as long as it gibes with their foundational understanding of Jesus and the American Myth). These types of people - and every country in history has had them - form the foundation of any fascist state, because they like it.
But of course, they like it only when it's "their" guy, i.e. a Repuglican. Wanna bet the same Tea Party types that paid for this billboard also paid for this billboard?
Keep in mind this billboard went up a few weeks after Obama took office. I wonder what impeachable offense he'd committed by then, oh wait! It doesn't matter. He's a DEMONCRAT, who's also - GASP! - black. But let's end with some laughter, cuz Bush was good for that:
"Grownups back in the White House"
With such grace and class. And we end with this sweet, sweet moment I still savor:
Bye Bye Bush!


A Confederacy of Morans

It's real. I know it doesn't look real, but it is. If you dare, let the horror soak in - these were the men running/ruining our Empire. Morans. Ideologues. Partisan Wingnuts. But it's always the same, yeah? The History of the World, in a nutshell: Due to favorable circumstances/good luck, some smart individuals make a series of decisions that allow their endeavours to succeed. This success breeds more success, and with this success comes power. Power breeds more power until a critical point is reached and the Enterprise expands greatly, and flourishes. But power draws in the greedy and degenerate, and soon they worm their way into the Enterprise, rotting it from the inside. This process continues as Power always becomes its own end, and the initial reasons for the Enterprise are forgotten. Add in some unfavorable circumstances/bad luck, and these Inheritors of the Empire can no longer make wise decisions, and thus the center falls apart, and the Enterprise starts to collapse. Maybe it can recover, maybe pieces of it mutate into other things, but that's it. The end. All of our human works seem to follow this pattern.

But still - to see our degeneracy so clearly as this memo. Breathtaking, in its rather shocking stupidity.

But that's what the American Empire has been driven into - a culture that now seems to emphasize ignorance and superstition over facts, partisan patriotism over civic duty, greed over the common welfare, yadda yadda, Aptly summed, here:
 America: Fuck Yeah!


If'n it pisses off them liberals

Apparently, Arizona did not have a state sales tax under the Glorious Leader W. Oh wait,  the Fed's have nothing to do with sales taxes! Oh, you Wingnuts!

Have you heard about this? Read about this (a new favorite catchphrase)? Shocking news when a morbidly obese person dies of a heart attack:
 Shocking AND ironic, since he was working as a spokesperson for the wonderfully named "Heart Attack Grill" in lovely Chandler, AZ. As you can see, folks over 350 pounds eat free! Which is an interesting marketing technique.

And, as you can also see, the establishment goes all out in pushing the medical theme - but you see, it's all twisted up, in comedic style - look, the waitresses are nurses:
I do get it - there's plenty of themed restaurants out there, and this is something of a Hooter's derivative, no doubt. I'd even stop by if I was in Chandler, and I'm a ultra-hippie Vegetarian libtard! But pushing the medical theme so strongly (and the Obama's cut joke) makes me think of one of the 2 things you need to know to really understand a Wingnut.
1. If it pisses off a liberal, they're for it. Whatever it is. Might even change viewpoints in order to stay opposed to the liberals. You see, in this case, the "LIBTARDS" are for heath and diet and a health care system that covers everyone, and focuses on simple and cheap steps like preventive care - like diet and exercise! Stupid ass liberals, amirite?
And for your edification, 
2. Projection - if they're accusing someone of something, rest assured they're doing it themselves, or supporting it.

Now, armed with this wisdom, filter any and all crazy thing a Wingnut says through it, and suddenly you'll find reason where before there was inconsistent insanity.

There's some other handy guides, but these two will serve you well enough.


Redshirt in Love

Given the next away mission could be your last, who's to blame these crazy kids for falling in love? Seize the day, yadda yadda.

I can't wait to see the kid photos.

Back Boobs

Have you heard about this? Read about this? Apparently, back boobs are the new thing. And why not? If you got it, flaunt it, baby.


Nice Melons

See what I did there?

Science chat's over for the nonce. On with the LULZ.

Scales of Perspective (Let's Go!)

Here we go - let's bring it home. Here we have the proton and neutron, the building blocks of the nucleus, which, combined with electrons, make up all atoms. Inside the proton and neutron are quarks, which come in colors. What makes up a quark, you might ask? So far, according to standard theory, nothing. According to String Theory, strings. Now, at this scale of perspective, quarks aren't really "things", but like electrons, they exist, believe it or not, more like "probability waves". Here's another picture that might illustrate that better:
 See? They're kinda there, kinda here, kinda moving all around all the time. Anyways, quarks make up protons and neutrons, protons and neutrons make up the core of an atom:
 Again, with the fuzziness - the gray clouds outside the nucleus are the "probability waves" of the electrons, which, like quarks, are kinda here, kinda there. But the nucleus is our first "real" thing that we can understand at our macro level. But consider! Every atom that makes up every bit of matter you see is 99% empty space. It is only the Electromagnetic field generated by the electrons that gives it the impression of solidity - fields, not "things". Atoms make up everything we know, so let's skip way up to the next level of this thesis (Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form), the stellar realm:
 Its our new friend, the Oort Cloud - but, like the atom itself, each star is just a tiny bit ensconced in a far larger cloud - a shell - of particles that are here and there. In this case, frozen ice and rock, but you see where I'm going with this, yes? Next up, a picture I just posted!
 So, again, like the stellar neighborhood, and like the atom itself, our galaxies exist as tiny specks amongst a far larger sphere of Dark Matter. And just as a reminder at the scale of perspective we are currently talking about, here's a yearbook photo:
Every little box here is a picture of a galaxy, and this is just a tiny sample. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies out there (maybe many, many more), each containing hundreds of billions of stars. Some perspective, eh? But we're not stopping there:
 The Multiverse - just a theory at this point, but everyone seems to be heading towards acceptance of it quite quickly. Note, that our entire Universe might just be a small part of a larger sphere which in turn is contained within a still larger sphere which itself is contained within an even bigger sphere of existence.... and where it ends, who knows? Maybe it goes on forever. 

Have I blown your mind yet? I just blew my own - in fact, I've been living in a constant state of awed wonder since coming to appreciate these levels of perspective. This is where we live! This is our existence - we are part and parcel of this grand construction.

And in this scheme, does the guy who cut you off at the light really matter? Does anything really matter? No - objectively, how could it? We're all just dust in the wind.

Or, different answer. Better answer: All that matters is what you want to matter. In fine Existential tradition, we - humans - bring meaning to these scales of perspective. We choose how we want to perceive it, how we interpret it, how it makes us feel. You may not be able to change the multiverse we all live in, but you can change how you think about it, how you feel about it.

And that's all the freedom we can ever have: How we choose to deal with these infinities.

Yeah?  So choose wisely. And this is the task I've chosen for myself, and am sharing with you if you're willing to follow: The exploration of perspective. Hope you enjoy the ride.


Darkness, Imprisoning Me

I've shown versions of this graph several times, but it never ceases to amaze me. To wit: Everything you see, touch, could see or touch, every star in the night sky, every galaxy snapped by Hubble, every bit of matter that exists in the Universe (according to current theory) only represents around 4% of the total mass of the Universe. Most of it, as you see above, is Dark Energy, and the rest, Dark Matter.

For a long time, I was skeptical - what the hell is "Dark Anything"? And there's some reason to be skeptical (of everything, really) of Dark Energy, since no one really has much of an idea what it is - this energy is the force causing the Universe to expand. Which is very much proven. What's causing it to expand is thrown into the catch all category of "Dark Energy", which does translate to: Not sure yet, still working on it.

I suspect (and correct me if I'm wrong) the phrase "Dark Energy" came from the prior use of the word when it comes to "Dark Matter", which is a far more tangible concept, though of course still with much to discover. No one's directly observed Dark Matter, and no one's really sure what it's made of - though there are many strong theories - but its effects seem clearly proven. To wit: There's something out there we cannot see that has a strong gravitational effect.

Now, this bothered me still, until I saw it explained as such: Dark Matter is simply "matter" that does not interact with the Electromagnetic Force. A-Ha! That makes sense to me. As I've written before, everything you experience as "solid" is really the effects of electromagnetic fields colliding with each other. Your atoms never touch the atoms in the person's hand you're shaking, but rather, the electromagnetic fields of your atoms interact with the electromagnetic fields in the atoms in the other person's hands. So, if there is a form of matter out there that does not interact at all with the Electromagnetic Force, well, we wouldn't be able to see it in any spectrum, since all radiation - X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, infrared, etc - are manifestations of the Electromagnetic Force. It would be "Dark". 

But just because it doesn't interact with the Electromagnetic Force does not mean it cannot interact with the other forces - Gravity, the Strong Nuclear Force (binding), and the Weak Nuclear Force (decaying). In this case, Gravity.

As with the protoplanetary disks discussed below, gravity drives almost everything in our reality - the creation of the stars, the galaxies, everything it seems. It's all pervasive, or apparently so. And thus, we have the case of Dark Matter, where there are gravitational effects happening that cannot be explained by the "normal" matter that can be detected with our telescopes. And as the graph above indicates, this Dark Matter far out-masses "normal" matter. And so our reality looks like this:
Our little existence of radiation swimming in a vast shell of Dark Matter. Again, this should seem familiar, but if not, stay tuned!

There's been one astronomical event that has helped this theory of Dark Matter along greatly, and that's a special little galactic cluster now called the "Bullet Cluster". Gander:
This pic is showing two clusters of galaxies that have passed through each other some time ago, each heading in a different direction. The red shows X-rays of the gas in each cluster (it's very hot), the blue is a representation of the galactic lensing going on right beside it. Galactic lensing is a phenomena whereby objects in the far distance are distorted due to high gravity between you, the viewer, and the actual object - think of looking at a face through a glass of water. To wit: The gas was clearly affected by this collision - you can see the "bow shock" on the right side of the image, but the mass of gravity wasn't effected at all - it passed right through with nary a ripple, as so:

Detailed analysis of the gravity in this region has revealed a gravitational topographic map that shows the majority of gravity here is not located where we see the actual matter, but rather, off to each side:
Just like a topo map of Earth, the closer the lines get together, the higher the gravity. And thus we have, to date, the most concrete evidence of Dark Matter - don't get me wrong, it's still damn inconclusive, and it would be wise to be moderately skeptical - but how else would you explain so much gravity occurring where there's no obvious matter? And why its shape barely changed while the galaxies themselves got distorted? Dark Matter works for me, for now. I hope it does for you too!

In conclusion, I hope this meandering post gives you a glimpse of the mysteries that await us. For all our learning, for all our vast powers, we've just begun to scratch the surface of this, our miraculous reality. But we're gaining ground fast. Stay tuned.


Proto too

This is an artist's representation of a protoplanetary disk, or, that is, a new solar system coming into existence. All stars form from large clouds of space dust that for one reason or another begins to compress, and with this compression comes a spinning. This builds and builds and the center of the swirling cloud grows hotter and hotter until BAM! Hot enough for fusion, and, literally, a star is born. In various parts of this spinning disk there are areas that are denser than others. These areas go through a similar process of compression and spinning, but never get hot enough to form a star - rather, they become the seeds of planets. Over time, and chance, some grow big enough to start sucking in all sorts of other rocks and gas and dust and they swell in size. It's a crap shoot, but inevitably, planets will form around the new star. This is how our Sun and Earth and everything else in our Solar System came into being. And it's happening all the time, all over space. Look!
These are actual photos of two new stars - you can see the star and disk in the center, with lots of remaining gas strewn about. This far off gas will no doubt form, in time, something similar to our Oort Cloud. Here's a cool closeup of a new disk in the Orion Nebula:
We're looking at a new Solar System, edge on. Amazing - think of the perspective here, size wise. Here's another shot from Orion, showing multiple disks all in a row:
And here's a group shot of a bunch of disks from Orion:
Like a stellar yearbook. Each of these is a massive star, as big or bigger than our own, and each is busily forming planets, like our star, like every star. This is what happens out there, man!

What's cool to consider is our star of course formed in precisely the same way, some 4.6 Billion years ago. We, too, were part of a large nebula, and had many, many Sister stars being created right alongside. Where they are now, no one knows for sure, since, over time and the frequent creation of stars, the nebula will eventually dissipate, and each star will wander off to make its own way in this big, big Galaxy. 

To witness this process happening live, in Orion, is Godlike, in my opinion - we are gazing down from on high at the very creation of planets and stars, and all the things that come with that. This is the rush I get when pondering this subject - how incredibly powerful our science has made us, and yet, we've just scratched the surface. There's no end to the wonders out there.

I leave you with a huge picture of the Orion Nebula - the BEST Nebula. Grab some binoculars and check it out yourself - second "star" in the Constellation's sword. 
Click for big, and look to the slight lower left of center - you can see a protoplanetary disk kicking up turbulence in the far larger cloud. It's beautiful, yeah?