The Shape of Things

This is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, a picture taken over 7 days of a spot in the sky smaller than your pinky. Every object here is a galaxy, some over 11 billion light years away. Since it takes light a certain distance to travel to your eye (or the telescope), whatever you see is in the past. 11 billion light years means 11 billion years ago. Here:
And here's a similar graph for the awesome WMAP satellite:
As you can see, the CMBR pic in the previous post is from very early on in the Universe - before stars, before light could spread freely. The Dark Ages was the era of heavy, swirling clouds of gas so thick light could not escape, and blackness was upon everything. But one day a star was born and the darkness was broken.

With every ray of light, with every act, with every Big Bang, you can think of the existence of this thing as a cone, with a past, present, and future. Witness:
The cones are light, past and future; the red arrow moving through it is an electron, or a star, or you, anything that exists. Since there is one cone we are all contained within - the Big Bang. And we are but red lines squiggling along, all doing the best we can.


As big (small) as it gets

This is a survey of galaxies spanning billions and billions of light years. There's a lot of them. You can see strands and groupings of galaxies in filament like structures - the dark band across the center is our own galaxy's light blotted out, since it's so bright.

This is our Universe, and our entire galaxy is but a tiny dot in a great matrix of galaxies. But these galaxies and great strands of galaxies had a precursor, which was a mere ripple in the energy of the Big Bang. The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation:
This is two sides of the same image. The red represents slightly warmer, and the blue represents slightly cooler, but these colors are arbitrary. What this actual image shows is the difference in radiation frequency soon after the Big Bang, and it was the colder areas that formed the first galaxies of massive clouds of hydrogen, and soon after the first stars, which led to the others and ultimately our existence. This difference in frequency led to the pattern of galaxies shown above.

What will really twist your mind is this image of the CMBR is from when the entire Universe was damn small. And if you extrapolate back to when the entire Universe was smaller still, it becomes microscopic, atomic, subatomic, smaller than an electron. And thus this difference in frequency stems from the start when the whole of our reality was smaller than a Quark.

We come from this subatomic moment - the very parts that make us up were there. We are the Universe, man, and are as big and as small as we want to see it.


This World is Now Ours

This is a compilation of all tropical storms over a year. Neat, huh? Note the remarkably quiet continent of South America - what's up with that? Eastern Africa is also incredibly calm, whereas look at Wastern Mexico - BAM! Must be that El Nino dude.
These are the Andaman Islands, one of which is - and has been for a long, long, long time - the home of the Sentinelese. The Tsunami of 04 went through here, but no one knows what it did or didn't do to the Sentinelese. They remain a mystery. From the satellite image above, it looks like they get a lot of big storms - I bet they survived in large numbers, if it were possible, due to their no doubt higher sensitivity to their environment. Uncle t-Thuk'ik-rytyr always knows when a storm is coming. Or a big wave - the birds, man. You got to read the birds. When they start freaking out, or not freaking out, you know something's up - head for high ground.


A Tale of Two Times

These are the so called "Sentinelese" people  - they surely call themselves something else. No one knows, as there's been no long lasting encounters, since the Sentinelese are extremely aggressive towards any intruders. With good reason, perhaps.

They live in a stone age culture, with no made metal tools (there are found metal tools), no agriculture, no tech other than rocks and jungle. Check out their wiki. It's so cool when you consider it, since they are living much like all people lived some 20 to 25,000 years ago, before the city, before the fortress, before organized much of anything. Most of human history lies during this long era. This is where we evolved.

We - the people on the boats off the shore, taking pictures and trying to make contact (now - imagine back in ye olde days of raping and pillaging) - must be so strange and alien to these people. I wonder what they call us - do they even think we are people, or some strange aliens/gods?

But the Sentinelese are already doubtlessly spoiled from their long Stone Age innocence, since they've seen our boats, discovered our trash, seen our planes flying high and not so high overhead. It seems only a matter of time before all the so called "uncontacted" peoples are contacted, since we - modern man - are a scourge upon this poor planet and won't stop till we've burned it all up.

Stay strong Sentinelese!


Indian Summer (Winter is coming)

Indian Summer is defined in Maine as any warm day past September 1st. Why it's called "Indian" is not for the curry. It's easy to forget, in the Summer, that Maine is cold, and way up North. And kinda weird. But boy, in the Summer - it can be perfection. I had the BEST Summer in quite some time, due to the fully operational New Gondolin. Take a look - 
Due Northwest. That's my favorite corner.
From the great wall of Redshirt, newly constructed. It was amazing to see the change in the wall and the leaves this past week - from nothing to full on. Some change I like, other change I'm not so keen on. I'm going to miss the Summer and I know I've forgotten: Winter is coming:


Fall, Again

Fall's back. Yay. Sure, there's some nice days and all, but I think it's a big bummer. You witness the Sun sinking from the sky, setting earlier and earlier every day. The leaves come out and party for a bit, than shrivel up and die, leaving behind a dull dreary bleakness that is broken only by rushes of blood to the head. Bah! Fall is my 3rd least favorite season, and I challenge anyone to place it higher. Over Spring? Over Summer? Don't think so. Winter need not be discussed.

But it's an Equinox, so it must be celebrated - the seasons are astronomical in origin, both in source and in measurement - Fall is when the Earth is at a precise spot. Here:

You'll note, perhaps ironically, that the Earth is noticeably closer to the Sun in Northern Winter than in Summer, yet Winter is cold as Hell. Why is this?! Axial tilt, dude. It's 23 degrees. Take a look:
You see how in the Winter, Earth's Northern Hemisphere is facing away from the Sun in January (Sun on the left side), whereas it is pointing towards the Sun in July (Sun on the right side) - that is a far more important factor in heating than distance to the Sun. I presume this means that the Southern hemisphere gets hotter Summers, since they are facing the Sun and closer. Thus, perhaps, the Rainforests around the world at that latitude.

Anyways, you should celebrate each Season, since they are very much the markings of the clock on our lives - round and round we go. Holidays are important as breaks in the everyday, a moment where the real world can be left behind a bit. Ceremony is important. Remembering why we're here and where we're going is important. It's all important.

Indian Fall.


King Kong Eggs

Born mad.

Also, in regards the age old debate involving the chicken and the egg, let me tell you that from an evolutionary viewpoint, it's clearly the "chicken". Not the chicken itself, but its ancient ancestor, our ancestor too. The first who came up with the whole "egg" concept. It was pretty long ago, but animals were born before eggs and continue to survive to this day. Thus, if our ancestors once produced without the use of eggs, the answer to this debate is clearly:



We all play our part

Life is much like the WWF toy hockey game - you're controlled by forces far beyond your influence, assigned your set role and unable to move out of it, save the little wiggles in the tiny rut you call "your life". Mine too! In this parable you are the Hacksaw Jim Dugan character, and not the Hulk. Ain't that always the case?

But seriously, this artwork is magnificent. Note the detail in the customized hockey sticks, each suited to its owner. So you know, Hacksaw is the creepy looking guy in the top left of the ring, eating his 4x4 hockey stick. You ever feel like doing that? Me too!



Randy "The Macho Man" Savage died this past 5/20 due to a heart attack while driving. I had the opportunity to post an elegy that day - since as an old, long ago wrestling fan, I knew of some of the Macho Man's wrasslin' deeds, but I knew him more through the pop culture adoption of some of his memes. His catch phrase and sponsorship of that beef jerky product - you know the one - spread his persona into the common culture where it became, "a thing". A small thing, to be sure, but a thing none the less. I myself did a Macho Man impression from 1995 - 1999. OOH YEAH! Which is really just stealing Kool Aid Guy's line. Remember him?
(Tangent: What's up with Kool Aid Guy? I mean, he's naked, right? And has poured "himself" into a mini pitcher - which he then serves to children. Is the small pitcher Kool Aid Guy's child? Is the beverage itself their blood? And what's with the ice cubes? How do they always stay frozen? I could go on....)

But that's pop culture for you.

Macho Man has lived and spread on the Interweb like most absurd things, and you'll see his trademark costume at the occasional Halloween party or Comic-Con. Why? Why not - it's fun!

And fun is what Macho Man brought, and this World needs fun, Danny.

Oh yeah - I could have posted this on 5/20, and I strongly considered it, but it got bumped by that day's big news on the Redshirt Gazette - the funtimes 5/21 Notpocalypse. Remember that?

Naw, me neither. Oh well...


Teach a man to lift

Jesus was a 98 pound weakling who often, and for little reason, got sand kicked in his face by beach bullies. But then Jesus discovered the Teachings of Charles Atlas and became righteously ripped.
The Gym is the Temple.
In this reality, Jesus was not Resurrected, since he didn't die on the cross but rather used its broken shards to kick Roman ass.

I don't know what's going on here. I almost hope it's Photoshop. Or some illusion - maybe the other weightlifters are dwarves. That dude is BIG. Comically so. Imagine him running!


LOL Jesus

See, there's this thing on the Intertubes called LOL Jesus - go ahead, look it up. You'll see photos like these:
It's absurdist humor, like much on the web. Which suits me fine, as I savor the absurd like a hot cup of soy.
Quite the shark. They called him The Nazareth Natural, back in the day.
Jesus had a wicked wrist shot.
This trick works really well, especially if you're subtle about it, unlike Jesus here. Start making small talk with the cashier or whomever before money is exchanged, so that by the time it comes out you can introduce a few numbers into your smalltalk - three towns over there were these four guys who tied two trailers together using a role of rubber. For example.

Bonus non LOL Jesus pic:


Alternate History

Art from the era of Repuglican Ascendency - 2003. When Couch Warriors marched on the Internets protecting American Freedom from Liebrul Traitors and Tree huggers. Losers. It was the age of twisted Conservative dreams.
Art from one of those sick, evil Conservative websites. Seriously, go read "Free Republic" or "Red State" for evidence of the darkness in cyber hearts. This piece hits many buttons on the Wingut Id. I mean, check out that goat!
Original Intent.


Jack Booted Black Helicopters (Vegan Special Forces)

If you ever been confused by Repuglican behavior or thoughts, study this cartoon, and see their basic fears - and mindset - laid out in ink. Smart talking women? Bad. UN? Bad. Why? Who knows - they're coming to take your hog farm! Vegan French Lesbians will steal away everything you value as a red blooded American Freedom loving patriot (Southerners and wannabes only). Somehow. Probably taxes and that Al Gore. He invented the internet, amirite? HAHAHAHA. Pussy.

Or maybe they should be afraid. Behold a rare picture of a Vegan Special Force member, "Walter Bond". That's his codename, no doubt. He's hardcore Vegan, and he will kill you if you eat that burger. For life!
Speaking of killing you, this is Kooku, a special BIRTHDAY ORANGUTANG! And like all orangutangs, he's Vegan, and will rip out your arms if you use dairy.

These are the shocktroops of the Vegan Army that wants nothing more than to take away your Fatback and Chicken Fried Ham. And they cannot be denied....


A porpoise full of holes (Laughing)

Happy 9/11! It's been everywhere today, and I've been on top of the Mountain with no TV (radio only). I don't begrudge the coverage due to the anniversary, but hoo boy am I tired of it. It's a cudgel to beat down a fearful population - a population that is collectively much worse off then before 9/11. America has gone down the shitter since, thanks to the evils and stupidity of Republicans, who continue to go to great lengths trying to destroy the USA.

In this regard, the attacks of 9/11 were spectacularly successful. We've gone bankrupt, given up numerous freedoms, allowed the extreme concentration of wealth, let our infrastructure rot, our education system wither, our government is barraged by hateful and greedy louts, or, conversely, run and driven into the ground by Republicans. OBL stated he wanted to do economic damage to the USA and thus the entire "Western World". Look at the world's economy today and it's clear to see he was in part successful - he didn't cause the banks to fail, or the housing bubble, or Enron et al - but the attacks of 9/11 became the blank check the banaly evil Bush Administration cashed again and again. A terrible situation, since they blundered into every trap set, fucked up every action they took. It was a running disaster and this was the consequence of 9/11 - the empowering of the Republican party to wreak untold damage to America, which they continue to pursue. Witness:
I don't make fun of 9/11 because I am laughing at the tragedy of all the folks who were killed - that is tragic. All death is tragic - but then, it's not, either. Since it is the inevitable end for all lifeforms. And there are tragic losses of life all the time around the world, some far, far larger than 9/11, yet these events barely penetrate our collective consciousness. Thus, I make fun of 9/11 to take the fear out of it, the fear used to wield power for evil ends for many years - remember "TERROR ALERTS!!!"? There's no need, no need at all, to be afraid of terrorism. Any fear you have is directly the goal of the terrorists - that's the only way they can win. And Bush and the gang did their best to make it happen. Thank FSM for Obama to right the ship as much as it can be righted.

We've changed as a country since 9/11, and I don't think in many good ways. Darker, more depraved and bloodthirsty, the forces of hate and fear let loose and running wild. Recall the "Torture Debate", and that we now have to have a debate about torture at all.

Along these lines, I encourage you again to read or re-read "1984" by George Orwell. It's scarily prescient and quite a good story too. Here's a quote from Smith's diary (an illegal act):

April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water, audience shouting with laughter when he sank. then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter hovering over it. there was a middle-aged woman might have been a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms. little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful shot of a child's arm going up up up right up into the air a helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it up and there was a lot of applause from the party seats but a woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shouting they didnt oughter of showed it not in front of kids they didnt it aint right not in front of kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i dont suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles say typical prole reaction they never --

There's a whole genre on the internet of "funny" TAZER videos. Cuz people getting shocked is funny, right? And how about this? Good old Florida has allowed all mug shots to be publically accessible. And thus websites exist of everyone who gets a mugshot in Florida - guilty or not. Though of course if you're on the internet in a mug shot, you're guilty. It's depressingly addictive. A sample:
The hat only comes off for mug shots.
Know your Zombie!
I'm not sure how this is possible, but here you go.

I await the day when an execution is televised - you know it's just a matter of time. On Fox!

Seriously though, 9/11 sucked, but let's move on.


Half the Man

An actual mug shot from FL. More to come! Kudos to you dude, since I don't know what you did, but based on your bold shaving move, I want to party with you!
But not this dude. He's a freak. He even shaved his left eyebrow. Once you lose an eyebrow, you immediately fall into the Freak Category.
The dark truth - Riker's Beard was but a paste on?!


By Riker's Beard!

Young Riker turned into Bearded Riker and became a legend. And in turn, fatter. A side effect of the secret behind the Beard:
Mot was dealing out all kinds of tonics from the Enterprise barber shop. But like a genie with his wishes with catches, the side effects spread:
The Beard spread... an unstoppable force, reaching even back into time. Bet you don't remember this:
Disco Bones - bearer of perhaps the greatest Beard in all Trekdom.


Acid Wash

Cool jeans, young Riker. Sure, they look ugly now, but back then, acid wash jeans were where it was at. Fashion is a flighty mistress. Also, Enterprise in classic "surrender position".
Can you imagine spending a goodly part of every year, year after year, attending fan conventions and rubbing shoulders with the likes of this nerd? It might be one of the more obscure levels of Hell. If there were a Hell, of course. This guy would not be there:
Throwing discusses to the stars.