Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

WALKING BACKWARDS

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I came across this picture on Snappygoat. I love it. On several levels. Pictures say a lot to me. So do words. I’ll never take a picture like this, but maybe if I write long enough I’ll eventually say something important. I heard once that people have the ability to talk so that if they ever have anything important to say, they can say it. That’s the diplomatic version. I’m going to keep trying. Writing at least, I usually only take my foot out of my mouth to change feet, so the less I talk the better.

I searched for a road picture because I took a one hour road journey with a friend the other day. She hardly said a word. It was wonderful. Time isn’t something that needs to be filled with words. Reality is amazing enough as it is. The trip reminded me of an encounter years ago in the lost country. A friend and I went to eat at a casino. A waitress served the entire meal for us, from meeting us at the door and all the service that follows, using just two words total. Elegant communication personified. She is my God. I should have proposed on the spot, but alas I was young and asleep. Life, an endless parade of lost opportunities.

As I reminisced about waitresses in casinos a friend contacted me, and he informed me that his friend had died. Suddenly and randomly. Oh Jeez. Mortality. I will hoist a few in his friend’s memory. I was lucky, I was middle age before someone close passed over. Recently, oh my, my friends and relatives are dropping like flies. This got me thinking, there was one exception, Jeffrey wasn’t lucky. Early 1960s. I was in first or second grade. He was my neighbour and friend. Died horribly. Age seven or so, he only experienced the beginning of life. All he could have experienced, gone. At the time, I didn’t get it. Now, I get it all too well. Such is death.

Trying to pin down what grade I was in then got me thinking. It was first or second. Pearl River, New York. I could reconstruct the date if I tried. Mid 1960s. I remember I left second grade early by a few weeks because we were moving to New Jersey. Haven’t thought about this in years, or decades. I remember packing up and leaving the classroom was really sad, because there were at least two girls in my class I really liked. My predilection for having girls as friends started early. Can’t even remember their names now. Or what they looked like even.

I hope they’re still alive. And have long rich lives behind and ahead of them still. I doubt our paths will ever cross, I doubt we would know if they did. Yet in some weird sense our lives are still intertwined. All lost to me. This is what I mean by the lost country. The past. And what the past could have been but wasn’t. All lost to time and lost chances. All lost to younger people especially. For them the nineties are what the fifties were to me as a child, ancient history.

And what could have been. In some universes my dad’s career stalled and I stayed in Pearl River, married one of those girls, and lived happily ever after. It’s a nice thought. Or maybe I haven’t met my true love yet. Or maybe it’s all about meeting one of those girls again. Stranger things have happened. I thought I might have met the one under a tree this last spring, but as in the song, it was only in my imagination.

Which brings me back to the photo. It’s the same in either direction. But there can be warm stops along the way. My point though, such as a random assemblage of squiggles can make a point, is lost to me. It comes from time to time, but I can never get the words down fast enough. No matter how long one lives, every moment will be new. In the past few days I’ve seen a few things I never saw before. And never will again. Every moment is like that, one of an infinite number of moments that will never repeat again. However, if reality is such that infinite possibilities are played out, then each unique moment… repeats infinitely. Right? Most people think about their investments or sportsball, I think about the nature of infinity. And then I try to put those thoughts into words. Painting with words.

So no, Doug’s Darkworld is not going to turn into a podcast. I will keep writing and posting, for myself and for those who like the written word. I knew MTV was a huge deal when it hit, and kudos to them, but I’m sticking with the written word. I’ll post when I can. Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Road, mountains, winter. Looks like Nevada, could be Utah, maybe AZ or NM. Credit: Snappygoat image, released into the public domain like letting a balloon free.)

Written by unitedcats

October 21, 2019 at 6:46 am

Posted in Personal, Philosophy

RANDOM RAMBLINGS PLUS AN INTERSTELLAR VISITOR

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This was an interesting week. Got kinda bad news from a few old friends. The good thing about growing old is you’re still alive. The bad thing is that the older one gets, the fewer of your friends and loved ones will be alive. Pretty safe to say that if you make it from 60 to 80, the large majority of your contemporary and older friends and acquaintances will be dead. A mixed blessing at best. You’ll get to eat more of your own birthday cake, but get fewer presents. Still, at this point it’s too late to die young and be a horrible warning, so I’m going to press on.

I also realized this week that my upper arm shattering in my fall last Christmas saved my life. It takes a lot of energy to shatter an upper arm bone, I mean the neighbors heard it snap. And I slammed into that wall with my shoulder, head, and neck, the arm bone breaking acted as a crumple zone. If it hadn’t broken the energy would have gone into my head and neck, where broken bones are a much more serious concern. Limbs are useful for something besides walking and pouring coffee, who knew?

Speaking of coffee, I realized this week, that despite drinking three or four cups of coffee a day for decades … I don’t really like coffee. Bad coffee, good coffee, all equally unappealing. I was essentially drinking out of habit. How did I come to this realization? Six weeks ago I started counting calories, and one thing I did was cut back to one cup of coffee a day. (With sugar and cream a cup of coffee is north of fifty calories.) Tuesday, after receiving bad news, I decided to say “eff it” to the diet for one day. I went and got myself a turkey/bacon sub with fries, it was delicious. And then I thought, “I’ll make myself a pot of coffee!” Followed by “Wait, I don’t feel like having coffee, I’d rather have a diet soda or two.” Live and learn.

I also realized this week that while I like the little rural town I live in, there’s no doubt it’s a comfortable little bubble of white privilege. I have layers of laws, state agencies, and federal agencies protecting me in my essentially gated community. All pretty much invisible to me, all designed to keep “undesirables” in their place. Such has it been for all of America’s history. Granted privileged classes are a problem in many places around the world, but I think America’s history of slavery and Native American genocide reinforced the cultural tendency in some uniquely ugly ways.  I know the word ‘privilege’ really pushes some buttons with some people. Telling someone they are privileged is not a pejorative. Topic for future blog posts no doubt,

On the topic of pushing buttons, I noticed in my travels through conservative cyberspace that OAC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) really pushes some buttons. The mindless hostility expressed towards her is legion. Not even sure what’s she’s saying that’s causing all the ruckus, but I have to assume she is hitting below the waterline. When your rhetoric reduces your political opponents to sputtering mindless rage, you’re doing something right. Alas mindless outrage seems to be the style these days in American politics, and it’s certainly not limited to conservatives. I just wish people would get outraged about things that matter. And while I’m at it I wish I had a pony.

OK, I don’t really want a pony. If given one, I suppose I could sell or eat it. In late breaking news, our Solar System is getting another visitor! A few years ago an interstellar asteroid dubbed Oumuamua flew past the Sun. Sadly it was small and already heading for the exit when astronomers spotted it. So the science gleaned was just enough to leave a zillion questions. This time, it’s a comet, dubbed Borisov, and we spotted it on its inbound run! It’s gonna zip past the Sun just beyond Mars’ orbit, which is an incredibly close encounter astronomically speaking. And this puppy is big, 20 km wide or so. I will read up on everything I can find about it on the weekend, Monday’s blog topic!

Puppies, ponies, I think I need a cat. There’s a CLO (cat like object) that lives in my house, but it’s not the same. Have a safe weekend everyone.

PS: Oh yes, gonna start running some ads on wordpress. I need new shoes. They will be as small and unobtrusive as practical.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A pony like animal I photographed in the desert. Badly.  Credit: Doug Stych Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

September 13, 2019 at 4:31 am

LABOR DAY 2019

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osyter-shuckers

I was working on an informative post about Labor Day, but got bogged down on the details. Then I decided I wanted to spend my Labor Day weekend seriously doing nothing. I need the vacation time, my life gets too wound up and complicated. Almost as if I’m doing it to myself, go figure. So no chores, no lists, no obligatory posts. Just relaxing, playing games, hanging out with friends, watching a movie. And now, writing an extemporaneous Labor Day post because I want to! Stream of consciousness time. And of course it involves beer, does it even have to be mentioned? Just not as much beer as was my habit. (No nun jokes please.)

<Deleted polemic about the dangers of day drinking.>

Living in my little town is like living in a jigsaw puzzle image. I did a lot of jigsaw puzzles as a kid. This is a nice bonus. I also loved dioramas when I was a kid. One of the best parts of museums. Now that I’m a grown-up (There are no adults,) I realize everything outside my front door is just one big walk-in diorama. One giant Willoughby. It’s very nice. Lots to look at, and great sunsets. I’ll get some pictures. Or in simple terms, I walk out my door and am still amazed at how cool reality is. And how privileged I am to be living here.

Oh, yeah, saw the Godzilla movie, 43rd remake, I dunno? Part of the something something comic universe. I’m turning into Grampa Simpsons in front of my own horrified eyes. The movie was a C+ movie. Giant monsters fighting, the fate of the Earth at stake. Edgy because, people died! Not very edgy in other words. Another movie that will sink quietly into the morass of forgettable movies that comprise modern Hollywood movie making. Bloop.

So, moving on, modern mass media began about a hundred years ago. 1920 or so was when radio stations started their thing. There were newspapers and telegraphs before then, but this was the time when anyone could get near a radio and hear the news of the world. And advertising. And propaganda. A century is a significant milestone in a way. Pretty much means that people who can remember what is was like before the modern age of mass media are dead. The pre mass media period of human history is now, well, history. This means something. From some perspective at least.

Speaking of history, on this day in history, 2 Sept 31 AD, near 2,000 years ago Octavius (aka Caesar Augustus,) defeats Cleopatra and Mark Antony in a decisive naval battle off the coast of Greece. The Battle of Actium.  It was the final end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of a string of Roman emperors lasting for more than a thousand years.

There were actually two guys commonly named Caesar, so it’s confusing. The first guy, Julius Caesar, was the one who defeated the Gauls, then marched on Rome and declared himself emperor, thus ending the Roman Republic. He was then stabbed to death by a group of conspiring Senators who sought to restore the republic. Alas, turns out Julius was really popular, and the assasination didn’t have the result they hoped for. Worse, Julius had named his 18 year old cousin Octavius as his heir. No one really took Octavius seriously as he was basically a kid. Turns out this kid inherited Julius’ name, popularity, immense wealth, and political acumen.  And thus in a decade long combination of politics and battle, culminating in the Battle of Actium above, he became Caesar Augustus. The divine Emperor of the Roman Empire.

Back on Earth, I think I ate the best sandwich of my life. It was a Turkey Sub, from The Other Place. Only found in Kansas and Iowa. Muhahaha, too bad coastal elites. :P The secret ingredient is bacon. Kinda a metaphor for the privileged life in America, it’s so tasty, who cares about CAFO hog farms, there’s none near me. And underpaid labor. Can’t a man enjoy the benefits of slavery without being judged? Yes, I’m being facetious. Sort of.

Speaking of men, there was a straight pride march? Give me a break. Isn’t ruling the effing planet enough, now they have to brag about it? Even more embarrassing, apparently it was mostly an incel parade. Incels, for those that want to know, are “involuntary celibates.” Yes, men who can’t get laid, but think it’s because the women of the world are messed up. Dudes, if you can’t get laid, it’s because you’re an immature creep and women pick up on it.

Lastly, I had not one, but two epiphanies last week. Lots to write about there. Enjoy labor Day celebrations. Despite the setbacks of the last thirty years, the working class in America is still better off than they were before the rise of the modern labor movement. The image above is child labor, surprisingly common before 1920 or so. These were oyster shuckers, and like millions of other children, worked long hours six days a week under horrible conditions. Let’s keep child labor in history, shall we?

Have a great week everyone!

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Child labor around 1920, oyster shuckers. Credit: Lewis Hine, an interesting career. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 2, 2019 at 7:18 am

Posted in Business, History, Personal

THE AIRPLANE GAME

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I have first hand experience with The Airplane Game. Don’t Google it yet. This was in the late 1980s. Ancient history to anyone born after 1985 or so. The pre-Simpsons era. (Eventually our dates will be BS or PS, Before Simpsons or Post Simpsons.) A friend was involved and invited me to a meeting. What the hell, I was curious what it was all about. And it was a big pot luck, who knows, maybe a way to meet interesting women.

So, nice suburban home in El Cerrito. We all ate in the yard, lots of nice people, great food, great fun. Then we retire to the living room, two people were running the show. A cute bubbly high energy woman, and a black fellow wearing Africanesque clothes. First they asked the crowd like three times if “Anyone was a reporter or worked for law enforcement.” Showmanship basically since, guess what, neither reporters nor cops are required to identify themselves under circumstances like this.

Then they launched into their presentation. And a lovely presentation it was. Lots of slides about Africa. And Africans. And how it was a cultural tradition in Africa for friends to pool their money for a friend to start a business. It brought tears to my eyes. OK, no, it didn’t. It certainly made a favorable impression though, because let’s face it, this is not a cultural tradition in America. The country that brought us the “Me Decade” and “Greed is Good.” So we’re all feeling positive and inspired. A big part of the crowd were witchy nature loving lesbians, the pitch was clearly tailored to the crowd.

Then, the various “captains” retire to different rooms. And my friend, who was a captain, used a chalkboard to show her “passengers” and potential passengers how it all worked. And to my dismay, she sketched a classic pyramid scheme:

Basically the captain recruits two friends, as the two co-pilots, then they recruit four people to act as crew. Then eight passengers. Everyone pays to join of course. When all eight “seats” are full, the plane splits in two and the captain finally gets paid. Hundreds to thousands of dollars. Then the two co-pilots become captains, and each set out to find eight more patsies. And patsies is the word. The vast majority of the people who buy in never get paid. Pyramid schemes are illegal in America and elsewhere because they are scams.

This scheme pretty obviously had essentially zero similarity to the African stuff in the presentation. I wasn’t particularly tempted to buy a seat. First of all, I knew it was a scam. Secondly, I knew that if had gotten down to trying to recruit me, who had no money and knew it was a scam, that the pool of patsies was just about exhausted. I went to two more much smaller and more desperate meetings before the whole thing fizzled out. Didn’t meet any interesting women either.

So, the question is, why do people fall for stuff like this? Why was my friend involved? In point of fact I found out some years later that her involvement was a key factor in her lover leaving her. Mostly I think it was she was just naive and wanted to make some easy money. I suspect that’s the case for most of the people involved. The prospect of easy money, naivety, and rationalizing that no one is forced to sign on.

The Dashiki Guy and Bubbly Lady, yeah, con artists. Criminals preying on the naivety and greed of the average Jill. There’s a school of thought that people have no one but themselves to blame if they get conned out of money. That’s the preschool level of morality. An adult knows there are huge numbers of people who for one reason or another are very vulnerable to scams. And while society obviously can’t prevent people from falling for them, it can at least try to minimize the harm. This is why usury laws exist. Why pyramid schemes are illegal. Why professional (the house takes a cut) gambling is illegal. Why lotteries are illegal. It’s called civilization, protecting the vulnerable from those who would harm them.

Note the US fails on all of these but the pyramid schemes, and even those are OK if you turn it into multi-level marketing. I’m not optimistic about the direction America is heading, who would ever have guessed? And this latest post from the good Doctor Novella is even more distressing. Fake news can create fake memories! And you better believe the powers that be are exploiting it to the hilt.

Yeah, we’re doomed.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image 1: Pyramid house in Clear Lake, Iowa. Credit: Ken Ratcliff. Some rights reserved, used legally under a Creative Commons License.

Image 2: “Airplane Game” pyramid scheme. Credit: Wikipedia User:Stannard. Released into Public Domain by the creator.)

Written by unitedcats

August 28, 2019 at 3:52 am

APHANTASIA, LIFE WITH NO MIND’S EYE

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All my life people around me have talked about visualizing things and the mind’s eye. I remember in a college class we were all told to visualize a lovely lake surrounded by forest. It was a meditation exercise (Hey, it was the 70s.) Then and every other time I just assumed “visualize this” was simply a figure of speech for “think about.” Because when I close my eyes I see … my eyelids. IE nothing. Or reddish nothing if the lights are bright. Recently I came to understand that that’s not normal, apparently most people can close their eyes and see pretty much anything they want. I can’t imagine what that’s like, because I have no mind’s eye. I have what psychologists call aphantasia.

When I mentioned this to some friends, they were quite surprised. As if they had suddenly discovered one of my limbs was missing. I guess being able to visualize stuff is taken for granted by people who can visualize stuff. They were curious about  what it’s like, so here I am blogging about aphantasia to the world. Or my select collection of readers, most of the world has never heard of me. Probably a good thing.

The first question that always gets asked, do I dream? Yes, yes I do. Quite vividly and lucidly at times. Though I can’t really control the dream environment even when lucid. And in a hypnagogic state (nearly asleep) I can watch beautiful things, often lovely fountains and pools decorated with gems. In fact in this state I sometimes try to control what I am seeing, or figure out how I’m doing it so I can learn how to visualize things. No dice so far.

And while writing this, keep in mind I’m writing about an ability I simply don’t have, so I could easily be describing it wrong. Like a psychopath trying to describe feelings. Well, something like that, I don’t know. Moving right along, I’m also asked if I can recognize faces. Yes, though I’m not great at it when I first meet someone. If I spend enough time with someone their face gets very familiar and I can easily spot them in a crowd. I couldn’t describe their face beyond vague generalities, and I certainly couldn’t draw it. I’ve always wondered how people could draw such accurate lifelike faces, maybe visualization is involved? Beats me.

I’m not disabled me in any way I know of. Aside from having to fake it in meditation class I suppose. I work in the trades and can build or assemble complicated things. Though I often make or look at drawings. Hell, I used to paint watercolor landscapes. I loved to draw and paint as a kid. I can’t think of a single way this has ever been an issue for me. No doubt why I never realized I was missing something.

I joined an Aphantasia support group on Facebook. It really didn’t do much for me. What’s to say other than, hey, I too have aphantasia. And some of the people in the group did feel they were disadvantaged somehow. I guess. I never missed my mind’s eye until I found out it was missing. That huge numbers of people have had aphantasia throughout history without anyone ever really noticing argues to me that it’s not a handicap in any real way.

Aphantasia was first described and named in 1880, but was essentially forgotten until a study in 2015 brought it back into scientific currency. A few more studies have been done, scientists suspect what part of the brain isn’t working right. At least one book has been written, and the Wikipedia article links to various articles and studies. In the original study the article describes I would have scored 16. IE for any of 16 objects I was asked to visualize, my answer would be “no image at all, you only know that you are thinking of the object.” At least I’m consistent.

On the plus side, and I suspect it’s related to aphantasia, I don’t get earworms. A clear evolutionary advantage in the modern age. Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A lake surrounded by forest. Credit: Snappygoat image, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 26, 2019 at 4:40 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, DEBATES, ETC.

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Lincoln_Douglas

Yesterday was my birthday. My 62nd orbit around the Sun is concluded. So far, so good. As in I woke up this morning. My life has gotten very simple since I semi-retired. Concentrate on my core friends and family, and my writing. And by my writing, I mean my attempts to understand this amazing reality we find ourselves in, and share my thoughts with the world. The now world, and people in the future. If you’re reading this years or thousands of years after I wrote it: “Hi, glad you’re reading this!” What else is there to say? Oh, right, “Sorry we fucked up the planet so badly!”

I’m not a genius, maybe 90th percentile, at most. And even at that, IQ, is a measure of problem solving ability; and say RAM, the ability to think about a lot of things at once. It’s not related to wisdom, or even logic. Even smart people can believe nonsense. Hell, they can rattle off impressive strings of false arguments. Still, IQ is pretty good at higher levels, and the scary smart people I have been privileged to know were a big influence on my life. Sally Shlaer, Steve Mellor, Peter Berck, my august father. Dozens of others have contributed to my worldview as well.  And so, using this brain gift God or evolution and my mentors gave me, I’ve spent about 60 years trying to make sense of it all.

And today’s theory, reality exists. There is actually a “truth” hiding behind all the clouds of misperception and lies. And using our brains, and the wisdom of countless brains throughout history working on this problem, we can come to some very solid conclusions about reality. Alas, and there’s the rub, due to accidents of our brains’ design, and the machinations of self-interested people, most of the human race believes at least some nonsense. The brain isn’t designed for logic, it’s designed for pattern recognition.

So, those interested in reality, here are the conclusions of a reasonably smart guy who has spent his intellectual life trying to parse the BS from what is real. All of these have codicils of course, reality is indeed complicated with infinite possibilities, nonetheless we as a species have advanced enough to make some pretty accurate determinations of what is real. Science rocks. This is a list of what I believe are true statements. Disagree? Reasonable argument and evidence will change my mind.

  1. Vaccines are safe and effective.
  2. Sleeping in a closed room with a fan will not kill you.
  3. Global warming is real, and humans are causing it.
  4. Glyphosate is harmless to animals and doesn’t cause cancer.
  5. Cell phones are safe and don’t cause cancer.
  6. Smart meters too.
  7. 5G technology as well.
  8. The Earth is an oblate spheroid.
  9. Evolution is a fact.
  10. The Earth is some 4.5 billion years old.
  11. GMOs are not inherently dangerous.
  12. Organic food is a scam.
  13. UFOs are not alien craft.
  14. Ancient aliens is a BS theory.
  15. Bigfoot doesn’t exist.
  16. Nessie doesn’t exist.
  17. Atlantis wasn’t real
  18. Ghosts aren’t real.
  19. Telepathy etc doesn’t exist.
  20. Astrology is mostly BS.
  21. Aside from a few medical conditions, gluten sensitivity isn’t real.
  22. MSG sensitivity isn’t real either.
  23. Nuclear power is the safest form of power generation, all factors considered.

I suspect almost everyone will take umbrage at one or more of these. This is why I will never be a famous blogger. Fortunately I don’t give a damn.

Note I kept the list to the purely scientific, nothing political or historical. That’s another list, for the day when I want to lose the rest of my readers. I’ve become quite the cynic about politics in America these days. I watched one of the Democratic debates last night, an experience akin to being dissected alive by aliens. The most frightening thing about it was how almost every question was framed to normalize oligarch/GOP talking points, and marginalise/discredit any actual reforms to our hideously broken system of government/health care.

As some have pointed out, the whole point of the debate appeared to be ambushing and discrediting Warren and Sanders. It was also kind of scary how so many of the debaters repeatedly referenced Trump, as if he was the problem, not the corporate oligarchy that has been getting ever richer for decades at the expense of the poor and working class. “Anybody but Trump!” will work as well in 2020 as it did in 2016. And even if someone like Sanders does get elected, Trump made all sorts of populist promises too. All of which went out the window after he was elected. Like the populist promises of Obama and Clinton.

Well, we’ll see. I hope America finds its way out of the mess it’s in, and I support the efforts of those working for positive change. I just won’t be blogging about it much. I’ll stick to science, history, space exploration, and interesting things. Anatomically possible suggestions welcome. ;)

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Composite photograph of Lincoln and Douglas, who debated famously in 1858. Mostly about slavery, oddly enough. Credit: Scewing for making the composite. The photographs themselves, and thus their composite, are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 31, 2019 at 5:04 am

MOON ROVER DREAMS

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01

Slow news week. History kind of goes in spurts, every once and awhile something big happens that shifts gears, but for the most part it’s just more of the same. (Iran and North Korea are great cases in point, while there is the occasional blip, for the most part things have been the same since 1979 and 1953 respectively.) So no big news, but I have a few half written posts. None I am inspired to finish right now. There’s always more Trump follies, but how people aren’t bored of that already is a mystery to me. In this day in history, well, 700 odd years ago the largest trebuchet in history was used to knock down a castle, but getting a whole post out of the story proved … challenging. So here we go, random inspirations …

Japan is planning a lunar rover for use in 2029. Pretty cool, inspired by this no doubt. OK, lots of doubt, but it’s still a cool parallel. We’re talking the full deal here, manned and pressurized. Refrigerated sake storage, the works. The sci fi of my youth finally coming true. I still remember stories and books from when I was a kid, where humans would have moon bases, if not interstellar travel, by the 70s. A wee bit optimistic it turns out, but better late than never. I know, I’ll write a post about interstellar travel. That’s the ticket. My desperate search for today’s content has borne future fruit. Interstellar travel is possible with today’s technology, and whenever I say that there are howls of protest. It will be a fun post.

In the opposite direction, a well preserved 500 year old ship has been found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Too cool for words, even some of its rigging appears intact. It’s nearly 500 feet down, hopefully beyond the reach of looters. And hopefully we have the technology to investigate it properly. It would be nice (I almost said ‘awesome’ but caught myself) if they could bring it up intact, but alas I suspect the cost would be prohibitive. At least to a species with priorities like ours. The best part, guess why it is so perfectly preserved? Viking cowshit! I kid you not. Parts of the Baltic have been low oxygen dead zones for much of the past 500 years, and the culprit is thought to be human activity. Too much nutrient load washed into the sea causes algal blooms, which die, sink to the bottom, and their decomposition uses up oxygen faster than it can be replenished by the mixing of seawater. See, there is a silver lining to wide scale ecological destruction.

A truly nuts conspiracy theory is making the rounds. Birds aren’t real. That’s right, the government killed them all in the sixties and replaced them with bird mimicking drones. They were killed off with specially modified B-52s, hat tip to the chemtrails folks I guess. Of course it’s absurd. In fact the “theory” was made up by one guy, it’s little more than a thinly veiled marketing scheme. Still, won’t surprise me if some take it seriously. If the Flat Earthers have taught us anything, there’s no bar too low for a conspiracy theory to squirm under. That’s why no links here, the times are crazy enough as it is without encouraging more.

And speaking of truly nuts, another from my “Gee, I guess normal people don’t do that file.” I miss a lot of memos it seems. Or my ‘update normal human behavior file’ is corrupt. Who knows, teams of mental health specialists have no clue. That was a joke. Was it an ableist joke? I don’t know, I hope not. Moving right along, I am active on the social site Agnostic.com. I have a profile, it has a section for pictures. I have a few of me, but mostly it’s a dozen or so of my all time favorite memes, cartoons, pictures, etc. I like to amuse people, and I think they give insight into what kind of person I am. So the other day I thought I’d check out what kind of pictures other people had posted in their profiles. And to my dismay, every single profile I checked only had a few pics posted, and all were pictures of the person in question, maybe some with pets and family. Oh well, another reason I’m still single.

So Friday, interstellar travel, already I have lots of thoughts. As always, comments, suggestions, shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Apollo Moon rover. Credit: NASA, used in accordance with NASA guidelines.)

Written by unitedcats

July 24, 2019 at 4:02 am