Posted on September 17th, 2023
It may be getting cold enough that I'm contemplating turning on the heat, but it's always warm on my blog... because an all new Very Special Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Kookaburra! Now, granted, I would not want this outside my window (and I remember them very well from my trip to Australia), but it's sure nice to admire them from afar...
So cute. Are there any baby creatures that are not adorable?
• Andor! Diego Luna is precious and life-affirming. This entire video is fantastic...
On top of that? He's a remarkably gifted actor. I am dying for the second season of Andor to arrive.
• ¡Yo Quiero! "It's the same thing in a different thing." — HE'S FIGURED IT OUT! HE'S DISCOVERED THE TACO BELL FORMULA!
LOL. These foreign takes on quintessentially American things never gets old!
• Does Whatever a Spider Can! Video games have reached the point where you're basically playing a feature film. This looks incredible...
This was a Spider-Man game when I first started playing...
Insanity. And soon we'll have much, much better VR experiences, which could take it to an even more immersive level.
• Unreal! If you want a look into the absolutely fascinating world of 3D computer graphics, this is an amazing behind-the-scenes look at how photogrammetry works...
Now, I've written about the Unity gaming engine a couple times before. The stuff people are doing with it is breathtaking (including companies like Lucasfilm and Marvel using it for producing their projects). It is an amazing, amazing tool. Unfortunately, they've just unveiled a hugely controversial licensing model, which is gouging game developers in a terrible way. It's easy to say "Just switch to a different gaming engine if you don't like the cost!" Except video games take years to develop. Even for large studios with hundreds of employees. So if you've been working on a game for two or three years... how can you afford to switch to a different engine? This is a major deal. So major that some game projects are being canceled... and some developers are going to switch engines despite the additional time needed...
Of course the people behind Unity deserve to get paid for their hard work. But to kill developers to get there seems like a horrifically bad business model. Hopefully they will re-evaluate what they're doing and come up with something more reasonable.
• SCIENCE! Despite an inexplicable (and highly selective) anti-science movement by fucking idiots, science marches on. And this is fascinating...
Fascinating and scary. Plants screaming? But in brighter news... research into Alzheimer's just keeps advancing. Very promising that one day we might have a cure.
• HomeShit! For anybody saying that I am exaggerating about just how fucking shitty Apple's HomeKit is, this guy is a total expert and even he can't solve the problems he's been having. He finally ended up resetting and rebuilding his entire HomeKit setup...
If I get this desperate, I'm just going to bail on HomeShit altogether and go with Matter and some kind of smarter home hub (like Homey Pro). In the meanwhile, I am just applying Band-Aids to try to solve the massive fucking problems I'm having. As an example, I just installed a light and motion sensor in my garage as a backup to automatically turn the light on when the doors open since HomeShit automations keep dying on my door sensor for some reason (even though the light switch and sensor itself is operating perfectly).
And on that happy note... enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Posted on July 7th, 2023
When I got home from work today, I was just... numb. Didn't have the energy to do anything except plop down in front of the television with an ice cream cone. Which sounds more entertaining than it was because I never bothered to actually turn the television on.
Instead I told Siri to put on some music while I caught up on the news.
And the first headline I see? FDA grants full approval to new Alzheimer's drug meant to slow disease.
Now, this is a hell of a long way from an actual cure. It costs $26,500 a year, it has been linked to death, it only slows progression for around five months, and it's more for friends and family than the person with dementia, but it's a step! And, from somebody who's intimately familiar with it... from somebody who would have given anything to have a chance at five more months with my mom where she was still mostly herself... I'd have paid the $26,500 and been grateful if it in any way helped.
And that's the way science goes.
AIDS, some cancers, and many diseases are survivable now, and it all started with a step. A step just like Leqembi is for dementia.
But there will always be those for which the science came too late.
For those left behind, I guess you just cling to the consolation that other people may be spared what you had to go through.
Posted on April 26th, 2023
I don't understand people who don't find space exploration utterly fascinating.
The United Arab Emirates has a Mars probe (named Hope) that sent back one of the most amazing shots I've ever seen. It's of the moon Deimos above The Red Planet, and the image composition is so amazing that you'd think it was Photoshopped. Or CGI. Or a painting. Or anything except a photograph...
Photo from Emirates Mars Mission
The mission was originally set to end by now, but the UAE just extended it another year. The probe's wide orbit of the planet allows study of the planet and its moons in a way we haven't had before.
My fascination with Mars is directly attributed to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels...
Incredible painting by Michael Whelan shown the Martian moons of Barsoom for Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Burroughs had a fascinating take on the moons Phoebus and Deimos, which Barsoomians (AKA "Martians") call Thuria and Cluros. Because the moons are very small... just 17 miles and 9 miles across, respectively)... people shrink when they approach them. John Carter visits Thuria in the book Swords of Mars only to find the surface area was similar to that of Mars, relative to his tiny size.
Phoebus and Deimos are notable not just because they are so small, but also because their orbits are really close to Mars. Phoebus is just 5,800 miles away... Deimos 14,500. Earth's moon, for comparison is 238,900 miles! But it gets worse. Phoebos's orbit is decaying 6 feet every hundred years. Which means it's likely to break apart (Mars gets a ring!) or crash into the planet in another 50 million years.
Thanks to NASA's Perseverance rover, we actually know what a solar eclipse looks like on Mars...
I could go on for pages writing about Mars and its moons. The exploration of our neighboring planet is a fascinating subject on which there are volumes of research, photos, speculation, and fiction available. It's a bottomless pit from which I'm happy to keep falling.
Posted on February 19th, 2023
Spring is finally in the air and the bullets are flyin'... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Faux! I have put the "news" in FOX "News" in quotations because anybody who's paying attention knows that it's neither fair nor balanced and is sure the fuck not actual news. It's 1000% propaganda that's mostly exaggerations and outright lies. And now we know that the people actually at FOX "News" know that they are pushing lies. A bunch of internal texts have been uncovered that prove it. This will come as no shock to anybody outside the FOX "News" bubble... but it should be a surprise to those inside of it. Except it likely won't matter, because lies that fit their narrative are better than facts and truth. Which is actually true for everyone and everything.
• Down Under! Do yourself a favor and go look at the winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year awards. Because holy crap...
Winner: Fade by J. Gregory Sherman (United States)
It's incredible how absolutely mind-bending some of these shots are. Well worth your valuable time.
• Oranges! There's a TikTok channel devoted to golden monkeys eating. That's it. That's all it is. But it's fantastic. I mean, come on... JUST LOOK AT THIS (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
But don't take my word for it... go take a look!
• Healing! I seriously, seriously for the love of God hope that we can normalize psychedelics as treatment for trauma. It has been proven time and again that it is astoundingly effective in providing relief to those who are hurting. John Oliver really breaks it down in a way that everybody can understand. Well worth your valuable time...
It's not a magic bullet, obviously, but more research and testing needs to happen. Especially for our veterans.
• Licorice Pizza! Magical...
It's amazing that all this works. But oh so cool that it does.
• Twain Train! I was watching the best talk show ever to exist, The Graham Norton Show where it was revealed that Shania Twain has a train named after her in Switzerland. It's called Shania Train, which is epic...
This rivals the great names that they give snowplows!
• God Rod! Derek Muller's Veritasium channel is always entertaining. But some of his videos are just wildly worth watching, and he released a doozy last month. If you've got 20 minutes to kill, this is worth a watch...
It makes you wonder how many crazy, untested ideas actually gets funded with our tax dollars.
Until next time, true believers!
Posted on February 3rd, 2023
Today I fell down an anti-vax, anti-science, flat-earth, we-never-landed-on-the-moon rabbit hole of stupid that still has me shaking my head. It's like... the "expert" that gets cited is always just some guy. Or some disgraced doctor. Or some "trust-me-bro" media personality. And the "data" is usually opinion masquerading as facts. Or good data interpreted badly. Sometimes people don't bother reading past a headline to form a complete opinion... even if the headline has absolutely nothing to do with what's actually happening.
But the big mystery for me is how the world's ENTIRE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY and THE VAST, VAST MAJORITY OF DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS are all on the payroll of NASA or Big Pharma or whom-the-fuck-ever. Do you know how many doctors there are worldwide? How many scientists? The money needed to pay off every last one of them would exceed all profits of all these entities that are supposedly paying them to keep quiet about the "truth."
Am I saying straight-up that vaccines are 100% harmless and NASA isn't hiding shit? Oh hell no. Anybody that certain is selling you something (probably "nutritional supplements" guaranteed to cure COVID!). And I am always open to the possibility that new facts and new data may come to light which can refute any science or data currently in evidence.
But this whole "My wife's cousin's best friend's co-worker's neighbor's electrician's dog groomer's pediatrist's mortician says that vaccines cause massive blood clots in every vaccinated corpse they examine!" is about the most sublimely idiotic excuse for "research" imaginable.
But, to an increasing number of people on this planet, that's the "reasearch" that matters, so good luck to us not going extinct or whatever.
Posted on December 13th, 2022
Today I am (mostly) at home and trying to rest up.
This, of course, requires a lot of YouTube viewing (which makes me even more thankful that I paid for YouTube Premium, because the ads would have driven me insane by now).
Of all the videos I watched, this is the one that I found most fascinating...
Maybe it's the nerd in me, but the science of stuff like this never ceases to blow my mind.
Posted on July 12th, 2022
NASA released four images from the WEBB Space Telescope, and lo did the people of earth lose their minds. And well they should, because the images are absolutely jaw-droopingly stunning.
The best we could really do prior to this was the images that came out of the Hubble Space Telescope. And, amazing though they were, technology has come a very long way since Hubble was launched in 1990.
A guy released a tool for comparing Hubble to WEBB, and it's impossible to overstate what a drastic difference it is...
But that's just the beginning.
Not only can we see more stuff better, we can see further back in time. 4.6 billion years and counting.
This astounding shot of Stephan's Quintet is mind-boggling. Each of these four massive nebulas contain millions of stars. But each of those little dots scattered around them? Galaxies with hundreds of thousands of millions of stars each. There's billions upon billions upon billions of stars in this image. And many of those could have planets. Many of those could have planets with life. Odds are very good that we are not alone...
The photos we're going to see from WEBB will most certainly continue to astonish for decades to come. And the amount of learning opportunities for all of humanity are likely staggering.
I dunno about you, but I like the idea of tax dollars going to occasional programs like this instead of exclusively fueling a war machine that's already bigger than most other countries on the planet combined. WEBB cost $10 billion. That's a massively-huge amount of money, no doubt. But considering an aircraft carrier costs $14 billion... and the jets that are onboard cost a cool $80 million each... well, if there's money for that, there's money for this.
Posted on August 10th, 2021
The Kurzgesagt channel on YouTube is one of the most fascinating darn things. Every one of their videos is pretty mind-blowing, and I end up learning something new more often than not. It's science boiled down to brass tacks, and it's made hugely entertaining with the terrific animation as well.
And their latest? The first part of a series on the human immune system? It's BONKERS COOL. I mean, seriously bonkers cool. It also seems impossibly cool that something this complex which works this well exists at all. I mean... just watch this and be amazed...
And you can bet your ass that I clicked through to pre-order a copy of the IMMUNE book the second the started talking about it. Can't wait to get it.
And really can't wait for part two!
Posted on April 28th, 2021
Just two days ago I wrote about how utterly awful people are with their stupid shit. And today it all reached a peak that had me wishing an asteroid would nuke the planet. I am so done with awful, ignorant, stupid people. Like really done. Good thing my Buddhist philosophy promotes and existence of non-violence!
The nice thing is that the CDC realeased new guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated which, as I understand it, is two weeks after your second dose (which is May 5th for me). It's quasi-normal stuff...
I was supposed to fly out to New Orleans in June... plans which were made back in December of 2020 when the vaccines were rolling out... but canceled them this morning. That will make my first trip be in September, by which time I will hopefully feel better about crawling on an airplane with people and their nonsense for five-and-a-half hours.
Just my luck there will be a new COVID strain that hits at the end of August which isn't stopped by the vaccines. Then I'll have to wait for a Pfizer booster shot or something.
All because people are selfish dumbasses and, in the absence of reason, those who are fighting the good fight against COVID are facing an uphill battle. Because the pandemic isn't the enemy any more... it's the morons who don't trust science and take COVID seriously that keeps the war going on and on and on.
Posted on December 22nd, 2020
Because of my travels, I've been vaccinated many, many times. Going to Asia? Vaccinations. Going to Africa? Vaccinations. Get run down in France and are at a risk for tetanus? Vaccinations. And, of course, my mom had me fully vaccinated against polio and all that crap when I was a kid. And I've gotten a flu shot for the last several years too. I've had all kinds of crap injected into me because I trust the science that developed it and want to be safe.
And now there's the COVID vaccine. As I've said previously, you can bet your ass I'll be first in line to get that injected into me too. I am far, far less concerned about this vaccine than I have many of the others I've received.
Am I worried that the vaccine will "rewrite my DNA?" — No. That's a load of fucking misinformation bullshit spread by fucking dumbshits. Am I concerned that the COVID vaccine will give me COVID? — No. There's no COVID in the COVID vaccine and you can't get it that way. Am I worried the vaccine was "rushed?" — No. This kind of speed is what happens when science has all roadblocks removed. Am I concerned the vaccine might make me sick? — No. It's just an instruction set that teaches the body how to battle COVID then disappears. And THAT is what's actually pretty darn cool about how Messenger RNA vaccines work...
Oh yeah, baby. Inject me with that shit! Inject it nice and slow. Hit me up with some immunity immunity!
Better that than COVID.