Humans are an interesting species. We tend to deny that which we cannot control. Ever since we set foot on the veld we have ascribed supernatural explanations to quantifiable phenomena or just said neener neener neener and hoped it would go away. Neither method has proven effective. Astronomers and priests studied the stars not to tell you how your sex life was going to work out, but to gauge the best times for planting, finding shelter, and so on. By figuring this out they were able to create calendars so the people would have a jump on things. The oldest known calendar is about 8,000 years old. And it was, and is, accurate. All of this, however, is basic science. It helped people plan and survive. It’s since been perverted to justify or explain everything from warts to progeny. And that’s not very useful. [Read more…] about Tomorrow’s Getting Closer
Once upon a time it was common for people, mostly men, to smoke in the office and have a few drinks for lunch. Foster Brooks, who neither drank nor smoked, made an entire career out of satirizing the phenomena. Good times. But, as time marched on and science bit into the fallacies being used for promotion, those habits died out. You can’t smoke within fifteen feet of most buildings, let alone inside of them, and drinking booze for brunch will get your fired quicker than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. That’s assuming you were still sober enough to try saying supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. That’s not to say people have stopped smoking and drinking, far from, but the former is waning and the latter tends to be done more responsibly. At least in theory. [Read more…] about Smoking and Drinking!
Before we dive into the actions of Rep. Matt Gaetz II (R-FLA.), we need to clarify what was at risk via his actions. The airwaves have been filled with security experts, lawyers, and retired military, all of whom have done their level best to lay out the facts. And done so quite well from what I can tell. The problem is that they all sound like security experts, lawyers, and retired military, and the average American can’t really relate. It’s not that people are inherently stupid, but the threat seems remote. Something that happens to others, not you. So, before we look at the big picture, allow me to narrow things down a bit. Imagine burglars had the blueprints to your home, including every upgrade you’ve made. That would be bad. Now imagine they have that plus the location(s) of your valuables and personal weapons. Suddenly you’re not very secure. Now, take a deep breath and imagine that the reason they have all this information is because you gave it to them.
[Read more…] about I Know Where You Went
Every since little Freddie screamed out “Hearts and kidneys are tinker toys!” in Young Frankenstein, you just knew modern science was going to set about proving him right. That’s what scientists do. Go out, have a few cocktails, watch a fun movie, and come up with insane stuff. Everything from cell phones to spinal implants to robotic eyes to molecular insertions all came after someone saw a TV show or movie. So, that’s cool and all, but what if the movie is about reanimating the dead? You know, Frankenstein? That wacky story? Well, hang on to your seat belts, this ride’s about to get interesting.
[Read more…] about Zombies Anyone?
There are fun aspects about doing this blog. Some even joyous. Today finds me able to share something like that with you. The World News Center casts its nets far and wide looking for stuff we can share. Because of that we’ve gotten superhero news ahead of the curve, science stuff that seems like it should be in a mediocre movie (no one will believe that!) yet turns out to be real. Since we’re not an official anything to anyone we’re able to fly under the radar, keep our sources private, and just wait to be proven right. Or, in one spectacular case, wrong. But that’s okay. If an error gets made it gets owned. That said, I just heard form one of our readers about her cousin. She’s in an experimental program which is attempting to restore eyesight to people who’ve lost it due to trauma. Think car wrecks and the like. [Read more…] about Seeing is Believing
My friend Joi likes to say that a person needs six hugs a day to maintain their sanity. And there’s enough research behind that thought to warrant consideration. Having your personhood affirmed by tactile reinforcement can go a long way in our increasingly disconnected world. I was reminded of this today as I was walking home from the library and spotted a woman wearing a Superman shirt like mine. Hers was a rebirth era, and mine is classic, but Superman is Superman. So we laughed, claimed a bond only true comic book fans can claim, and then, catching me completely by surprise, she hugged me. We held there for a moment, wished each other well, and went our separate ways. You know what? The world needs more random hugs. And if you can’t do that, hug someone anyway. You’ll thank me when you do. [Read more…] about Free Hugs!
Back in the ’60s two guys named Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby wrote a story about how science could shrink people and inject them into other people to solve urgent medical issues. In the case of the story it was a soon-to-be lethal blood clot. The story was so cool that Harry Kleiner wrote a movie script about it and Richard Fleischer directed it, and they called the result FANTASTIC VOYAGE. If you click that link you’ll be subjected to 1966’s common sexism. Sorry about that. The film was made in 1966. But you’ll also see something unthought of at the time; the use of the human body as a location. Up until then all depictions of humans in sci-fi had the humans being sacred beings who did things, not some vessels that could have things done to them. The movie fascinated many, terrified some, and made stupid money for its time.
[Read more…] about Let’s Get Small
The things that set people off into ALL CAPS rages continues to amaze me. From pumpkin spice anything to the colors of the new line of Hyundai’s. Now, if they made pumpkin spiced Hyundai’s then I could understand. Nah, I still wouldn’t care. Even so, high dudgeon appears to be attainable via the slightest provocation. And never is that more true than in the world of superheroes. What? You thought I was going to dive into politics? Sorry buddy, I gave up low hanging fruit when I dumped all my Florida stories. From Ben Affleck ruining Batman for all, he didn’t, to Gal Gadot not being American, neither was Wonder Woman, to Robert Downey Jr. being a horrible actor, he’s not, to Black Panther being a waste of white people’s money, it wasn’t, etc. On and on it goes. This will ruin civilization, or that will destroy all human morals, or something even more dire. None of the arguments have any validity when looked at logically, but people keep making them.
[Read more…] about Controversy
If you’ve wandered near the internet lately, and managed not to run and hide from all the politics, you’ve heard about how Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars and Jeff Bezos thinks that moon hotels are a spiffy idea. Both of these men are smart, stupidly rich, and capable of making their own dreams cone true. There is just a little, teensy, thing that neither man is comfortable admitting; they’re going to cause a lot of people to die for no reason. You see, in layman’s terms, both ideas are stupid. I mean fatally misguided. Essentially, without wasting the rest of your week on boring math, it all comes down to this; on a planet with basic Earth gravity, air pressure, and wind currents, their ideas are fine. Neither location even remotely fits that description.
[Read more…] about Let’s Nuke Some Sh*t
Back on January 10, 2013, I wrote a whimsical missive about how Floridians may be the stupidest, and most dangerous, morons on Earth. Not much has changed since then. Back then they authorized regular citizens to wander the Everglades and hunt pythons with handguns. For those who don’t party with giant constrictors, pythons can get to twenty feet long, a couple hundred pounds, and can kill and eat a four or five year old child without effort. Hunting them with handguns is akin to hunting rogue elephants with a slingshot. It can be done, but your aim better be amazing since you won’t get a second shot. Long time fan of the Friday edition of The Big Wake Up Call, the weekly radio companion to this blog, Roger (last name withheld by request) over at Smithsonian Magazine, sent me THIS LINK to update me on how well things have gone since then. [Read more…] about The Joys of Extinction