The Moon and Kepler

Pic of the day:  The Moon from Apollo 12,

Moon_apollo12

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We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens. The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.

Johannes Kepler

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That’s it from here, America  G’night.

Looking

Pic of the day:  Martin Luther King, Jr. showing his medallion received from Mayor Wagner (1964)

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_with_medallion_NYWTS

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Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)

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You read Martin Luther King Jr’s words, both the ones above and a thousand just like them, the message and the thoughts they both express and represent and you have to wonder how far have we come as a people, as a nation?

Looking at things like last years Trayvon Martin case and myriad others like it, I see a nation that still has a major problem with racism.

Looking at the Newtown tragedy and the myriad others like it, I see a nation that still has a problem with guns.

Looking at district attorneys hunting kids who download files like they robbed a bank and hounding them to the point that they commit suicide while letting employees at banks that defrauded their customers and stole billions from them walk without a day of jail time, I see a nation that has a real problem with justice.

Looking at the NDAA, government actions against Occupy and the like, I see a nation that still wants to hold its people down.

So when we look at our world and wonder what has changed, you can truthfully answer “Not much.”

For all he did, all he tried to do, all the good that he spread with his message, you can truthfully answer “Not much.”

But we keep trying.  We’ll make it better eventually.  It’ll happen.

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Looking for work.

Went on an interview yesterday.

It went well.

But it will take time before they call me.

So I sit at home, waiting for a phone call.

And I keep looking for work.

And there is not really that much.

At least not in the fields that I am looking in.

But I keep trying.

Looked for a bit today.

Nothing.

Dammit.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Nerdtastic

Pic of the day:  The Fairy of Eagle Nebula

800px-Eaglefairy_hst_big

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Don’t ever become a pessimist … a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Sometimes when I read the news I find nothing but things that get me angry, stir me up, get my dander up.  Like the AIG story earlier in the week, which turned out better than I had expected.

And sometimes I don’t.  This is one of those times, time to look at a lighter news story, because it does a body good to take a break from the mess that is the world every once in a while.

Today’s story is a giggle worthy nerdtastic story straight from the White House.  Not normally the place you get stories like that from, but here it is.

The White House has decided against building a death star.

You read that right. Apparently a Star Wars nerd in search of…something, what exactly I don’t know, decided to put o the White house petitions site a petition whose main purpose was job creation;  i.e. building a Death Star. And it got a lot of attention, enough to warrant an actual response from the people who officially respond to this kind of thing.

If you thought that would be the end of it, and that they would simply poo-poo the whole idea, you’d be wrong.  Well, right in that in the end they obviously turned it down, but it was the creative nerdtastic way that they did it that played heavily to the Star Wars fans who clearly were the ones who voted for this thing.

It starts off by spoofing a line from the first movie by Obi-Wan Kenobi.  “This is not the petition you’re looking for.”

Just a little fun from the fine people at Robot Chicken

When I read that first line I knew I was in for a treat.  Early in the response to the petition there was a statement saying that the cost of the death star would be prohibitive, and used numbers gotten from some very creative students at Lehigh University that estimated the actual cost of building the death star.

And by the way, a death star would cost approximately Eight hundred and fifty six quadrillion dollars.  That’s eight hundred fifty six thousand billion for those who don’t know what a quadrillion is.

BTW, it’s nice to know that the administration of President Barack Obama does not condone blowing up planets. Felt good about that.  I live on one of those things. They’re kinda nice, if you can handle the local yokels that is.

But I thought the crowning touch, the piece de resistance was saying that they wouldn’t waste money on a death star with a fundamental flaw in it that could be exploited by a one-man starship.  Pictures of Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star danced in my head when I read that.

Now the rest of the piece, while less Star Warsy, to coin a term, was nevertheless very much pro-science and had fun linking certain projects to star wars.  For example, do you know the acronym that the commercial venture between NASA and private investors?

No?  It’s the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office… or… wait for it…

C3PO.

Maybe this WAS the petition I was looking for. This star wars nerd who fell in love with all things space based as a kid watching the tail end of the Apollo program, and gazed in wide eyed wonder at the spectacle of the first Star Wars movie when I was but 9 years old, found a great deal that was both great and good in this happy little light piece of news that floated in from the White House today.

The main point of the piece though, beyond the obvious silliness was to promote science and science education, a worthy endeavor, truly.

Mind you I heard on twitter that Darth Vader was not pleased about this, but I could not get further comment from him on the subject.  This may not be the last you’ll hear about this.

I hope.  🙂

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Thats it from here, America.  G’night.

Well At Least The Photo Is Pretty

Pic of the day: Sun Spots and Solar Flares, Courtesy of Nasa

799px-Sun_Spots_and_Solar_Flares

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THE SCORPION AND THE LADYBUG

A Scorpion befriended a Ladybug who became a loyal companion
to him. A time came when she struggled to cross a challenging
and dangerous river, and so the Scorpion offered to take her
to the other side on his back. He had come to care for her
and promised he would never harm her. But, safely across the
river, he allowed his tail to dip upon her with its venomous
sting. As she lay in greatest pain, she said, “… but, you
promised… why?” He shrugged and said, sadly, “Because it is
my Nature.”

Regardless of our wishes, or even our intent,
it is to our Nature alone that we will be faithful

Aesop’s Fables, courtesy of http://www.aesopfables.com

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I was moved to put one of Aesop’s fables here in today(there were several others I could have gone with) after reading about AIG thinking of “joining” a suit against the United States government. Apparently there are some people there that are unhappy over the fact that they feel that their stockholders got shortchanged in the bailout.

This is not a surprise, and anyone who is surprised needs to seriously re-examine who they are talking about. This is the same company that made so many bets in so many directions before the beginning of the financial crisis that it alone nearly toppled the entire economy. And then, you will recall they then had the nerve to pay the people who put the nation and world in such peril bonuses for a job well done.

They are, in other words, known for being both monumentally stupid and very ballsy. A combination that rarely goes over well, particularly as they are trying to save face with an ad campaign.

An ad campaign.

Ya know if these morons spent their money more wisely and actually knew what they were doing, neither they nor we would have been and would not be in nearly the mess we were and are in. They made the mess, and are unhappy over having to live with the consequences.

Oh, and the lawsuit that they are joining? The part that makes it sound like someone else started this and they are just joining in? Do you know who is actually bringing the suit?

Former AIG CEO Maurice Greenberg. And his holding company, who happen to be shareholders in… you guessed it. AIG.

There is even noise being made that AIG is being forced into this lawsuit.

I don’t buy it.

I don’t think anyone is buying the fact that the shareholders of AIG were hard done by when we pulled their bacon out of the fire. I tell you simply, there is no better scenario for them back in 2008 when this happened than what happened. Bankruptcy would have gone very badly for them, the would have had to liquidate. And those shareholders would have ended up with squat. They will have a very hard time convincing a judge that they would have been better off in a different scenario and that the governments terms were too harsh.

Good luck with that, AIG. Enjoy the public ass whipping you are about to receive, which you whole-heartedly deserve.

And the ad campaign? It’s called “Thank you, America.” I guess you could give the lawsuit a name as well. “Fuck you, America” would fit the attitude of Mr. Greenberg and his misguided and ill-advised lawsuit and the false framing of AIG “joining” a lawsuit begun by AIG shareholders for AIG shareholders just about right.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

Damn Plot Points

Pic of the day:  Windbuchen

798px-Windbuchencom

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Who is there, my friend, can climb to the sky?
Only the gods dwell forever in sunlight.
As for man, his days are numbered,
whatever he may do, it is but wind.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet III Babylonian version

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I haven’t written in days.  Not a single thing.  I couldn’t finish the book idea I had during Nanowrimo because I got stuck.  Too many things in the middle of the book that need to be altered and worked on that affect the outcome of the book to finish it before the end of the month.  That doesn’t mean it wont get finished, it does mean however that it won’t get done in the 30 days that Nanowrimo wants work done in.

But this entire exercise was not about Nano for me.  It  is about writing a book, or something book length that resembles a book with a plot, characters, action  and storytelling placed in such a way as to make the reader want to turn the page and find out what happened next.  I don’t know if what I have done so far resembles that basic concept, but I hope it does.

I feel a hair guilty about it as well.  I could have written in all likelihood, nothing stopped me from going to the keyboard and banging out a few hundred or even thousand words, and I’m not inhibited now either.   Every time I wrote something for that book I easily knocked out well over the average amount of words that was needed to get to 50,000 words in 30 days.  In my heart of hearts I know why I’m not working on it right now.

It isn’t good enough.  I think, or more appropriately feel like what I wrote wasn’t good enough, and that comes from a lack of planning and forethought on my part about the story.  I got to the part of the book where I am now, nearly 40,000 words in knowing that there is a great deal of work that has to be done to salvage the story.  I am going to get to it, but first I am going to extend my outline and work on those story elements that were lacking internal cohesion.

There was good news though. There was one bit of my writing that went well, that I really liked.  Character development.  The story which was going to be very much event driven came to be very much character driven, and the word pictures I drew of the characters was complex and showed effectively how the characters interacted with their surroundings.

Now if only I could get my damn plot points straightened out, life would be much simpler.

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Enkidu opened his mouth,
saying to Gilgamesh:
“where you’ve set your mind begin the journey,
let your heart have no fear, keep your eyes on me!

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet III Babylonian version

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There is a reason for the quotes from the Epic of Gilgamesh.  As I have been looking for inspiration for my writing I have been listening to a great many audiobooks.  But since I don’t have any money to burn I have had to listen to free audiobooks, and I have a favorite site for them, Librivox.

I was listening to a bit of Kurt Vonnegut, the story 2 B R 0 2 B, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, and a number of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft. It was then that I went random and started listening to the work of a man named Donald Alexander Mackenzie in a book titled Myths and Legends: Myths of Babylonia and Assyria. Which I have found to be an absolutely fascinating book.  It was not the stories themselves though that had my curiosity piqued.  It was how closely the “myths” of Babylon and Assyria mirrors the beliefs, customs, stories and in some cases the names in the Bible.

Which is amazing seeing how we are several languages and several thousand years removed from Babylon.  It is pretty amazing to me to think that any religious person from anywhere on the globe at this point is essentially telling the same stories and using the same psychological constructs that were in use several millennium before the birth of Christ, and makes the point, though not in so many words, that stories attributed to Christ were in fact stories that had existed for a great deal more than a thousand years before Christ was born.

Interesting and amazing stuff.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.