Category Archives: Entertainment

Tonight the world explodes

Tonight is the 4th of July.

Of course the whole day has been the Fourth, but it’s the night that rings in the actual event. Did I say “rings” I should say detonates! Destroys! Explodes!

And I have to wonder — where in the HELL do these people get their fireworks? Russia?

Criminy! If this doesn’t sound like Mosul during Iraqi Freedom, or the war against Isis and the associated put-you-in-a-box-and-send-you-to-the-bottom-of-the-sea, I don’t know what does.

BOOM! Crap! That just made me dive for cover. And I’m am NOT trained for this. Well, I am couch-trained by Hollywood. Is that enough? “INCOMING!”

Crackle-snap-pop… It sounds like Rice-Krispies made out of potassium nitrate and charcoal. Sheesh! Was that a SCUD missile?

Yo! North Korea! You know, you’re trying to send a wee-little-bomb over the whole damn Pacific ocean to hit Amazon and our good ol’ capitalist friend Jeff Bezos with one of your makeshift DukeNukem’s? Um, yeah! That ain’t gonna happen, yo! Hell, Jeff himself has got better rocketry than you do! And his buddy Elon? Yeah! Say goodnight MOON!


Media content tags

Rather than brand media (film, television, novels, art) with assumed age guestimations

G, PG, PG-13, PG-17, R, X, Adult, Young Adult, Middlegrade, Childrens, Mature Audience, General Audience, and so-on-and-so-forth, we should simply state what is contained within the media and then mark the following checkboxes (or initialisms) on the labels.

  • XSX: explicit sexual situations
  • ISX: implied sexual situations
  • XNU: explicit nudity
  • BNU: brief nudity
  • XDU: explicit drug and/or alcohol use
  • IDU: implied drug and/or alcohol use
  • XLA: profane language
  • SLA: strong language
  • XVI: explicit violence
  • SVI: strong violence
  • MVI: violence against minors
  • XMO: explicit mortality
  • IMO: implied mortality
  • XCB: explicit criminal behavior
  • ICB: implied criminal behavior

Using such a list would standardize all media regardless of form. Then, rather than have media judged by some arbitrary age restriction (what IS a young adult novel anyway?) the consumer could know the content parameters (or metadata) and choose for themselves (or their children).

Want to watch the movie Fury? Well, Fury would be: ISX, XLA, XVI, MVI, XMO
Harry Potter novels? IDU, SVI, IMO (some are XMO)
Bambi? IMO
Raiders of the Lost Ark? XDU, SLA, XVI, XMO

Are there a few other tags we should include? XAX – extreme anxiety inducing perhaps?
Want to tag a few more media items?
Your thoughts?

 


Learning to drive

There are three parts to learning to drive:

  1. The Law!
  2. Situational awareness.
  3. Physical interaction and muscle memory.

As I considered these (more on them later), in my endeavor to teach my children how to drive, I thought about that number — three.

And how curious it is and how it might represent a balance between so many aspects of life.

Jessie posted an article on argumentative discourse where there were three factor that comprise a good discussion 1) episteme, 2) eunoia, 3) parrhesia.

There’s the three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial.

Three parts to the Holy Trinity.

A three legged stool is the most stable of simple structures.

We’ve got, beginning-middle-end, birth-life-death, three-wishes, the troika, and the three languages on the Rosetta Stone. Just dozens and dozens of references to the balance of ideals, concepts, strengths, forces all done so through the juxtaposition and interaction of three.

What three lobed thing, in your life, your universe, means something to you?

But back to driving…

First, we must learn the law. Knowledge of what is legal, or not; how to treat the road signs, the road-lines, the signals and public alerts and indications — the rules of the road — all of this must be learned and memorized so that you can know how the other two factors should be situated.

Second we have situational awareness. Within the framework of the law, we have what is going on around you *right now*. Are there cars, people, animals around you. Are you driving on a curvy, straight, slick, gravelly road? Are you going too fast? Too slow? How’s the light? Are you getting tired? Everything that makes up the environment of your driving experience.

Thirdly there is the actual interaction with the vehicle. Some people rarely think this is a thing to learn — or at least to spend much time on. But in my mind this must be the very first thing you should learn. The car becomes an extension of your body. When it accelerates or screeches to a halt, you feel it in your body. When you go too fast around a curve, the centripetal force alerts you to the danger. When your wheels start to slide on ice or snow or hydro-plane, you feel that instant queasy, fair-ride feeling of lost control. How hard can you slam on the breaks? How does it feel to power-slide? What does it feel like to hit a deep pothole or get lifted off your seat during a gravity escaping leap over a country hill? Such things must be learned by your mind-body. These are not conscious parts of driving. These must be subconscious reactions that your body takes over when your mind is freewheeling in chaos.

Three parts to driving. Three parts to conversation. Three parts to government, and a good milking stool. “Three shall be the number. And the number shall be three…”


Are you overwhelmed?

I’m overwhelmed.

Are you?

I’ll bet you six copper pennies in a can of Coke that you thought to yourself:
“You’re damned right I’m overwhelmed.”

But who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by today’s onslaught of pointless, blathering, necessary, important, useless, whimsical, inane, senseless, critical STUFF?

JUST, JUST STOP ALREADY! BAHHHHHH!

*Sigh*

Alright, here we are, dealing with so much information, this constant inundation of news and memes and tropes and updates and “hey, look at my cute dog wearing Lady Gaga outfits” and the ice is melting faster than we thought and you need to try this new tech gizmo and, well, you get the picture. It’s too much. In fact…

It’s overwhelming. And not only that — hey, look at you reading this! Just one more thing you chose to do out of the tens of thousands of things you could be doing — yet you chose, for probably some faulty reason, to read this. Thanks. No really, I realize this is trite and utterly anonymous, but just know, I feel your pain. And you reading this, well, it’s a solid. Really.

And to pay you back here’s a picture of a porpoise doing a head stand on a trampoline floating in the Gulf of Mexico… Naw, I’m just joshin’ with you.

Now tell me this, wouldn’t you really (*really*) just like to have, perhaps 100-200 people you paid attention to. JUST THEM. ONLY THEM. Like they were your village, and you could do your thing, and they’d do theirs, and once or twice during the day you’d hook up with a few of them and say hi and how-ya-doin’ and later, in the evening, you and a bunch of them would walk down to the river, or the town square, or the communal pasture and just rest there, leaning on a fence post, sipping a beer, just chatting about the day and the people around you and the small corner of the world you live in? And that would be your day…

Wouldn’t that be nice? And by nice I mean better? Like WAY better than this pressure you feel every time you find yourself online, checking email(s), facebook, twitter, instagram, the news (ugh! the news), and all the tiny micro-shit that just keeps pounding on your consciousness?

The world invades our lives. It feels like ALL OF THE WORLD is now invading our lives. And I’m tired of it. I’m half disgusted, half encouraged, half enraged, half sympathetic — I’m pulled in dozens of ways. And I know you are too. And I wish I had an answer to assuage all of this anguish and stress and anxiety. But I’m sorry. I don’t. Here’s a video of a bunny sleeping with a fox in a kennel and aren’t they both darling?

Oh shit, I’m sorry. You see what I mean? This crap never ends. Well, here’s hoping I didn’t extend or heighten your level of angst. Because, you know, that would just add to my own exhaustion, and I’m already…


Unexpected latitudes…

Unexpected latitudes…

None of Florida is in the tropics. And none of New Zealand. But half of Australia is. And parts of China too.

Iceland is not above the Arctic Circle.

Paris is farther north than Seattle.

Cambridge England is as far north as the northern most tip of Mongolia.

Edinburgh Scotland is farther north than the southern tip of Chile is south.

The southern tip of Africa is the same distance from the equator as Los Angeles.

Denver, Philadelphia, Madrid and Bejing are all about the same distance north.

Nice, France is farther north than Vladivostok, Russia. And is farther north than Tasmania is south.


The four act Bond

How to write a thrilling story.

A typical Bond 007 style sequence:

(jeopardy + conflict + risk = penalty/reward) +
(jeopardy + conflict + risk = reward) +
(jeopardy + conflict + risk = penalty) +
big jeopardy + big conflict + big risk = final reward

Some family, data or city is in jeopardy.
Bond arrives and conflict ensues.
At a crux in the conflict Bond makes a rash decision:
He partially succeeds but must pay an unexpected price. (Bond is fallible.)

Some greater entity is at risk.
Bond, known to the villain, cat and mouses in conflict.
Bond, attempting to redeem his initial failure, takes a greater risk:
He succeeds to acclaim. (Bond is arrogant.)

Bond is now in jeopardy along with a state or country or system.
Villain escalates conflict with Bond and the system.
Bond risks yet again, with hubris from prior success:
He fails, loses almost all, humiliated. (Bond is humble.)

World is in peril now.
Bond fights not only villain but the system too.
Bond risks all in last ditch attempt to beat villain and justify prior actions:
He succeeds, world is saved, Bond is hero, villains beware. (Bond is resilient.)


The Problem with Star Wars

The problem with Star Wars and Star Trek and many other “Star blah blah blah” type story lines is this: where are the robots?

No, I’m not talking about the cute comic-relief characters, nor am I talking about the droid-wars robots.

Here’s the thing, Space Is Hard. Even Elon admits this. Biologically based creatures die — really easily — in space. They die if they don’t eat, don’t get liquids, don’t get enough to breathe, get squeezed or stretched or ripped. Biological creatures are fragile. A biological military force, or agents, or workers or what-have-you would be a society’s LAST resort. The first thing a sentient species would do when they start exploring space is to build up the biggest, baddest, smartest, most versatile space-force using ROBOTS they could.

People? We’re not gonna use PEOPLE — hell no!

Look, Humans suck at space. Right now about 1 out of 20 rockets we launch BLOW UP! And that’s good. That’s the best we’ve gotten so far. Imagine if 1 out of every 20 commercial flights that took off from airports just today BLEW UP!  About 100k flights occur everyday. Imagine if 5000 of them exploded in the last 24 hour. Hell No!

So, between our really really bad track record for sending rockets into space and our super-duper track record for flying airplanes, we have a long way to go.

Now, let’s examine our robotic and computer track record. We’ve got some amazing technology there. Robots are going to be replacing humans for most manual labor, and most complex logistics and management in the next 20 years.

Let’s think about this. Humanity will have an amazing robotic work force and superior artificial intelligences in just another generation.

But we won’t have a reliable means of space travel for at least two or three generations.

By the time we can blast around the solar system (or galaxy) in a Millennium Falcon humans will have constructed an incredible robotic space-force. And with that space-force we would be sending ROBOTS out with vast AIs in our space craft to do our exploring, and our patrolling and our space war fighting. We wouldn’t send frail, easy to puncture organic HUMANS! Hell No!

Extraterrestrial Sentient Species in our galaxy would be even smarter than us. They would have even better robots and artilects. They would never use their biological selves to do the work robots would do so much more effectively.

That’s the problem with Star Wars and Star Trek. Their story lines rely on bags of animated organic chemicals and not robots; which is just — implausible.

REF:
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/logdec.html
https://www.quora.com/How-many-airplanes-fly-each-day-in-the-world