Category Archives: posts by carl

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dreams.

Here is a place holder for the blog. It seems we really dropped the ball. I left it like I typed it in G-chat. but here you go Internet. dissect THAT.

3:48 PMme: i had a dream last night that I slept with (NAME REMOVED), and I weighed 160 pounds, and hung out in a giant house with the Alabama offensive line

3:49 PM Eileen: It can only be a prophecy
me: yes indeed
3:50 PM it was strange because i was going to be late for work, but i was sleeping with her anyway, then i put her into a crate to find something and make sure she was hidden, then I lost the crate
Eileen: Then maybe its not a prophecy, more like a dream evaluation of the situation
3:51 PM
me: it was strange
and the whole time she was just totally unenthused with the sex, and in the middle, some dudes came in to give me a high five, the I saw SG-1 admonish Daniel for being “dumb as bees” and all of them were dressed in dashikis
3:52 PM just the whole narrative leads me to believe I need to watch what I eat before I go to bed
3:53 PM Eileen: Nah, it sounds fun. I am jealous of dreams because I have them so rarely
me: you’re jealous, of that?

America is not ruining the world…

Well, at least not in the way you might think. I mean, sure we’re a bastion of pretty much everything commercial in the world. Sure we’re encouraging others to live like we do, and sure, it would take over 5 earths worth of resources to accomplish such a feat… but never the less I think the world is responsible enough to tell us to shove off.

iphone

unless we offer the world one of these puppies.

However, as a folklore enthusiast we can’t help but look at how rapidly the building of server farms, and internet relay stations in Eastern Europe are bringing about the destruction of the oral tradition, the folk tradition, and generally speaking the squalid way of life many people associate with the former soviet bloc.

OI!

Hey! you watch your ass, I live in Moldova!

I guess its okay though, since none of us want to live in the soviet bloc, and homogeneity is one of the cornerstones to a strong new world order, ah crap! my crazy is showing. Well this all raises some really great existential questions over whether or not I as a foreigner have the gall, the right, or the wherewithal to actually question the way of life people bring into their homes. I mean, where do I get off? I mean, for all I know the spread of instant information will help the world learn more about the culture and heritage of Russia’s ugly cousin, it took to prom out of pity… Eastern Europe.

prom

No, Mongolia, my dates in the bathroom! This is my cousin… I need a drink.

Of course this is a blog that at one point or another made its bread and butter off of peanut butter fiascoes and hulk hogan gifs. There’s a chance its not our place to comment on such lofty social endeavors as… the experiment that is the internet to the world. So maybe the world, and we’re not just talking about the former soviet bloc here, sold out. Maybe I jump to the conclusion to harshly. However, a “wise” man once said if he were to finally hang capitalism an American would sell him the rope. Or something like that, there’s no telling he may have been drunk.

We live in a place where we get what we want for prices we set, and until we come upon a whole sale rejection of that kind of convenience (yeah, right…) we’re not going to convince the world to do the same. I mean we’re not ruining the world! We’re just living the lifestyle afforded to us. At least we don’t have live lobster vending machines like Japan. I’m not even kidding.

P.S. Sorry it took so long, I was busy uh, doing, things? Look, I don’t ask you where you go when you’re not reading out blog! LEAVE ME ALONE.

July 20th, 1969

Houston, Tranquility base. The Eagle has landed.

There are no pictures I want to show you, no clever quips nor lists. I just want for a moment today, each and every person who reads this, every person who thinks they don’t care and that it doesn’t matter, to reflect on the fact that we landed on the moon. 40 years ago today, we ushered in an era of prosperity and achievement over the fear and hate raging through the veins of a world wracked by wars, both cold and hot. We, America, put a man on a rocket 300 feet long, pushing with the force of 250,000 car engines, all the way to the moon. We put him there and returned him safely. A feat no equaled since 1972, when Apollo 17 left the moon for the last time.

The three men chosen for this accomplishment were Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. These three men are heroes, not for any of the very heroic flights they endured in war, not for their philanthropy since. These men are heroes because they helped the realm of science merge with the realm of imagination. I can’t imagine what focus and dedication these men would need to prove once and for all that mans dominion, his ability to explore was not tethered by the iron shackles of earth, but by the ethereal and unending bounds of imagination. Man could break free and explore a “new frontier” and he can do so still.

The moral of the story is that there is a plaque on the moon, and it does not make me proud to be an American. It makes me proud to be a man, a human, a citizen of Earth. It reads “We came in peace for all mankind” and as sure as I sit here and type this diatribe, this needlessly dramatic, and utterly rambling hero worship… it was true. It was an effort to exact a scientific community that shed the lines of country and race, and strove to find peace for all mankind. I hope one day more people read it.

12 people have set foot on the moon, 24 have orbited. The last in December 1972. Those men, those brave men are of course heroes for their own reasons. Personal and otherwise. Bravery engages them, curiosity in the leagues of great scientists and great pilots. They seek to go the distance. If not them, then who? It’s about leaving the cave and looking to the stars. It’s about making fire, the wheel, sailing across that great ocean and marking it as found. Heroes in war, heroes in peace, heroes for all of mankind. If ever another country puts another man on another celestial body, if ever the world moves beyond political distinctions, and Earth puts man on Mars. This will be why: 40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong set his foot on the moon, and proved it could be done, and in doing so he ushered in an era that could not and has not been equaled by any feat of engineering or daring since.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”

P.S. Many of these men were Eagle scouts, war heroes, test pilots of the highest caliber, and men of heroism and mettle before ever seeing the lunar surface, but make no mistake about the severity I place toward an achievement that may help man outlast his planet, and move beyond his solar system.

P.P.S. Also, the man to really thank for sparking this imagination? J.F.K. When he wasn’t chasing women around the White Horse (that is a movie reference) he was telling us that we would put a man on a giant rocket, made out of metal that hadn’t been invented, doing something we’ve never come close to doing, and we were going to do it in 8 years. He wasn’t alive to see it, but if ever a president whipped some asses into shape, it’d be J.F.K.

Rice University and The Apollo 11 moon landing. 7 years apart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g25G1M4EXrQ


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMINSD7MmT4

Some Touch of Madness

Carl:  The nature of genius… is… formidable as a subject. However I was recently inspired by the “Tournament Of Genius” at mental floss to reflect on what makes a mind truly formidable itself. Einstein, Leibniz, Disney. What was the link? I’m at a total loss, but I was hoping that if anyone reads this forsaken thing they might be able to contribute a comment on what makes them think they know genius from a hole in the wall.

Adam:  It’s hard to write about, and even harder to describe.  The elements that make a genius are as varied as the masterminds themselves.  It can be someone a proclivity to science and math, or to a musical instrument.  It can be someone that inserts words like “proclivity” into everyday conversation.  Whatever it is, though, it’s usually a combination of things that the person in question is able to turn into a sum greater than the whole of its parts.

Carl:  Yeah, but within that, isn’t there room for the untrained? The natural. Does someone who is simply good at picking things up qualify as a genius even if they don’t do anything greater in their life than learn how to program a VCR without trying or learn to fix a car with no manual? I think there is imagination in genius and more than that, I think that your use of the word “proclivity” makes you an “ass.”

Adam:  You’re more than entitled to that opinion.  (The “natural” part, and the “ass” part.)  But of course, I agree that genius is more innate than learned (and that I am an ass); it’s not as though someone can become a genius through education.  Rather, genius is bred into someone, education merely makes their executions finer – and this can be either self-taught, or taught by another.  For instance, I taught myself how to edit your post for spelling.

Carl: So what you’re saying is that education doesn’t sometimes smother genius? I feel like we have to assume everyone is both the next Rembrandt and the next Leibniz or we’ll miss whoever really is the next Rembrandt or Leibniz. I’m curious though, in a modern society don’t you think that a public education in America is at a much greater risk to snuff genius than nurture it. How much of it is luck?

Adam: Oh, all of it. While I don’t necessarily agree that public education is a hazard to genius, there are definitely aspects that are stifled by attending the same schools as “normal” kids, treating everyone as though they have the talents of every genius in history is dangerous and doomed to fail.  The idea is to identify those that do possess special talents (Carrie!), and give them the higher level of stimulation they need.  Otherwise you have every kid failing the first grade, and that’s just ludicrous.  I think the system as it stands now is decent.  I mean, I spent all my years in public school, and now I’m in Mensa.  It’s a matter of making it the least common denominator, because those kids that shine are going to find other ways to learn outside of school, and those kids that are well … dim are only going to succeed that way.

Viewer thought?

Into the wild black yonder.

So today, as I write this, it is March 2nd. That is important, because when you write this what I say won’t be nessecarily true: Space exploration is freaking nuts! I say this because as Wikipedia so eloquently puts it

1972 – The Pioneer 10 space probe is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida with a mission to explore the outer planets

The reason that is insane, is because it is the prode that first gave us honest to goodness glimpses of our Solar System. Using digital technology we wouldn’t get our hands on as citizens for quite some time after. Photography, that is quite frankly brilliant in the sense that it was a first. Like Daugerre taking the first portrait. Artistic value, we find little, or cultural value, any deficiency is filled.

This led me to the Voyager article, which yielded a very sharp little nugget of trivia. As of November 28th 2008, Voyager 1 (which was launched AFTER Voyager 2) has traveled 108.27 AU. For those of you too lazy to read or listen to They Might Be Giants, that’s a unit roughly (read: exactly) the distance of the Sun to the Earth. generally accepted by the world at large as 140.60*10^6 Km. Or to us here in the states about 93 million miles.

acid...

about 1/10th of as far as this will take you.

So, from September 5th, 1977, when most of you were a twinkle in your daddy’s eye, to when many of you graduated from High School, this thing which looked like a cone of gold strapped to a junk heap, traveled 108.27 of those. I did the math. If, and trust me, it wasn’t, that was a straight line, this thing traveled roughly 16197192000 Kilometers. I dont really care what that is in miles. If you do math with it, it has to be in scientific notation, thats far.

So how do you make that relevant? How fast is that? Well…it was 11,604.75 days (don’t forget the leap years!) and 1.619*10^9 Km… or 1,419,965.547 Km a DAY. or, in terms that blow the mind, it would take over 10 hours for its light to reach us (which the Sun does in 7 minutes) and its moving so fast, that it could circle the Earth in 6 minutes

The worlds fastest plane, which travles at 3.4 times the speed of sound can’t do that in under an hour. It travels faster than anything else man has ever built. Faster than the fastest thing ever recorded. If you’ve seen something fast, odds are this is faster. When I say “odds are” those odds are 100%. Its so far away, Pluto is a footnote in its travels, as it has gone well over twice the distance Pluto has ever been from our Sun.
SEEYA!

so long and thanks for all the momentum!

I just thought I’d bring this up, because it is sooooo cool. The Voyager program, the Pioneer program, and so much more are providing us with crazy amounts of data about somewhere we can never go without that data. It’s a Pioneer in data use, and sending! I love it because its a tremendous achievement in scientific methodology and engineering. In fact, day to day operations went 22 years for Pioneer 1, which means that for 22 years, someones job was to make sure that crazy piece of junk we flung into space, with the technology that was in fact the apex of its time, was still doing what it was supposed to. This is a time when I can download GIGABYTES of information in minutes, and the internet wasn’t even around when we got rid of it.

So learn to appreicate some crazy NASA awesomeness. Voyager is set to transmit, with its current power source, til the year 2025. 50 years after it was launched.


Vyager

would you ride on that? I mean, what a piece of “crap”

Thats all I got for you, but man do I look forward to seeing what Adam has to say…

Indulgences. Why not? Oh… yeah…

I was going to wait until Wednesday to blag it up. Really, I was going to wait longer than that. However. I couldn’t let this by without saying a few words. Paul Vitello wrote an interesting article for the New York Times today. The article, titled “For Catholics, a Door to Absolution Is Reopened” left an unsatisying taste in my mouth. The article is well written. I’m mostly outraged at the Catholic Church. Their unmitigated power in the regulation of sins and the fortunes of man after death is one thing. Having people ask, and recieve what is essentially a get out of jail free card, is just ridiculous. I’m so angry, I can barely think of a good photo to put here

Archangel Pennybags.

The Archangel Pennybags!

Oh. There’s one.

The pope might have seen how this ended historically in other bad economic times, when many turn to faith to subside them. See: 1215-1392.

A Bishop DiMarzio, of Brooklyn said there is sin in the world, and that is why we need such things. However, I am struggling to recall how we are more in sin now, than several years ago. Perhaps the internet could tell me. Hold on while I look for sin on the internet….

Oh.

Either way, this is a ridiculous concept. It teaches people to buy their forgiveness at the dear price of their ability to do good, to walk a much less indifferent path. I supposed I’m just upset. Such indulgences are being offered, as Vitello states: “This year’s offer has been energetically promoted in places like Washington, Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., and Tulsa, Okla.” I guess those are the hot spots for sinnin’. Selling them is techincally forbidden. However, maybe a little bit of a greased palm helps the prayers come out smooth? Who knows, I could start a diocese in Las Vegas and retire at 30.

People shouldn’t need incentives to do good. If you are a true Catholic you shouldn’t need incentives to go to church (natural guilt should put you there) and other than that. I don’t know why we jacked up some super-confession to restrict the forgiveness everyone receieves. However, I’m likely to be excommunicated for asking.