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Friday, December 13, 2013

Kindle fire HD

I recently purchased a new Kindle Fire HD from Amazon and while it is a nice little tablet that is very quick and responsive I do have an issue that frankly I didn't expect to be an issue when I first ordered this tablet. That issue? No google play store. When I first ordered this Kindle I didn't think being limited to just the Amazon app store would be a "thing" but I didn't realize just how limited it is until I tried to find the media player that I use on my 2 year old galaxy s phone MX Player and it's codec pack doesn't exist in Amazon's little world. Sigh. I wonder  if I could root and install pure android on this thing?  Going to have to look into it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Enough with searching for exoplanets, let's get back to the moon!!!

I was born on the cusp of the greatest achievement in human history, landing a man on the Moon, I remember growing up in the early 1970s and playing Astronaut with my brother using an old cardboard box as our spaceship and much to my mother's chagrin using up a new roll of aluminum foil to make our "spacesuits". I devoured everything I could find about the Apollo program and space and astronomy. I remember watching the early morning launch of the first space shuttle Columbia, thinking that this was the first step of yet another great adventure.

In the end, the Shuttle Program turned out to be nothing more than a teenager taking the family car out for a joy ride and then doing nothing but driving around the block and never getting out of first gear.

I think it'll be only a matter of weeks before the news is again filled with stories of finding yet another exo-planet(a planet that orbits a star that is not our own). And as the child in me rejoices at finding another planet that may support some form of life, I can't help but thinking that all of these "achievements" are in a sense one of the greatest scientific misdirections in the history of mankind.

I am not flat Earther, I love science, but we're investing billions of dollars into this research and "explorations" that ultimately  are pointless.

Let's go back to the Moon! Let's go to Mars! Let's send a probe to Europa to find out what(if anything)is beneath that icy surface!

In the 1960s and 1970s humanity waded ankle deep in the ocean of space by going to the Moon and now what are we doing? We're standing on the beach, getting our toes wet in the surf while we toss an occasional fishing line into the water to see what's there!

We don't need to plunge heedlessly into the deep, we can again wade in, carefully and go back to the Moon and from there we can as a race go out to explore the solar system. We have the technology, we have the knowledge, all we are lacking is the will.

Yes, times are hard financially, there are sick and starving people in the world, but even the ancient Romans understood that when times were hard the people not only desired, but needed more than when times were good, a distraction from their hard daily lives.

We need to go back to the Moon not in spite of the problems we face here on Earth but because of them. We need to show Humanity that there is a future, a future that could be better.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Never

I've come to the conclusion that one should never revisit a favorite TV show from childhood. All the bad acting, writing and special effects that you could ignore when you're 12 become magnified in adulthood.
When I was a kid I loved a show that was only on for a couple of years. That show was called "Project UFO" supposedly based upon the US Air Force's Project Blue Book investigations of the 60s and early 70s. I loved it, it was edgy and the stories were true to life.
As an adult...good god what in the heck was I thinking?? It was produced by Jack Webb, of "Dragnet" and "Adam-12" fame and like those shows the dialogue in "Project UFO" was stilted and so badly acted.

The problem I seem to be having with pretty much all of Jack Webb's work, "Dragnet(1960s)", "Emergency", "Adam-12" and "Project UFO" is they are a product of a time where most of the TV producers grew up and were trained in the time of radio dramas, Dragnet being an adaptation of an old 1940s era radio show, and a 1950sera TV show and it shows in their work. The actors walk on screen say their lines and walk off. The sets look worse than the displays at Ikea.




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Star Trek TOS HD

I've been watching the HD update of the original Star Trek series and I like the new updated special effects, the visuals of the Enterprise are outstanding, they really don't hurt the episodes at all, but one thing did stick out for me about the show. The characters of Sulu, Chekov and Uhura add nothing to the show, they exist simply to have someone Kirk can rescue at the last minute. I honestly don't see the reason for the universal love Trekkies have for these characters or their inclusion in the 80s Trek movies.
I have come to the conclusion that the only reason they became regulars was because they were members of a minority group. What Sulu and Uhura do could have been done by any number of a million actors in Hollywood. Black, White, Asian  or Native American and there was no reason these particular actors should have been elevated to the status of regular characters

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter and other religious holidays

In recent years it seems that any and all religious holidays that are based on Christian faith have undergone an transformation in the popular press and the "Politically Correct" crowd. The latest of these being Easter. While the core religious celebrations remain intact the popular celebrations like Easter Baskets and even wishing someone a "Happy Easter" have suddenly become offensive in some quarters.
The Easter basket is now the Spring Basket, wishing someone a Happy Easter has now morphed into wishing them a "Happy Spring" and of course the old idea of an Easter Break has long been converted into the party hardy time known as "Spring Break".
Everyone is obsessed with respecting others religious beliefs, something I wholeheartedly agree with, all religious beliefs should be respected, this includes respecting the religious beliefs of those who consider Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Ancient Aliens"

The "History" Channel has, for the past few years, been airing a show called "Ancient Aliens" the premise being that just about every technological and architectural advance the Human race has achieved is not an example of basic logic and Human ingenuity, but rather the result of "Estraterrestrial"(if you've seen the show, you'll get the reference) construction.

The Great Pyramid? Aliens. Stonehenge? Aliens. Machu Pichu? Aliens. The Moon Landings? Aliens!

If this was presented in as an hour TV show like Stargate SG1(great show btw) it would be an entertaining way to explore this absurd idea, but it's not. It's presented in a documentary format on a channel whose name suggests that it takes Earth history seriously.

Before someone might get the idea that I'm some sort of elitist who thinks this kind of programming is somehow "beneath" me I should mention that I'm a long time fan of shows like the original "In Search of..." starring Leonard Nimoy from the 1970s and I enjoy hearing tales of "real" ghost stories. I am open to the idea of "paranormal phenomena", it's just that every time I watch or read these show I do so with a very skeptical eye.

My guess about the popularity of shows like "Ancient Aliens" has it's roots in the fantastic technological advances Humans have made since the beginning of the 20th Century. Airplanes, Radios, Televisions, Computers, Space Flight.

In the past if a Human happened upon something like the wonder of the Great Pyramid of Giza they'd see one thing straight away, and that is, that it's definitely not a natural object, just looking at it you can see a lot of thought and care took place in designing and building it. So ancient humans would assume that it was created by "the gods". Flash forward to the late 20th and Early 21st Century and the very idea of "gods" or a singular "God" is very out of fashion, so how do we explain these wonders our ancestors designed and built? It's not the gods, but Aliens!

Aliens have become the 21st century version of the ancient "gods" because, I think that they can dress the idea of extraterrestrial life in a cloak of "science". after all  real scientists are right this minute spending millions of dollars searching for life beyond Earth.

(more later, tired right now).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reading...

I was reading CNN earlier and they asked a question about gay marriage and the responses simply floored me. So many people want to impose their religious beliefs on others, their only argument against gay marriage is religious. I don't really have an opinion either way, mainly because I don't really care who marries who, but if the best the anti-gay marriage crowd has is based on their own religious beliefs then they really have no real argument.
If two gay people get married, then how have my own religious principles been violated? What others do is of no concern to me(as long as it's legal). The sun will rise in the morning, the birds will still sing and the bees will still buzz.
People really need to butt the fuck out of other people's lives.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Legalizing Marijuana

I've been thinking about this for awhile now.
I am completely in favor of legalizing marijuana for adults and to tax and regulate the drug as if it were tobacco or alcohol, but legalizing marijuana will not solve the budget crisis not by a long shot. Any additional funds raised by the taxes and fees paid to the government by legal growers and sellers will be "eaten up" by the enforcement of the new regulations. Legal doesn't mean unregulated and regulation costs money.


Monday, February 18, 2013

True Blood

Based on a close friend's recommendation I started watching the HBO series "True Blood" a few weeks ago. All in all I've enjoyed watching the series, although I will admit to feeling a little uncomfortable at first during Anna Paquin's nude scenes as the only times I've seen her in anything she was just a child and it took a little time to wrap my mind around the fact that enough time had passed since "the old days" of the mid-1990s that this little girl was now a full grown adult woman.
     Upon learning that the TV series was based upon a series of novels by Charlaine Harris I made a point to check out the source material and read the novels. I was surprised by them, while promoted as "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" they don't seem to work as a classic mystery, the mystery of the stories is secondary to inter-personal relationships of the characters and the behind the scenes political dealings of the Vampires and the other various supernatural beings aka "supes".
     While I read the first couple novels I soon switched to the audiobook editions of the series, mainly because my work schedule limits the amount of time I can spend actually reading a book, and the audiobook versions allow me to "read" the novels while doing other things. The narrator of the series, Johanna Parker really brings the characters to life in a way that my own imagination couldn't.
     As a TV series, "True Blood" is quite good, but I have to admit that I'd rather spend time immersed in the world of the novels than the TV series. The changes the creators of the TV series made to the novels in bringing them to the small screen are in my opinion questionable, eliminating characters entirely due to possible legal issues(in the novels one of the supporting characters "Bubba" is a Vampire Elvis, revived by a vampire fan in the morgue in Memphis after his drug induced death) and relying on racial stereotypes to flesh out others(Lafayette Reynolds, in the only novel he appeared in he was a background character described only as a flamboyantly gay African American. He was the cook at Merlott's, the bar where Sookie Stackhouse works, but in the series, he's morphed into a drug dealing, male prostitute. Of all the options open to this character the creators of the series chose the easiest route, turn the only male black character into a criminal when there were so many other options open to them, why not make him a college student or anything else that wasn't a criminal?) I'm not a TV producer, or even that socially conscious but this irritates me. Though in fairness they have, as the series progressed, allowed Lafayette to grow.
     As I said, I like the TV series, and if someone were to ask me, I'd recommend it to them, with the warning that it contains a lot of nudity and bloody violence, but in the end as is often the case I like the books better.