August 28 2015

Saw two web sites that tell you how to make your own yogurt and ant poison. (Don’t get them mixed up.)

Isn’t that why stores exist? So you don’t need to make your own yogurt and ant poison?

August 16 2015

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
  1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
  2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt
July 20 2015

What I’d like to see in the next Green Lantern movie

The first Green Lantern movie didn’t do very well, either critically or financially (it broke even). I know it had a lot of problems, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

Now that Warner Brothers is planning on making a new Green Lantern movie focusing on the entire Green Lantern Corps (which is the intergalactic peacekeeping force that Hal Jordan and all the other Green Lanterns belong to) I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to see in the next movie – besides a 400-part epic retelling of Geoff Johns’ entire GL run.

Supposedly, the new movie isn’t going to follow the same continuity as the first GL movie. However, that doesn’t mean it has to contradict it either; there’s not much to contradict. The Eric Bana Hulk movie isn’t necessarily in the same “universe” as the Ed Norton Hulk movie, but they don’t contradict each other.

But anyway, here’s what I want to see:

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April 9 2015

How to Be a Bachelor:

Buy 2 bananas.

Let one go bad.

April 7 2015

I predict that the next big fad in parenting will be naming your kids after ancient Egyptians. Don’t be surprised when little Khemut and Montuherkhopshef knock on your door in 10 years, selling Christmas wreathes for their scout troops.

December 31 2011

Warning: Old Posts Below

The posts below this point are at least 4 years old. The opinions expressed in them may not still be the opinions I currently hold.

A lot can change in 4 years, after all.

September 22 2011

Examining DC’s New 52

When DC announced that they were effectively “rebooting” their entire comics lineup, I admit I was a little disappointed. I finally started getting familiar with the DC universe’s considerable backstory, and now they were going to toss much of it away? Argh.

But I can see why they do it, and if they can do it well, I’m more than happy to play along. Having a major jumping-on point can be quite useful to a lot of people, especially me.

Anyway, I decided to check out every single new Issue #1 that DC is publishing – all 52 of them – and offer my thoughts on each one. Many of these characters are unfamiliar to me, or they’ve changed, or whatever. But some I’m very familiar with (hello, Batman) and I could be pretty irritated if they change too much. Let’s take a look.

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July 16 2011

Maus, by Art Spiegelman

I can’t really say anything about this book that wasn’t better said in the book jacket, so I’ll just share some of my own thoughts.

I really grew to like Vladek (the author’s father) over the course of the book. It was interesting that the author used his speech patterns and mannerisms more or less verbatum, because they’re a little difficult to follow at times, like “these things we learned only much later”. But once you get used to reading them in the voice of a stereotypical New York Jew, they become much easier to follow.

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July 15 2011

Sooooo…capital punishment…

I’m sure this one won’t be controversial at all.

We’re reading The Last Day of a Condemned Man, by Victor Hugo, for my monthly book club. It’s the journal of a man in 1820s France who has been sentenced to execution. Needless to say, we will be talking at great length about capital punishment at our next book club meeting, because this book is very much against it. I suggested that everyone in the club write down what their current opinions on capital punishment are, to see if/how they change after reading the book. I’ll probably be the only one to actually do that.

I know this is a rather volatile topic, so only read on if you’re open to considering opinions that may be different from your own. And that’s really all this is – opinion – and I’ll try to avoid using any biased information. As always, if you disagree, please let me know – nicely.

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June 13 2011

A day at the (woodtick) races

I was up in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Minnesota’s Iron Range last weekend, on a yearly camping trip with several friends: Ty, Garret, Kevin, Maggie, Val, Dan, and and Dan’s almost-one-year-old daughter Sammy. Kev and Mags noticed the local newspaper at a gas station, and had to buy one when they saw the front page. Above stories about and a mountain bike festival and an especially friendly grouse, the main headline was about the annual Woodtick Race, which has been going for 32 years as a fundraiser for the local fire department.

Well, we had to go.

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June 12 2011

Determining our fates with cold, apathetic, wonderful math

Minnesota is currently debating how to redraw our state district borders, as we do every 10 years, with new census data to guide us. Creating fair, impartial boundaries seems impossible, because it’s always tempting for the party in power to gerrymander everything to give themselves more power. I’ve long been critical of the shape of our 6th district, home of state shame Michele Bachmann. It conveniently bends around liberally-leaning downtown areas and grabs many of the richer, fiscally-conservative parts of the state and merges them with rural, socially-conservative parts of the state.

But how the hell do you draw fair, unbiased district boundaries? On the one hand, people don’t want their communities split down the middle. On the other, it’s really easy to lump certain communities together to create districts that are easy for one party or the other to control.

Here’s one way that’s pretty interesting: math.

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June 2 2011

My experiences with Champions Online

While I’m on hiatus from WoW, I thought I’d try Champions Online. It seemed like it could be cool. I’ve been on a big comic book kick lately (I’ve been reading Hellboy, Irredeemable, Flash, Scalped, and other great books) and the thought of creating my own superhero and engaging in superheroics sounded fun. And best of all, it’s free…sorta.

At first, I felt like creating a big dumb oaf good for smashing things, like The Hulk or The Tick. I gradually worked my way through the extremely elaborate character creator (man I wish WoW had more character options) and came up with this dude, whom I named “Adam Smasher”. Puns are an important part of superheroics.

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April 24 2011

The savior of humanity

Long ago, a powerful being came to Earth, destined to be humanity’s savior. He was raised by his parents to be ethical and good. As an adult, he used his power and charisma to bring hope to all those he encountered. He led by example, he helped those in need. He attracted powerful enemies. He was killed, but rose from the grave. He watches over humanity from on high, as humanity gazes up at him in awe and wonder.

I am, of course, talking about Superman.

Happy Easter! I swear I’ll write more posts soon.

August 13 2010

Our #1 priority: change the way our leaders are elected

If you’re anything like me, you’re racked with anxiety, fear, frustration and rage over the state of modern US politics. News story after soul-crushing news story, I feel like I’m being mentally beaten with hammers, and I want to just shut it all out and pretend that everything is ok. I used to look down on the people who were oblivious to the goings-on of the world; now I envy them.

We seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle between a party of high-order incompetents (the Democrats) and a party of angry, hateful zealots (the Republicans). Both are only interested in power. Both are firmly entrenched. Both are crooked to the bone. Neither represents what America needs or even wants.

I ask myself, how can we fix our political system? I come up with some answers I think are pretty good: term limits; public funding of elections; more oversight and transparency. Simple solutions like these could go a long way toward fixing what’s wrong with America. There’s just one problem: none of it will ever happen. Not in any meaningful way.

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July 27 2010

Essential books for atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, or whatever

This is something I’ve been meaning to put together for a while, but I was inspired to finally do it by the American Freethought podcast. They put out a list of essential books, with the results taken from numerous important atheists/skeptics/freethinkers/whatevers. Their list is good, but there’s a lot of stuff on there that I have no interest in, or I think is overrated. (On the Origin of Species is an important book historically, but there are far better books on evolution for you to read, with up-to-date science.)

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May 28 2010

Why psychic abilities probably aren’t possible

Usually when someone is arguing that psychics aren’t real, they talk about cold reading, self-delusion, and the willingness to believe. In other words, they explain how a psychic is doing what they’re doing.

I’m going to try a different take. I’m going to try to show that what psychics claim to be doing is impossible, by using evolution as our guide.

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May 22 2010

So close, yet so far

I’ve been itching to try Star Trek Online for a while now. When it was still in development, I tried to get into the beta, but had no luck. Then I tried to find a demo or trial to play, but at first they didn’t offer one. And that’s a big mistake that most other online games make; if I can’t try a game, I’m not going to buy it. I’m not going to spend my money on a game I’ve never played, unless it comes from Blizzard.

Fortunately, there’s now a demo for STO, so I eagerly loaded it up (through Steam) and tried it out.

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April 18 2010

This is nature’s way of reminding us who’s the boss

If you haven’t heard already, there’s currently a volcano acting up in Iceland. It’s called Eyafallajökull, which is almost entirely unpronounceable by American tongues.

Apparently, (according to that unending font of human knowledge, Wikipedia) Eyafallajökull has erupted 3 times in all of recorded history. And each time, its eruption has been a mere precursor to the eruption of another nearby volcano, the much more active Katla. Eyafallajökull has already caused a lot of disruption, especially in European air travel, and I can just imagine what kind of chaos Katla might cause.

Eyafallajökull has also provided us with an incredible show over the past few days. It’s not just ash and lava, as if that weren’t cool enough already. As you can see at the link below, it’s also causing an incredible lightning display. This is the raw power of nature, on display for all to see.

These images come from another site, which is currently down due to excess traffic. I don’t know if the person who runs this site is associated with the other site, or if they just took the images and reposted them. Once I find out for sure, I’ll update this link accordingly.