tomtac: (Default)
A reminder that a fellow named "Stetson Kennedy" was born on October 5, 1916, a hundred years ago today.

During the Great depression, he took on with FDR's program that hired people to go out and get narratives from U.S. citizens, and became a folklorist, one who passes on folklore.

Within a few years, his adventures and investigations led him to hang out within the Ku Klux Klan, and he began spreading their secrets. The rest of the story is he became a very effective social activist, and wrote a lot of books about it.


The name really was "The Klan Unmasked", published in 1954

Read more about him at his website and at Wikipedia.
Social Activist Stetson Kennedy

Entry in the New Georgia Encyclodpedia
tomtac: (Default)
This made sense, late in the twentieth century.

In the present context, it reads very very differently.

President Ronald Reagan signed this proclamation, in August 1987. gives a little of the history of the "911" emergency number, and states that we should pay attention to things about "911" ... on September 11.

"Protecting the lives and property of citizens is one of government's fundamental responsibilities..."

This also appeared in one of my blog comments a few months ago, yes.
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This is a remembrance of a friend that died twenty years ago today, on the Feast of St. Rose of Lima.

Waaay back before that, I heard a communications expert explain that the "world network of broadband lines" was going to turn into "the nervous system of the human race" ... in other words, the Web, the Net. And that happened. One still has trouble imagining the possibilities that it can provide to us individually.

I was one of the geek boys that liked people, but found people frustrating, and found machines more cooperative. Another one (in my opinion) may have been a guy named Carl.

In person, I understand that Carl was a polite person. He saw the Internet as a place where he could try other approaches to people.

But online, he could use the online posting areas, the conversation areas. Instead of normal conversation's "say something, hear the response immediately, respond to the response immediately", one can "type up something, correct it and think about it and 'craft' it, finally post/send it and wait for the response later". It probably fit his style of logic-based thinking.

Or maybe I am projecting. Because I also liked that about that part of the Net, called "Usenet".

He and I also shared an interest in what could be called the "virtual reality" part of the conversation areas. Many folks there did not know what Carl looked like, or what I looked like, or what anyone looked like. As someone imagined then, a dog could be typing these posts, and then the dog could say to another dog, "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog".

So one could wear a mask, and try new 'poses', and try things that are impossible in Real Life.

Carl saw those possibilities. It was hard not to notice the experiment he was living, out on the Net, twenty years ago, when it was called Cyberspace.

His posts were outrageous in style. I didn't know if they were intentionally posts of the "I dare you to disagree with me" kind. But he would say that they were meant to be read literally, and I took him at his word, at face value, and gave that a try.

The result would be what looked, to the outside, as a "flame war", but some folks noticed that I wasn't responding to any of his "baits" and instead that I was digging into what he was supposedly trying to say.

And durn it. Almost all of the time, I'd see what he was getting at, and respond to that, and he'd settle into his less aggressive mode. Not always, but often.

It was a lot of work, but it was rewarding. But Real Life intruded, and I had to stop the online stuff for a while.

And while I was offline, he "stopped", too. August 23, 1996.

* * * * *

Of the sad things about it, a big one is that I don't think it did him as much good as should have. That is because his death interrupted it. He probably did not start this all until about 1993. And he was found dead of his medical condition on August 23, 1996. (Some of his friends out there may know the years or exact dates of his first and last posts.) Whatever he learned, it didn't have much time to be used.

Oh, yes, his medical condition. I hope it is not intrusive, on my part, to report that he had diabetes, and that had a lot to do with his passing, but it was more of a heart condition.

I mention that, as well, because, in Real Life, his blood sugar would sometimes get out of control. Then, in Virtual Reality, his "Avatar" would be (even) more aggressive than usual. Then, later, in what seemed to be an other-than-logical manner, his online persona would make an apology, a quiet 'sorry but my blood level' kind of post.

* * * * *

Of the happier things about it ... He could help people having a rough time. Someone might post about some real trouble they were having because of bureaucracy, or official stupidity, or some other kind of problems. He might respond with one of his explosions, with his incredible swearing, and the force of his online anger would be posted in support of someone who needed help.

So there would be a outraged blast of humanity. Included, sometimes, with detailed advice in the form of instructions and information. He was capable of empathy and sympathy, it seemed.

He is missed, I know.
tomtac: (Default)
Sorry to see this guy go. He was the dwarf "performer" inside R2-D2, as you will see in the news stories about him.

For me, a better remembrance in his roles (and in his face) is that of a kindly dwarf in "The Elephant Man", who said something like "we'll get you out of here" as he released the unfortunate Mr. Merrick from a carnival cage.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/08/13/r2-d2-actor-kenny-baker-dies-at-81.html
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It has been nine years since the Robert Heinlein Centennial. Here are some things I learned from reading Heinlein stories.

Number 1: "Always leave room for your enemies to become your friends."

In "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", the professor told us "Always leave room for your enemies to become your friends". I've gotten a lot of traction out of that one.

Just like the heroes in serial stories, like John Carter of Mars and any other character that wound up allies with former enemies, I have gotten job queries and job offers from past bosses that used to act like they hated me. The way I curb my aggressions and talk nice nearly all the time, there are some former enemies that probably think "Tom is apparently too stupid to know that I hate the chairs he sits on."

Eventually, people realize that their grudges kind of get to look silly. Especially after a decade or two. And even though two former enemies may have had their differences, they always have that history in common. It is nice to renew and catch up and do business.

Number 2: "When you don't know how to do everything that needs to be done, do the parts that you DO know how to do. Then the rest will be easier."

Also in "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", the main character was overwhelmed by what needed to be done, when he had the entire defense of his country resting on his shoulders. Too much to do. Then he remembered something else the professor had said: "When you don't know how to do everything that needs to be done, do the parts that you DO know how to do. Then the rest will be easier."

I get frequently snowed under that way, and get out of it with that saying, which I repeat to myself.

Starting my income tax? Don't know where to start? Well, one procedure that IS known to me is to just get all the W-2s and 1099 statements together with a legal pad, and then ... well, it IS easier from that point on.

Number 3: Databases using Hierarchies for Storage

In "The Number of The Beast", the characters have a computer on hand that has voice input. To pack for a trip, they did a magnificent job of cramming their stuff into a small space, because they could fearlessly put the toothpaste into the tip of a shoe that was in a duffel bag that would be under stuff in the far corner of the car's trunk. And they did not have to worry about not being able to locate that toothpaste later.

How? They told the computer "I am putting this toothpaste down inside this shoe", or just as often, the computer would tell them where it should go. The computer kept track of everything in a hierarchy of objects and collections and objects that could hold a collection.

Retrieval then involved asking the computer for the location of the toothpaste, and the computer would say something like "Trunk, the far corner. Under the top stuff, the duffel bag, the shoe inside that. The toothpaste is crammed inside the tip."

Ever since, I've been recording locations in a file I call "Where" that has such a hierarchy, and I am working on the voice recognition part. The recent Windows 8 Voice Recognition wasn't up to my needs, and I've switched over to Linux and am using "espeak" for output, so we will see how it goes.

Number 4: Getting Access Beyond Gatekeepers, Regular Channels and Back Doors

From "Stranger in a Strange Land", Jubal Harshaw gave a crash course in getting past gatekeepers when he tried to get a phone call with the leader of Earth's government. Of course he tried the direct approach, calling someone who was hired to get such calls, and worked his way up the ladder from there. But he eventually wound up with some functionary who was pleasant and would smile and listen to him forever, but would not connect him with anyone higher. Jubal's next statement to the fellow was provocative, and he was switched over to someone in The State's police force. Once more, he tried to get somewhere, but finally ended the call, because (as he said later during the ensuing police raid) "dammit, I thought they would parley".

Before he could be taken into custody, he took a quicker approach, trying to get an influential friend to suggest a friend-of-a-friend sort of thing, and that worked! Nicely done! The leader of Earth's government was talking to him when the police walked in, and that leader told the officers to leave.

Okay, this time I can't say either that I've had something similar happen to me. But from that sequence on, I've paid attention to "how to get access" articles and lessons from life, and yes I've resolved some bad situations just by learning how important administrative assistants and secretaries are, and also how to write nice letters to the members of some company's Board of Directors. All to good, and effective, effect.

Recommending his books, I say . . .

Happy 109th birthday to Robert Anson Heinlein.
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The Queen of Voting

I noted years ago, that on this day in 2009, both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died. I missed another death that day, because it hadn't been reported yet.

Someone known as the Queen of Voting also passed away June 25, 2009. Sylvia Levin had worked as a volunteer, six days a week, without pay, over a span of 36 years from 1973 until 2009.
Sylvia Levin dies at 91; she registered more than 47,000 to vote
According to NBC:

Her son, Chuck Levin, estimates she spoke with more than 470,000 people, trying to convince them to take part in the electoral process.
Restated: That is almost a half million. (See the note on her in Wikipedia). Again from her obituary in the Los Angeles Times:

Sylvia Levin dies at 91; she registered more than 47,000 to vote

She would never reveal whether she was signing up more Democrats or Republicans. "Everyone is important," she would explain.

"People who are registering for the first time in their lives leave this table just flying," she said. "They know they've taken a big step."

As a deputy county registrar, Levin worked without pay.


(Just to make sure you caught it, I repeat: Sylvia Levin died on this day in 2009.)

My own opinion? This year, all US citizens are important. Make sure you are registered, make sure you vote.

Two Other Interesting Anniversaries

On June 25, 1978, the rainbow flag representing gay pride was flown for the first time during the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

And on June 25, 1984, Prince released his album Purple Rain.

National Catfish Day!

It is Surprise Day again, and ... guess what? I find that it is National Catfish Day. Congress cooked up this holiday, President Ronald Reagan signed it.

So what's the surprise? As I write this at 4:13 pm June 25, 2016, with the Proclamation as retrieved 4:10 p.m., June 25, 2016, I see the proclamation that was "Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:13 p.m., June 25, 1987"

(Just pushed the refresh button again. There, "4:13" both times, 29 years apart.)

It is interesting. Here's one sentence: "Farm-raised catfish have come a long way from their bottom-feeding ancestors."

Here is another: "I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." That is in most of the proclamations. Try typing it into a search engine. You should get a few screenfuls of White House proclamations. No surprise.

Personally, for me, I will say the year itself is surprising, in that both the upcoming Olympics and upcoming U.S. Presidential Election having taken disquieting turns, months before they each happen.

tomtac: (Default)
If you are wondering what Muslims are like, hear me when I say that nearly all the ones that I've met are admirable, good people.

I respected this man.

He proclaimed his faith by living it, not preaching with words.

The story was that he carried a book of matches around with him. At those times when he was tempted to something that he knew was wrong, he might take the matchbook out. Then he might light a match, and then blow it out, and then hold the hot end between his fingers.

It hurt, it burned his skin. And he'd say to himself, "You think this is hot? Hell is much hotter than that."

The dedication to doing what is right carried over to the rest of his life. Read all the tributes you are seeing out there right now.

I hope he is remembered for that part of his character.

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (Default)
Fifty years ago, Surveyor 1 landed on the moon. June 2, 1966. Here is how it appeared to me.

NASA had conducted a good number of programs by that time, and I knew how they went. The first couple of missions were "test" flights; after all, they always failed. For instance, the first satellite program, Vanguard, was not a good "vanguard" at all. The first launch blew up on the pad.

The Mercury and Gemini programs went through a minimum of two unmanned flights before they'd chance a manned launch. Mercury Redstone did that, as did Gemini Titan. Mercury Atlas had FIVE. The Gemini Atlas first launch was a complete failure.

And I remember try after try after try for the Ranger program, the previous lunar program. I was waiting and waiting for pictures from very close to the moon. Five tries were complete failures. I felt terrible.

Then Ranger Six had a nearly perfect flight . . . but the camera didn't work. Ugh, I was getting frustrated. And finally Rangers 7, 8, and 9 worked very very well.

So when I heard about Surveyor 1's flight, I was truly happy about it, but had very very low expectations. Of course it was going to crash, I thought to myself. Landing on the Moon ought to be much more complicated than crashing into it. I planned to watch anyway.

Watch the NASA Control room is what I did. Surveyor got lower and lower, over the Moon, and I kept waiting for the bad news. It could be "loss of contact" or "failure of rocket ignition" or some other interesting phrase.

I was listening for those. So I almost missed the very calm statement that it had landed and was on the lunar surface.

Huh?

My double take only lasted about five seconds. It did take a while for me to truly digest the news.

In the meantime, I started waiting for any possible report that the robot had sunk into the deep, deep surface dust we had feared. At that point, we still didn't know if it was possible for anything to rest on the surface.

Of course, we now know that the surface dust is pretty thin. And I had a great time looking at the pictures we got.

Was the "jinx" broken? I was disappointed that it seemed to be still around, after Surveyor 2 failed. But then Surveyor 3 succeeded! Hurray! Oh, but Surveyor 4 failed. Nuts. Hey, wait, Surveyor 5 was a success!

Never learned why our abilities seemed to be on-again-off-again there.

But the experience impressed me enough that I wrote a term paper on Surveyor 1. And I had deja vu a decade later, when Viking 1 also made a great touchdown on the first try.
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This year it won't matter if you catch this today or tomorrow. Every third of June, this song runs through my head. But last year I said that the translation into French put it on the fourth. Don't ask me why.

"Marie-Jeanne", as written and performed by Joe Dassin, reverses the roles: a young man recalls how his family reacted when a girl he knew jumped off a bridge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMP2wr6mI6E

But if you like english, here is Tammy Wynette giving it everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwBCB4b4x7Y
tomtac: (Default)
I paid a visit to a grave I remember in Second Life, an artificial world on the web.

(for visually challenged: a granite tombstone on green grass under a blue sky. not a photograph, but graphics of the kind found in Second Life. The stone reads "JEANNE ROBINSON. March 30, 1948  -  May 30, 2010.  FAREWELL  STARDANCER." There are stars next to the words.)

I do not know what Patron set up the Callahan's Saloon on Conch Island there, with the lighthouse on the hill overlooking. I have never checked the tombstone for the username of the fan that created Jeanne Robinson's tombstone there.

But the top of the hill is a pretty place, with a beautiful view.

* * * * *

Jeane Robinson died six years ago today. Aside from being the wife and writing partner of a famous writer, she also pioneered the ideas of Zero G Dance.  She and her husband co-wrote a series of novels about the concept, "Stardance".

This anniversary is a special one for her, because only a few months ago, the music group OK Go released a video with a lot of Zero G Dance, the first of its kind. (They used a Russian company's aircraft for the Zero G.)

It is frenetic and mind blowing, probably because it is very quickly paced, undoubtedly because the times of Zero G that they had available were only 21 seconds long.

If that is not clear, they have other videos that explain how this was all done.

And I feel almost certain that this "dance company with Zero G Plane" must have studied Jeanne's efforts. She may be to Zero G Dance what Robert Goddard was Rocketry. Both born in the U.S., both seemed to live for the future, and both worked to bring it about ... but their efforts first bore fruit over in Europe.

Enjoy, and raise a glass to Jeanne Robinson's dream coming about! It only took six years after her passing; she was not just ahead of her time, she is one of the authors of this our time.

(Facebook, but account should not be needed.)
https://www.facebook.com/okgo/videos/10153210535420683/

(Youtube)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWGJA9i18Co

(Youtube - "Upside Down Inside Out" Behind the Scenes. How We Did It)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnTqZ68fI7Q

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (Default)
Unless you've lived both in the northern and southern part of the United States, I do not know if you have had the chance to see northern and southern fireflies.

The little critters in the north are just that ... little. The ones I saw in Massachusetts were about the size of a large grain of rice. They weren't too active either. When I crept up on them, they'd be clinging to a long blade of grass and they'd be flashing there: blink, long pause, blink ...

So their biggest show would be when I'd be in one part of the yard at night, and they'd be slowly flying about: blink here, blink again, long long pause. Then blink and blink again in another location. Beautiful, but not too easy to interact with that. Books gave it some extra interest by explaining that they were trying to get themselves a mate or two with their blinks.

Thus ... I hardly ever use that word, but bear with me ... thus, I was pretty much astounded when I had my own yard in The Carolinas, and started noticing the southern variation. Almost as big as a quarter? Certainly as big as a nickel. And they were out in the twilight, where they could be seen! And the next day, out in the sunlight! They didn't race off if I approached them; in fact, they seemed to be studying me, all the while doing a blink-pause-blink-pause-blink that was much more entertaining.

Well, enough description. I will trying add links back the posts on the fireflies I've had in past years. Always in late May, perhaps.

Last night, the first firefly of 2016 was waiting in front of my front door as I got home. It was moving slowly at calf-level in an area of some flowers, and I walked up to it as I talked to it gently. My tones might have conveyed how glad I was to see it.

It hovered a bit, and I bent down and put my hand under it, palm down, and then lifted. So this living lighthouse had no problem making a gentle seven point landing on the back of my hand. (That is, six legs and the light in its abdomen touched down, and it felt like a tiny little tickle.)

I pulled the hand up to chest height slowly to get a better look (I had gotten two new pairs of glasses that afternoon) but when my hand came to a slow stop, the lightning fly launched itself straight up. Very gracefully starting a slow acceleration and blink-pause-blink-pause-blink off into the distance in the twilight.

So I won't bother to list any of the calamities and setbacks with which I had to deal yesterday. I will just say that meeting the fireflies again, with such physical closeness and acceptance, made me feel like a child of the Earth again.

God's Blessings.
tomtac: (Default)
Shown with Lego people.

If 100 people lived on Earth, 14 could not read or write.

View post on imgur.com


Sixteen are underfeed, and one of those is starving.



(Since there are over 7 billion people on Earth now (plus 3 to six or seven orbiting all the time), then each Lego person represents 70 million Earthlings.
tomtac: (Default)
Just today, a person in Sweden was fooling around with his handheld radio, and started hearing someone speaking Russian.  For reasons I do not yet understand, he thinks he was receiving from the International Space Station.

So he made a recording of it all.

Quote:  "Published on Apr 23, 2016  I think I just received the International Space Station NA1SS in the southern woods Sweden on an Ericsson P504. Russian translation to english or swedish would be very appreciated!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32n4wfRe2zc

Personally, I agree with one commenter.  Why does every transmission end in "Spacebo"  or  "Thank you"?

tomtac: (Default)
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the future.

towndock.net/newsextra/bathroom-re-opens-with-on-duty-compliance-officer

"We will not be tricked." This is the Plan B.

(Removed drawing of invasive medical examination procedure.)

Otherwise, Plan A is to produce a birth certificate.
tomtac: (Default)
The Wordsmith had a good post about this possible response to the Senate's refusal to consider the new Supreme Court nominee. Here were my thoughts on the matter:

Here's the first thing,

>> "He can give them notice that if they don't act, it constitutes a waiver of their right to participate".

1990. Precedent.

Hussein invades Kuwait, and the President decides to push him out. The Constitution says the president does the Foreign Policy thing, but ...

... Bush then had to ask Congress for a Declaration of War first, as the Constitution says. Not that it had held other presidents back. But he said he was going to do it right. Oh yeah, there was a congressional election going on, the year being 1990, so he said, go ahead, campaign and get your reelections in place that first week of November ...

... Because the very next week, he said, I want Congress to take up the debate on the Declaration of War that I asked for. Bush had given the Iraqis a deadline (note, a deadline) of January 15, that is, 100 to 120 days.

They all knew how Congress acts. The major probability was that they'd say "Well, he wants to go into Kuwait, and we don't want to stand in the way of that, so actually if we do nothing, he can go ahead with it." Typical Congressional thinking.

But the pundits were saying that the President had set up this box for Congress: He had sent the request for Congress, per the Constitution, and if Congress didn't DO it, by that deadline, then ... Congress should never expect to be asked again.

(As stated above: "if they don't act, it constitutes a waiver of their right to participate". Precedent.

The second thing.

2) I've wondered a bit if the Republicans are cooking their own goose, while the President has somewhat more control. The more the GOP holds off, the worse they look by November. One 4-4 decision after another ...

What chance do they REALLY have? Their party is divided so badly that their frontrunner is someone they think they can't stand, and their more orthodox candidate is still a bit of an extremist. ...

.... So they can sit on this appointment (who was handpicked to somehow pass the GOP's "sniff test"), and then come November 9th, Obama and the Democratic President-Elect can announce their NEW appointment ... I don't know, Justice Bill Clinton?


tomtac: (Default)
Please raise a glass to Sir James Milne Wilson, the 8th Premier of Tasmania, who died on his 17th birthday, in the 1800s. This article says he was quite a guy.


Stately looking middle aged caucasian fellow in black and white daguerreotype photo, with curly hair and stiff upright white collar


Why now? Today would have been his 50th birthday. (He was born exactly 204 years ago.) He was born on Leap Year day, and died on Leap Year Day; the only historical figure I've ever found to have managed that coincidence.


"17th birthday" means he was 68 years old.

(Edited: See comment.)

tomtac: (Default)
+++

Over on Reddit, someone asked for a story he could tell his three year old.  The little dictator had two requirements.

Pirates.  And a witch.

Here is something I wipped up, and I will post it in a couple of minutes.

(You can sing this one. What three year old wouldn't like his father singing him to sleep?)

    Just lay right down and you'll hear a tale,
    A tale of a pirate ship!
    It sailed out of a tropic port
    And went on fateful trip.

    The mate was a mighty sailing man!
    The Captain brave and sure!
    The pirates all had money (YES!)
    But they all wanted more.

    THEY
    WANTED
    MORE!

    The greedy pirates acted tough.
    But they were not that smart!
    A witch came 'board to speak to them,
                 (grab the front of your shirt here)
    And she clutched at her heart.

                        (now sing in a witch's voice)
    "Oh, sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
     A tale both sad and true.
     A Queen with lots of money BUT
     She is as poor as you!

    "She put her money in a bank!
     The bank then kept it all!
     To get her money she must pay
     A fee that's very small.

    "Now please believe me when I say
     That money she has NOT!
     And please ignore the silly way
     That she got in this spot!

    "Because she said she'd make me rich,
     (I'm glad I didn't laugh)
     If I paid the small fee for her,
     OfHerMoney, I'd get Half.

    "OFHERMONEY,
     I'D
     GET HALF!

    "And now I need your help, my friends,
     I'm here to pass the hat!
     I'd keep those riches for myself,
     But my wallet's flat!

    "You'll be the richest in the world!
     The richest ones by far!
     For here's an email from the Queen
     From Nigeria!

    "The Phones, that's right! The Motorcars!
     Why, you can have them all!
     With the money that's left you
     Can really have a ball!"

    The Captain started talking tough!
    "That's quite a deal, my dear!
     We'll send the Queen our treasure!
     She can send her money here!"

    On an island they dug up
    All their buried treasure.
    The witch took it and then she took
    Their ship for good measure!

    So the pirates all were castaways,
    They're stuck for a long, long time,
    They'll have to make the best of things,
    It's an uphill climb.

    The first mate and the Captain too,
    Will do their very best,
    To make the others comfortable,
    In the tropic island nest.

    No phone, no lights, no pirate ship!
    Not a single luxury,
    Like Robinson Crusoe,
    As primitive as can be.

    And we'll see them ten years from now,
    You're sure to think it's funny,
    When the stranded pirate crew
    Will still wait for their money.

tomtac: (arresting "Little Green Man" feline)
... this would be the day to resurrect this piece-of-fluff video from the 2012 election.

[There is something wrong because the video isn't automatically popping open on dreamwidth.
The video URL is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTDRmQCHbys

so just click on it. It does pop up correctly on LiveJournal.]


I found it interesting, at the time, because it was explicitly so positive that it seems pro-Ryan. But if anyone listens to the words, it obviously was anti-Ryan. And, in the end, there were viewers that decided that the pro-Ryan "feel" overcame the anti-Ryan "intent".

Anyway, the Web is full of "niches", and this was one of them. The few people who knew of this video gave the players "superstar" treatment, and the singers appeared in the comment section for interview questions. ... and then ... from 2013 to now, just about nothing happened there. Completely forgotten, and it was hard to find.
tomtac: (Default)
This kind of thing is rocking neat. The Kepler Space Telescope keeps looking at more than 150,000 stars at once, and there are plenty that look like there is "a mess of matter circling it" and that "would be expected if the star is young". And there are others without that crowdedness, stars that are more mature.

But then there is this one star ...

"The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy" article in The Atlantic magazine

I like the part in which the most "natural explanation" is that another star passed by it rather recently, and the gravitational pull sucked in a lot of comets. That would be plenty interesting in itself, worth studying.

But other people are more speculative, with a “swarm of megastructures” as a scenario.

An astronomer named Jason Wright says "Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

If all goes well, they say, a large radio telescope will have time scheduled, some time around January, to take a good sampling of whatever radio waves can be coming from the star. If the data looks right, another look may be taken next fall or sooner.
tomtac: (Default)
"[WP] You are the founder of a tiny 1990s tech startup operating from your garage. All of a sudden, a bunch of people who are obviously badly disguised time travelers start trying to buy stock in your company."

I thought of a few good ones, but I'm not even supposed to be surfing the web right now.

www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/3ng6u4/wp_you_are_the_founder_of_a_tiny_1990s_tech/

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