The News is All About Hamburgers and Overpriced Razors So Here's Some Space Stuff
One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us the latest developments the search for extraterrestrial intelligence...
A long time ago I was running Seti@Home as a screen saver. (I tried the newer one a year or so ago and nearly fried my computer!). When I read the description of what they were looking for, the frequencies they were checking didn't really make sense. They weren't searching for emissions in the band where there was the least interstellar noise, but around some natural frequency of some element (I forget which). It might have made some kind of symbolic mathematical sense, but there was no practical reason why aliens would USE that particular frequency band.
"Why of course anyone trying to communicate between the stars would use a harmonic of the Hydrogen resonance!"
"Really, I'd try the frequency most likely to get through."
*Gets pitched out the window.*
Posted by: Mauser at Wed Jan 16 00:42:01 2019 (Ix1l6)
Mauser, they look in the so-called hydrogen window because the other frequencies get absorbed by the interstellar medium (which is mostly diffuse hydrogen). If anyone were broadcasting on other frequencies, we wouldn't be able to detect it from a significant distance, in interstellar terms.
There's a degree of looking under the street lamp for your keys issue with that, of course, but we don't have much choice in the matter.
Posted by: Directrix Gazer at Wed Jan 16 15:21:11 2019 (QpQY7)
Meanwhile, in the Cartoon Jacuzzi
A interesting Dumping with Scrump from about a week ago focusing on the various origins of the current censorious tendencies sweeping the interwebs.
In the specific case of Tumblr, they suggest that the issue was due in part to pressure from Apple, which itself was part of a cascading panic regarding the implementation of FOSTA and SESTA. They further note the significance of the ban being implemented on December 17th. There's more to be sure, about 28 minutes worth.
Just as God and Robert Heinlein Intended
While the news is distracted by the government shutdown, one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news from Southeastern Texas, where consequential things are happening.
And they are happening QUICKLY.
7 days ago, there were reports that Space-X might do a flight of their "Starhopper" test rig for their upcoming Mars Rocket in a little as 70-120 days. This was much sooner than had been projected.
However, the engineers have been working nonstop, through weekends and with astounding alacrity. Now the prototype is assembled (at least externally) and Musk is hinting at a much earlier test.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the companyâ€™s first Starship prototype â€“ a low-fidelity hop test vehicle â€“ has finished assembly in South Texas, paving the way towards a series of experimental vertical take-off or landing (VTOL) hop tests that could begin as early as February or March 2019.
This is a low altitude test vehicle intended to work out hovering, and landing techniques and refine some design concepts for the ultimate design. It may well be run to destruction to test the limits of the vehicle.
Even more astounding, the first of the actual orbital prototypes is expected to be ready to fly as early as June pending the results of the Starhopper tests.
The frantic speed of the test program is somewhat odd. One would expect a more reserved and methodical approach. There are a couple of possibilities, but two stand out. Space-X is tight on cash and just laid off 10% of its employees. It needs a spectacular PR stunt to woo more investment money. Also, NASA's SLS rocket, which has been delayed numerous times, is now expected to fly in 2020. If Musk can get a Starship orbital flight before then, that might well kill the NASA rocket (which, being expendable, and having a lower payload is inferior in every way). This would grant Space-X a much bigger share of the US launch market.
This would also have the benefit of killing off a program that has already wasted 14 billion dollars of the U.S. taxpayers money just since 2011.
Remember that NASA was given a mandate to go back to the moon in 2005. Note that it's 2019. Using something we like to call MATH, if we take 2019 and subtract 2005 from it we get 14 years, which is exactly twice as long as the 7 years it took from 1962-1969 to do the exact same thing but with the exception that the technology was 50 years more primitive and going to the moon had never been done before. Now, 14 years after being told to repeat something done with far more modest technology, NASA can point to the fact that China has landed a rover on the moon, but on the far side, which has never been done before. Also; NASA'll have that rocket of theirs running soon.
If Musk can pull this off, and finance the large numbers of rockets needed for the Mars missions he has planned, then the 2020s will usher in a new era in the history of mankind, one that may well save us.
However, this project is pushing engineering to the limit. Some crashes and explosions are to be expected in the engineering test rigs. Unfortunately, investors and the public generally don't have a grasp of sound engineering principles and learning curves will look like failures to many of today's risk adverse generation. It remains to be seen if Musk can
keep this most worthy of projects financed and supported.
I am hoping that Musk and NASA manage to destroy each other - like matter and anti-matter encountering each other. Whatever other skills he has (And Elon Musk has demonstrated considerably less expertise than his cult likes to believe - including the ability to not lose his security clearance.), the former has a better developed talent at sucking money from the government trough than even latter does.
Posted by: cxt217 at Sat Jan 12 16:10:19 2019 (LMsTt)
Note though, that a quick perusal of those links indicate that they're all Apple focused sites. Immediately this will raise suspicion that the Apple cultists are just making excuses for Apple's earnings troubles. (Full disclosure, this blog is typed on an i-Mac) That's not entirely fair of course and in their defense there was today a major boost in the credibility of the story.
It's unclear how much of this is due to last months call by Chinese businesses to rally around Huwaei and how much of this is just the realization that Apple products today (in contrast to just a few years ago) tend to have markedly less capability for much more money which probably ought not to count as a boycott. The similar trend in India (Where Huwaei does not enjoy a groundswell of home team support)would tend to indicate that there are deeper problems than the political factors.
It's a biased perspective, but the few Chinese-originated tech people I watch on YouTube or follow on Twitter won't go near Apple products...but that's because they're tech people and makers and want to be able to customize, hack, and program their devices.
I would speculate that a certain amount of Apple's success in the mobile market is still centered on brand-alignment, which of course would be much weaker for Apple in China.
Posted by: Ben at Thu Jan 10 19:49:05 2019 (osxtX)
I like the M3 hardware a lot. The software rather less so. Nova Launcher goes a long way to fixing that, but it would be a far better device with stock Android.
The fingerprint sensor on mine seems to be slowly losing the plot though. Originally worked perfectly, now it sometimes doesn't want to wake up and I have to (shudder) use the power button instead.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thu Jan 10 22:46:49 2019 (PiXy!)
My daughter once factory-reset the tablet inadvertently. It uses a fairly standard power button on the edge, the same many phones use. But the tablet is much wider. It is possible to grab either phone or tablet while pressing the power button. However, because the M3 is so much wider than a phone, the palm bends outward and then it touches the middle of the screen... right where the confirmation button appears. Voila!
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Jan 11 09:51:15 2019 (PiXy!)
It was better actually. We were flying out to a day trip to the beach. So, when boarding the airplane, I handed her the tablet for a minute. After takeoff, I took it back in order to get the map and it was reset. I pulled out the back-up device, and the Garmin Pilot subscription was expired on it (which I should have checked beforehand). I didn't want to return, but I didn't know where to go either. We landed at the next airport over where I somehow remembered the WiFi password. The Huawei does not come out of reset unless Internet is available, BTW.
This is Getting Kind of Scary"Yes Comrades, your IP addresses have been logged and your incorrect opinions have been noted."
Of course I suppose it's possible that the BBC might have run a private screening for the critics and due, perhaps, to a software glitch, accidentally broadcast a blooper reel instead of the episode the critics saw.
I can't help but think though that a blooper reel would have gotten a higher core.
I haven't seen the episode but that dichotomy is, frankly, disturbing.
It wasn't really awful, but it was *lame*, and it was a lame cap to a lame season that did have some true awfulness, and I suspect people are getting fed up with being told the only reason they don't like it is they're sexist/racist/whatever--possibly more so than with the crap we're being fed and told we should like.
Posted by: Rick C at Sun Jan 6 18:21:54 2019 (Iwkd4)
I've quite enjoyed this series. I've never really enjoyed Dr. Who before; not enough to watch a full series. Then again, although the ratings have been decent, I'm apparently out of step in liking the current series.
Posted by: J Greely at Mon Jan 7 03:46:54 2019 (tgyIO)
Hm. Not sure the best way to answer that, since I don't really want to do a full series review. Also, it's probably not fair to compare it to the little I've seen of Dr. Who, but it's hard to get away from that.
In fact, one of the things I liked most is that *I didn't need to know anything going into the series*. No one had to sit next to me while I hit pause and explain what this was or that was or what series or Dr. I needed to watch understand something. That was *immensely* satisfying, as it has been a problem for me trying to enjoy Dr. Who in the past. Maybe that makes this a "noob" series, which detracts from long-time fans' enjoyment...I can see that happening.
I like Jodie Whittaker as an actress, and I liked the character she played. What it has to do with previous portrayals of The Doctor Who character, I can't say. The supporting cast was fine; nothing really jumped out at me.
The look and design has been fun. There is a somewhat consistent vibrant look to everything that I think fits a light sci-fi/fantasy series. Speaking of which, the episodes in space and on other planets were by far my favorites, compared to the Earth time travel episodes. I read more than one person describe these episodes as "Quantum Dr. Who" or "Dr. Who Leap", which is a fair criticism. They were *mostly* enjoyable enough, but those episodes re-tread some oft-visited stories and plots...it's hard to do something new or interesting that way. Maybe Britons found it fresh; I know Gen-Xers in the U.S. didn't.
I haven't watched the last couple of episodes; maybe those will affect my enjoyment, but I though it was good, fun, light sci-fi. For the most part. And I like Jodie Whittaker. That's about it.
It's interesting to me that you didn't find older episodes as accessible. I'm curious: did you mostly previously watch older NuWho episodes, or first-run (the 60s-80s) ones? I always thought the OG run was pretty easy to pick up on (my first episode was from the middle of Image of the Fendahl when I was a teen). I suppose if your introduction was the newer show, with its season-long arcs, it could be harder to get into mid-season.
Posted by: Rick C at Mon Jan 7 10:36:50 2019 (Q/JG2)
Peter Davison, of whom I am a fan. I don't remember much from when I tried to watch. Screenshots online don't ring a bell. The "movie", which I liked a lot but I gather isn't regarded highly, and then I tried some Eccleston and Tennant. I liked both *characters*, but found the episodes I tried to watch almost inpenetrable. I caught some clips of the last guy and he seemed very angry and political, so I didn't try again.
I thought the first episode was flawed but promising, and I liked Whittaker. It went downhill pretty fast for me, though, because of poor writing, dull visuals, and Very Special Episodes.
And, yes, Capaldi's episodes were mostly angry and college-student political.
Posted by: J Greely at Mon Jan 7 13:25:51 2019 (tgyIO)
I liked the angry, mostly, but not the politics. I thought, frankly, that Capaldi was much closer to Classic Doctors in outlook/attitude/actions. But the writing, it so often does, let us down.
Peter Davison was fun, but he had one drawback: following the immensely popular Tom Baker. Sometimes when they make major cast changes in a show, they make the remaining/new characters sort of go through hell to indicate to the audience that the show's changing, and I think the BBC did that with him.
Posted by: Rick C at Mon Jan 7 20:00:31 2019 (Iwkd4)
Nothing compares to Colin Baker's Doctor trying to murder his companion. In fairness, though, Peri was pretty awful...
Capaldi also got some really terrible scripts, to the point that his last season consisted mostly of suicide attempts. Maybe someday he can hire Fred Savage and do a "good parts" compilation. :-)
Posted by: J Greely at Mon Jan 7 20:32:37 2019 (tgyIO)
That Patreon did what they did to one of their customers who had not violated their TOS, was unprofessional at best and somewhat worrisome for anyone on the platform. However, what, to my mind at least, elevated this to "Serious Business" was the fact that Pay-Pal and the other online payment outfits pulled the plug on Subscribe Star when Subscribe Star did not refuse service to the clients ejected from Patreon.
At that point the situation became a blacklist..one with teeth.
In that vein, over at Ambient Irony, Pixy links to an article at One Angry Gamer that describes similar actions being taken against a Death Metal band.
The piece points out that the precedent for this was Obama's OperationChokePoint which weaponized financial institutions against businesses the Administration did not like, like porn stars and gun dealers. Choke Point was put down in 2017, but some of the electronic and informal infrastructure and more importantly the precedent for such counter constitutional restraints of trade presumably still exist. about 15 paragraphs down though the OAG article proposes that Pay-Pal and company are still getting their marching orders for these bans from the FDIC and this is all a deep state conspiracy.
Here's the thing.
I don't think the FDIC took a stance on Sargon of Akkad.
However, the same article links to a rather scattershot video by SFO that has some things to say about MasterCard. (He's really dug deep into Mastercard)
JACQUELINE: The problem is is patreon takes payments. And while we are obviously supportive of the first amendment, there are other things that we have to consider. Our mission is to fund the creative class. In order to accomplish that mission we have to build a community of creators that are comfortable sharing a platform, and if we allow certain types of speech that some people would call free speech, then only creators that use patreon that donâ€™t mind their branding associated with that kind of speech would be those who use patreon and we fail at our mission. But secondly as a membership platform, payment processing is one of the core value propositions that we have. Payment processing depends on our ability to use the global payment network, and they have rules for what they will process.
MATT: Are you telling me that this was Patreonâ€™s decision then, or someone pressured you into this?
JACQUELINE: No - this was entirely Patreonâ€™s decision.
MATT: Well then I donâ€™t understand passing the buck off to somebody else.
JACQUELINE: No, Iâ€™m not passing the buck off. The thing is we have guidelines, but Iâ€™m trying to explain, #1 it is our mission to fund the creative class and obviously some people may not want to be associated.
MATT: Well if itâ€™s your mission, then payment processors are irrelevant. Itâ€™s your mission. Thatâ€™s what youâ€™re pursuing.
JACQUELINE: Weâ€™re not visa and mastercard ourselves - we canâ€™t just make the rules. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m saying - there is an extra layer there.
MATT: Right, but that extra layer is not necessarily relevant if your own goals that youâ€™re pursuing are already doing that anyway.
JACQUELINE: I donâ€™t necessarily see it that way. I sort of see it along two lines - so if we said, we want this to just be a free speech platform - weâ€™re 100% dedicated to free speech - then that isnâ€™t really true to our mission.
MATT: What percent dedicated are you to free speech?
(Long Multipage Break)
JACQUELINE: Weâ€™re not a free market. Again, this goes back to -
MATT: Okay. Iâ€™m glad you admit that.
JACQUELINE: This goes back to what I was saying about that we are a payment processor and that is one of our core value propositions that we have, is that payment processing depends on our ability to use payment networks and we have to abide by those rules.
MATT: But that is not what youâ€™ve been telling me repeatedly. You go back and forth between telling me we have to uphold our ideal, and then passing the buck off to payment processors who are holding you to this standard, begrudgingly I suppose. Either you agree with that standard or you donâ€™t.
JACQUELINE: What Iâ€™m saying is we have to have policies whether or not I personally believe in something or-or.
MATT: When I say â€˜you,â€™ I mean Patreon, obviously.
JACQUELINE: The problem though is that Patreon itself has to base their guidelines on the people that they work with and that they share information with and so-
MATT: But you have been telling me this whole time that you support those guidelines.
JACQUELINE: I do support those guidelines.
MATT: Okay. So -
JACQUELINE: But you have to base those on something so this is what Iâ€™m saying. Even if I personally came into Patreon and said, you know, â€˜I believe 100% in absolute free speechâ€™ I-I will not be able to make that the guidelines even if thatâ€™s what I personally believe. We have a lot of people here who believe that, but -
MATT: Well let me ask you this - has there ever been a case where a payment processor has come to Patreon and said â€˜you guys are enabling too much hate speech, weâ€™re gonna cut you off?â€™
JACQUELINE: As in Patreon?
MATT: Yeah - is there a reason you have to bend the knee to these payment processors? Have they made you bend the knee before?
JACQUELINE: I-Iâ€™m not going to get into a discussion about our payment partners specifically.
So...I think this is not a great government conspiracy.
However, there do seem to be a bunch of like minded people who have decided to determine whose cool and whose not. This is at it most basic the same as a bunch of preppies or mean girls in High School working to protect the exclusivity of their clique, and the emotional sophistication is probably similar.
Illuminati this ain't.
However, this clique controls banks, so the power they wield and its implications are consequential.
The upper echelons of our society and the world at large are in many ways a monoculture that has gotten exceedingly provincial over the last decade or so despite their aspirations to cosmopolitanism. The secular faith that they discarded their old timey religion for has at its disposal the manic enthusiasm of the newly converted feeding its own ruthless Inquisition. The Gramscian march that created this intolerant and incurious monoculture is a thing of the left so there is an inherent political aspect and bias to this, but we need to be clear headed about the situation.
The situation is genuinely troubling, but it is not hopeless. Decentralization and preferably distributed networks are the best ways to neuter the gatekeepers. Rubin, Peterson and others look to be working on that.
Shades of Bank of America and their treatment of gun and gun accessories manufacturers - their anti-Second Amendment attitude and effort to shut-down credit and financial services to said firms started before Choke Point begun.
Oddly enough, Wells Fargo (For all that I dislike about them.) still seems to be no issues handling the same people that BoA wants to destroy. I guess the massive fraud and malfeasance scandal they suffered makes them willing to avoid offending anyone willing to do business with them.
Posted by: cxt217 at Thu Jan 3 18:33:44 2019 (LMsTt)
I made up my mind at "Our mission is to fund the creative class."
I have been operating under the illusion that PayPal is a payment processor; one that was highly convenient to me. I did not realize they were a fund-raising organization for select artists.
Beating N.A.S.A. to the PunchScott Lowther has sifted through the preliminary data being made available to the public by the New Horizons mission and determined the true nature of Ultima Thule...
The visual evidence is indeed compelling .
"But the only way to be sure is to
see if it tastes like chicken!"
Note that the reason the high-rez pictures are so long in coming is not just the fact that New Horizons is over 12 light hours away. It's that the distance between us and it, the limited power available and the small size of the probes dish mean that the data transmission rates from Kupierville make dial-up look fast.
On the Effects of Theatrical Film Releases Upon Market Volatility
December, 2018 saw the stock markets enter a stage of extreme volatility, with multi day crashes followed by all time record gains. Several factors have been proposed as sources of these swings, including the President's tariffs and actions taken by the Federal Reserve. However the introduction of these factors does not strongly correlate with the timing of the market fluctuations.
I propose that this fiduciary phenomenon is in fact caused by the synergetic effects set in motion by an event that has been heretofore ignored by financial analysts.
This film kicked ass. It kicked so much ass that I propose that the resulting national ass shortage led to chaos in ass futures causing a general breakdown of commodities trading which in turn led to ripple effects throughout the larger stock market.
"..." "..." "..." "..." "..." "..."
Economics aside, this is a bizarre but immensely enjoyable film that pulls together a bunch of odd, little explored threads from the Marvel Universe(s) to tell a tale of "passing the baton"; one that manages to very respectful of the Marvel canon and did not spit on the fans.
With that alone they exceeded expectations, but the the creators of this film did not stop there. This film is...good. It's really good and is one of the better comic book films ever made.
Once the story gets going, the film keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and the villains...the comic book villains...manage to come off as genuinely terrifying.
The film is very true to the original medium, due in part, to a quirky, experimental art and animation style that shifts throughout the film as needed by the story. This eclectic artistic choice is, on occasion, distracting, but it generally works astoundingly well.
The direction, pacing and characterizations are all solid , however, one thing that really stood out in this animated film was the quality of the acting.
Now one expects good voice acting in a feature length film**. However, there is a difference between stage acting, screen acting and VOICE acting, and animated films in the U.S. generally get big name actors who give perfectly solid performances but don't fully utilize the medium.
The voice work in this movie really stands out as exceptional. The delivery at times is like a '40s screwball comedy or a Howard Hawks film and they pull this off without sounding stilted or dated. Kathryn Hahn, Hailee Stienfield and Liev Schreiber give particularly good performances but the whole cast was exceptional in that regard. I was particularly shocked to learn that Chris Pine can act.
The whole film is littered with little easter eggs that don't distract from the story, but are delightful treats to the audience members who grew up reading these books. In that vein, this last Stan Lee cameo appeared to be one of his best, though I was beset by allergies at that point.
All in all, this was a remarkably good film. It's still in general release so I strongly urge you to go see it before it leaves theaters.
My only exposure to Spiderman was the cartoons growing up, I'd never read the comics and certainly had never even heard about the various alternate Spidermen across the multiverse. So when I initially heard that there was going to be a black child Spiderman, my reaction was not positive. The main preview, with the particularly cartoonish face-planted road rash from being towed by a train, among other things, was a turn-off.
Than I started hearing it was actually very good, and not from artsy published commentariat who wouldn't know a good movie if their lives depended on it, but real people. So I bit the bullet and saw it a couple of nights ago. Miles, far from being the SJW-fest I expected, truly earned the mantle of super hero. He paid the prices and had actual growth, very different from Star War's Rey. He also had a couple of unique quirks in his power set, which gave him some differentiation from the original.
I think they also made the right choice of making Porker, Noir, and Penny minor/background characters instead of trying to shoehorn more screen time for them. That helped keep it interesting instead of the possible mess it could have been.
I also liked how they covered each character's origin story while at the same time lamp-shading the concept.
The artwork took some getting used to at first, but ultimately worked well for it.
All in all, I strongly second Brickmuppett's recommendation.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Tue Jan 1 16:35:10 2019 (TWAZc)
Yeah, this was a great movie. My son, who doesn't like superhero movies, liked it, too--his only complaint was he didn't like the art style.
Definitely stay after the credits.
Posted by: Rick C at Wed Jan 2 00:52:28 2019 (Iwkd4)
I don't like Spider-Man. I've never liked Spider-Man. I don't like Marvel, much.
I loved this movie. LOVED it. I want more like this.