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July 25, 2009

nerd altamont

This is the best quote I've seen so far concerning this weekend's San Diego Comic-con, from Lev Grossman:
Spend any time at all at Comic-con and it's hard not to go all Hunter Thompson.  There's just so many damn people.  Nerd culture has gorged and gorged, and then bloated, then collapsed under the weight of its own flesh.  The excess flesh has turned septic and begun to necrotize, and that is the stench in the air in San Diego.  This isn't nerd Woodstock, it's nerd Altamont.

I haven't been to San Diego for the Comic-con, but I've been to the one in New York for the past two years, and I think Grossman just put his finger on why I liked them.

[Via Heidi MacDonald.]

Posted by mrbrent at 4:20 PM

david mckalip: no, have some

I'm getting used to events like this one cropping up once every week or so:
Dr. David McKalip has told fellow conservative activists that thanks to the flap over his racist email showing President Obama as a witch doctor, he will no longer appear publicly in opposition to health-care reform.

Do read the rest of the post, as it serves as a concise timeline for how one of these got-caught-with-a-racist-email events unfolds, and some nice scoops concerning messages of support from a Tea Party listserv.

Mostly, these events are astonishing.  The level of political savvy one must have to realize that being caught forwarding emails of the president as a witch doctor, or eating watermelon, or being able to run good, carries a heavy price with the general public is not that high.  In fact, it might be a few ticks below baseline.  And yet it continues to happen.

And it goes like this: some dude gets caught with the email, first sputters defiantly that just 'cause it's not politically correct don't mean it's offensive, and once the hubbub becomes a firestorm because of the unrepentance of the dude, then complains about how it's a far-left conspiracy to silence the dude and his truth.  And besides, everyone made fun of President Bush -- what's the big?

Well, were President Bush a black man and I sent an email depicting him as a witch doctor, then you'd have a point.

See, dude, there's this thing called cause and effect.  Behave in a racist manner, your credibility erodes.  Bitch loudly that your racism is misunderstood, then that's a second foot in the mop bucket.  Imagine yourself a martyr if it makes you feel better, but it just makes you sound dumber (see Palin, Sarah).  Racist behavior may not erode your credibility among your affinity group, but your affinity group is not the real world.  This is the real world, and it will not tolerate your bad breeding.  If your affinity group applauds your racist bullshit, then that's why your affinity group is marginalized and ignored in the first place: because it is filled with stupid fucking racists.

It is just embarrassing, to even be tempted to have to explain to someone (a doctor!) why what they did was wrong.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:15 PM

champagne cola math

Last weekend I went whole hog and bought a gargantuan three liter bottle of champagne cola -- a brand I'm not familiar with, but they sell it out in the groceries of my nabe.  Just trying to cut down on plastic and trips to the store, and drink more delicious champagne cola.

As I hauled it out of the fridge to pour a few glugs into a glass, I noticed on the packaging a small bit of copy: "50% MORE THAN A TWO-LITER BOTTLE".  It's up above the list of ingredients, in comparatively modest type.

So while I find it a bit depressing that straightforward functions of math are touted in a way that assumes the relationship between two liters and three liters is somehow discrete, I am at least relieved that it is not positioned as a selling point -- it's much too small to see from across the aisle in a store.  It's instead a little time-released bit of information meant to remind the consumer, in the comfort of home, in front of the fridge, of the value added.

Think of it that way and it's kinda sweet, like champagne cola.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:46 PM

July 24, 2009

let's have a beer

Perhaps this qualifies as playing politics (I guess everything does), but this seems a fitting cap to the week and the hubbub:
Obama suggested the whole incident could be worked out over a drink.  "There was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House.  We don't know if that is scheduled yet, but we may put that together."

That's just genius.  And if it's sincere (and I'm of the sort that believes that he is sincere, whether or not I hold his birth certificate in my hand), it's even more genius.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:44 PM

greetings from monster island

At the risk of condescending, this is what it's like to live in the City of New York, at least in some small way.

So, you get chased out of the neighborhood you lived in for a decade, which was both (once) cheap and convenient, by the ubiquity rising above your ankles along with the rents/price-of-living/annoyance right behind.  After searching, you settle on a different Brooklyn neighborhood, with more different charm, but much farther away from the paycheck.  (Shout out to you, Ditmas Park.)  You're on the fence, but there is a deal-maker: though distant, it is a stop on an express subway line -- i.e., you hop that sucker in the morning and it skips past a handful of stops out here as it screams to Manhattan like something through a goose.  Sign the lease, baby!

Some years later, due to the general decrepitude of the infrastructure and the outer-borough subways in particular, the city takes your express train away in one swell foop.  Dealmaker rescinded.

And this is not an isolated gripe from a complainer.  You live here, you get used to it.  Way too many years ago in college, I lived even further out, only to have my subway line rerouted entirely, such as, instead of stopping a block away from school, like it used to, the train moved up a different line markedly less convenient to school.

But we take it as it comes.  If we ever live in, say, Memphis, and they entirely close I-240 for two years, I'll deal with it in the same way.

Though on the bright side, think of this: there are four major bridges and three major tunnels on and off of Monster Island, as we call Manhattan.  None of them are younger than I am, and all of them are in a constant state of repair.  Should, God forbid, one of them fail in a catastrophic way, then you will see an entire city unravel.  Which is why I would not want to be a civil engineer here in the big city.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:39 PM

the ap will cut you

This smacks of Big Brother, but it seems to be where we're heading, as The AP steps up to the plate:
Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

I forget which sci-fi novel I've read in which the future is dominated by corporate clan-gangs that monopolize information like a mix between the Mafia and Andrew Carnegie a hundred years ago -- actually, I think it was a whole bunch of them.

By virtue of my job I'm at least passingly familiar with the fair use exception to copyright law, so I'm, for example not particularly scared that the NYT would be pissed about the above link and brief passage.  But the concern is that the AP would like to see if they can reframe the fair use exceptions through litigation.  It could happen, but I've always wanted to be part of the "Resistance", so we'll wait and see.

Remember also that Politico already has some Internet robot that inserts a non-threatening reminder onto your clipboard when you copy a bit of text from their website.

Is the future one where no one cuts or pastes, but hand-transcribes instead?  Bad ass.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:52 PM

you think the 50 would be used to that at harvard

Union leaders are not subtle.  Their job is to advocate the interests of the union's members, and not to get bogged down in anything like reasonable discourse.  Kind of like the Catholic League's Bill Donohue -- Donohue is probably a decent guy and a delight at the corner bar, but when he's talking on the Catholic League's dime, he is equal parts rabid and bellicose.

Which is why it's not a surprise that the thoughts of Stephen Killion, the president of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association (which would list as a member Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arresting officer) aren't exactly beating back the flames of controversy.  On the president's use of the adverb "stupidly":

"That was totally inappropriate.  I am disgraced that he is our commander-in-chief.  He smeared the good reputation of the hard-working men and women of the Cambridge Police Department. It was wrong to do.  It was disgraceful."

Small point of grammar -- "I am disgraced" is not the phrase to use unless you did something disgraceful.  Anyhow, that is not exactly a conciliatory position to take.

Further to this, I still believe the issue is not so much racism as it is asshole cops.  Or at least it will be the more that a microphone is stuck in the face of representatives of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association and they confirm suspicions of assholery with statements like:

[Killion] said the audiotapes will prove [arresting officer] Crowley's account of the incident and show that Gates "was provoking the incident.  He wanted to prove who he was...  He deems himself higher than everyone else around."

Which is not intrinsically against the law in this country, now is it?

Posted by mrbrent at 9:43 AM

July 23, 2009

bernanke breathing underwater

Here's a small shocker that might have slipped under the radar, as reported by the NYT:
Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, put himself at odds with the Obama administration on Wednesday by resisting its plan to create a consumer protection agency for risky financial products.

At first glance, terrible news indeed -- I'm a big fan of increased consumer protection, even if it means an additional layer of bureaucracy and even if it means that I can't eat hot dogs and drink beer at the Galt's Gulch summer picnic.  So one more voice against it is not good news.

But then at second and final glance, is it reasonable to expect the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to give even a fraction of a rat's ass about consumers?  I'm a dreamer, but I'm also a realist: the minute the Chairman of the Fed starts worrying about actually real people as anything other than a statistic is the time to fire that guy.

Above all, he's wrong about the proposed agency, and I'm right.  But you can't get mad at a fish for being able to breath underwater.  Or something like that.   So not a shocker at all, but rather a case of my critical facilities taking a second to kick in.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:03 PM

henry louis gates

To throw my two unasked-for cents in on the Henry Louis Gates incident that the president pushed up back into the newscycle last night:

We're talking about Boston cops -- so, was there racism involved?  Ask anyone who lives in Boston.  But the event that could be called racist is, in my humble opinion, the originating event -- the 911 call about dark men breaking into a home, and the rush of the PD to get there.  Were it two white guys in Oxfords and Docksiders jimmying the door, I'm not so certain that call gets made.

Throwing the cuffs on Gates because he was conducting disorderly, that is not so much intrinsically racist as it is, as the president said, cops acting "stupidly".  Gates had established he was the legal tenant and was raising hell about it.  The cops have the right to arrest the obstreperous ("disorderly conduct"), but for that specific cop to effect that arrest at that time was stupid, no matter what names Gates called anyone, no matter how many times he asked if anyone knew who he was and who they were dealing with.  The arresting officer might have felt like he sure showed that dude who not to talk back to, but I'll bet he's not feeling that way now.

The profiling event set everything else into motion, and is perhaps defensible, though distasteful.  Ultimately, it was a knuckle-headed bust, and accusations of prejudice should not obscure the fact of how stupid an arrest it was.

Not that this will refine the argument at all, but I'm just saying.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:37 PM

haute meatloaf

I don't always shill out for my friends, because frankly my friends are talented and I'm afraid that everyone will wonder why they're reading me when they could be reading my friends, all at the same time, and they're I'll be standing like it's the first day of school and I'm not wearing pants.  So work that I've missed -- my bad, dudes.  But since the point of this piece by Sam Sifton is cooking dinner for Nora Ephron, I will link it, just to further illustrate the NYC media food chain.

But it is my favorite of his of the past couple (he runs once a month in the NYT Sunday Mag), and it has two kick-ass recipes for meatloaf, which is nothing more than a terrine or well-done pate, so don't be like that.

No, I did not taste the meatloaf.  I am not Nora Ephron.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:06 PM

good morning 7.23.09

I'm stepping back on the health care issue.  I've got some pretty fully-formed ideas that are evident from the body of my work, but watching good intentions get slowly mangled by the many moving parts in Congressional subcommittees and the manufactured outrage of the bad-faith special interests that honestly could not care less how we care for the least fortunate of us and the attendant hidden costs thereof and meanwhile the President gets piñata'd on this for actually trying -- I just can't play it.  There's some line crossed that reduces articulation to a bunch of all-cap cuss words, and that line is somewhere behind me.  I do give in to the potty-mouth sometimes, but I save it for Twitter.

I hope it'll work, I hope significant health care reform befalls us, and I'm not entirely confident.  But I did catch a portion of the press conference last night, and was again impressed.  One, for Obama's continued willingness to stand up on this -- never thought I'd use the word "courage" to describe politics, but reform is not a slam dunk and there is a whole lot of egg waiting for his presidential face.

Also, during his remarks concerning the Cambridge Police Department he offered the potential outcome if he tried to jimmy the lock on the White House ("I'd get shot").  It one of those humanizing moments that remind you that we actually have a president now, and not someone pretending to be so, the kind of grace note that you'd only get from the previous president if he was talking about being a scion of privilege, like that funny time he forgot if he was in Georgia or Alabama the Air National Guard gonna do to him, anyway, seeing as how his grand-daddy is Prescott By-God Bush?

Not to force an unwarranted comparison, of course.  Um, good morning.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:22 AM

July 22, 2009

dumb weird thought

You may consider this couple dime-store criminals, as they stole red-light cameras to fence at a cut rate, but it raises a question: are the cameras that snap motorists as they blow red lights justified?

I'm actually a big fan of traffic law, and I am famous (at least with my wife, who uses words like "grampa") for following them.  But are the laws there to inspire better traffic manners through policing, or are they there to raise revenue for the municipality?

Hypothetically, at a deserted exurban intersection governed by a stoplight, if a driver ignores a red light, when no oncoming traffic is verifiably not there, is the public good being transgressed, or just the law?  Are the laws there to be minded mindless of circumstance?

This is a weird argument for me to make, considering how fastidious a driver I am.  And obviously the junkies are not heroes.  But it's worth a thought?

Posted by mrbrent at 9:41 PM

dingbat flowchart

I know I devote a lot of word to haterizing on Ayn Rand and the going-Galt-threatening dingbats that admire her, but this flowchart is a true boon to those of you who care more than I do about understanding them.  Me, I just think they're dingbats.  But that flowchart actually gives them the consideration they deserve.

Sadly, the Birthers are eclipsing the dingbats as a topic of conversation, but it's never too late to turn that around.  Maybe the dingbats will lobby for the tacit approval of what's-her-name-Cheney, who is obviously a Sarah Palin for a new generation -- or at least one born six months after the last one.

[Via Maud.]

Posted by mrbrent at 9:22 PM

good evening 7.22.09

Two things I learned on the sidewalks of this portion of Flatbush they call Ditmas Park:

First, there were fireflies out.  My memory is surely going bad, considering my age and circumstance, but of all my years up and down the Eastern Seabord, I don't ever recall the fireflies still being out on the cusp of August.  I'm not saying what might cause that -- a perforated Jupiter, a migrating New Zealand? -- but it's weird.  Though I love the fireflies, and make a point to catch at least one a year and let him/her have a free ride on my outstretched fingers until they decide to fly away.  Good luck, in my mind.  But still, dudes, it's late.

Second, I walked past two rubber bands on the pavement, sitting next two each other like fried eggs, and I thought to myself, "Ooh, I could use rubber bands."  TMI, for you and me both, but hopefully you'll love the Great Recession with me.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:00 PM

jupiter is a crappy goalie

For me the news of the day that was is that something punched an Earth-sized hole in the planet Jupiter.  Nothing to be scared off, kind of like an island-moving earthquake on the other side of the globe -- it's interesting, but I sure am glad I'm wasn't that island/standing on that particular part of Jupiter.  No personal threat experienced.  Or is there?
In an e-mail message, [SETI/UC Berkeley astronomer Franck Marchis] said humans should be thankful for Jupiter.  “The solar system would have been a very dangerous place if we did not have Jupiter,” he wrote.  “We should thank our giant planet for suffering for us. Its strong gravitational field is acting like a shield protecting us from comets coming from the outer part of the solar system.”

The Awl's Choire Sicha disagrees, as he uses his secret math super-powers to demonstrate that Jupiter no more guards the Earth from comets than a mosquito could play goalie for Manchester United.

And, I'd like to add, that these concepts/calculations seem to be taking place in two-dimensional space, while comets hurtle through three dimensional space.  Why, the very idea of an orbit was derived from conic sections, and a cone is a robustly three-dimensional shape.  So even if Jupiter is a big gravitational safeguard against objects orbiting in roughly the same plane, there are still the other 359 degrees to worry about (i.e., the everywhere-else of space).

But still please keep up the good work, Jupiter.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:55 AM

July 21, 2009

captain ahab and progressive insurance

Even if you're not the sort to watch the television, you've probably heard of the current Progressive Whatever-It-Is-They-Sell campaign, featuring the same central character, a 30-ish young lady that is not entirely loved by the sort of people that care enough about ads to write about them.  It's a sweet gig actually -- I mean, if it goes on, she'll probably never get cast in a feature, but she'll make a kajillion dollars and will be too busy picking out the color of Italian marble for the second house to care.

But this is not about her.  The ad I just saw, on MSNBC (b/c I'm a freedom-hating liberal) had a secondary character, a salty old gent with a salty manner of speaking.  Something about a whale; something about his name being Ahab.

That's not as injurious as ripping off David Rees.  Melville is long dead, and the heirs have no rights in the character.  So, technically, no harm done.

But I find it rank bullshit and vile -- there's no need to drag the classics into Progressive's already objectionable campaign.  I have no idea why the ad agency being paid millions would feel the need to insert Ahab into a short spot selling dubious insurance.  I don't think the Redcoats or the G4 crowd will respond.  Whatever: insert public domain literature into your commercials at your own risk, and the risk is maybe, when you're done boycotting Jamba Juice, you might find room in your heart to boycott Progressive Insurance.

This is what I get for watching television.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:20 PM

jack vance

The NYT Sunday Magazine had a feature that hogged all the attention -- an excerpt of Frank Bruni's upcoming memoir -- but if you have a moment give it to this other feature devoted to a great unsung hero of literature, Jack Vance:
Jack Vance, described by his peers as “a major genius” and “the greatest living writer of science fiction and fantasy,” has been hidden in plain sight for as long as he has been publishing — six decades and counting.  Yes, he has won Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards and has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and he received an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, but such honors only help to camouflage him as just another accomplished genre writer.

I've never read Vance myself, let alone heard of him.  That's embarrassing, and says more about me than it does about him.  Considering that I think of myself as a genre guy, I read the entire thing while muttering, "I'm an asshole," to myself.

But if you like writing/reading (odds are you do) and a story of the slow quiet achievement over a lifetime (which you aspire to), then give yourself fifteen minutes with the story.

And if you're already turned on to Vance and have an idea of which of his books I should start with, give me a shout.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:57 PM

boycott jamba juice

So Jamba Juice ripped off David Rees in a large way, pretty much cutting/pasting David's brilliant work ("My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable", "Get Your War On", et al) in an advertising campaign for their stores, which sell juice to people with disposable incomes circa 2005.  Ironic that David's work would stolen by cutting and pasting, considering that his work consists of cutting and pasting, but there is no argument -- a blind illiterate could see that the JJ campaign is lifted wholesale from GYWO.

David has responded:



I've stolen a bit from David too -- a phrase I use all the time ("...in the back on an ambulance") I totally copped from him.  So if I see him I'll buy him a wine.  But you, please get busy not buying Jamba Juice.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:10 PM

velcro and tang

Dunno why, but the moonwalk anniversary (and the alternate interpretations thereof) is sticking with me -- yes, it's a benchmark of achievement for the species, and the first one to mind for many a smart person, but the whys and wherefores and so whats are still interesting to me.

So before it's too far in the rearview, visit novelist/futurist Charles Stross on the beneficial effects of the space race (no, not velcro and Tang), which is a nice counterweight to my aggressive contextualizing of the event.

And just because there is a cynical reading of the importance of the event, it looks like it would have been fun to be there.  (There = 1969).

Good morning!  I want some Tang.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:05 AM

July 20, 2009

michael savage is indeed an asshole

When I talk about listening to the radio and catching a Hannity or a Bill Bennett or some such, it's not because I set out to do it for the sake of commentary, like this talented fella does with the blog portion of the opinionosphere.  I do it because I have a little dog who likes to be walked, and I have this set of headphones (state of the art 1994) that are an AM/FM radio receiver, and as we trundle I flip around stations, especially if the Mets are doing too bad/well.

Anyhow.  In the early evening walk the little dog and I completed, I caught -- no lie -- just three minutes of the Micheal Savage program.  (That's not his real name; his real name is not quite so dramatic.)  I heard a a about a minute and a half on either side, as I checked on the Mets (winning??) in the middle.  And I was gobsmacked that he behaved as the cartoon character that you get the impression he is: in the first segment, he was explaining how Walter Cronkite was a Communist sympathizer, and in the second he was suggesting that Iraq pay war reparations for the service we did by invading it, destroying its infrastructure and a bunha thousand of its citizens.

To distill, in a matter of minutes, he is refighting the Vietnam War and labeling the not-killed of Iraq as ingrates.

Maybe he ordinarily discusses the issues of the day with a Dick-Cavett-like poise (excluding Norman Mailer events), but if that's not the case, I'm not so sure he's cynically pretending to be dumb to make the broadcasting money, like Rushbo.

So if you find him on your dial, quick fast switch to some pretty music instead.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:03 PM

birthers: a new punchline for a new day

Man, you know what would be fun?  Imagine that the house behind yours was one of those houses where the neighbors make no effort for privacy -- much cavorting in the back yard, curtains rarely drawn, much use of outside voice (even while indoors), that kind of stuff.  So it's not so much that you have neighbors, but an ant farm, full of fascinating little ant people that you watch and while away the hours.

Now imagine that this house is filled with Birthers.  And they're all the time interrupting each other and snorting derisively.  And they each carry their birth certificate around in a Ziploc baggie, and when they get excited they wave the baggie around like it's a Terrible Towel.  And they spend their time in equal parts watching DVRed Lou Dobbs best-of episodes, reading aloud from bound collections of Readers Digest and having Neil Diamond dance parties.  Plus they only eat foods of one color, depending on the day.  Sometimes they'll get to a little hanky-panky, but only if they say the Pledge of Allegiance first, and if the invisible robot that lives in each of their teeth tells them that it's okay.

Wouldn't that be fun?

Posted by mrbrent at 3:54 PM

loan fixers are heroes of randian proportions

Here, go read this.  It's the inspiring story of intrepid entrepreneurs who won't let anything get in their way!

The short version is a bunch of smart sharp kids decided that there was a whole lot of money laying around that was not being put to good use, so they fashioned an ingenious system whereby this money would be extracted in exchange for the hope and dream of the "goal of home ownership".  And it worked like gangbusters!  All sorts of people who could not afford it were signing on the dotted line to volunteer their capital to be removed from them and put into the hands of the entrepreneurs, where it could be used to better the economy.

Sadly, they met a little setback when all of the mortgages they sold started to default.  It wasn't their fault; they were just selling them -- no one blames the corner store when the smoker gets the big C.  But capital extraction had to stop for a while, so that the economy could implode unimpeded.  But then they got a great idea: just change the name on the sign in the window, and then return to hoovering up all that sweet sweet cash by selling assistance to the people who couldn't hardly afford the mortgages!  There was the small matter of finding a way to take the fee up front, but turns out if you slap an attorney's name on the letterhead then everything's cool like a cucumber!  And same as before, they're not in the help business -- they're in the sales business.  What happens post-commission is someone else's problem.

Truly, a victory of the free market economy, and an example of how the market will police itself, because of competition.  And remember, these entrepreneurs will be paying taxes on the millions of dollars they make from their retrofitted small business, so that government cheese can be distributed to the homeless (also clients, coincidentally), so that makes them national heroes as well.  A building at the University of Chicago should be named after them.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:10 AM

happy 40th geopolical sabre-rattle

To continue with the theme, as you remember the events of forty years ago today and read/watch the couple thousand words that will be generated concerning the towering achievement of man's small/giant step, keep in mind two things:

First, the sole motivation to provide the political will/capital to make the moonshot possible was that the Soviets had been kicking much American ass as far as extraplanetary exploration goes -- first (dog/monkey/man/woman) in space, first orbit, first two-man crew, etc.  The US wasn't so much trying to unlock the godlike potential of humankind as it was to pants the Commies.  So as we all break our arms patting ourselves on the back (here in the States), let's not forget to thank the Cold War, without whom none of this would have been possible.

And second, let's remember that the steps on the moon were just a first step of a four decade walk to... oh, I guess there wasn't really a follow-up to that, was there?  I guess if some disagreeable sort wanted to argue that the Apollo program was a expensive and vain exercise in symbolism that became valueless the second after it was accomplished, it'd be easy to see his point.

These points are what I took away from a very pleasant reading of Tom Wolfe's contribution to the topic, as published yesterday, which I'm recommending and how.

The moonshot was an enormous success of science, and the less cynical celebration of it might inspire more down the road, and that'd be a good thing.  But still.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:22 AM

July 19, 2009

space weather!

It's not a secret that we're now 40 years away from the moon landing -- I think that today, specifically, is the anniversary of some lunar orbiting, which is pretty cool considering that our understanding of the forces that cause one to orbit big things was not that old at all.  Tomorrow, of course, is the anniversary of the moon walk/amateur metaphor hour.

But, even cooler, as of this morning, we have a record number of people on the space station -- thirteen, which is enough to reboot humanity, should the need arise.  I'm not sure if being on the space station counts as "off the planet" or not.  From down here, well, definitely, but from the perspective from the surface of Jupiter, even, it's earthside.  Actually, yeah, where does space start, again?  Does it have something to do with the gravity?

And if you need a new hobby, a light one, brush up on the electromagnetic conditions occurring in the sun-earth environment, or space weather, as it is known.  Like, did you realize that last week we went through a pretty good-sized solar storm?  And if you didn't, wouldn't you feel better off armed with that for the water cooler instead of a recap of a reality show?

(I caught a radio feature on space this morning, highlighted by a feature on natural radio, and it got me to thinking.  Good morning, nevertheless.)

Posted by mrbrent at 8:02 AM