This is me:

Thursday ~ April 25, 2019 by b

Posted in geek,photo | Comments Off on instagram |


I have quite a few CRT computer monitors that I’d like to get rid of. Mostly svga, but one might be cga (in case you’re into retro computing). If you’re interested in any – like for that new linux box you’re cobbling together pieces for – one would help stretch the budget. They’re in my dining room, and that just hits my near-OCD bits that compulsively organize and clean, in all kinds of wrong ways. Also, if you have any need for any other computer parts of any sort that are 5+ years old, please let me know and I’ll check. Almost all of it should be compatible with any recent linux distro, especially Fedora. I will be glad to help out while you’re making anything work, but I do not usually do Windows at all.

All of the stuff is free.

Wednesday ~ November 25, 2009 by b

Posted in geek | Comments Off on monitors |

Star Trek

It’s awesome. Buy tickets in advance. Watch the trailers if you’re not sure whether to go to a theater, they match well.

Saturday ~ May 9, 2009 by b

Posted in geek,review,space | Comments Off on Star Trek |

geek moment

I was looking at those big numbers for the bailout, the national debt, the budget deficit, and realized… most people have absolutely no clue how to relate the numbers to anything else they can observe or consider. But big numbers can be very important, and there are some ways to put them in perspective. Far beyond our current economic problems.

So, to start really big, the estimated number of synapses in a human brain (~500 to 1000 trillion) is very, very roughly the same order of magnitude as the number of neutrinos passing straight through a human body every second (~30 trillion).

To put that in perspective, both are larger than the number of galaxies in the theoretically observable universe (a mere 80 billion), far larger than the radius diameter of the observable universe in light years (about 28 billion to 100 billion, depending on your definition of “time”… 92 billion for working purposes) or the number of stars in an average-sized galaxy (100 to 500 billion). However, there are around 9 billion trillion stars in the theoretically observable universe, out to what we perceive as the edge of space in all directions.

The total number of stars in the universe is equivalent to the number of grains of sand on Earth, if you consider the top meter of the entire Earth’s crust as “sand”. Counting just every possible shoreline, including inland, the number of grains drops back down to around 1000 trillion.

Or, put another way… that national deficit? Around a trillion dollars. The yearly budget of ongoing U.S. wars? $400-700 billion, depending whom you ask and the definition of “war”. Coincidentally, the bailout of Wall St. is $700 billion. The most recent number I can find is that in 2004, maybe $700 billion in U.S. currency was in active circulation, including the 1/2 to 2/3 held outside the country.

If that’s all nonsense to you, 1 trillion == 1,000 billion.

Sunday ~ October 12, 2008 by blog

Posted in geek,poli,space | Comments Off on geek moment |


RSS is enabled again.

Bug me if it’s broken, the links should be in the page headers, too.

Friday ~ October 10, 2008 by b

Posted in geek,grain | 5,337 Comments |

big ketchup

It’s been too long since my last set of updates, not including the past two posts or so. In no particular order…

Quite a bit of stuff to be doing, but it has been a while. More later.

Sunday ~ September 7, 2008 by b

Posted in geek,grain | Comments Off on big ketchup |

cloak & dagger

For the past year, I’ve been playing World of Warcrack for a considerable amount of time on nearly a daily basis. Recently I posted a noticed to my guild’s forum that I’m standing down, effectively meaning that I’ve already stopped all involvement in on-going game stuff, and that I don’t want old friends waiting for me to come play again anytime soon. I might log in to do minor in-game maintenance of my characters, I might come back with the next expansion pack this winter, but basically I’ve hung up my daggers and leather armor for at least the season.

I have mixed feelings about this. WoW isn’t as exciting anymore, and the decision was actually a long time coming, somewhere around several months at the very least. But, still, despite not knowing them the same way I’d know a flesh-and-blood friend, I did know many other players as a kind of friend. Some of them have been very good friends in a sense, which means they asked how I was doing specifically and didn’t seem to immediately ignore me.

But everyone on the ‘net knows that good-bye (if there ever is one) is coming. In groups, it’s common but unnecessary to post a note like mine. Things like a lost email account, a broken hard drive, hard times, a computer virus, minor injury, anything going on to make the environment less than ideal… they all cut off the net as a form of communication, for considerable lengths of time. Also, if something bigger happens that stops communication in-person, it’s very likely to impact communication over the net… in a way that a sore throat (lost voice) or staring into the sun (lost sight) don’t begin to affect communication in the flesh. It happens so frequently that people repeatedly use it as a ready-made excuse for their lack of follow-through. People understand that as a rule, so they tend to get involved differently, and with very low expectations that anyone is committed for more than the next note. They give the hard sell first, because otherwise they would lack the time to make friends. So I never expected many of my WoW friends to “stick”. Time on the internet moves ridiculously fast.

In any case, apologies to anyone in WoW reading this here for the first time whom I haven’t chatted with over the past few weeks. I probably don’t have your email address in that case, so send it to the link on each blog post… barring that, should work indefinitely. Ciao.

Thursday ~ September 4, 2008 by b

Posted in geek | Comments Off on cloak & dagger |

expulsion and hypocrisy

I recently stumbled across a past podcast of Skepticality, an interview with some of the people interviewed in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Suffice to say the scientists were not pleased about being interviewed on false pretenses. Even less amusing, at least one scientist was denied admission to the movie he was in.

On a personal note, if science is a form of religion in the minds of some right-wing fundamentalists, why aren’t they vigorously defending the free speech of scientists? Is democracy really that scary?

Tuesday ~ April 22, 2008 by b

Posted in geek,nature | Comments Off on expulsion and hypocrisy |


Back in another epoch, I was involved with academic debate as an extracurricular activity. In debate (at least back then), there was a concept frequently argued known as topicality. Basically, part of winning an argument was proving that your argument was part of the topic everyone had previously agreed to discuss for a focused, useful debate.

This concept is actually very, very useful. It meant that someone using inferior logic could not easily win a debate round by winning an argument that was only tangential to the topic under discussion. It’s a concept used all over research and academia – stray too far off-topic, and your words are irrelevant.

It’s very analogous to one possible reason that science, by definition, does not include or allow religion in argumentation. Possibly, the rise of science during the enlightenment precipitated the larger academic concept. It still amazes me that in the 21st century, people use religious dogma to counter scientific reason in fields directly related to the physical universe.

Also, if you fund a movie to broadcast your pseudoscientific “theories” by heavily editing the words of renowned actual scientists, then it certainly seems wise to cop to it being religion (by definition). I can only imagine how silly defending those “theories” on scientific grounds could get.

Thursday ~ April 17, 2008 by b

Posted in geek | Comments Off on topicality |


One of my favorite podcasts, Astronomy Cast, is looking for new listeners, and asking currently listeners to mention them on blogs. So, there you go, have a listen, you might find you like it.

Astronomy Cast covers all sorts of topics related to astronomy, including current news, discussion of objects in the sky, tech used for astronomy, cosmology… and probably a few other things that I’m forgetting. Any of the jargon they use tends to be explained within the shows, so it’s not too hard for beginners to follow. It’s intended for people interested in astronomy, not just professional and amateur astronomers

Wednesday ~ December 19, 2007 by b

Posted in geek,space | Comments Off on astronomy |

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