Monthly Archives: September 2013

Peter Ruckman Really Is Crazy

If you get this wrong, guess where you end up after you die?

If you get this wrong, guess where you end up after you die?

The guy who started the self-parodying and extensive av1611.org, the website that documents Ruckman’s dislike for just about everything you can think of, for the flimsiest of reasons. But he also seems to have inside info about aliens and the American government* as well. It’s comforting, in a way, when someone is demonstrably crazy all around.

From Wikipedia:

He believes in Unidentified Flying Objects and aliens, specifically blue aliens with blue blood, black aliens with green blood, and gray aliens with clear blood. Ruckman believes the Central Intelligence Agency has implanted brain transmitters in children, old people, and African-Americans and that the agency operates underground alien breeding facilities.

* The American government sucks, for sure, but no politician, or even a group of them, is smart or organized enough to engineer such a ridiculous operation.

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Prometheus Analysis

I had a longer post but I watched the last video down below and it seemed to hit on a lot points of explanation. It also does a good job of putting to rest a lot of “Hey, why would they do that? That’s stupid,” kind of criticisms. Lifehack tip for people that watch movies: the news about town is that stories are always filled with people who don’t act as they should or how we’re expecting. Pointing it out as a flaw is a non-sequitur.

I wasn’t concerned too much with the symbolism and allegory/myths that Ridley Scott used—the first two videos go into detail about that. I was focused more on the practical plot aspects of the engineers vs. humans and what the black “life goo” is.

The life goo, probably a invention or discovery by the engineers, reacts to life. We notice this in the beginning before the engineer drinks it, and when the crew opens the sanctuary on LV-223. When the engineers drink it, or some version of it, it destroys them but it provides habitable planets with the correct proteins and what not for life to happen.

But with humans and other organisms, it enhances them but turns them violent, like what happened with the worm in the sanctuary and the infected Fifield. That an engineer was about to go to earth with a bunch of the life goo probably means he was going to turn them into insane weapons, but it’s not definite. The life goo effects are unpredictable. He could have just as easily intended to help us out.

We’re lead to believe the engineers aren’t fond of us because of the scene where the awakened engineer gets all huffy when he sees Wayland and the rest of the crew. There could be other reasons for that, though. Maybe he figured out that they had accessed the sanctuary and defiled it. Or that they posed a threat. It’s hard to say.

Really important thing to read that I haven’t seen mentioned: The engineer that awakens from stasis is not the same kind of engineer from the beginning that sacrificed himself. The sacrificial engineer was nearly naked and we could tell he had more or less a human physiology. The LV-223 engineer, along with all the other ones seen in the hologram, was enhanced in some way because their suits were not completely “their suits”. Part of their body was their suit.

Compare the body of the engineer in the opening scene here…


…to the neck and forearm of the LV-223 engineer here:



Clearly a change happened to at least some of the engineers. The “genetically enhanced engineer” scenario makes some sense if we look at Shaw’s Trilobite and the LV-223 engineer’s deacon. We know that the xenomorphs borrow DNA from its host organism which is why Shaw’s facehugger looked beige-y and organic. The engineer’s deacon-baby, had the engineer been prosthetic and not organic, would not have had all the Gigery proto-xenomorph physique that it did have.

I’m really hoping Scott doesn’t go the “humans are defective” route for Prometheus 2/Paradise. It’s the standard advanced-alien sci-fi story element and it invariably leads to the “yeah humans suck but we have hearts of gold” nonsense resolution.

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In Russia, Pure Reason Critiques YOU!

American twenty-something males shoot each other over Nikes and women. Russian twenty-something males shoot each other over philosophy:

[T]wo men in their 20s were discussing Kant as they stood in line to buy beer at a small store on Sunday. The discussion deteriorated into a fistfight and one participant pulled out a small nonlethal pistol and fired repeatedly.

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A blank LCD monitor.

Once You Go Dark…

A blank LCD monitor.Kind of a throwaway post, but in the last few days I made everything darker here at jd.com. The development environment I use at work is by default a white background and customizing the colors is hellish, so I leave it as is. I generally don’t like staring directly into flashlights so I thought I’d change what I’d have full control over, i.e., this site.

That darker screens save energy is actually not true, assuming you are using an LCD monitor. See here. It’s Science™!

As a reward for absorbing semi-useless information, please enjoy a bluegrass cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” by Ironhorse (HT: Mike Duran).

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Baby Incubators in Amusement Parks

These babies ain't gonna grow themselves, eh?

These babies ain’t gonna grow themselves, eh?

Rick Sebak narrated a PBS documentary on the history of amusement parks (Youtube playlist here). He mentioned baby incubators at Luna Park in Pittsburgh at the turn of the century, but it was also at the Luna Park at Coney Island.

It comes off as unseeming to put babies and nurses on display for the curious, but it was probably more for the technology than anything else. This paragraph from a 1905 newspaper article* hints at the charity status of the exhibit:

No charge is to be made for the care of infants and the only tax involved is the slight admission fee for spectators, which, while it bars the disinterested and undesirable, is essential to the proper conduct and maintenance of the exhibit itself. All they ask is that physicians and the public cooperate with them in this laudable work.

Photo of a photo of a baby incubator sign stolen without permission from Eleanor Jane.

* Notice the huge subtitle in that article.

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Spain, France, America

From left to right. Just throwing it out there.


Found here.

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“There is no X, except there is X.”

I found it.

I found it.

One of the dumbest comments I’ve seen goes to this one, on an article about some schmuck brain surgeon who killed people. See bolded part:

There is no regulation in Texas of ANY kind. Regulation in Texas only exists to protect the businesses and individuals from the consequences of their actions, just like this so called physician was protected. This is why Angie’s List is the best place to screen your physician. (No, I am not a cyber shill.)

So, is there health care regulation in Texas or isn’t there?

The commenter’s misstep reveals a truth about state-enforced regulations: “deregulation” really means regulation for most and deregulation for a few. Those “few” are the ones big enough to pay off the state mafioso, and most likely sponsored (bribed) for the legislation to begin with.

NWB also hinted at a semantic curiosity with the Angie’s List reference. Namely, that deregulation can never exist because market forces provide regulation as a matter of course—Angie’s List being a market outcome product, not a state outcome. If you have trouble understanding that, think of it microcosmically: when you go shopping at the grocery store, do you regulate what you actually buy or a bureaucrat do it?

See Cafe Hayek’s timely post on regulation here.

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Needs more Jesus.



Watch this. It’s a brief overview of the leading alternate human history theory, going from Atlantis to the Greeks to Jesus to the Illuminati. Basically anything you hear on Coast to Coast AM.

It’s standard fare in that regard. There’s actual logical progression of events, not a mishmash of crazy, and the narration and animation make it palatable. The entire concept makes for a great source material for A Gritty Hour-Long Sci-Fi Series™ or anime series.

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Sonny from P.O.D. Dropped F-Bombs in Song, No One Is Hurt Yet

Old old old news, but a few weeks ago I came across the uncensored version of P.O.D.’s “I Am” track from their Testify album. Given the explicit (heh) Christian content of the song it certainly makes the swear more noticeable.

Honestly, it’s from the point of view of not-Sonny, so it’s not out of context in the narrative. He explains a little of it here.

I personally wouldn’t have done the same, but it’s not much different that a Christian author depicting a character in a story the same way. Think O’Connor’s Wise Blood.

In a kind of inversion of this phenomenon, Hayley Williams of Paramore regretted recording the line “God does it feel so good,” in the song “Misery Business.”

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Having Your Head in the Scientific Sand

aristotle_teaching_alexanderExperience the horror of this very crudely paraphrased argument I had with someone on the IMDB message boards. I searched my darndest to find the original but it’s been lost in the black hole of Internet history, possibly for the sake of its participants’ sanity.

When you are raised in a philosophical climate—the techno-Enlightened West—that tries to reduce every epistemic phenomenon to Science, Baby!™, this is the result: an equivocation fallacy (I think) of the highest order.

[A bunch of posts about science vs. religion, Galileo, spherical vs. flat earth theory, etc.]

Guy: Well, the church taught everyone that the earth was flat, so there ya go…

Me: There were different theories but the Church went with the prevailing opinion of a spherical earth from what they got from the Greeks. There was always a little debate. You don’t need science to know the earth is round anyways. You can just look at it.

Guy: How is that?

Me: Well, find the nearest spaceship, climb in, go into orbit (or further), and look at the earth. Bam. If there’s no spaceship available you can climb on top of a mountain and observe the curve of the earth and reasonably conclude a spherical form. Or you can induce it by looking at the spherical shape of other planets. Probably other ways, but those are pretty much nearing science anyways.

Guy: That makes sense. But going into space…you need science for that.

Me: Yes, but the science of shooting into space isn’t going to tell you the earth is round*. It’s your sensory input concluding it, not the scientific method. Sphericity is primarily a sensed thing. You can theorize with a blind man that the object in front of him is a ball but he can’t really understand sphericity until he touches it with his hands.

Guy: I disagree. There would be no conclusion that the earth was a sphere if science didn’t make the orbiting aircraft possible.

Me: Again, in this example, orbiting didn’t prove sphericity*, someone observing the earth’s sphericity from space did. If I were born on a space station, I would know the earth is round as a toddler by looking at it, long before I knew the any formal geometric proofs.

[Guy continues to reinforce science as the only way of knowing earth’s sphericity. Conversation disintegrates.]

* I actually think I was wrong on this point. Is it possible to orbit around non-round objects?

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