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Tag Archives: California


Links of Possible Relevance, Part 23

I think Jill took it down (or it takes itself down after a while), but she mentioned me in one of her Periscope broadcasts. Thank ye!

Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All Time
Pretty good list. I personally would take Contact out—I like the movie but the tropey characterizations were almost unwatchable—and Prestige, since I’ve never heard of it. I’d replace them with Bladerunner and The Empire Strikes Back.

Fermi’s Paradox
Listen in as a few bourgeoisie agents and academics get upset about not meeting aliens. Why was it ever labeled a paradox, anyways? It’s just an unanswered question with plenty of plausible explanations.

What is a good explanation of Boltzmann Brains?
I find these more fascinating.

Marathon man preps for second live stream, with multiple iPhones, iPad
It’s an old story, but the guy’s narcissism called to me from beyond the void.

Could Donald Trump Save the Internet?
Net “Neutrality” is retarded and is the worst idea since adult coloring books or California.

SpecFaith Reviews: Wonder Woman: The Heroine We Need
Eh? I guess. Unless the writer styles herself a goddess, it’s odd to claim Wonder Woman is an accurate representation. No one claims Thor as such for men; that would be silly. I do, because I’m tall, sexy, buff, blue-eyed Nordsman*.

Low-carb diet can have similar effect on brain as ecstasy
I have never experienced this. Warning: this is a Daily Mail link and the page load time is astronomical.

The Only Way to Fix Healthcare Insurance in the U.S.
Eh, not really. The big reason GitHub works is because the results are immediately testable, as application code normally goes. Scott Adams is just proposing a glorified suggestion box. The best way to “fix” healthcare is to remove the bureaucracy from the equation: person A pays person B for a good or service, then person B gives it to them. It works for shoes, bananas, and Oriental rugs.

NASA announces the Kepler space telescope has identified 219 potential new worlds
Speaking of bureaucrats, there has to be at least one of these worlds with life that exists without any bureaucrats at all. Imagine that…

Fake News
I remember one of my communications professors slipping and mentioning stuff like this once in a while, and Rashad’s career was part of those non grata unmentionables of media politics.

* One and a half of these things are true.

The Serfs May Not Talk Amongst Themselves

Serfs in Santa Monica can’t make agreements with other serfs to have them stay over their house because of arbitrary rules…rules that were created by lords who have nothing to do with the potential transaction. From Forbes:

The Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica has instituted the nation’s toughest regulations on short-term rentals like Airbnb. Starting today, hosts will have to live on the property during the renter’s stay, register for a business license and collect the city’s 14 percent occupancy tax.

The city estimates that this will shut down about 1,400 of the 1,700 short-term rental listings – about 80 percent – in this upscale beach town and major tourist destination, population about 92,500.

Let this be a lesson to us other serfs: some conversations and exchanges of money are verboten by the lords of the manor.

Book Review: The Ghost Box

The Ghost Box is Mike Duran’s third full novel, about Reagan Moon, a journalist of the paranormal who gets caught up, to put it mildly, in some otherwordly happenings in SoCal. I don’t dabble too much in modern science fiction or paranormal (see below), so I can only really competently comment on Moon’s first person skepticism and its “enlightening,” a certain archetypal progression in literature.

Moon comes off as a middle-quality man: not quite a loser but not achieving any great heights, motivated by money (understandably, since he’s barely getting by) and by a vague promise of discovering the true circumstances of his girlfriend’s death. In this way, his willingness to play extra-legal paranormal investigator for a wealthy industrialist is merely an extension of his day job. Not a huge stretch of talent or character for Moon. That event comes after he dons the a certain pair of goggles and is presented with near-irrefutable sensory evidence of the supernatural. In this way, Box‘s theme is more about rationalizing a strained worldview than a material-world problem-resolution scenario.

Reading The Ghost Box is not an untoward experience: plot, style, pacing, and characterization are all on point. The only drawback for me personally was Moon’s voice. His cultural references and attitude were appropriate to his vocation and station in life but it took some mental adjustments on my part. I’m too used to reading first-person narratives like Casaubon’s exhaustive academic logorrhea from Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, or the gradual crescendos of horror in Lovecraft’s short stories. This is more of a personal preference than a character flaw (heh) in Duran’s style.

Having not read anything else of Duran’s prior—except for the Subterranea collection of stories, which I enjoyed—I didn’t know how this book exactly fits in with its predecessors. Additionally, besides Jill Domschot’s Anna and the Dragon, and a forgettable Christian spec-fic/horror novel (literally forgettable; I don’t remember the author, title, or major plot points) my frame of reference with respect to Duran’s peers is close to non-existent. Take this review as such, from a reference point lacking a certain context.

Disclosure: I was a beta reader for The Ghost Box, in addition to working with Mike in the past on some other projects of his. This novel was sent to me specifically for reviewing purposes.

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