Deliberately Shockingly Immoral

One day in seventh grade I peed in a urinal and someone I’ll call Miles came up behind me and jump-kicked me as his friends looked on and laughed. I fell on the floor and peed on myself and they all just laughed and called me a loser. A couple minutes later I had picked myself up and pulled up my pants. I was so angry I wasn’t thinking or behaving rationally or thinking about consequences. I ran out of the bathroom and found Miles halfway down the hallway, standing…

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The Space Industry is a Beacon of Hope in Difficult Times

I really believe that space news does not get nearly enough mainstream attention. It has far more affect on our daily lives than most political news and just about all celebrity news, yet it seems to be only a niche subject. Is that because there is rarely any bad news coming out of the space industry? Because there’s nothing to get really angry about? Is it because the effects on our lives often take a few years to be felt? Or is it because it has a stigma that it’s…

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Egg-Free Krab Salad

Fake Crab celery onions (prefer both green and regular) cilantro coconut cream lemon and/or lime juice salt pepper I based this loosely on this recipe: https://nerdymamma.com/egg-free-crab-salad-stuffed-avocados/. Actually I guess it’s pretty close. I went with celery instead of my normal preference of bell pepper so that it would take more of a background. I used coconut cream powder instead of opening a can of coconut milk and scraping off the cream. I mixed the “mayo” together first and taste tested. I used a lot of lemon and lime juice and…

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Conservatives are Better at Emotional Distancing

I wrote this months ago and wanted to post it before the election. Then I forgot about it. I still think it’s relevant though. Years ago I spoke with a conservative who told me he couldn’t understand why anyone would get upset about politics. “If I order steak at a restaurant and I really like my steak and recommend it to you but you order chicken instead, I don’t get all mad about it. I don’t see why politics is any different.” My first instinct was to agree because it’s…

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Snakes on a Plane 2: Bears on a Cruise Ship

Snakes on a Plane was made in 2006, 14 years ago. For some reason we still don’t have a sequel. We have Fuller House on Netflix but no Snakes on a Plane 2. This is a serious problem requiring a creative solution. I decided it was my duty to suggest a few ideas to turn this cinematic masterpiece into a franchise. Ideas include: Ants in a Car, Scorpions on a Bus, Hornets on a Train, Spiders in a Hot Air Balloon, Bats on a Submarine, and Honey Badgers on the…

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Mr. Spock, Bill Hicks, and the Guy Who Gave Us a Tow

It sounds cliché, but one of the most meaningful things I ever saw on television as a child was The Wrath of Kahn where Spock gave his life for the Enterprise and said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” This made perfect logical sense, but emotionally it didn’t truly sink in until much later. In 1996, Tool released the album Ænima, which I listened to almost daily through my junior and senior years in high school. The album features comedian Bill Hicks…

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Building a Problem-Solving Factory

I’ve been following closely the astounding progress in Boca Chica as SpaceX designs and builds their new Starship, all-purpose spacecraft. They’ve built 10 prototypes, 3 of which have already flown, constantly improving on the design and build process. Thanks to Gwynne Shotwell’s inspiring leadership and Elon Musk’s engineering genius, they’ve done this in a fraction of the time and cost that NASA takes for similar accomplishments. They have repeatedly said that they’re not building a Starship. They’re building a Starship factory. The focus is on the factory, not the ship.…

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More about Starship Serial Number 8

This is a good, easily understandable overview of everything that happened with Starship Serial Number 8 the other day. Perfect for “amateurs” like myself. Turns out it did reach its goal of 12.5 kilometers and the engine failures during ascent were actually deliberate shutdowns so they could get more data about shutdown and restarts and how the other engines react to problems. There at the end something went wrong with the tank and the engines didn’t get the right mixture of fuel and propellant so it wasn’t able to slow…

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Congratulations Starship Serial Number 8!

This stuff unfortunately doesn’t hit the mainstream media nearly enough, but SpaceX performed an historic test launch today. Starship Serial Number 8 (the 8th prototype) attempted to fly to 12.5km. I believe there was an engine failure during ascent but it was able to continue on with just two engines. I’m not sure if it made it to 12.5km but it successfully did its “belly-flop” maneuver, which I think is the first time that’s ever been done with a rocket. Then it drifted down for a surprising amount of time,…

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Custom Data Organizer 0.7 (beta) Release, Themes and Icons

I made another release, 0.7 (beta), of my app. This release has mostly visual enhancements. Improved theming and icon selections. I’m kinda proud of my theme system since I rarely see apps that let users fine-tune the specific colors of the app they’re using the way this does… even though I would not use this feature as a user myself unless I had some brand colors I needed to match. I actually had this working before CSS variables became available, using brute-force javascript on every possible element I needed to…

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New Custom Data Organizer Feature: Save to File

I just released the beta version 0.6 of my Custom Data Organizer app and I opted to make my own videos again about the new features instead of hiring someone on fiverr. It went a lot smoother than I expected. I made two demonstration videos tonight and did it without writing scripts, so I’m getting slowly better at this. If I haven’t told you about this, this is my crazy “spreadsheet-killer”, app that I’ve been working on since 2016 that I hope will change the way everyday people keep track…

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My paperback

I got a paper copy of my new book from Amazon the other day. Here’s a picture of it next to the original Robert Silverberg book that inspired me to start writing this story when I was fifteen. It was essentially the first thing I started writing. I literally worked on this book for a quarter century. I have to charge $12 each for the paperback, which is more than I wanted and most of that goes to printing and shipping, but it turned out higher quality than I expected.…

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My Red Cross New Orleans Trip

When the coronavirus lockdown started I quickly became desperate to get out of the house and do something, so I volunteered for The Red Cross. It took six months and a whole lot of back and forth but I finally got set up to deploy to a disaster area. So for the end of October they sent me to New Orleans to help with the shelters after hurricane Delta (while they were still recovering from hurricane Laura). I don’t normally have the time to write journal type entries but I…

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Easy Crock Pot Teriyaki Beef Stew

Aldi Teriyaki Asian sauce (the only good store-bought teriyaki I’ve been able to find. Or you can use my teriyaki recipe.) Beef stew meat Sliced onions Broccoli (or other suitable vegetable) Oil or butter Sriracha (optional) Toss the meat, teriyaki, oil or butter, sriracha, and onions in the crockpot. Set on low for six to eight hours. In the last half hour, toss in the broccoli. Serve with rice, raw broccoli, and sriracha marinated broccoli. The sriracha is optional but I found that just a touch of it added a…

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How to Win at Monopoly and Life

One of the more important life lessons I learned as a kid was from the game Monopoly. The way to consistently win at Monopoly is embracing mutually-beneficial trades. Monopoly is all about trading. Human society is all about trading. You start trading early and aggressively work to make a trade. However, you do not attempt to get the best possible trade. You never try to take the other person for all you can. Think from their perspective and get creative to try to get them what they want. In Monopoly…

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Coronavirus Lockdowns have Worked in Trump’s Favor

With the coronavirus lockdowns in place, most of our political interactions are now conducted online where we are able to disconnect from the humanity of the situation. We are able to forget that these are real people we’re talking to with real feelings. We rarely have real discussions online. We have meme-battles and mic drops but we don’t actually talk to each other, even though the capacity to do so is right there in front of us. This is a perfect environment for Trump supporters. They know how to post…

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The Abrasive “Defund” Term is a Result of the Police Using Abrasive Terms

The term “defund the police” does sound aggressive and abrasive. I’ve decided to start using the term “re-invent crime prevention” or something like that – I haven’t quite decided. But remember again where we’re coming from. The police use terminology like “war on crime” or “war on drugs”. But we all know when we say “war on crime” what we really mean is a war on street crimes. We’re not talking about wage theft, embezzlement, environmental damage or any of the crimes rich people commit. Same is true for the…

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I Want a New Way of Looking at Law and Order

I personally will not be satisfied until we have a new way of looking at law and order. It’s not just about banning choke-holds or prosecuting a few bad cops. I want a system based on real mental health science. I want one that recognizes that showing criminals compassion and allowing them basic human dignity is going to push them to a productive life much more effectively than threatening them. I want a system that puts counselors and interventionists first and guns and prisons second. This will reduce crime, increase…

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The Importance of the Baker’s Dozen

I bought a dozen donut holes last night. I could swear I ate five, then my roommate told me she ate one, but the next day there were seven in the bag. This reminded me of when I was very young and my dad explained the concept of a baker’s dozen: it’s about doing that little extra beyond what you promised to ensure no one gets mad at you and to ensure that next time they have an urge for a donut they think of you. This concept works metaphorically…

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The first time I heard a conservative republican speech…

Sorry everyone about the violent subject here. The first time I heard a conservative republican speech, I was in sixth grade. My teacher had just found out two of the students were gay and sexually active. He called everyone together to tell us, and gave an impassioned speech about respect, rules, order, discipline, knowing your place, and all those conservative republican values. I remember it making a lot of sense to me at the time. The next day a bunch of kids dragged those two boys out into the field,…

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Blame Yourself if Someone Lies to You

If someone is lying to me, I like to look at myself instead of blaming them. It’s counter-intuitive but very advantageous. Don’t focus on what might be wrong with them, which you can’t control. Instead, focus on what you can do to make them more comfortable. Think about how you react to what they say and what they might be thinking as a result. People often lie because they don’t trust us to be compassionate. If we show people that we will be kind and caring regardless of the horrible…

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Are police supporters all criminals?

I have been into the idea of defunding the police for 20 years now and when talking to people I have noticed a recurring theme. It seems the most criminal-minded individuals are the ones who most vehemently support the police. In my early years, in one of my more heated arguments, someone was trying to tell me about how awful criminals were and how we need more police and I responded by listing all the crimes I’d seen him commit. He gave excuses and acted like they weren’t really crimes…

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