Book Review: Europa’s Lost Expedition

“Europa's Lost Expedition” by Michael CarrollIn the epoch in which this story is set the expansion of the human presence into the solar system was well advanced, with large settlements on the Moon and Mars, exploitation of the abundant resources in the main asteroid belt, and research outposts in exotic environments such as Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa, when civilisation on Earth was consumed, as so often seems to happen when too many primates who evolved to live in small bands are packed into a limited space, by a global conflict which the survivors, a decade later, refer to simply as “The War”, as its horrors and costs dwarfed all previous human conflicts.

Now, with The War over and recovery underway, scientific work is resuming, and an international expedition has been launched to explore the southern hemisphere of Europa, where the icy crust of the moon is sufficiently thin to provide access to the liquid water ocean beneath and the complex orbital dynamics of Jupiter’s moons were expected to trigger a once in a decade eruption of geysers, with cracks in the ice allowing the ocean to spew into space, providing an opportunity to sample it “for free”.... [Read More]

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The 2019 British Parliamentary Election

Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have won a nearly 80-seat majority, the best result for the Tories since the 1987 election, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. Now, Brexit will finally happen after innumerable delays since the 2016 referendum.... [Read More]

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I have not been around lately…

I have not been around lately, my computer seems to be crashing a lot lately. I did memory, hard drive and CPU tests and all come up OK. The only new thing is I have noticed some new nag programs from Microsoft reminding me that support for windows 7 is ending. Funny thing, these seem to hang in memory.

Firefox seems to use somewhere around 3 Gig of RAM and the operating system is over 1 Gig of RAM and I can only put 4 Gig in this machine. Time for a new machine I guess. But not a Windows Machine.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2019-12-12: Do you ever get a thought worm?

We have all had earworms where a tune gets stuck in our heads but how about thought worms. This is where one thought keeps bouncing around up there. We have all had times when we nurse grievances but this is different. This can be something uplifting and fun. A little thing that makes us grin a little if not a lot.

My thought worm comes from the Bible it comes from a place in there where every verse ends in part of the “worm”. For those who want to guess I will put the answer in a spoiler. Let me know in the comments if you got it right. ... [Read More]

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Job Opening: Paranormal Hedge Fund Advisor

X-Files logoJust posted two days ago on indeed.com is this opening for an “Expert Hedge Fund Advisor”, a part-time position paying US$ 125,000 to 225,000 per year, with The Soul Rider, LLC of San Francisco, California.  Extracts from the posting (emphasis and capitals are as in the original):

Using Supernormal Cognition our private fund aspires to provide a 75% accuracy rate in the prediction of near-term financial markets. You will be our private fund’s advisor. Your long expertise and great reputation in financial investments are paramount. You must have 20 years as a financial industry expert AND as an advisor to 10-figure funds.... [Read More]

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Seeing Life Through a Magnifying Glass

I don’t know why we did it but I remember watching friends on a hot day using a magnifying glass to burn ants. If I remember right I think one was from a box of Cracker Jacks. It was cheap and plastic but effective. I share this because when I think of a magnifying glass I remember those days because the Japanese word for it is “bug glass”.

Recently a friend of mine, a retired high school principal is having trouble reading books. As one gets older the print gets smaller. His eyes are getting worse. In the old days the only option would be to pull out a “bug glass”. Luckily, we live in an age that has gone digital. An e-book can’t change its stripes but it can change its font size. It can be somewhere between extra large and huge for those that need it. He can read again.... [Read More]

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Cursive: Do you or don’t you?

I just wrote about an hours worth of cursive in a notebook. It has been a long long time since I did this. My cursive is slow and it had been so long since I wrote some capital cursive letters that I had to look at a chart on the Internet. My question to you is do you ever write longhand anymore. If so what is your habit. If not how long has it been.

How is your penmanship? My is not so good. Part of my problem is that I am left-handed and the educational system when I went to school was not geared for that. I think I need to invest time in trying to get my writing more legible. Any good suggestions?... [Read More]

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Does Anyone Believe Nancy?

If you have to stop everything and tell everyone that you don’t hate someone, you probably aren’t very good at showing love.

Does anyone believe that Nancy Pelosi wants the best for President Trump? As I have stated before, I think a key sign of hypocrisy is a rush to judgment. It is the person who wants to cast the first stone and fails to see their own faults. Also it is the draping one’s life with the religious flag. They need to explicitly say how righteous they are. They want to be seen by people as being good. Usually the good people around us let their actions speak louder than their words. They have no need to say they are prayerfully doing things because we get a sense of their holiness. ... [Read More]

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College Football 2019 – Week 15 (Conference Championships)

Conference championship week has arrived, bringing with it some potentially epic battles.  In chronological order, below are all of the scheduled games for the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), including both the the Power 5 (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) and Group of Five (AAC, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt) conferences.

Friday, Dec. 6:... [Read More]

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Postcards of Death

In Japan, the big holiday is New Year. There is a tradition of sending New Year’s Cards and giving money to young people before they have enter the ranks of society. There is an exception to sending New Year’s cards though. This is if a close member of your family has died in the year. In that case you send cards to your friends telling them of the death so therefore no cards this year. So far I have received four of these cards. It is called “ mochū hagaki“. I hope next year will be easier on my friends.

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Peak Absurd

Ross Douthat has a column in the NYT today entitled The Case for Bernie, which actually includes the phrase “the conservative’s case for Bernie.” He may as well have written “the conservative case for socialism.” But don’t worry too much; Douthat “technically” prefers “a moderate like Biden or Amy Klobuchar.” Whew! That’s a relief.

This is the latest in a seemingly endless series of “the conservative case for …” pieces by alleged conservatives. We’ve finally reached the point where Conservative Inc is advocating socialism because, I guess, OrangeManBad. This is even worse than Bill Kristol. What’s next, the conservative case for communism?

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College Football 2019 – Week 14 (Thanksgiving Edition)

This Thanksgiving weekend marks the effective end of the college football regular season. All of next weekend’s games will be conference championships, followed by the Army-Navy game on December 14, and then the postseason bowls and playoffs beginning on December 20.

This week’s matchups offer a number of traditional rivalries from coast-to-coast. In the ACC, the #3 Clemson Tigers 🐅 have a showdown on the road at the South Carolina Gamecocks 🐓, the Florida State Seminoles 🏹 are at the #11 Florida Gators 🐊, and the North Carolina State Wolfpack 🐺 host the North Carolina Tar Heels 👣. The Big Ten has the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes 🍂 at the #13 Michigan Wolverines 〽️ and the #12 Wisconsin Badgers 🦡 at the #8 Minnesota Golden Gophers 🐿. The SEC gives us the #5 Alabama Crimson Tide 🐘 at the #15 Auburn Tigers 🐯, the Texas A&M Aggies 🤠 at the #2 LSU Tigers 🐅, the Vanderbilt Commodores ⚓️ at the Tennessee Volunteers 🔶, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 🐝 hosting the #4 Georgia Bulldogs 🐶. Out in the PAC-12, the #14 Oregon Ducks 🦆 host the Oregon State Beavers 🐿 for the Civil War, the Stanford Cardinal 🚩 play the visiting #16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish ☘️, and Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars 🐆 are playing the Washington Huskies 🐺 in the Apple Cup. Finally, in the Big 12, Bedlam comes with the #21 Oklahoma State Cowboys 🤠 hosting the #7 Oklahoma Sooners 👨🏻‍🌾, the #21 Iowa State Cyclones 🌪 play the Kansas State Wildcats 😺 in this year’s Farmageddon, and in their annual game for the Chancellor’s Spurs, the Texas Longhorns 🐮 host my Texas Tech Red Raiders 🏴‍☠️.... [Read More]

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Book Review: Wrench and Claw

“Wrench and Claw” by Steven D. HoweIn the conclusion of the author’s Honor Bound Honor Born, an explorer on the Moon discovers something that just shouldn’t be there, which calls into question the history of the Earth and Moon and humanity’s place in it. This short novel (or novella—it’s 81 pages in a print edition) explores how that anomaly came to be and presents a brilliantly sketched alternative history which reminds the reader just how little we really know about the vast expanses of time which preceded our own species’ appearance on the cosmic stage.

Vesquith is an Army lieutenant assigned to a base on the Moon. The base is devoted to research, exploration, and development of lunar resources to expand the presence on the Moon, but more recently has become a key asset in Earth’s defence, as its Lunar Observation Post (LOP) allows monitoring the inner solar system. This has become crucial since the Martian colony, founded with high hopes, has come under the domination of self-proclaimed “King” Rornak, whose religious fanatics infiltrated the settlement and now threaten the Earth with an arsenal of nuclear weapons they have somehow obtained and are using to divert asteroids to exploit their resources for the development of Mars.... [Read More]

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