General Rants

The Friend Zone

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The big debate: Is being “friend-zoned” even a thing? It’s been getting more and more heated with time, getting to the point where an off-handed remark between (usually) men is taken as meaning the one making it is a complete desperate loser.  Yes, this is about the evil term “friend-zone”, defined by worthless guys who are complete garbage. Right? Let’s explore that a bit, since it feels a little like a one-sided thing.

First, I want to cut off the head before it becomes too big: Yes, there are losers who whine about being in the “friend zone” when the reality is that they’ve never even out the offer out there to be shot down, or chase meekly after women who are already in relationships. That’s absolutely a real thing, and these guys need to learn that what they’re doing and how they see this “relationship” is idiotic. That said, this is being broadly thrown at guys who aren’t in that category.

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General Rants

Eclipses Make the World Go ‘Round (Not Literally)

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Today is a great day for debunking woo! If you have eyes and either live in a part of the U.S. where the moon eclipsed the sun, or just had access to media all day, you got to witness one of the most beautiful dances the heavens can provide: A total solar eclipse. I was unable to directly watch the eclipse for multiple reasons, not the least of which is living just a little too far south to get the “totality”, but I have watched it on TV, and it truly is glorious. The world goes dark for two minutes, being like twilight in the middle of the day and the sun becomes a halo of light around a black circle. It’s an amazing sight, and one that teaches us a lot about the nature of our celestial bodies, specifically about the sun and the moon. (more…)

Uncategorized

Taxes Only Hurt the Rich?

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Let’s be clear here: Some taxes are only going to hit the wealthiest among us. Things like estate taxes and investment taxes pretty much only do hit the rich, because only the rich have these things. We’re not talking the “1%” here either. We’re talking middle-class up, who all, to the lower-class, would seem pretty rich, with their home ownership and disposable income to invest. Other taxes, whatever form they may take, can actually hit the poorest majority of our population much harder. California just approved a few new taxes that unfairly target poor working-class Californians, and I’d like to go over those, as well as point out how insane these taxes are, since they’re ostensibly created as behavioral adjustments, rather than accounting for externalities.

So, first off, we have the “bag tax”. This is also known as the “bag ban” as it does both. Regular old flimsy plastic bags are now illegal to use as a retailer in California. Paper bags now require a $0.10 tax. The idea of this is to encourage consumers to use more reusable, cloth bags. Unfortunately, many of those reusable cloth bags are made from non-biodegradable polyester fibers, and if they break, guess where they go? You guessed it, right into the landfill along with the deteriorating, quickly disintegrating old plastic bags. That’s not the issue I’m talking about right now though. The issue is that these neat cloth bags can cost anywhere from $0.50 a piece to easily over $5. Guess who doesn’t usually have $20 to spare in the grocery store? No, not Mr. Pennybags. It’s the poor. The people who already have a hard time affording groceries are the ones who suffer most from this tax, since it’s a truly flat tax.

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Photo Dump

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These have all been edited at least a bit. I did a little adjustment on most of them to bring out the actual natural colors. Many are in 1080p, while some are adjusted for a 16:10 monitor instead. It would only take a little cropping to get them to 1080p, so feel free if you like one for a desktop.

 

General Rants

Flat Earth: Debunked. Part 1: God’s Rays

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The Flat Earth “theory”. It’s taken up a mighty resurgence in the past few years, and it needs to be addressed, because it is filled with awful science and terrible refutations. It also relies heavily on inane conspiracy theories, and simply doesn’t work due to our understanding of physics.  From the question of how gravity works (some say the disk of the Earth is accelerating upward at 9.8m/s², others claim that it comes from the disk itself, and still others say that there is some great attractor under the Earth) to failing to identify how ships disappear bottom-up going over the horizon, to the topic at hand: crepuscular rays. (more…)

Uncategorized

It’s All Been Done Before

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Remember that scene in Star Wars where the stormtrooper flies down with a rebel pilot, whips off his uniform and marches into Mos Eisley, where Luke lived and traded scrap parts for food rations, then joined him on a crazy adventure, stealing a ship from Jabba as the Empire started bombing Tattooine? Then he and the stormtrooper Tex, from TX-305, his designation, flew off into space to get intercepted by Obi-Wan in his gigantic freighter, but it turns out that the ship they’re flying was one that Obi-Wan used to own, maybe that shiny Naboo ship, I don’t know. The prequels didn’t have any other really memorable ships, but I digress. Anyway, they then get into a big fight with some pirates that Obi-Wan got into trouble with in the past.

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Uncategorized

What About the Bothans?!

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Note: This is a bit of an experiment. If you want to see the spoilers, please hover over the black boxes, like on SCP and Reddit.

In 2012, Disney acquired the rights to LucasArts, and thus almost all of the Star Wars franchise. I say almost because there’s actually a good explanation as to why they haven’t remastered and re-released the “unspecialized” editions of the first three Star Wars films: They can’t. Fox actually still owns the distribution rights to the original Star Wars and will continue to do so indefinitely. So if you’re expecting a massive 4K remaster of the non-specialized editions of the original trilogy as well as.. well, let’s face it: upscaled versions of the prequel trilogy, you’re likely out of luck for the foreseeable future. Disney can redo the prequels all it wants, but there will be no going back to the OT unless you want to rely on blu-ray copies of Episode IV while V and VI are set into the impossible-to-tell 8K resolution at 60fps.

“No matter” says Disney, already controlling one of the other geekiest franchises in history: The Marvel movies that aren’t X-Men, Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. Next they’ll be buying up Wizards of the Coast, Games Workshop, Blizzard Entertainment and Star Tr- Oh wait, Paramount will never surrender that one. But first, they’re going to wear Star Wars into the ground as much as they have the Marvel Universe, and we’re going to goddamn love it. Not because it’s original or unique, but because it’s going to make them lots and lots of money, and they know juuuust how to put it all together. (more…)

Humor

Hyperspace is not “Faster” Than Light

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… George Lucas envisioned a fantasy movie that incorporated everything from Flash Gordon and World War II footage to Errol Flynn swashbuckling and nuclear panic. As an idea man, Lucas was brilliant. Despite his scripts being rewritten multiple times to make them less… idiotic, he still came up with some fantastic concepts. The universe that is Star Wars is an icon that has lasted 40 years now. Still, though, there are some easily-understood misconceptions about the universe, and chief among these, at least for this post, is that the “jump to lightspeed” mentioned by Han Solo in the first Star Wars actually means “light speed”, or as we know it, “c”, the universal constant.

This has been handwaved by fans in non-canon writing before. They argue that hyperspace is only accessible by reaching the speed of light. Fair enough, but just as much of a cop-out as claiming that Han Solo made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs to Luke and Ben because they’re country bumpkins who don’t know the difference. I call BS, and so did the community on the latter, yet they twisted everything around on the former to still make it less of an uneducated boast. “Lightspeed” was just a common nomenclature for hyperspace. It had to be, and I’ll explain why. (more…)

General Rants

In Defense of Rey

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We’ve all seen Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens by now, right? Of course we have. If you haven’t, you probably should, even if you don’t want to, just to get it over with. So, what’d you think? Meh? Kinda okay? Not the best, but compared to the prequels it was pretty good, right? Well, I goddamn loved it.

TFA was the exact movie that needed to be made to keep the series on life support while Disney sticks its toe into the water, making sure they won’t get it bitten off. They made some wise decisions by allowing director J.J. Abrams to hold to his vision of a new Star Wars movie. I’ll admit it right from the start: this was an extremely safe version of Star Wars, with nobody getting too particularly surprised at anything. It had a desert planet, a bar scene, an old man delivering wisdom to a young apprentice, guiding her to find the wise old Jedi master, Han solo and Chewie on the Falcon, a new, bigger Death Star, and more Nazi stand-ins than you can shake a crystal skull at. Ironically, that movie didn’t have Nazis, but I digress. Also, after 30 years, Harrison Ford finally got his wish: For his character to die.  Oh, sorry, spoiler alert for the 5 people who were going to see it but just haven’t had time. Seriously, 8 is coming out this year, catch up.

What I didn’t expect after viewing it twice in theaters and buying the blu-ray the day it came out, was that people would have complaints about the movie that were simply stupid if you actually try to understand what’s going on. So let’s get the one that I wrote this about out of the way, then we can explore the other complaints and why they’re stupid too. (more…)

Humor

Dear Netflix People

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Hi there! It’s me. Another white, cishet man here to tear down something that the people of color finally get a foot into! Well, okay, not exactly. In fact, I’m all for appropriate diverse casting. I’ll touch on this in general briefly, and probably write something up about the broader topic in another post, but let’s just explore Netflix’s specific stunt-casting for the time being.

So, Netflix, you managed to find a way to bring in more subs! Congratulations. I’m rooting for you to keep going, but the way you’re picking properties isn’t likely to keep you chugging right along for too long. At some point, hopefully soon, this ultra-sensitive social justice warrior craze will fade just like extremist PC culture did in the 1990s. And no, I don’t mean top-end computer hardware here. Computer dick measuring didn’t really become a thing until the later 2000s. I mean the whiny cause-oriented garbage that we’re seeing reemerge lately.

Netflix, you started out with some interesting new original shows. Well, I say “interesting” but I really mean “that happened”. Regardless, you had House of Cards, which kinda made me want to check it out, but then you kept going. “Orange is the New Black” was the new “it” show that brought people’s attention to you. A “women in prison” tv show! This is gonna be aw- oh. It’s a drama. And not filled with attractive supermodels getting naked to disco music. Never mind. But hey, it has plenty of minority characters! That’s good, right? We’re going for diversity, right? Okay, cool. So what’s next? (more…)