Category Archives: Technical Ramblings

Philae Is Up!

Did you hear the awesome news???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yup, Philae is finally up after a really long 7 months (has it really been that long?). ESA must be celebrating right now, and rightly so. When the little lander hit that shady spot and shut down into hibernation, we all held our collective breath in hopes that he’d wake up (he feels like a he to me). All of that data that had been collected had not been returned home yet, so there was a lot riding on this wake up. Go check out Rosetta’s blog to keep up to date with the latest happenings. There will be a lot of new discoveries since this is the first time this type of landing has been accomplished. Yes, science can bring the wonders of the universe alive if you just pay enough attention to the conversation.

Really amazing! Congrats again, ESA!

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The Importance of Fitting In Isn’t Really So Important

We’re hearing a lot of news about inequality of all kinds, but the most hurtful in my opinion is when someone questions YOU at first sight. Lack of time has turned us into appearance surfers. We judge on the outer look while rarely delving below the surface, unless we see a benefit to do so. And yet, so many of us don’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with how we live. Seriously?!!!!

Take a look at this and figure out how you’d use this little chart, which shows a small spectrum of people out there in our world:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think your answer would be? It probably depends on your life experiences, as well as what’s most important when you make judgment calls during a first meeting. But the one thing that we can all say is that we’re taught to question anything that is different from the norms we’ve been taught throughout our lives. Did you figure out how you’d mark up the matrix?

We’ll all have different answers because we’re all different. And I think that your answer will say quite a bit about you. If you’re like me, and you never fit in with anything, then you’ll be used to seeing a check mark next to you. You’ve probably filled out “Other” in all of those annoying questionnaires that have turned so many into questions. If you’ve ever had to answer the question, “What are you?”, then you’ve probably gotten creative with your responses. I know that I have!

This isn’t a question about race, gender, or any other category unless you want it to be. It’s not about labels, because they are so unimaginative. I refuse to be reduced to one word or sentence so that someone else can avoid  an iota of inconvenience. Life is all about inconvenience because that is how we grow and learn. You seriously need to look below the surface in order to find the truth of what you’re looking at. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t surf through life without plunging into the deep end.

Why do we continue to work with the lowest common denominator without realizing that the equation for a good life requires all of its components? Life’s complexity shows that every existence counts, though we may not always see its importance until it’s been removed. We’re the sum of not only our own experiences, but also our teachings. It would be impossible to discount any of it, because they form the foundation of who we are. But who we are won’t dictate who we become. That is up to what we’re willing to learn, accept, and build upon. How limited do you want your dreams to be?

So, here’s my answer: All of those who have a mouth and use it. It’s not always going to be a good conversation, but at least it is starting a conversation. If you disagree with someone, then you’ll be able to ask them questions and try to see things from a perspective different from yours.  And hopefully they’ll also be open to see things from your point of view and respect the difference. All of those painful topics like inequality won’t get solved until we start to have honest conversations. Until the ugly is confronted, we’ll never be able to create beauty that we can all appreciate.  Difference is what makes life more interesting…especially when it leads to creative solutions that will replace the norm with something much better for us all. Our fragile little planet requires that we take this much more seriously than we currently do.

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Another Thought…

Writing is the other side of reading, and yet it is driven by the same emotions. A lot like life, also full of emotions.

We thrive on feeling these ups and downs, like we would on a roller coaster ride. But unlike a roller coaster which has predicted turns and rolls, life is completely chaotic. And that can be trying if you’re not prepared for that unexpected sharp turn and drop into an unforeseen void. So why do we keep coming back?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you find a good book, you read it until you reach the end. Hopefully, you find something within the words that resound in your own life. No, we don’t wish for vampires, zombies, and other such creatures who lurk in the deepest darkest regions of our minds. But we do look for answers to those troubling questions that plague our waking (and sleeping hours), which sort of feel like creatures of the night. And if our favorite books turn into series (long or short, whichever you want), then we are more excited to delve into a world created from a mind that might be different from our own but feels like home.

But here’s another thought: When life is so full of trials and tribulations, do we really have to always force our heros and heroines to experience those lowest of lows that make us curl into a ball and howl? As someone who writes, I know that the words that hit home comes from emotions that tear at the soul. But sometimes, the soul can only take so many tears before the fabric can no longer retain the same resilience. As living beings, we’re tested on a daily basis through different circumstances. No two people will experience the same feelings or reach the same outcomes. We are too complex for duplications, though we do experience similar motivations to succeed or fail. But I’m sure that we all feel like a break would be welcome – maybe one filled with a little early happiness for once.

And that brings me back to all of my favorites books written by authors who are all so very different, though driven by similar compulsions. Thank you for pushing these characters to reach beyond themselves, and pushing for excellence. We have so little excellence in places that are supposed to help change all of our lives for the better. But can we have a few more unicorns and rainbows – even gargoyles can play on rainbows? My chest hurts every time a piece of their heart is torn out. And no, an unexpected stumble is not the same as keeping the hero and heroine together (yes, I get that my favorite paring might not be yours). Please?

We need to allow more time for dreams, and less time for embracing reality. We all know that reality is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There aren’t enough boot straps to string together to build sturdy bridges over the torrents of trouble that rumble across the planet. If more dreams came alive from books, then life would be pushed towards true excellence. You don’t have to believe in magic for it to live. Look at a picture. Smell a flower. Marvel at a bumblebee. Sit in a tree. We’re surrounded by magic that we’re not allowed to appreciate because someone’s always telling us to keep working, do more, focus on the bottom line.

The bottom line is that creativity has always gotten us to dream big. We fly over so many other planets in our solar system. We’ve actually left our system (you’re amazing, Voyager 1) and are in the true unknown. Can you imagine what that little craft is seeing and experiencing? No realist can ever come up with a close description of something that has never happened before in our lives.  And there are more “voyagers” who want to explore to grow. All of the naysayers in our world will never shut out the light of curiosity. The one thing that life will always guarantee is that every experience is an opportunity for magic.

Now, don’t you want to try your hand at creating your own magic?

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You’re Not Looking Deep Enough

edit: I can’t believe that I didnt’ say this, but to CatMaster3000, I am really sorry for your loss! You had a beautiful relationship with Kitten, and I hope that she is happily chasing stars in the sky and looking down at you.


Stories have words, but have those words ever caused you to look deeper into its soul to find why it was written in the first place? As a writer, I can tell you that there is always an underlying motive that causes words to flow out into sentences. The trigger is always an emotion that drives my thoughts into bouts of frenzied typing (writing, any way that allows me to produce the words that fight for light).

We live in a world that is full of emotion, but it’s not always driven by soul. As a matter of fact, there is a distinct soullessness that permeates the shiny exterior we all cherish. That exterior is fashioned by the drive for beauty, but the undercurrents flow with something else altogether. So, when I saw this post on Reddit, I knew that it would be a worthwhile journey. Note [deleted] because it’s important in today’s world: When those corporations who are people can make you afraid to speak out loud, then you know that the world is going down a road full of sinkholes and it won’t get better until life is fixed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always so easy to follow the beauty of advertisements because that’s kind of what they’re made for. But sometimes, just sometimes, another perspective can turn all of that beauty on its head. Status quo loves to tout all of the good that comes from following what is accepted by the majority. But have we ever really tried to see it from the other side? If you’ve never traveled outside of your sphere of existence, then you wouldn’t know that there is an underbelly to our world driven by commerce. Lately though, it seems like it’s becoming easier to see that the reality of life is screaming for our attention, to fix all of the injustices which are being ignored because of whatever reason status quo has to offer.

This particular image strikes at the heart of the matter. Some people try to shine light on all of the accepted ugliness that we no longer challenge, until we are personally affected by it, because that’s how the truth is uncovered.

Have you listened to the words coming from the mouths of our leaders and institutions of late? It always sounds so pretty, until we see the actions that follow. Those are pretty ugly, because they belie all of those pretty words that have no substance. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to look harder to find people who are worth paying attention to. Perhaps that’s why people flock to blogs like this because they are looking for depth behind beauty. No, I’m not saying that I have such to offer, just that I’m trying to find examples to tout just as much as you all are. And on that note, I do continue to appreciate those who drop in (especially those with comments directly related to what I’m writing about), though I’m still unsure whether you mean your words or if you’re looking for a reward for your efforts? I still continue to hold hope that some of you are driven by the same inspirations that keep me delving into our incredible universe – and just want to share in the journey.

Life shouldn’t be about the pursuit of rewards. It shouldn’t be about plaques on a wall, glory being plied in public, or anything remotely associated to the superficial garments that we all wrap around ourselves because status quo tells you it’s a requirement. In truth, it really isn’t in order to experience the fullness that all of life has to offer.

Take CatMaster3000‘s story about his Kitten. I have never seriously cried as much as I did going through their story, and others were just like me. If you have a companion who is different from you (read: non-human), then I tip my hat to you. I’ve never had a pet family member because we moved so much. Right now, I have friends who pop into our backyard to nibble, meow, and be cuddled until they reach their limit, and even that is killing my heart. I don’t know how pet “owners” (I know it’s the other way around) do it, because your heart takes a real beating.

How about the story about YMCA Encinitas, where two of its former boardmembers wanted to stand up for the kids who would suffer from their company’s new desire to only serve families and not individuals. It’s refreshing to see people who fight for more than bigger profits for less efforts. Perhaps all the news are telling you that our institutions of yesteryear are no longer qualified to be the leaders that they still claim to be.

And did you watch the rage-inducing show from Rachel Maddow regarding the recent news cycle:

It was enough for me to have a permanent vein popping in my head. And to think that these are the people that we are supposed to follow and respect. If it hopefully awoke something inside of you that wants you to fight what status quo is offering, then your heart and soul are still working as they should.

There are so many people out there who are tired of waiting for change to happen, who don’t believe that voting holds the answers, who realize that we all need to DO instead of follow in order to reach a new standard of excellence. We need a standard that isn’t so worried about its golden (ok, it’s probably platinum or titanium now) sheen, but is aiming to really find the real power to lift those who have fallen towards a life-giving light. So my advice to you is to not respect someone because of the uniform that they wear, but because of their actions that moved you. Whether it’s a artist (just go through this blog to find some of my inspirations) or a musician (OMG, have you listened to Alisa Weilerstein) or even a writer whose heart rises above numbers (yup, I’m talking about Umair Haque), there are people out there who can move status quo towards the stars.

Because until you’re actually feeling like you need to change and grow while investigating all that life has to offer, you’re not looking deep enough. When you’re bleeding from the heart and your soul is joyfully dancing, then you know that you’re on the right path.

-oh and I also found another inspiring magazine (verynearlyalmost) that covers street art and much more with some amazing writing – just thought you should know

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We NEED To Dream!

I’ve been silent for a while, because the world is back to frustrating me. No time, no patience, no sense. Exactly why am I on this planet? It can’t be just to do my job, because I need to be more than that. And the world needs to be more than what we’re told to vote for, because THAT is so not working for most of us. It’s getting to the point that I talk back to the TV or computer (too often) when I find myself in disagreement of something or someone. There have been so many someones that I disagree with, that I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find a way to help rebuild this working disaster we currently live in. Leaders everywhere and status quo, I’m disagreeing with you! And to those of you who think that nothing is going to change, I’m determined to prove you wrong or die trying (and I really don’t want it to end like that).

This is what the world of today looks like (thanks again Reddit for helping me find an answer to almost everything):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t have to be like this! How about we try something different? I don’t know, how about we each get a chance to make a difference with our own talents and dreams! There are just too many talented dreamers out there who are remaking little bits of the world and sending it out to others who agree with them. Like:

OFFBITS – The Art of Spare Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look at things that are needed and think they are trash. And yet someone else’s trash is anothers treasure…or at least that’s how the saying goes. So why did we ever grow up? Because the loss of our childhood has led to a seriously cookie-cutter, boring world devoid of any imagination. Who knew that bits of parts could lead to some amazing creations. This is like the next generation of builder blocks but only more portable. If you think this looks like fun, then check out their Kickstarter campaign now going (click the like above). I know that I did!

 

And to go a little further with the topic of imagination, take this pretty spot on (and amazing) image by adamtots (Books of Adam) of what an adult sees vs. a child:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And If you need to see the world from a different perspective, then how about stepping into someone else’s shoes (and to celebrate Mom):

I’ve never given birth, but I have been a baby to my Mom and Dad. And I too would like to thank Mom and say sorry for the pain I caused (as well as missing lunch). Happy Mothers Day! Love you.

 

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. And the best of all, they are as infinite as your imaginations. So the more you dream, then the brighter and deeper the world gets. The shallowness of the world around us can change each time we take an interest in someone’s dreams, ours and/or others. Talk to an artist and get their perspective on the world and why they do what they do. The leaders of today don’t get that everything isn’t about the almighty currency, but is about the deepest of souls. Perhaps the reason why status quo never changes is because too many of us listen to others who tell us that dreaming is a waste of time. The waste of time is living a life that isn’t the fullest that it can be. Money isn’t the only thing that makes the world go round, no matter what a suit will tell you.

Remember every time you’ve face a scene that felt so much bigger than you? Remember how you felt and how colorful everything was around you? Take that feeling and bottle it into the center of your heart and soul. Compare everything you do to that specific moment. If it falls short, then you have some dreaming (not work) to do.

…just saying

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Net Neutrality….WINS!!!!

Today is a historic day. The FCC, after having heard from millions of people, has made the decision to protect the Internet by declaring Title II protection. This means that the Internet will be regulated as a public utility, which will make it more difficult for corporations to control the information and its flow. People have been fighting to protect the Internet in the form of its birth: a beautiful, free form of communication -albeit more than a bit chaotic at most times. Just like life…controlled chaos. As I’ve said before, chaos can provide creative inspiration, and the Internet is the best example of the birth of a multitude of life-altering ideas by people unconstrained by societal strictures.

Congrats to mankind for winning one small protection against the encroachment of mindless commerce. We’ve been waiting a long time for this victory. And thanks to Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners who heard our voices.

edit: I forgot to add that the FCC has also preempted the state laws that bans municipal broadband providers from providing services in competition with established cable providers. Now we might finally get the types of choices that we’ve all been yearning for…like Google Fiber.

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When We Work Together

Curiosity takes a selfie....on Mars (courtesy: NASA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after thinking about all of the difficulties that we have living with one another, here’s a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together. This selfie of Curiosity, taken ON MARS, should just blow your mind when you think of everything that went into not only creating the rover but also getting it to another planet. Think about how tricky it is to calculate the distance due to the planetary movements around the sun (see more details from Universe Today) and just what scientists have to think about when planning such amazing feats of discovery. Read more about the latest happenings with the Mars rover to see the incredible accomplishments that NASA and science agencies just like them around the world do on a daily basis.

We should also congratulate Great Britain after we found out that Beagle2 did actually land on Mars back in 2003. Though the mission had not managed to gain contact with the lander after its launch, they learned over a decade later that they had actually succeeded in their endeavor through a recent NASA image. Read more about it on ESA’s site and congratulate another insanely smart team for making their dreams come true.

*Thanks to Reddit for being just as curious and amazed at what humans are capable of doing.

Now, if only we humans on the planet Earth could remember just how important collaboration is to our own survival. The news doesn’t have to be filled with only gloomy predictions. It’s up to us, together, just as it always has been!

…just saying

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Sorrow…Followed By Anger

JE SUIS CHARLIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep rewriting this because my emotions are in a jumble. The Charlie Hebdo massacre (there really is nothing else to call this) has hit me as hard as 9/11 did. Though the scale is different, the feeling is just as devastating. Sorrow…followed by an increasing anger has become a common theme for so many of us. Something has got to change.

It is just too early in this new year for these bad events to continue to escalate in the way that they always seem to. It’s especially hard because so many of these bad happenings all have a common foundation: the increasing loss of our freedoms. Whether it is by corporations, governments, or religious groups (or some individual who just wants to crush anyone), a majority of people are losing themselves at the expense of a status quo’s belief systems. And that is why this particular moment is resounding within me (and so many others).

Any creative person who values freedom during the creation process will feel this personally. Any attack on our ability to freely create (while hopefully respecting multiple perspectives) is tantamount to attacking us personally. If you don’t respect our right to our own opinion, then who knows what else you’ll disrespect or how far you’ll go to stop us? And that is why this latest attack is just one more in a series that aims at taking away our freedoms, one at a time. Or worse, take away our very lives, which aren’t yours to take.

We have to change the way that we interact with one another. We have to learn to respect the idea that ours isn’t the only way to do, think, or act. We have to realize that the world will only feel smaller if we’re all fighting to take our own piece of it, while screwing everyone else.

Beliefs are  as abundant as they are diverse. There is no one right anything. Until each and every one of us truly understands this, we won’t have a different or better future.

Sorrow….followed by anger just isn’t any way to live.

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Congratulations, Rosetta, Philae and ESA

 

A belated congratulations to the amazing team at the European Space Agency (ESA) who have accomplished an incredible feat after 10 long years of travel to a speeding comet, 67P. To find out more about this historic moment, read the Guardian coverage on ESA’s Rosetta Space Probe or go visit ESA’s site to find out more about what they do.

As I mentioned before, our curiosity is our biggest motivation for exploring the unknown. No matter the difficulties and obstacles, we persevere through the peaks and valleys because we can only guess at what wonders the final destination might hold. All of the space agencies around the world have accomplished so many firsts that seeks to not only broaden human minds but also deepen our knowledge of the universe around us.

Find out more about our space programs and support these travelers who seek to go “where no man has gone before” (thank you Star Trek for putting stars in our eyes):

Space.com – read the latest astronomy and space news

National Geographic – learn about the planets and space

Science Daily – read about the latest science news covering a wide range of studies

Find out about other space agencies through NASA and Wikipedia

 

There are as many places to learn about science as there are studies. Whether it’s online or at a museum, go visit and see what science has uncovered. Your mind will love the stimulus!

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Pushing the Limits

This is what pushing the limits can result in: A discovery of a new world, unknown to all but a few.

 

The tragic loss of the Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and part of its crew is another harsh reminder that exploring the unknown will never be easy. Mainstream news and some of the public will try to cast doubts upon endeavors such as this, but they also disrespect all those actual attempts to conquer the unknown that humans have made throughout our history.

If someone hadn’t been curious about what’s on the other side of the ocean, then the “New World” would not have been found. If someone wasn’t curious about the biodiversity of the planet, then today’s science would not be around to help us chart our future. If curiosity was dampened, then we would have little to learn outside of our own limited understanding.

There is much to be said for encouraging curiosity, for it broadens our horizons so that events like the first moon walk by Neil Armstrong could be shared by all who watched. He wasn’t just part of a small crew walking upon a place not of this Earth. He was a representative for each and every one of us who wanted to explore the unknown and come out a better person for the experience. He is a member of a long list of people who helped each discovery mesh into our collective knowledge, building new creations with each new beam of light cast into the dark.

Our modern world exists because of those who ignore the “you must be crazy” outbursts that comes from status quo. Each discovery helped shape us, who in turn help shape the world as we know it. All that technology that makes life so easy is a direct result of every person who risks it all as they push the limits. We have to say thanks to every explorer for who we are as a civilization. Without the curiosity, we’d still be living in the dark ages. Without the yearning for more, we would never have seen or experienced anything close to this (THANK YOU NASA for helping to open our horizons):

Apollo 11 over Mare Smythii with Earth (courtesy of NASA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to all you naysayers, sorry but we’re going to continue to push the limits in honor of those who gave their all during every such endeavor. They are the ones who allow us to dream, and I for one thank each and every one of you brave souls!

The universe is a very big place, and every one of us has the opportunity to join the voyage of discovery. It just might help you discover yourself.

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