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francopoli  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 14, 2016x 2

We were set up in public, with telescopes, looking at Saturn and the Moon. I was looking at Saturn, at high magnification, getting nothing but ohhhhs and ahhhs. One of the groups that came up to me included a kid, he could not have been more than 10. He stared at me, as in STARED at me in a way that I knew something was about to go down. I've done this enough that I can tell the kids that are there because of mom and dad, and the kids that are there because they are curious. (I've also been able to pick out the pick pockets and sneak thieves fortunately they are rare.) He asks to look through the telescope and I give him the spiel on how to look and where to look. One of the reasons I like doing this is to watch the faces... you can tell the INSTANT they see Saturn. Or Jupiter. Or the faint stuff. This kid never lost the stare, so I asked him if he saw the planet. He said he did. I asked if he saw the rings, the bands on the planet, the shadow of the globe on the rings. He stood there for a good 2-3 minutes. At these events the adults will stop and watch the kids as well while they wait patiently. he finally comes down from the stepladder, and his face is now much softer. More of a kid and less, well, adult. I then realized I am dealing with a kid with a shit homelife and just showed him something that he is trying to process.

As he moves aside to let his mom(?) look, I look him right in the eyes and say "neat, huh?" He stares at me. The face grows a bit more of what I like to call "puzzled, curious child" and I can see he as a question. Mom(?) starts saying prayers and praise Jesus as she looks. He then says, and I quote him exactly here: How long was it after you got out of jail that you bought the telescope?

This confused me and I really did not understand that. I wanted to ask him to repeat the question, but then thought through what he said. I replied "I've never been to jail. I had to save up a long time to get this from working my job." The reply hit me like a truck: "All the men I meet have been to jail."

I sat there with my head spinning for a moment, then saw that the line was gone. I look the kid in the eyes and say to him "Want to see something really cool?" He looks at me and nods. I put M11 in the eyepiece and show him how to see the "V" that makes up the "Wild Duck" of the Wild Duck Cluster. I explain that this is 2900 stars over 6000 light years away, and ask the mom(?) to take a look. All I can say to this kid is "Life is much bigger than we think, and the universe is infinite. We all have the opportunity to end up where we can do the most good." The mom(?) says "amen" and they move on. I hope I see the kid again; I'm kicking myself that I did not get his name.

Why do I type it as mom(?) in the above? I'm not sure if the lady was a guardian, a grandparent, an older sister. Hard to judge ages sometimes in the dark at these events. And with some families, there are questions that should not be asked.

That same evening about an hour later as we were talking about packing up, a Chaldean family walked up to us, very excited to be able to look through a telescope. Excited people we help and spend time with. There were 3 men, 3 women dressed and acting like their wives, and an elderly couple, obviously the parents. The older woman whispered in Arabic, and the older gentlemen asked me if his wife could look at the moon. I say sure, and move the telescope off of Saturn after giving the younger couples a glance. While the scope is moving he tells me he is from Baghdad, he left as a child in the 80's and they are touring the USA before they move back to Iraq. I set the scope up so that the whole of the moon is in the eyepiece. The men look first. Lots of chatter in Arabic, smiles, and handshakes. Then the ladies look. The elderly woman looks last, gasps, takes a step back and makes the sign of the cross and starts whispering in Arabic. The other women all look and chatter excitedly. I look at the elderly lady and ask if she wants to look again. She does, only this time she looks longer. Finally, in English "So Beautiful!" I smile at her husband and say "I think she sees it!" He then asks me, a great question: So, is this the same moon my family in Iraq is looking at? I reply "Yes! Only they are 12 hours away, so the sun is up there... when we have a sunrise, it will be sunset and moonrise in Iraq." The lady is in tears, mumbling "So Beautiful!" I look at her, and ask, Do you want to see it closer? She nods. I put in an eyepiece that goes from about 70 power to about 150 power so she can see right into the craters in the Southern Highlands near Tycho. I let the men look first, then the younger women, then she looks. She starts speaking in Arabic, faster, more of a mumble to her husband. For a few minutes, I explain to the husband how Tycho formed, how big it is (54 miles), how the big mountain (1 mile tall) in the center formed, and that the impact made the bright rays they say before and he translates to the wife, eye glued to the telescope. The Husband tells me that his wife has always loved the moon as it reminds her of when they used to watch it back in Iraq when she was a little girl, and that they have never looked through a telescope before. He also asked me how I knew he was Chaldean, I told him where I grew up and he laughed. His family moved there not too long ago. We said goodbye and wished each other well in our travels.

It seems that every other time that I think this outreach stuff is not worth it, something like the above happens and it makes me realize that I may be making my tiny little corner of the earth suck a bit less.

kleinbl00  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Jeff Kunzler: Against Minimalism A Plea for Cyberpunk

Oh shit now you did it.

About a week ago I gave rd95 an absurd quest: To find some horror comics from the late '60s or early '70s, look in the back for a page that was nothing but head-shop posters, and find me the one that looks like a dude sitting alone in a crystal labyrinth. It is an image seared in my brain thirty or more years ago, the most striking vestige of a collection of horror comics I inherited from my cousin Larry and sold wholesale two years later, a time capsule from another era I had not quite forgotten. It is an image I have looked for off and on for twenty or more years, the "holy grail" poster of my past that I have never been able to let go of. I promised him an assortment of mid '60s Popular Mechanics from my deceased grandparents' house as reward.

It took him half a day.

This is the past future that defines me: a semi-absurdist pop-culture future in which nuclear annihilation is a foregone conclusion and that which comes later will be gacked to the nines and spired out like Metropolis.

It doesn't help that I've effectively retreated into No Man's Sky to get away from my neighborhood. The future, as presented by No Man's Sky, belongs to Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead, not Jony Ive and Dieter Rams. It is a messy lines-of-coke, acoustic-coupling, MICR-E13B future where n times apple times pear equals three and where the driving ethos is wonder, not smug self-satisfaction. You know what has always bugged me? I can get this shit all day:

But apparently no one has even thought of selling me one of these.

It's funny - twenty five years gone and I find myself nostalgic for ugly shit. Say what you will about the Soviet design bureaus, they had an ethos.

_____________________________________________________

I think we're turning a corner, though. I've been in the market for cars and there are an astonishing number of boring ones out there. But at the same time, the Japanese are apparently feeling their Akira. Just in the past year we've gone from this:

to this:

And from this:

to this:

and while five years ago the articles were all "ZOMGJONYIVESQUEEE" they're now all "FANBOIHURRRGHWHARRRGARBL" and aside from the exquisitely dull world of personal electronics, things might be going the other direction.

One need only look up "LED chandelier" to see that the Pacific Rim is not waiting for us. And I embrace their adventure.

camarillobrillo  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 14, 2016

Sabbatical. Self-imposed. Didn't want to be the rotten apple that spoils the bunch but I realized how much I needed this eutopia to dump my brain droppings.

I love this place. We're a steaming melting pot of perspectives. Small enough so the real losers out there don't bother to bother us. Anyways, I wouldn't expect many people here to understand the horror you're living right now but I do. Just wanted you to know you're not a special little snowflake.

You're online which means you're still coherent to reality which means you can still be SAVED, praise Heyzous! The worst is over man. Take your licks from Lady Justice and keep us in the know. Most of all take care of you. You want to bullshit privately I'm sure Hubski supports. I'm no rolemodel but I can definitely share stories and advice.

OftenBen  ·  36 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 24, 2016

Have a surgeon and a date picked for the neck-needling procedure, it will be after I come back from my conference next month. I should be more worried about the business end that winds up in my right ventricle but the actual procedure doesn't scare me. It's the 'getting the probe in' and the recovery that worry me. Unfortunately, I will be conscious for the procedure. How conscious exactly is hard to say, but the anesthesiologist seems content to err on the side of more drugs rather than less drugs in my case. To quote him 'If it were solely up to me I'd have everybody knocked out for this procedure. When you come up here for yours, given your history, I'll add a little dissociative to your cocktail and keep the ativan on hand in case it's not working like we anticipate.' So, conscious, but likely too zonked to really be aware of being conscious. Yay medical science. He was also very happy with my weight loss, evidently the difference between 225 and 185 is substantial, anesthetically speaking. It widens the margin between 'Enough drugs to make surgery possible' and 'overdose' by a lot.

Choir starts back up next week, and I'm super excited to get back into that pattern. I've missed the routine of rehearsal. We're doing Beethoven this fall, I think. A few collaboration concerts with the Detroit Symphony and possibly the Toledo Symphony again.

My date went swimmingly, we're going to get dinner sometime this week. It's nice to reaffirm that there are kind, intelligent women that I get along with, if nothing else comes of it. Still 'talking to' a few other women too, because that's just the reality of dating, but it feels dishonest to some degree. I'll probably just put the rest politely on hold until I get a better vibe for where things are heading.

I'm going to go to New Orleans for Halloween I decided. I'm going to roadtrip both ways, probably spend a night in Nashville on the way home. I'm going to try and see something spooky, visit the crypt of Marie Laveau, eat copious amounts of spicy food.

tacocat  ·  23 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Adventures in Decoupaging: Part 2

I've made a ton of decoupage collages into art.

I got tired of repeating myself for two years or whatever and quit.

_thoracic  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do I do if I don't have a vision for my life's work?

I was wrestling with this question a few years ago after tangling with depression for a couple months and nearly attempting suicide. When I came out the other side, I was struck by how thin the barrier between my existing and not existing became for a while there. It occurred to me that all the pain I felt, all my suffering, wouldn't have been a blip on the universe's radar.

I realized that my individual life was very small, and that there were many others like it. I felt this sickening surge of meaninglessness. Individual glory and self-aggrandizing seemed pathetic before an overpowering wave of anonymity. What was the point of trying to achieve, why should I struggle and strive, if eventually all I am and was would be subsumed and worn away by a dull gray sea of fellow humanity?

Well, that kind of thinking would just get me back to suicide again. Eventually I decided that effort, pain and struggle was worth it if it was directed at lifting the whole rest of the sea up with me. I decided that resisting my commonality with my fellow humans was a lie, and that true meaning lay in embracing it.

To get to the point: If you want a direction to grow in, look to other people. If you want transcendency, go care for a stranger. If you want meaningful connections, then give a shit without a thought for yourself. If you want pride, or greatness, find it in well-earned gratitude. If you want to feel alive, to be daring, to not be boring, take all of the above and go do it where the need is greatest and the challenges are largest.

Pardon the dramatics, this truly is what lends meaning to my life and I'm more than a little passionate about it. If it sounds like it might fit you, then go give it a try. Not sure what kind of engineer you are, but I've heard that Engineers Without Borders does good work.

thundara  ·  37 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think of Dr Jill Stein and The Green Party?

You are being ridiculous. Please stop mischaracterizing what I say. You clearly have no idea about any of my views or philosophies. Notice how instead of refuting any of my points, you simply went into an attack on my character as a whole.

I have a BS in Biochemistry. I am working towards a PhD in bioengineering. This does not make me a fascist biotechnology dictator. It does not make me an agricultural shill. It does make me more qualified to talk about this topic than you.

You're argument all along has been that GMOs are unsafe and should be banned. I have refuted that point several times, giving you several examples of evidence to the contrary. I have pointed out that the only evidence showing GMOs are unsafe has come from scientific hacks. I have pointed out that there is no correlation between the introduction of GMOs into a country and the markers of that country's health.

Do you know what labels I am perfectly fine with?

I used to manage food for a house of 60 hippies. I'd buy all of the above. I support opt-in labels driven by consumer desire. I support farmers choosing the stock of seeds amenable to their practice. But I don't support the FUD you bring to this discussion.

So I'm blocking you. Good day.

tacocat  ·  57 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 3, 2016

thundara  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: NeverNeverGawkerEverAGAIN

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

flagamuffin9
text  ·  #hubski  ·  #2000days  ·  #hubday
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_refugee_  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 17, 2016

Hey dude,

I'm just going to interject here that KB calorie tracks daily and has been for years. I know this because I'm his stalker, duh. Not to mention that it's quite possible for an eating disorder to have long-term side effects on the human body. And let's not even consider what all else he might have wrong with him. I mean, dude's a little grungy. He's got that ponytail going...could have worms, maybe, you know, even?

Of course, you don't know KB as well as I do, or his eating habits, or exercise habits, or past history with food, or any of those things.

But I can assure you he already knows about CICO and that there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.

Your comment would be totally in place if it was on r/loseit, and honestly, if you'd said it there, I'd probably have upvoted and moved on. It's just...KB's not a dumbass or a dilettante when it comes to cal counts, weight loss, exercise, etc. So I'm just gonna raise up and try to let you know as politely as possible, your comment here is coming across condescending as all hell.

And maaaybe I just saved you a verbal whipping by doing this. (But not if you get defensive about what all I've just said. Cuz I'm trying to be nice here, I really am, and it's not something I even try very often.)