This resulted in tons of well-meaning people calling those people idiots.
That resulted in other well-meaning people calling the idiot-callers idiots.
That resulted in me spending two hours figuring out for myself whether the photo is "fake" or not. [SPOILER: Turns out it's fake. (Seriously, it's "fake." Bear with me here...)]
Long story short: it's a panorama made up from multiple images. And the multiple images have all had their cross-hairs edited out to make it more attractive. And the color balances of many of the photos have been altered to make the panorama flow together more smoothly, and thus be more attractive.
1) that the image in question is a panorama stitched from multiple photos
2) that the astronaut taking it was simply standing in one spot and rotating around taking photos.
It explains the inconsistent shadows, as well as having the neat distinction of being assembled by a non-NASA amateur, from photos that are publicly available on the web. If you click through to Apollo 17 on The Apollo Archive you'll find a metric crap-ton of images like the following:
You'll notice that this is the portion of the picture showing the lunar module and astronaut, with cross-hairs intact. If you were so inclined, you could download all those images and run them through whatever panorama software you have lying around and could end up with exactly the same compositions.
So, there you have it. I have absolutely no doubt that the scenario described in the photo happened as NASA claims it did, but I have proven that the photo was very significantly edited in the process.
Turns out that everyone was right. And it's everyone that is the idiot.
I've noticed a new trend on Twitter lately, one which bothers me a great deal. I'd like to share my thoughts about it now so that you all can help nip it in the bud.
People have been 'retweet'ing pretty much since Twitter's inception; that is, they post something on their stream that they saw someone else post. The defacto standard format for doing this is to say 'rewteet' (or, more commonly, 'RT') followed by the username of the person who originated the message, then followed by the message. Like this:
RT @TeddTheodorLogan Remember the time I asked Missy to the prom?
Lately, however, people have been trying to popularize a new format for retweeting -- one which has been largely employed in the blogging world. This new method is to just post the message, followed by (via username). Like this:
The only thing I know for sure is that Joan of Arc is NOT Noah's wife...(via BillSPrestonEsq)
The problem with this is two-fold: firstly, it takes up more characters. More importantly, it's misusing the word 'via.'
See, what "(via so-and-so)" actually means, is "I heard about this content by way of so-and-so," and has been used for years to denote that the link I'm blogging about came to my attention because someone else blogged about it, and is designed to sort of give the person who found the content the credit. This is only used when you're linking to a story that's written by someone other than the person you heard about it from -- to give sort of 'scoop' credit to someone who found it before you did.
When you retweet, in almost every case, you are simply quoting the person who said something. You didn't hear it 'via' them. Your readers are hearing it 'via' YOU. (Granted, if you are retweeting a retweet, then 'via' could be properly used -- but you'd have to say it's 'via' the person who originally REtweeted it, rather than the person who tweeted it -- which is of no information to the reader.)
If you really don't like the 'RT username: message' format -- and for this I don't blame you; it's clumsy and non-intuitive -- I suggest you do it the same way people have been attributing quotes since the dawn of written language. Like this:
"Four score and seven BEERS ago..." -abrahamlincoln
With your help, perhaps this gross misunderstanding of the Latin language can be wiped from the face of twitter.
Know what the world doesn't need? Another freakin' Captain America movie.
Just because Hollywood keeps making PUNISHER reboots, and they've now managed to reboot both Batman and Hulk franchises, TWICE -- not to mention a pending Superman reboot -- doesn't mean we need another Captain America.
I've decided that, from now on, only the first incarnation of a comic book film will be acknowledged.
For instance: I did indeed see The Punisher, and he was played by Dolph Lundgren -- and it was terrible. I also saw The Fantastic Four, which was produced by Roger Corman -- and really, REALLY, terrible. Batman's greatest weapon was shark-deterrent spray.
It's me again. Since our last conversation, I've realized something else you could do to make our time together in Reader more productive and less angrifying. Know how I share lots of stuff in my "Shared Items," despite only like 4 people seeing them? Well, it'd be really helpful if I didn't have to be subscribed to my own Shared Items. I mean, I shared them. I don't need you showing them to me again. (Despite that one time that I accidentally saw something cool in there that I forgot had gotten there because of me, and went ahead and shared it again. Sharing an item from my shared items... that's classy.) At the very least, could you make sure they actually get marked as read after I read them? I perpetually have 11-or-so "new" items in there that I've seen a hundred times.
Seriously, Google. I'm beginning to think this conversation is one-sided. Don't make me start writing to SkyNet instead.
The Terminatrix's ability was "forming complex machines," not necessarily just controlling machines. In order to drive a car remotely, all she'd need to do is send some of her nanobots into the car where they could form the machinery required to move the steering wheel, manipulate the throttle, etc. I'm still not convinced that she'd make machinery to pull the gas pedal down rather than just adjusting the throttle from the engine compartment -- not to mention that she could never have enough leverage from within the steering column to pull the transmission lever down -- but at this point I'm just nitpicking. I know better than most that "nobody likes a nitpick," so I'm declaring that my complaint with the movie is completely invalid, and apologize profusely to the film's creators for my mistake.
That said, in her comment explaining this, aerospace brought to my attention another complaint I once had, about which I had completely forgotten. In the "Terminator" universe, the abilities of the Terminators get better and better as technology in the future progresses. But they inexplicably send the new upgraded Terminators back in time to a point AFTER the failed previous attempts. The logical thing to do would be to keep going after Sarah Connor EARLIER in time, would it not? Why keep trying forward in the time line when you know she's going to be expecting it?
Remember how in "Terminator 3" the Terminatrix could control electronics, enabling her to use them as an extension of herself? Remember how when it came to vehicles they'd do the David Fincher zoom-through down to the circuit level, showing that she's taking control of it only to zoom back out and show the shift knob move by itself, the gas pedal depress to the floor and the steering wheel turn by itself? That bugged the crap out of me. For me it was exactly like in "The Never-ending Story" when Sebastian got to the part in the book where Sebastian got to the part in the book. ("That's IMPOSSIBLE!" Both his response and mine. Luckily he was all alone in his school's attic; I was in a crowded theater and got simultaneously 'shhhhh'd and snickered at.)
Compare with the film "Maximum Overdrive." Shift knobs move by themselves, steering wheels turn without assistance, and gas pedals depress to the floor, seemingly without any cause. This was perfectly acceptable. AWESOME, in fact. I'm not entirely sure what the difference between these two examples is, but I suspect it to be the explanation of how it is working. In "Maximum Overdrive," there really is no explanation. For all we know, there are invisible beings sitting at the wheels of the vehicles. We know that an alien race is using Earth's machinery to "sweep out all the roaches," (those roaches are us) but there's absolutely no attempt to explain it. In "Terminator 3," on the other hand, they go out of their way to explain it, even using flashy graphics of electrons following circuitry. The problem, though, is that electronics don't work that way. I could buy the steering wheel, since most modern cars have "power steering," but the shift knob? There's no machinery for the electronics to activate to get them to move. To me that was just plain stupid and it spoiled the whole movie.
Do these types of things bother other people, or is it just me? None of the other unrealistic things in the film -- time-travel, cybernetic organisms, Claire Danes -- bothered me in the slightest, while such an inconsequential thing completely ruined it? Is that a normal human response?
You create things because you want people to see them. Rather than expending energy trying to prevent some people from using the things you create in some way you don't like, just look at it as it really is: people are seeing your work. Whether they're hotlinking your images, stealing your post content, or sharing clips from your tv show on YouTube, eyes are seeing your work. Isn't that the entire point?
Encourage people to use your work. Creative Commons licensing anything you create is the best and most-effective way to get large amounts of people to see it. If you're a photographer, consider licensing your images such that bloggers, painters, filmmakers, artists, etc can use them without having to jump through hoops.
Don't sweat the numbers. Many of the blogs I read have lately been almost completely devoted to talking about how great their Technorati score or their Google PageRank or whatever is. Why does this matter to you, and why do you think it would matter to anyone reading your post? Sure, it's good having a high-profile site, but if all anyone can ever find on it is stuff about how high-profile it is, nobody wins.
Ads (almost always) make you focus your content on getting more readers and/or selling more ads. If you want to create things and get people to see them, then great... that's what blogging is for. Sure, you might be able to make alittle cash by adding advertising, but I submit that pretty much every blog I've subscribed to that has added advertising has turned into a blog about how to get more readers to read, how to get more backlinks, how to get higher in search rankings, etc. In short: making money with your blog (almost always) turns your blog into a blog about making money with blogs about making money with blogs... I was interested in what you had to say before, but you're losing me with all this making money stuff.
Every so often, tell people about it when you like what they're doing. A few years back I got an email from someone I really looked up to telling me really nice things, and it really meant the world to me. When you get an email or a comment or something from someone who has been inspiring you, it can really make a difference in someone's life. That sounds really sappy and silly, but when the person in question spends a bunch of time on a blog or something, it's obviously important to them. I'd consider that part of their life.
Don't participate in memes. You just end up with posts like this one.
Success is a hard thing to measure; many people who blog seem to be under the impression that having high rankings and making more money is the important metric for how successful they are at what they're doing. Me? I don't have a lot of readers, I've never done anything with the intention of increasing any rankings, I post almost entirely stupid things -- yet I get feedback from people all over the world, have forged quite a number of internet friendships as a result, and am consistently blown away at the number of people out there that I'm reaching (I don't even really know how many it is, but I do know it's a heck of a lot more than I ever expected it would be).
So yeah, I'd call that successful. Those 6 "secrets" are the most important ones to getting me to where I am, so I hope this is what Matthew was looking for.
While listening to NPR's podcast of "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" -- which is sort of the radio equivalent of Hollywood Squares -- the topic of discussion turned to the neo-nazi sympathies of the guy who created those useless brine shrimp "pets" marketed as "Sea Monkeys."
One of the panelists made the following painfully-unfunny joke: "Was his autobiography called Sea Monkey Kampf?"
I'd like to offer the follwing replacement to anyone else who was as negatively impacted by this unfortunately unfunny joke as I was:
"Was his autobiography called Brine Kampf?"
It may not be hilarious, but at least it makes sense.
Yeah, I know, lots of things, but this specific thing is incredibly stupid.
Whenever a Blogger user posts a comment on another Blogger site, their username at the top of their comment is a link to their user profile, rather than their blog. When you go to the profile, there is no way to get to that particular user's blog from there.
So, essentially, you may see a really great comment and say, "Boy, I'd sure like to see what else he/she has to say." Sorry, you just can't do it.
If you grew up on the 80's and/or have any kind of fondness in your heart for either Star Wars or Transformers, I'd strongly urge you to just go ahead and quit reading right now. What I'm about to show you, courtesy of my action figure collection, is quite possibly the wrongest toy in existence. I'm not kidding: I can't think of anything more wrong.
The following images may disturb sensitive eyes; viewer discretion is advised.
I wish I was kidding. The Millenium Falcon, complete with tiny Han and Chewie figures, transforms into a giant Chewbaca robot and giant Han Solo robot.
"Transforms into a giant Chewbaca robot" is one of those phrases I could have gone my whole life without saying, but no, Hasbro has forced me to do it. I've had this thing sitting since Christmas, debating whether or not to share it with the world, but decided that I simply had to.
Anguished cries about murdered childhoods ought to be directed to Hasbro, not to me. I'm just the messenger. The very perturbed messenger.
If you know me at all, you know that I favor rational thought over traditionally-held beliefs pretty much exclusively. It's because of this that I never really hold much stock in what the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement says. Most of their energy goes into attempting to disprove a system they are scripturally-obligated not to believe -- evolution -- rather than providing any rational arguments for just what it is they're arguing for: that everything as we know it now was designed by someone intelligent, just not necessarily God.
I've pretty much dismissed out of hand that they could actually be right (which, I suppose, is no better than them dismissing my argument of "Couldn't an Intelligent Designer use a system of evolution as part of his design?"), but I've just encountered some new evidence that has completely blown me away. It seems like every other day the IDers present some new argument for just why the idea of evolution is more silly than that of an Intelligent Designer, none of which have had any impact at all on my sense of rationality. Until today.
This new argument, which I've dubbed "The Peanut-Butter and Banana Sandwich Conjecture," is pretty much irrefutable -- and, might I say, delicious as hell. But I digress. Consisting of two separate arguments, which I've presented below in video form for your convenience (and also for my convenience), the PB&B Sandwich Conjecture simply and concisely proves not only that life can't spontaneously happen, but that all life on earth is the result of a designer who made intelligent decisions about even the tiniest of details.
Now, as I'm sure you'll agree, each of those is somewhat compelling on its own, but the combination of the two is what really hammers the point home. Game, set and match.
As far as I know, I'm the first person to have combined these two lesser arguments into a single irrefutable one, so I'm now going to go ahead and take credit for proving that evolution is inferior to Intelligent Design as a theory.
It's been quite a journey... I, for one, would never have predicted that someone would prove the IDers to be right, let alone that it would be me. You might think that I'd feel bad about this sudden shift to the other side of the argument, but I don't; science is all about changing your argument in the face of new evidence, and the fact that I can do so with no qualms is just further testament to my abilities as a rational thinker. I'm now an IDer, and proud of it.
(All press inquiries regarding this ground-breaking theory should be directed at email@example.com)