Space is Big

Day 65: Friday

Good morning Zak,

So the other day I went to a percussion ensemble concert.  In between each piece they had what you call a “science slam.”  Have you ever heard of this?  Don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like.

A “science slam” is actually just a spicer name for something you may already be familiar with: a science lecture.  They turned out the lights, and a guy got up and talked about how big space is.  At the end he even threw in a bit of New Age-y philosophy.  I think that’s the part where we were supposed to be slammed.  You know, so that it would make sense.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the universe.  I mean it’s a pretty cool place and everything.  It’s just, once you’ve seen enough of these things, they start to get to you.  It seems like they always tell you basically the same facts.  We zoom through space at however many million light-years per second, and then we look at impressive giant balls of gas.  Now, on Earth, I’m used to people being embarrassed about their giant balls of gas—somehow in space it’s considered majestic.

But you never see anything new at one of these presentation.  Space pretty much looks all exactly the same.  There are stars, clouds of dust, debris… Why isn’t there anything unique or interesting in space?  Like why isn’t there a bouncy castle?  Or a secret space library?  Or literally anything that looks at all different from anything else?  I mean for all their grandiose claims, these presentations actually make the universe feel pretty monotonous… and small.

I made my own space presentation several years ago.  Enjoy…

No, I don’t apologize.

Until tomorrow,

Tim

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Bootmaking: An Italian Tradition

Day 8: Wednesday

Morning Tim!

I noticed the ‘Random’ tag on your post yesterday – thoroughly fitting; yet I really appreciated all the tidbits. A shorter note from me today, and mostly random as well (though perhaps more ‘mainstream’).

One tidbit I see you weren’t able to get to yesterday, and one that seems particularly relevant for you being in Italy, Tim, is recent research suggesting that countries are slowly moving away from their continents in many cases. Now I’m sure you’ve heard this before, particularly how geologists suggest we’ve moved most recently from one supercontinent Pangea to our current Earth structure as places have moved. The interesting part about the research, though, is the behavioral piece – specifically, the research suggests that countries moving away from their continents are actually becoming particularly specialized in the physical shapes they look like. So in your case, as Italy slowly deteriorates from Europe, Italian expertise and dominance in boot making has skyrocketed. I was surprised to see it so well researched, and a few of the examples seemed almost a stretch, but nevertheless wanted to make sure you were aware!

Google released PhotoScan to preserve old photos; the idea being in part that they could take out glare and background so that pictures of pictures turn out looking like…pictures. As opposed to something much more akin to a memory of a memory. I think this interesting, and wasted a solid 30 minutes trying to do PhotoScan inception — a picture of a picture of a picture to see how PhotoScan would handle it. I’d post it here, but the “wasted” in my last sentence is apt, as the end picture just looks like…a picture. If I had a lot of photos that this applied to my failure would actually cause joy, as it would be meeting a need. Seeing as I don’t have many of these photos, my failure was just…failure. Though perhaps it was also more evidence that automation is addressing previous needs and those more niche but likely very real (to someone).

I am going to use that as a segue to a future post; I intend to write a bit about tech & automation in the context of the US election. This is not that post, but there’s a good chance it comes Friday, so why not transition now.

Acknowledgement of a bizarre post today.

Until tomorrow,

Zak