RIP Stephen Hawking

Steve Hsu has a nice post about Hawking, with good links to Roger Penrose’s obit and some reminiscences of Hsu’s personal encounters with the great man and his staff. (How many people can say they’ve carried Stephen Hawking?)

Hsu recalls the late-80s Hawking postulate about radiation being emitted from black holes — which would seem impossible by definition. I never knew the physics but remember very well reading an essay in a Baen sf and popular-science anthology (titled, I think, “BLACK HOLES!”) and the remarkable essay within citing Hawking for the statement (delivered, I am sure, with his wicked grin) that his theory meant Cthulhu was as likely to emerge from a black hole as anything else. Which almost made me switch my major (I was at UC Berkeley at the time) from Poli Sci and History to Astronomy. Almost.

RIP, Mr. Hawking, it was a thrill to have experience these decades of existence knowing  you were in them.

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Everybody’s a MacGyver


If a lazy MacGyver just uses a gun, is a gun the lazy man’s MacGyver?

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And We’re Back!

As a quasi-test of my ability to embed stuff after almost a year’s absence, here’s a link on Twitter to David Hines’ awesome running list, followed by the video links to the ones I liked. The Gael was played at our wedding, but most of the rest are either new to me or were lost to memory, like that glorious one from “Thief” and the stirring “John Adams” title. (“The Legend of Dar” reminds me of my current background-music fave, which to leave the offseason NFL RedZone on the tube all day at high volume.) Enjoy.

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On Moonlight

I have not yet seen “Moonlight,” but will now; not for the Oscar, but because I used to swap between Fuji and Kodak for artistic effect:

…the three chapters of the film were designed to imitate different film stocks. The first chapter emulated the Fuji film stock to intensify the cast’s skin tones. The second chapter imitated the Agfa film stock, which added cyan to the images, while the third chapter used a modified Kodak film stock.

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Mandocello Madness!

As a child I wondered why you could not find a acoustic bass guitar. Enter the mandocello:

Hat tip: Allison Hayward, whose sighting of Mike Marshall at Wintergrass 2017 spurred me down the rabbit hole.

Check this out!

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RNS Quote of The Day, 01/02/17 — Vice Edition

(He had done, he liked to say, all the vices.)

Larissa MacFarquhar, describing philosopher Bernard Williams in her endlessly-delightful New Yorker article on the late Derek Parfit, “How to Be Good.”

I find her prose, BTW, to be both astonishing and intimidating in its near-perfection. Full quote below the jump.

h/t Marginal Revolution, whose post on Parfit’s passing includes lotsa great links you should read.

Continue reading

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Time Travel: Berlin, 1900

I found this video, film of 1900 Berlin colorized and slowed to normal speed, tremendously affecting. The facial expressions did it. Those ghosts are all too real.



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Stephen Hsu and Some Guy Who Played Bongos

To some of us, this photo has the same emotional resonance as the one of Bill Clinton shaking JFK’s hand had to a very different tribe:

I still try to reread Feynman’s QED every year. You should too.


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It’s been a while

Yeah, so I guess I owe an explanation.

The new job is going well, productivity wise and project coolness wise, but damn, the boss and I are not getting along for the past couple weeks and I’m not sure how long we’re going to be able to keep it together. I don’t like going in in the morning and when I’m leave for the day I have to recharge my attitude so that I’m not a prick to everyone I come across.

As the saying goes “The struggle is real.”

Sorry y’all, but I walked blindly into a den of stress junkies. I’m about solutions, and I have solutions to that which ills the shop, but not the power to enact them. I’m working on it, but in the mean time, I’m an insufferably rude asshole.

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So, two weeks off from the blog. Yeah, so, now that work is slowing down a bit as I get caught up, the wife has stated that I need to do some repairs on the home front. Spending time sitting at the computer is not making her happy, so I stayed away.

In other news, I spent a few days doing some installation work at a shop that I cannot show you the pics I took just yet because they’re not open yet. The shop is kind of like Jurassic Park, because no expense was spared and there is live foliage. However, on their opening weekend, you’ll get to see the inside and the basic metalwork I did.

In pics, I recently spent a decent amount of time manufacturing these beer tap tops for the chain.


One of my fellow employees attaches the wooden parts and tightens them together after these aluminum tops cool off. Yes, that’s my hood.

Lastly, this last weekend was the party for my brother’s 40th b-day. I waited until the last minute to find his gift because I wanted something funky and spontaneous. My plan worked at the first garage sale I went to that morning, and here is Bob with his mooseknuckle.


He loved it and I’ve since gotten a dozen pics of other party goers posing with it.

PS: I’m in my last week of product testing and Ill have a review of an awesome new product next Monday.

Posted in Kewel!, Life in the Atomic Age | 2 Comments