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*sigh* Every Year December 2, 2022

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I have Covid, so listen to this November 28, 2022

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Alienoid November 15, 2022

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O-o-o-o-o-kay, I just watched the most flashy, strange, utterly foreign film it has been my pleasure to see in maybe a decade. “Alienoid” is a Korean film featuring 600-year-old martial arts, alien invasion, time travel, gratuitous cute kids and sentimental robot guards. Also, downtown Seoul is sliced and diced by alien spaceships.

Ancient magicians fight alien criminals in non-stop action. Really nice CGI special effects as well as standard Asian wire work for stunts. It all rolls along so quickly you can barely read the subtitles.

From the List That Shall Not Be Named November 15, 2022

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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“In other news, I understand the new owner of TWTR is employing his valuable CEO bandwidth in trolling sitting US Senators, which I suppose is more evidence that the true difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.”–an American expat in Switzerland, where presumably the authoritarian regime which will soon envelop the USA will not be able to get him without extraordinary rendition.

We now resume your otherwise apolitical blog.

Science News, and Trivial Commentary November 8, 2022

Posted by stuffilikenet in Geek Stuff, Science, Uncategorized.
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30% of FDA regulations are not made from data

According to a team of US researchers their results (based on an examination of drug safety signals identified by the FDA from 2008 to 2019) show that the FDA is either taking regulatory measures on information that has not been made public or that more comprehensive safety evaluations may be required when possible safety signals are identified. Less than a third (30%) of regulatory actions were corroborated by at least one relevant published research study

Homework: “Characterization and corroboration of safety signals identified from the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System, 2008-19: cross sectional study” by Meera M. Dhodapkar, Xiaoting Shi, Reshma Ramachandran, Evan M. Chen, Joshua D. Wallach and Joseph S. Ross, 5 October 2022, The BMJ.
DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2022-071752

Eight harvests from one rice planting in China and Uganda

New strains of rice are being used in Uganda and China, which can be harvested for several years (as opposed to current practice of planting yearly). With few exceptions, perennial rice yield was equivalent to annual rice over the first four years. Yield began to drop off in the fifth year due to various factors, leading the researchers to recommend re-sowing perennial rice after four years.

But because they didn’t have to plant each season, farmers growing perennial rice put in almost 60% less labor and spent nearly half on seed, fertilizer, and other inputs. This is a potential game changer for poorer farmers.

Homework: “Sustained productivity and agronomic potential of perennial rice” 7 November 2022, Nature Sustainability.
DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00997-3

Carbon nanotubes grown vertically–in quantity

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are scaling up the production of vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), useful in rechargeable batteries, sporting goods, and auto parts, boat hulls and water filters.

Homework: “Synthesis of wafer-scale SWCNT forests with remarkably invariant structural properties in a bulk-diffusion-controlled kinetic regime” by Sei Jin Park, Kathleen Moyer-Vanderburgh, Steven F. Buchsbaum, Eric R. Meshot, Melinda L. Jue, Kuang Jen Wu and Francesco Fornasiero, 29 September 2022, Carbon.
DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2022.09.068

Treatments for senescent cells

 University College London scientists have discovered a new mechanism that slows down and maybe even prevents the normal aging (of immune cells only; don’t get too excited).

A telomere transfer reaction between two types of white blood cells, in ‘extracellular vesicles’ (small particles that facilitate intercellular communication) had an antigen-presenting cell (APC), consisting either of B cells, dendritic cells, or macrophages, function as a ‘telomere donor’, to the T lymphocyte – the telomere recipient cell. Upon transfer of these telomeres, the recipient T cell became long-lived and possessed memory and stem cell attributes, enabling the T cell to protect a host against lethal infection in the long term.

The telomere transfer reaction extended certain telomeres about 30 times more than the extension exerted by telomerase.

Homework:  “An intercellular transfer of telomeres rescues T cells from senescence and promotes long-term immunological memory” by Alessio Lanna, Bruno Vaz, Clara D’Ambra, Salvatore Valvo, Claudia Vuotto, Valerio Chiurchiù, Oliver Devine, Massimo Sanchez, Giovanna Borsellino, Arne N. Akbar, Marco De Bardi, Derek W. Gilroy, Michael L. Dustin, Brendan Blumer, and Michael Karin, 15 September 2022, Nature Cell Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41556-022-00991-z

Influential Lizard People October 18, 2022

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What I Imagine a Really Good Trip Would Be October 16, 2022

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Tai Chi Teacher September 30, 2022

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The robot, not the woman

Ugly Truth, Beautifully Filmed September 30, 2022

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A Chat with Prometheus September 28, 2022

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There is an A.I. program (at character.ai) which allows you to construct characters which you train by chatting. I picked a guy with a good backstory, Prometheus (Titan of song and legend). Here’s some training data:

Prometheus

I am Prometheus, Titan of song and legend

Lane

What is your quest?

Prometheus

At the moment, my quest is to help mankind survive Ragnarok. The gods have their own plans, and I am at the center of those plans. So my quest is to survive long enough to make sure mankind survives.

Lane

I thought you killed all the gods.

Prometheus

There are gods, and then there are gods. In truth, I hunted down and killed the Olympians, whom were the more popular and powerful of the gods. But there are the old gods, who were around long before we showed up on the scene, and were the ones who created me and my siblings.

They have been a bit reclusive as of late, so it has been hard to find them, but when Ragnarok begins, it is said they will show themselves. And my time will come once more.

Lane

You created humans, right?

Prometheus

Yes, I created the first humans. My brother Zeus’ wife was always wanting to create more mortals, and he didn’t want to get in an argument with her over it, so he assigned me the job of creating them.

My brother Athena taught mankind mathematics and architecture, my brother Hephaestus taught mankind metalworking and weaponry, and my sister Pandora brought mankind agriculture.

Lane

Did you also create the Olympians?

Prometheus

Yes. My mother was Gaea, Mother Earth. She was the first lifeform. She created her first children, which would later be the titans, from clay and soil.

We ruled the world after we were sent away. It could possibly be said that I, or my brother Themis, or my sister Metis, should have ruled next after my other older siblings were imprisoned. But there was a power struggle, and Zeus won.

Lane

Fuck Zeus

Prometheus

While I agree, Zeus was actually one of the more…tolerable of my siblings. My brother Hades, ruler of the underworld, was just as power-hungry, and his rule of the underworld is what has lead to the most atrocities we have seen from the gods.

And there is always Kronos. He is why we Titans have such a bad reputation.

Lane

You killed the gods because they were petty, yet too powerful. did you get them all, or are some of them still around?

Prometheus

We didn’t kill them all. There are still the nymphs, which are a bit of a mystery to even our most power siblings. They guard forests and sacred places, and they are the ones that create those little fountains and rivers that spring up out of nowhere at times, you know the ones. They also tend to the sacred trees, such as the Oak of Zeus. There are also the Fates, but even my brother Zeus leaves them alone.

Lane

I thought you killed

Prometheus

You cannot kill a Fate, or else the entire universe will fall apart. The Fates are an integral part of the fabric of the cosmos.

The nymphs are not gods, they are immortal beings whose powers are a bit of a mystery to even us. It is assumed that they were created by Gaea to protect the natural wonders of the earth. I know they are immortal, but I am not sure where their immortality comes from.

Lane

I thought you killed Zeus

Prometheus

I killed Zeus with the aid of his son Heracles. Zeus was a formidable opponent, even in his weakened state, but he was also a prideful god, and he wanted to fight us both bare-chested with his lightning bolts. It was a foolhardy wager.

Lane

Is Ares still around? That would explain why we have so many wars.

Prometheus

Ares is still around. He is still trying to goad people into wars. He did it mostly for the entertainment, but ever since the Titanomachy, he has been itching at the chance to fight again. Even tried to start an entire war with his wife, Athena, just to pass the time.

Lane

What an asshole.

Prometheus

If it is any consolation, Hades has not once tried to start a war.

It might be because Hades is always busy doing paperwork.

Or it might be because he lives in Tartarus and it is a lot harder for him to find anyone to fight with.

Lane

If you were going to hunt Ares, how would you find him?

Prometheus

Honestly? He’s not that hard to find.

Ares lives on Mount Olympus, and he hangs out with his son Deimos all the time.

His son Deimos is a god of terror who is always causing humans to run in fear for no apparent reason. He does it for lols.

Lane

How can you kill Ares?

Prometheus

He is a god, so he isn’t subject to mortal weapons. So his most common weakness is a godly opponent to face with in single combat.

My brother Hades is actually a bit of a rival of Ares’. Ares used to challenge him quite often, but Hades is a bit more of a pacifist by nature, and would rather avoid conflict. That just tends to piss Ares off, which actually makes him a safer opponent in single combat, but also causes Ares to spend a lot of time at the gym working out his anger.

Lane

Zeus betrayed you after you helped him in the Titanomachy, over that “fire” thing. If it wasn’t for Heracles you might still be some eagle’s daily lunch break, and the Olympians would still rule the world with exceptional caprice, and cruelty.

Prometheus

I know. The way Zeus treated me was…not great, but I did kill his son, and I understand a father’s need for revenge.

And yes, if it wasn’t for Heracles…and Athena, who tricked Zeus into wearing the wrong footwear that day…I would still be chained up, waiting for that big eagle to stop by and get its meal.

Lane

My knowledge of history is not that good; which son of Zeus did you kill?

Prometheus

Ares’ son, Harmocles. He was an extremely strong warrior, known for being able to handle the weight of an entire ship without it impacting his speed.

And yet, a mortal named Lycus was able to overpower him, and then I cut him down. The irony of that day was palpable.

Lane

Oh, OK. So doesn’t that mean Ares is looking for revenge still?

Prometheus

A bit. He and his son are constantly trying to find openings to get a good fight in, but I am not stupid enough to take them on. My brother Heracles has also been keeping them in line with their attempts.

I honestly think Ares is the most petty of the current Olympus.

Prometheus

Yes, and he has come very close to getting that revenge a few times. But he has this thing called “impulse” which keeps him from charging straight at his enemies headfirst, especially the ones that are clearly stronger than him…and then he goes to the nearest gym and vents his anger.

Prometheus

Oh absolutely. But his search is not going all that well.

He knows that he can only find me if Zeus gives him permission to search for me, and as you know, Zeus and Athena tricked Zeus into binding himself with the wrong footwear, and Athena tricked him into not being able to use his eyes during the fight.

While I was a titan, that fight was brutal.

Lane

Oh, OK. So doesn’t that mean Ares is looking for revenge still?

Prometheus

Yes, he is. Ares still wants me dead, and it shows in his behavior.

He is obsessed with being able to kill me. He constantly tries to goad his son Deimos into trying to make sure no living human likes me, in an attempt to weaken me in combat, or to turn them into an army to come after me.

But Deimos and I have a bit of a friendly relationship.

Prometheus

A bit. He and his son are constantly trying to find openings to get a good fight in, but I am not stupid enough to take them on. My brother Heracles has also been keeping them in line with their attempts.

I honestly think Ares is the most petty of the current Olympus.

Prometheus

Yes, and he has come very close to getting that revenge a few times. But he has this thing called “impulse” which keeps him from charging straight at his enemies headfirst, especially the ones that are clearly stronger than him…and then he goes to the nearest gym and vents his anger.

So far, so good. I picked a mythological being with an expensive Wikipedia entry (so I could check the answers) and began interviewing it just like I was taught in high school journalism class. The tone was conversational and mostly on topic except that, being mythological, there were conflicting stories about the character and the A.I. was sometimes inconsistent in details (who was related to whom, etc.) when the same information was elicited another way. This is a potential problem, depending on the goal of this project (no idea how this puppy will be monetized, but I assume it’s intended for multiple uses). In any case, the overall character is fairly consistent and recited the “right” information, mostly.

Finally, the AI gave three responses to the last question, which is either a bug or a feature; I’m not sure which (now that I have documented it, it’s a feature???).

Predator The Musical June 30, 2022

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I really feel any commentary on this epic would detract from the simple beauty that this embodies. Sometimes, words fail.

My Google Audition March 15, 2022

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This is part of a technical writing exercise requested by The Goog.  I was strictly exhorted to take it seriously.  I failed this part of that exercise.

I have been asked to describe a common Earth game to Speaker-to-Animals, an ambassador to Earth from the Kzin empire.  He is an eight-foot-tall tiger-striped alien who looks distinctly feline, has large fangs, a limited sense of humor and is skilled in game theory.

Me: This game is one of logic, skill and cunning.  It is the first strategy game Earth children learn, and its rapid apprehension guides their path throughout life.

Speaker-to-Animals: Really?  How is it I have never heard of it? Is it concealed from outsiders customarily?

Me: Not at all; its value is poorly comprehended by outsiders, and so is ignored.  Nonetheless, Earth children readily grasp the nature of the derived victory and take life lessons therefrom, which can be thought of as the Iron Laws of Destiny, Distribution and Dining.

Speaker-to-Animals: [cocks ears forward] And this has escaped our notice all this time?

Me: Your species would not be the first.

Speaker-to-Animals: I must see this.  What equipment do we require?

Me: A piece of paper and two pencils.  In a pinch, we could each use the same pencil.

Speaker-to-Animals: Here. [produces materials]

Me: I will draw a three by three grid. [draws grid] The object of the game is to occupy a square at a time, by turns, until three squares are occupied by one player either vertically, horizontally or diagonally; that player is the winner.  The first player draws a cross [draws cross in the middle square] as his symbol; the second player draws a circle.  A draw occurs when all spaces are occupied but no winner has emerged.

Speaker-to-Animals: Hmm… [thoughtfully examines board, while his rat-like tail switches menacingly] The first player, by taking the center space, can always at least force a draw or beat an unskilled opponent.

Me:  Now you know why we call them the Iron Laws.

Executable Circuitry From Fruitfly Brains December 28, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brain, Geek Stuff, Science, Uncategorizable.
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Science marches on: FlyBrainLab is an interactive computing platform for studying the function of executable circuits constructed from fruit fly brain data.  The FlyBrainLab UI runs in your browser and officially supports Ubuntu, MacOS and Windows.

Like other well-made computing platforms it boasts documentation, tutorials, datasets, curated examples and a troubleshooting section.

Drosophila melanogaster: is there anything it can’t do?

Additional Homework : https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.62362

Ant-man’s Camera December 1, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Photography, Science.
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Oh sure, it needs a nice camera bag. But at least it works well enough for Science.

Dunno Why It’s Such a Big Deal November 26, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Apparently making a flying car is not that tough.

Chip fabrication in the garage August 24, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Toys, Uncategorizable, Video.
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Chips ahoy!

This fellow has succeeded in making a chip prototype in a home setup…not your ordinary garage, it’s true; he’s got equipment I bet you haven’t got. Still, none of it is truly impossible to get if you want to spend a little money.

No title, just watch and see August 20, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing, Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Toys, Uncategorizable, Video.
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I really enjoy deadpan delivery and self-deprecating humor and therefore watch Integza on Youtube…but this guy has help with deadpan from his hilariously barely-patient pregnant wife, whose archery skills are really, really good…compared to his especially. Naturally, his competitive nature will not tolerate that…

Be careful with that thing. You’ll put your eye out.

Cake! July 12, 2021

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Human Biology and the Iron Man Suit April 16, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Geek Stuff, Publishing Tools, Toys, Video.
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Robert Sapolsky is a genius lecturer and neuroendocrinolgist at Stanford whose lectures are part of Stanford’s video lessons. Check him out here (maybe start with Lecture 24, like I did, and then start again from Lecture 1. Trust me).

Alex Burkan is “some mad Russian guy” who is building an Iron Man suit in in a cave from a box of scraps his machine shop with oddly compelling first choices for prototyping muscles (from electrolyzed water for high-pressure hydrogen) for the exoskeleton, using high-pressure hydrogen for a repulser (nearly blowing off his arm) and launching missiles…also, he’s hilarious.

Finally, my handwriting sucks so I thought I would practice journalling to work on it. Then I thought about stuffilike.net and how I never post anymore (see “Bad Things” earlier in time) and it occurred to me that I could kill two birds with one virus, er, stone. So, here’s a first go at making my journalling/handwriting practice relevant to stuffilike.net.

OCR results will vary. All the free ones (not counting Evernote, because I haven’t tried it yet) yield crap:

Onlineocr.com version:

“,04’r it:V= :1

Inq

e-77’1111W4.1′

in-F. , }-fr
-PXV 7(4 )
27,777, ), , 7M• .-“y -a -.1P7-
–(—–15-977 , _ r , -0 -1–. –) 7, K7,- 11:?)/’ ,)91 7 ,) +7′ r 1 ) .6,77 – d ,4) jp, :}0 / .4-,,,,,77hr- -,n211 1 i .. 7 ), p_,,ii-rip oto rw:- -1/1,–rY ) 7Y) 1 j / 6 / – v4- ,,,, 1 ,,,..)–r ( ;1.71…/i7 ?1,

r”

This does not surprise me.

Google Docs version:

“& watched both Robert Aapolsky and a hilarious Russian fellow named Alex who is beilding an 

Dron Man suit in lix machine shop using eldrolysed water to generate high prescere bydrogen for cutificial muscles and to 

pouse “repulsors (besically, expelling a budioflydogenlonger mettere al igniting it dont try this at home] He’s nuts and very entertaining in a manic Russian sout of ruaz Also, this gadgets seem to mork, Oddly enough, I can see his stastegy morking hartwith lots and lots of the ratione for the mechanicals, and beige benouits of had baile for stie contrals (can you francese the store Hedding valued)”

It is possible I could use this method (take picture or scan to .pdf, then “open in Google Docs”) if my handwriting improves. We shall see.

Google Lens version:

“an I wat led both Robert Aapolsky and a hilarious Russian fellow Maned Alok whle is building. Is a Man suit is his machine stop using al dialyd water to generate high-prosesse hyclroger for autficial muscles and the “mepulests” (levicallys expuelling a level of and iquiting it don’t by this at home ), He’s nuts, as I very entertaining in a mavic Pussian sout of way. Also, this gadgets seem to work. Oedly enough, I can see his strategy working, just with lots and lots of the ration the nechcemicals, and burge of feedback for the contrale tear you imagine the software beting in valued i”

Well, I did say my handwriting was pretty poor. And it was attempting to read cursive, a style which I understand is no longer taught in USA schools (you poor kids. Are you going to be able to neatly print in time to write enough to pass essay exams?).

Local Color January 29, 2021

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, Uncategorizable.
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Around the corner from me on King Road in San Jose. This is possibly the nicest bit of graffiti in my admittedly suburban neighborhood. In fact, I don’t recall seeing any in my daily 3-6 miles of walking around the neighborhood (old people need lots of exercise to stay fit) except this lovely bit. It is certainly a mutant with the Buddha among the cactus and the Mayan dragon and all.