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Joshua Tree National Park February 8, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, RV and camping, Uncategorizable.
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Warning: foul language

JTNP is a dangerous place for the unwary naturalist or hiker.  Forget about scampering naked through the desert during a full moon; this place is populated by a truly bewildering variety of spiked, barbed,pointed and sharp plants guaranteed to impale an incautious passerby on the briefest hike, or trip to the restroom.

Take, for example, this beautiful specimen of Darwinian selection:

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This is known as the Spanish Bayonet, the Pointy Bastard or the Unwary Thighstabber. My wife says this is her least favorite plant, possibly due to unfortunate personal experience.  Spanish Bayonet is very stiff and the point is very hard.  I do not doubt this pointy bastard could be used as a bayonet.

Next a more delicate, elegant stiletto of a plant:

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Note the barbed thorns and tips. This herd-culling flora is known as the Lacerating Motherfucker, for good reason. Sometimes called the Wait a Minute, it grabs anything organic which brushes it and drags it towards itself in a series of painful spasms.  One presumes the plant benefits passively from the organic matter of its victims decaying around it, thus enriching the local soil. It is perhaps worth noting that many desert species secrete chemicals which inhibit the germination of other plants.  This helps explain why there are small bare patches surrounding most plants in Joshua Tree National Park.  Worth noting, too, is that the space is just large enough for small critters to pass, but not humans.

Ouch.

Then there are the more obvious instruments of torture, the standard cacti, some of which are exceptionally well defended1, such as the Malevolent Spiny Fucker:

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Closely related in terms of armament and disposition is That Dangerous Spiked Fucker:

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Not lastly (because I’m typing this in a very cramped camping chair and I need to go have a beer) is the Psychotic Rapier Clusterfuck.  Do not trip near this plant.

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As usual, the wonders of Nature make me sit back and admire her ingenuity from safely inside a locked room with air conditioning, a stereo system playing Vivaldi and powerful adult beverages to celebrate my narrow escapes.2

I would not have you finish reading this little note without understanding that the grandeur of the place is unparalleled in my experience. The Flintstonesesque scenery will make any visitor think they have landed on another planet designed by Irwin Allen, or maybe Ray Harryhausen.3:

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1.  The best defense is a good offense.

2.  I haven’t even talked about the night hikes through the Stabby Wastelands following an experienced madman to “my spot”, nor the boulder scrambling urges that demand to be addressed by the Flintstones’ rock formations here. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking.

3.   Seriously. Maybe Luc Besson?

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The Best Things in Life January 1, 2018

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, RV and camping.
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The momentous stuff in my life pales in comparison with a good camping trip…like this one. At our favorite local (abandoned) campground:

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Within walking distance of here we found, well, this:

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All found within twenty minutes, each cluster was part of a greater whole.

pond

This is the view across the pond…reflected in the water, then rotated and cropped in GIMP, the poor man’s Photoshop.

Absolutely Juvenile July 26, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Mutants, Toys, Uncategorizable, Video.
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I enjoyed this immensely, but it is about one in the morning and I have been up since about five cleaning house and preparing for my next Great Adventure.

 

I am probably punchy.

This Just In June 16, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography.
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IMG_20170616_204405224

 View looking southeastIMG_20170616_204335466 

View looking northwest

Just Two Guys Talking June 7, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Video.
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Star Trek (in My Imagination, at Least) March 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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Beauty and the Beast With a Better Gaston March 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Video.
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Training Neural Networks to Write Bach in a Day! March 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Brain, Geek Stuff, Toys, Video.
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Fascinating bit of video here as Our Hero (not me, in this case) takes Bach (and later Mozart) MIDI files, creates an 88-character ASCII-character alphabet from them and trains a Recurrent Neural Network to output similar sequences.

The results (and a lot of the process) is shown in the video above.  Take your time and watch the whole thing; I wonder how long he would have to train the RNN to start outputting Baroque Muzak continually?

That’s Enough, Sir; I Have to Ask You to Leave February 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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from boinGboinG.net

Second-best View on the Block February 22, 2017

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view from scott and barbs

From Scott and Barbara’s house.

Why Trump? February 20, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff.
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https://medium.com/@DaleBeran/4chan-the-skeleton-key-to-the-rise-of-trump-624e7cb798cb#.jmnimypj1 contains the answer to that puzzle.  Be warned: it is a long, thoughtful piece with some uncomfortable ideas for both left and right alike (but not alt-right).

My Next Hobby February 7, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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HR 8799 Image Animated With Hot Jupiters January 28, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Photography, Science.
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Scientists have detected thousands of exoplanets in recent years, by watching varying brightness as they occlude their stars. This animation comes from direct imaging methods (not radio telescopes), meaning that the telescopes saw the Jupiter-sized planets directly (hot Jupiters are young planets that still glow in the infrared portion of the spectrum).

Jason Wang at the University of California, Berkeley has combined several observations of HR 8799 into the delightful GIF below. This is years of optical data, folks. “In this video you’re seeing real data,” he told Gizmodo1 of the video above. “I smoothed out the orbits so that it’s as if we’re watching [the planets] constantly in real time.”

orbitin beta pictoris hot jupiters

 

1 I stole the picture from Giz.  I feel no shame at all.  Follow that link, though; there’s much more!

Getting There, One Piece at a Time January 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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Open the Alexa app on your phone.

Use the More icon (the hamburger) in the upper left corner.

Select Settings.

Select the device whose wake word you wish to change.

Tap the Wake Word setting.

Select Computer from the drop-down.

You are done.

I would like to point out that Star Trek has so influenced culture that the United Federation of Planets is likely to happen any time now…we just need more planets.  We already have Majel Barret’s voice phonemes.  Now we need Google to sync up, a bit better response to voice meaning (the voice vector thing should help), a truthiness evaluator and bingo! Star Trek in your phone/home/office/laboratory/dungeon/whatever.

White Newtonmas Eve December 24, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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IMG_20161224_072254605 It’s Newtonmas Eve, and all the nuclear family is here.  Merry Newtonmas to all.

 

Don’t worry about the snow; it’s mostly gone already.  : )

As Reported Previously, the Ice Caps Are Gone November 28, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Mutants, Science, Toys.
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https://i2.wp.com/media.gizmodo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/s--awA5Xrmi--.gif

Each BigDog(tm) has 8/3 reindeer power.

I’ve Had Enough Out of You Guys November 27, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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Don’t mess with me;  I have a stick.

First Real Snow November 23, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography.
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first real snow

My postings have been delayed by iceberg calving down the road. Fortunately, the local market is open, and I can still get egg nog and brandy.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Newtonmas November 21, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Can’t get it on Amazon…can it be real?

Gluten-free Bread Machine Adventures 5 November 21, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Science, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Wherein we find Our Hero has found that Pamela’s Gluten-free Bread Mix can be had from Amazon Prime for $2.42/lb delivered, which is no small thing here in the Frozen North, where the only town bigger than 2,000 is an hour away…

See previous Bread Machine Adventures for correct use, misuse and abuse.