Friday, October 22, 2021

Ten Year Challenge

This photo is a fraud. Left side says 2011 but I'm pretty sure that was 2014. Right side reads 2021 but that's 2019. So I've aged ten years in five years and it feels like it.

Fatter and saggier. So sad. I find out people are intimidated physically by me. What? I'm an old man. 

Uh-huh. A silverback ape of an old man, with all the attributes of that archetype. When Johnny raises his Aspect, he can be quite Mongolian, 

Not surprising, Kurman being a Turkic name. Our genes read Northern Barbarian, so maybe we were adopted, or adopted the name.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Don't Get Old

Grandma used to tell me that.

I always replied, the alternative isn't appealing. Dying young. 

I understand what she was getting on about. Getting old sucks. Take my right eyeball. Please. 

It's 30 years older than the rest of me.

About two years ago I noticed a jelly in the lower hemisphere of my right eye. I told the eye doctor about it and he said the vitreous humor, the gel inside your eyeball, can thicken in parts. It often happens right next to the retina and can detach it in the worst case. He told me to watch for flashing or shimmering and colors. Those were warning signs. The flashing and colors came and went away last summer, replaced by a giant jelly covering 2/3rds of my lower vision and warps and distorts the upper third To add to my pleasure, a bunch of capillaries decided to die in the right eye.

Closing my left eye is a nightmare of perception. I spy, with my wretched right eye, a world from the bottom of a pond filled with frog's eggs and jellyfish tentacles.

My amazing brain compensates so my total field of vision is intact. I only experience a superstition of something wrong. A shadow of doubt that didn't exist before. Especially the right peripheral vision. A continual nagging tug from the right, which is now Void.

Don't get old.



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Unfinished Business

Molten bronze on Monday and Wednesday, ceramics on Tuesday, glass blowing on Thursday, welding all week. I havent had this schedule in thirteen years. I used to blow glass Thursday nights and got pretty good at it. Tried it again after thirteen years and made a tumbler. Certainly not a straight walled tumbler, but it survived Six pieces cast in bronze. Four one hitter weed pipes out of the kiln. This is a level of activity not seen in years. I assume its an allergic reaction to the quarantine. 

Here's a pic:

I stopped teaching Harper Bronze in 2016 fall semester. 2017 was a fantastic year. It was my year, the year of the Fire Rooster. Got a tattoo, which turned out to be a non-frivolous tattoo. Got a bunch of brands on my welding leathers. My brands. My tools. I'm surprised there isn't more branded leather in fashion. 2017 was a good year because I figured out who I am. 

I am your Uncle Thor. Or your Grandpa Weed if you need some weed. I am him. I am here.  I am that.

The numerology of John E. Kurman is always 6. Two to the 6th is 64 which means I die this year. Too corny.

My hexagram is number 64, go figure. The last hexagram in the I Ching. In every single mythology, I am an Earth symbol, a  momma's boy, Mother Earth. I am thorium, uranium, plutonium, neutronium. Point being I am reliable rock solid get you out of a fix with the least amount of scratches kind of Uncle Thor you need now and again. And I'm 24/7, exlcuding the afternoon nap.

The only place to go now is to raise or coach future Uncle and Aunt Thors. Which I'm trying to do.

Hard to be a bigot when you are desperate for talent.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Poison Apple

Unpopular Opinion:  Steve Jobs was a horrible man. His warped character brought technological horror into this world. Tech would have been better off without him.

His prejudice, arrogance and avarice distorted every design and business decision. For a visonary, he sure didn't get it. A lot. So many visions eventually appeared, despite his best efforts.

Had Steve Jobs been strangled in his crib, the tech world may not have been 35 years ahead of where it is, but it would have been 35 years with a lot less cruelty and cold empty contempt. I could actually write the same thing about John Lennon. They would both be nasty old men, You wouldn't want to spend any time with them at all.



Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Corporate Kaijus

I've been reading through entries from this Memory Hut, and it's 90% prattle. Animal noises. 


It is a rarity I am impressed by something I wrote. I also notice I'm still stuck on the same subjects a decade later. One of them was the surmise that humans are a super-organism as surely as ants and bees. Smaller cohorts of humans are also super-organisms as well, with their own pecutliarities and talents.

As an illustration, Blair Fix, in his essay The Evolution of 'Big': How Sociality Made Life Larger, estimates that the US Federal government is 10,000 times bigger than a blue whale.

"Were this mass packed into one animal, the beast would be three quarters the height of the Empire State Buidling".

I assume he equates employee count to pounds. Our metaphorical US MechaGodzilla is 938 feet tall. The largest movie godzilla to date is 1,043 feet. With this simple comparison of super-massive animals based upon human average weight, we can derive lists.

Wal-Mart-zilla: 1031 feet tall, McDonalds: 540 foot tall clown. The Chinese Communist Kaijus? Dwarf everything. 

How about instead of employee numbers, revenue size, or wealth or what? You can see where this is going. Portraits of Corporate Kaijus and Government Mechas.

Sounds lika a great landscape to explore limited only by yours truly. And see how that works? I am lazy and bore easily and am already talking myself out of the project. I should start hiring people to do this shit for me. They will have more and better ideas, and I just have to give it the nod and take the shit when it doesn't work. 

I imagine Elon Zuckerbergs, or Mark Musks, piloting their mega-mecha-zillas from stratospheric heights, feel like unto gods.

Zoom away one thousand yards, and you see a lizord with a pea brain.

For all practical effects, a small guy on guy-wires waiting to get rattled inside a metal skull. Happens to princes and paupers all. 

Best, my lovelies, to find Flow.

Flow destroys the ego.

You fade into the task.

All that remains is the work.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Close the Blast Doors!

Blast doors won't make a difference, not when your wormhole collapses into a false vacuum bubble.

And just be glad there is no false vacuum decay, else you, me, all our favorite stuff, suddenly swept away by a true vacuum bubble accelerating towards infinity. 

These scenarios are part of the superposition of stories when you operate a faulty Time Tunnel, part of OPERATION TIC TOC, buried somewhere in the Arizona desert. There is no such thing as a beta test for time machines. They either work, or work wierd. And weird may be great for a TV show. Not so great when you are lost in a swirling maze of past and future ages.

Before Irwin Allen became the Master of Disaster with the Poseidon Adventure and the Towering Inferno, he did cheesy scifi TV. 

Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and The Time Tunnel. The shows didn't usually start out cheesy and frantic, but TV ratings of the 1960s demanded increasing titillation. Irwin Allen was up against Batman, so race to the bottom. Couple of things that thrilled me as a boy: sparking explosions and scene shake. Irwin Allen was addicted to shaking cameras and rattling hammers in buckets.It's an unfortunate cheap practical effect still in use. Sparks? Irwin Allen did not know what a fuse was. 

The advantage of the Time Tunnel was Allen had access to 20th Century Fox film and TV footage, props stock and sets making historical scenes going back to 1,000,000BCE available for free. Still, it was one of the most expensive TV shows for 1966. When ABC told Allen to cut the budget, he refused and the show was cancelled after one season. I'm betting Irwin Allen made some serious coin here.

TVTropes is the best. There are other fan sites, but TVtrope cuts through the bullshit and gives you the insights. Best to read before continuing. I'll wait.

Two things from TVtropes I think are important. The only lady scientist, Dr. Ann MacGregor, is Smurfette, who I guess is making sandwiches for the boys. She's always being carrried out of harm's way the second shit hits the fan. Playted by Lee Meriwether She was 31 at the time of filming which made her a Handsome Woman, in other words a Living Prop.

Then there is Technician Jerry, played by Sam Groom. Jerry was offering ideas that the officers and scientistts rejected. Only to have them work in the end as a last desperate measure. So all the eggheads and authorities should have listened to Jerry. Why, Jerry had his life saved by Ann. He had a heart attack and Ann revived him with the severed ends of a power cable to restart his heart. 

I'm guessing some ninja reverse judo resistance fighting against the white patriarchy, a little class warfare. But you how it goes baby. We are a super organism like ants and bees. We have castes, a 40,000 year old adaptation. Castes as strictly defined as electron orbits.

My 2021 reimagining of the Time Tunnel  is a superposition of events and outcomes. Most of the stories are episodic, but the theme would circle back to Billy Pilgrim is Unstuck in Time meets The Ann and Jerry anchor team time machine.

In the 1960s, PROJECT TIC TOC is the US wormhole project. (Because wormhole=time machine).

A visiting Senator to the site is not pleased wih all the wasted taxpayer dollars. He demands a show or the carnival gets sold. Scientist James Darren (played by Kiki LaRue) steps up to the plate and is POOF GONE for all we know vaporized. But no, the Time Tumnel, she worked and they can see them backwards in time in chronoscopic bolzetron! So, they try to get them back but no go. A tether approach might work and Guy goes into the wormhole aperture with a rope like Poltergeist. And now they are swirling in a maze of past and future ages.

Episode 1,  an hour long unavoidable disaster. At the end of the first episode the universe and everyone dies. 

Episode 2,  an hour long unavoidable disaster. Same as the first episode, but its a time loop. 

Episode 3, Kiki and Guy end up on the Titanic and find some socialites with really good cocaine and booze and weed and opiates. They get really fucked up and then the iceberg hits. They get on a lifeboat and are picked up the next day by a tramp steamer.

Episode 4,Kiki and Guy end up at Pearl Harbor on the Arizona Sunday morning December 7th. "We gotta get the fuck out of here,pronto!" They do,

You can see the pattern, They're party ghosts, as well they should be.

Episode 30, Kiki and Guy are augmented in the future and sent back to kill themselves by the ape shaped ant-wasps of  Year One Million. Whic they do. Season Two is augmented Kiki and Guy Show.

 You gotta wonder why so few episodes are about the future and that is the same problem as the Fermi Paradox.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

100 ton racks and the Cloud above the clouds

Elon Musk may not be as dumb as he looks. 


Over at Antipope, Charlie Stross argues that Elon Musk is going to build space based solar power generators. The satellites are in geosynchronous orbit, exposed to sunlight 24/7, and we are much better at broadcasting and collecting microwaves than when this was first seriously proposed. 

Starship has yet to do anything like orbit and return. Still on paper, it can launch 100 tons in orbit and return, 250 tons expendable. (250 tons is half the weight of the ISS). Other than canned ape there is really no call to put 100 tons in orbit for most anybody outside the military.

Still, 100 tons at geosync with current solar cells gets you on the high end of 2GW. Stross figures a 70% loss to the rectenna on Earth, gets you a 6 megawatt power plant.

That does not put much of a dent in the global appetite of 18TW per hour.

If  Musk comes even close to his goal of 1000 Starships launching every day, then after a year he has around 3 million tons in orbit after a year. 300,000 geosynchronous power satellites. 70% of 300,000 times 2 GW is 420TW. That is an insane amount of power.

Of course its all bullshit. 

What if Musk doesn't give a crap about power transmission and is instead interested in information? It's easier to compute above the clouds than broadcast power. What if Mush is building a 44,000-mile sized Matrioshka Brain? Granted you got big problems with cosmic rays and solar flares. Still, lots of people are seriously thinking about putting racks in space

And why not? If losses prove acceptable, 50 tons of data center powered by 2GW in geosynchronous orbit, talking to its others in orbit?

And since we've already established this all pie in the sky bullshit, cold edge computing. Literally cold in the shadow of field of solar panels. Cold plasmas, cold Bose-Einstein condesatesm time crystals, you name it. 

It takes a lot power for all global IT stuff, like 10% of the world's electricity. I figure a much higher profit can be made at less cost by sending all that stuff into orbit.

Signed, George Jetson