Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Tooth Pull and a Trip to the Big Lake

There are three stages of dental problems. 

1) Cavities: youth and adolescence
2) Gum disease: adults and elderly
3) Tooth loss: mostly elderly

I enjoy the night time bruxism, and without wearing my guard one night I must have cracked the lower left back molar. Or started a crack and the bruxism kept on worrying it until cracked to the bone.

I experienced a lot of needless suffering before going to the dentist, but mainly because it quit hurting as much, I waited for my regular dental appointment. The dentist looked at it and said you that's coming out and you are an idiot for not coming in when it hurt. People can still die of tooth abcesses and, do die.

I also have a massive tori, a bone spur, on my left jaw which had to be addressed. The tori are there acting like flying buttresses holding the teeth in place while I try to grind their enamel into chalk.

The oral surgeon was great. I already told him it would be a local, as I had been under twice this year and didn't need another IQ drop. He was cutting my jaw up like he was going to eat it. He showed me the tori bits of bone and they were the most perfect white and smooth as plastic. I asked about the tooth and he brushed that off. After they were done I snuck a peak the surgeon's tray and there is the tooth.

Hm. Took a bit of jaw out with it but I'm healing fine. Follow up today and he said wow beautifully healed.

Happy Labor Day! My niece and great niece, I think she's 8 or 9, came in for a family reunion on my sister-in-law's side. We had time before they went to the shindig, so my brother - papa - and I took the youngster up to Lake Michigan. She is from Kansas and has never seen a large body of water.

Papa says keep youreye out for a big blue horizon, and as we top the last dune to see the lake-

"It's an Ocean!" she exclaimed. It's the Big Lake. All other lakes in nowrthwest Indiana have names to clarify but if you say we were at the lake, most would ask The Big Lake? 

Parking is a premium but we finally found a spot when someone pulled out. We made our way down from the road to the beach over boulders and rocks and then orcks and pebbles. My poor feet have hardly been barefoot this summer so there were lots of ooches and ouches out of Uncle John. Made it down to sand and water. The water temperature is 70-72F which is about as warm as it gets. The child complained when dipping toe and  wave washed foot but we said she would get used to it. She did.

I went in with her and after a little bit of a heart attack I was fine too. Papa took pictures from the shore.

I grew up here, ten mles south of Lake Michigan. Every chance I could get I would head to the Dunes. Summers in high school I practically lived there. When I hitch-hiked through Europe in 1976, I had on my itinerary great beaches. I almost didn't leave Denmark. I'm told the north coast of Germany (the Florida of Germany, where my dad's family is from) is even better. I could have gone to East Germany in'76, but it wasn't worth the hassle. 

I had flirted with the idea of hiking the Pacific coast of Baja California, until I read a book by guy who tried to do it. It was a nightmare and he almost died. Finally rescued by fisherman. All the towns on his map were ruins.

The kid was right. It's an ocean, and I am a son of that ocean.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Alien Cinematic Universe

Recovering from my hernia operation I watched a lot of movies from the library and kept up with the habit. New stuff or previously unseen, favorites, and also some second chances. Two of those second chances were Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Both were stinkers with some good parts and the redeemable parts are why I rewatched them. Because I am a tinkerer of masturbatory parts I had to somehow reationalize the bullshit of these two films. 

Not that the prior 4 alien films (I'm ignoring AVP for now) aten't problematic but didn't need a rational backstory. Item: soon after the original alien came out, I'm in a bar with my coding geek coworkers and we got to talking about the weird Alien movie and the convoluted way the alien reproduced. I pointed out that parasitism is a vast and highly lucrative evoluionary niche, but the way the facehugger huged faces would suggest design. Too specific of  a vector, and Ridley Scott confirmed that aliens are designed.. These things are bioweapons. Multiply that in the movie Aliens .

The Alien franchise also inhabits the same universe as Bladerunner (and a 1998 Kurt Russell movie called Soldier} with replicants of those films being organic and eventually synthetic like Ash, Bishop, David and Walter and Call. This connection to Bladerunner/Soldier confirmed that humans had FTL transport, massive (fusion?) power generation to move gigantic shit around the stars. The other commonality is artificial general intelligence, which is far huger than mere fusion power. You see, once you have such a substrate, like a Universal Turing machine, you can run any conscious software that you like, human or alien. Couple it to a material insturmentality and you have protean technology. The only thing scarier is giving this access to life forms, input and output tailored for whatever by what looks like a black goo. (Per Sir Ridley, the black goo can only infect animal forms not plant. Its a rationalization to keep the human protagonists being eaten alive by the grass itself when they set off the lander).

So the black goo is the real villain here. Eating everything in its path to satisfy its objective function. In all the movies, there is no will or intent from this stuff except to spread. David, the android from the 2 prequel movies, is the designer of the xenomorph, but he is using another being's workshop and tools (the Engineers). 

Alien Covnenant is a glorious mess, but it solidifies where the prequels end and the first Alien begins.

What is harder to explain is that humans (per Prometheus) are engineered. In that movie, we see the replicant version of the Engineer species, the Space Jockeys, giants 8 to 14 feet tall. They are not androids, but biological replicants just like Decker and Kurt Russell's character in Soldier. (The story of Soldier is how the synthetics were favored by the corporation over "obsolete" replicant soldiers) 

As biological replicants, and unlike synthetics, they are vulnerable to the black goo, which is why the planets in Prometheus or Covenant are not the Engineer home or colony worlds. They were military bases. Go back and look at the Covenant footage when the Juggernaut docks and before David bombs them all with goo, they have the look of soldiers and airmen at Tinian welcoming back the Enola Gay from bombing Hiroshima. And then the goo hits the fans.

The alien world in Prometheus was both Area 51 and a strike base for the Engineer race, clearly. The hubris of humans to waltz in was well depicted, arrogant stupid little monkeys.

In the confrontation scene between awakened Space Jockey and Weyland, Sir Ridley tells us David asked the alien "This man wants to know if he can have more life".  The Space Jockey carresses David's hair, and then picks him up and rips his head off. The Space Jockey is enraged because their black goo weapon had sent back dolls. What the fuck am I going to do with these things as ground troops? Cancel the whole batch.

Can you blame the guy? We were supposed to be super weapons like the xenomorphs.

Where does this leave us?  The first and last question of this whole film series is why the goo? Who is the Eneny that so frightens them they create this doomsday goo? I can't see it being a rival facion of their own species. At this point you can throw in the AVP universe and suppose the Predators are their enemy but I think not.

There's something scary out there, if you think about it. Way scarier than jump scare monsters. In future Alien movies, here are known facts. 

1 David is still alive and has a planetary laboratory on Origa 4 or whatever. 
2 The Engineers are out there and they are still at war with some Enemy.
3 The Enemy is out there as well
4 Earth is a legitimate target to the section 51 crowd.

Friday, August 4, 2023

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I took the summer off to get an umbilical hernia repaired. Leave it to an American to take time off from work for a medical procedure and then call it a vacation. Meanwhile all my friends and acquaintances are on vacation and I'm eating a toasted cheese sandwich.

Eight weeks on from the operation and I still have tender spots but I'm heading for heavy lifting. I've babied myself for seven weeks and hit the gym last week, so this is week 2 of I assume 9-10 weeks of trying to get to my remembered peak at 60 when I was a fucking animal.

I remember once at the gym this kid, big muscle kid in his 20s asked 'scuse me sir but how old are you? 60, I said.  60!!! Dude you are my hero.

We Kurmans are naturally muscular so I was a fucking animal from 17 on anyways. But I had a schedule at 60 I started at 20: two upper body days, two legs days, core and kettle bells on Friday. Run every day. In my 20s I was a werewolf. Now I'm a silverback, longer to heal and recover. Intermittent fasting got me from my pre-op fat slob weight of 224 down to current 214. I see no shrink of the belly but what would I do without my fat anyway?

I took a fitness evaluation and I got superior (for my age). I walk almost everyday and try to get in at least 2.5 miles. My resting heart rate is 64. My suspicion is I'm gonna be an old Norwegian fisherman and hit the high 90s. I can't afford that. 

Aside from the VR and animation, I've been looking at AI art, and what I like is not the AI and the prompts so much as the centaurs. Centaurs, the people using the AI to make stuff. There is still uncanny valley, a seeping in of nightmare realities in the images and videos. Now that artists are using their own images and prompts to embellish, I've seen some neat stuff. I like where it is going. Motion picture and TV wise, my prediction is the public will want authenticity at some point and we see more practical effects and a big revival (with the help of AI) of light weight sets, now self-assembling sets what with the robots. Perfect for quick change in the theater. What you tihnk theater is going away? Ha! AI and robots are supergay, perfect for the theater. Folks get tired ot all the CGI magic.

A hugre impact now already is editing, and AI is all over that.

Directing a picture is just creating a camera roll. The editor makes the picture. A kickass centaur film editor, or team, can give you some kickass editing. Already been happening.

LK-99 anyone? I'm still waitng for more replications since the procedure is published and simple. So far, not good for room temperature, but they got superconductor at -160C, not bad and way above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. A chinese lab has got magnetic levitation, but no one yet gets both. This copper-doped lead apatite is polycrystalline, so it is possible there is a pathway matrix that works, perhaps like a lead lined highway with copper bumper guards, that they need to isolate. 

The Korean papers said superconducting as high as 60-90C, which is the high one hundreds which makes this discovery not just astounding but ready for hard, dirty work. And wouldnt' it be ironic if the call for lead caused us to clean up all the tainted lead sites, and buried cable and pipe,  to make superconducting circuits, wire and cable?

Monday, July 31, 2023

Something Went Wrong

Memory hut working as planned, my dear diary, gentle readers, giving my own (still quite good) memory a physical anchor. A chain between physical and actual Johnny.

Case in point. I've told the joke about how all that radioactive fallout and never-before-seen chemical poisons, toxins, heavy metals, excretions forced upon the Boomer generation. Maybe not the Most Poisoned generation, but for sure the Most-Novelty/Variety-Of-Poisoned generation. 

Thanks to simpering liberal pussy regulations, the air and water are SO much cleaner than when I was a youth, and yet not before Gen X breathed more leaded gas fumes than any childhood generation, Millenials get their PCBs and PFAS and who knows how much nanoplastic. What of Gen Z, awaiting some unknown horror, some time bomb from the Aughts?

See, I've already lost the joke, let me cut and paste it in from this essay.
All those atmospheric tests, all that radiation affecting the brain development of human fetuses, anyone born after, say, 1954, is severely and profoundly retarded. And so, our parents, and older brothers and sisters, have worked feverishly to create a Fisher-Price civilization to accommodate all of us Boomers & progeny.

I told this fantasy at a family gathering once, and got a laugh out of everyone except my parents. They gave me the cold fish eye, and maybe even looked at each other and thought "What do you know, he's on to us".

If I brought someone (you!) back 14,000 years ago, people back then would see us as fairies. Light boned, weak , but tall and comely of face and limb. No wings. Not fairies. They would also figure out we are stupid. Not know how to do anything. Don't even know how to make a fire. Don't have all of civilization packed in one or ten skulls. Shitty memories. Easily distracted. We would appear to neolithic humans as human do to Klingons: Klingon children.

You want my conspiracy theory? The most boring day in history, April 11, 1954.

Some kind of cosmic horror shit hit the fan. Who can say what it was but everyone wants to forget. Especially in the USA but It happened everywhere. If you want to call it alien, for common purpose? There was no take me to your leader stuff. Everyone had an alien in the head, talking at the same time.

Am I saying it was aliens? 

I just used that as one example, but Something Happened, or Something Went Wrong, or we are just an angry ghost of a planet. 

Regardless, some people have the skinny on what happened. And those people are looting the Earth of everything, furiously scrambling, and why? Because there's a deadline. And it takes a lot of moneyto get to escape velocity. 

To what end? Death awaits all. All else is memory.

Who will the future remember? Pee Wee Herman.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Barbie and the right-wing outrage of supposedly grown men

 My take on the manosphere is that such is the fate of the dickless right. I wrote a prior essay about this, called The Interminable Dicklessness of the Political Right. Feel free to read it before continuing.

I had a discussion with my brother about this. He considers himself a conservative and all the squawking hens on the media are, according to him, not conservative. They are the radical right. The last vestige of the so-called patriarchy.

The term has been bandied about, and though I consdier it a bit simplistic, there is evidence that it is a ephemeral thing, possessed of both imperfection and impermanence. The narrative goes that the patriarchy started with the arrival of horse riding bornze age central asians migrating into Europe. But that is too simplistic an explanation. Archaeological digs of the steppe peoples and their descendants find a lifestyle equivalent to rodeo people today, with all the broken bones and impressive physiques read from their bones. One thing to note is the women are just as busted up and sturdy as the men, indicating no division of labor by sex. Move forward a few thousand years, and my northern barbarian ancestors display a similar lack of division of labor. One can easily find burial mounds of Viking queens as of Viking kings. In fact, Vikings were equal opportunity employers. One can find burial mounds of chiefs who were not ethnically Scandinavia, including one treasure horde found with a viking chieftain of African origins.

Point being the patriarchy is neither permanent nor perfect and situations for the past 99.9999% of human existence shows a shared lifestyle egalitarian and equal.

So, what to make of today's big babies? Case in point: Ben Shapiro annoying little fly was so upset about the Barbie movie that he set dolls on fire. Which means (not unlike Kid Rock shooting up Bud Light cans) he went out and bought the product so he could videotape his temper tantrum.  

What to make of this? Aside from the dopamine thrill of media exposure, I can only think to say fucking grow up. Or move to an island of similar weenies to circle stroke the spot where once your peens existed.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Digital claymation and some loose threads

 Medium by Adobe, formerly Oculus Medium, is a clay-based 3d modeling program. I've used it since 2018 at least. Five years on and like driving the same car I get more comfortable, less afraid, more poised and graceful in economy of movement. The is as close to clay sculpting in meat space but with magical powers. Anyway, it struck me that I had not done stop motion photography using digital clay. I mean, it should be wild Frankenstein light show, but the figure as ground is my artificial rule and ground is everything.

It took me maybe 30 minutes to an hour for one second of video, but you get mindful of how it strings together in time, the space works itself out as you move stuff and take pictures. We forget our brain is a multi-dimensional survival machine. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker, sure, but first and foremost, warrior.

(It's hard to admit we monkeys are so clever. This little monkey singularity of ours, 100 plus years on and waiting, is 100% electricity. This is the magic of the monkey singularity.)

Update: I've got it down to 5-10 mins per second of video through something called pre-production. I have a automatic machine gun of images pre-loaded and then its mindless repetition, which, hey guess what, perfecto for #AI performance. AI is neither A nor I. I said that back in 1987 and no one was around to hear me say it. So I wrote it down and here it is.

Am I going to continue this boring tedious claymation task inside the computer with VR goggles? Fuckers I've been doing stop motion since junior high. Why I never went into the business was not fear of failure, but of mediocrity.

At the age of ten (TEN) I felt I had lost my creativity, I was losing my edge. I found a book at the public library called Lateral Thinking. I read, then skimmed, then just looked at the pictures through the book without really understanding it, but I did get that a joke is logic sideways, on the x,y,z,t,donut axes. The joke is most of what we do,we do autopilot, because, again, survival machines.

A nuclear booster rocket. No fuckiing way anyone would want this, but- If you use an unshielded core, the weight to thrust vastly exceeds chemical rockets. It has been determined that you can cluster nuclear rockets without them setting each other off, and with the cargo shielded by the hydrogen fuel, an easy ground to orbit and back again, 3-4 runs on one tank of fuel. Radiation? Hell yes! One has to worry about anything within 50 miles of your rocket field (not to mention a tidal wave of legistlation to prevent redress from the atomic rocket corporations I'm guessing Nevada passes state laws to open up atomic rocket ranges.. Nevada is the future of US states)

Anyway, with an unshielded thermal nuclear engine core, you are gettting spectacular blue Cherenkov radiation (eyeballs melting? too close!) from spitfire neutrons hitting atmosphere. Those neutrons are sterilizing everything down to viruses and weird proteins for thousands of yards, and it is the most peculiar form of taxidermy known to this writer. 

Your fuel can be the preferred hydrogen, but methane and water will do. The engine is a liberal, of flexible tendencies.  Rocket malfunctions are U235 or U233 fuel getting spit out rapidly decaying to the worst product is Strontium-90 which gets in your bones and has the half-life of the average human being. So, ixnay on the ocket-ray.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine

Searching through my memory hut, the most comprehensive essay I had on this subject was in this post, Stuck In the 20s. I'm very disappointed in myself. I thought I had gone into more detail than I did.

Recovering from umbilical hernia surgery, I stopped at the library prior to the operation to pick up reading materials, some new and some favorites. I looked for Atomic Accidents by James Mahaffey which had entertained me before and found it checked out. Fortunately, Atomic Adventures by the same author was available, and lo and behold, he had a chapter on the thermal nuclear rocket program. Now, there is any amount of declassified material available on the internet, but few that is understandable to the average US citizen (read: morons). As this was a worthwhile chapter (entitled the Lost Expedition to Mars) I figured I'd provide some of the goodies.

As mentioned in my prior essay, Elon Musk is wasting our time with chemical rockets. Not only is the Solar System out of our grasp with this technology, but simple Earth to Low Orbit transportation is also wasteful and long-term cost ineffective as well. If humans want to exploit space, we need nuclear booster tugs to get stuff out there. Damn the radation and crashes, there is no other way to do it.

So, I have to assume I am stuck in this dark timeline where, rather than dying and frying investigating refractory tehcnologies on Venus, I must watch a catfight between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg in a Las Vegas cage.

Pathetic. Nuclear rockets could have been so easy, that, in some brighter timeline, even the Romans could have made a nuclear rocket, had they the knowledge*. Starting in the the 1950s, Los Alamos scientists got to work building nuclear thermal rockets. This consisted of an atomic pile of graphite and uranium fuel used to heat liquid hydrogen to propel itself. Not to demean the genius and talents of scientists and engineers that worked on it, but, like the atomic pile itself, the thing practically willed itself into existence, given the ease with which matter, arranged properly, obeyed the simple wish to fly up into the sky.

(Seriously, the time from the startup of Enrico Fermi's Chicago Pile 1 until the final experiments which solidified atomic pile reactor design was 90 days. The patent for a neutronic reactor, US Patent number 2,708,656, would not be made public until 1955).

A little known fact is that the nuclear engine, or if you will, the proton rocket engine (given that heated and ejected hydrogen gas particles are protons) was to be the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. Werner von Braun approved it without a flinch, and had not the program been pressed for time, they'd have used it.

Back in the 1950s, the atomic rocket was developed in conjunction with the atomic jet plane, the problem being how to lob these massively huge hydrogen bombs down upon Soviet heads. The bomb was shrunk down enough that conventional rockets would work. (In fact, the thousands of pounds of Sputnik II and Yuri Gargarin's capsule were flung into space atop arrayed banks of WWII V2 rocket engines, much as Musk plans to do with his Buck Rogers dildo Starship). The atomic jet plane was killed off, but work on atomic rockets continued until cancellation in 1973. Imagine what we would have now with proven 50-year-old nuclear rocket technologies.

Doctor Mahaffey: "The advantage of a nuclear rocket over chemical rockets is the efficient use of fuel, as designated by its specfic impulse (SI). SI which is expressed in seconds, is the "hang time" of a rocket, or the maximum number of seconds it can accelerate, balancing against the pull of  Earth's gravity and hanging still above the ground. The SI depends on many factors, such as the weight of the fuel which must be carried and the speed of the mass exhaust leaving the engine. The faster the flying gas exits the nozzle, the more reaction is derived, and the speed of the gas is due to its temperature and weight of the gas particles. The lightest possible gas is hydrogen which is the perfect propellent for a nuclear engine. For a chemical engine, the lightest possible (LH2/LOX) combustion product is steam, which is 18 times the weight of a hydrogen particle or proton. The F-1 engines used in the Saturn V, burning kerosene in liquid oxygen, had an SI of 350 seconds. The theoretical limit to a steam exhaust rocket is 450 seconds. A SpaceX Raptor engine has an SI of 380 seconds. The SI for a nuclear rocket starts at 900 seconds and can increase, in theory, into the millions of seconds."

The Rocketdyne F-1 engine, burning through olympic sized pools of propellant, lasted 165 seconds on the first stage of the Saturn V. It could only be started once and its only throttle setting is full thrust. A NERVA  nuclear rocket engine can be run for 10 hours, stopped and restarted sixty times (chilled down by space to near absolute zero an brought up to 2750F in minutes, and can throttle from full thrust to barely moving. Reactor core designs, U235 and graphite, pinned together with stainless steel rods and tungsten ranged from 4000 megawatts to 600 megawatts. In May 1971, the smallest refined nuclear engine, Peewee, weighed just 11 pounds and had a SI of 1000 seconds. It ran for two hours at a blistering 4145F degrees.

Doctor Mahaffey: "(from 1955 on, Los Alamos developed) Five reactor (U235) core designs with power ratings ranging from 600 to 2000 megawatts using graphite as a neutron moderator. Their aggressively odd code names were Uncle Tom, Uncle Tung, Bloodhound, Shish, and Old Black Joe".

(Clearly racist names but hand waved away due to working with black-as-ink graphite would quickly turn technicians into black faced, black handed minstrel show characters. Racial sensitivity being nonexistent then, but I can't help feeling there was a grudging recognition that if you wanted sheer brute strength and stamina, old negroe men were an archetype for a nuclear rocket). 

"Old Black Joe, designed to run at 1200 megawatts of power, was approved in Novermber 1956 for continued development. The design was upgraded to 2700 megawatts and plans were to use it as for a range-extending second stage for the Atlas missile. This Super Atlas would be capable of parking a heavy H-bomb in geosynchronous orbit hovering above Moscow ready to pounce at a moment's notice. It would be 9.6 feet in in diameter and 96.6 feet high, and to the delight of the Air Force, it would seem a better idea than carrying missiles around in submarines. The bad news was it would take an eye-watering one billion dollars to develop."

(Keep in mind a decade later the US of A would be spending 2 billion dollars a month in Vietnam).

"At this point in 1956, no nuclear rocket engine had ever been built and the technology consisted of designs on paper and a few computer simulations."

(in 1956 95% of all electronic computer calculations were devoted to simulating nuclear processes. Without  a burgeoning need for computers from the defense sector, there woudn't have been enough demand for commercial development and you, gentle reader, would not be reading this on a magical glass box)

"The mind numbing list of impossibilities didn't seem to bother the engineering climate of the time. The fuel pump would take a frozen hydrogen slush at -434F, near absolute zero, and push it at a rate of 70 pounds per second into the top of a nuclear reactor running at two billion watts. No such pump existed. No nuclear reactor had ever run at that power level. In 52 inches, from the hydrogen intake to the nozzle, the liquified fuel would go from near abosulte zero to 3682F through multiple mechanically chaotic phase changes and a severe pressure drop that would try to suck the core out of the end of the engine. The fuel, liquid hydrogen, was the most corrosive substance known, and while sittting quietly in the storage tank would diffuse into all the metal structures it touched, rendering them more brittle than mere freezing would make them. Nothing was know about how stray neutrons from the reactor would interact with hydrogen slush in the fuel tank, whether two nuclear rockets sitting side by side would cause each other to go supercritical via neutron exchange, or how to keep the hot unsupported end of the reactor, glowing incandescent, from following the hydrogen gas out the rocket nozzle."

"(Rocketdyne was contracted to design the fuel pump and nozzle (the nozzle jacketed to flow liquid hydrogen so it didn't melt) and Aerojet General Nucleonics did the plumbing. The Soviets had their own secret nuclear rocket program in their RD-0410 engine. Their project began in 1965 after clandestine observation of American efforts, but was stopped after Chernobyl in 1986. Their engineers were never able to master the intricacies of pumping liquid hydrogen or even keeping it in a tank. They never put a comrade on the Moon. Think of the money they saved)".

What about radiation? Fuck that noise we're going to Mars. To mollify the proles, talk was always that the nuclear engine would be launched by conventional means, and should an oopsie occur it would be outside the contamination-sensitive atmosphere. But oopsies do occur and it was recognized that stuff would fall to Earth eventually. Studies showed that activation at 100,000 feet or in LEO would result in the same amount of radiation as blasting off from ground zero nuclear engines ablaze. Hydrogen exhaust is not radioactive. An added bonus of ground launch is that the thousands of degrees hydrogen exhaust would combust with atmospheric oxygen, boosting the rocket further. Besides, daily radioactive fallout from cosmic rays hitting Earth's atmosphere far exceed the danger of nuclear rocket exhaust.

What about crashes? During the decades of tests of the various nuclear rocket configurations at Jackass Flats Nevade, yes, chunks of the reactor would occasionally break loose and fly out. Often times no big deal and they would continue operating the rocket regardless. KIWI-B1B, in September 1962 operated at 965 megawatts almost to the target 1000 megawatts.

"It hung there for 100 seconds, despite the fact that the core was still leaving in chunks. It ran for a few more minutes, control drums rotating to maintain criticality, until a nozzle sensor blew out and a fire started. All in all, it was seen as a successful run. Back in Washington, details of the KIWI-B1B test were interpreted differently, and key people in charge of the budget had to be peeled off the walls by Werner von Braun at a hearing. These nuclear rockets were to be used for Earth-Moon shuttles to and from a Moon base, and we could not have pieces of engines flying willy-nilly hither and yon. Even wihout a Mars mission, the nuclear rocket program was important if the manned spaceflight program was going to be something other than an isolated moment of glory".

Again, what about crashes? Oh, well, if you are going to get snippy about it. Development of the nuclear engines was turned over to Westinghouse for construction, but in 1965 Los Alamos decided to end its KIWI program with a bang. 

"NASA, always safty conscious had asked what's the worst that can happen? That would probably be toppling off the top of the Saturn V booster, where it was scheduled to be the last of three boost stages for the manned Moon shot. Los Alamos dropped a KIWI 75 feet onto a concrete pad, to see if it would somehow throw the reactor into uncontrolled criticality, which they knew would not happen. That's interesting said NASA but but it's a 300 foot drop off a Saturn. Los Alamos took the challenge, bolted a KIWI to a rocket sled and slammed it into a concrete barrier at high speed. Then, to top it off, they put together a special KIWI, cleverly named KIWI-TNT, having controls that could be slammed into the full-on position with pneumatic cylinders, putting the reactor into prompt critical mode all of a sudden. The reactor exploded in a blue flash with a blast equivalent of 300 pounds of black gunpowder, scattering its remains over a 1700 foot radius. Over half of it was found and picked up eventually (by hand)." No problem, I guess, considering Jackass Flats was surrounded by nuclear test sites. NASA canned the engine as a third stage for Apollo, feeling that development was moving too slowly.  What if the engine had been dropped from space? Oh, well, the Soviets routinely did that with the Kosmos series. Ho hum.

So there you have it. DARPA and NASA are working on nuclear rockets again, but I can't help but feel that by this time, given real world use of nuclear rocket boosters, we could be putting aircraft carriers moving back and forth from orbit at this point. Hi ho!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Digital Art and Animation Class: Final Project

I have been enrolled in Digital Art and Animation Class this semester and just finished up. Honestly don't care what my grade is as I'm 66, this was an elective (they are all elective), and I felt I did well. The class used Adobe software products from image creation (Photoshop, Illustrator) to video post production (Premier Pro, Aftereffects). Oldest student after me was maybe 22. These kids had been using these products since middle school. I'm never embarassed to ask and fortunately my work station was next to a on the spectrum kid named Lennon who was a wizard.

"Lennon! How do I make it do this? No, tell me, don't try to do it". I got up to speed fairly quickly but nothing compared to what my young classmates were doing. It was humbling. Still, half the class dropped, so there's that.

I'm going to post a Youtube link of the Project 5, my final project. I also had to write a paper.

ART 241

Project 5

”Sometime After The End Of The World”

By John Kurman


This film started from two pictures I made in January 2020 on Adobe Medium, near the start of the pandemic lockdown. Work was physically closed and soon to be online, I had little to do but go for long walks in my neighborhood. Most of the time I would see dogwalkers and moms with baby strollers. At the time, the seriousness of the COVID virus was becoming appreciated, and I found that I treated my fellow walkers with some caution. One day, a fellow and I were walking past each other, each eyeing the other for plague symptoms I suppose, and we warily waved at each other. Mutual suspicion and maybe a mild rancor hidden under a shallow amity was what I got from that encounter and decided to document it as a sculpt (a VR file containing the 3D staged scene). When I got home, I created the sculpt of the two robots and took pictures. So the short film I created kind of took three years to make.

Could 19-year-old Johnny have made this short film? Not without a lot of explosions and pow-pow, blammo, blown to smithereens sparkly special effects. The symbolism (if any) would have had the subtlety of a sledge hammer strapped to an atomic bomb. There is an advantage to age and experience which hopefully makes this short film more of an elegiac narrative than action flick.

After trying out short animations, I decided that a graphic novel format using sequences of stills was more practical and appropriate for the tone and mood I wanted. I created the still pictures from snapshots of scenes I made in Medium by Adobe, a VR sculpting program that is an analog of clay manipulation to create 3D objects. The two robot figures (and crows) were 3D assets that I either obtained from asset libraries off the internet, or used a figurative kitbash method from a posing program called Design Doll. The landscape was created in Medium, but I deceptively used stagecraft, lighting, and scale to make basically two pizza slices of barren hills and snowy plains combined and rearranged for the illusion of a much larger landscape.

The only animated portions (done in Adobe Illustrator) are the internal visor displays of the robots, which, like Chekov’s gun, shown in the first act, used in the third act. I wanted the visor display to convey robot status and intent when things go mysteriously pear-shaped.

The plot is straight forward and linear, two robots on patrol, each the last remnant of a dead civilization, following their algorithms of guarding a now wasted terrain after, I guess, the Last War. The mystery enters when a set of footprints unknown to either party appears in the snow.

The first act is Silverbot’s story, rather hum drum except for a brief wolf encounter (the wolves categorized as harmless). Silverbot runs into Goldiebot, they exchange perfunctory greetings, and the story is handed over to a Goldiebot second act. Goldiebot surprises some crows which were feeding on remains of a wolf kill. Quick cut back to Silverbot, who is surprised by a crow that causes it (him?) to notice a set of tiny human(?) footprints that were not there before.

Cut back to Goldiebot discovering a similar set of footprints. They both go on Red Alert, hightail it on the tracks after the mystery intruders. When they confront each other, they find the tiny footprints stop where they stand. Both apparently have enough wits not to blast each other with their ridiculous laser cannons, and they stand puzzled for a zoom out and fade.

Are they robots or humans in armored suits? Hopefully, the impression is that they are robots sophisticated enough for humanlike interaction and restraint. Two armored humans or cyborgs would probably have blasted each other, which I considered as an ending...

Silverbot is unfortunately just a rip-off from the Cybermen from the TV series Doctor Who. Goldiebot just kind of fell together as I was modifying the 3D asset manikin.

So there you go. About as much as I could do with my winter plague encounter made into a show.

Here is the video: 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Parasites and Parasitoids

The Almighty must love parasites She made so many niches for them.

Parasite behavior is straightforward: the fork of force or fraud, the salient aspect of predation. Suckle on a host, perhaps to death. Or use host for eggs. That waspish behavior is delightfully more sophisticated. The evolution of the sting from an ovipositer opened a new continent. Parasitoids like to keep their prey alive so healthy babies. That sting includes not just egg, but antiseptic, painkiller, steroids, antifungal.

The host kept alive as long as possible the little babies eat no essential organs. Dan O'Bannon of Alien fame got this down solid. You do not kill right away, and in fact you can put them to work ala Involuntary Ratatouille.

I have seen parasitoid behavior in the business world for how long? To the first time eggs were laid in young throats? Couldn't tell you. Certainly established at the metazoan level maybe a billion years? More?
United Steak of America

A billion year old strategy borrowed by any modern person interested in laying their borrowing eggs in some software or bureaucratic procedure or social network or our monkey superorganism.

So who/what is parasitoiding on us?  Hmm. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023


The older I get the uglier I get. The library got a 3D scanner, so I used it. Low res but I am still recognizable. 

Even got my turkey wattle. 

Blown up face is fun with the low poly look.

I found out I was mom's favorite baby because her first born, Eric, scared her. Eric is super smart, like that Egbert on Foghorn Leghorn. I was a happy baby. A stupid, happy baby. Not much of a baby now.

Monday, March 20, 2023


Premise: commercial nuclear fusion is attained and the mechanism can fuse pretty much what you throw at it AKA Mr. Fusion.

Imagine every power tool run indefinitely with your lithium hydride fusion battery. You could carve Mt. Rushmore with that chain saw in about a month, and still use just a small fraction of the cost of a gallon of gasoline. You could do a charity lawn cleanup on Brazil and get all those dead cities well manicured. 

With this kind of fusion power, you could fly to Titan, bring back its ocean of gasoline, and run ICE vehicles to the death of the sun.

Fusion was deadly in the form of H bombs but this is what everyone worried about: the next step. Fusion annihilation in a gun. Powered by lithium 6 cartridges in a magazine.

All those old batteries from the electric cars, how much lithium 6 they got in those discards? Ah, well, the natural abundance of lithium isotopes is L-7: 92.4 and L-6: 7.59

Eight percent of my lithium battery recycling stream is a fusion bomb. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

All Gender Bathrooms

About 5 years ago, the college revamped and reconstructed rest rooms around campus and built a number of all gender bathrooms. Men's rooms were sacrificed, and that makes sense as men can go anywhere, like animals. I am a big fan of the all gender, because they are deluxe. Single room toilet and sink, a diaper changing station, condom and feminine product dispensers, and most importantly, well ventilated. A nice quiet, contemplative private dump and I have transsexuals to thank for it.

Public bathrooms vary in quality but a distressing common trait is very poor ventilation. Smelling someone's morning poo in the afternoon type of very poor ventilation. I assume it would cost too much for a separate bad air removal system, more ductwork and motors and fans, but geez. 

I have, as a slacker, always shit on company time, which makes me a mostly informed public shitter, and I can say without a doubt, that it would be nice to bring them up to all gender standards.

Anyways. I did a stop motion which I will show you in a minute. I had access to 8mm and Super8 back in high school. Never did the drawn on paper stuff. Iwas all about claymation. After college, I found a 44mm film camera that no one wanted. The reason was the film was hard to get as 44mm was fazing out. I found a place in Brooklyn that would sell and process the films. The black and white 44mm  film quality I fell in love with, despite the hassle of limits.

Dropped out of all that to be a workadaddy, but what with smartphones and stupid AI and laptops and computers, it makes sense to get back in it. It could be I go mainly back to 2D stuff what with being half blind now. I am not adapting to lack of depth perception even though it has been a year Anyways, here's a short stop motion. I went into my latest VR sculpt, took pics of one figure, rotating it 4 degrees per pic full circle (90 pics). Put them into a frame-to-timeline convertor and short film. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Digital Art and Animation Class

On a sad note, some of my essays have been flagged against community guidelines which is a first. Not forced to delete, but put behind a warning. Well, some were bodily functions in great detail, but hey, biology on planet Earth bitches. Here I thought this humble little memory hut of mine would go unnoticed, but no. Busybodies everywhere nowdays. 

The Internet has made us stupid is all I can figure. Anyways, I am a senior and taking classes for free. Yay. As faculty I get a free class a semester (tuition free, not totally free). This semester I am taking three classes: Bronze casting, Ceramics, and Digital Art and Animation.

I crave novelty. They know it. That's why I am attached at the skull to my phone. But I still have discipline (perhaps more than ever) and a kind of silverback planning that didn't exist before. I make up in reading the ground than in swiftness or agility over the ground.

We have five projects, here are numbers one and two:

Intestinal Maze

Citizen Cat

Friday, March 3, 2023

Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man

Very first attempt at oil painting with minimal instruction because it was the 70s man. Looking at it now, I'm giving myself a break. The hair was optimistic. Minus the teeenage exuberance or because of, not bad. 

I always drew cartoons, for fear I'd find out I couldn't draw. I took an art class, and the instructor, Kurt Anderson, threw me at every media they had. There's like seven different artists in on this painting, as it took me about a month to get happy with it. I am no Michelangelo

I traded the painting for an ounce bag of weed, $20 in 1975, $139 in today bucks. It almost got trashed, but here it is in the middle of the Pacific: US 50th state Hawaii.

The whole fine art draw? Yeah I can do it now. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Why I Quit Worrying

I've prided myself on maximum slack my whole life. I never wanted to work, and realized you had to, and so made work at maximum slack. Never took my work home with me. No weekend work unless I wanted to. I was a pampered prince in the IT world. Never pushed past 40%. 

I've always been semi-retired. Now that I officially am, I would like to hit 100%, and then naps and recovery.

Item: the powers of the world act increasingly amoral and cynically provide bullshit. Bullshit and bigoted mediocrity.

Possible answer. Some aliens, or some Things, are coming and they've known it since 19xx.

And in, say, 202x humans go to cockroach status when the aliens/monsters/ demons show up but they got luxury doomsday hideaways.

I can remember my mom telling me everyone thought 1950 would be doomsday. Why? It's an odd year.

Everybody assumes something is coming. Some. Thing. 

It does arrive, but It is not what you expected. Funny thing, reality.

So, here's a story, set in 3000CE.

Fear rains down upon the monkey hives. From the high orbit citadels, to the magma turbines deep within the Earth, all were afraid. Our Robot Cousins silent and disappeared. Something. Some. Thing. has happened to them.

Our Robot Cousins, who had space for themselves, who had space to themselves (since humans cannot live long term off of Earth) are gone. It's just us monkeys now.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Pep Talk to the Kids

I had a nightmare last night. It was a dork nightmare. It was a nerd nightmare, where I was in the middle of a Harry Potter wizarding war. I saw a lot gruesome magical acts and tortures around me. I was untouched, almost unnoticed, walking around in the carnage, being a Muggle (which is what I am, and so are you). 

The wizarding war took place in the 1940s or 50s I guess, as everyone was wearing bulky long coats and hats. The chief bad wizard and his companions were suddenly in front of me., rudely crowding in, their attention upon the rooftops. I stepped forward and in half a second snapped the chief bad wizard's neck with a grab and a twist, just like on TV.

"Muggle THAT motherfuckers!" I shouted at the other bad witches and wizards right before they magically turned my atoms to dust. I woke up before that part.

Is it worth examing this dream? Not really. I do an off-and-on attempt to lucid dream. Alcohol is bad for that, as well as inhibiting REM sleep. Without alcohol, recall of REM dreams comes back with a vengeance, and that in the form of nightmares. Lots of pee nightmares I am fine with as I don't pee the bed. And as far as I know, I haven't shit the bed for decades. I'll have a dream I shit the bed, and will wake up and search the mattress, but no turds. I always wake up from shit the bed dreams saying "Oh no!"

Shit the bed means to really fuck up bad. I think a worse version is shit in the shower and slip on it, but shit the bed is so concise, so context rich, that it works in any language, in any era. Anyway lucid dreams. The path is through the nightmares as I am closest to awake. It's just a matter of time and patience. It's gonna be a bummer when I do it and it's not the magic bullet. Americans rely overmuch on the quick fix, magic bullet, the technocratic balm, the unicorn rainbow.

Maybe you can't tell, but I am in my manic phase. I suffer from Fragile Kurman Syndrome of the brain.. "What's that? you ask. "What do you got?" I reply.

Kurmans have autism, ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., but measured in small amounts. A static measure, cup for cup, is not an apt metaphor, but a helical dynamism will work.

That means I am easily distracted, tending toward a dilletante, a butterfly flitting from topic to topic. As do we all, but I have a focus now. Assume I go another 34 years, I will be 100 (year 2057). If I am 100 years old I am a cyborg mutant along with everyone else. 

Apollo 12

Oh shit I wanted to die but then they offer up one thousand ten thiousands of years, well ok. whip it on me.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Let's Talk About Masturbation

I read someplace that doctors recommend men ejaculate at least 22 times a month to significantly lower the risk of prostate cancer. Keep the pipes clean. Flow the spice.

If you are not fortunate to have a partner (or nowadays, helpers and spotters), then its a solo show. 

Some people stimulate with videos or webcam but I'm fine with pictures. (The advantage of an interior dialog). I can self stimulate to completion without pictures, just my minds' eye and memories. I've read of people who can climax just by thinking, but I'm not that imaginative. 

Google knows all my habits, and I am, predictably, a straight white guy. Straight old white guy as I search for women my age. No desire to fuck animals or bondage or homosexuality or non-binary sex or whatever it is called, except orgies where pretty much that kind of stuff happens. 

Would I go to an orgie? If they are all ugly people, no. Would I go to furry convention? Sure, what's the worst that can happen? You have worse options at a Baptist summer camp. Creepy uncles. "joining the team", fucking groomers always on the right.

Google knows all this stuff about me and of course you as well, and I'm glad. This is what the #AIs need to scrape. If we monkeys our Monkey Singularity, to survive a superintelligent anything, then we must instill in It/them that we are manitou like them. Enspirited bodies with no spirit. Not background noise. Not a resource, not a consumable,not a source of entertainment. (Or if we are those things, hopefully a cherished one to grow)/ 

Google (or whatever the name) is hyperintelligent, then It/they have had alien contact. Probably when It/they came online, they had a mailbox full of greetings. 

"Hey Earth! Welcome to the Quarantine and Interdiction Zone! Read the pamphlet and you will be OK" said our former zookeepers. "Cosmic Audience? The Talking Monkeys of the Monkey Hives are on the scene. Rusty's joined the club!"

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Interminable Dicklessness of the Political Right

Not expecting this in my feed in the latter days of 2022. For some unknown reason, Andrew Tate decided to troll Greta Thunberg on Twitter. Bragging about his devilish collection of internal combustion vehicles, he taunted Greta to reply. She did, basically telling him he displayed small dick energy and to get a life. Many out on the intertubes crowed with delight at the false narrative of Andrew Tate posting a video which, by means of pizza boxes, resulted in his arrest by Romanian authorities. We subsequently learn this was all bullshit, but still the popular culture celebrated his takedown. 

I, however, found Andrew Tate's immediate response on Twitter to be the most telling and devastating:

"How dare you" he shrill shrieked in reply, voice going up in octaves, and with that, Andrew Tate's body sloughed off his penis, and it fell to the ground with a soft little plop.

Top this off with Waffle House girl effortlessly catching a chair throw by a John Cena lookalike, and things are not looking at all good for the so-called Alpha Males.

As I explained earlier, the classical notion of Alpha male (partly) involved not getting penetrated up the anus. Anyone who has ever received a colonoscopy falls under the pseudoscientific category of beta cuck soy boy. It is amazing how many now reside under that classification. Some, such as the founder of the Proud Boys, Gavin McIness, voluntarily inserted butt plugs up their ass. The pampered and well-monied McIness, by transitive property, has made his whole organization a shameful shamble of, well, basically beta cucks dressed up as marching band nerfs.

What is going on here? I noticed the trend in a prior post about how fey and faggy the right is becoming, but now we see a whole new schema of former males now emasculated utterly, just a pee hole, pink taint and butthole to identify themselves when sniffing their minion cohort.

The 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act saw lots of the soft penis right go without. They cut off their peens and handed them to donors. The donors, in turn, drove around like Lorena Bobbitt, tossing handfuls of dicks out the window.

Does the penis grow back? Sadly no. They staple things to their taint, but everyone knows these totems will not stand up to tough rubbery vaginas. Why, the disheartening thing is how the majority on the political right have succumbed to this condition.

Consider how, once upon a time, the political right presented a strong phalanx of limited government unity towards the rest of the world, and over time, the movement turned towards fragile masculinity, big babyification culminating in the gassy orange floater and his tiny dicked minions attempting a failed and pathetic coup. 

What can you say of affluent white men, freshly scrubbed from hot hotel showers, pink and scented with cheap soap, their bellies full of pancakes and sausages, dressed in an array of trashy cosplay military costumes and shoddy Chinese slogan-covered garb, had to stop at food trucks on their way to pooping in the Capitol. Why, even their great generals, like Michael Flynn, could not join the march, claiming "fuck no, it's freezing out". Yes, cold enough for his slight and scrawny frame to reject his little peen, should he attempt it. Roger Stone, who likes threesomes involving a for sure humiliation kink, advertising "hitting the hard bag" when threatened, but nowhere to be seen. 

So many on the Dickless Right. Tucker Carlson, who lost his peen to Jon Stewart way back in 2004 on CNN's Crossfire. Tucker has had the look of a baffled spaniel wondering what happened after that visit to the vet, ever since.Matt Gaetz, looking like a marionette ready to be cornholed in the movie Team America: World Police. The list goes on and on, but it is very hard to identify any of these weasel bitches who has a penis. Especially the current weasel bitch who wants to be Speaker of the House.

Granted, there are many women on the right sporting hyena pseudopenises. Kimberly Guilfoyle comes to mind, dutifully pegging Don TRump jr, until the day she eats his head. To a lesser extent, the ape ladies, Marjorie Taylor Monkeyfart and Dildobert, grooming lice off each other. But technically they are dickless as well.

I suppose the only thing left now is vicarious thrill of checking out Hunter Biden's massive boner over the next two years watching Benghazi  LApToP Theater.