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30 Years

It’s been Thirty years since Los Angeles joined the ranks of cities whose only qualification was to be a victim of a terrorist act.  Though, were they really terrorists?  Their own ranks called themselves exceptional thieves, and one-time kidnappers, not terrorists.  No Hans Grubber and his pals were opportunists, and only cared about money, $600 million worth.  A simple police officer from New York City in town to visit his wife and kids was what messed it all up for them.

Yes, Die Hard is 30 years old this year.  And last December, the Library of Congress selected Die Hard (among 24 other films) it’s …cultural, historic and/or aesthetic importance.  Yes Die Hard fits the bill for all three of those qualifications.  It’s a master piece that holds up surprisingly well given the time period.  I dare you to find another action movie from the 80s which isn’t incredible dated with cheese lines and effects.  I dare you to find another heist movie where the score is still a relevant sum of money 30 years later.  Six Hundred Million Dollars was a lot of money in 1988, it’s still a lot of money in 2018.  When it comes to money, so often the sums are in reasonable ranges for the time period and with inflation, they seem petty by current standards.  No, it will be quite a while (if ever) when $600 million is seen as petty).  Heck, even Ocean’s 11 (which itself is 17 years old already!) was only taking home $160 million.

So, take a seat, grab some popcorn, (or Twinkies), and watch this Christmas classic, even if Bruce Willis says it’s not.

{Library of Congress}

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You can watch this 1 hour video on the research that proposes there are/were living things in ancient Martian lakes.  I watched/listened to some of it.  It’s interesting, but I don’t have the time to dedicate to it’s entirety.  Unlike some of the scientific videos, this one is interesting, and the presenters know how to put emotion into the talk.

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Alternate History Thursday: Times Square

With just days to go before the new year, the world was on it’s toes.  The City of New York was already on lockdown, Streets were closed, screens were being erected, and just as many people were leaving the city as were entering it.  The festivities were reaching a fever pitch as celebrities were slowly streaming into the city ahead of their New Years Eve performances.  Security was tight, and no one knew who was going to be playing what when or where.  It was chaos.  But the good kind of chaos.  Remember, this is a pre-9/11 innocent New York, nothing can go wrong.  That’s exactly the mentality that would prove their downfall.

On New Years Eve, as the time passed by spotty reports from around the globe started to come in of computer failures.  Remember however, this is the early days of the internet, and no smart phones, much of the news was difficult to corroborate or confirm.  People didn’t want to be brought down to reality on this party, so they ignored it.  Cell coverage was spotty at best because of the super saturated towers and lines so no one thought twice when connections were dropped.

It’s countdown time. TEN. NINE. EIGHT. SEVEN. SIX. FIVE. FOUR. THREE. TWO. ONE. BLACK.  Right as the ball was supposed to drop and confetti rain down, Times Square was plunged into darkness.  The majority of the people in Times Square thought this was all a part of the plan.  After all, what better way to celebrate something doom and gloom but by making fun of it.  Since the backup generators that are there for just an occasion kicked on in under 10 seconds, all seemed fine.

To those who were watching on television at home it was a different story.  All at once their TV feed cut out, their electricity turned off, the water stopped working, and phone died.  For those at home, it was no joke.

The state of New York had gambled against Y2k and lost.  But in the beginning it wasn’t apparent how widespread the loss was. It was probably for the better that things like smart phones weren’t around at the time, because it would have caused mass hysteria quicker had they been there.  The people living in the suburbs of New York were left to their own devices.  Since the following day was a holiday, most went to bed after the lights were out and figured it would all work itself out in the morning.  Most all the cars were not effected by the issue simply because they were not technological enough at the time, and those that did work were owned by people who had personal drivers who didn’t use those cars anyway.

All in all, at 12:01 AM January 01, 2000, New York State was in a state of denial.  The populace wasn’t fully aware of the gravity of the situation, and neither was the authorities.  As the night wore on, those who worked for the authorities were woken up to loud bangs on their doors.  The only way to reach people was in person.

Even when the morning newspapers didn’t arrive, most of the general populace didn’t think much, just delivery guys who partied too hard the night before.  No, it wasn’t until around noon that day that word had spread to enough of the people to hit a breaking point.  Y2k happened, and it messed things up.

Now what?

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Alternate History Thursday: Broadway

It is the year 1999, the world is struggling to come up with a solution to the Y2k bug.  Similar to how speculation was in our existing reality, there were contrasting theories as to just how widespread the potential damage would be.  Exactly like our world, doomsdayers were preparing for the worst  This included governments, who had the knowledge that the general public lacked.  Y2k was going to happen, there was no stopping it, there was no fixing it, technology was too far spread, too far distributed, even with the beginnings of the internet, there was no conceivable way to fix the issue everywhere.  Secretly, the United States Federal government began disconnecting all of it’s infrastructure from the internet.  They dictated to the individual states to do the same, but the thing that makes America Great is the sovereignty of each individual state.  Many states were at the mercy of their elected officials, and it did not help things when the Fed didn’t publicly endorse disconnection.

New York State was always one to do it’s own thing, regardless of who was in charge of the nation.  The Governor of the state, and more specifically, the Mayor of New York City were both big Y2k deniers.  So, while the federal government was busy preparing for the worst technological disaster to ever happen, NY was busy preparing for the party to end all parties.  Even though power stations, water, and gas supplies were disconnected from the internet, their function was still provided.  Much to the happiness of the populace.  It would be this dependency that ends up undoing everything.

As always, check after the jump to read this story with the music playing along.  It’s better, trust me.

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DIY Railgun

rail gun video

reddit user zebralemur has made the world’s most powerful civilian made electro-magnetic railgun.  A railgun for those who don’t know is a type of weapon that uses alternating electric currents to accelerate a slug to super speeds.  No explosion necessary.  It’s usually very powerful and very dangerous.  But also very difficult, and very dangerous to make.  capicators

It took them over 2 years to acquire all of the capacitors necessary for this project, and he somehow managed to get them for an average cost of $46 each, when they go new for over $800 apparently.  So that’s a score.  The rest of the cost of the build he doesn’t go into too much.  But I imagine it’s probably north of $10,000 total.  And it doesn’t look like it’s any more powerful then a standard 12 gauge shotgun, but it’s way cooler, that’s for sure.

It is a first version, so I’m sure it suffers from the cost overruns, and R&D that version 1 of everything does, so I think if they put their mind to it, they could get the total price down quite a bit.  Especially once they get the economies of scale involved.  And, since it’s not any more dangerous then a regular rifle, or any more accurate, I don’t think they’d have trouble with the ATF, but they probably would.

rail gun slugs

I like the “bullets” or slugs really, they remind me of teeth, aluminum teeth that are traveling at a few hundred miles per hour, and will probably travel straight through me if given the chance.

Take a look at his Imgur album to see a very detailed process of how it looks and works, and just how awesome it really is.  And before that, here’s one more gif of the crazy:

rail gun video 2

awesome haha! video

Talons of Justice

That’s Bryan Wilson, The Texas Law Hawk.  Due Process? Do Wheelies?

It doesn’t matter what you think, this guy is the true thing.

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5 Years of The Sun

The sun is a pretty large object, but it’s also pretty far away, and pretty crazy bright.  Because it’s bright though, it’s easy to see, but also hard, because it’s so bright you need special filters on any equipment you use.  Well, NASA, being the geniuses that they are, sent up a satellite to take photos of the sun, every second, of every day since it was launched in early 2010.  NASA has captured terabytes of data each day for 5 years, and they have compiled some of it together in this short 4 and a half minute long time-lapse of beauty. Yes, the time-lapse bug has entered into a 2nd straight month, lucky you:

The average solar cycle is 11 years, and we’re currently in the midst of the more active stages of one, and the above video only captures half of a full cycle, so in 6 more years, and many petabytes of data later, we can have a short time-lapse video of the sun’s solar cycle.  I’m not sure what the average person will get out of it besides a cool video with some nice music, but hey, NASA has to spend money if they have any chance of the Feds giving them more, and at least this is something that the average person can view and say, yea, that was worth it.

{Collective Press}

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No Pay

no pay


Ordinarily, something like this would make it into the next STUMBLES post, except who knows when that will be, and if the Government shutdown will still be around by then.  So instead I’ve decided to give it it’s own post.  Yay NOAA.

If you want to see if for yourself, check out the actual NOAA page.  At the time of this writing, you’ll have to click on version #5 to see what’s happening.

I gotta say, one of the more depressing things about the government shutdown is the lack of accurate weather from the Weather Prophet, hopefully everything will be back to normal soon because I can never use, and Google Weather is only slightly better.



Dinosaur National Park

National Parks Service

Everyone should sign this petition right now.

For those who can’t read, it says this:

Jurassic Park movie poster

So come on internet, let’s buy propecia 5mg online uk try and make this real life Jurassic Park come true.  After all, what’s the worst that can happen?  As the never-wrong Hollywood has shown us in the past, hours of fun and excitement for children of all ages can be had.  Plus there’s all the science involved with genetics, biology, paleontology, computer programming, smoking, and electricity.  What more could a growing kid ask for?

Also, I really just want to be able to get a real life version of the cane John Hammond used, but that has no bearing on this actually happening or not.

{Fake Science}

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The 2010 Olympic Stumble Event!

Its time again for the best stumbles in the history of the internet.  These fine stumbled pictures are up there for humor, love, wrongness, Nazi, and cute.  Only one can take home the gold, and end the post.  That picture has the responsibility to hold off the other stumbles until i write the next one, whenever that is.  So without further rambling on my part,