Jan 262017

Some time back I kinda inherited a bunch of old magazines (you may be able to guess which one…). The idea was to sell ’em, but a bit of research showed that they have almost no resale value. Turns out, magazines that were printed in the millions and *not* thrown away didn’t really become collectors items. Didn’t help that the internet came along and, gee whiz, if you’re looking for a certain kind of, ahem, portraiture, there are now easier ways to get ’em.

So, they’ve sat here taking up space. But being the student of history that I am, I looked through ’em all. And there were a number of interesting things. Perhaps most entertaining are the ads. Sure, most are utterly forgettable. But some… some kinda jump out at ya.

So, because why not, I’m starting a new category of posts: Antidote To Nostalgia. Nostalgia is an interesting thing; on the one hand it can be fun to think back on good times (or times that are remembered as good), on the other hand, it is a dandy way to get history wrong and screw up your future by focusing on the past at the expense of the future. So what will be posted are things that are cringeworthy. If you are nostalgic for the late 1960’s-1970’s (the era of the magazines), there will be a whole lot of men’s fashion ads that should make you reconsider your priorities.

First up, though, is  an announcement for a piece of consumer electronics. There were always ads for electronics, but it seems they really began to ramp up towards the sort of electronics we know today starting in 1978 and really accelerating in 1979. This device from 1979, though, is a device that would be wholly useless, and largely incomprehensible, today: a calculator specifically to tell you how much a long distance phone call will cost. Counting for inflation, this thing would run you the equivalent of about $165, for a device that today would serve no purpose whatsoever.


Yeah. In the late 1970’s, it made sense to some people to blow a day or mores wages on something that would tell you how much a phone call would cost. Go ahead and be nostalgic for *that.*

 Posted by at 12:24 am
Jan 252017

Looks like Larry Niven’s 1971 short story “Inconstant Moon” may get made as a full-up flick. This is good news, especially *who* is making it.

‘Arrival’ Producers Plan New Sci-Fi Film With Director James Ponsoldt

No info on when it’s due, what the budget is or who might star.

For those who, for some inexplicable reason, haven’t read “Inconstant Moon,” the story is: one night a couple in Los Angeles notice the moon getting brighter and much, much brighter. The reason for this: the sun is flaring something ridiculous. This is of course very, very bad.

Now, someone needs to get on the ball and make Ringworld, Lucifer’s Hammer and Footfall.

 Posted by at 7:57 pm
Jan 252017

Requisite virtue signaling: I didn’t like Trump. Didn’t support him, didn’t vote for him. And while I don’t think he’s an idiot, I think he often does a damn fine impression of one. That said, his inauguration hit me with a massive wave of “Oh, was that today?” and then I moved on with the day.

Other people reacted to the inauguration with a bit more enthusiasm. Such as the person in the video below. Give it a watch and just go ahead and try to convince yourself that it’s not side-splittingly funny.

 Posted by at 7:09 pm
Jan 252017

Turns out that most (all?) of us have been wrong. At the end of Star Wars, the Rebel fighters fly down the length of a trench on the Death Star to deliver a warhead to an exhaust port. And for the past nearly 40 years, just about everybody has believed that the trench they flew down was the equatorial trench. But it turns out that it was a smaller longitudinal (north-south) trench. And it turns out that this is an obvious fact, once pointed out.

The Death Star and the Final Trench Run

 Posted by at 4:04 pm
Jan 252017

Weather has been rather aggressively wintery of late. For example, I am getting a serious uncomfortableness about the amount of snow and ice built up on my roof. Conditions on the roads have been similarly dodgy from time to time. So it wasn’t entirely shocking to hear on the news this last weekend that a Fed Ex truck got smacked by a commuter train in Salt Lake City.

But today the police released some dash cam footage that put a bit of a different spin on things. There was a police car *right* *there* when the incident occurred and good footage was obtained. You might think the truck driver is an idiot for pulling out in front of the train. But pay attention to the train crossing signals and barriers. More importantly, pay attention to the *timing.*


Note that there’s no audio. I *really* want to hear the audio. I bet it’s entertainingly expletiv-riffic.

 Posted by at 2:40 am
Jan 242017

Because racially divisive Identity Politics worked out so well for the Dems in the last couple of elections, DNC party chairman candidate Sally Boynton Brown doubles down and tells fellow Dems that she’s running to become the head honcho of their party so that she can shut down white Democrats who speak up.

Yeah. That’ll work *great.*

I fully support her and I hope she wins.

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Jan 242017

Well, here’s some good news…

Radiation Clouds at Aviation Altitudes

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Space Weather reports the discovery of radiation “clouds” at aviation altitudes. When airplanes fly through these clouds, dose rates of cosmic radiation normally absorbed by air travelers can double or more.


The hypothesis is that radiation is getting trapped in geomagnetic “bottles” which sometime burst and rain rads down towards the surface.

You really gotta watch out for radiation clouds when flying around.


 Posted by at 1:36 am
Jan 232017

I got a kick out of the 2008 Giant Monster movie “Cloverfield.” I would have preferred – a lot – if it had been a standard movie format rather than “found footage” with shakeycam, but you get what you get, I suppose. But what was presented left the door open for prequels, sidequels and sequels, and I though that that was a concept that could actually do well with further exploration. But such films were not forthcoming.

In 2016, the movie “10 Cloverfield Lane” came out. The producers said that it was kinda-sorta a sequel to Cloverfield; but the relationship between the two movies is really not apparent. Sure, both feature aliens, but they are apparently fundamentally different and there’s no obvious link between the two.

But the thing is: the producers went buggo on producing *tiny* scraps of evidence and scattering them hither and yon to be found by people with *way* too much free time. One such intrepid soul has put together a YouTube video that goes through a lot of *excessively* detailed analysis of the hints that J.J. Abrams & Co. spread around. in the end, if the analysis is even halfway correct, then the movies really are linked. In short… the events of “Cloverfield” pissed off Mom.

This sort of thing – lots of tiny details dropped here and there that link two apparently separate stories into a single narrative universe – is not new. “Necronomicon,” anyone?


 Posted by at 2:52 am
Jan 232017

Here’s an interesting illustration of the Polaris sea launched ballistic missile, taken from a technical manual. I’ve uploaded the full-rez version to the APR Patreon Extras Dropbox folder for 2017-01, so if you are interested, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 2:02 am