The Power and Pathos of Optimus Prime

Image from Marvel Comics. (Source)

As you might know, I am a great fan of the old-school Transformers, the 1986 Transformers animated film in particular. (I even hosted a whole podcast episode about it.) For all their flaws (which are plentiful), the franchise was a watershed moment for me, introducing me as a child to a kind of storytelling, a style of animation, and a degree of out-and-out violence I'd never experienced, for better and/or worse.What stays with with me more than any other aspect of the franchise, more than the … [Read more...]

Here Come the Apologetics from “Some” Mars One Candidates

The true believers of Mars One have begun to respond to the criticism the program is facing, most specifically from the excellent investigative work of Elmo Keep, whose pieces I have now cited twice on this blog. Yesterday, I wrote about how Keep’s reporting reveals that Mars One is beginning to look less like a noble scientific enterprise, and more like a profit-seeking rapture cult.Today, I am directed to a rebuttal piece that is part group-response from Mars One candidates, and part p … [Read more...]

Mars One is Amway-Meets-Heaven’s Gate

In November I wrote about an investigative piece by Elmo Keep on the Mars One initiative, which is supposed to be screening candidates for a one-way mission to Mars in the next decade. Go read that post to get caught up. (And read all of Keep's original article, which is amazing.)In my post, I compared Mars One to the Underpants Gnomes of South Park:So to sum that up in Underpants Gnome terms:Hold meetings. Get feedback from meetings. ??? Send humans to Mars.In other w … [Read more...]

Now I Wire Me Up to Sleep

Me, wired, pre-tubing.

You know how when you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you wake up the next morning rested, refreshed, and ready to start your day? Well, I don’t.In fact, I have never felt this way. Regardless of how many hours of sleep I get, whether I remember dreaming or not, or whether or not I’ve snored, had to go to the bathroom, been interrupted by my kids, or had nothing happen whatsoever, I awake every morning feeling crappy, exhausted, tight, cramped, and less than pleased to be alive. For years, I pre … [Read more...]

My Son and Papa Dreadnoughtus


You may recall that last year they announced the discovery of a dinosaur species which they called Dreadnoughtus, thought to be the single largest land animal to ever live. Cool, right? Suck it, Argentinosaurus!Anyway, my 5-year-old son has a project this week in his preschool class on dinosaurs, his favorite subject. He had to choose one to report on, and build a poster based on what he learned. Well he already knows gobs of facts about all manner of dinosaur species, so in order to up the a … [Read more...]

To Persist, to Ponder


Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi died on March 9 of lung cancer. He was, as I am, 37 years old. He had, as I do, a young daughter. (I also of course have a son.) Before he died, Kalanithi wrote about his mortality, the change in his experience of time, and what held meaning for him in his last days. Time for me is double-edged: Every day brings me further from the low of my last cancer relapse, but every day also brings me closer to the next cancer recurrence — and eventually, death. Perhaps later th … [Read more...]


Photo on 3-9-15 at 3.18 PM

This we know to be true: I have something of an unhealthy enthusiasm for gadgets, currently focused on smartphones. (Sometimes it’s tablets, though not now, sometimes headphones, and it goes on.) When I find the one I like, it becomes a rather precious thing to me.Remember when I was without a mobile device for a whole day a couple months ago? I didn’t do well.A few days ago, a tripped while attending to a whining child at the breakfast table, at which point my Galaxy Note 4 flew from my … [Read more...]

Please Do Not Save Me From My Phone

Look how peaceful and content she is with her phone. She doesn't need a goddamn smartwatch.

In two days, Apple’s going to have a big event where, presumably, they’ll reintroduce the Apple Watch, and it’s all anyone in the tech pundit space will talk about. This frustrates me, as a major consumer of said tech punditry. For one, I’m not sold on the whole idea of smartwatches. Also, I couldn’t use an Apple Watch even if I wanted to, as I own an Android phone and Apple Watch only works with a late model iPhone. Also, way, way too much of the “coverage” and “analysis” has been premature pron … [Read more...]

Chromebook Caveats and Dealbreakers

J.R. Raphael at Computerworld has a great, straightforward set of questions for anyone who isn’t sure if a Chromebook would be a good idea for them. (It will also give you a good idea of what a Chromebook is if you don’t know already.) It actually helped me clear up some things in my own mind about how useful or feasible such a thing might be for someone like me, who’s been devoted to Macs for more than 10 years. Yes, I could certainly see myself doing most of what I generally do on my computer f … [Read more...]

Forget the Ones and Sixes, Show Me the Sevens and E’s

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.15.29 AM

New flagship Android phones are being announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, right now. There's the new HTC One M9, which is a nice evolution of the One line, which is fine (but apparently now playing catchup camera-wise after two generations of a noble and failed experiment with "ultrapixels"). The Samsung Galaxy S6 is also coming any moment, with an all- or mostly-metal build and one version with the "Edge" side screens. That's a yawn for me.Here's what does interest me (and … [Read more...]