Saturday, December 04, 2021

Ten Commandments are not so simple - several traditions, and the actual list which is often sidestepped


It's just ironic how adamant people can be about putting up monuments to these things, and it's not even clear what they are talking about.  Even more ironic is that all these traditions ignore or sidestep the actual 10 commandments that was placed within the Art of the Covenant, found at Exodus 34 (shown in last column in the table above).  [Originally created by me and posted on Reddit.]

Sunday, November 28, 2021

This will soon be the closest I've ever lived to an In-N-Out Burger location

 Coming soon to Thornton, CO:

Look who's moving to the neighborhood!  

Trail 2 - City Park in Lakewood

Belmar Park is listed in the book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder as Trail #2.  However, this park is really just a well designed city park around Kountze Lake in Lakewood, CO.  There is a paved trail and several dirty offshoots with varying sizes.  A combination of paths allow you to walk around the lake.  The various dirt trail widths allow for simple walks (narrow), walking your dogs (two-way), and riding your horse (wide).

 
On this day, the lake served as a respite for a bunch of geese as they head South for Winter.  Even though this is late Fall, the afternoon was warm and pleasant.  


My dog, Tobzilla, typically barks at everything.  However, on this nice afternoon, we passed by cackling children, several big dogs, geese and even horses (which he particular hates when they show up on TV).  He didn't bark or even look as though he wanted to bark.  He was very interested in the horses and their smells, but he wasn't nervous by their presence. 


Much of the park's trail network runs through other areas, including a significant section that traces a nearby stream called Weir Gulch. 

The park is surrounded by homes and businesses, and this fact is obvious as you peruse around.  As mentioned above, this is a city park.  There are other trails in the Denver Metro Area that would be much closer to what one might call "trails".  I enjoyed walking here.  My dog also seemed at ease.  However, it's a bit of a stretch to call this a location for hiking.

One added word of caution about the name of the park.  The name of the park is Belmar Park.  However, the name of the neighborhood around the park is also called Belmar Park.  If you look this place up in your navigation app, make sure it's taking you to the park and not to the center of the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The purpose of this blog has changed a bit over the years

The purpose of this blog has changed a bit over the years since Feb 2002.  Early on, I was fascinated by the idea of having an online outlet.  At the beginning, there are literal log entries about what was actually going on in my daily life.  After while, I started covering news items and provided my opinions about stuff.  All the while, there was some self-reflection as well.  I also started a few other blogs that were more focused, including the exploration of alien life, poetry and even my car.  

All of these other blogs have since been retired.  I took postings from those and placed them on this blog.  All but the poetry blog have been deleted.  In fact, around the time I closed down those other blogs, my interest in maintaining a blog waned.  During some of the biggest changes in my life is when I posted the least. 

Then I started using Instagram.  All of a sudden, it was much easy to post about my daily life again, but in a much different way...in the form of images.  Instagram and IFTTT combined allowed me to post every IG image directly onto my blog automatically.  The number of posts increased 10 fold.  I prolly posted text based entries even less than before while I flooded my site with stylized photos.  This continued for several years until IG locked down its API...and then even a bit after that until my other methods of automatically uploading IG posts vanished.

I still post on IG frequently.  Now, to get IG photos on my blog, I actually have to manually add the posts with those photos.  This has actually caused me to post less frequently on IG.  Often, when I transfer the photos, I'll combine related images into a single post on this blog.

In addition to IG, I posted my review of scientific papers about the likelihood of life outside of Earth within our Galaxy.  These posts were very popular and still attract a lot of attention. However, my two most popular posts (that still top my list of activity for this blog)?  Beeper Codes and the related Pager Codes. There's a lot of nostalgia about these codes for some reason.

I'm not writing this post for contemporary consideration.  I absolutely know that this information will not interest anyone today.  But, this ties back to my first sentence above.  The current purpose of this blog, and the one that will stand for here and on?  A while back, I realized I have recorded a snapshot of almost the enter 21th Century to date.  If I keep this blog going (assuming Google continues to support Blogspot), this blog will represent almost the entirety of the first half of the 21th Century.  Nature allowing, I'll try to keep posting until 2052 for a full fifty years.  Although my life may not be very interesting to contemporaries, it may be more interesting as this Century becomes ancient history.  300 years from now, this blog may still be available in some manner within whatever form the Internet will take.  Maybe electronic archeologists will discover my musings buried in archives.  Or, if the world purges the old in such an electronic realm, then this blog or portions thereof may be discovered on some derelict server by dirt-digging archeologists of the 24th Century.  Either way, this is my experience for you.  Yup...you, Magnolia, et al. 

I know the likelihood of the images being kept intact with this blog for a long time are not great, given how Google and other services store them.  I know the likelihood that videos being kept intact are even slimmer.  Here's to hope that somehow forces beyond my control will allow most (all) of this blog to be preserved as a glimpse into the early years of the Information Age.

Insurrection is a good movie with a bad rap

A movie in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) theatrical series that often gets derided as being bad is Star Trek IX: Insurrection (STIX).  In my opinion, STIX is actually a very good movie.  The movie doesn't have anything egregiously wrong with the story, acting, setting, special effects or any thing else artistic or technical.  Of course, one could still knit-pick many things within the movie.  STIX is not perfect, but its also not in the same class of movies such as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier or even Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  It seems that STIX is disliked because its predecessor set a certain type of expectation for Star Trek movies.  That previous movie, Star Trek XII: First Contact, is an action movie.  Arguably, it is an excellent action movie.  

STIX is not First Contact II, which seems to miss the mark with fans of First Contact.  This has harmed STIX's reputation much more than any actual issues with quality.   Taken in isolation as a TNG adventure, STIX is actually very entertaining and more in line with the feel of the TNG TV series than any other TNG movies.  While First Contact is an excellent action movie, STIX is a good adventure movie.

Regarding the rest of the TNG movies, I feel that Star Trek XI: Generations is a jumbled mess that is a cross between Search for Spoke and The Motion Picture.  Additionally, Generations delves deep into space magic to unsuccessfully tie up massive plot holes.  Star Trek X: Nemesis is a movie that seems to shoehorn the TNG characters into a Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (DS9) story.  What I mean is that the story of Nemesis is darker, with more pew-pew.  It also has multiple unrelated or barely-related subplots that are better suited for a season of TV rather than a 2 hr movie.  Additionally, Nemesis seems to be written by writers who forget they could build upon already well-established Romulan lore from both TNG and DS9 for a much more cohesive and succinct story. Nemesis is a bad movie that has a good movie buried somewhere deep within it.  For more on this, see the video called The Amazing Star Trek: Nemesis Theory You've Never Heard Of.

tl;dr: Although STIX is often listed lower on many ranked Star Trek movie lists, or it's outright called "bad", I feel this is not deserved.  STIX is a good movie that got a bad rap because expectations set by First Contact.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Haunting version of Losing My Religion




Bellsaint has created a haunting version of Losing My Religion.  I don't think anyone can truly say this version is better than REM's original.  However, Bellsaint has taken a unique spin on this old classic which transcends the concept of "cover" to become its own brilliant song.  For me, I'll listen to the original REM song when I want the gritty and off-beat 1990's feel, and I'll listen to Bellsaints version when I want melodic and haunting experience.  This newer version by Bellsiant is distinct enough to allow one to listen to both versions back to back without any boredom or feeling of repletion.  I don't know much about Bellsaint's other releases, but I love this particular song, which is why I added it to my digital music collection.

Bellsaint's Losing My Religion 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

A wikipedia article all grown up: Brine Pools

I was watching some nature show back in the mid-aughts that covered the topic of the ocean floor.  This show mentioned the geological formation called brine pool.  Brine pools are amazing "lakes" of brine at the bottom of the ocean.  The water of a brine pool is separated from the ocean above due to the pool's extreme salinity.  Brine pools even have their own surface upon which objects can float.  Imagine this: a submarine floating on top of a brine pool at the bottom of the ocean.

So, why all this talk about brine pools now?  Well, at that time, I was interested to learn more about them.  Upon searching the topic on the Internet, I found nearly nothing.  Wikipedia didn't even have an article about brine pools.  That means it was up to me to create the article.  The only thing I had to go on was what I remembered from the nature show.  So, all I could say was this:

"Brine pools have been discovered at on the ocean floor near methane vents. Lifeforms around these pools do not depend on the sun for energy."

That's it.  That was the whole article.  It's dangerous (metaphorically) to add articles to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is a vicious and uncaring environment with nearly draconian rules about what can stay and what must be removed.  It's doubly risky (again, metaphorically) to create an article with only one sentence for a topic that isn't well know.  The final risk is posting such an article without any citations.  

By some miracle, the brine pool Wikipedia article grew.  This happened due to other editors adding more detail and cited sources.  Images were added soon after.  I kept an eye on the article and helped edit it further from time to time until late 2010.  At that time, the article grew to include a couple of images and three subheadings, each with a short paragraph.  By the Wikipedia measure, it was "2,960 bytes".  


2010 is around the time I stopped editing on Wikipedia in general, but for no other reason than I just got too busy.  So, I forgot about this little article over time.  It wasn't forgotten by others, though.  The article had a moderate number of edits between 2010 and 2017.  Its size grew to a modest 3,410 bytes by the middle of 2018.  

In August of 2018, according to the article's history, something weird happened.  An anonymous editor added a new subheading with a rather large paragraph.  The problem with this edit was that the subject of the subheading had nothing to do with brine pools, but was actually about the land formation of artificial brine sinks.  The edit appears to have been made in good faith by someone who did not understand the topic of brine pools.  After some back-and-forth edits, the incorrect subheading was removed by other editors.  After that, edits to the article went quiet until September last year.

It appears that someone familiar with the topic of brine pools added a ton of detail in Fall of 2020.  Edits by others quickly followed.  The article ballooned to 10,269 bytes, then again to 21,471 bytes.  Over the past year, the article has received regular and quality edits.  It's turned into a good article about the subject.  The current version of the article is 28,184 bytes with five well flushed-out subheadings and tons of cited sources.  Of course, a lot new information has been discovered about brine pools in the past 15 years, which may have something to do with the explosion of information added to the article.  Most of the cited scientific studies were published since the inception of the brine pool article.

How did I suddenly remember this little article that could?  Literally yesterday, a related geological formation, called cold seep, showed up in a news feed.  Cold seeps are associated with one of the three methods that form brine pools.  So, I was reminded about the article I created all those years ago.  I checked out the brine pool article, and it is glorious (hyperbole, of course).  

I'm glad I was able to contribute in some small way to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.  I've created many other Wikipedia articles, but this one seems to be the most impactful.

One side note, I've actually referenced Wikipedia a lot over the years!  Check out this search: Wikipedia search.