Blabberbox:Random blog-like posts from pftq.Share on Twitter

Death is Only Natural

April 6th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Death is only natural... That is, until you find a cure. Then they'll kill you to have it.
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Retinal Occlusion

March 31st, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
For those curious what it's like seeing with retinal occlusion... (aka RVO, RAO, CRVO, etc)

The first time your eye goes out, everything is white.  This happened for my left eye in the spring of 2012.



Sometimes...[More]
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Nandemonaiya Cover

March 27th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Nandemonaiya Cover by Dion and Raon Lee (@raon_leee)
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Cutting Through a City Grid

March 26th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Cutting thru a city grid is the same distance as going around the perimeter. There is no time saved from zigzagging through the middle if you never actually travel diagonally.
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SuperYo Yoyos

March 25th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Found the SuperYo yoyos I used to have in 4th grade. Now to figure if I liked Sonic Spin more or Renegade.
http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php?topic=44265.0;prev_next=prev
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Chiisana Boukensha

March 22nd, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Chiisana Boukensha by Masato Coda
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Blissful Solitude Ambient Mix

March 21st, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Blissful Solitude Ambient Mix compiled by Fluidified
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Most Blockchain Startups Worthless

March 19th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Good article on why most Blockchain startups don't really have value and are more rails for other tech like AI, etc.
https://medium.com/@jamie247/99-of-blockchain-startups-are-bullshit-4cf11a549895
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Oie ni Kaeritai (Cover)

February 10th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Oie ni Kaeritai (Cover) by Blake Robinson
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Virtual Reality via 3D Projection Mapping

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Rather than wear VR/AR headsets, it's more interesting to me to try to bring VR literally into the real world using 3D projection mapping.  No one has to wear any fancy goggles; anyone walking by can see exactly what you see and step into the same world you're in.  Imagine walking by your favorite supermarket one day to find that it's been transformed into massive crater in the ground.  Forget the supermarket.  Imagine if the giant castle before you started to collapse as a monster emerged from within.  Best of all, everyone around you can see it and hear it with you.  Contrast this with VR or AR currently where everyone else around you only sees you running around with a headset, playing more or less with an imaginary friend world.

No, 3D projection mapping is not just a big movie screen.  Below is an example of 3D projection done literally on a castle to make it appear like it is moving, crumbling, transforming... Yes, the example...[More]
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Buzzing From Keyboard Piano

January 8th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
So I don't forget in the future.  If there is buzzing from the piano keyboard via headphones or speakers, it is likely from the MIDI cable plugged in.  Removing that or having your recording play from a USB thumb drive instead will fix the buzzing.

This pertains at least to me with the Yamaha P155.
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A Way to Know If We're in a Simulation

January 6th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
This was inspired by a dream I had that was mildly unsettling.  In the dream, you were in a house with a few old-school moving pictures on the wall - the kind that required a handcrank to animate except the owner found a way to keep the pictures moving on their own for a long time, to the point the owner had long passed away and the pictures were still moving.  Over time, the mechanical devices keeping the pictures moving start to wear out, and the pictures start to slow down.  What becomes odd is that if you look closely enough, you start to notice that every so often, a frame goes missing or blacks out, as if the universe flickered and the camera captured a moment of nothingness.

Of course, that dream could have been a lot of other things, such as mechanical issues with the camera that shot the footage, but what it got me wondering was 1) if the universe was a simulation with a frame rate, 2) whether we could capture the flickers in between the frames to prove it.  This...[More]
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World Without Senses

January 3rd, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Imagine having no sight, no hearing, no senses. The world exists but you wouldn't know it. Your body depends on this place outside your reality, but you aren't even aware of having a body, of its actions from your thoughts, of others who see you and perhaps try to interact with you. God probably thinks we're in a coma.
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New Year's Day on NYC Rooftop

January 1st, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I only just now realized I have a rooftop in NYC. What terrible timing...


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The Average is Not Real

December 4th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
The average is not a real number. If one fish is fresh water and the other salt, optimizing for the average kills both.
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Let Me Tell You a Story

November 27th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Let Me Tell You a Story by Blake Robinson
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Three Tiers of Mind

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
This is a long piece but one I've been thinking through for a long time.  I've come gradually to see people as being in one of three Tiers when it comes to their motivations, mindset, and ability to make things happen.  Before I begin, I want to make clear that this is not about one group of people being better than another.  It is also not a relative scale or spectrum; the conditions for each group are discrete.  There is no in-between.  It's how you think and are motivated most deep down, not how you want to be or what you portray outwardly.  Lastly, these are mindsets, not people.  It has nothing to do with social status, quality of character, etc.  For sake of discussion, we assume everyone is well-intentioned, honest, and overall good people.  

This topic can be easily misconstrued as judgmental or arrogant, but it’s important to see that I am not saying people should be one way or another, just that there exists the dynamic...[More]
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Microsoft Word Now Spellchecks Writing Style

November 6th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I normally run my stuff through spellcheck just to check for quick errors.  The other day I had about 100, all for "readability" and "conciseness" under the pretense of grammatical errors.  What?

Here are some of the examples:
"perhaps as a result of..." => "perhaps because of"
"the only thing they really have is the past" => "the only thing they have is the past"
"it's absolutely essential that..." => "it's essential that..."
"someone who says their ultimate goal is to..." => "someone who says their goal is to..."

The biggest issue here is none of those phrases are actually grammatically incorrect (MS Word just corrected what I said to "actually grammatically incorrect").  It's someone's opinion on how I should write, and it actually changes the meaning of what I'm saying.  That is pretty ridiculous.  Sure, I can strip out every adverb and adjective from my writing, but that would make for some pretty dry and boring - sorry, some pretty dry and boring - literature.

The sad part is people learning to write for the first time would likely trust the spellcheck to clean up all "errors" in their writing.  It's not an error to say more than you have to to make a point.
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Shaping Dreams

November 5th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Some let the world shape their dreams.  Others let their dreams shape the world.
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Unlimited Clean Energy From Solar Winds

October 29th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
From what I've been able to read so far, it seems there's enough energy right at the edge of our atmosphere to power the entire planet for free.  The energy comes in the form of charged particles from the sun called solar wind, which is much more energy rich than what makes it past the Earth's magnetic field to our ground-based solar panels.  It is what you see responsible for phenomena like the northern lights (aurora borealis).  Our atmosphere shields us from harmful radiation, likewise reducing a lot of this to just the sunlight you feel on Earth, but if you go outside the atmosphere, it is practically unlimited energy, free for the taking.  This could be collected through a sail, kite, or even just a regular conductor (at the ionosphere just before space, it's pretty close to actual electricity) with no worries of pollution or detriment to the environment.  What I'm surprised about is there hasn't been more interest to reach it, as it seems like such a land grab.

The main problem I read about is the practicality of transporting the energy back to Earth, as much of it can be lost if you try to just beam it or conduct it through a massively long wire.  If we go further out than near space to collect from the solar wind directly, that problem becomes even larger; the distance grows from perhaps just 50 miles to now on the order of thousands of miles.  It seems to me a silly problem though if you really are able to collect that much energy; surely you can spare just a tiny bit of that energy to power whatever it takes to bring the load back to Earth.  According to some articles such as phys.org, every 200 sqft of collection could power a thousand homes, which is more than enough for a city or two if you just send roughly a closet-sized sail into space.  If you stay at near-space to collect the ionized form instead of going all the way into space itself, the collection area can be smaller as it is closer to just raw electricity that you can tap into.  What probably wasn't in consideration before was the means of storing the energy at large enough capacity and transporting the energy in loads, rather than trying to shoot it back to Earth.  What's exciting to me though is that it seems Elon Musk might have similar ideas here with his almost perfectly arranged trio of companies focused on space (SpaceX), battery efficiency (Tesla), and solar energy (SolarCity - not solar wind collection but close enough); you could almost see Musk one day deciding to merge SpaceX and Tesla as well to then build spaceships and space stations powered directly by the sun without ever having to refuel back on Earth.  The storage and transportation problem almost seems like it'll solve itself over time as clean energy technology gets better.

An interesting proof of concept might be to set up a weather balloon or lightning rocket to first tap into the charged particles concentrated at near space and send it back to a lightning rod or tower back on the ground.  It's not the full utilization of all the energy up there, but it's still a massive amount of energy that would be useful to power a city or two, especially if it's free.  It's also fun to imagine a city with a super long kite in the sky causing man-made lightning to continuously strike the center to keep it powered.  Perhaps one day we can figure out how to generate lightning without the trailing wire.

What would...[More]
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