Not my cookies, merely a close representation. I almost forgot to mention this, but I will be handing out cookies again tonight. Last year, all of the kids loved getting chocolate chip cookies to eat while trick-or-treating. What surprised me was that all of the parents loved their kids getting cookies during the evening's escapades. Not one parent looked suspiciously at the cookies, refused the cookies, or ask for all of my identifying information to give to the police when their child ended up in the emergency room from poison. All in all, I felt very positive about the entire experience. So, this year I will again bake chocolate chip cookies this afternoon (though I am thinking about making oatmeal raisin cookies instead). Then tonight I will again act against the fear mongering in society and give the cookies to kids as they walk up to the front door. Of course, part of me thinks it's silly to feel like a rebel for baking cookies. But another part of me wond
Holey Moley, Batman! What a movie!!! Okay, I grew up watching the corny Adam West Batman TV show, where I learned to love the Caped Crusader. I mean, here's a guy who doesn't have super powers, hasn't altered his DNA or genetics through a scientific experiment, and doesn't have special government spy training. But Bruce Wayne takes on crime intelligently, using his brain power to out think the bad guys while sporting cool Bat technology. Plus, the show helped the phrase, "Holy cow!" become famous. I watched all the Batman movies, starting with "Batman" in 1989. I love the ones with Michael Keaton and I try to forget all the others. Actively try to forget, that is. But then came "Batman Begins", and Christopher Nolan hooked me into the series again. From Bruce Wayne falling down a well to how and why he became Batman, Nolan took the Batman legends and stories, then crafted a trilogy that balances the darkness of Gotham and t
I've started and deleted this article four times since last Thursday, because it just did not sound right. I know that sounds lame, but I try to write posts that have life and character, and the first 4 attempts felt like a badly-written public service announcement. So here's my last attempt. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board - called ESRB - just added a new category to their ratings guide called Interactive Elements. Basically, the good people at ESRB want to help the general public evaluate online games using these three categories: Shares Location: The game may share your location with other players. For example, in Team Fortress 2, some servers show the country of origin for the players. Shares Information: The game shares personal information (such as email address) with third parties. I suggest reading the fine print on games that have this icon to learn what information is shared with whom. Users Interact: The game allow
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer My rating: 1 of 5 stars I feel very disappointed in Jonah Lehrer, author of "Imagine: How Creativity Works". Several weeks ago, he admitted to faking quotes from Bob Dylan. Okay, this is not exactly correct. A Bob Dylan fan discovered the fake quotes, asked Mr. Lehrer about where he obtained the quotes, and Mr. Lehrer lied about his source. When the Bob Dylan fan pushed, Mr. Lehrer finally admitted his "mistake". It's sad, because the Dylan fan thought the quotes were original and was excited about getting more dialogue from Bob Dylan. And while the quotes reflect Bob Dylan's philosophy, if Mr. Dylan never said the words in that order, then it's not a quote. Later, Lehrer admitted to faking more reference material in the book. I stopped reading the book at that point. I have debated with myself whether or not I want to finish reading the book, or whether I should burn the book and never read a
Hello, friends! Well, it's Monday night and I've yet to find time to finish a post. So I decided to share a favorite music video of mine - Matt Mulholland doing a great cover of "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry. I'll see you tomorrow!
I happened upon a new book this week. Well, it's not a new book; rather an old book that I had not heard of before. "They Thought They Were Free" by Milton Mayer discusses what happened in Germany before and during World War II, but from the point of view of the people of Germany. Reading a quote, I felt chills go down my spine. The similarities between then and now are disturbing. I momentarily thought about summarizing what I read and relating it to today, but you don't need me to do that. So without further ado, a quote from "They Thought They Were Free": What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be e
In a completely unexpected move, Pluto's moons recently began to threaten a NASA probe. NASA launched New Horizons seven years ago, to travel across the solar system to study Pluto. Everything looked okay, but now researchers and scientists wonder about all the debris left behind the moons and in Pluto's orbit. After all, New Horizons, traveling at over 30,000 mph, can be either crippled or destroyed by something as small as a grain of sand. Is this debris just a happenstance? Or is there something more sinister going on? Some people wonder if Pluto feels as though he's getting treated as a secondhand planet in the solar system. Neptune led a protest group, saying "Look, I'm not saying that certain planets treat Pluto badly. But when Earth discovered his last two moons they couldn't even give them proper names. I'm just sayin'." Neptune then released his controversial "Moon Discovery Timeline", which we present here in a sim
Hopefully, this is a fake call to a radio station. But I have the sneaking suspicious that it really happened. Basically, a woman wants the state department of transportation to move the deer crossing signs so that we can encourage deer to cross on less traveled roads. And I quote: "They can direct the deer population to anywhere they want to by moving that deer crossing sign."
Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old teenage girl living in Canada. On September 7, 2012, she posted this video of herself, silently telling the story of her bullying through note cards. On October 12, 2012, Amanda Todd killed herself. I'm not repeating her story here, but you can read about it yourself on SourceFed , or just google "Amanda Todd" and pick a story. What I want to tell you is the story about a friend of mine who also committed suicide. I first met Traci Birmingham in seventh grade. We were is almost every class together, including working as assistants in the dean's office. Traci and I became best friends; she slept over at my house several times. Then one day, Traci showed me a piece of paper that said, "Sign here if you hate Kay Yoder". Everyone I knew signed it, including Traci. I stopped talking to Traci after that; I felt so hurt and confused. I even stopped attending school; I missed something like 30 out of 45 days. No one r
An artistic rendition of 55 Cancri e, the Diamond Planet Credit: Haven Giguere Hello! Welcome to today's edition of the freaky news of the week. First up, it's a story about a man and his car. In December 2010, a 31-year-old man in southern Germany went out drinking for the night. When he woke up in the morning, his car was gone. He searched and he searched, then he reported the loss to the local police. Fast forward to this week, and vióla! The police find the car, parked about 4 km (or about 2.5 miles) from where the man thought he left it. Moving on to space, SpaceX's Dragon capsule flew up to and docked with the International Space Station successfully this week. So begins the next chapter of our journey into space. Also in space, scientists think Voyager I traversed the heliopause, the boundary between our heliosphere and the rest of the universe, earlier this year and is now the first man-made object outside our entire solar system. As a Star Tre
Feminism - a word that brings up pictures of women burning bras while marching to get equal rights. While we in the United States have moved forward in terms of the ability to choose what to do with our lives, we need to remember that we are the minority. The vast majority of women in the world face horrors every day that boggle the imagination. This week in Pakistan, a 14 year old girl was shot for wanting to get an education. Malala Yousafzai spoke out about the Taliban and their denial of education to girls in 2009, blogging for the BBC about her experiences. Last year, Malala was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize and she won Pakistan's National Peace Prize. But the Taliban did not approve of her participation in the movement to education women, and they sent Malala several death threats. On Tuesday, they delivered on their death threats, and promised to try again if she lives. But there is more injustice out there. Today is the United Nati
At the beginning of September, I discovered a website called Coursera that allows anyone with an Internet connection to take courses from major universities online. Reading through the list of courses, I found a course about a subject that I find fascinating - Cryptography!!! Sadly, the Cryptography course began almost two weeks earlier, but then I noticed that Coursera would let me sign up for it anyway. Did I dare attempt a university level cryptography course almost two weeks late? Would I be able to keep up or would I be hopelessly lost? As you can probably guess from the fact that I am writing this blog post, I dared. And then I immersed myself in watching the video lectures and attempting to do the homework. Cryptography is a course from Stanford University, taught by Prof. Dan Boneh . According to the description: Cryptography is an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems. This course explains the inner workings of cryptographic primiti
The other day on Google +, I met a very talented artist named Philo Yan. She said "Hello" and sent me a link to her pencil drawings. I must admit, I love how she uses color to capture the moment. I asked her if I could share my favorite one, a frog hanging from a small branch. Philo nicely agreed to my request, so here is the picture, "COOL!". Cool color coded dudette, Awesome colors look at that! Hanging loose, fancy free, On a little tiny tree, Grassy greens, Trickling streams. KatFrog shares this post, Such a generous host! To see more of Philo's wonderful drawings, visit here.
Here's part of the header for my Facebook timeline. Lately, I've read a lot about Facebook and the problems facing both the company and the website users. I wonder if I really want to maintain a Facebook account, given the continually changing security, advertising schemes, and odd "experiments" such as Facebook asking people to rat out their friends . I decided that I need to look at this entire problem in a new light, so I am creating a list of pros and cons. Pros for Staying at Facebook: My lovely friends and family - I have a LOT of friends and family on Facebook, mostly people who I want to keep in touch with, but who I would not be connected to otherwise. My Blog - Facebook allows me to publicize my blog and (hopefully) the novel I'll be publishing next year. My Writing - Covered in my blog. We Grok - I started a small company where I help people with social media. I think I need to stay on Facebook if I want to sound and be authentic. Cob