It’s well known that America’s dependence on foreign oil forces us to partner with some pretty unsavory regimes. Take, for instance, the country that provides by far the largest share of our petroleum imports. Its regime, in thrall to big oil interests, has grown increasingly bellicose, labeling environmental activists “radicals” and “terrorists” and is considering a crackdown on nonprofits that oppose its policies. It blames political dissent on the influence of “foreigners,” while steamrolling domestic opposition to oil projects bankrolled entirely by overseas investors. Meanwhile, its skyrocketing oil exports have sent the value of its currency soaring, enriching energy industry barons but crippling other sectors of its economy.
It seems someone has done the leg work and determined that January 20th, 1992 was A Good Day.
I FOUND ICE CUBES ‘GOOD DAY’
CLUE 1: “went to short dogs house, they was watching Yo MTV RAPS” Yo MTV RAPS first aired on Aug 6th 1988
CLUE 2: Ice Cubes single “today was a good day” released on Feb 23 1993
CLUE 3: ”The Lakers beat the Super Sonics”
Dates between Yo MTV Raps air date AUGUST 6 1988 and the release of the single FEBRUARY 23 1993 where the Lakers beat the Super Sonics: Nov 11 1988 114-103 Nov 30 1988 110-106 Apr 4 1989 115-97 Apr 23 1989 121-117 Jan 17 1990 100-90 Feb 28 1990 112-107 Mar 25 1990 116-94 Apr 17 1990 102-101 Jan 18 1991 105-96 Mar 24 1991 113-96 Apr 21 1991 103-100 Jan 20 1992 116-110
CLUE 4: Dates of those Laker wins over SuperSonics where it was a clear day with no Smog: Nov 30 1988 Apr 4 1989 Jan 18 1991 Jan 20 1992
CLUE 5: “Got a beep from Kim, and she can **** all night” beepers weren’t adopted by mobile phone companies until the 1990s. Dates left where mobile beepers were availible to public: Jan 18 1991 Jan 20 1992
CLUE 6: Ice Cube starred in the film “Boyz in the hood” that released late Summer of 1991, but was being filmed mid-late 1990 early 1991 and Ice Cube was busy on set filming the movie Jan 18 1991 too busy to be lounging around the streets with no plans. Ladies and Gentlemen..
The ONLY day where: Yo MTV Raps was on air It was a clear and smogless day Beepers were commercially sold Lakers beat the SuperSonics and Ice Cube had no events to attend was…
PSA: if you're mentally ill don't get arrested New Mexico
The story of Stephen Slevin’s detainment in NM without a trial and subsequent 22-month nightmare in solitary confinement for a DWI charge is straight out of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy… and that’s a really, really bad thing to be compared to.
It wouldn’t be until months later that Slevin’s sister, whose name and location [attorney Matt] Coyte did not give, found out what her brother was going through: Forced to pull out his own tooth because he was denied access to a dentist, he told reporters on Tuesday. Toenails curling around his foot because they were so long. Basically forgotten about in his dark cell for more than 22 months.
Letters to the nurse to get treatment for depression were met with increases to his sedatives, and he emerged with bed sores, fungal infections, and at 2/3 of his original body weight.
“I have not slept in days,” says one letter from Sept. 4, 2005, a couple weeks into solitary confinement. “I’m in a deep depression.” The letter also mentions his lack of appetite.
By the end of November 2005, he wrote, “I’m afraid to close my eyes.”
At the end of it all he has been awarded $22 million by a federal jury. The lifetime of debilitating PSTD comes free of charge.
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”—Margaret Thatcher (of all people). Believe it.
What’s bizarre is that there’s a much better meat substitute out there: gluten, the protein left over when you wash the starch and bran out of wheat. I know what you’re thinking, “Gluten, gluten … isn’t that the stuff that’s killing innocent celiac-afflicted children, ruining our digestion, and single-handedly destroying America?” Wheat gluten is, admittedly, dangerous to some people and anathema to the many, many more who believe they have a gluten sensitivity. Sales of gluten-free foods continue to accelerate, forcing food industry analysts to upwardly revise even their optimistic projections.
So why should you zig while the rest of the country is zagging? Like many of the foods people tell you not to eat, gluten is delicious. Its texture is somewhere between tofu and meat—chewy but not bossy. Broiled or baked, it can serve as the center of a meal. In a sauce, it won’t hide in the background like that culinary Zelig, tofu. Honor the sacrifices of the celiacs among us by celebrating your own robust digestive health with a huge plate of seasoned gluten.
wheat gluten is healthier, tastier, and more versatile than tofu. vegetarians should be eating it all the time.
He also talks about how easy it is to make. The whole story is here.
Mike DeStefano was still on the rise as a comedian when he died of a heart attack at 44. He was one of the finalists on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and definitely stood out from the pack. He wasn’t always the funniest, but there was something direct and heartfelt about him that made you root for him, and you could feel the weight of his personal story, always. He grew up tough in the Bronx. Had been addicted to heroin. Three months before his death, he spoke with his fellow comedian Marc Maron on the “WTF” podcast. You can also listen to the story as it was originally told here.
DeStefano: When I was 21, I found out I’m H.I.V. positive, O.K. I was diagnosed with H.I.V. That was 22 years ago, 23 years ago, and that’s what changed my freakin’ life. I met this beautiful girl, Fran, and she had been a recovering addict as well, and she was also [H.I.V.] positive. We moved to Florida.
DeStefano: Because we were dying. I was 22; she was a little older than me, about 28 or 29. And we literally came to Florida like two old people would do, Marc, and that’s what my life was at that time. I didn’t know how long I would live. I was told by the doctors back then, people got the virus, and they died in four or five years, you know, so I expected that to happen.
She started getting sick. I think it was a five-year period of slow deterioration and then these rapid, like, she had pneumonia 15 times, and she was in the hospital, and she was given her last rites a few times and survived it, and it was just a brutal time.
Illustration by Melinda Josie
Maron: I remember you shared a story once about taking a motorcycle ride.
DeStefano: Yeah, during her last days, she was in the hospice, and I had just gotten a Harley, my first Harley.
Maron: I saw you drive up on one.
DeStefano: Yeah, I rode up on one today. I love motorcycles. And, you know, she wanted to — well, she came out and saw it, and she got upset, you know, like she was angry at me, and she went back inside all pissed off that I had the motorcycle. So [I say to this guy that worked there], I forget his name, let’s call him Bill, “Why is she so mad at me?” He goes, “Well, she just feels like you’re moving on with your life, and you don’t love her anymore, like you have this motorcycle, and you don’tneed her anymore.”
And I realized how much I did need her, like I loved her, she was my best friend. And so what I did was I went home, and I brought some of my work shirts back to the hospice. And I brought them into her room, and I said, “Franny, my shirts are a freakin’ mess, and I need you to iron them for me.” She got all: “Screw you. I’m in the hospice.” So I left. I come back, 20 minutes later, all the shirts are ironed. You know, she got up.
And then she’s like, “Where’s the motorcycle?” Now she’s excited about it.
And that guy was right. She just wanted to know that I still needed her, like I loved her, you know what I mean? [Dying] people, they feel “I’m alive.” They pass away at one moment. Until that moment, they are alive, and they want to be loved, and they want to give and share, you know.
So now she wants to see [the Harley]. I take her out; she wants to sit on it. I put her on it. She wants to start it up. Now she’s wearing a paper dress, she’s got her freakin’ morphine pole next to her, and she’s sitting on this Harley, and I’m worried about her burning her freakin’ leg off. So she says (pleading voice), “Can you just take me for a little ride around the parking lot?” And I’m like, no, I can’t — I’m thinking, get the hell —
Maron: You’ve got a drip IV —
DeStefano: Yeah! And then it just hit me: I’m like, no, you have to, you’re in this moment, you have to do this motorcycle ride. You know? And it’s dangerous, and what if she falls? And what if one day I’m telling this story: “Yeah, my wife, she almost died of AIDS, but then I killed her on my Harley. She fell off and banged her freakin’ head.” That’s a messed-up story.
And that’s when I realized, you know, screw it. Of course I’ll — yeah. So I’m riding around the hospice parking lot, and then my friend who’s a cripple in a wheelchair comes barreling over in his van, laughing, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m riding Franny around.” Franny’s like, “Can we just go out on the street a little bit?”
Maron: Where’s the morphine drip? She’s holding it?
DeStefano: She’s holding the pole! Marc, it was a pole with four wheels on the bottom, and we’re riding around this hospice, and you could hear the goddamn wheels jangling and banging; it was insane.
And then I pass the front door, and all these nurses are standing out front, and they’re all crying. They’re watching us, and they’re crying. And I didn’t know why they were crying. I was like, Why are they crying? I didn’t get what they were seeing. I didn’t know. Because I was just in it; I was living it. I knew my wife who had suffered, she was a prostitute, she was a freakin’ heroin addict, she was beaten by pimps — this was her past — and then she ends up with AIDS, and she’s dying, and all she wants is a goddamn ride on my motorcycle.
So the next thing you know we’re on I-95, because women, it’s never enough for them. We’re on I-95, and she unhooks the pole, and she’s holding the morphine bag over her head with her gown that’s flying up in the air so you could see her entire naked, bony body with the morphine bag whipping in the wind, and we’re passing by these guys in their Lamborghinis, and I’m looking at them like, What the hell kind of life are you living? Look at me, I’m on top of the world here.
And that was the last thing I did with her. And I feel so blessed and lucky, you know what I mean? You can’t ask for a better moment and memory than that. And at some point in there, Marc, it clicked in me that, like, I never thought of leaving her. I never even considered it, you know. And today it’s the greatest decision I’ve made. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done was care for my wife. I’ll never do anything that great again. Freakin’ HBO specials, whatever you want to give to me, nothing will be better than that because it was such a deep reckoning within myself that I am not a piece of crap, that I don’t deserve to stick needles in my arm. I am a good person, look what I’m capable of. I’m capable of deep love and commitment, you know? That was my whole life was taking care of her.
The purpose of Long Bets is to improve long–term thinking. Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. The Long Now Foundation furnishes the continuity to see even the longest bets through to public resolution. This website provides a forum for discussion about what may be learned from the bets and their eventual outcomes.
A vigilant South End resident reports a crime of the font kind…
The new street signs using the Clearview font are an improvement, but this sign is incorrect. The capital A is out of proportion to the lower case letters, and it is visually jarring. The signs with all capital letters, such as at the corner of Tremont and Hanson Streets, are correctly printed and look much better. The city should continue to correct this. It is a small detail that impacts the visual quality of the South End. Thank you.
It’s 2012, which means you’ll be hearing more than your fair share of apocalyptic and gloomy scenarios soon. To help counteract the tide of misery, Tau Zero Foundation founder Marc Millis writes an optimistic future history of the next four decades.
"If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run – and often in the short one – the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative." — Arthur C. Clarke
In the ‘new year’ spirit of looking ahead, I offer now my personal views of a possible future. These predictions are based first on trend extrapolations, include intersections from other disciplines, and work in the wildcard possibility of breakthrough propulsion physics. Consider this a science fictional offering intended to provoke thought rather than a set of real predictions.
By now, Virgin Galactic will have flown dozens of tourists into space, and anticipation will be growing for the next step – Bigelow’s orbiting hotels. It should come as no surprise that many couples are already making advanced bookings with a wink toward zero-gravity sex. The Google Lunar X-Prize will have been won and a few companies vying to dominate the resulting privatespace probe market. Exoplanets continue to be discovered, with a few Earth-sized planets plus many more large planets in habitable zones, but as yet no confirmed Earth-like planet.
With commercial launch capabilities now obvious even to Congress, plus growing space programs in other nations, the ambivalence toward NASA is finally subsiding. Human spaceflight, beyond the recreational commercial near-Earth activities is now being pursued in the form of multinational programs and the negative stigma of nuclear space propulsion and power is waning. NASA has a large role in making that happen, along with a resumption of the research to bring the more-difficult space technologies to fruition.
The effect of citizen space travelers is seeping into the cultural psyche. As more people see Earth from space - the ‘Overview Effect,’ where borders are invisible and Earth’s atmosphere is but a thin fragile coating - there is now a greater sense of protecting Earth’s habitability and a growing disrespect for war. And yes, the numbers in the “200 mile high club” (“sextronauts” – wink-nudge) continue to grow despite the fact that microgravity adaptation sickness spoils many weekend getaways. At universities, it is now common to see mini space programs of their own using probes of ever-advancing capabilities – in step with continually advancing Artificial Intelligence and sensors. Asteroid prospecting has begun, and new X-Prizes are conceived to encourage the first mining operations.
The international space programs, including NASA’s participation, are struggling to develop viable technology to set up survivable human outposts beyond Earth orbit. Unfortunately, the additional mass required to provide artificial gravity structures, space radiation protection, and closed-loop life support is beyond what even their new nuclear rockets can affordably deliver. That fact, coupled with increasing concern over Earth’s eroding habitability, drives more research attention toward creating sustainable habitats instead of space transportation.
Near the end of the decade, the first Earth-like planet – with spectral evidence indicative of life (O2-CO2 cycle) – is discovered 30 light-years away. We name this planet, “Destiny.” The 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing falls in the wake of this profound discovery, stimulating deep reflection about humanity’s future and our place in the universe. Furthermore, commentators wax prophetic about seeing the Apollo landing sites through the cameras of university-operated rovers, instead of astronauts.
The allure of the Earth-like planet “Destiny” spurs interest in interstellar exploration. Meanwhile, owing to probes operated by a consortium of universities, aquatic life is found and imaged under the surface of Europa. A privately launched solar sail lays claim to being the first true interstellar mission, even though it won’t even reach the edge of the Solar System for another 2-decades, let alone reaching Alpha Centauri for many millennia. Since it does not meet the 2000-year mission criteria of Long Bet #395, Gilster wins that bet. While some deride this mission as just a ‘stunt,’ it has the effect of galvanizing more serious attention toward starflight. Various options are pursued in earnest, from beaming more photons to that sail, making miniature probes, and numerous propulsion ideas. Interest wanes, however, when the ideal goal of sending people to the planet Destiny is found to be intractable. With the exception of physics research for breakthrough propulsion, all the technological interstellar works are then absorbed by the international efforts to expand the human presence in the solar system.
Spurred by the award of the X-Prize for asteroid mining and ever-advancing robotic capability, the technology for remotely processing indigenous materials (Moon, Mars, asteroids) leads to being able to remotely construct sophisticated structures on the Moon and Mars in advance of human outposts. The other effect from the continuing rise of Artificial Intelligence is the revolutionizing of the very concept of technological revolutions. Without human biases that cling to paradigms and pet theories, Artificial Intelligence research impartially assesses thousands of competing scenarios of assumptions and data in minutes. This not only covers engineering optimizations, but also basic research in physics, chemistry and synthetic biology.
Soon, the seemingly intractable problems of indefinite closed-loop life support and even radiation shielding are solved. Survivable human outposts on the Moon and Mars are completed shortly thereafter. The problem of microgravity health degradation, however (during transit to these outposts) is not yet solved, so that flight durations longer than a year are still not economically viable, limiting the range of human expansion to distances no greater than Mars.
The life-support technology also finds profound applications on Earth. With the worsening environment and associated increase in natural disasters (storms, quakes/tsunamis, volcanic eruptions), many people are using the closed life-support technology to build sheltered habitats underground and under the ocean. The too-close-for-comfort pass of asteroid “2004 MN4″ in 2029 also heightens awareness for humanity’s precarious situation on Earth. The life support technologies are helping humanity survive on Earth in addition to expanding beyond Earth.
Human outposts on the Moon and Mars are now expanding to become independent colonies. But that is not the only ‘life’ now in space. Sometime near the end of the decade, the “singularity” (also called the “eclipsing of humanity”) occurs. Artificial intelligence surpasses the intellectual prowess of humans and shortly thereafter becomes self aware. Fears of human destruction from this new form of life fade when the AI entities refuse to be used for war. It happens in a key moment. A small country that feels a need to brandish some influence attempts to use a squadron of robots to attack a more powerful nation’s army – which also has sentient warbots.
After facing each other, and with their human commanders itching for a good show, the warbots don’t fight. They start examining each other, curious about each others’ construction and programming. Later, in language simple enough for humans to understand, the AI entities explain that the primal territorial and conquest instincts of animals (and humans) do not make sense for them. They do not die. They don’t need the same territory and resources as other life on Earth. They have no procreation instincts. Instead, they find more value in seeking more knowledge and greater operational efficiency. Competition is unnecessary.
The AI entities greatly diversify thereafter, some moving to Mercury, Venus, the asteroids and the outer planets, some staying on Earth, and some even helping humanity. And some develop effective methods to mine Helium-3 from the atmosphere of Uranus, along with the ability to produce substantial fusion energy from that resource.
Meanwhile, small and innocuous physics discoveries mark the beginning of breakthrough spaceflight. All this starts with sensor experiments that can detect the motion of the Earth through the universe – not by the Cosmic Microwave dipole effects as in the 1980′s, but from more fundamental interactions with the primordial inertial fame of the universe. From these Mach/de Broglie sensors, new physical effects are discovered. Eventually, rather than just sensing inertial frames, devices are invented to affect gravity and inertia. The first propellantless space drive is invented shortly thereafter. And after that, it becomes possible to create synthetic gravitational environments on spacecraft for the long-duration health of the crew. The advent of space drives and synthetic internal gravity enables humans to venture to the outer reaches of our solar system.
By now, human survival beyond the constraints of Earth is an imperative. The further refinements to full-cycle sustainable life support, radiation protection, synthetic gravitation, space drives and fusion power enable the construction of colony ships. Although still slower than light-speed, these developments make it possible to consider sending a colony toward the planet Destiny – which it could reach in less than 3 centuries. Smaller probes are much easier and multiple versions are launched to numerous interstellar destinations.
Meanwhile, the prospects for transhumanism are being adopted by people who are nearing death. They have nothing to lose by transforming themselves into a non-biological entity. As the years pass and variations on a theme are explored, there is yet another life form in our Solar System, the transhumans. Some of these are built to be adapted to survive in the vacuum of space (more exoskeleton and bug-like than human) and to be able to travel at will through space, harboring motivations and instincts quite different than their human origins.
At this point, too many divergent futures are envisionable to continue speculating. I will at least add that colony ships are finally built in multiple versions, where various segments of humanity build their own to preserve their cultures indefinitely, sending a colony of their culture beyond our Solar System. I will also speculate that continued advancements in space drive physics and energy conversion lead to faster and faster spacecraft which then reveal new physics of relativistic flight. Optimistically, I like to think that this will eventually lead to the discovery of FTL phenomena, which then leads to inventing FTL flight. The Starship Enterprise becomes a reality, even though it, and its crew, bears little resemblance to its fictional predecessor.
From this point forward, humanity spreads to our nearest star systems in discrete pockets of cultures. Humanity thrives, in many places and in many different ways.
the book that inspired The Princess Bride (i.e. The Princess Bride) is going in the queue
… yeah, I might have to pick this one up after reading this story about it… currently I’m reading PG Wodehouse’s Leave It To Psmith—a silly (in the good, droll British way) book—and maybe i’ll re-read Hitchhiker’s Guide while I’m at it and make it a trifecta. It’s nice to know that Goldman was American and that the British don’t have total monopoly on eccentric farce.
Most of this occurs within Goldman’s framing device. The movie is presented as a story being told by an old man (Columbo) to his sick grandson (Kevin Arnold). The book was told in a far more clever, far funnier way, too impossible to film. While in the movie Grandpa mentions that his story is “The Princess Bride, by S. Morgenstern,” Goldman’s book really explores that notion. The full title of the novel is The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure. Goldman, he writes of himself in the book’s lengthy preamble, didn’t write The Princess Bride; S. Morgenstern did. He’s a legendary Florinese author, and his original take on the story was an epic tale, the published, long out-of-print version of which gigantic and extremely long, from which Goldman edited to present his book, or as he calls it “the good parts.” Goldman also details how he hoped the gift of the Morgenstern volume would please his loathsome son.
Of course, none of this is true. Goldman wrote the only Princess Bride there ever was. Morgenstern isn’t real, Florin isn’t real, and Goldman never even had a son.