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isn't quite ashamed enough to present

jr conlin's ink stained banana

:: A Few Thoughts about the Star Wars

Ok, let me get a few things out there.

1) i have not seen the final Star Wars movie yet. From the sounds of things, i’m tempted not to, but i’ll probably watch it on some streaming service eventually.

2) i find the various uber nerdy videos talking about the details of Star Wars hilarious, whether they intend it or not. Star Wars is about as far from hard science fiction as the Lord of the Rings. And i’m about to go off on one aspect of it just like those uber nerds.

3) i’ve been watching Star Wars since i sat in on the first one in a mostly empty theater on release day, when Han shot first and you could see the matts on the TIE fighter flybys.

Ok, so Star Wars is pretty much about one family. One really screwed up family, but one family, the Skywalkers. Since The Force is a thing in this universe, and has been for quite some time, it’s reasonably safe to presume that there was at least one other family out there. Otherwise with the various alternate species that are also Jedi or Sith, someone back when got James T. Kirk freaky.

As i understand the last movie’s major plot point (oh, yeah, spoilers, i guess) one of the main characters turns out to be from one of those companion families of Force folk.

We learn in the early movies that being able to lift spaceships out of swamps or become a walking bug zapper is a hereditary trait. It’s a biological component called midiclorians or something. That’s kind of the equivalent of living in a world where folks with red hair can fly (not dye jobs either, gotta be born a proper ginger).

That’s awesome and all, except that during that same time, a couple of the big time Forcey folk decided that all the lesser Forcey folk should instead focus on Forcing daisies up out of the ground. The whole “Special Order 66” or 69, or 72 with chicken, or whatever. So, we’re talking a pretty successful level of genocide against a bunch of Force users/sensitives/etc. Pretty darn horrific, if you ask me, but hey, they’re space Nazis, so genocide is kind of their thing.

What’s more, with the death of all the other Jedi/Sith over the arc of eight movies, essentially you’ve just reduced the pool of high power folk chock full of midiwhatevers to a breeding pool of two.

Now, just think about what that means if you actually pay attention to things like biology. There are not a whole lot of populations that survive from just two individuals. Hell, a species is considered “endangered” at below a population of one thousand.

So, what does this mean for the future?

Get ready for a few generations of Space Wizard Inbreds. Yep, Bill-Bob-Skywalker using the force to play banjo on some porch on Degobah thinking that sarlac’s sure got a pretty mouth. And yeah, you thought Luke and Leia kissing was creepy, just wait ’til you start thinking about how the Jedi/Sith repopulate.

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget that they can wield superhuman powers.

Thank God they’re in a galaxy far, far away. i don’t want them doing donuts in a rebuilt X Wing (with mud flaps) while orbiting Uranus.

:: Introducing Quantcoin: The Currency You Already Have

QuantCoinSo, Crypto-currencies are quite the thing lately. Seems like there’s a new one popping up every few minutes with some new angle. Unfortunately each of these new coins suffer from a critical flaw which results in loss due to threat or fraud.

That’s why i’m happy to introduce QuantCoin©, the completely unstealable digital currency.

How can i get a QuantCoin©?

Easy, you already have one.

QuantCoin© uses a barely understood principal1 of quantum mechanics as it’s principal. Unlike cryptocurrencies, it absolutely can NOT be stolen or misused. That’s because there’s only one QuantCoin©. See, QuantCoin©s exist in superposition, meaning that they exist in multiple points at the same time. That means the QuantCoin© that you hold is exactly the same as my QuantCoin©. If you were to somehow steal my QuantCoin©, you’d simply have the same coin you already own.

Amazing, huh?

What is the value of a QuantCoin©?

The way that QuantCoin© easily takes advantage of simple Quantum physics, it also uses the amazing advances in economics utilized by high speed traders. That’s right, QuantCoin©’s value is based on futures trading.

How does this work? Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you wanted to use your QuantCoin© to purchase a pack of gum. That establishes the value of your QuantCoin©. Bob plans on purchasing a new car. That means that Bob’s QuantCoin© works out to be worth 64,000 times your QuantCoin©, meaning that in the future, your QuantCoin© will be worth 64,000 times it’s value. This means that it becomes interesting to Larry, who’s looking to buy a nice little home in Dubai, which raises the value of QuantCoin©s again. This means that the future price averaged for QuantCoin©s is now well over 1,000,000 when the QuantCoin©s are eventually exchanged using amazing “Minority Report” style interfaces that will require waving just about every body part, for the added security.

QuantCoin© is Green!

Quantcoin© doesn’t need all that power consumption or complex math, because it works all natural, organic processes, and is made, right here in the good ol’ . In fact, it works on the same principals that make meadows and pastures rich and vibrant ecosystems.

Isn’t that amazing?!

And you can be part of it too, just sign up for my 3 day seminar and book series in the lobby and you too can be part of this amazing financial windfall!

QuantCoin©: Because Analytic Financial CryptoCybercloudbuzz to you, today!

1 “barely understood” means “by me”. Obviously real physicists get this sort of thing, but hey, this is about marketing and folks buy those magnetic bracelets, so conning convincing them to accept this currency is a simple matter.

:: It’s a Large World After All…

So, i ran into a guy at the supermarket who’s cousin was your brother’s barber back in Piscataway. Small world, huh?

No. No, it’s not.

In fact, it’s a rather large world filled with 7 billion people, most of which are clustered in fairly distinct areas yet surprisingly connected thanks to commerce and modern communications nets. In fact, it’s been proven that, thanks to math, damn near everyone is interconnected with everyone else with a surprisingly small number of steps. (No matter who you are, i’m probably associated to you by 6 steps. Well, unless your Kevin Bacon. i think he’s, like, 10 steps out because of constant effort on his part.)

The problem is that if you were to interact with someone to whom your network had zero interactions with, you’d have absolutely no way of knowing. Well, i’m wrong, you could interview the individual for hours comparing the lives of these individuals against the associations you’ve cataloged for years to ensure that there was no match, but that might take a bit longer than the elevator ride. Granted, this might be made easier in the future by simply cross indexing the collection of restraining orders.

Honestly, it’d be far more interesting to discover the tiny percentage of individuals on the planet to whom you truly have zero points of interaction with. i have no idea what you’d talk about, or what language you’d use to do so, but at least you could rest assured that you’ve destroyed that level of disconnect forever ensuring that future generations will again pass each other with awkward silences and uncomfortable glances.

And isn’t that really what civilization is all about?

:: New Neighbor

He cleared his throat as the door opened and once, yet again read from script he held. “Greetings, new neighbor.” he stated, in a dull monotone that spoke more to how many times he had repeated that statement rather than any earnest joy at the encounter. “i am Dr. Horatio J. Skullcrusher, and it is both my pleasure and federally required mandate that i introduce myself to you and all other households in a 1 mile radius of my new and slash or prospective lair.”

Beatrice Thornapple wasn’t quite sure what to make of this announcement, but yelled at her chihuahua to pipe down anyway. She raised a well fed eyebrow and slowly started to ask, “Aren’t… you… a…”

“Why yes”, Dr. Skullcrusher continued as the tiniest hint of sarcasm easily escaped Beatrice’s attention, “i am a supervillain, and i wish to add that there are many current and recovering supervillans living in relative peace in neighborhoods much like this one. i will also add that under section 202, Paragraph 13, Subsection 21, willful acts of contempt or harassment toward a non-hostile or non-threatening individual classed as “supervillain” by the authorities, unless otherwise required by the state or community, are punishable by a $200 per incident fine.” Dr. Skullcrusher’s welding goggles clattered a bit as he rolled his eyes. His deft hands made turning the page easier than the heavy, black rubber gloves would belie.

Beatrice eyed Dr. Skullcrusher with a cautious eye as she skimmed the city approved paperwork shoved toward her. The diagrams were indecipherable and filled with minute print, but she could see her house was clearly in the chartreuse zone between the lavender quadrant and a spit of houses marked in turquoise. Honestly, the entire map of the neighborhood looked like it was colored in by a five year old tripping on LSD.
“What does this color mean?” she asked pointing toward the approximate area of her home.

Skullcrusher flipped the clipboard around to inspect the area. He flipped a few pages up, then cheerily said. “Ah, well, this zone will absolutely not have to worry about any lingering effects from radiation damage.” He smiled broadly.

“And this here lavender area?”

“Well, there will be absolutely no damage from cyborg armies in that area. i assure you, each zone is well protected against a threat.” He continued to smile broadly, knowing that Beatrice probably wouldn’t ask about the many and various threats that her house was absolutely not safe from. Say, cyborg armies, for instance.

“i suppose…” Beatrice began before being cut off.

“Now, if you’d be so kind, i do need you to sign here so that i can show the review board that we’ve met and you’re fine with the zoning change.”

“i’m not so…”

“And that’s why i’m offering a free DNA test. Would you like to see a stronger, healthier you in less than three months with absolutely no effort on your part? All i need is a sample of your DNA, just a bit of spit or a tiny prick of blood will do!” He positively beamed with delight. Or evil. It was hard for Beatrice to tell.

“Really? A healthier me?” She asked. She had been meaning to go to the gym for a while now.

“Oh, Definitely! Imagine watching the news and seeing yourself exceeding at martial arts and shooting lasers!”

“What will it cost me?” Beatrice cleverly thought to ask, having seen one too many financial episodes of Oprah.

“Not even a penny. Just a signature and a bit of DNA.”

“Well, i can’t see what harm that would do.” She signed the forms unaware of the sampling mechanism in the pen.

“Excellent. i’m glad we had this chance to meet.” Skullcrusher positively beamed with delight as he slipped the pen into a test tube and tightened the lid. “i’ll need to finish off this neighborhood soon. Enjoy the rest of your days.” He bowed and headed off whistling a merry tune.

:: Easy Enough for a Senator to Use

i was wrong. i’ll admit it. In the past, in order to illustrate the need to make something simpler or more “friendly”, i would occasionally use the “Is it easy enough for my Mom to use?” argument. It’s a familiar trope that many folks with family members who struggle to keep up with technology can readily identify with. My Mom is a very talented negotiator and manager, but is not a fan of Apple’s constant need to “improve” things without giving her any idea what those “improvements” are.

And that’s why i’m sorry for using the Mom trope. See, as occasionally frustrated with technology as my Mom is, she uses it. She is, in spite of her protests, actually capable of leaning and understanding technology sufficiently to use it as an effective appliance. She can exchange email with her grandkids, navigate her HMO and other tasks. More importantly, if she makes a mistake, she understands that she can either fix it or ask for help from someone who has more knowledge.

No, the “Is it easy enough for Mom?” is no longer a good metaphor. i’m going to go with a far better one. “Could my Senator understand this?”

You see, my Mom understands that computers are part of the modern technical communications system and is taking an active role in understanding them. She takes the time to experiment, ask questions and learn. This is something that our elected representatives don’t seem to have any desire in doing. i’m not talking about writing code, (although i laughed pretty hard at the “Hour of Code” initiative. Hack days are pretty intense, and at least they have 24 hours. One hour and i could probably teach you if statements and a few kinds of loops. How’s about you learn modern democratic processes in an hour?)

No, we need to revamp our terms to focus on the lowest, least willing participants in the technological architecture, the folks making rules about how tech should work and be used. The folks that assume their phones are magic and can do things like “block porn” or “only allow permissible use of content”.

If we can make something easy enough for Congress to understand, use and value, then we’ve got something.

And at that point, Mom will probably complain about it being dumbed down.

Blogs of note
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