Sep. 22, 2019 Blumbers

What The Floyd

I was in a record store that was going out of business. I found Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here in the F’s not the Ps. Obviously some teen age employee thought Pink Floyd was a first and last name. This was funnier because there is a song on the album called Have A Cigar where a record company executive meets the group and wants to know “Which One’s Pink?”

I guess the next question is “What is Pink Floyd’s middle name?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 8, 2019 Blumbers

Successful Failure

Some wealthy conservative billionaires died last month and not many people wept. They thought having the money, big house, big car and connections was a sign of success. In fact everything they did was a sign of failure. They climbed to the top of the heap not realizing it was on the bodies of other people. They made the world a hateful, poisoned place where more people had less money, less education, less housing, less transportation and less vibrant communities. They discovered too late that they could not take it with them and left a mess behind. They succeeded at losing everything. Do they want to be remembered for the most horrible shortsighted thing they ever did? Future generations will curse their names. 

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 18, 2019 Blumbers

Sunfall tm

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed July was the Earth’s hottest month since record keeping began 140 years ago.” Climate change is real. Political change is too. Why do we pay to dig energy out of the ground when it falls from the sky for free?

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Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 17, 2019 Marquam

Marquam Hills
8/17/2019 9:00:39 AM (14 minutes ago)  
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Browser: IE version 8.0 running on Win7
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Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 11, 2019 Blumbers

Gun Uncontrol

There have been a number of mass shootings across the country. It does not have to be this way. The gun lobby wants to stigmatize people with disabilities. Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor, associate professor of emergency medicine at Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and chief research officer of AFFIRM Research, a nonprofit focused on firearm injury reduction talked about the dangers of linking gun violence and mental Illness. The result might be discrimination against disabled people. 

As for the shootings, what will it take? What will be the tipping point? Whose child will have to die before we decide to end these tragedies? If you could prevent a tragedy, would you pay that price?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 4, 2019 Blumbers

Years and Years Fears

Nobody does dystopian like the British. I just watched all six episodes of Years And Years. I would like to think their skepticism is because of their recent battle with Brexit, but there are decades of evidence that this not a recent phenomenon. I point out the 1930s film Things To Come, which was Mad Max in black and white. There was Orwell’s 1984, so sad it was released in 1985. I think the TV film Threads was made about that time and once you see it you will be afraid to fall asleep. About ten years ago Clive Owen starred in Children Of Men which might as well have been a BBC news documentary. Years and Years carries on this tradition where things get worse and worse. It is ripped from the headlines of obsolete newspapers. The heroes fight back but there are casualties. For taking place so far away, the series hits close to home.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 28, 2019 Blumbers

Compact Discstruction

I seldom paid full price for compact discs. I went to used CD stores, flea markets or garage sales. I thought anthologies, boxed sets, collections and greatest hits had more value than twenty bucks for one song. Occasionally you would find very eclectic music intended to be played in shopping mall clothing stores or plumbing conventions.

At that point I had a 100 CD player jukebox with the potential to play over 1000 songs. It became obsolete when I was able to load the music directly to hard drives with the capacity to play thousands of songs. Despite that, I never downloaded anything from the internet. I paid for it fair and square. I liked having the physical media as backup if the hard drives died (that happened more than once). I never uploaded to the cloud or streamed. As technology and business models progressed, record stores began closing.

The day came when one of the last record stores announced it was closing and I decided to browse for one last time. The crowds were crazy and the store was a mess.

One thing I noticed over the years is how hard it is to find used Pat Metheny. People seem to buy and hang on to it. I was looking through the jazz section for Metheny and found a misfiled Johnny Mathis singing the song 99 Miles. I had been looking for that song for years. There it was, like a crystal skull in an Indiana Jones movie.  Online shopping could not duplicate the feeling. A search engine is not as good as searching for it yourself.

Suddenly the lights in the store flashed on and off. It was closing time. I was last in line as I paid a dollar. I stood on the sidewalk as they locked the door behind me.

It is probably the last CD I will ever buy.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Rutger Hauer Dead At 75

Actor Rutger Hauer died in Holland at age 75. He is best known for his role as replicant Roy Batty in Bladerunner 1982.  “I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”

I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe.

Copyright 2019 DJ cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 21, 2019 Blumbers

Going Forward

I have been thinking about the moon landing and where we are now. Sometimes you can’t go back where you came from because it isn’t there anymore.

If you have worked with NASA, you have worked with immigrants. Many were attracted to the United States because of its space program. Some walked through jungles or deserts, ran from tanks, swam through shark infested waters just to work in the cubicle next to you. I know of one woman whose grandfather fled the Armenian genocide to Syria. His son fled Syria to Cuba. His daughter fled Cuba to America. She grew up in Florida and became an aerospace engineer. With a family history like that, the odds that her children would flee Earth is within the realm of possibility.

We need to help each other on our journeys through life.

We need leaders who are not so worried about where we came from and think more about where we want to go.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 20, 1019 More Blood Than Ink

More Blood Than Ink 

By DJ Cline

Lander

The lander was in the final approach of lunar descent. Touchdown was in one hour. They said it was automatic and I would not have to do anything. Frankly, I could not have done anything, just watch as the surface seemed to speed by with more and more detail of craters and mountains. The thing nobody talks about are the moon’s magnetic anomalies, variations that can throw off orbiting or landing spacecraft. There is a reason the moon does not have its own little moons. They either crashed or wandered off somewhere. This was their first try and I was their guinea pig. I volunteered the way a pirate on the gangplank volunteers to take a dive. They made an offer to a drowning man and I took it.  Now I had too much time to think about how all this started.

Hot Party

The sun was setting on Billy Thoreau’s estate, high on a hill overlooking the California coast. Billy was not there to enjoy it. He was considered lost at sea in a ship collision back in 2012. Since then, his family hosted an award ceremony every summer. They used to hold it in August, but it was too hot. The next year they held it in July, but it was still too hot. By the next year they held it in June and with the intense heat, the next event would happen in May. Attending the event was the only time many of its wealthy guests would experience global warming.

Four people stood next to the pool instead of hiding in the big air conditioned wedding reception tent, Tech billionaire Marsha Colton, showbiz legend Aaron Auschmann, the mysterious futurist Ten Kay. And me, reporter Nowah Gye. We knew what the heat meant.

The question was what to do about the heat. The odds were good that climate change would kill everybody on the planet. Even the richest person in the most heavily defended secret bunker with the largest amount of canned extinct tuna would eventually die. Even if a handful of Amazonians survived they would not be able to rebuild civilization. Nothing would be left.

So we decided to not go gently into that good night. We would collect all the knowledge we could and put it in time capsules all over the planet. Maybe surviving humans would find and make use of it. 

Ten Kay thought maybe something else, like a digital assistant to explain all the stored information. Network all the time capsules with orbiting satellites and call it Blood Moon. 

He looked at me when he said it. Why me? He said because I spent my life explaining technology. The problem of course is that satellites eventually fall to the ground. The moon never does. In fact, it is slowly moving away. But if you put artificial intelligence on the moon it would still be able to communicate or at least observe what was going on Earth.

The moon was getting closer.

 Minerva Mapping

Getting turned into artificial intelligence is like filling out the world’s longest social media application. Every kind of personal question you could imagine, every thing you ever said or wrote wound up in what they called Minerva mapping. I asked if this was part of some pre-existing secret government program. They said no, it was part of a routine marketing profile. I was not the customer. I was the guinea pig. The first version of me they built could beat most email filters but they needed more. They wanted the undocumented stories of my life. Most artificial intelligence does fine in structured situations. They wanted to know how I behaved in unusual ones. I was uncomfortable with it, but it seemed like a fair trade for virtual immortality.

 Talking To Myself

Alan Turing said if you cannot tell if you are talking to a machine, the machine is artificially intelligent. The early versions of me would give awkward or formal responses. Later versions would still get in some trouble by not getting inside jokes. If your friends could still tell, you had to keep working at it. The oddest test is for you to talk to yourself. Of course you know it is not you, but at some point the artificial version cannot tell if you are real or not. From that point it was a separate person that could learn and adapt its behavior. It is odd to never be tired or hungry.

Thinking In And Out Of The Box

All these years entrepreneurs have been telling people to think outside of the box. Now they have to figure how to get me into a box. It is like trying to fit into an old pair of blue jeans. Even one digitized person takes up a certain amount of storage space. I am told I originally took up a building full of servers. They wanted to get it down to a single server and eventually to a single chip. The chip gets loaded into a time capsule and becomes part of a mesh network with regular updates of the entire Internet. Various capsules will disconnect over random intervals to avoid destructive viruses and then replicate new networks. The idea is to survive almost anything.

The Lander warning light is on. There is a problem as we approach the lunar surface. If there is a crash, will I even feel anything?

Crash Project  
 
As the Lander looks like it is going to crash, I begin to wonder if all this is a good idea. Marsha Colton spent a lot of money on some very cutting edge technology. The semiconductors in Taiwan. The aerospace hardware in Israel. The software in Silicon Valley. Thousands of people and millions of dollars largely out of public view. I checked the onboard telemetry and it looked fine despite the information the Lander was sending home. Then it occurred to me. What if they want people to think the lander crashed? 
 
Expendable Expedition
  
At this point I do not know what to believe. The warning light is still on but the telemetry is telling me that the lander is on course. What am I worried about? I am an expendable machine at this point. The flesh and blood version of me is watching this at some mission control center. If I am destroyed in the crash, they will send another version. Ultimately they will launch hundreds of versions of me. I’ll have to get used to being destroyed again and again.
 
Bouncing Back  
 
Looking at the video I could see we were coming in more like an airplane to a runway rather than an elevator. The thrusters gave one last big burst to slow the lander down and then the airbags deployed. They turned the lander into a giant beachball bouncing over the sand. This went on for awhile and the video would make you motion sick. Eventually it came to a halt on the inside rim of a crater. Gyroscopes rotated the lander to an upright position and the bags jettisoned releasing their air. It looks messy but it worked. I aligned the antennas and sent a message home. Technically, this is now home, possibly for the next billion years.  
 
Initial Program  
 
There was not much of a landing ceremony. Rather than planting a flag I thought of something else. Years ago I saw a couple had carved their initials on a tree.   After checking all the lander’s systems I powered up a rover. They are very small and reminded me of radio controlled toy trucks. I set up a pre-programmed path for the rover to spell out my wife’s initials on some open ground. If you had a powerful enough telescope you might see it. 
 
I carved my love for her in stone. My words may still disappear but my love will always be more blood than ink.  
 
Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 14, 2019 Blumbers

In Spite Of Everything

The current president has ordered ICE to start rounding up people he does not like in major cities across the country. I kind of thought that the entire country was a sanctuary for all people, not just people you like.

I always get a little nervous when this happens. Where will it end? Seventy five years ago Anne Frank said “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Imagine if you knew someone was hiding. Just trying to survive. Would you go to your boss or authorities and give them up? Would you be able to carry that weight? Or would you fold yourself into a ball and close your eyes to the suffering in front of you?

What will you do when they knock on your door?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 12, 2019 More Blood Than Ink

Initial Program

There was not much of a landing ceremony. Rather than planting a flag I thought of something else. Years ago I saw a couple had carved their initials on a tree. Eventually the tree would be gone, but their love would be eternal.

After checking all the lander’s systems I powered up a rover. They are very small and reminded me of radio controlled toy trucks. I set up a pre-programmed path for the rover to spell out my wife’s initials on some open ground. If you had a powerful enough telescope you might see it. 

I carved my love for her in stone. My words here may still disappear but my love will always be more blood than ink.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 11, 2019 More Blood Than Ink

Bouncing Back

Looking at the video I could see we were coming in more like an airplane to a runway rather than an elevator. The thrusters gave one last big burst to slow the lander down and then the airbags deployed. They turned the lander into a giant beachball bouncing over the sand. This went on for awhile and the video would make you motion sick. Eventually it came to a halt on the inside rim of a crater. Gyroscopes rotated the lander to an upright position and the bags jettisoned releasing their air. It looks messy but it worked. I aligned the antennas and sent a message home. Technically this is now home, possibly for the next billion years.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 10, 2019 More Blood Than Ink

Expendable Expedition

At this Point I do not know what to believe. The warning light is still on but the telemetry is telling me that the lander is on course. What am I worried about? I am an expendable machine at this point. The flesh and blood version of me is watching this at some mission control center. If I am destroyed in the crash, they will send another version. Ultimately they will launch hundreds of versions of me. I’ll have to get used to being destroyed again and again.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 9, 2019 More Blood Than Ink

Crash Project

As the Lander looks like it is going to crash, I begin to wonder if all this is a good idea. Marsha Colton spent a lot of money on some very cutting edge technology. The semiconductors in Taiwan. The aerospace hardware in Israel. The software in Silicon Valley. Thousands of people and millions of dollars largely out of public view. I checked the onboard telemetry and it looked fine despite the information the Lander was sending home. Then it occurred to me. What if they want people to think the lander crashed? 

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 8, 2019 More Blood Than Ink

More Blood Than Ink by DJ Cline

Thinking In And Out Of The Box

All these years entrepreneurs have been telling people to think outside of the box. Now they have to figure how to get me into a box. It is like trying to fit into an old pair of blue jeans. Even one digitized person takes up a certain amount of storage space. I am told I originally took up a building full of servers. They wanted to get it down to a single server and eventually to a single chip. The chip gets loaded into a time capsule and becomes part of a mesh network with regular updates of the entire Internet. Various capsules will disconnect over random intervals to avoid destructive viruses and then replicate new networks. The idea is to survive almost anything.

The Lander warning light is on. There is a problem as we approach the lunar surface. If there is a crash, will I even feel anything?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 7, 2019 Blumbers

Plumbing Answer

Signs on restroom doors have gotten complicated. I saw solution and I’ll have to go back and take a picture of it. Rather than a stylized picture of a person, it was a picture of toilet. Sometimes the solution is not depicting the user, it is depicting the use.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

For Future Reference