RIP, the iPod

And I don’t mean “ripping” music for the ipod…

I heard it yesterday that Apple will no longer be making iPods soon. I kinda figured this was on its way; the mp3 itself has recently been replaced in terms of licensing with a more efficient type of file and these days people aren’t as interested in gadgets that only function as music players…they could just use the mp3 player in their smartphones just like they use their smartphones as cameras, computers, and planners already.

That said, I’ll miss it. I still have an iPod touch that I bought back in 2009. Still runs quite a bit more smoothly than my new smartphone.


How the iPhone came to be

The latest from Kapitalist Kitty. Follow for more posts.

Kapitalist Kitty

CNN Money has a great article about how the iPhone changed the world that tech fans all should read. Smartphone technology has moved along so fast. I remember 10 years ago, when the original iPhone was released. It was this clumsy, brick of a device. Toward they’ve long since embarked on the road to space age type products, taking the other brands with them as Android devices have always struggled to keep up.

We owe that in large part to the late Steve Jobs. RIP.

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Why not Astronomy?

I don’t understand how people could not concentrate on the night sky, for at least for a few minutes out of the week. When you’re looking at it, you’re getting a glimpse of potentially thousands of years into the past. Imagine the implications if just a few of those stars had planets with life as intelligent or more than that found here. It’s amazing just to ponder the concept. Astronomy is one of the few sciences where you can observe some of its findings with no equipment, no training, and no special expertise. Even prehistoric peoples were fascinated with the heavens. So why not us? It’s disturbing that in contrast, so many people today don’t seem to share this interest. How for instance, would Galileo react to such apathy to the strides he made and paid for with his freedom?
At least there is some hope. I read in the newspaper today that we have a great observatory site in my state. Also found there may be evidence of volcanoes on comets.

My first Gofundme Campaign – Help Trip Buy a laptop

Please, my great readers, I ask for some support. My GoFundMe should sooon yield the kind of money  I need,, or money YOU need. You see better technology means I will be uploading better content, and better cameras involved.

i must make this clear: I’m not saying “You must give”, but at the very least, I ask my readers to share on your sites and your facebook. Thanks!


Shoutout: 6 May 2016 – MakeItUltra

I decided to give today’s shoutout to him, in part because his photo was the only black and white picture among the pics I saw, but especially because he happens to be a PhD candidate in Psychology. That definitely commands some respect. Now, I have not read much of his material on his blog yet, I will admit, but to the author, if you’re reading this, I intend to read your material extensively in the next few days!

As always, guys, comment or share this if you would like to be considered for tomorrow’s shoutout. Especially if it results in gaining new followers. Have a great day everyone!

Shout out to The Itinerary blog: for his post on Manitoba, Canada

I really enjoyed this post, it’s brief, but informative and has a good amount of photos. And the bison burger was an interesting touch. You get my daily shout out, great work!

Frozen lake and a bison buger

^Please visit his article.

Remember, as per my rules of this, if you would like me to give you one, comment on this post and or share it! $5 to my PayPal gets you a piano version of any song you choose. Thank you!

Is Pascal’s Wager applied to global warming the more logical option?


So I was taking a browse through RationalWiki, something I occasionally like to do for the editors’ humorous takes on philosophy, and I found an angle on the old concept of Pascal’s Wager about which I’d not previously heard: it’s can be used in an environmental, rather than religious context. Specifically, that it has been modified as an argument for why we should bet that global warming is real and that such a position is one we need to act on.

This post is not about the philosophical or religious implications behind the wager’s original, religious application, so let’s set the arguments for or against aside. What I’m more interested in,  is the question

Does Pascal’s wager have any practical or logical use in the context of global warming?

For those not familiar with Pascal’s wager, the short story is that hedging your bets on belief in the existence of God is a logically better option, whether or not it actually turns out to be true. Pascal’s rationale was that if you believe and God does not exist, you lose nothing, disbelieve falsely,  and you lose everything.

There are many sources online explaining why this is not a good argument when put in religious terms, but if we spin it from the global warming angle, do we get good use out of it? Let’s consider the discourse on the subject. In light of umm, I don’t know, reality, there is little to no doubt that we are undergoing a potentially catastrophic series of geological and meteorological changes. If there are any global warming deniers reading this, please write me so I can spend the day showing you all the evidence you need to eat your words, regurgitate, and eat the cud that were previously such words You are denying hard science.

The only debate among scientifically literate, reasonably educated people can be “What approach should we take towards the problem?” Some say we should let the free market do its magic (you read that right, as belief in the efficiency of the free market is just about akin to the belief that such is magic). Others use it as a proxy for pushing socialism. I, as a self-identified socialist, would admittedly caution against the second approach, as much as the first. Both solutions are too simple. Simple solutions to complex problems rarely, if ever, work.

But this post does not aim even to discuss what type of middle ground policy approach would confront global warming best. What we’re discussing here, again, is whether the evidence for global warming justifies placing a bet on the premise that it is happening.

Here’s some interesting information I stumbled upon while reading The Long Thaw (2010), by David Archer. It’s a great read, the information easily to retain, by someone who knows what he’s talking about. I’d certainly recommend it as an entry level reading into the topic, even if you find you don’t agree with any of it. From Chapter 8:

“Scientists in Arrhenius’ day also assumed that the oceans would take up any extra CO2 quickly. The oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. The ocean is physically thinner than the atmosphere, 4 kilometers compared to the scale height of the atmosphere, which is about 8 kilometers. Water also flows around a lot, at least more than the land surface does. Its makes sense to naively expect that the oceans would interact with the atmosphere pretty quickly.” (p. 108)

Archer continues that predicting the effects of rising CO2 levels we now know to be happening today would be dismissed as “alarmist” in Arrhenius’ time (which, interestingly, contemporary conservatives apply as a blanket label to climate change science), in large part based on the previous overestimation of the ocean’s’ ability to interact with CO2. The oceans do help filter out atmospheric CO2, but not nearly at the rate once assumed. The scale of this process is more to the tune of centuries, rather than years or even decades.

And oceans do react to CO2 in the atmosphere, in a chemical process (and I’ll spare you the precise element details Archer provides) in which we get bicarbonate. This too, only goes so far, as Archer shows the ways in which more of this reaction slows down the ocean’s ability to take in more CO2 (p. 111).

In the end, what we’re left with is another of many examples that the Earth’s corrective processes fail to filter out the effects of CO2 emissions in a manner conducive to our benefit. Make no mistake that the planet will correct itself, probably long after human civilization is gone. To borrow from George Carlin, “The planet is fine”. But without the right actions, we will produce a climate too extreme for humans to tolerate long before those natural processes take place.

Bottom line, what are we dealing with here? Pascal’s wager applied to global warming tells us:


  1. (positive) We do something about global warming, and it turns out to be true, we will have secured our survival, at least for the time being.
  2. (positive) We do something about global warming, and it turns out to be false, we will have established a world with more sustainable development, better energy efficiency, and a cleaner environment.
  3. (negative) We do nothing about global warming, it turns out to be true, we can no longer sustain ourselves
  4. (negative) We do nothing about global warming, it turns out to be false, we continue to suffer from rising income inequalities and geopolitical strife associated with unstable energy markets.

This is what we’re dealing with. Don’t be so quick to dismiss Pascal’s wager when it can be applied usefully to areas other than religion.

How video game critics called the shots in the past

I just thought I would take a break from the photo posts for a moment and talk about how video games have changed since the 1990’s. Almost all my favourite games come from the 1990’s, so does my favourite console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. For that reason, I tend to talk about the old in video games. Nostalgic about the past, most of the time I prefer the old to the new.

There are, however, some ways in which video gaming was a lot more controlled and a lot less fluid. Today, if you want to try out an older game, you can download an emulator or use the Wii Virtual Console. If you want to try out a new game, you can order it online, buy it in the store, or download it.

But in, say, 1995, that wasn’t so easy, at least not unless the video game critics thought the game was worth playing as much as you did. One such case in which the critics made the decision for the fans, was of the now popular video game Earthbound. Today, it’s a cult hit. As stated in another post, some of Earthbound’s fans were not even born when it was originally released. But in 1995, the game received poor reviews in the United States.

These were not fair reviews.

One such review was that seen in Game Players magazine. Here’s a screen shot:

69%; that’s on the cusp of an F. Did you know that in college courses you can’t even count a grade below 75% as part of your transcripts?

I have an old copy of the issue where this review appears. What you might not know is that there is absolutely zero evidence this clown even managed to play the game past about an 8th of the way through. Every screenshot and reference is from some of the very first scenarios! He also maintained that the game would only appeal to some of the youngest gamers. But the game gets far too dark and disturbing in the second half to appeal to little kids. It also has elements that satirize American culture, so no, this game is better suited to older gamers rather than younger.

Which brings me to my next point: Giygas, the main villain of the game. Ness, the main protagonist, and his friends fight Giygas as a fetus. You read that correctly. The idea behind that is that Giygas is so strong and so wicked that he could only be defeated in his weakest state. This could even be construed to be some sort of reference to abortion politics. The US could deal with a game wielding a theme like this nowadays, but not back in the mid 1990’s.

Here is another pic of an Earthbound review, in which the critic gave the game a more fair assessment:

There’s more evidence in this review that the critic actually played the game out, and he does seem to appreciate the many nuances of the storyline. But the damage from other reviews was done. Earthbound sold poorly in the United States (unlike Japan), and it was not until the early to mid 2000’s, when emulators and ROM’s became all the rage that an interest in Earthbound was rekindled.

Ok, so why does it matter that reviews were bad? Because this was a great game. In the mid 1990’s, you had limited options on how to try a game out, as I mentioned in a post before. You had to either buy a game right then, or rent it. And if you wanted to rent it, you had to find a video store that had it. Good luck with that if the video store doesn’t actually want to carry it, and good luck with that if the critics don’t think it should be carried.

And so, in the case of Earthbound, we had a video game whose greatness was discovered a decade after its release.

Today, you may agree with reviewers like IGN on some games, disagree with them on others, but rest assured, they won’t be deciding for you which video games you will and won’t play.