Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shameless Promotion

Everybody should come and take a look at my Etsy shop: Ye Olde Nostalgia Shoppe. I'm selling cool vintage things that you aren't going to find anywhere else. Yes, I realize I sound like some tacky late-night infomercial but I don't really care. Oh plus, the more you buy the faster I can add/update my stock. So if you hate what I have for sale, just convince some of your easily manipulated friends into buying something. Then everybody will be happy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Kill the Commies, Go to the Moon."

Been a while. Nothing exciting to talk about lately. Finally got some inspiration. And no it's not about the election. You can all take a deep breath and relax.

Just hanging out watching C-SPAN (yes, I am a gigantic nerd) and guess who pops up? My favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

He was on doing publicity for his book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, and discussing strategies that will get the US government to start investing in space travel.

Here follows a summary of his lecture that was originally aired on March 15th of this year.

So, what's it going to take to boost investment? Let's think about the greatest/ most expensive projects that have occurred over the course of human history. The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, the journey's of 15th and 16th century sea explorers. All of these projects can be traced back to four main motivators.

1) War and defense. The "I don't want to die" motivation.
2) Economics. The "I don't want to die poor" motivation.
3) Praise of royalty or deity. The "Please don't let that guy kill me" motivation.
4) Discovery is part of the human condition. The "I would rather die than live here anymore" motivation.

So, if we are going to get our butts to Mars or, let's face it, back into space at all we are going to have to satisfy one of these motivators in order to get the guys with the checkbooks to give NASA some money. Mr. Tyson (Can I call you Neil? I'm going to call you Neil!) argues that any ambitions to go to space based on 'inspirational rhetoric' alone are "deluded". And I think we can rule out #3. Nobody's buying that one anymore. So, we need a military or economic motivation.

50 years ago NASA was founded in order to fulfill a challenge to go to the Moon. We spent billions of dollars to do that. What was our motivation then? That would be the military motivator. Hence Neil's lovely summary of that point that I turned into the title of this post. But in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and no more military threat = no more investment in space. We are "coasting on the investments of a previous a previous generation" and pretty soon we are going to grind to a halt.

This is where the economic motivator can start to play a part in the future of space exploration. First of all, the aerospace industry, in general, is kinda of key to the economy of the 21st century in terms of transportation, commerce, and defense. Investment in the space program is going to create billions of dollars in "spin-offs". The tech that is needed to go to Mars is going to be important to the further of humanity. Just like Apollo gave microwaves, Velcro, MRIs, and Tang. R and D = more money for you and me. Eventually. The second, and arguably, most important part of investment comes in the form of inspiration. As Neil has claimed "innovator culture is a product of investment in the space program". So going into space is going to inspire a whole new generation of people to create new technologies and new devices that are going to make our lives easier.

Today we spend 1/2 of 1% of every tax dollar on NASA programs. 24% gets spent on building bombs to drop on poor people. Something needs to change. Thank you Neil for doing your part to help us refocus on what's actually important.

I don't know about you but when ever I watch Neil deGrasse Tyson give a lecture I have an overwhelming desire to go back to school to be an astrophysicist. Can somebody make this happen?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nothing new to report, sir.

I feel like I should be updating more often but it is really hard to update people on your life when nothing is happening.

I have a job now so that is cool -souvenir photographer/pushy sales person on a NYC Harbor dinner cruise. I'm not really enjoying it and the only "life skill" it's teaching me is "how to make money". But I guess that is moderately important.

Do you know what is epicly frustrating? Having so many awesome ideas but no means/motivation to make them happen.

That's all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wrong Side of the River

Just sitting in "my" apartment. I put the "my" in quotations because it really isn't mine. A dear friend is letting me stay with her for a few weeks. I know I've only been in the city for two days but one thing is for sure; New Jersey is the place dreams go to die. I still haven't actually been to NYC properly and that makes it quite difficult to find a job.

Life is just so frustrating. I know what I want but I don't know what I need to do to make it happen. I am desperately lacking in some practical tools.

Also I really want some cannoli...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The City By the Bay

I'm sitting in the Long Beach airport with nothing to do. It's a problem when you spend more time traveling then at your destination.

I spent yesterday night and a few hours this morning in San Francisco. I was there to audition for a spot in The New School's MFA drama program. I had to do a couple monologues for the DEAN of the program. That was nerve-wracking! But I survived. Let's just hope I impressed them enough to get a callback.

The city itself wasn't bad. It kind of reminded me of NYC. If New York was built in the middle of some hills and had a really crappy subway system.

The food was fab! Last night I went to Pier 39 and had some traditional sourdough at the Boudin Cafe. This afternoon I had some of the best curry of my life!

So overall a good trip just promise me that I will never have to spend another second at the Long Beach Airport.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOPA, Blackouts, and Pirates, Oh My!

(I just have a lot of feelings! Also, this sucker got published in Rexburg Idaho's most trusted news source. Want proof? Find yourself a copy of the Jan. 24th Standard Journal, turn to the Opinion page, and read for your self.)

Millions of people all over the world heaved a collective sigh of relief on the morning of Jan. 20th. A day after the single largest internet strike in history,  Rep. Lamar Smith withdrew the controversial SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) from legislative consideration. Just an hour later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a vote on SOPA’s sister bill, PIPA (Protect IP Act), would be put on hold indefinitely. This was seen as a great victory for all of us who see freedom of information as the basis for a strong and stable democracy. I want you to imagine a world without the internet. I know for some of you that won’t be that difficult. But for those of my generation and younger who have come to depend on that soft glow of the computer screen, this world is unacceptable. The internet has reshaped the very fabric of the world. It has changed the way we interact with each other and the way we teach and learn.

What SOPA would have done is cut off access to millions of webpages that are found to be hosting or providing access to copyrighted material. This means that if you put a link on your Facebook page to a YouTube video for your new favorite Lady Gaga song, Facebook would be obligated to cut off all access to your page. This has massive implications for continued net neutrality and creative commons use. The public has a fundamental right to use and access this information on the internet. There are countless underground communities of incredibly creative individuals that use copyrighted material to create everything from art to literature to music. Anyone who doesn’t believe me needs to spend 15 min. scrolling though Tumblr and you will see what I mean. Draconian copyright laws have the power to crush these thriving communities. You have these multi-billion corporations crying foul when 13 year olds and grandmothers download the newest episode of Community or make a video of themselves dancing to a Michael Jackson song. What we really need is to experience a fundamental paradigm shift –freedom of speech must begin to incorporate ideas of fair use.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. SOPA (and PIPA) were originally created to put an end to the reign of digital pirates illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted material. This is a real problem! Or is it? Proponents of these types of laws point to the millions of dollars in decreased CD sales since the advent of digital music sharing. But, according to an International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) study published in 2009, music sharers (pirates) are 64% more likely than regular music buyers to purchase music online. These so called "freeloaders" simply have a greater demand for music than the average person, one that their limited budgets can't deal with. This goes the same for other forms of digital media. People who are labeled pirates buy the majority of movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and computer/video games but don't have the means to fulfill their demand and so they supplement their purchases with free material.

The real problem is the entertainment industry’s refusal to change their business model. They need to rethink the way the distribute their products. Record companies, TV networks, and the film industry want to cut down on illegal downloading? I’ve got five pretty simple solutions that don’t require government censorship. 1) Make your TV show/music/movie/whatever available online; 2) put ads on it so you can make money off of it, or (even better) sell the viewing rights to a video streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu; 3) make it available everywhere not just the country of origin; 4) make is available as soon as it airs/becomes legally offered—not  the next day or the next week, literally as soon as physically possible; and finally 5) realize that the old primary methods of distribution (CDs, theatres, cable TV, etc.) are premium services and are just way too expensive to rely on any longer especially in a world of  internet streaming. 

Yes, I know. I just saved the entertainment industry. You’re welcome. I’ll be expecting a check in the mail. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Class of 2011

I am officially a college graduate. Four and a half years of frustration and headaches and I finally have something to show for it. Sort of.

I don't know which is more terrifying; never finding a job or working somewhere I hate. My parents would claim it is the first one. They think I'm some privileged person with an inflated sense of her own place in the world when I don't want to take a minimum wage job at McDonalds.

It is really tough to reconcile the fact that I need a job with the story I've been told my whole life: "If you want a good job than go to college!" I don't think it is picky to expect a decent job since I've got a degree. Maybe I'm delusional.

It would be really nice to get some sort of proof that I'm not.