James Webb Telescope

NASA dropped a 10 billion dollar telescope. CLICK HERE if you want to read about these NASA idiots.

Seems appropriate. James Webb was a horrible person and no one but a bunch of bureaucrats at NASA wants to name it after him.

The probability of this fiasco ever working is about 50/50. $10,000,000,000 for something that was supposed to cost $1,000,000,000? And how many years late?

Caroline Peyton

I just found out that Caroline Peyton had died. That’s sad. Really sad. She was a great singer. GREAT SINGER.

Caroline was a hippie and singer who ended up in Bloomington Indiana and joined Screaming Gypsies band. She recorded two solo albums in Bloomington. They’re still available on iTunes.

She moved to NYC and went on Broadway. Backup for Linda Ronstadt in Pirates. Linda could only sing so many shows, and Caroline was a better singer. Better than Ronstadt? Yes.

My past keeps going away.

Autism

Not sure if this will ever go public.

I’ve learned a lot about autism by listening to adults with autism and watching Temple Grandin. See my previous post HERE.

Autism is a spectrum. I don’t consider it a disorder and autistic people are all very different. Saying someone is autistic means almost nothing, but most people think autistics have a personality disorder. People frequently mistake autism for narcissism, an autistic person knows the difference. Autism appears a lot like PTSD. Or High Anxiety (Great movie.)

My life up until sometime in my late 20’s was hard, very hard. Autism combined with atheism was a really strange life. I rarely spoke to anyone, including my parents. My only friend was my grandmother. Without her, I would have gone crazy. I seriously thought my parents were going to take me to Indianapolis and put me in the Central State Hospital. CLICK HERE. Every time we went to Indy on US40 we drove by the place. I lived in fear of everything. One of my biggest fears was being called on in school. I sat in class waiting for the bell to ring. No friends although I was invited to play baseball because they needed one more player. Not sure I ever enjoyed baseball but that story can wait. While others went to the Christmas event in the gym I was sent to the library to annoy the librarian. She never spoke to me. My most persistent memory from school was someone telling me I was the most obnoxious person they had ever met. Always having all the answers in geometry class was probably the reason. The class valedictorian and most popular girl in school approached me one day and said she knew I hated her. I had no idea why she would think that. She never spoke to me again and I was too terrified of her to ask her anything.

People with autism usually like to do things on their own. I became best friends with the IBM 1130 computer in the basement of Holmstedt Hall at Indiana State University and ended up making $7 an hour writing statistical programs for a research lab. No teamwork was necessary. I spent my life writing computer programs and managing mainframe operating systems. My working life was a fun time and solitary most of the time.

Sometime in my twenties, a counseling psychologist I was connected with asked me if she could practice giving me tests. Personality tests, IQ tests, etc. Sure. No time limit, no fellow test-takers, no scores. Fun. The strangest was watching people through a one-way mirror and grading their behavior. Strange test.

Later she said that she thought I had a personality that made it hard for me to deal with people and with practice I could change people’s perceptions. Really? I felt like she taught me to be an actor of sorts. She started asking me to parties to meet people … sneaky little thing that she was … and another counseling psychologist started talking to me about this “personality problem”. I learned to deal with people. I’m still an actor but sometimes I forget and make mistakes. Every time I have a conversation with someone I end up at home running it over and over in my head trying to think what mistakes I made.

It strikes me as extremely odd that an autistic person would write about or talk about themselves. From some of the people I’ve listened to it seems like they really enjoy being autistic and are proud of themselves. Maybe they didn’t have my childhood.

I often wonder if people notice my autism or if they just think I’m crazy. I never know if it shows. The lack of eye contact? The habit of watching the same shows over and over? What appears to be obsessive behavior? But most people only think about themselves so I doubt anyone ever notices.

One of those psychologists killed herself. The other lives in New Mexico. I consider myself, most times, lucky to be alive.

Crisis In Cosmology

Astronomers have finally admitted there is a crisis in cosmology, something everyone else has known for a long time. So to mark this landmark, I’m starting a list of astronomy and physics videos on YouTube that are worth watching. And they might not all agree. The list will be updated from time to time.

2021 10 13

2021 09 21

2021 09 21

2020 07 04

2020 05 20

2018 11 21

2018 08 15

2018 07 04

2017 08 02

2017 02 15

The Constants Of Nature (Physics)

1/137.03599913 … commonly described as 137 on t-shirts and blackboards. And labeled “alpha”.

It’s a constant of nature, the fine-structure constant, and has no units. It’s a pure number in nature. It combines the electric charge carried by one electron, Plank’s constant, and the speed of light. If it were any different, we wouldn’t be here.

Some physicists are obsessed with alpha. Why does it have this value? No one has a clue.

Which is just a small version of “why is the universe is the way it is?”. Why the electron mass? Why the speed of light? Why quarks and photons and just why is everything the way it is? Change one small constant and we’re not here.

The easy answer has always been if it were any other way we wouldn’t be here. But that explains nothing and is just ridiculous. A better question is could there be constants of nature that lead to more and better intelligence? Is it possible to have a universe where conscious beings discover all the secrets of the universe? And can we imagine what the parameters for such a universe might be?

The universe seems to be tuned to produce conscious beings. But is this the only possible universe that could produce “us”?

The really depressing part, and what makes me so mad is that I and every other person in the universe will die and never know the secret. That makes life seem very boring.

High School Sports at Martinsville and Other Saturday Night Problems

Martinsville High School, Indiana, on a Saturday night. Taylor Swift is on Saturday Night Live so that’s a waste of time. Is Martinsville any better than Swift?

Martinsville High School has a bad record when it comes to high school sports. They even made it into Sports Illustrated one year. Martinsville city was also one of the worst “Sundown Towns” in Indiana years ago. But everything’s okay now, right? Some memories just refuse to go away. I have some stories people would like me to forget. So, for years I never went to high school sports at that school. But Saturday night I took off for Terre Haute North girls basketball at the new Martinsville High School gym. I had a few problems. At least I didn’t see any Confederate flags flying in yards like last time I was there.

A brand new gym. And like all high school gyms, no one bothered to ask a photographer about lighting or anything else to do with pictures. I took some pictures but gave up at halftime. The lights are as bad as Northview High School. Same problems in several ways. Why did they do this? The only gym that’s worse is the old Indiana State University gym where they play volleyball.

I used a Nikon D850 to take pictures at North High School girls basketball Friday night. Dance team and cheerleaders. About 1,400 images when I got home. The problem is the D850 is a 45-megapixel camera. I use two computers with Intel eight-core I7 processors so some parallel processing speeds the process. One has an NVidia fast GPU (for noise removal). Raw images are converted to JPG. JPG files are renamed to date and time. Images have the noise removed using a specialized program on an MSI computer with a fast graphics card. Images are edited … background leveled, out of focus deleted, duplicates deleted, embarrassing images deleted, etc. And, finally, Images uploaded to SmugMug (while I’m sleeping). That’s a lot of time, I went to bed at 4 am. So, at Martinsville, I’m back to the Nikon D500 sports camera. 20 megapixels at Martinsville. Not nearly as much fun to crop. Will I ever use the D850 for basketball again? Probably. The D850 handles low-light images better than the D500, maybe.

Images of varsity #22 are getting repetitious so I tried to get some that were a bit more interesting. I think I succeeded. And it’s not my fault JV #11 has so many pictures. I just follow the ball.

Turkey Run State Park and …

I always thought I’d die hiking alone in the Winter. My serious hiking days are over (medical condition) but that doesn’t mean I have to die in a hospital or anywhere else. There could be one last hike. The “secret” plan is to die in TR and make it impossible for anyone to know for days … Would they notice my car in the parking lot?

Plan? Maybe. First I have to get rid of two cats. All my bills are autopay. And break all connections to the world. And then how would anyone know where I was? Mailbox overflow? Tell the neighbors I’m going away for a couple months and please collect my mail? I’m working on it …

Some Turkey Run State Park images CLICK HERE.

High School Level Athletics

I’ve taken thousands (and thousands) of images at high school age athletic events. Almost all were high school events or travel softball games. I rarely turn down a chance … but recently I walked away from a high school event.

North South volleyball game 2021-09-14 at South High School, JV and Varsity. I took images of the JV game, watched a set of Varsity and left. I’ve been to many sporting events at Terre Haute South High School. This event probably set a new low. I can’t explain all the reasons but here are a few as nicely as I can put them.

Two South parents sat next to me and went crazy during the JV match. Yelling, screaming, stamping on the bleachers, and standing up. I’ve never seen anything like it at a volleyball match. I moved to the other side of the court as soon as I had a chance. The side with the bench and scorers is a difficult area from which to take pictures. I wasn’t happy.

While North Varsity players were being introduced, south students booed. For years South students would shout “BRAVES” at the end of the national anthem, a reference to their racist mascot, a Native American. The booing is probably the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen at a sporting event.

Speaking of disrespectful, the only South administrator near the South student section had his cell phone out during the National Anthem the entire time.

Newspaper editors who interview high school students need to have some sense. Hitting a softball going 60 miles an hour and changing direction is more difficult than jumping up a couple inches and hitting a volleyball. Enough said.

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