The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Good Guy Biker Strikes Again Helping blind man




Here is one of those acts of kindness I discussed in the post "Simple Kindness vs. Open Carry." As I see here, the entire encounter took even less time than I imagined. It was a grand total of one minute, eight seconds for this kindness to be completed. Why you could commit a whole lot of kindness in a single day with acts of that short duration taking place. Think how many lives we could improve together and how much safer we could all feel!

To read the original post, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/simple-kindness-vs-open-carry-five.html

Multimedia Poster of NASA's Vision of Spaceflight's Future

Art Courtesy of NASA
If you are a space geek like me, you'll want to explore this digital multimedia poster offered up at NASA. It explores NASA's vision for the future of spaceflight ... much of which I hope to live long enough to see. However, this vision requires cooperation from our politicians and from us, the taxpayers. Make sure your politicians know that you are an enthusiast and want to see the US have a future in space exploration. Do not allow us to make the mistakes we have in the past, developing amazing technology and then handing it off to others to run with because our vision was too limited. Let's not embarrass ourselves in that way again.

Art Courtesy of NASA
Anyway, enjoy the poster here: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/human_space/

For an update on progress with NASA's Orion crew capsule, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/orion-crew-capsule-gets-heat-shield.html

Orion Crew Capsule Gets Heat Shield

Courtesy of NASA
Protecting the Orion crew capsule from the 4,000 degree Fahrenheit trauma known as reentry into the earth's atmosphere, the indispensable heat shield was added. The cabin is coming ever closer to readiness for its unmanned launch in December. That "backshell" as it is called at Kennedy Space Center, features 970 tiles familiar to fans of the late, great Space Shuttle.

Orion's first reentry will definitely be a trial by fire. While the shuttles slid into the atmosphere at 17,000 miles per hour, Orion will enter at 20,000, giving that backshell a real fiery workout before any crew boards her.

Once she has her crews, Orion's heat shield will be able to be repaired in space should it encounter and be damaged by any of the multitudinous space junk floating around up there after decades of spaceflight. However, NASA's ever inquisitive engineers want to know more about what damage to the shields might do, specifically micrometeorite damage:
Before installing the back shell, engineers purposely drilled long, skinny holes into two tiles to mimic damage from a micrometeoroid hit. Each 1 inch wide, one of the holes is 1.4 inches deep and the other is 1 inch deep. The two tiles with these mock micrometeoroid hits are 1.47 inches thick and are located on the opposite side of the back shell from Orion’s windows and reaction control system jets. 
“We want to know how much of the hot gas gets into the bottom of those cavities,” said Joseph Olejniczak, manager of Orion aerosciences. “We have models that estimate how hot it will get to make sure it’s safe to fly, but with the data we’ll gather from these tiles actually coming back through Earth’s atmosphere, we’ll make new models with higher accuracy.”
Good luck and Godspeed engineers and Orion.

To view how NASA sees the future of spaceflight, go to: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/multimedia-poster-of-nasas-vision-of.html

Friday, August 29, 2014

Simple Kindness vs. Open Carry. The Five Minute Response

It's been a peculiar morning, news-wise. I started the day with a couple of beautiful short videos. In the first a scooter rider in the US pulls away from his group of like-minded riders. He had seen a blind, elderly man walking along the side of the road. Respectfully he informed the gentleman that there was a sidewalk along the sea wall just four feet to his left. The blind gentleman asked the rider if he could help him get there. The rider parked his scooter, led the gentleman to the sidewalk, informed him there was a handrail to his left and that he was facing the direction of town. The blind gentleman thanked him for his kindness. The exchange took less than two minutes and the scooter rider was once again on his way. The event was recorded on his Go-Pro camera attached to his helmet.

In the second video, a Russian couple stops on a deserted stretch of roadway. The road is compact earth. In the middle of the road something struggles, halfway out of the ground. It is a prarie dog that is caught, Winne the Pooh fashion, half way out of its burrow hole, which was probably compacted and made too small for the animal by passing traffic. Carefully (one must be careful with scared, wild creatures ... or any wild creatures), the couple used a blanket and gently lifted the stuck one from the burrow. It ran away to another burrow entrance. Again, this act of kindness took less than two minutes. It was captured by the camera mounted in Russian cars to be used in collision disputes and a personal hand video camera.

The third report was captured on the BBC via my radio. An American (sigh) was touting his children's book on the wonders of open carry gun laws in the US and how wonderful it is to tote your weapon openly for all to see. The juxtaposition was jarring. However, after watching these brief and easy acts of kindness, I wonder if we couldn't eliminate some people's perceived need to carry weapons with an escalation of brief acts of kindness in our world every day. Keep an eye out today and see what you might accomplish. I'll do the same. Shall we meet here again later and compare notes?

And that's the 5 minute response.

To witness the scooter rider's kindness, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/good-guy-biker-strikes-again-helping.html

To see the prairie dog rescue kindness, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRk08BwG3OI

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Life, Death, and Pattern Recognition: The Five Minute Response

Life: has been discovered under the South Pole. Beneath the ice sheet is a whole biosphere lurking, proving that life can survive in what seems to us the most inhospitable places. That may be a good thing for life in general if not for us given the new report from the UN on the ongoing climate change crisis. That new life may have to take over when we cause extinction on the mass scale ... including of ourselves.

We pray that the Ebola virus cases will be brought under control but with 3,000 cases in West Africa and 1,500+ deaths so far, and predictions of 20,000 before this is over, we have to take this more seriously and provide more resources in defense against this rabid killer.

On the pattern recognition front, we see a thigh bone on Mars (looks like a whole burial to me as a former archaeologist with all that colorful rock scattered among bone fragments, very ritualistic) and an oval that looks like a microbe in a Martian meteorite from 1911. Oh, pattern recognition run amuck. That defense mechanism designed to allow us to see carnivores hiding among the forest leaves is toying with us yet again, creating suggestive patterns where none exist. Have you ever noticed how difficult such a pattern is to shake once it has been seen.

Here's to life, defense of life, stewardship of our planet, and common sense over pattern recognition. And that's the five minute response.

Book-lovers' Reactions to Nonreaders

Bustle: News and Entertainment for Women has put out a wonderful post showing the various reactions of their readership to those out there who know how to read books but refuse to do so. We here at J.S. Brooks Presents heartily agree. We have got to learn how to use GIFs!

Enjoy this short read: http://www.bustle.com/articles/36433-the-6-reactions-book-lovers-have-to-people-who-dont-read

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Slice O' Life: Nostalgia's Power

Time marches on inexorably. No matter what we do, what we say, how we act, who we are ... this is an inescapable truth. As time flows forward, ever onward, we lose people we love. It is the price of living and loving on planet earth. Over the past two years, I've lost my mother and my grandmother and learned much more about the power of nostalgia.

That sentimental longing and wishful rosy view of times gone by is a natural byproduct of life's ever forward motion. The restless sands of time move along, carrying away from of those we have loved from time to time. If we are fortunate, new wonderful people drift to us on our journey down time's river. Okay, enough with the metaphors!

Nostalgia for things grows as we age. Those things that survive the restless years, that elude the destructive grip of time, become precious reminders of our past and those we once knew and still love. For me, I look forward every year to the emergence of the Christmas ornaments, especially the old Shiny Brites that have been passed down in the family since my parents were kids. They are like old friends come back, reminding me of the stories of family and friends gathered for Christmas celebrations.

There are other treasures from the past that have the same appeal. We inherited a cabinet full of Midwestern gifts for special occasions, usually weddings, from the 1920s to the 1950s and it is a case of nostalgia. It is also a wonderful record of what was considered special when.

Enjoy those things of the past and all that is associated with them. Let the memories come. Then, gently set them down in a safe place, ready for your return when you need them, and move forward into the land of the living. Enjoy.

Facebook Silences?

The religious order "The Silence" from Doctor Who would appreciate the news about Facebook. Perhaps FB is a Silence project!!!!

I was startled to see in the paper that Facebook silences opinions. No, the FB organization does not eliminate opinions ... the users do. It seems that FB participants will not speak up on issues if they do not feel their FB friends will agree with them on that issue. They are more likely to participate in an ice bucket challenge than to take a stand on the riots and attacks in Ferguson or the Middle East.

It seems FB is silencing many for fear that the great "them" out there will not share their opinions, rejecting them. Well folks, there are too many important things going on in the world right now to remain silent on any of them. Screw your courage up a notch and take a stand ... but take it in the real world. Passing along a strong opinion on FB or Twitter is unlikely to get results. Getting a group together in the real world, speaking out, and acting in unison to be helpful to others or to the environment ... now there's something useful to do. Not to mention, it's fun.

Step away from the computer, log off of Facebook, and take a stand for good out there! Let the silence end.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stereotyping and Dehumanizing Run Wild

Twin diseases are running wild through the human race these days: stereotyping and dehumanizing others. To stereotype is to believe unfairly that all people or things of a similar characteristic are the same, according to Merriam Webster. Unfairly is a pivotal word in that sentence. To stereotype is to pigeonhole someone and dismiss them as a mere type. It is to, with the swipe of a hand, dismiss entire populations as all simply a single characteristic, and that characteristic often based on the bad behavior of some small fraction of that population. 

Here are a few quotes relevant to stereotyping: 
Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.
~ Ed Koch
Stereotypes do exist, but we have to walk through them. 
~ Forest Whitaker
Stereotypes, they're sensual, cultural weapons. That's the way that we attack people. At an artistic level, stereotypes are terrible writing.
~ Junot Diaz
(For more, see: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/stereotypes.html)

Right up there with stereotyping is dehumanizing others. We do this when we want to go to war with them, physically and/or psychologically. We humans find it hard to go to war with other humans, or commit atrocities against them, so we try to make others less than human in our own minds. So, the Nazis called the Jews "rats" and the Hutus referred to the Tutsis as "cockroaches." Sadly, countless other groups have done the same when they want to inflict harm on others. We are endlessly inventive in figuring out ways to dehumanize and harm our fellow humans.

Stereotyping and dehumanizing have created conditions in which unarmed African-American males are dying in the hands of the police when they shouldn't. These factors are leading police forces to become convinced that to fight amorphous terror threats they need military equipment and one officer was recorded in Ferguson, Missouri, as referring to the populace as "animals" and urging those "animals" forward so he could shoot them. 

We have used and continue to use stereotyping and dehumanizing to keep those of specific races, religions (and lack thereof), genders, ... and anything else you care to name, subjugated, enslaved, or murdered in genocidal rage. ISIS is currently doing so in the Middle East. 

Horribly, we are allowing our opinion makers and reactionaries to lead the way in the USA in this terrible and dangerous form of abuse and all that it leads to. We need to reign in this awful tendency we have to dehumanize and stereotype others, given the bizarre and deadly reactions these twin horsemen of evil lead to in far too many cases. If we are to save ourselves and ensure we ourselves do not convince each other to commit mindless horrors on our fellow humans, we have to stop these tendencies now. We have to reveal them for what they are ... our basest, most evil, most genocidal urges at work ... and end them.

If we do not, then the last transmissions leaking from earth into space and across the universe will be the madness of stereotyping and dehumanizing language moments before the explosions that put an end to us all. 

Extending this theme, here are other recent posts to see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/saying-no-to-interviews-by-medias.htmlhttp://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/speak-civilly-to-end-violence.htmlhttp://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-we-dont-have-all-facts-doesnt-work.html, and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/08/standing-against-violence.html

Saturday, August 23, 2014

HUZZAH! Blog Site Earns Income!

I'm taking a moment to revel in a small victory. Ad Sense reports that this blog site has just earned me some income for the first time since ... well, never you mind since when. The point is that through dogged persistence and multiple ad clicks by you wonderful readers, this site finally, eventually became a small revenue stream ... at least this once.

Here's hoping it happens again sooner. Thanks for helping J.S. Brooks Presents get there. I'll try to continue to provide worthwhile content. Please keep reading. You all are the best.

Okay, moment of victory noted. Time to move on.

See you next time.