Hey! It’s NOT Me!

Harrison Ford says 'Hey, it's me!' in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but the words overlaid on the picture say 'Hey! It's NOT Me!'

So a while back I was browsing the Interwebs and I came across a bizarre discussion on Quora. I use the word “discussion” loosely, as I’m not sure there was any real discussion involved. But before I get to that, let me make one thing perfectly clear.

I Haven’t Had A Quora Account for Years

I forget when I shut down my Quora account.…

I Need To Blog and I Have No Words

Illustration of a silhouetted boy staring up at stars on a clear night. A cat approaches him from the side.

I need to write a blog post and I can’t write very well. Almost a week ago I was in a car accident and I’m still recovering from it. Typing is uncomfortable. But don’t worry: this blog post is not a long explanation of what happened nor a rant about the inadequacies of modern medical science. I’m alive to tell you this much and that’s good enough.…

Chinese Dramas I Have Reviewed on SF-Fandom’s Forums

Promotional posters for several of the Chinese dramas Michael Martinez reviewed on the SF Fandom forums.

People around the world love science fiction and fantasy. None of us will ever be able to enjoy all of it. But something we can do is sample the SciFi literature and drama that other countries produce. For most Americans that probably means following Doctor Who on BBC America and maybe supporting the Harry Potter franchise.

But if you grew up watching low-budget scifi movies on television you’ve probably seen your share of Japanese Kaiju (giant monster) movies.…

Facebook Suspended My Account – I Won’t Be Back

A dirt road leads up a green, grassy hill on a beautiful day.
[ Update: 2023-03-07 ]

The original account (which I managed to reactivate as described in updates below) has now also been suspended without explanation. Meanwhile, Twitter complaints about accounts being restricted or suspended by Facebook for inexplicable community standards violations seem to be increasing in number. I’ve now blocked all email from Facebook domains. I can’t get back in no matter what they try to do.

How To Almost Measure a Large System

A row of perforated plexiglass blocks of various sizes symbolizes many different systems.

The difference between a large system and a (small) system is that you cannot measure the large system, except by redefining the large system as a single unit or smaller system. If you scoop up a handful of sand you can measure that system as a “single handful of sand” or as the sum of the grains of sand in your hand.…

Large Systems Theory Needs Something Other than a Set

Set Theory is the study of collections of things. More properly, set theory is the set of rules mathematics has adopted for organizing and analyzing collections of things. Systems theory is another, less precise way of looking at collections of things. It’s defined as an interdisciplinary approach to studying collections of things that work together or are in some way dependent upon each other.…

The Real Reason Why Time Travel is Not Practical

An artistic conception of traveling through time via an imaginary track.

Time travel is a fascinating subject that is, unfortunately, dominated by silly ideas about grandfather paradoxes and black holes. We can blame the movies and science fiction TV shows for many of these ridiculous ideas but not all of them. Good science is also responsible for nonsense (like the mislabled “Fermi Paradox”, which isn’t a paradox at all and – when you look at it skeptically – is a rather naive and stupid question).…

What Is Neural Matching? Google Just Changed How You Search the Web

A spiral of stained glass windows forms a pattern.

It’s only been a few days since Google revealed they have been using a neural matching algorithm to modify their search results.  While I wrote about neural matching for the SEO Theory Premium Newsletter this week, I haven’t said much about it openly.  Although my education in computer science introduced me to artificial intelligence many years ago, my professional work has only occasionally wandered close to the topic. …

The United States Should Not Be Negotiating with the Taliban

A picture of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

This Voice of America article providing on update on negotiations between the United States and the Taliban underscores the short-sightedness of Donald Trump’s foreign policy.  The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan because they (the Taliban) consider themselves the only legitimate government of Afghanistan.  The United States never formally recognized the Taliban as a sovereign government.  These negotiations have established a dangerous precedent that will come back to haunt U.S.…

The Most Perfect Awesome Early 70s Mix of Soft Rock Favorites

A psychedelic image evoking the styles of the 60s and 70s.

I grew up on a mix of progressive rock, hard rock, boogie, rhythm and blues, southern rock, and a lot of other styles. Every now and then I fall into the mood for a particular sound. I may spend hours looking for songs that match that sound worm in my memories.

I used to listen to these songs all day long and all night long.…