Espresso in Space Becomes Reality, Captain Janeway Will Be Pleased

“There’s coffee in that nebula”… ehm, I mean… in that #Dragon.

— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) April 17, 2015


In season one of Star Trek Voyager Captain Janeway needed to conserve replicator power so couldn’t use it for real coffee.   They approach a nebula hoping to collect enough energy to use for luxuries necessities like coffee.

Captain Janeway: There’s coffee in that nebula.

In the photo Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, is wearing Janeway’s uniform while waiting for the Dragon module to bring them a custom made espresso machine, dubbed the ISSpresso.

The company that made the machine, Argotec, explains the development process here. What I’m curious about is who came up with the idea for the photo. Lavazza, the coffee supplier? Argotec? The Italian Space Agency? Cristoforetti? Someone on the ISS social media team?

Cristoforetti already has an amazing resume, and starting this week she will officially be the first to have the job I’ve read about in science fiction for decades, space barista.   


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Indiegogo Removes All Fundraisers Supporting Officer Slager

Last week I wrote about the fund raisers that popped up for Officer Slager after shooting Scott Walker. 

Today I heard good news from my friends at Color Change. The fundraising platforms, Indiegogo, has taken down all the fundraisers in support of Michael Slager. (Disclosure, I’ve been an adviser of Color of Change.)

They, along with others, had already convinced Gofundme to remove this kind of fundraiser. Now Color of Change has asked the CEO of Indiegogo to change their policy, and to remove these kinds of fundraisers immediately.

Social media is great for informing business of how their products or services are being used or misused. (Here was a San Francisco Chronicle story Joe Garofoli wrote about how we used social media to inform advertisers of brand-damaging right wing talk, Rush Limbaugh ad fight shows power of social media.)

This CoC campaign is a smart use of social media power. It not only addressed the instant news issue, but extended thanks to the business after they acted and suggested they make policy changes so their tools can’t be used in this brand-damaging fashion in the future.

Most companies won’t come out and say they believe in racism. They will dance around . . . → Read More: Indiegogo Removes All Fundraisers Supporting Officer Slager

Indiana Jones: 1, Rolling Ball: 9

If your system can handle it, watch in 4k. This looks like a fun thing to do in New Zealand after visiting all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit locations.

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Why Rand Paul’s Libertarian-ish Anti-tax Ideas Are Like Boner Pills

I can barely wait for the Rand Paul announcement for President. It’s perfect timing. I know he will be talking about his views on taxes. It would be interesting if someone dug into where some of the craziness comes from.

Tax time makes right wingers crazy. Especially men. The thing is, even though I’m only half human male, I get freaked out around tax time too. I wonder how much of this is traditional guy stuff? Or white guy stuff?

You know the lines you hear from rich male jerks? “Money is just a way of keeping score.” and “He who dies with the most toys wins.” There is still a part of me that buys that and it takes a Vulcalean effort to look at it rationally.

At this time of year in the male money world of “Keeping score” guys ask themselves, “What have I accomplished?”

First, there is the “I never get enough.”feeling.That’s because it’s always a moving goal post. Then I focus on what is “taken away.” (Never on what I got in services, always what is taken.) This focus on what is taken diminishes my self image, which I correlate with self worth. When I . . . → Read More: Why Rand Paul’s Libertarian-ish Anti-tax Ideas Are Like Boner Pills

Watch This Guy’s Brilliant Anti-fraking Demo

This is the most straight-forward and powerful video I’ve seen in awhile. It’s from a hearing on shipping fracking wastewater to a well in Sioux County Nebraska.

The lack of slickness helps. The crappy camerawork adds to the authenticity. I’d like my friends at various non-profits and activists to watch this to see what was done right.

The speaker knew his audience. Not only the commissioners, but the people in the room and in the community. He was not an outsider. He looked like them, dressed like them and talked like them. He addressed the concerns of both sides before his demo He made a powerful visual case with common items people knew He made an emotional appeal and had an intellectual back up. This is for the people who say they only decide based on “facts,” to rationalize their emotional decision.

So many great things in one short video, and I’m glad that Bold Nebraska used it to get people to sign their petition, Don’t Frak our Water.

After I watched the video, I read some comments at Reddit and in the YouTube section. I searched Google News to see how the story got picked up by the local . . . → Read More: Watch This Guy’s Brilliant Anti-fraking Demo

Dancing Fun Video. Watch. Smile. Repeat.

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New Happy Mutant Hairstyles From Yukon

The hairdos in this winning photo from the annual hair freezing contest at Takhini Hot Pools in Yukon reminded me of Xeni’s hair at Boing Boing. I like that they are all happy with their mutant hairstyles.

Canada for the win!

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Asking if House of Cards is Realistic Is the Wrong Question.

Sunday Night on Virtually Speaking Digby and I talked about the Leonard Nimoy’s passing and how fiction and fictional characters can shape people’s attitudes.  (podcast link here.)

Today some friends who work in the world of politics were discussing House of Cards. Some loved it, some hated it.  I don’t really move in those specific circles so before the discussion I wanted to know, “Is it realistic?” A professional musician friend asked,

Does anyone really expect a TV show about politics to be a more realistic representation of that life and that process than the Monkees represented a life of trying to make it as a young band in theirs?

This seems like such an obvious point I realized that I was NOT asking the question that the producers and writers of the show were asking themselves, which is, “Is it entertaining?”

Last night I watched a movie called “Harmontown” about the creator of Community, Dan Harmon. He talked about his deep desire to entertain people. He craved the satisfaction he got knowing his writing made people laugh, smile or feel better.

I watch a lot of fiction on tv. I also read a lot of fiction. I . . . → Read More: Asking if House of Cards is Realistic Is the Wrong Question.

3 Easy Steps to Change the Media’s Views on War & Torture

These days I’m like Mr. Spock in the dark, parallel universe of Star Trek. I see our leadership going down the wrong path regarding the use of war and torture. It’s an illogical, fear-based path, and it’s presented as the only alternative.

Therefore I’ve come up with some fun, easy steps to change that.

In our country fear rules people and acquiring resources has trumped all ethical considerations.  The power structure and media viewpoint has rejected non-violent solutions as weak and ineffective. The discussion of other solutions are mocked,  marginalized and the proponents cast as naive or terrorists lovers.

In the Mirror Mirror universe Captain Kirk challenged the waste of lives, potential, resources and time of an Empire that ruled by fear and violence.

The goateed Mr. Spock could see the illogic of that Empire but says, “One man cannot summon the future.”  Kirk replies, “But one man can change the present.”

There are powerful groups and people who support war and torture. They are smart, organized, well-funded and know how to use strategic propaganda and specific appeals to ego, power and corporate monetary gain to get what they want.

How to you overcome these groups, people and their . . . → Read More: 3 Easy Steps to Change the Media’s Views on War & Torture

Torture Supporters have Better PR and Marketing People

On the most beautiful sunny day of the year in San Francisco I took a train to the East Bay then walked up a hill into a windowless room to listen to five experts talk about torture.  This was my idea of a good time, and possibly the reason I’m a laugh riot at parties.

It was a symposium titled:

Torture, Security, and Law The Senate intelligence committee report The involvement of psychologists and lawyers Holding ourselves accountability

It was held at Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley School of Law which is the current home of distinguished scholar John Yoo.

I went to hear the progress of bringing accountability to the people who encouraged, legalized and normalized torture in America. I was also hoping for a path to accountability for those who tortured.

I was very disappointed

I was not alone in my feeling. The panel members expressed their own disappointment with their progress. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer talked about his problems getting documents out of the government or getting the voices of the people tortured to be heard by the public. He was fighting to get images of their torture seen but keeps getting blocked.

What was especially frustrating was hearing . . . → Read More: Torture Supporters have Better PR and Marketing People