Cosmos 2014 Episode 1

Like Cosmos, I feel I’ve been away too long… Let’s try to stick around a bit more.

I just watched the first episode of Cosmos. I’m going to try to give my thoughts on this series each week.

In today’s climate where religion is feeling the heat from Science more than ever as the Internet educates more people each day. It was hard to look at today’s show as anything but a slap at religion and the anti-science crowd.

At the start, I found the beginning of the show too quick. The show really assumes that we know about the first show from many years ago. That we know about this spaceship that Neil zips around in. The details of what the show was are touched but ever so briefly. Maybe I give the age of the Internet too little credit, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more.

However, once you dive in and get used to the water, Cosmos takes off.

Neil (our host), gives you the cosmic perspective, as he likes to do, and shows our place in the universe and beyond. Once we get there, he hits religion in the face with the story of Giordano Bruno. Bruno was a monk who was burnt at the stake for a number of religious reason which partly included some ideas the universe and our part in it that happened to be true. Cosmos falls here a bit, because it focuses on Bruno being killed for Science and that was only part of the equation.

However, I think in this day and age the point is a fair one. We live in an age where Science and new ideas are openly challenged by religion. The debate with Bill Nye and Ken Ham shows that:

We know the stories of the Bible can not be taken at face value and yet religion can not change. It dare not or the house of cards will fall. People like Ken Ham are the thought police.

Cosmos then turns around and looks at our place again in cosmic time. The effects are great and again makes you understand how small you are.

Overall I liked the first show even with the few stumbles. I would liked to have seen more details about the science, but I’m sure that is saved for other shows. It’s a solid start.

Day of the Doctor (Review)

If you don’t watch Dr Who, then this post makes no sense to you. Don’t read more if you haven’t seen Day of the Doctor.

*** Spoilers ***

First, I’m a big Dr Who fan. I’ve seen all the ‘old Who’ shows and most of the ‘new Who’. (I missed a few and I’m knocking those out now.)

I think Day of the Doctor took in a direction that few fans thought it would. I think a bunch of folks were expecting more Time War in the show to start with.

Most of the show was a ‘normal’ show. You had Zygons, they had a plan and the doctor (2/3 of them depending on how you count) foiled it. The events with the Zygons made the ‘War Doctor’ realize that he had to ‘push the button’. Everything so far make it an OK show…

Then everything took off…

The doctors coming back to be with the War Doctor to kill their own race was just moving and all the doctors coming back to save his race was epic. It was a great end to the story.

At the end, the War Doctor will be remembered as another doctor because he did not kill the Time Lords. He was accepted by the 10th\11th (now 11th\12th in my book) as one of them. Add him in boys…

War Doctor

And then Tom Baker came back…

Baker was a future Doctor who took on his old face (very clever) and was retired. He tells (in a round about way) Matt Smith’s doctor to go and find the Time Lords.

And with that the whole show changed…

The show since the ‘reboot’ has had the theme that the Doctor had killed his race the Time Lords and he has been wondering the universe sad and alone every since. Now that has changed, the Time Lords exist and he can save his planet Gallifrey and all the Time Lords.

In the end, for the first time, the Doctor saved himself and that makes this the best Doctor Who ever.

Night of the Doctor

I’ve been wanting to talk about Doctor Who and the coming 50th Anniversary, but watch this first and we will talk later.

The Best Scam Ever!

I haven’t tossed up a good Thunderf00t vid in awhile:

I have to admit I don’t get it either. I guess my brain is not wired that way. The good news is that the number of people with no religion is on the rise.

I really don’t care if you think you are an Atheist, Agnostic or a ‘None’. If you are not giving money to any religion, you are reducing their power.

Thanks Potholer54!

So the Golden Crocoduck is out again along with some happy and sad news…

So Potholer54 career is heating up and he will be taking a break from videos (follow the link to see his videos). This is both happy and sad news. Happy because this man has too much talent to be sitting around making these videos and sad because he will be making less videos.

Good luck Peter Hadfield!

Pandemic – iPad Review

Time for something more fun! Pandemic for the iOS is out!

I talked briefly about the Pandemic board game while talking about it’s Younger cousin Yggdrasil. I’ll repost Tom’s review of the game.

Pandemic is an excellent game, where the players work together against 4 viruses that are spreading across the globe. The players must find cures before the viruses get out of control.

I can’t speak enough of this game. I’ve played the boardgame to death and I still come back for more. Let’s give the good and bad points of this game.


  • From top to bottom the interface is well done.  I could pick up the game without looking at the instructions.  New players are not going to be able to do that, but if you have played the boardgame before you should have no issue.
  • Two New Roles have been added:
  1. Contingency Planner – May take a Event Card that has been played out of the discard pile and set it aside for later use.  Does not count against the hand limit and may only have one of these set aside at a time.  My thought: Seems a bit over powered.
  2. Quarantine Specialist – Prevents outbreaks and placement of disease cubes in the person current location and neighboring towns.  My thought: Jury is still out for me on this, but an interesting twist.


  • Pass and Play Only, no games over the Internet.   Really everyone needs to look at the board and work together at the same time.  Ansyc play with an open mic would really be nice (the iOS version of Tichu has this feature.)
  • The game doesn’t even work with iOS Game Center at all for Achievements, etc.  That’s just odd.


  • The expansion On the Brink is not included.  That would rock as an add on.

Overall, the game is excellent and is worth the $7. Considering the game doesn’t use the internet in any way, I’m guessing that it’s not finished and folks got it out there for the holidays. I would think Online Play will happen in some way in the future and that will only add to the game.

GOP Trying to Look Tough

So John Boehner tried to put on a show this weekend for the tea party…

  • He tried to say that the President and Senate has to come to the table to discuss… Well something to let the GOP save face.  Now it’s entitlement reform…
  • He says that there is not the votes to pass a clean CR.  *cough* Bullsh*t *cough*

Look let’s play politics, last point first…

1) If there is not the votes for a clean CR, then he should just allow the vote and watch it fail. If Boehner is right, the vote will fail and his position to bargain with Obama would be strengthened.

The fact that this is not happening shows Boehner is just trying to BS the voters.

2) By shifting the talks to entitlement reform (or anything outside of Obamacare), Boehner is just trying to find anything to dig his party out of the hole they dug themselves.

My $.02, is Obama can’t let that happen. We have to get the tea party to stop doing this BS. If they want to change Obamacare (or anything else), here’s an idea: Go win elections at the national level.

Personally, if I was President would let this go for about another week and then do one of these solutions and defuse this bomb once and for all. Personally I like the 3rd option:

3. Premium Treasury Bonds: While the previous two strategies for obviating the debt ceiling were prevalent during the last debt-ceiling showdown, the idea of issuing so-called “premium” Treasury bonds is newer. The idea was first raised earlier this year by Matthew Levine at Dealbreaker. Understanding the idea requires knowing a little bit about how bonds are sold. Bear with:

Bonds have both a “par” value and often times a different price at which a bond is actually sold to the public. Normally this is because interest rates can change pretty quickly: Say I want to issue a bond for $100 at a 4% interest rate, but a few weeks later, when I actually get around to issuing the bond, interest rate rises to 6%. To sell my 4% bond will require selling the bond at a discount to par–somewhat less than $100. The opposite would happen if interest rates falls to 2%. If I’m selling a 4% bond in a 2% environment, I’ll be able to garner more than $100 in that environment.

So how does this apply to the debt ceiling? The debt ceiling law only applies to the face value of bonds issued, rather than the actual value of the money raised. So when past Treasury debt expires, the Treasury Department could simply roll it over into bonds with much lower face values but that bring in higher revenues and pay out higher interest rates, allowing the total debt of the U.S. to continue to rise while still staying within the debt-limit law.

And as Levine points out, this is something that, unlike the platinum coin scheme, governments around the world have resorted to strategies like this before. It was a somewhat similar scheme involving derivatives that allowed the Greek government to hide the true value of its debt from EU officials until its debt crisis a few years ago. In our imagined scenario, however, Treasury wouldn’t be trying to hide the debt from the public. It would simply be looking for a way to skirt a law that doesn’t make a lot sense to begin with.

The brilliance of the premium bond scheme is that unlike the 14th amendment or platinum coin scenario, there isn’t an obvious way that opponents of it could challenge it in court.


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