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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Sweet Lorraine - A Letter From Fred"

This is what life is about: Love that lasts a lifetime.

When a recording studio advertised a songwriting contest, 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh wrote a song for his wife (who had passed away only a month earlier). The two of them has been married for nearly 73 years -- together for 75.

Unable to sing or play an instrament, Fred simply mailed in the lyrics. The recording studio saw those lyrics, read his story, and decided to record the song for him. This video features his story.... and the final song. Grab a tissue, you might need it.


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Monday, August 19, 2013

"It's Good To Be A Geek!"

It's good to be a geek! Those whom the world calls "geek" or "nerd" are the very same people who have contributed the most to the current culture we all enjoy. Steve Jobs. Steve Wozniak. Bill Gates. Nikola Tesla. Gene Roddenberry. George Lucas. Joss Whedon. J.K. Rowling. Rob Malda. Linus Torvalds. Trekkies. Browncoats. Gamers. Cosplayers.... just to name a few.

So, while many not-so-geeky people may not always understand my geeky joys, or my nerdy passions.... I'm proud to be among the ranks of those who have -- and will -- change the world.


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Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Quote of the Day: Steve Jobs"

"The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come." - Steve Jobs


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Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Quote of the Day: Henry David Thoreau"

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way."
- Henry David Thoreau


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Safty Pin People"

Chinese photographer, Junn.C makes stunning anthropomorphized portraits with safety pins. He bends them and places them in ordinary settings so that they look like little safety pin people. They're remarkably well done! Take a look at some photos of his work, and see for yourself.


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"Star Wars Medley - Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens"

Peter Hollens (singer/songwriter) and Lindsey Stirling (violinist, dancer, and composer) put together this exceptionally awesome visual medley of iconic Star Wars music. It's so good, it makes me want to go watch Star Wars. Seriously. Watch this. Let your inner geek out!


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"Shadow: Van Gogh Lives"

This, you need to watch. It's a short video featuring thirteen of Vincent van Gogh's paintings brought to life using moving shadows and digital animation. It adds a whole new dimension to the creative works of a Master Painter.

Sit back, and enjoy. THIS is creativity at its best.


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Thursday, August 08, 2013

"Quote of the Day: Eugene F. Ware"

"All glory comes from daring to begin." - Eugene F. Ware


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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

"Ideas: Taking The Leap"

Seth Godin offers some great encouragement when it comes to new ideas:
"Just about all the big decisions, innovations and perfect solutions around you didn't start that way.

They weren't the result of a ten-person committee, carefully considering all options, testing the reasonable ones and putting in place a top-down implementation that went flawlessly.

[The idea behind Amazon, the Mailchimp logo, the medical approach to childhood leukemia, the cell phone, the microwave oven, ethical email marketing, Johnny B. Goode, the Super Bowl, Kiva, Buffalo chicken wings...]

No, they were the result of one person, a person in a jam or a hurry or somewhat inspired. One person flipping a coin or tweaking a little bit more or saying, "this might not work" and then taking a leap.

Inventing isn't the hard part. The ideas that change the world are changing the world because someone cared enough to stick it out, to cajole and lead and evolve. But even though the inventing isn't the hard part, it scares us away.

Before you tell yourself you have no right to invent this or improve that, remind yourself that the person before you had no right either, but did it anyway."

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"Contre Temps (Against Time)"

Here's a charming little animated short film you may enjoy.

A man -- a survivor of some unexplained future apocalyptic event, which has left the Earth's oceans to rise and tidally envelop his city -- lives to collect timepieces from the abandoned wreckage when the waters recede. His life is conducted very much against time. But when he discovers that he is not, in fact, alone - his priorities must change.

Give this a watch. Comments welcome.


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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"Quote of the Day: Thomas Edison"

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." - Thomas Edison


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Monday, August 05, 2013

"Firefly: Serenity as a Star Trek Ship"

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of the fantastic, yet short-lived television series, Firefly. I'm also a devoted Star Trek fan. Last week, an idea was presented to me that captivated my geeky curiosity -- what would the Firefly-class Serenity (captained my Malcolm Reynolds in "Firefly") look like as a warp-capable transport ship in the Star Trek universe?

To pursue this idea, we have to assume two things. First of all, we have to operate under the commonly-held belief that Star Trek is an optimistic view of our own future. This means that our present day 2013 exists in Star Trek's past. And if we are part of that Star Trek timeline, then people living within that future must know about the television show "Firefly."

Second, if the Star Trek future knows about "Firefly", then they are free to incorporate that knowledge into their daily lives. To that end, let's assume that the CEO of a major Federation starship manufacturing company is also a big fan of "Firefly". In fact, he's such a big fan that he decides to build an adapted replica of Serenity, and put it into production as one of the cargo vessels constructed and sold by his company. As a result, the Serenity we know from the Firefly universe, becomes a warp-capable transport ship in the Star Trek universe. Cool idea, huh!

As you'll see in the image above, Serenity's adjustable VTOL drive pods (the jets on both "wings") are redesigned to serve as stationary, custom warp nacelles, complete with warp coils and all other necessary technology. The thrust engine at the back of Serenity is redesigned to house an adapted Federation impulse engine (thus the color change from Firefly yellow, to Federation blue). In addition, a deflector dish has been installed below the front neck of the vessel, above the cargo bay door (not visible in the image). Shield generators have been installed along the outer hull, and the entire ship is composed of materials common within the Star Trek universe. This Firefly still makes use of solar power collectors (in honor of it's fictional forerunner), and it carries aboard two adapted Endo/Exo-Atmospheric Shuttles -- the beetle-like docked shuttlecraft that Inara Serra called home (although both shuttles are now adapted to include non-warp, runabout-like impulse engines, visible in the image).

This Serenity can still land, as it did in "Firefly", although, it no longer does so with VTOL technology. Standard Star Trek thruster packages along the underside of the vessel facilitate all landing protocols.

The interior of Serenity has also been reproduced as well, based upon the popular television sets. A few changes have been made, though, for the sake of practicality, realism, and to facilitate the inclusion of standard Star Trek technology.

Of these changes on the interior, the ship now sports a standard 2-3 person transporter, as well as a cargo transporter in the cargo bay. Crew and cargo can now beam onto and off the vessel as easily as they could aboard the USS Enterprise. Also changed is the practical removal (or more accurately, the relocation) of the passenger quarters that were originally situated on the lowest level of Serenity (underneath her rear engines). Two of those passenger quarters now replace most of the lounge area near the infirmary/sickbay.

Also present aboard this Star Trek-version of Serenity is the standard replicator system, with food and small-item replicator terminals placed throughout the vessel. The lower aft section of the ship is now devoted to raw materials storage -- the matter from which all replicated items are constructed. The Serenity kitchen and galley still exists -- for those who like to cook, however, a quick meal can easily be replicated as well from anywhere on the ship.

I even put together some detailed deck plans based upon the original layout of Serenity. The plans, though true to Serenity, do reflect the adapted nature of this class of vessel within the Star Trek universe. Feel free to download and save a copy for your own personal use.

(click image to enlarge)

And, of course, what starship listing would complete without vessel specifications. I've included a few below for your reading pleasure. These are the adapted specs for the Star Trek version.

Firefly class -- (commercial market transport/cargo vessel).
COMMISSIONED: - 2358 – (SS Serenity)

BUILT BY: - Tellerton Shipyards, Deneva
STATUS: - In service. In production.

In-service specifications include:

  • LENGTH: - 115 meters (378'8")
  • WINGSPAN: - 43 meters (142'-6") - (to warp engine mounts)
  • HEIGHT: - 28 meters (92'-6")
  • DECKS: - 3 - (staggered)
  • CREW: - 5 crew quarters, 2 passenger cabins
Power & Propulsion:
  • DRIVE: - (2) Federation custom nacelles (warp 9 engines)
  • POWERPLANT: - (2) dual-linked custom fusion reactors
  • ADDITIONAL POWER: - multiple exterior hull solar collectors 
  • MAX SPEED: - Warp 9.5 for 12 hours
Carried Vessels:
  • (2) custom ship-specific Endo/Exo-Atmospheric "Beetle" Shuttles (impulse only)
  • (8) single occupant emergency escape pods
  • space for 1-2 small shuttle or ground vehicles
Weapon Systems:
  • (1) forward-mounted class-G micro-torpedo launcher
  • (1) forward-mounted class-IX-B phaser bank 
  • energy-field shield generators
Other Ship Technology:
  • (4) magnetic grappler launchers
  • Federation-standard deep-space sensors
  • whole-ship replicator system and raw material storage
  • (1) standard personnel transporter
  • (1) cargo transporter (available for personnel use)
  • forward mounted deflector dish
So, yep.... there you have it -- the Star Trek universe version of everyone's favorite Firefly vessel, Serenity. Two amazing science fiction universes in one beautiful, "I've-gotta-have-one-of-these" starships! Excuse me for a bit, while I hop on over to Tellerton Shipyards on Deneva, and grab me one of these before they're gone!

VESSEL USED IN: - "UFP: Starfleet Academy" (Star Trek series) on Facebook.

(photo available in "Commercial Ships" photo album)


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Saturday, August 03, 2013

"A Train Covered in Crocheted Yarn"

Now here's something creative and ambitious, an entire 4-car train covered in crocheted yarn. Yes, a life-size, real, full-scale train -- a locomotive, a coal car, an old passenger car, and a caboose -- completely covered in brightly colored yarn. It's a street-art project by Polish-born chocheter, Olek, that debuted on July 13th in Lodz, Poland, and will remain on display until August 19th.

Take a look at some great photos of this crochet-covered train!


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Thursday, August 01, 2013

"Kinzua Bridge: A Railroad Bridge Destroyed By Tornado"

In Pennsylvania, there stands half a bridge -- half of a railroad bridge that was once the longest and tallest in the world. Made of mighty steel beams, a powerful 2003 tornado collapsed the century-old Kinzua Bridge bridge in thirty seconds. All that remains of one side of the structure is a pile of twisted, broken metal, resting peacefully in the basin of a beautiful river gorge.

Here are some fascinating before and after photos of the broken bridge. Take a look!


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"New Month; New Focus"

It's amazing what happens when you get sucked into big projects -- you quite literally disappear for a while. I've been so intent on some things lately, that I've slipped in other categories, such as keeping this blog fresh and new -- like I used to in years past. So, I'm here to say.... it's a new month. It's a new start. Time to get the ball rolling again!


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Jon Baas

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