Tag Archives: Science

Altered Carbon’s Altered TV Criss-Cross!

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One of the latest Netflix crazes I have gotten into lately this month is Altered Carbon.  Based on the 2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon is set in a future where interstellar travel is effected by transferring consciousnesses between the bodies (or ‘sleeves’).  The story follows former U.N. elite soldier turned private investigator Takeshi Kovacs as he investigates a rich man’s death.  Netflix released its first season on February 2nd.

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It’s an intriguing cyber-punk sci-fi thriller series that is action-packed full of violence, drugs, and even sex (I’m talking LOTS of nudity in this show!).  The dystopian series features a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman (Takeshi), James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft, Martha Higareda as Kristin Ortega, Chris Conner as Poe, Kristin Lehman as Miriam Bancroft, and other members as well.  But it’s two recurring cast members that really struck a chord with me.

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Oumou Prescott and Mickey are played by none other than Tamara Taylor and Adam Busch.  Coincidentally enough, both Taylor and Busch had a role in another former crime series as well.

You know what that means folks…it’s time for another epic TV CRISS-CROSS!  Oh man…it’s been QUITE a while since we discussed a TV criss-cross here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

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Here’s the revealing connection – both Tamara Taylor and Adam Busch had a guest role in CBS’s NCISNCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is about Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs investigating crimes that have evidence connected to naval and Marine Corps personnel.  Both participants had at least one guest role in the whole series.  Tamara Taylor guest starred as Special Agent Cassie Yates and Busch played Arthur Jankowski in the episode ‘Home of the Brave’.  While they didn’t appear on the show together, the fact that they still had a role in the same series still makes this an interesting TV Criss-Cross.

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Those who are sci-fi fans would remember Adam Busch as Warren Mears on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Tamara Taylor was most famous for her roles as Grace Wilcox in Party of Five and Dr. Camille Saroyan in FOX’s Bones.  Both Taylor and Mears definitely had their share of roles in drama series before being featured in Altered Carbon.

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This was a pretty interesting TV criss-cross to spot!  I knew both actors from previous tv series and it was great to see them both on screen together.  Taylor and Busch may not have appeared in the same episode of NCIS, but they did make the appearance otherwise.

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Altered Carbon is definitely a great cyber punk thriller series to check out.  Tamara Taylor and Adam Busch did amazing for their part in the show.

And that was another epic TV criss-cross.  Come back again for another shocking criss-cross discovery.  Who knows what actors/actress will pop up again.


2/11 Sunday Funday Quote!

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The challenge of space exploration and particularly of landing men on the moon represents the greatest challenge which has ever faced the human race. Even if there were no clear scientific or other arguments for proceeding with this task, the whole history of our civilization would still impel men toward the goal. In fact, the assembly of the scientific and military with these human arguments creates such an overwhelming case that in can be ignored only by those who are blind to the teachings of history, or who wish to suspend the development of civilization at its moment of greatest opportunity and drama.

~ Sir Bernard Lovell, The History of Manned Space Flight 1962

Damore Vs. Google: When Ideas Become Dangerous

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Google is one of the top search engines on the internet.  Millions of users worldwide use the search engine for many uses.  From searching for a new dinner recipe to keeping tabs on the Kardashians, many people enjoy Google’s widespread information.  Whatever your reason may be, you can always count on Google to provide you with the information you need.

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But within the Google universe, could there be such thing as limited information?  Are both sets of viewpoints easily accessed through the popular search engine?  Could such conflicting views have an effect on not just the search engine, but the Google culture itself?

To dive into these philosophical questions, it’s time I start a story (STORY TIME!).  It’s a timeless David-and-goliath-themed tale of one man standing up to a powerful search engine that’s run worldwide.  This is the story of James Damore, the man who is suing Google.

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James Damore was a senior software engineer for Google in Palo Alto, California.  While working for Google, he took notice of their diversity programs.  Some of the initiatives include women-only meeting and even mandatory sensitivity training for combatting alleged sexist bias. During his stint at Google, he conducted research that turned into a 10-page document titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, a memo citing Damore’s firsthand experience with Google’s diversity policies.

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His findings argued that men and women are biologically different, in terms of engineering work.  Some of his discoveries argued that men were biologically different from women because they strive for different goals (men were interested in materialist things while women were interested in people).  Another interesting statement showcased that men were more motivated to climb higher in the corporate ladder.  These findings were backed by various professionals in society.  They were replicated multiple times and even cited by multiple researchers as the CAUSE for the gender gap in tech (Damore was NOT making this stuff up, this was REAL findings backed by concrete evidence!).

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The ending results?  Google disagreed….as in, SERIOUSLY disagreed.  They disagreed so hard that newly appointed VP of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance Danielle Brown posted a memo explaining that Damore’s report ‘advanced incorrect assumptions about gender’.

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Things only got worse from there.  Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to all his employees, explaining that James Damore supposedly ‘crossed a line’ by pushing further for harmful gender stereotypes.  Pichai thought that this was NOT ok.  James Damore was later fired for his controversial memo.

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Even though he was brilliant software engineer, James Damone was fired by one of the most well-known technological companies of America.  Damore was fired simply for pointing out that these diversity initiatives were counterproductive to the ending goal.  Not only did employees disagree with his statements, but he was even silenced and eventually fired from Google.

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Damore’s memo blew up into a political PR nightmare.  His memo was known as the ‘Anti-Diversity Manifesto’ by many news companies including, Forbes, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, Wired, The Atlantic, and many others.  Many of the companies never took the time to read through the pages.

Ironically enough, Damore’s document was PRO-diversity and he brainstormed more creative ways to get more women in tech without resorting to the counterproductive discrimination.  His findings would’ve done more GOOD than harm, yet he was silenced for his un-politically correct viewpoints.

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Being that he was tired of being silenced and mocked, he is now suing Google.  Damore is suing Google for creating this ideological echo chamber (same name as his 10-page memo) where people are protected from hearing different viewpoints from this distorted bubble of group-thinks.  These group-thinks only agree on one set of viewpoints and take charge when one or more employees disagrees with the standard view.  It’s this ideological echo chamber that manipulated hundreds of employees to attack James Damore because of his differentiated ideas of diversity.

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This is a DANGEROUS PR nightmare that went from bad to worse in a matter of months.  It’s ironic (yet scary!) when a company like Google, that hires some of the brightest and best people in the world, couldn’t even handle one well-reasoned and scientific discussion.  Rather than hold a discussion about these unique ideas on diversity, they shunned him from the tribe and even went far as to terminate him.

What’s most terrifying about this PR nightmare is the censoring of IDEAS within the workplace.  Differentiated ideas and viewpoints are continuously being shutdown simply because they conflict with the politically-correct viewpoints.  Instead of holding mature discussions of various viewpoints, companies (and even colleges!) have been shutting down anyone who disagree with the PC atmosphere.

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Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 to serve as a warning for America, not become some beautiful utopia for fan boys/girls to dream up.  This futuristic dystopian world is becoming more real as time goes on.  Again, this PR nightmare is DANGEROUS.

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What will the future hold for James Damore?  Will his voice finally be heard in the land of the free?  Or will his ‘upsetting’ speech be censored by the PC Police of Google?

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Time will only tell for James Damore.  If we don’t solve this problem now, we could be facing much WORSE crises in PC America.  James Damore is one of many whistle blowers who refuse to stay silent in this dystopian world that closely resembles Fahrenheit 451.

We must come to our senses before we start burning ‘dangerous’ literature that differentiates from our personal values.  Ideas should be free of all perspectives, not just the ones that the majority agree on.

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Let’s hope that James Damore’s Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber doesn’t end up being burned due to it’s ‘dangerous’ and ‘upsetting’ viewpoints about diversity.

Bill Nye the Pothead Guy

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Here we are, folks — the first Netflix releases of the year.  There’s already been some great releases on Netflix in January, yet there’s still a few shows from December I’ve yet to catch up on.  To start the new year, I binged-watched the new season of Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix.

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Bill Nye is back with his newest series featuring the very latest in the world of science.  From biology to chemistry, Bill takes every aspect of science to apply them to real-world scenarios.  His earlier series was just kiddie stuff – this right here is the REAL DEAL.

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Within the past season, Bill Nye has really been keeping touch with the modern science trends of the 21st century.  Nye went full force on the climate change agenda on season one, but he shifted gears towards other hot button topics.  The season two premiere kicked off with the bold topic of…wait for it…CANNABIS.

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You heard me right, folks – Bill Nye the Science Guy discussed about the science of cannabis for the season premiere.  Bill Nye, the same guy who hosted the PBS series Bill Nye the Science Guy back in the early 90s, took his latest Netflix series to pot (LITERALLY!) for one half-hour episode.

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For the record, I had a hunch that this idea would come in soon.  To think that one of my favorite TV hosts discussed the science of cannabis on a popular Netflix series. Not only did I see this bold move coming, but I thought that it would be turn out to be absolutely AMAZING…and it was.

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The episode was everything I imagined and more.  From pot science to potheads discussing the pros and cons, the cannabis episode of Bill Nye Saves the World was my favorite episode by far.  Here were some of the highlights of the cannabis episode:

Bill Nye Buys Pot (For Science!)
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To start off the 4/20-episode, Bill Nye enters the Hollywood High Grade dispensary to purchase some medicinal cannabis.  This opening was just absolutely PRICELESS to watch — Bill shows his medical card for the audience (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE – Bill Nye the Science Guy has a freakin’ California medical card to buy weed!).  He talks with budtender Veronica about buying some THC and CBD flowers, saying this was “for science” and that he’s performing some science experiment.  In the end, he bought a half ounce of cannabis for his “science experiment” he had planned for the episode.

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Ironically enough, I consumed some White Walker Kush before this binge-watching session.  It went perfect with the interesting subject matter for the show.

Field Trip to Israel Pot Farm

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After discussing the history of cannabis use in America, Billy Nye sent out correspondent Derek Fuller to a pot farm in Northern Israel.  Derek went to meet with Tikun Olam CEO Aharon Lutzky to discuss the company, their methods of growing medicinal cannabis for Israel, and even some knowledge that was passed down to him by Dr. Raphael Meshoulam.

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Derek went to meet with the world-famous chemist Dr. Raphael Meshoulam, who is most famous for his work with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Dr. Raphael Meshoulam noted that over 30,000 people use medicinal cannabis in Israel.  He explained how cannabis has a myriad of health benefits that could help people worldwide.

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Another company Derek spoke with was CannaRX.  Derek spoke with Dr. William Levine, who explained that they may have found the answer to precise dosing in cannabis.  Precise dosing of medicine is crucial for patients seeking to get the most out of their medicine.  It was quite an adventurous and educational field trip for Derek Muller!

Pothead Panel

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For the episode’s selection of panelists, Bill Nye talked with cannabis enthusiasts – Associate Professor of Columbia University Dr. Ziva Cooper, actor-director Kevin Smith (Silent Bob!), and Director of Washington State’s Liquor and Control Board Rick Garza.  The trio discussed the pros and cons of cannabis in American society.  Dr. Ziva Cooper is one of very few professionals who is studying cannabis for scientific research (being that she has a Schedule I license to study Schedule I drugs!).  Kevin Smith shared some tidbits of when he first tried cannabis with Seth Rogen during his late thirties.  Rick Garza discussed how legal cannabis in Washington State helped the state rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.  Ever since Washington State legalized cannabis in 2012, they have seen profits by the BILLIONS.

It was quite an interesting discussion from the three cannabis enthusiasts and it’s exciting to see what effect cannabis has on our society.

Ulitmate LIT Frisbee

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This wouldn’t be a pot episode without some good old-fashioned ultimate Frisbee!  Bill Nye teamed up with some members who would be high for the game (with special guests The Lucas Brothers!).  They would be facing off against the Palo Alto Startups, the team that would be playing without consuming cannabis.  The experiment was to see which team would do better – the players that were high or the players playing stone cold sober.

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In an epic (and hilarious) match, the Palo Alto Startups ended up defeating Bill’s team 11-0.  Bill’s team was too distracted to be motivated to win the game.  As terrible as the match was, it was funny to see how cannabis affected the teammates.

And there you have it – one epic episode of Bill Nye Saves the World that went to pot.  It was truly an entertaining episode where science met cannabis culture.

Who knows what other insights Bill Nye has for the modern world.  Maybe he’ll go to pot again in the next part of season two!

12/23 Saturday Quote!

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Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around the sun. At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person can doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact. That all present life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic time, is as firmly established as Copernican cosmology. Biologists differ only with respect to theories about how the process operates.

~ Martin Gardner, Irving Kristol and the Facts of Life