Category Archives: Geekiness

Ramblings, geekiness, fun facts in the science community and things that I just find awesome in general.

I am not a fashionista

Apparently someone found my site by searching “beren jones clothing.” Frankly, I’m a tad bit confused, but hey, the internet’s a strange place, we knew this, moving on:

If you’re connecting my name with any form of apparel, Threadless is probably involved. They make up 3/4ths of my wardrobe, the rest is UCTV shirts, I think. They’re pretty awesome, check them out.


Nuclear Reactors ≠ Nuclear Bombs

This is what I like to refer to as uninformed lunacy. It disturbs me that ANY educational system could spawn someone that believes this would work. It also disturbs me how horribly little people know about nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors are not nuclear bombs, the only way a reactor can explode is the same way your water heater might explode, the pressure gets too high and the lid blows off, that’s what happened in Chernobyl, and that’s the worst possible outcome of any disaster involving a nuclear reactor, that’s it. Now, that pressure explosion is a terrible thing and will almost certainly kill anyone in the facility, but you’re not looking at a mushroom cloud situation that destroys the area for several miles around. Instead, they act more like a dirty bomb, wherein the actual explosion is relatively minimal, but the release of highly radioactive fission-products into the environment causes intense radiation sickness and death in the area immediately around the bomb for hundreds of years (until they decay into a stable state) and terrifies the populace due to the fear of radiation and nuclear power. It’s nasty, yeah, but a nuclear bomb it is not.

I’d also like to point out that the tsunami that swept away entire towns didn’t come close to destroying that reactor; they’re built to withstand natural disasters, they’re built to withstand 747s crashing into them, they’re strong buildings and exceptionally well-designed. And the amount of radiation that escaped when the rods were uncovered within the reactor vessel (which just means the water level went below the height of the rods, not that they were out in the open or anything)? ~110 millirem/hr the first time they were exposed, ~313 millirem/hr the second time. To put that in perspective, you can get that in about 8 cross-country flights or 6 chest x-rays or two weeks on the beach in Mexico or just simply living anywhere on the planet for 8 months (cosmic radiation and radon gas will cause about 500 millirem/yr). It’s not a significant amount. Having worked on nuclear reactors for 5 years of my life, and more importantly lived on this planet for 28 years, I’ve been exposed to a lot more than 300 millirem, it’s not a problem.

Phil Plait, over at Bad Astronomy, posted a most excellent article on this issue.

In which I receive a fancy piece of paper and prove I’m Indiana Jones

Four Years of My Life

It is, in a word, official.

So that’s four years of my life right there. There were parts of it that sucked. A lot. I’m looking at you, Comm Dept. But there were more parts that were awesome. UCTV was a lot of them; I met some wicked cool people (that wicked’s for you, Amy), made some cool things, and had a place to hang out, a home away from home, ya know.

And there might have been some drinking. Maybe just a little.

Though to be honest, I’m not sure if that piece of paper is worth more than this one.

In the realms of film, what’s worth more: a diploma or a feature story in America’s longest running daily newspaper? Either way, they’re both pretty nifty.

Also, more people need to use the word ‘nifty’. It needs a comeback, let’s get on this, people.

But one of the coolest things for me about that diploma is that now I’ve got a snazzy piece of paper that has my full name on it, so I’ve got another thing to prove that I really am this guy:

Go ahead, be jealous.

A Mind is Truly a Terrible Thing to Taste…Zombie Poetry!

Via the wonderment that is the interwebz, I found someone (Roz Kaveney) who wrote some pretty great zombie poetry. Yes, you read that correctly, zombie fucking poetry. Here are some of the better ones:

Zombie 3:
Some of them run at you – you must be fast
to hope to get away. And some are slow.
The key to your survival is to know
which ones are which. There was a time, now past,

when they all shambled, all stank of the grave
that they’d left recently. And they were made
by hand, by craftsmen. You were still afraid.
But they were tame, somebody’s household slave

The quick wild ones are feral, a disease
that you’ll catch if they catch you. Yet they treat
the old slow kind politely if they meet.
Offer them bits of people. On their knees.

The dead are snobs. The stench of long decay
outranks the slick young beast who rose today.

Zombie 7:
The blank expressions, dull eyes, of each face
May lead you to believe they have no soul,
whereas their death and rebirth made them whole
united corpse and spirit in one place.

Their bodies punish sinners, free them too
to see the living God and serve His will.
It’s Him who pulls them from the grave to kill
to tear apart, and bite, and gnaw, and chew.

His servants work their fingers to the bone.
Killing the clock around. It’s how they pray
watching the movements of His face each day
He whispers that he knows them for His own.

And we pray too – we hope they’ll pass us by
that only unbelieving sinners die.

Zombie 9:

If, shambling past, they smash a porcelain bowl,
a marble faun, perhaps embed a shard
inside their putrid foot,it may be hard
to understand their sudden frenzied howl

is ecstasy not pain. They all love art
but not as we do. Their long drawn out screams
are gorgeous music . Sometimes in your dreams
you hear it and it terrifies your heart.

That’ss just a fragment of its dark effect
on their decayed and very different brains.
Eyes drop out, ears fall off, but there are gains
refined and subtle senses. They select

the finest brains to eat. For them a taste
so fine, that, in our skulls, it’s just a waste.

Zombie 11:
They are so many. Stand on a high place
and watch them shamble. Gray as winter cloud
the sea of faces, and they moan so loud
it’s like a scream. And every single face

is marked with all the signs of quick decay
and yet they still stand up, and wander round.
It’s like a flood. Those standing on high ground
watch each last bit of dry land fall away

and know there’s no way they can stop the tide.
Sooner or later tides will always turn
but meanwhile there’s no wood for you to burn,
no food to eat, and no friend at your side.

They are all dead. Don’t tell yourself the lie
that you’ll survive. Just walk down there and die.

Zombie 13:
And some are children. Thin, and fierce, and fast.
It takes them quickly, and it dries them out..
The old ones moan; the small dead children shout
and yell as if in playgrounds. They’ll run past

you, double back. You see their teeth
and their dead eyes, and open bloodless wounds.
Their shrieks are wordless, just unthinking sounds.
And through their wounds you see dried bone beneath.

They’re many. You can fight them off. You cut
them down, and trample them. Something will break
inside you. Once you thought it for hope’s sake
you went on fighting. Bitter in your gut

an acid sense, that hope has told you lies.
The future’s vicious jaws and mad dead eyes

Zombie 14: (this one’s pretty Survivors-esque)
They eat as many of us as they can.
And then they slowly start to fall to bits.
It’s a slow process. Cell by cell it hits.
Bones disconnect. They stumble. In a span

of weeks they will be rot, tatter and shard.
Some of us live. We hide. We eat cold food
from cans. Snare and kill rabbits. In a wood
we have a cabin. Our survival’s marred

by what we’ve lost. The cities turn to dust
take art books music with them. We forget
all that we were,or loved or hoped for. Yet
the worst of all the things we lose is trust.

All strangers are the dead returned. Our fear
will go on killing, year by bloody year.

Twin Suns of Tatooine Taught Me Everything I Know…

Watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

Carol Zara’s Open Letter to Facebook

Carol Zara wrote a poignant open letter to Facebook in response to their dropping the ban-hammer on her. It’s a damn good letter and she makes a lot of excellent points about the nature of Facebook right now. Here’s hoping they see the light and un-ban our sexy geek.

Carol Zara: the super-sexy uber-geek

Seriously, Facebook, how could you ban someone like that? You must hate us.

I’ve copied the text of it here, but do yourself a favor and go to her site, Digitally Blonde, to check it out and lend your support. Also, hers has pictures you’ll probably want to see. Here’s her letter:

This is my open letter to Facebook:

Dear Facebook,

I’ve been banned from your website, FOREVER. And NO ONE can understand what I could possibly have done, that was so wrong to be treated like a criminal by you.

Apparently, you deleted my profile for “regularly contacting strangers.”

I had been trying to keep my personal profile private. I made that decision when I had about 3000 friends on Facebook and was getting SO MANY invites to stupid apps and events in different countries and virus messages and freaking pokes… POKES! gah. I couldn’t even keep up with my personal friends updates, they thought I was a jerk!

I was honest with my followers and told them that maybe it was time to have a fan page. Unfortunately, that also meant that I’d have to delete them from my profile. We joked about the South Park Facebook episode, which is hilarious, don’t you think? So, from 3000 friends I went to about 600 friends. –By the way, your system had SO many bugs that it took me a lot longer to delete people. Sometimes I would delete a profile and it would come back to my friends list.

Even after doing everything I could to hide that profile and “force” people to ‘like’ my fan page instead (I hid my profile from your lists, but left the “add as a friend” option so my personal friends and family could add me), I was still getting over 50 friend requests/DAY. Hell, I couldn’t change the URL (which was my name, like totally obvious, and even appeared on Google search) and some friends would link people to pictures on my personal profile: “Hey guys, have you all seen Carol Zara’s latest photos??” Great, this was not helping.

I couldn’t just ignore all of those friend requests and give them no actual reason (I’m not like you, Facebook). So what I’d do was send everyone a friendly message:

“Hey hotness,

I would love to add you, but I don’t really use this profile anymore.

You can find me at my fUn page:

See you there?

xoxo, CZ”

It’s true. I wasn’t really using that profile anymore, except for “liking” friends’ pictures, and keeping in touch with people I knew. My updates and pictures were all on my new fan page. I had 2 on the site, by the way: Carol Zara (the new page with close to 4000 members) and Digitally Blonde. The Carol Zara fan page only had myself as an admin, so it was disabled/deleted together with my profile.

My Twitter followers and I first thought that my account was disabled because of the sexy Octopus pictures I had recently posted (they were provocative, but no full nudity shown -I’d add black banners to the pics that I thought would make you mad).

Last year, you deleted a cartoon of me (fan art) where a famous comic book artist used his imagination and drew me sitting down with a naked back.

How would I guess that that C-A-R-T-O-O-N is inappropriate to you? It wasn’t like it was a cartoon of Homer Simpson fucking his daughter or the chicks from Family Guy sucking a dildo.


Thinking that it was because of the sexy pics -I agree with not allowing porn, but sexy pictures shouldn’t be a problem, considering your “meet local girls now” ads that feature REALLY young chicks.

My friends and I started doing research on how models behaved on Facebook, specially Playboy models and porn stars. We found full-on nudity -no black bars- on a page entitled “Larissa Riquelme” (not sure if it’s the model’s official page, but photos were added by the admin, not the fans).

We also found this on a porn star’s page (again, not sure if it’s an official page, but it’s there being hosted by FACEBOOK):

I was ready to start a tumblr account called “Faceburka” to showcase all our FB finds (oh, because we found MANY things on your website that are apparently against your rules. You should totally hire me as a cyber detective. That’s a sexy title.)

Finally on Aug. 13, I get a response from you -and it WAS final, with NO right to appeal *single tear left cheek* :(

Let’s clarify things once again:

Sending friend requests to people I don’t know? No, I haven’t been sending friend requests randomly. In fact, my personal profile used to have about 3000 friends (because I accepted everyone’s friend requests) and I was getting so many invites to stupid apps and virus messages that I decided to delete a good chunk of the friends list and keep only people I knew and long time fans.

Regularly contacting strangers through unsolicited Inbox messages? aka Replying to random friend requests asking them to add my fan page instead. I’d get about 50 new friend requests EVERY DAY. What to do if I don’t want to add all those “strangers” to my private account? Send them a polite message asking them to find me at my new fan page instead. Yes, it was exhausting to reply to all those messages myself. Yes, I wished there was an app that would save me time. Yes, sometimes after copy/paste’ing the message, I had to type those words to prove that I’m human, which was a lot more work.

Soliciting others for dating or business purposes? huh DATING?! No way! Business purposes, nope. I’d add or send a “hello” message to people that I have worked with in the past or whom my friends had introduced to me. That is all!

Question is:

1. Will you delete all the users that send friend requests to people they don’t know (I was affected by it), considering the fact that your app “People You May Know” usually features people we don’t know 98% of the time? It should actually be called “People You Have No Effin Clue Who They Are” feature.

2. Isn’t social networking a way of interacting with “strangers” aka “world citizens” who share common interests? No wonder why Twitter had such a fast growth and has been kicking your ass since 2009. I met so many wonderful people there. I don’t care if I don’t know them in person (some I have met IRL). They make me happy and I learn a lot from them.

Also, how can you call me a threat? I’m only 5′3” and 100 lbs. My friends made fun of me when I dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween, so I gave up being evil. :S

So FB, we’ve had a serious spat, and you’ve kicked me out of your house, and now I’m standing outside your window with a big boombox, letting you and everyone else know how I feel.

Maybe you could man up and let me in? The fight was really one sided, and I didn’t receive any warning at all.

In other words, let’s put this fight behind us so we can get to the make up sex already!

And just for you, I promise to wear the burka.

Thanks Hotness!




In yet another turn of how Facebook is fucking stupid, they’ve banned internet celebrity Carol Zara, the owner of the blog Digitally Blonde. According to Zara’s twitter account, the reason the idiots at Facebook have given for the ban is that she “regularly contacts strangers.”


The reason she regularly contacts strangers? It’s because she’s fucking awesome and talks to her fans, replying to each friend request a fan would send her way. I can’t think of a dumber fucking reason to ban a celeb than that. Perhaps if they were rescuing kittens; that MIGHT be a shittier reason to slam them with the ban-hammer. Maybe.

Most of her fans, including me and Zara herself, initially thought the ban stemmed from some racy, but censored, pictures she put up of her posing sans clothing with naught but an octopus to cover her naughty bits.

I've never been jealous of a cephalopod before...

You can thank the Spanish soccer team and Paul the Octopus for this.

“You will no longer be able to use Facebook. This decision is final and cannot be appealed.”
Facebook, you’re a bunch of idiots.

She can regularly contact me anytime she likes. If you feel the same way, join the #FreeZara campaign on Twitter and tell any news outlets you know of that Facebook has decided that celebs shouldn’t talk to their fans.

UPDATE: Zara said she had contacted the people that friend requested her to add her fan page instead because she’d transferred her activities there.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Carol Zara has added an open letter to Facebook on her site, Digitally Blonde. Check it out. #FreeZara

Et tu, Vader?

Star Wars + Shakespeare = scalding hot coffee coming out via my now burnt nasal cavity as I laugh too damn hard

None shall harm Palpatine til Endor wood come to Shield Generator

I’m not sure whether to love you or hate you, o’ geeks of twitter. #SWShakespeare on twitter is guaranteed enjoyment for any nerd/geek, but be warned: hot beverages are hot and should not be drunk immediately before laughing. The consequences of ignoring this rule are painful…

Some of the better ones are on the fancy dancy Star Wars blog (which @bonniegrrl writes for and you should follow her because she’s awesome). Though here are a few of my favs:

RT @TroyBeast: A plague on both your droids!
RT @RHicks: Tis a trap!
RT @gaikokujin: TK-421, TK-421, wherefore art thou TK-421?
RT @inter_zone: A bantha, a bantha, my empire for a bantha!
RT @pixelmatt: Hath not a Jedi eyes? Hath not a Jedi midi-chlorians?
RT @IndieEwok: Something Wookiee This Way Comes
RT @TheRobertPalmer: Alas, poor Vader! I knew him well young Skywalker. A fellow of infinite hatred, of most terrible wrath.
RT @7diane: Out, Out Damn Ewok
RT @rollotomasi: Cry havoc and let slip the Ewoks of war!
RT @OMG_Ponies: Once more unto the DEATH STAR trench, dear friends, once more; Or close the exhaust port up with our Rebel dead.
RT @OMG_Ponies: Now is the Hothian winter of our discontent.
RT @DeathStarPR: What’s in a name? That which we call a Wookiee by any other name would smell like wet carpet.
RT @MightyHunter: We few, we happy few, we band of clones…

And my very favorite:

RT @johncullentv: Frailty, thy name is Jar Jar.

Who is Twitter recommending you follow?

And guess where I found this lovely graphic?

So far, it’s recommended a few shitty celebs to me, a bunch of the Eureka writers (who I actually followed) and Russel Blair (whoever the hell that guy is…)

StarCraft II: Ghosts of the Past Trailer

I do believe I just had a nerdgasm. My own little fan-boy freak-out as the waves of awesomeness coming from that trailer crashed into me.

If you want any form of social interaction from me, you’ll have to get it sometime before the midnight release on monday; because once I get my hands on the full version of this game, I check out of real life and you’ll only find me on

P.S. Kerrigan rawks. That is all.