Category Archives: Science Fiction

The Great American Right to Complain

For 30+ years as a news hound and reporter of weird stuff, I, Xeno, have believed it is the duty of Americans to speak up truthfully about what they like and dislike.

We have the right to complain, to make things better. This was true in the past. Is it still?

I like peace, non-violence, transparency in government and privacy and fair voting for the public. I oppose violence and support peaceful plans.

I try to read a broad spectrum of news and ideas, but don’t agree with everyone or everything I read or see. Reading is not approving, obviously.

Long ago, I found and interviewed a man when researching “reptilian aliens” (they are just metaphorical, in my view) who advocated over email “storming Area 51”. I disagreed with his plan because the real Area 51 is on a US military base, it is still run by the CIA as far as I know and I also thought he might be an agent of a foreign government. You never know. I’m not into anything subversive, I follow laws and believe in peaceful change.

One thing I read about Area 51 that was reinforced by real voices of government employees in the news, was that people working within agencies don’t always agree with policies they are supposed to follow. It is the duty of workers to follow the direction set by leadership, but there were differences of opinion within, just as within the FBI, and also between agencies. I’m no insider, this is just what I gleaned over the years.

I like the idea of humans getting organized as a species, but not under fascism. I don’t like Nazis or any other violent war-promoting control freaks. The idea of people writing about Reptilian Aliens, as I have understood it, is that there are factions of “cold blooded” ideological Nazis in the US government. Some were imported from Germany after the war in Operation Paperclip and these scientists grew in power in the Shadow Government. They are opposed by other groups that take seriously their oath to uphold the Constitution and to protect citizen’s rights to complain.

Until the mainstream news started talking about the Shadow Government after the attacks of 9/11/2001, I didn’t think there really was such a thing. After learning there is, I still placed my faith in the good side of the inner US government, writing articles on xenophilia.com such as 10 Proven Conspiracies and Why I Still Trust the Government. (The upshot was that “the Government” is not a single thing, it is different groups with different goals and ideals, many competing.) Conspiracy is a real thing; we have laws against it in the USA and people, including members of Congress, have gone to prison for it. Not every conspiracy theory is true, but some are, investigators have to look at the facts, the real facts, when available.

I keep repeating that I support peaceful change because it is true and because, on the spooky side, I fear that vocal people who complain peacefully, may one day be attacked, framed as radicals or turned into criminals in political theater by Nazi factions in the Shadow Government using dirty tricks, digital and otherwise. Let’s hope not.

I pray the good and honest people and groups win this epic battle.

Being interested in the culture of oddities, I have driven to Nevada and stayed at the Little Ale’Inn near Area 51 a few times. I enjoy the ET alien thing, the interesting people you can meet, and the science fiction fun aspect of it. I liked the movie Independence Day and enjoyed driving on the ET highway. I also personally like the idea of a US Space Force, although people laugh at it and some strongly oppose it.

How can we fix corruption and undue influence of big business in government if not by “storming Area 51?”

I like capitalism and competition generally, but support an idea by the Yang campaign to reasonably rein in the influence of super wealthy individuals and lobby groups:

Democracy Dollars. The easiest way to minimize the influence of super-rich individuals and SuperPACs in our politics is to drown that money out with contributions by normal Americans. Under my Democracy Dollars plan, every American would receive $100 per election cycle to donate to candidates of their choosing.

Via AndrewYang

I don’t endorse him as a presidential candidate, but I like this idea.

Representative Democracy, allowing the majority of the people (instead of a cabal) to pick the best leaders works well only if we have well informed voters. To make Democracy Dollars work, we first need truth in advertising and truth in news reporting.

Simultaneous with Democracy Dollars, we need laws that provide stiff fines for lies, and even stiffer fines for lies about lies–in other words, an American realist movement.

Candidate Joe Biden made a slip I heard yesterday while he was campaigning. He said, we need to support “truth not facts”. I do not support non-factual “truths” as facts are the basis of truth.

I support accurate and fearless fact checking as the basis for an effective peaceful democracy. We must protect the rights of reporters to investigate and report the truth.

I support local police, the FBI and the CIA and the NSA which I believe to be composed mostly of individuals of strong moral character who sometimes have to fight within their organizations for what is right, for what is truly American, for our rightful way of life.

Please save a copy of this on your computer, in the cloud, etc. and republish the bejeebies out of it if it ever gets “disappeared” by anyone who tries to put other words or ideas into my mouth! 😉

Peace, love and music,

Xeno of True Strange News

Blogging at xenophilia.com & truestrange.com

Xeno is a songwriter who has written over 100 songs, a reporter and blogger for 30+ years and nephew of a member of the band Steppenwolf. He was engaged to the personal chef of a California billionaire and has traveled to all 48 lower US states interviewing people for an eventual book on happiness. He opposes violence and promotes peaceful positive change.

TrueStrange.com

Canada: Stop Spocking Fivers

Here’s a strange ongoing problem in Canada. Since February 27, 2015 when Leonard Nimoy who played the character of Mister Spock on the TV show Star Trek passed away, people in Canada have been defacing (re-facing?) 5 dollar bills to make Sir Wilfrid Laurier look like Spock.

Bank of Canada is pleading with Star Trek fans to stop “Spocking” its five dollar bills. Since Leonard Nimoy’s death, Canadian folks have been “Spocking” the hell out of the five dollar bill that features a portrait of Canada’s seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Sir Wilfrid now sports, on certain bills at least, pointy ears, the signature Vulcan haircut and eyebrows and Spock’s mantra “Live long and prosper.”

More DangerousMinds

Is writing on Canadian currency a crime? Actually, no.

It is not illegal to write on bank notes in Canada. There are prohibitions, however, on reproducing a current Canadian bill electronically. The question of whether it is illegal or not to write or make markings on Canadian money came up after the death of famous actor Leonard Nimoy. His most famous role was that of Mr. Spock in Star Trek. Following his death, many fans around Canada began inking his features on Canadian five dollar bills which show a portrait of Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister. … However, the Bank of Canada has expressed strong objections to mutilating or defacing bank notes because ultimately, writing on bank notes limits their life. …

Read more TorontoDef

To me he looks a bit more like Severus Snape in this one than Spock, but anyway, stop Spocking the fivers. Wait, someone else agreed:

American currency is not immune to re-facement.

… it’s technically illegal to deface U.S. currency to the point at which it’s rendered unusable. The specific federal law at issue is 18 USC 333, which proscribes criminal penalties against anyone who “mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued.”

That’s according to the federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, or BEP, which quite literally makes money.

Read more BankRate

So, are these bills unusable?

The Willy Wonka theme:

The Star Wars theme

The famous artist theme

And so on. There are plenty more on line if you look. I would guess that they are not still usable. Would you take one as payment?

TrueStrange.co

R.I.P. Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca Actor

On April 30, 2019 Peter Mayhew passed away at 74 years old. The seven foot three inch actor most famously played Chewbacca, a two hundred year old Wookie warrior in the Star Wars movies.

Peter William Mayhew (19 May 1944 – 30 April 2019) was an English-American actor, best known for portraying Chewbacca in the Star Wars film series. He played the character in all of his live-action appearances from the 1977 original to 2015’s The Force Awakens before his retirement from the role.

Via Wikipedia

His very first acting role was a year earlier in 1975 when he played the Minaton huge half-man half-bull bronze creature in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

An uncredited Peter Mayhew is the live suit actor stand-in for the stop-motion Minaton (the bronze mechanical minotaur), whose name is a portmanteau of “minotaur” and “automaton”. Before filming, Mayhew was working as a hospital attendant at King’s College Hospital in London.

Producer Charles H. Schneer saw Mayhew’s photo, in which he was literally standing above the crowd around him. Filmed in 1975, this was Mayhew’s very first role, right before playing his more famous role of Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), filmed in 1976. Both films were released in 1977 (but ironically, “Star Wars” was released three months ahead of “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”).

Peter, unusually tall due to an overactive pituitary gland, was the tallest member of the Star Wars cast.

At 7ft 3in – the result of an overactive pituitary gland – Mayhew was the only person on the film set who towered over David Prowse, a 6ft 5in bodybuilder who was cast in the role of the evil overlord Darth Vader.

According to USA Today, the family statement said:

“He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” … “He also consulted on (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) in an attempt to teach his successor.”

Wikipedia says Peter died of a heart attack on 30 April 2019 at his home in Boyd, Texas.

According to the Daily Mail, a study of 1.6 million men found that those over 6’2″ were more likely to develop blood clots that lead to heart attacks.

In playing the original Wookie, Peter studied the movements of bears and gorillas. The huge success that Star Wars would become was unknown at the time he auditioned for the role.

Mayhew went on to audition for Star Wars. As an independent production from a young filmmaker, there was no particular reason to believe that the film would bring him any more fame than had the Sinbad picture. The audition process was famously loose—Mayhew and fellow tall man David Prowse were both considered for the roles of Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Legend has it that Prowse asked to play the villain under the assumption that his face and voice would be used. Mayhew, meanwhile, studied bears and gorillas at the zoo in order to develop movements for the Wookiee.

Via TexasMonthly

According to some sources the giant actor became a multimillionaire, while other sources cite his net worth at half a million.

Peter Mayhew was a British actor and comedian who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death in 2019.

Via CelebrityNetworth

I’d expect the larger amount for his Star Wars character being so well known. I’ve never thought of net (financial) worth as being worth mentioning but did find the discrepancy interesting and noticed it when “net worth” was one of the top search terms related to his name.

Here are a few Star Wars scenes to enjoy as we remember Peter.

TrueStrange.com

MIT Dome Now Captain America Shield + Avengers Endgame Movie Review

Tonight I saw the latest Avengers movie. There were a lot of tie-ins to things in my life that felt personal and a really great moment, the highlight for me, was hearing my uncle’s band, Steppenwolf doing one of their songs Hey Lawdy Mama, briefly in one scene.

Endgame recently broke its own box office record set by Infinity War by taking in $1.24 billion worldwide during the opening weekend.

As a tribute to the Marvel Studio success, students at MIT decorated their Great Dome in the style of the iconic shield of Captain America.

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students paid tribute to the latest Avengers film by turning the school’s Great Dome into Captain America’s shield.

The evolution of Captain America over the last nine years is interesting. This is from Reddit:

He’s a great character.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his part and join America’s armed forces, but the military rejects him because of his small stature. Finally, Steve gets his chance when he is accepted into an experimental program that turns him into a supersoldier called Captain America. 

Via IMDB

He first appeared in March 1941. The point of his existence then was to get Americans, who were not yet involved in World War II, to fight against the Nazis, to fight against fascism, to fight for freedom. Here he is in the very first comic, giving Hitler a good smack.

The strongest enemy of Captain America may be himself.

He fought an imposter of himself at one point, a great metaphor.

Avengers Endgame was a great movie, lots of action and story as well. It’s amazing and strange to me that the storyline flows so well with so many characters interwoven, so many heroes in the game at once.

I must have blinked at one point because I didn’t understand how an infinity stone taken by Loki was recovered from him. Was that scene missing?

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed any of the Marvel films, go see this one.

TrueStrange.com

Video: Volkswagen Levitating Car, Fun Sci Fi

Is there a Volkswagen levitating car like this? No. The hovering is computer generated fakery, but it is still fun to watch.

The “People’s Car” project allowed Internet users in China to post ideas about cars of the future. From the 119,000 ideas received. three vehicle and technology concepts were produced and are now on display at the 2012 Beijing auto show. Watch this brave a Chinese couple hover around the city in the first (computer animated) test drive of this Volkswagen concept car. – link

The levitating car shown in the video clip displayed above currently exists only as a concept that was given form for display at an automobile show in China; a working model of the vehicle as shown in the video does not exist. A second clip makes it clear that the original video was the product of the filmmaker’s art (and some digital trickery) created to surprise the originator of the concept by seemingly bringing her idea to life… more at Snopes

TrueStrange.com

Skull Shaped Asteroid May be a Dead Comet

A roughly skull shaped asteroid, possibly the remains of a comet, will pass by the earth this November 11th.

On Oct. 10, 2015, astronomers in Hawaii made a spooky discovery: a giant asteroid between 625 and 700 meters zipping through space, that at certain angles looks uncannily like a human skull. – via Quartz

Better late to the Halloween party than never: An asteroid shaped like a grinning skull is set to pass by Earth on Nov. 11.

Asteroid 2015 TB145 was first discovered in 2015, when it zipped within 301,986 miles (486,000 kilometers) of Earth right on Halloween. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory small-body object database, the asteroid’s next flyby will not be nearly so close; it will pass about 24 million miles (38 million km) from our planet. That’s about a quarter of the distance from the Earth to the sun.

The next time 2015 TB 145 approaches Earth won’t be until 2082, when it will pass at about a third of the distance between the Earth and the sun. Its orbit will take it closer to Venus and Mercury in 2024, 2028 and 2037.

Scientists had the opportunity to snap some spooky images of 2015 TB 145 when it first passed the planet, in 2015. The pictures showed a mostly spherical rock with indentations that resembled gaping eye sockets and a nose hole, at least from some angles.  …

Grinning-Skull Asteroid Set to Whiz by Earth
The “Halloween Asteroid” 2015 TB145, shown here in an artist’s illustration, is expected to whiz by Earth a little later than usual, swinging by on Nov. 11, 2018.

Credit: JOSÉ ANTONIO PEÑAS/SINC

Better late to the Halloween party than never: An asteroid shaped like a grinning skull is set to pass by Earth on Nov. 11.

Asteroid 2015 TB145 was first discovered in 2015, when it zipped within 301,986 miles (486,000 kilometers) of Earth right on Halloween. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory small-body object database, the asteroid’s next flyby will not be nearly so close; it will pass about 24 million miles (38 million km) from our planet. That’s about a quarter of the distance from the Earth to the sun.

The next time 2015 TB 145 approaches Earth won’t be until 2082, when it will pass at about a third of the distance between the Earth and the sun. Its orbit will take it closer to Venus and Mercury in 2024, 2028 and 2037.

Scientists had the opportunity to snap some spooky images of 2015 TB 145 when it first passed the planet, in 2015. The pictures showed a mostly spherical rock with indentations that resembled gaping eye sockets and a nose hole, at least from some angles.

 
This radar image of 2015 TB145, a dead comet, was generated using radar data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Credit: NAIC-Arecibo/NSF

The asteroid is about 2,047 feet (625 meters) wide, according to a 2017 study, making it a relative pip-squeak, astronomically speaking. (By comparison, the asteroid thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs was about 6 miles, or 10 km, across.)

The skeletal rock didn’t affect Earth on its 2015 flyby, and the asteroid won’t have any effect on the planet during its more-distant November pass-by. However, researchers have found that the asteroid is not just spooky, but also special. According to NASA researchers, the asteroid’s oblong orbit and its velocity suggest that it might be a dead comet, stripped of its icy debris tail by too many trips around the sun. Comet tails are tails of dust and gas that stream behind a comet due to solar radiation. …

via LiveSci

Here are a few more angles. It reminds me more of Red, a character in the one time popular game called Angry Birds, than a skull.

With the number of comet nuclei around our sun, perhaps many of them are shaped like skulls, and others like donuts, square bricks, cigars, star fish and so on.

How many comet cores of various shapes and sizes are hanging out in our solar system? By most estimates around 2 trillion.

The Oort Cloud by most estimates is made up of trillions of icy objects stretching at the inner limit from about 2,000 AUs (earth-to-sun distances)out to almost a quarter of the way to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. The Oort Cloud is believed to be spherically shaped and to consist of an outer cloud and an inner torus (doughnut-shaped) cloud.

Some day we may mine the Oort cloud. One strange use for comets may be to make Mars habitable. Using gravity tractors to hit Mars repeatedly with comets, some think the red planet can be given a dense atmosphere and liquid water. I think we may have restart the molten liquid core of Mars spinning for the planet to have a magnetic shield with which to hold an atmosphere again, something perhaps farther beyond our abilities currently than even bombarding Mars with comets.

The Oort cloud about six million, million comets and they are much more useful than was at first thought. … The crust of a comet is dust and rock but the nucleus is ice and outside is ice. Ice is frozen water and water is the most valuable substance in the Universe. Water can be split to provide oxygen, which can be used, for colonies and spaceships and space stations. Water can also be used to provide all liquid needs. However, more ambitious ideas are also being thought up. Crashing comets into Mars will in time increase it’s atmospheric density and irrigate the planets making Mars one day a world that can be lived on without the aid of space suits. Also incredible as it may sound, the same idea could be used for Venus.

via Mayptp

Comets may be more dirt than ice, which means they are not only sources of water, but also potentially minerals and precious metals.

The precious metals that we see on Earth today may be largely heavenly in nature, coming from the sky billions of years ago, scientists now find.

via LiveSci

Most of the precious metals that exist on Earth today may have been brought here by comets and asteroids billions of years ago. At that time, the entire inner solar system passed through a violent phase called the Late Heavy Bombardment.

During those times, vast numbers of comets, asteroids, meteorites and other space bodies battered the four rocky inner planets, causing massive amounts of damage. Most of the largest craters on Earth, Mercury, Mars, Venus and the Moon were produced during those times.

But the LHB also had some positive effects, researchers are beginning to uncover. Some say that vast amounts of water were brought here via cometary ices, and that it was through this event that our planet’s atmosphere and oceans formed.

via Softpedia

“We used to think of comets as ‘dirty snowballs’; we now think ‘icy dirt-ball’ is a much better description,” said Simon Green from the UK’s Open University. …

“Comets appear to be quite different compared one to the other,” Rotundi told Space.com via email. “This comet confirms that we would be wrong speaking only of dirty snowballs.”
Strange Comet Discoveries Revealed by Rosetta Spacecraft

via EverythingsElectric

In the theory that our universe is a simulation, an odd possibility is that we have the power to manifest things with our imaginations, even that everything we imagine instantly becomes as real as possible given other existing imagined conditions.

This raises the specter that there exists not only this skull shaped asteroid, but now also a giant skull-omet of mostly quartz and gold, somewhere out there grinning at the Earth, simply because I visualized it this morning. This is known as Xeno’s Created Giant Golden Skull in the Oort Cloud theory.

Go ahead, create something interesting in the Oort Cloud right now by visualizing it.

TrueStrange.com

Fact Check: Image of Secret Human Clones?

Years ago I read claims that secret underground government experiments involving human clones and animal-human hybrids were being conducted. I submit the following two images for your consideration:


Looks spooky… because it was designed to.

Don’t believe everything you see.

Don’t believe everything you think.

In a world where “loss of reality” is one of the big problems we face, fact checkers may be increasingly of value to society.

TrueStrange.com

Video: Mysterious Levitating Cars

He is an intriguing little video. Fact checking is a necessary skill in a time of disappearing reality, a skill undervalued and under taught. What is the first step to find out who created an interesting video you find if the source is not listed?

Look closely at details. Are the shadows right? Where might this be? Are there any clues, like the type of cars?

One car looked Chinese to me, so we might search for “levitating cars video China.” Doing so, I found something very odd, *another* levitating car video in China, a different one, one even more realistic looking. What the heck is going on?

I was still assuming both were fake. But wait… The new one is on an official news site a CNN web site updated 6:16 AM ET, Mon November 30, 2015.

(CNN) Witchcraft? Or some kind of supernatural force? These were all reasons Internet theorists put forward when a video emerged out of China last week appearing to show cars mysterious lifted up by an unseen force. Camera surveillance footage showed three cars at a busy intersection in Xingtai, Hebei lifting up in the air for few seconds, bouncing like ragdolls and then falling back to the ground, one car landing on its side. Shocked bystanders begin running away.

Thousands shared the video of the seemingly gravity-defying accident.

But the answer, it turns out, is much more pedestrian. A fallen cable wire had gotten tangled up in the street cleaner vehicle visible to the right side of the screen, creating a tripwire. “I was driving slowly straight ahead,” a driver of the van told CCTV. “All of a sudden, I was lifted up. The street cleaner car snagged on the wire. The wire just so happened to be underneath our car and it sent us flying.” Luckily, nobody was injured in the accident.

CNN

This (real) event caused (supposedly) by a steel cable tripwire may have prompted someone to create the top video. I do not see the cable in the video or how it caused the movements of the cars shown.

The most likely thing is that the first video I found is a hoax made to get attention after the second video went viral. The second video with the cable probably happened first in November 2015.

How certain are you that the first video above is a fake now?

Here is a video with some analysis and slow motion:

Question reality.

TrueStrange.con

Thanos vs Obadiah Stane

I recently saw the infinity wars movie (enjoyed it!) but couldn’t help wondering through the whole movie if the actor who played Thanos was the same as the one who played Obadiah Stane, a previous Iron Man villain. It was not. Obadiah was played by Jeff Bridges and Thanos by Josh Brolin. Here are the two actors together.

Here are the two characters, Obadiah on the left and Thanos right.

Anyone else have this thought?

Thanos was at times an oddly likable murderous villain. While malevolently misguided, he believes he is on a mission to improve the universe. His method is the problem, of course, as it involves a lot of killing, sacrificing his own daughter, and then instantly and randomly killing off one half of all sentient beings alive everywhere so the other half have sufficient resources to live in paradise.

Obadiah had, by comparison to Thanos, a barely perceptible death toll. He was a much more shady villain, killing basically for greed and to feed his own lust for power.

The underlying message of Infinity War is subtle, realistic and valuable at a philosophical level. It is applicable to everyone: In your daily battles, do your means justify your intended ends? Is it better to do nothing, to let injustices be, or to try to improve things in a bumbling or even a destructive way?

This movie, Avengers Infinity War, which made $1 billion in a record 11 days, is, under all the flashy computer graphics and the crazy zoo of superheroes, a beautiful diagram of the great universal moral compass and the engine of all conflict.

TrueStrange.com

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