Sunday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nothing that hasn’t been said by others here and elsewhere, but these guys have the degrees to back up their skepticism:

    But, according to Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, until these documents are also made public, we should remain sceptical. “We shouldn’t believe stories unless evidence supports them. So as intriguing as it is to hear Grusch’s testimony, he did not provide any physical evidence or any data,” says Loeb.

    Typical scientist, wanting actual evidence.

    But there’s something much more down to earth that makes Michael Garrett, a radio astronomer at Jodrell Bank, part of Manchester University, and chair of the International Academy of Astronautics’s Seti (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) permanent committee, sceptical of Grusch’s story. It all comes down to a how badly these supposed aliens drive their spacecraft.

    “If there were all these alien spacecraft crashing on Earth – well, that seems a bit weird. You’d think that if they could travel between the stars, they could get the last 0.0001% of the journey right too,” he says.

    Thinking of the small number of accidents that occur each day compared with the vast number of road journeys undertaken, the idea of aliens crash-landing on our planet for decades seems implausible. “It would imply that there must be hundreds of them coming every day, and astronomers simply don’t see them,” says Garrett.
    Perhaps they should call Prof Sara Russell, a planetary scientist from the Natural History Museum in London. She is skilled in the analysis of extraterrestrial materials, in the form of meteorites, and knows exactly what kind of chemical fingerprints to look for. The techniques have been honed over decades of studying the things that fall from space.

    Take iron, for example, a fairly common element in meteorites. If she is handed a lump of iron and asked whether it came from space or Earth, she looks for the presence of nickel because the two are formed in similar astronomical conditions but not terrestrial ones. By a careful analysis of the naturally occurring isotopes of oxygen in a rock, she can easily tell whether it has formed in space; she can even tell where in the early solar system the meteorite was formed.

    Standard laboratory techniques make analysing non-naturally occurring substances easy as well. “If you give me an alloy, it would take me less than half an hour to tell you what elements are in it. That’s easy-peasy for us,” she says.

    The upshot is that it should be easy to understand whether something falling to Earth is man-made or extraterrestrial, and if it is the latter, whether it is naturally occurring or not.

    More at the link, but for now you can rest easy: “the material Grusch handed to Congress will be investigated by the powerful House of Representatives oversight committee, chaired by Republican congressman James Comer.”

    Yah, he of “the dog ate my informant” fame. Knowing he is on the job and will get to the bottom of all this makes me feel better already. Don’t you?

  2. de stijl says:

    I was walking home from the grocery store yesterday and I had a thought. I was lugging about 30 pounds of groceries by hand home. What if that happened everyday for every step?

    It was only a bit over a quarter mile, but the effort tired me and I got very sweaty with a fairly light load.

    I’ve never really had a problem with weight / BMI. I clock in at 160 – 170. Never varies much.

    Life would be very much more difficult if I was sporting an additional 30 pounds just walking around.

    On my way there I was easy / breezy listening to music and popping my fingers to the beat. On the way back I was dragging, sweating hard, breathing hard from the extra 30 pounds.

    I’m a bit of an outlier. I’m way skinnier than most folks my age. Many people my age carry around a grocery run of weight on their bodies daily that I don’t – some, many two weeks worth or three weeks worth on top of what I haul around on a daily basis. That’s substantial. Most men my age do not weigh 165. I always was pretty scrawny.

    I’m fairly fit – I walk four miles a day in an hour or so, every day 7 days a week. Do light weights daily.

    Lugging home 30 pounds of groceries about a third of a mile tuckers me out and in summer I sweat profusely for the next hour.

    Most men my age lug that extea poundage around every day on their hips and legs and belly. I’m pretty fit and that grocery run makes me sweat and blow hard once a week and that is their everyday experience.

    I am acutely aware of what an extra 30 pounds does to my body, I experience it once a week.

    Were it everyday it would just become new normal. Which disturbs me.

    I know in my heart the difference between walking to and back from the grocery store and the what the extra weight means to mobility.

    I’m glad I’m semi-skinny.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    More science news:

    In just a few weeks, a remarkable European probe will be blasted into space in a bid to explore the dark side of the cosmos.

    The €1bn (£850m) Euclid mission will investigate the universe’s two most baffling components: dark energy and dark matter. The former is the name given to a mysterious force that was shown – in 1998 – to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, while the latter is a form of matter thought to pervade the cosmos, provide the universe with 80% of its mass, and act as a cosmic glue that holds galaxies together.

    Both dark energy and dark matter are invisible and astronomers have only been able to infer their existence by measuring their influence on the behaviour of stars and galaxies.

    “We cannot say we understand the universe if the nature of these dark components remains a mystery,” said astrophysicist Prof Andy Taylor of Edinburgh University. “That is why Euclid is so important.”

    To ferret out dark matter:

    Such precision will be crucial in uncovering the secrets of dark matter, which cannot be seen directly because it is most probably made up of particles that do not emit, reflect or absorb light, according to scientists. To get around this problem, Euclid will exploit a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

    “Gravitational lensing produced by dark matter will tell us a great deal about what it is made of,” said Prof Mathilde Jouzac of Durham University. “It may be that dark matter is made up of light particles. If so, they will produce one kind of lensing. On the other hand, if dark matter is made of very large particles, that will produce a different set of lensing. This information will then help direct the search for dark matter particles on Earth.”

    To “see” dark energy:

    Then there is dark energy. “We will use Euclid to measure it in a different way,” Wilkins added. “We will peer further into the universe and further back in time and study how big it looks at different periods. In that way we can actually work out how the size of our universe is changing over time and understand when changes in its expansion rate occur.”

    The end result of this work will be the creation of a history of how the universe has expanded over the past 10 billion years, a chronology that should reveal secrets that should help unravel the true nature of dark energy.

    At the very least we will learn something, even if it’s not as definitive as these guys are hoping for.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    The Curse of Recursion: Training on Generated Data Makes Models Forget

    Basically, if AI generated articles and information are used to train future AI programs, the resulting programs are dumb.

    Stable Diffusion revolutionised image creation from descriptive text. GPT-2, GPT-3(.5) and GPT-4 demonstrated astonishing performance across a variety of language tasks. ChatGPT introduced such language models to the general public. It is now clear that large language models (LLMs) are here to stay, and will bring about drastic change in the whole ecosystem of online text and images. In this paper we consider what the future might hold. What will happen to GPT-{n} once LLMs contribute much of the language found online? We find that use of model-generated content in training causes irreversible defects in the resulting models, where tails of the original content distribution disappear. We refer to this effect as Model Collapse and show that it can occur in Variational Autoencoders, Gaussian Mixture Models and LLMs. We build theoretical intuition behind the phenomenon and portray its ubiquity amongst all learned generative models. We demonstrate that it has to be taken seriously if we are to sustain the benefits of training from large-scale data scraped from the web. Indeed, the value of data collected about genuine human interactions with systems will be increasingly valuable in the presence of content generated by LLMs in data crawled from the Internet.

    Karma strikes again.

  5. clarkontheweekend says:

    I was seeing some headlines about a survey where it seems more Americans find non-traditional relationships immoral. Here’s a thought, is this even a question that should be asked? I posted a couple of weeks ago about a female coworker involved in an at least mentally abusive relationship. It’s pretty bad. Do I then find traditional marriage overall to be immoral. Of course not. I don’t really know anything about the trans lifestyle, so much so that’s it’s not anything I’d even think about were it not for the non-stop trans headlines and R’s constantly railing against it. It’s the hate I find morally objectionable. Maybe the question should be, Do you find openly hating people and legislating against them because they’re not like you to be morally acceptable?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Western arrogance’: how the wellness movement co-opted an Amazon frog toxin with deadly effects

    Reading that, my first thought, my last thought, and every thought in between amounted to little more than “Stupid is as stupid does.” But then the article led me to this piece in which I came across this pile of dung among the corn:

    Ms Lechner described herself on social media as a kambo practitioner qualified with the International Association of Kambo Practitioners.

    Really? The International Association of Kambo Practitioners? Riiiight…. Suuuuuurrre… I guess that is why she ended up dead.

    As the first article noted:

    Prof Vidal Haddad Jr, a toxicologist at the São Paulo State University in Brazil, is concerned by the trend. In a paper published in the Journal of Venom Research, Haddad described how Brazil has seen a spate of deaths as kambo is adopted by urban therapy clinics.

    Haddad says he became interested in kambo after “a tragic event” in which a patient with heart problems died after taking part in the ritual.

    “I was trained as a doctor and biologist and I knew the pharmacological and sometimes toxic properties of the secretions of the species,” he says. He wrote about the case and others in the paper “as an alert for health teams”.

    Given how rare the kambo ritual is even among Indigenous Amazon tribes, he says, it is unlikely that anyone outside those tribes can claim to be knowledgable in it.

    “I’ve worked on several projects at the Amazon,” he says. “The Indigenous people who use kambo live in restricted areas of the Amazon region and the ritual is not disseminated by the many tribes there. Elsewhere, this trade is done illegally and the extraction of secretions is simple, which allows traffickers to do this.”

    He says it is unlikely those tribes who still practise the ritual are aware it has been co-opted by the western wellness movement.

    “Kambo rituals aim at physical and spiritual improvement, and to bring luck in fishing and hunting, and in [treating] the negative state of mind that causes illness,” Haddad said. “They are always supervised by their shamans, who have thousands of years of knowledge in the use of the toxins. Indigenous people do not do it constantly, only in situations where effects are needed.”

    To put it another way, “Don’t try this at home.”

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not only are these aliens crashing all the time, but they manage to do so in places where no one carries a mobile phone with a camera! Also, for some reason a secret branch of the US military always reaches the crash site first, regardless of where in the world it happens. Either that or the aliens only crash on US territory. Or, perhaps, every country has an equally competent and secret group and collectively they have a 100% success rate of reaching the sites first.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: What I wonder about is the aliens apparent disinterest in cities. I mean, that’s where the people are, isn’t it?

    @Sleeping Dog: I saw this a couple days ago. Somebody commented that humans will still be essential.

    @clarkontheweekend: My personal philosophy is MYOB. If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, I don’t care.

  9. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I used to have to remind people who should now better that yesterday does not equal today daily.

    One was addicted to weighted averages and daily uptake vs daily downloads. She was intense. A failed project. Millions spent and little to no benefit. A boutique project. Failed pretty hard. Millions spent to no benefit. It happens often.

    I’ve worked on more than one of those types – the boutique project. A principle is flexing, has a budget, doesn’t know how easy and common it is to fail.

    I always held that the process of data amalgamation and integration and all that entails outweighs the personal hubris. Getting 17 systems to work together is the benefit. Fuck the needed today dashboard I was responsible for, the common landing spot was the benefit.

    Eminently usable for years. Getting every system to land at a common spot was the ultimate goal. My dashboard delivery was gravy on top, and frankly fairly easy once everything needed was in place.

    My front end bullshit disguised how damn hard it was to get system to share a space with another and link up.

    My delivery was determined by how well about 150 previous data capture and integration project steps went. I was hugely part and parcel to target database design, but for months prior all of my inputs were absent. They did not exist yet. We would fake probable data for testing.

    The upside and downside of my purview was that I was the pointy end end of the spear. I presented data in a curated fashion per requirements plus extras I thought would be useful based on what they thought was important to track.

    In a way I was kind of a boss. In order for us to deliver I need for the structure where all of the disparate data lands needs to look pretty close to this structure. I predicated the landing database structure.

    Most of the months I spent on integration rather than presentation which what I was paid for. But, no integration equals crap presentation layer. Wasn’t gonna allow that.

    I would prepare for months expecting a probable result, then go upstream to influence how the data integration proceeded.

    At one instance I had 5 different versions of the same product basically ready to go simultaneously. All basically identical dashboards with markedly different input structures. I was prepared!

    Most large corporations have majorly disjointed data systems that only co-exist at all because management requires that all data from all systems lands in one spot so it can be analyzed coherently easily.

  10. Mikey says:

    Today in Twitter stupidity, Elon Musk and Joe Rogan are demanding actual physician Dr. Peter Hotez, who has helped developed a COVID vaccine that he did not patent and gives away to impoverished nations, “debate” crank anti-vaxxer RFK Jr. on Rogan’s podcast.

    Dr. Hotez is, of course, refusing to engage with this nonsense. The purpose of this “debate” isn’t to convince anyone, it’s to leech legitimacy from an actual scientist and elevate the lies and misinformation of the bullshitter RFK Jr. to the same level as those of the actual scientist. And, of course, to make big bucks for Rogan, a factor that shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Reading through the replies to Dr. Hotez has utterly destroyed my faith in humanity, although a big part of that could just be Musk’s idiotic promotion of the replies of blue-checkmarked imbeciles to the top of the chain so all the reasonable voices are buried. Still, that so many people are such utter fools is not at all reassuring about the future of the human race.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘They enjoyed this’: Ukrainian woman recounts five-month nightmare of torture and imprisonment

    I won’t quote it, all of it should be read. It’s a bare bones recounting that leaves a lot to the imagination. I’m pretty sure the FSB has a lot more imagination than I.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: I saw a bumper sticker yesterday:

    Get Factsinated

    Stupidity cubed.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Exactly! Who would have thunk that aliens travel light years to look at, what, prairie dogs? Mountain goats?

  14. Stormy Dragon says:


    What I wonder about is the aliens apparent disinterest in cities. I mean, that’s where the people are, isn’t it?

    Oh Eris, the aliens are Space Republicans!!!

  15. SenyorDave says:

    @Mikey: Maybe Dr. Hotez should accept, but stipulate that the debate have nothing to do with Musk and Rogan, and be moderated by an independent group with no financial interest. They would set the rules of what could be introduced into the debate (e.g. no I read it on the internet). As soon as Musk and Rogan would have nothing to gain financially they would disappear.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I took a bit of a hit yesterday. I found out my woodcutting neighbor (4.5 miles away) Larry suddenly died back in January. Normally I get my wood from him in Feb. and March and I always gave him more than he was asking because I knew how hard he worked. Money was a little tighter this year and I waited till yesterday to talk to him. His GF said he died of an aneurysm. I’m pretty sure the real cause of death was lack of insurance. He was a really sweet guy who had lived a very hard life full of trials and tribulations, but he had a ready smile for everyone. How sweet was he?

    Every April he would stop by our house and give me a gallon bag of morels for which I tried to repay him with a few 6 and 7 pound roasting chickens come October.

    I should have known something was wrong when he didn’t come by with the morels this past April. RIP Larry. I’m glad I got to know you.

  17. Kathy says:


    Obviously their insurance does not cover third party damages. Seeing as they know they will crash, at least they can be spared a huge bill and many lawsuits for damaging expensive public and private property.

  18. Kurtz says:


    I did a little research. I think get factsinated is legit.

  19. Kurtz says:

    This is interesting for the film addicts here.

    The article doesn’t mention that Touch of Evil received similar treatment to The Magnificent Ambersons.

    After the studio re-edited Touch of Evil, Welles sent them a 58 page memo explaining his intent. That memo served as a guide almost 40 years later when a version as close to Welles’s vision was re-edited and released in 1998. It’s one of my favorite films. The opening sequence alone is worth twice the price of admission.

    Here’s hoping the restoration of The Magnificent Ambersons enjoys something close to the same success. Short of locating a lost original cut, this is as close as we will get to seeing Welles’s original vision.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:


    Maybe the question should be, Do you find openly hating people and legislating against them because they’re not like you to be morally acceptable?

    An excellent idea, because that is the crux. Not, ‘do you approve of so and so,’ but ‘do you wish to to use the power of government to control or outlaw the actions of so and so.’ The number of people I don’t approve of is. . . quickly checking world population figures. . .approximately 7.8 billion people. The number of people I want to regulate is significantly smaller.

  21. Jen says:


    Here’s a thought, is this even a question that should be asked?

    Well, surveys are going to ask all kinds of questions. I’m trying to pay less attention to these kinds of things (but failing, see yesterday’s post about the survey showing Republicans becoming somehow even worse people). The only thing I can control is how I react to things, and I have absolutely no problem at all with what consenting adults do as long as it is legal.

  22. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m assuming you include yourself in that 7.8 billion figure.

  23. CSK says:


    It seems that way to me, too. And it’s far too clever for the rabid anti-vaxxers to have come up with.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    No one is more deserving of my irritation than me.

  25. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I know how you feel.

  26. Modulo Myself says:


    Any civilization capable of traveling between star systems is going to be on a different plane of existence. Thinking of a pilot as flying expertly a ship from point A to point B probably is not accurate. They could, for example, be moving as a collective–one million ships could have entered the solar system and gone undetected aside from a few statistical outliers, none of which matter. Or this civilization could be figuring out this type of travel, and their FTL Industrial Complex has some bugs in the system.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Thanx.

  28. Bill Jempty says:


    Not only are these aliens crashing all the time, but they manage to do so in places where no one carries a mobile phone with a camera!

    An unfinished* ebook of mine starts with an alien spaceship crashing (after they had collided with a meteor, Earth was the closest place for them to put down
    ) outside Wichita Kansas**. A local policeman and a television news crew were close by and arrive on scene within ten minutes.

    The aliens are harmless. Just research scientists. Before leaving earth they give mankind several new technology. One of which later backfires due to human meddling and that’s what the ebook will be about. ‘Mishap’

    *- I have at least a dozen unfinished ebooks saved to one drive. Not to mention just as many story ideas floating around in my head. Mishap is about 80% done. If I drop one of its subplots, it would be 95% Complete at least.
    **- For some reason I have had 3 stories open in Kansas. Wichita, Fort Riley, Prairie Dunes GC in Hutchinson. Plus I wrote an espionage story with a scene in Fort Scott.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Maybe the private equity firm back home is trying to reduce costs by giving them a lousy atmospheric flight control system. Since they won’t find out what a bad idea that was for centuries, they haven’t rectified the matter in some other misguided fashion.

    Or maybe they’re still perfecting their self-driving technology.

  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mikey: These people drawn energy from the narrative that the establishment is afraid to debate them. Silence is affirmation.

    Our great institutions were built by confronting the forces of ignorance and superstition. They can only be maintained by similar effort. I would admit you would need a person trained beyond the simple subject matter expertise they are discussing. They would need to understand the techniques of persuasion and the counters….but there is no way around the RW. Only through them.

    Newsome is showing real leadership here. He is saying…To quote the great Bernie Mac,” I ain’t scarred of you muth@fukk@$”

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    Elemental, Pixar’s latest, has flopped. I know why. Twice I’ve written books (a duology and a trilogy) where I fell in love with the concept and forgot that readers might come for the idea, but will stay for the characters. Elemental is a movie about a girl who’s a flame and a boy who is water. Because millions of little girls and boys dream of someday growing up to be abstract concepts. Dumb.

    Mermaids, street urchins who find magic lanterns, toys who come alive, monsters who aren’t really scary, these are all innately interesting to a young audience. A flame? Nah. Much as it seems that parasitic microfauna (BZRK) and a creepy, sadistic grim reaper (Messenger of Fear) are not all that fascinating to teenage readers.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If aliens have a worry about contaminating cultures, they would try to aim their crashing ships at places with no culture.

    They then call the alien AAA to come fetch them, which is why we see so little evidence later.

  33. Gustopher says:

    If aliens wanted to come here and probe people’s butts, I think they would do better selling sex toys than abducting people.

    Or perhaps just creating low cost colonoscopy clinics. If they have too many eyes or something and can’t pass for human, sell the scopes.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: But clearly, none of these agencies has a 100% success rate, or we’d never even know these crashes happen. Someone not from the agencies is getting there first some of the time–just not a person who can provide other than eyewitness accounts.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My condolences to you and his loved ones. While lack of insurance was certainly an ancillary factor, aneurisms are easy to overlook.

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Ages ago, I read an article about women who claimed to have been kidnapped by space aliens. What struck me about them was that they all had names like Skye and Amber and Caresse. Not one was named Jen or Kathy or Susan or Jane or Mary.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ‘do you wish to to use the power of government to control or outlaw the actions of so and so.’

    I think you’re going to be disappointed at the number and diversity of the cohort that will answer “yes.”

  38. Bill Jempty says:


    They then call the alien AAA to come fetch them, which is why we see so little evidence later.

    Funny that you mention AAA and aliens. In Mishap, the police officer and the Alien space ship captain are going over the damage to the ship-

    “The assistant pressed something on his gadget, and a roll of what looked like old-fashioned adding machine tape started coming out the side of it. The assistant waited for a few seconds, then tore it off and handed it to his boss, who in turn handed it to Bob. It felt like thin plastic, and Bob was surprised again at how ordinary everything seemed. He wouldn’t have been terribly astonished if the guy had pulled out his AAA membership card and asked him to call a tow truck.”

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: Using the term itself to search, Bing led me to believe that the focus is on the relationship between having cancer and being vulnerable to Covid-19. Seems like a valuable line of study to pursue.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill Jempty: Your ebook sounds a bit like Super 8 without the thriller subplot.

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Once, I took a class in psychology from a professor who felt the giveaway in alien lifeforms/past life progressions and other such phenom was that the details always conform to conventional wisdom. No aliens have unpronounceable names, they never look non-anthropomorphic, no one ever has the past life of a rural living in a place he doesn’t know the name of (or has a name that’s not part of historic record).

  42. Monala says:

    Today in fascinating Twitter threads: a gay man posted a lament about how trans people and drag queens have become the faces of the LGBTQ movement. He posted a photo of three celebrities, lamenting that we don’t still have “normal“ gay celebrities like them today. He posted a photo of a semi-naked performer at a party with children, decrying all the trans and drag “groomers.” And finally, he complained about a drag queen being the face of North Face’s advertising for Pride month, instead of the many “normal” gay and lesbian athletes that they could’ve chosen instead.

    As expected, he was thoroughly ratioed for all three complaints, as follows:

    1. The three “normal” gay celebrities he shared photos of were Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, and Matt Bomer. People responded by sharing numerous photos of each of the three men in drag, and pointing out that dressing flamboyantly in drag is one of the things Elton John is known for.

    2. People shared the original version of the semi-naked performer, along with the text that accompanied it. It turns out that the performer wasn’t a drag queen or trans person at all, but a female stripper. The parents had invited her to the party because they wanted to encourage their young daughters to feel pride instead of shame about their bodies. Whether that’s the best way to go about it is debatable, but what’s not debatable is that this wasn’t a drag performance.

    3. The drag queen highlighted in North Face’s advertising for Pride month is a 6 foot 10 alpine skier and hiker that goes by the Instagram influencer name of Pattie Gonia. He dresses in drag for many of his excursions in order to encourage people from marginalized communities to realize that the outdoors is for them as well. Those who shared this commended North Face for an outstanding choice. (One tweet: “I bet Patagonia is jealous they didn’t think of it first!”)


  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    No aliens have unpronounceable names, they never look non-anthropomorphic

    Indeed. Which is why for Animorphs we came up with a blue-furred, deer-like creature with a scorpion-style tail, extra eyes on stalks and no mouth. Because I’m pretty sure aliens will not be Michael Dorn with a nose prosthesis.

    OTOH, as a goof we invented the Skrit-Na. The Skrit are basically big cockroaches, which metamorphose into what amounts to a separate species, the Na, who are your classic Close Encounters grays. They are known throughout the galaxy for their weird fetish of performing meaningless medical experiments on species they encounter. No other alien race understands WTF the Skrit-Na think they’re doing.

  44. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Ok, this strikes me as wrong on so many levels… but technology (and management) keep moving forward:

    Live 95.5, a radio station in Portland, Oregon, announced Tuesday that its midday host Ashley Elzinga will broadcast a cloned version of her voice — aka “AI Ashley” — to listeners every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’ll be using Futuri Media’s “RadioGPT,” an AI-powered tool that uses GPT-4 to generate a script based on trending news and reads it with a synthetic voice.

    Nope, I’ve got nuthin. Or, as a professor of mine used to say at the end of his lecture, “Questions, comments, observations?”

  45. dazedandconfused says:


    Best place to put implant the trackers. Nobody covers it with tin foil.

  46. Han says:

    @Modulo Myself: Achieving FTL travel was easy. It’s the slowing down and stopping part they’re having trouble with…

  47. de stijl says:

    We have conquered FTL travel, time, and gravity. We are several levels beyond what you think of as “technology.”

    And we are here because we want to give invasive butt exams.

    A movie I really liked was Scarlett Johansson as an alien visitor who basically consumed horny men she brought home from clubs.

    Dang it, can’t think of the name. Under The Skin, thank you Google.

    Definitely worth a watch. It’s slow and heavy into cinematography. A gussied up art film about a sexy alien who lures horny men home to be consumed for reasons unexplained. It’s been six years since I last watched it so the details are fuzzy.

    A damn good movie! The creepiness mostly resides in her blank demeanor and mien. ScarJo kicks butt in acting utterly blank and unreadable.