Snakes are smart, Space News, and a nerd fight

I’m trying to be more organized about my work time — that is to say, I want to work similar “business hours” to my spouse (Monday – Friday) and take the weekends off as much as possible.

I completely burned out a few years back, and then 2020 threw me for a big loop. The mess of mental health I’ve been wading through means I went months at a time without doing organized work. I did plenty of things. Drawing, crocheting, even writing — but not with the pressure of finishing anything. And I could go whole days doing nothing at all.

Now I am sober-sober, I want to organize my time and make use of my healing brain.

It’s hard taking weekends off. I *want* to take them off, mind. I have learned the benefits of wasting time on video games quite well. But I just don’t feel good mentally. Unless I manage to leave the house to do stuff (which isn’t always possible), boredom rats eat away at my mood. I still don’t have the energy (or desire) to spend all weekend cleaning, though my house needs it. My body is too sore to always go out on long walks, too.

I don’t know how I’m going to handle this in the long term, but right now I’m doing some Egregious stuff on weekends to keep the boredom rats at bay.

So here we are with another SRF. I didn’t have lots of recent news I wanted to share, so I went back into my link archives to some older posts from the last few months.


ChatGPT takes 15x the electricity of a traditional web search. (Quartz) Depending on complexity of the query, every 5-50 prompts is the equivalent of pouring a 16oz bottle of water out on the ground. Some experts say it’s higher than that on average for all generative AI technology. (Bluesky)

Considering this technology is being put in Windows to run constantly, and it looks like Apple will be doing something similar, we’re looking at a ridiculous drain on ecological resources.

No joke…I had a nightmare after I read these statistics. It was the style of a Star Trek episode. We were a civilization the Federation found after we were already gone, wiped out by our use of technology destroying our own planet. It’s an extremely typical Star Trek plot, actually. No coincidence it reminds me of our situation. We’ve been rushing toward “futuretech” for a while, looking at profits before stopping to ask questions about safety, and Star Trek has been trying to reflect that back toward ourselves for generations.


Smithsonian Mag says snakes passed a modified self-awareness test, using scent rather than mirrors as we do with other life. This study is “suggesting snakes are more cognitively complex” than we previously thought. I’ve got some real sci-fi/fantasy hippie ideas about consciousness, self-awareness, and animals (which is to say, I think that we’re all not so different), so this just reinforces what I already want to believe.

Speaking of snakes, we might find that robots built like snakes are the best way to explore other worlds. (Ars Technica)


We recently lost Chance Perdomo to a motorcycle accident. Gen V will not be recasting his character as they begin production on season 2. (Variety)

This is the right move, though I expect it demands a full rewrite of whatever they planned for season 2 and onward. His character was integral to the show — second main character after Marie.

Although shows in the Boysverse don’t shy from death, these are stylized, edgy comic book shows. It’s hard to imagine how they’ll handle the loss of someone real. I’m sure it will be respectful; I just can’t guess.


Director Jane Schroenbaum describes filmmaking as “angry sex between art and commerce,” (Variety) which is such a great quote. I kinda think successful publishing demands the same.


I don’t always post Space News on here, but I always tag the articles to share with my space-focused kiddo. It seems worth doing a quick roundup of recent articles.

Ars Technica talks about SpaceX refueling starships in low Earth orbit. I’ve been repeatedly reassured that SpaceX has very little to do with Elon Musk, and we can trust them more than any other commercial space providers, but the very idea of such complex operations associated with them makes me nervous.

Issues with the heat shield, among others, need to be addressed before the crewed Artemis 2 mission is ready. (Quartz) The uncrewed Artemis I tests failed spectacularly. Apparently the safety report wasn’t very helpful, though. (Ars Technica) Artemis 3 is a completely different issue. We’re counting eggs before we hatched Artemis 2 and hoping we can use it to have Starship and Orion dock in low Earth orbit (Ars Technica). I do love the ambition, honestly.

We have a Mars rover in a great spot to search for alien life. (The Conversation via Quartz) Perseverance is collecting samples, and we hope to figure out how to go get them soon.


I don’t think a lot about national parks in America. I’m a computer nerd. I like going outdoors sometimes, but when I say sometimes, I mean I did it several times a few summers ago, and then about once or twice a year on average otherwise. I’ve heard about how our large uninhabited parks are special to America. It didn’t occur to me that many of the parks we cherish were not uninhabited starting out, and what America did to make them the way they are. (Collectors Weekly)

This is a substantial, interesting read.

Today, the foundational myth of America’s National Parks revolves around the heroic preservation of “pristine wilderness,” places supposedly devoid of human inhabitants that were saved in an unaltered state for future generations. This is obviously a falsehood: Places like Yosemite were already home to thriving communities that had long cherished—and changed—the environment around them. […]

Though the National Park Service prevented wholesale industrialization, they still packaged the wilderness for consumption, creating a scenic, pre-historical fantasy surrounded by roads and tourist accommodations, all designed to mask the violence inherent to these parks’ creation. More than a century later, the United States has done little to acknowledge the government-led genocide of native populations, as well as the continued hardships they face because of the many bad-faith treaties enacted by the U.S. government. This story is an elemental part of our National Park system, the great outdoor museum of the American landscape, but the myth continues to outweigh the truth. How did the National Park Service evict Yosemite’s indigenous communities and erase their history, and can it come to terms with this troubling legacy today?


Discover Magazine shares details of Bronze Age Must Farm, once placed on platforms over an English river.

The wooden community only lasted about a year before burning down. But apparently it was a lush, pleasant year. We know this because the remains sunk into the mud, which then preserved the details. The University of Cambridge has recovered tons of artifacts. It’s all really cool to look at.


I don’t sit well with labels generally. One of my favorite things to say is, “Humans invent taxonomy. Humans were made by nature, which knows nothing about taxonomy.”

Well, turns out that humans don’t know *that* much about taxonomy, either. We don’t have a single unified taxonomy that encompasses all life on earth. Undark talks about a fight within the scientific community about rectifying this.

Garnett and Christidis proposed tidying things by creating a universal set of rules for classifying all life on Earth and assigning governance to a single organization: the International Union of Biological Sciences, a nonprofit comprising international science associations.

The notion of imposed authority enraged taxonomists, a fastidious bunch who even Garnett concedes are the opposite of anarchists. In the most prominent rebuttal, 184 people from the global taxonomy community warned in the journal PLOS Biology that the proposed bureaucracy was not only unnecessary and counterproductive, but also a threat to scientific freedom. Such governance would result in “science losing its soul,” wrote a smaller group of Brazilian and French scientists in another journal, raising the specter of Joseph Stalin and his political rejection of established science in the early 20th century.

It sounds like a real nerd fight. I love nerd fights.

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