Self Care – 5 Batman Gadgets that are Real! (YouTube Video)

Okay so… YouTube list videos are sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Here’s one I thought I’d share with y’all, mainly because I absolutely love Batman, and the idea that his gadgets actually exist in the real world excites me. Admittedly, most of them will be used for war, which sucks, and also makes sense considering the fact that Batman is the inspiration. But despite that, these are still pretty cool…

Self Care – How Vinyl Records Are Made

This is a clip from the How It’s Made series… a series I used to love very much.

As for vinyl records; yup, I’m a fan. Initially it was for audiophile reasons. I very much used to believe that analog recordings were better overall than digital recordings. And I’m sure that was true back in the 80s when digital was new and in the 90s when it was upgrading and coming into its own.

Now, though?

Now even downloadable digital files can come in high enough quality that the claim “vinyl records sound better” can, at the very least, be challenged. I do still prefer lossless compression to lossy compression (though, of course, I still use MP3 to carry music with me on my phone), especially for unofficial recordings (like audience recordings of live shows). The reason is because the quality of the recording, especially of a recording of a live show done in the 60s and 70s, is iffy at best (and sometimes quite terrible), and so keeping the audio files as close to the master recording as possible is preferred, as a loss in musical data can easily make an already iffy recording sound utterly horrid. FLAC is the standard lossless format, and my favorite, as well.

That said, though, I do, indeed, listen to vinyl when I can, if for no other reason than I’m the type who likes to sit back and just listen to music, and, mostly for cultural reasons, vinyl is the preferred way of doing that.

So anyways…

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Self Care – Astronomy Picture of the Week: Propeller Belts of Saturn

I’m still pulling from Cassini’s Grand Finale mission. Is it at all strange that I’m so sad about this? I don’t want to say I feel like I’ve built some kind of bond or something with Cassini. It’s just that Saturn’s always been my favorite planet, and for as long as I’ve been interested, Cassini’s been our window to it.

And now, Cassini’s incredible life is coming to an end. And I’m sad about that.

But anyways…

Cassini shot this amazing, extremely sharp image of some features in Saturn’s A ring called propeller belts. As always, click on the image for the tiff download…

Also, I’m putting this one below the fold…

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Reminder: GGS, AP of the W, and Self Care in General All Open for Submissions

I just want to remind readers that Self Care in general, as well as Great Guitar Solos and Astronomy Picture of the Week are open for submissions. I’m eventually going to run out of stuff to post in these series, and would love to know what space pictures/videos/ideas you find interesting, what guitar solos you love, and what videos, pictures, recipes, etc you just enjoy and make you feel good, so I can post them here.

Don’t be shy! I’m genuinely curious, and I’d be happy to share it!

Orange Pope-Wannabe Chips Away at Separation of Church and State

HEY ATHEISTS! SKEPTICS! ARE YOU OUT THERE? IS THIS AN ISSUE YOU’RE WILLING TO CARE ABOUT?

Fucking Asshole-in-Chief fucker has now given churches the freedom to be openly political without losing their tax-exempt status.

Declaring he was giving churches their “voices back,” President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting political activity for religious organizations — a move that fell far short of a more sweeping order some supporters had expected.

As he marked the National Day of Prayer at the White House on Thursday, Trump signed the order on religious freedom, which directs the Treasury Department to not take “adverse action” over churches or religious organizations for political speech. The rule has rarely been enforced. Still, opponents said the restrictions have a chilling effect on free speech.

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Self Care – Astronomy [Video] of the Week: Cassini’s Grand Finale

This, to be honest, is really sad for me.

Saturn has always been my favorite planet, so Cassini holds a very special place in my heart. I love Cassini. I follow it on Twitter, and follow updates very closely. Cassini has been in space for 20 years, and at Saturn 13 years. It’s been an amazing run, with so many incredible findings about Saturn and it’s wondrous and fascinating moons.

But time is running out. Cassini is running out of fuel. So NASA has planned a Grand Finale. An epic, bittersweet grand finale.

First, Cassini will dive between Saturn and it’s rings. It’s already done that once, on April 26. And it’s geared up to do it 21 more times.

Then, on September 15, Cassini will… um…

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The FCC Is Destroying Net Neutrality

From the Washington Post

Tech companies and Internet providers are poised for another dramatic showdown as the head of the Federal Communications Commission revealed a plan Wednesday for rolling back his predecessor’s rules mandating an open Internet.

The proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai marks the first step toward undoing a key decision of the Obama era, one that forced Internet providers to behave more like legacy telephone companies. The stricter rules for ISPs had made it illegal to block or slow down websites for consumers — and they paved the road for other policies, such as one governing online privacy, which was overturned in a separate controversial move by Congress and President Trump earlier this year.

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National Monuments to be Opened for Development?!?

Wow… seriously? This is entirely unprecedented and utterly ridiculous…

From Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to allow national monument designations to be rescinded or reduce the size of sites as the administration pushes to open up more federal land to drilling, mining and other development.

Trump’s order is part of an effort to reverse many of the environmental protections implemented by his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama that Trump said were hobbling economic growth. Trump’s agenda is being cheered by industry but enraging conservationists.

Legal challenges are expected because no president has ever rescinded a monument designation.

In announcing the order on Wednesday Republican Trump said Obama’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create monuments was an “egregious abuse of federal power” that allowed the federal government to “lock up” millions of acres of land and water.

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