Vegard Skjefstad

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Mars One and The Dream of the Red Planet

Mars One wanted to go to Mars, and they wanted to get there in a hurry. Now it looks like the dream is all but dead.

We’re doing such an awesome job ravishing Earth, and it’s high time we find a new planet to destroy. Mars is next on the list, and perhaps one of the most interesting targets for space exploration in general. NASA plans to have people on the ground on Mars within 2037. Well-known pot smoker Elon Musk is a bit more aggressive with his goals, and he wants to send people to Mars as early as 2024. Another ambitious company with the Red Planet in its sight was Mars One.

In 2012 the Dutch company surfaced with a grand plan. By 2018, they would send a probe to Mars, followed by an unmanned surface vehicle in 2020. Only three years later, 24 brave colonists would leave Earth with a one-way ticket to Mars.

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Spotify Acquires Gimlet Media

Nice podcasts, I’ll take them! Why Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet Media might be a bad thing for consumers.

I love Spotify. Whenever I write about music, I often mention Spotify. I’ve been a premium subscriber since 2010-and-something, and it’s some of my most well-spent money. If I had bought all the music I’ve listened to and discovered on Spotify, I would have been broke years ago.

One of the nicest things about Spotify is that they are still a dime a dozen in many ways. There is a myriad of similar music streaming services available. They all offer similar features and comparable back catalogues at pretty much the same price. This means that it’s not a huge undertaking to jump ship to another music streaming service if I wanted to do that.

Lately, however, Spotify has begun looking at ways to differentiate themselves from all those other services. This is a natural effect of the current music streaming service homogeneity. Also, in 2018, Spotify became a publicly traded company, and now it’s all about the Benjamins, baby! To attract more paying customers, Spotify somehow has to stand out from the rest of the streaming service crowd.

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February One-Liners

A new month means a couple of new funny one-liners added to the collection. Here are the new additions for February:

  • “Et cetera” is Latin for “can’t think of a third example.”
  • Victims of autocorrect, untie!
  • “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” — Mark Twain
  • Any job is a dream job if you fall asleep in meetings.
  • “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” — Mark Twain
  • “Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.” — Mark Twain
  • “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” — Mark Twain
  • Jokes about unemployed people are not funny. They just don’t work.
  • I hate when I’m running on the treadmill for half an hour and look down to see it’s been 4 minutes.
  • Your life doesn’t get better by chance. It gets better by choice.
  • I like Jesus, but he loves me, so it’s awkward.
  • I saw an ad for burial plots, and thought to myself this is the last thing I need.
  • The only knowledge that can hurt you is the knowledge you don’t have.
  • A clean house is the sign of a broken computer.
  • Don’t trust atoms, they make up everything.
  • I was addicted to the hokey pokey. But thankfully, I turned myself around.
  • Have hope for the future, but maybe build a bomb shelter anyway.
  • My wife says I can join your gang but I have to be home by 9.
  • Why kill time when you can make it work for you?

“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

A security-for-hire cyborg becomes self-aware, and secretly names itself “Murderbot”. What can possibly go wrong? Here’s my review of All Systems Red by Martha Wells.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests. They are shadowed by their company-supplied cyborg – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module. The SecUnit is there to provide security, but the operation is quiet and uneventful. At least until a massive creature suddenly crashes out of a crater, and attacks one of the expedition members, Bharadwaj .

The SecUnit barely rescues poor Bharadwaj from being devoured, but not without suffering major damage itself. Using the base’s repair facility, the SecUnit is soon operational again, and an investigation into why a huge predator with no mentioning in any of the provided survey data attacked them begins. The expedition soon realize that their survey package has been tampered with; entire sections of their digital map has been wiped clean of data.

And when they lose contact with another expedition on the planet, things really start to go downhill.

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“Horus Rising” by Dan Abnett

I felt it was time I took a proper dive into the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Here’s my review of Horus Rising by Dan Abnett.

Wow. It’s been a while now since I wrote a book review. The last one I posted was of Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy/detective noir novel Storm Front. That was back in early 2018, and half a year after I’d finished the book. For my Horus Rising review, however, I decided to start writing before I’d reached the final page.

You might not be familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe. But if you’re even remotely interested in role playing games, science fiction, role playing games, or anything related to that, there’s a very good chance you’ve crossed paths with Warhammer 40K in one way or another.

Personally, I’ve only casually observed everything with fascination from a safe distance. I’ve never been much of a table-top gamer, but the Warhammer 40K universe and its lore still comes across as something that should be of interest for someone like me.

A natural place to begin was Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. It’s the first book in the Horus Heresy series, which counts no less than 49 books.

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