Category: personal

Smartphone microscop

Smartphone microscop

I’ve seen a couple of such solutions online but all were mostly about a fixed kind of microscope for the smartphone, but I wanted one that I can take with me and look at ‘stuff’, not keep it fixed in place and bring the ‘stuff’ to it.

What you need:

Smartphone and an app that keeps your flashlight turned on without recording. I use “A Better Camera” app – PlayStore

The lens from the cheapest laser pointer that you can find :). I honestly found one on the ground and used that one. That’s the model.

I then use a piece of hard and thin plastic. Cut a hole in it and fix the lens in there. Now I  just have to add the ‘thing’ in front of the smartphone camera. I can easily do that by using my phone’s case.

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smart

 

Examples:

[ytp_video source=”g4VGjeMgpt0″]

 

Less talk, more work

Less talk, more work

Some people have asked me many times over the past 4 years how I could create TROM documentary alone, or manage/do other projects that are very work intensive like TVP Magazine, or how do I get motivated to make videos, write, and so on. To be honest, I kinda’ understand their questions as I have seen many people trying to do different projects and failing to accomplish that. Why are they failing?

Here’s why I think many people fail.

 

1. Depend only on you!

When you do something new, different, and get no reinforcement, then it is just you doing that and thus no prize for what you do or encouragement.

Therefore if you do not enjoy the ride and you still expect for such reinforcements, you will probably fail. Most things that I’ve done, from magazine to documentary, other videos, or websites, I’ve done because I enjoyed staying at the computer and working on them, not expecting any reward at the end, not expecting anyone to encourage me, not having a deadline. I’ve done them for myself, for my own pleasure. And thus, depending only on myself, I rarely back down from any project.

If you mentally depend on others to encourage you, then what happens when you don’t get any encouragements?

 

2. Don’t plan!

Many people make lists, prepare, create a plan, and they put a huge effort into this, then they have no energy or motivation left for doing what they wanted to do in the first place. I know many people who create teams, make logos for the teams, many spreadsheets, groups, and spend most if not all the time preparing as if it will come if you prepare for it. Many people have told me they will help me with this or with that, or will do this or that, and I never heard from them again. I know they were all well intended and nice humans, but they consumed their energy (probably) before they begun.

I never do that. If I feel like writing about something for TVPM I open the Google Docs and start writing. If I want to make a website I start working on it. When I took TVP Magazine project I first made a demo and showed it to Roxanne and analyzed how much time I need to make one issue. When I presented to her what I want to do, I already made sure I can manage this project by testing that.

I remember when I and another friend, while in high school, were planning to open a web-design company. We worked on the company’s website (ours) for months (we debated over the logo for weeks), we thought about prices, how we will work, how we will get paid, and so on. The result? No web design company because we lost the interest after a couple of months.

If you want to make a video about something, like the series I’ve done recently with Jacque Fresco, just open the video editor, then search for what materials you need (music, voice, footage) and start doing it. Forget about planning as to how long the video should be, what footage to use, what music. Such things come about while you are working on it.

 

3. Forget the details!

Another mistake I think people do is to focus on details way too obsessive. The blue is not blue enough, the corners are not sharp enough, the music is a bit too loud….you will drown in your own thoughts and not do any project. You will get better as you work more. The more videos you make, the better you will make them. So what that a video has a music that is a bit too loud!? Release the damn video and next time make one with a lower volume for the music.

You should decide of what matters. If you want to influence people through videos that have a powerful message, then remember that even 240p videos made in Movie Maker go viral. People don’t care as much about such things as you imagine. Do you think that your video will be successful if it is in HD? I bet no! There are many HD videos with barely any views on Youtube.

I haven’t made any video that got millions of views until now, but I made many that have thousands of views. Maybe the more I make the more chances for one to go viral. The important thing is that I am not looking for that.

Videoneat has many glitches, and works poorly on mobile devices, but I think is better with it than putting it on hold until solving those problems. TROM has many audio imperfections, but changed the life of many people (as they have told me). TVP Magazine sometimes has some typos or design errors, but we improve that on the fly and people still love the magazine.

 

4. Take into account what others say, but don’t!

I can’t remember how many nonsensical advices I’ve got for the past 7 years…but I took them into account, and if I detected bullshit, I moved on. And most, were bullshit. By that I mean people will always try to teach you how to do things in the ‘right’ way.

Use only 3 colors for the design! Don’t make videos longer than 4 minutes! No one will use such a website! !!! And so on!

Do you think they know much about this? Are they successful on making videos, websites or other projects? Probably not! And even if they are, why not try it your way. If I were to ask my friends if I should make TROM documentary 14 hours long, well… imagine what they would have said to me….Or an online magazine….I am sure many would have said that people do not read magazines nowadays.

 

5. DO it!

I can’t stress this enough. Whatever you have in your mind to do: a website, a video, whatever, just do it. You may not finish it, but if you enjoy doing it you won’t care, and in the process you will learn something new. Stop thinking if others will enjoy it, if it will be successful, and so on, you will be able to measure such things and improve on the fly. Some of the most viewed videos I made are those I worked the less on, strangely enough.

I have also seen people buying all kinds of equipment before starting a project because they think they lack a good mic, or a good camera, or a good software, or a good computer. This is like buying a training suit and sport shoes thinking that you will start making some exercises. Many times that is not the true and you will wear your training suit inside your home watching TV :).

I made TROM documentary with the most low spec computer you could have, and I made it in HD. That is because I was motivated. If I had waited for a good PC, no TROM would have been made.

Therefore, I think that if you want to do something you should start doing it and remember that people ‘know what they know’, nothing more than that, and they may not know much to give you any advice, thus be original and do it your way. And enjoy the ride because if you fail to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish, then it will be no waste of time.

I never got any reinforcements for anything I’ve done so far, and everything I’ve done I’ve done it for me, for my own enjoyment. The fact that thousands of people enjoy what I do, every day (reading or watching stuff I do) is a side effect of my work and my drive towards sharing with people what I do. I made VideoNeat because I always loved to share information with people, and now I share documentaries I see, with hundreds each day.

As a side note, I realized for the past year that I spend too much time managing the TVP Magazine viral images that we post on TVP facebook page, and by tha I mean I reply to all comments that needed a reply, and debated with people way too much. I thought that maybe I should cut that time by 80% (since many such debates were leading nowhere) and spend this 80% doing something else, and well I managed to make 6 short videos in a week that have reached many thousands of people, I managed to work more on a new TVP website that we strive to create, organized 34gb of Youtube videos that we intend to post on the new website, and do other things that are more productive. So that was less talk, more work 🙂

This is what works for me, to enjoy what I do (the ride) and do it in the way I consider is best to do it although listen to others as well but have a good bullshit filter, and just start doing it without planning too much.

VideoNeat taken down

VideoNeat taken down

VideoNeat is a project that I started to gather all of the wonderful scientific video-materials that I can find and share them with people in a way that is very simple and efficient. I hoped that human beings, on this sphere we call Earth, will know more about the world we live in and that can have a ripple effect overall leading perhaps to a smarter society.
I know we live in a crazy world where people’s imagination is at high peeks and they think that ones and zeroes can be owned, so I did not hosted any video or photo material on this website specifically because of that. However I received today the following email:

Good Morning,

Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that I am a duly authorized representative of The Teaching Company LLC, which is the exclusive rights holder for the video content being hosted at http://www.videoneat.com/lectures/, including but not limited to the titles A New History of Life, Black Holes Tides and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity, Joy of Mathematics, The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries, Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works, Understanding the Science for Tomorrow, Introduction to Nanotechnology: The New Science of Small, Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures, The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed through Biography, Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It, My Favorite Universe, Great Thinkers, Great Theorems, Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World, Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, Science: 20th Century, Science: 1700 to 1900, and Science: Antiquity to 1700.

These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL: http://www.videoneat.com/lectures/;

The use of this material in such a fashion is a direct violation of our terms of service and is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder’s agent, or the law.

Please confirm within 48 hours that you have removed this material and will cease from additional copyright violations, or we will pursue legal action, including but not limited to pursuing a shutdown via your hosting provider.

Thank you.

Regards,

Michelle Merritt

The Teaching Company, LLC

The Great Courses

4840 Westfields Blvd Ste 500

Chantilly, VA 20151

1-800-832-2412

[email protected]

 

My reply:

Hello,
No video is hosted on VideoNeat.com. The links are from public places. Let me know if that is still infringing any copyright. I am sorry if that may have caused you any trouble. If indeed we infringe copyright by embedding videos that are from internet public places, then we will remove the material. Please let me know. Thank you!

Then:
Hello, If you are hosting these videos from public places (like YouTube), if possible, would you be able to send me the link to the website that is hosting the material? Since this is our intellectual property and you are not permitted to post them, we would appreciate you removing the material from your website, and I will pursue the website that is hosting these videos. Thank you for your cooperation in advance. Michelle Merritt The Great Courses Compliance Department

Me again:
Can you please let me know if and what law videoneat.com is breaking by embedding videos from public sources? I want to fix that first so there will be no issues in the future. I am not aware of such a law this is why I want to make it legal if it breaks any law that I am not aware of. Second, videoneat.com is a non-profit website and all the materials that we present are only for educational purposes.
I will immediately remove the materials if we are breaking the law by embedding them. I am all for cooperating for sure.
Thank you

Reply again:
Our courses are intellectual property and you are infringing the DMCA laws that strictly prohibit any reproduction. Here is your official Notice of Infringement statement:

Hello,

My name is Michelle Merritt. I work for the Teaching Company LLC The Great Courses. The below links have been posted on your website in infringement of our copyright:

http://www.videoneat.com/lectures/

Proof of Infringement: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/index.php

I would appreciate your assistance in removing these. Below is the DMCA statement

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

If you require any further information please feel free to contact me either by email or at the number below.

Thanks

 

That took 6 hours or so. I had 48h to decide, remember? Well then I’ve got an email from the hosting company saying that they took all of the website down until I remove those pages with ‘their’ lectures. Again, I hosted no lectures on VideoNeat. It is like if you see a video on youtube and embed it on your website, and the video (without you being aware of that) is ‘illegal’ then your website can be taken down it seems. Well that is great!

Right now it seems that I can put the website back if I remove all of those lectures. However since I don’t have access to the back end of the website anymore I don’t know how I am going to do that. I am waiting for the hosting company to reply. To be honest I am not surprised at all, and although probably videoneat.com will be up again without lectures, it can happen that the entire website will be taken down one day.

I can’t say much about this because it is what it is, that’s the world we live in….Don’t worry though, the internet is full of those lectures and even more than that, and I will make a page/list on videoneat for where to find the best lectures online. I will post more about this subject because there are some other interesting facts about this. I will post updates here as to how and when I will be able to get videoneat up again.

One thing to think about, this personal website hosts more copyrighted materials than videoneat did, because I do not own the photo thumbnails from the blog articles. Just a thought….

 

UPDATE 1

Site is up now. I had to remove the lectures though, but I will post an update on how I intend to replace this section of VideoNeat with better lectures. By the way if you were following any lecture on VideoNeat please send me a personal message it will be such a shame to not finish the course ;).

UPDATE 2

I didn’t have the time to add lectures from other sources, but I will as soon as I have some free time. Until then you can go and buy their courses for hundreds of dollars each, here. However please DO NOT use torrent like websites to download them because it is not a Christian thing to do!

 

UPDATE 3

I added lots of new lectures now, and they are not from the great expensive company ;). So, we are back 🙂 – http://videoneat.com/lectures/

I was hit by a car today

I was hit by a car today

Today I’ve been hit by a car on the crosswalk. The car was a police car (first irony) and everything was legal/right/lawful. But the second irony is that when I crossed the street, a firefighter car hits the police car from behind, and the police car hits me.

Luckily I managed to jump up and so it won’t hit my legs first, and protect myself with one hand to not hit the car with my head, and to my surprise I even landed on my feet after a few meters from the impact. Quite a thrilling moment that reminds me how fricking stupid this system is, letting people to drive these huge pieces of metals instead of having autonomous cars as a default option for all cars.

The firefighter’s excuse was that they were looking for lost children and didn’t pay attention to the road. And that is even more of a motive to have self driving cars.

The astonishing thing is that there are 1.3 million people killed in traffic accidents each year. That is as much as HIV kills each year. Imagine that!

Here’s a picture I took after the incident happened:

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Imagine that the police car was a meter or so behind the crosswalk before it hits me. So I was thrown a meter or two in front of the stopped police car that you see in the picture. You do the math. By the way, before crossing the street the policeman waved me to cross it, signaled me that I can cross it….so wasn’t my fault at all.

What was so astonishing to me is that the policeman didn’t bother to go out of the car and ask the guy that was thrown meters away from the impact (me) if I am ok. It took many minutes after they did that and even then, they said to me if I feel ok I should go home. Well I was just thrown couple of meters from a direct impact and they are telling me to go home. Anyway, some people were very nice and tried to help with anything they could, firefighters as well. I wasn’t injured that bad, my back and one of my legs hurts a bit, and I might go tomorrow to the hospital.

 

I waited for the ambulance to come, but they said that I can go home if it doesn’t hurt that much and I can go to the hospital if it starts to hurt more. Anyway, I was going home and another policeman stops me with his motorcycle and asks me for my name, address, and other stuff that I didn’t know. I had to go home, find these ‘very important documents’, and go to the police station where they scanned them and they sent me home.

 

So, that was my day, how was yours? 🙂

I was hit by a car, pretty seriously (luckily I managed to have a pretty good reflex) and I was sent home as if nothing happened. I am sure if I had a huge poster  that said the word ‘nigger’ or showing a picture with a ‘vagina’ I would have been much more ‘investigated’ by the police.

 

They think that they are solving problems by putting signs on the road, creating laws, telling people to drive more carefully, but the only way to fix problems is to fix them, and by that I mean use science and technology to solve them. If there is a ‘war’ against cancer, why isn’t there a war  on cars driven by people that kill 1.3 million humans a year?

 

By the way, because of tribal separation and the fact that I don’t know spanish very well, even when they tried to talk with me it was such a mess (language barrier). This system we live in even if it seems to work, it is just an illusion. It doesn’t. It knows best how to hide collateral damages so that it looks like it is working.

 

I have to take a break for a few days to recover a bit, so TVPM will be released a bit later than usual.

 

The most unfair game

The most unfair game

The most unfair game you will ever play:

Think of this world, the monetary system, as a Monopoly game.

Alex wakes up in the morning.

He hears a lot of noise coming from the living room.

He doesn’t know what is happening.

He goes into the living room and there are many people playing Monopoly on a big table. There they are: Alex’s family, friends, relatives, and some people that he doesn’t know.

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Alex smiles and sits at the table. He watches for a while how they play and then one guy says to him “Roll the dices kid, it’s your turn! Here, this is your board’s piece and take $100. Go on, roll the dices now!

Alex feels excited and does as is told.

It’s a 7!” Says one of his friends.

Alex moves his monopoly piece and his friend says : “That’s my property! You have to pay me $20.

Alex feels a bit uncomfortable about that, but it is the start of the game, so he accepts and pay. He only has $80 now. When Alex has to take his salary, he realizes that his is way less than of the other ones. He starts to lose his enthusiasm about the game.

The game goes on and Alex jumps from property to property, paying almost all of his money to the others.

Alex: “Hold on! I don’t think it’s fair! When I came to the game, everything was bought. Every single property, every single house or hotel that you have on your properties was there….What is the point for me to play the game if everything is bought and I don’t even have money to buy anything even if there were available properties?

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These are the rules son.” – Says one of his parents. “Go on, play more, it will be better!

Alex doubt this, but continues to play.

Alex’s friends are much better off than him. They have many properties, hotels and houses. Alex ask one of his friends how is it that he has so many things because he wasn’t playing for longer than him. He says that those are his parent’s properties and he can own them because of that.

You see, your parents have no property. They don’t play well at all son.” says the father of his friend, with a slightly arrogant smile on his face.

Alex: “I don’t think it’s fair at all…

 

One of Alex’s relatives is in ‘jail’ but he is happy about that “I stay here and make money” he says. “I have no worries that I have to pay anything to anyone, no worries at all. Sometimes is better in jail than out.

Alex’s parents encourage him to strive more because by doing that he will succeed eventually. He tries, but nothing really changes.

Alex’s parents leave the game. They leave him with a bank debt that he has to carry on with him for the rest of the game. Now things are even worst for Alex.

The game becomes no fun at all. Alex spins his monopoly piece around that game board, round and round, rolling the dices, paying to others for stuff that they own, getting an unfair payment from time to time….

Where is the fun?” he says.

I see you guys competing with each other, selling and buying properties, adding houses and hotels, fanatically calculating your ‘wealth’….but where is the fun in all this? Aren’t you tired? Bored?

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You are bored because you are losing, don’t you see?” – People at the table making fun of the kid.

You don’t seem happy at all either, you seem to just play and not be able to stop.” says Alex to them. “And yea, I am losing as you can see, but I came here to play a game, to enjoy it, not necessarily to win it. And you already had the rules in place, you already had most of the board bought, and you even pay me way less than the other players. Of course I am losing.

You should take a loan” – People are saying.

No, I will end up like my parents, losing even quicker. And more than that, I do not want to play anymore. It is not even a game anymore, it is madness. I am off!

Some guy at the table grabs the kids arm “Not so fast kid! You cannot leave when you want to leave. You leave when we say!

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Alex: “What?! Are you kidding me? What is this, Monopoly Mafia? Let go of my arm!

A lady at the table: “Darling, let him go. He is free to go, but he won’t get any food or any place to sleep if he leaves the table. You are free to go hunny.

Alex: “Are you guys insane? What is wrong with you? This is just a damn game! Don’t you see? I think you have played it for so long that you took it seriously. You see all those houses and hotels, all those properties and money, all those shiny pieces you move around the board? They are not real guys! Wake up!

People at the table: “What are you, a philosoph kid? If you don’t want to play, don’t play. But as we said, there will be consequences for that. We aren’t the ones making the rules, you know. These are the rules of the game. It is what it is.

I would help if I could Alex….” says one of Alex’s relatives.

Alex: “Oh my God guys….you really are taking this seriously….aren’t you?!

 

—————————————————————————

What would you say if this happened in real life in a game of Monopoly? Completely ridiculous and crazy, right?

Imagine someone telling you: Come on and play Monopoly with us. But keep in mind, most of the properties are already bought; many properties already have houses and hotels and we will tax you a lot if you end up on them; you get paid less than we do; some of us can change the rules of the game; and if you leave the game or you don’t want to play, we will deprive you of food and shelter, and of any basic needs, in your real life of course. Be aware that even if you play well enough, it can become a bit crazy: you will be obsessed with acquiring more wealth and be more competitive, and many times you will feel that it is never enough for you. A, and we will choose your Monopoly piece. Come and play with us! 🙂

Doesn’t it sound like Hitler just invited you to play Monopoly with him?

Will you play? I am sure not. But you are already playing this game, don’t you see?

 

You are born in a world where people are already owning almost all of it: hills, beaches, hotels, houses, pools, bikes, cars, clothes, food, gadgets, even animals or anything you might imagine.

Your wealth will depend on your family’s wealth most of the times. You will get an unfair payment that does not reflect your efforts. There are tons of rules out there, most of which you are not aware of, and many people in this world can bend or remove/create new rules that will have an impact upon your life.

Your ‘monopoly piece’ is choose by others in the form of culture (what language you will learn, customs and traditions, religion, etc). People are very competitive in this world and want to take advantage of anyone (including yourself) — many of which feel that it is never enough wealth, and with a compulsive drive they want more and more –. Even the idea of being in jail and making money is something depicted from the real life. Many people in jail live better than poor people.

And most awful of all, if you choose not to play this real life monetary game, then you will not be able to purchase food, purchase your right to medical treatment, or to any of your needs. You can literally die if you do not play. Actually this happens with so many today.

A, and all of the people will tell you that you are not forced to play the game. And most of these people (players) do not even realize that it is just a game.

It is already happening yet you might not notice because you are part of it.

 

Please consider again if you would play a game that it is as rigged and coercive as the world we live in is. I bet none of you would resist 5 minutes playing it.

I think it is time for people to realize that and stop playing this crazy game, and instead focus on what is real: what we want as a species relative to our place on this sphere we call Earth.

In the end, it all goes back in the box:

Not part of any group

Not part of any group

I am volunteering for The Venus Project for the past few years but I never felt myself as a TVP Supporter or Activist. Why ?

When I was 12 I had a favorite football (soccer) team. I never missed any game. I had a t-shirt with my favorite player and my emotions were so high when they played. I remember that other friends of mine liked other rival teams and sometimes, when my favorite team played with their favorite team we’ve got into an argument. They always said “we deserved that penalty shot”, “we were better than you”, and so on. And I never understood why they say “we”, why they felt so part of those teams as to say “we”. They didn’t play obviously so why say that ? I never said “we”, I always said “my favorite team played better than yours”, but never “we”.

What I realized is that although I loved that team, I had distanced myself enough from it to be able to not be completely blind and so, when for instance there was a penalty shot for the adverse team and the referee didn’t accorded it, I was able to admit that it was actually a penalty shot and it was unfair for the adverse team.

And that’s the point.

I actually made this bookshot entitled “Harmful Thinking” especially for this kind of subject. You should read it is really important for all of us to be aware when we are emotionally entangled.

I do not want to create my self-image around any group or idea because, if I do so, I am prone to be biased, and erroneous thinking. It is better to look at things from outside their own limitations. For instance if someone comes up with a better project than TVP, I will go for that and volunteer for that project instead of TVP.

I eat many vegetables but I do not consider myself a “vegetarian”. I do not believe in any gods, but I am not an “atheist”. And I love science but I am not a “geek”. Those definitions that evolved into categories, in my view, are more detrimental than helpful. Sure may be a pleasant feeling to be part of the vegan group and meet with your vegan friends, but that with surely make you biased to hear arguments against “being vegan”. This will harm you and mislead you. And that goes for any such group.

I never smoked or drunk alcohol, although I tried that a few times, and I always heard people saying :”So you aren’t a smoker, isn’t it ?”, and I was like…well, isn’t that you are the “smoker” and I am just me ? People define now what you are not ? Isn’t this completely ridiculous ? Because there are so many things I am not.

I do not understand why I should declare myself as being this or that….I am just a human being and that’s not even a definition or a category because I have no clue what a human being really is.

Don’t limit yourself by following a group of people or a leader. I rarely give quotes, only when it is necessary and serve as a “link” for people to know more about what I quote, but I always prefer to send a message regardless of who is saying it. I see many people posting on social networks lots of quotes, and I never read who was quoted, only the quote, because that is the essential part.

So I will travel through my life, tasting ideas and picking the most I find relevant and factual without feeling the need to be part of any group and have a ‘badge’ for that 😉