Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • On Crowds Three Years After a Pandemic Is Declared

    It has been a long time since I was crammed in a big unpleasant crowd of people. Let’s take stock of the last three years. My last major international trip was at the very beginning of March 2020. Outbound from Dallas to CERN, the planes were semi-normal (more masking than was typical back then) and […]

  • COVID Journal: Day 14 (Final Day)

    COVID Journal: Day 14 (Final Day)

    After two negative COVID-19 antigen tests this past week, I returned to in-person work. I kept myself masked in the office, especially when I was around anyone else. When alone in my own office, or eating in a more open public area, I lost the mask (unless someone showed up in closer quarters). I feel […]

  • COVID Journal: Day 8

    COVID Journal: Day 8

    The CDC recommends calling the first day you present symptoms as “Day Zero”.“Day One” is the first full day over which you experience symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. By that counting, I am on day 8, the 8th full day of symptoms. What is impressive to me is the staying power of the symptoms. While […]

  • ActivityPub All the Things: This Blog is Follow-able Now

    ActivityPub All the Things: This Blog is Follow-able Now

    In the spirit of deepening the open federated social web, this blog is now powered by ActivityPub, the open federated social standard. This is thanks to the WordPress plugin “activitypub”. You can follow this blog using the webfinger @steve@steve.cooleysekula.net. Or not. It’s cool. Whatever. 🙂

  • COVID-19: Round One

    COVID-19: Round One

    The World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. At the time, I was isolating at home after returning from CERN. I was not allowed on campus because I had been abroad when my university declared that all international travel for work purposes was ended. But I never actually caught COVID-19, […]

  • Some Tips on Setting Up a Mastodon Instance Using Docker and Apache

    Some Tips on Setting Up a Mastodon Instance Using Docker and Apache

    Mastodon has been around for a while, but garnered interest recently in the wake of Twitter’s leadership-driven meltdown. I tried setting up a Mastodon instance over a year ago but abandoned the effort due to time pressure. My interest in spinning up an instance was rekindled by recent events coupled with my long-standing interest in […]

  • Snowfall


    We had quite a storm last night, with some power outages from high winds, ice, and snow. But everything has been quite driveable this morning (although the school system cancelled buses today). Here is the view from Highway 144 on the way into SNOLAB.

  • Little Steps: The Gym Comes Together

    Little Steps: The Gym Comes Together

    I hate moving. The fact that I am so happy after the big relocation from Texas to Canada tells you how great Sudbury and SNOLAB have been. Moves irritate me because it takes so long to recover from them. You unpack for what feels like (or actually are) years. I had believed the move from […]

  • It is (almost) the year 2023

    It is (almost) the year 2023

    Happy new year, everyone. The calendar says it is 2023. From the perspective of our orbit about the Sun – the solar year – we are still several hours from that mark. Earth takes 365.25 Gregorian calendar days to make one orbit about the Sun. As a result, every fourth year we have quietly added […]

  • New Science for a New Year: The Helium and Lead Observatory

    New Science for a New Year: The Helium and Lead Observatory

    It was October in the void. The white dwarf, Nain Blanc, had been, for some time, slurping up the hydrogen and helium from the vast gas envelope of its partner, a red giant, Géant Rouge. When they were younger, the two stars burned bright in the dark of empty space, tethered by their mutual gravity […]

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