INDY login with OpenID

Today, I'm proud to announce a new feature for existing INDY members.
If you're an INDY member, you can now "attach" one or many OpenIDs to your INDY account. This will allow you to log into INDY using your credentials from those sites.

As of the publishing of this post (2011-04-25 @ 16:00), the OpenID sites you can use are:
- Google
- OpenID
- Yahoo!
- Twitter
- Facebook
This simplicity this feature offers serves a dual purpose: it eases your login process to the INDY site and allows you to set a more secure authorization through OpenID(s).

I encourage all current INDY members to attach at least one OpenID to their account as soon as possible. At the least, this will give you "a second set of keys" should you forget the password for your INDY account. You can find the OpenID manager in the "My INDY" section. Look in the third row of navigation links.


Make Earth Day about the Earth

Good morning! Today is Earth Day [EarthDay.org].

Forty-one years ago, the first Earth Day took place in the United States of America. Twenty years later, Earth Day went international, inspiring environmental awareness around the globe. What is Earth Day now? To some it is a day of measuring the consequences of human actions; to others it is a day of natural wonder.

I find it unfortunate that society has become so focused on controversy and opposition that people have forgotten the joy and excitement of special days of recognition. In the case of Earth Day, it would seem that many people view it now as a day of either penance or preaching.

In March, I invited readers to make Earth Hour "a time for thoughtful reflection". For Earth Day, I invite you to put your focus on the Earth. Seems obvious, right? There's a catch.

I don't only mean for us to focus on the environmental impact of human actions on our planet; I want to draw focus and appreciation on the planet as a whole: the beauty, diversity, and power of our world. Perhaps, as a child, you felt awe when you witnessed some specific aspect of Earth for the first time: volcanoes, ocean life, mountain peaks, human cultures, ancient artifacts or sites, etc..

Today, look at the world around you as if you are seeing it for the first time. Appreciate the nuance and beauty that surrounds you, then share the wonder you've felt with others. Your individual impact on the planet may be up for debate, but the impact of your actions and words on the people around you will always be strong.

Happy Earth Day! And finally, remember to say, "I love the World!"


Define your Life

I came across this video recently in my internet wanderings. It's an animated short called "Thursday" by Matthias Hoegg. Without using words, this seven minute video questions the nature of our modern "lives".

URL: http://vimeo.com/16962056

In a world filled with such dazzling technology, fast-paced transportation, superficial distractions, and societally defined priorities, it is easy to lose touch with the people who we cherish and the desires/goals we have for ourselves.

Over the past year, I have had to learn a great deal about what matters most in my Life and how to truly place my focus on the people and experiences which I value. Life is defined by the people with whom we connect and the experiences we choose. Appreciate the beauty that can always be found everyday. Strive to spend your time in ways which both energize you and help cultivate connections with the people you cherish. Acknowledge that you affect everyone and everything around you and that your actions define Life.


Air Force told FBI about recovered flying saucers?

When I first read the headline "FBI Releases Document Confirming Roswell UFO" on Slashdot this morning, my initial reaction was to chuckle and think, "Yeah, right. Were they Asgard or Ferengi?" However, I still followed the link and tried to suspend any disbelief. I wasn't disappointed.

Tracing the story back to its source on the FBI's website, I found a memo written by Agent Guy Hottel to the FBI Director on March 22, 1950 [FBI Vault]. In this memo, the agent details contact from "an investigator for the Air Force" who stated that "three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico" and that each was "occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall".

I've transcribed the body of the memo here:
The following information was furnished to SA [redacted text] by [redacted text], [redacted text]

An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.

According to Mr. [redacted text] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers.

No further evaluation was attempted by SA [redacted text] concerning the above.
As I said above, I wasn't disappointed. This is very intriguing information, but not something I considered so important that I should interrupt my day's plans -- as you may have noticed since I'm not writing or publishing this until almost 12 hours after reading.

Before we discuss further, let me make it clear, this document was certainly released by the FBI, officially, so I do not debate the document's authenticity. Now, let's look at the facts we can discern in the memo and consider their impact.

First, we know that some individual gave a Special Agent (SA) this information. We don't know who that individual was or how they came by the information themselves. (No, we cannot be sure that the individual is the "investigator for the Air Force". That is part of the information seen here, not necessarily the agent's source.)

Second, we know that a Special Agent chose not to evaluate the information further. This could mean any number of things, mainly that the SA either felt that the matter was of no concern to the FBI (e.g. jurisdiction) or that the informant (or information) was of questionable authority.

As you can see, a reasonable critique of the information can free us from sensationalism while still embracing the excitement of a notable document. Personally, I find the narrative enlightening. (At the least, as to the reporting and documentation of the FBI and its agents in the 1950s.) Regardless of whether all of the contents describe factual details of what may or may not have happened in Roswell, New Mexico, I think it's important to strive to always keep our priorities and goals in focus as we enjoy the excitement of each day and the community we share here on Earth.


Site down time while I move to California!

The main INDY site will be down for a time while I move my things to California. I've decided to accept a job offer in Irvine. I have missed the ocean so much; I am thrilled to have this opportunity!

UPDATE (2011-04-01 @ 11:30): Here's a map of Irvine, CA. I found a place on Crosscreek which is about a 5 minute bike ride from Irvine College where I'll be working.
UPDATE (2011-04-01 @ 18:00): APRIL FOOLS! I do miss California and the ocean, but I'm kept content with the beauty of the Rocky Mountains; especially Fort Collins and working with the people I do at my current job.