Filed under: General Musings, tech, Predictions, Science Fiction, Space, NASA, Society, Brave New World, Science, Steampunk, SCA, Fireworks, Astronomy, Humor, Emergency, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: jim downey, blogging, technology, Science Fiction, NASA, space, science, predictions, humor, SCA, survival, Sun, Steampunk, preppers, Daniel Baker, solar storm
Just think — all the folks who are prepping to deal with some global emergency almost got a chance to see how well their theories work in practice. My friends who are into Steampunk and the SCA would have reigned supreme!
Back in 2012, the Sun erupted with a powerful solar storm that just missed the Earth but was big enough to “knock modern civilization back to the 18th century,” NASA said.
The extreme space weather that tore through Earth’s orbit on July 23, 2012, was the most powerful in 150 years, according to a statement posted on the US space agency website Wednesday.
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“If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire,” said Daniel Baker, professor of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado.
Ah well. Better luck next time!
Filed under: Amazon, Apollo program, Buzz Aldrin, Connections, Feedback, Health, Humor, ISS, Kindle, Man Conquers Space, Marketing, NASA, Neil Armstrong, Promotion, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Writing stuff | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Apollo, Apollo 11, blogging, Buzz Aldrin, Buzzfeed, care-giving, Chris Hadfield, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, Michael Collins, Moon, NASA, Neil Armstrong, promotion, science, Science Fiction, space, St. Cybi's Well, writing
And you can pee upside down, which I did, just for fun. Wouldn’t you?
Great little list about the reality of spaceflight at this point in time. Perfect perspective for this weekend, since he manages to capture and convey the wonder and excitement so many of us felt from the Apollo era. It’s so easy to lose your vision, your enthusiasm, in the grim plodding of day-to-day life.
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Thanks to all who helped make the recent anniversary promotion of Her Final Year a success! Worldwide there were about 150 downloads – not a huge number, but it is progress. I hope the book can help those who downloaded it.
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Progress continues on St Cybi’s Well. Hope to wrap up Chapter 9 in the next couple of days.
Filed under: Amazon, Connections, Feedback, Fireworks, Government, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Science Fiction | Tags: America, blogging, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, Fourth of July, free, humor, Independence Day, jim downey, July 4th, Kindle, promotion, Science Fiction
I bought you a book:
Digital List Price: $3.01 What’s this? Print List Price: $11.95 Kindle Price: $0.00 You Save: $11.95 (100%)
See? It’s free! Today through Sunday! Go get a copy! Tell your friends to go get a copy! Tell your dog to go get a copy! But not your cat. Cats prefer to read the wallpaper. You know how they are.
Seriously, Happy Fourth to one and all.
Filed under: Art, Astronomy, Connections, Fermi's Paradox, Humor, Predictions, Science Fiction, SETI, Space, Survival | Tags: astronomy, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Fermi's Paradox, humor, jim downey, predictions, Randall Munroe, Science Fiction, space, xkcd
If you consider the full implications of what is revealed in Communion of Dreams, this might well be a fairly good explanation …
From the brilliant Randall Munroe, of course. Go to his site to see the ‘hidden text’.
Filed under: Health, Humor, Science, Society | Tags: blogging, health, humor, jim downey, medicine, obesity, science, society, Wallis Simpson
The doctor looked up from her laptop, where the patient’s medical history was displayed. “Have you been doing those exercises we discussed?”
“Every day. Well, most days. I miss doing them sometimes if I’m traveling or if the kids are running late in the morning.”
“You do understand that they’re really important, right?” She looked her patient right in the eye. “Every. Single. Day.”
He looked down at his feet, dangling off of the exam table. “Sorry. I’ll try and do better.”
“I certainly hope so. Lifespan is correlated with how tall you are. Short people just do not live as long.” She glanced at the laptop again. “Now, how about your meds & vitamin supplements? Taking those?”
The patient didn’t look up. “The vitamins, yes. Religiously. But the prescriptions … they’re *SO* expensive. My insurance company doesn’t cover them, because my shortness is considered a lifestyle choice.”
The doctor shook her head. “Yeah, I know. Medical science still considers height as being only partially due to genetics. But still, you really have to do your best. Take the meds. I’ll get you some free samples — the sales reps are always leaving that stuff for us.”
“Thanks.” He looked up. “Doc, what do you think of maybe the surgical option?”
“Does your insurance cover it?”
“Surprisingly, yes. Well, not here in the States.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’ve got a thing set-up with a clinic in India: for the whole six-month breaking & lengthening process, they cover it. Lots less expensive than here in the US.”
The doctor made a face. “I know they’re supposed to do good work … “
“Doc, they can add two inches to my overall height.”
“Yes, but at what risk?”
“Not much. Not too different than having it done here.” His face brightened a bit. “I’m not getting any younger. You know what a difference it can make for dating and career. Just think … I could be almost six foot tall!”
The doctor sighed. “Look, I know this is hard. But stick with the stretching exercises and meds I’ve prescribed. Maybe start going to a rack therapist — they can usually add up to an inch in the course of a year.”
“And watch your diet. Stay away from those short sugars. Proteins are long. Makes a difference.”
*With apologies to Her Grace.
Filed under: Art, Firefly, Humor, Joss Whedon, Science Fiction | Tags: animation, art, blogging, Firefly, humor, jim downey, JohnnyExpress, Josh Whedon, Mal, Science Fiction, space, video, Vimeo
‘Cause I damned near laughed my butt off at this:
Filed under: Brave New World, Civil Rights, Connections, Government, Humor, Predictions, Privacy, Science Fiction, Society, tech | Tags: blogging, civil liberties, Constitution, Focus Life Gear, government, humor, jim downey, Kunihiko Morinaga, predictions, privacy, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, technology, tracking, writing
He turned the hand-held on, did a quick check to make sure it had the software and apps he’d asked for. Everything was there. He’d pick up a burner phone later, and swap the SIMM card into the hand-held. He turned off the hand-held, dropped it into a special pocket inside his vest – one which was RF-blocked. He had another such compartment in his satchel. These, like the wallet/holster, were prohibited items and grounds for arrest in the States, but while they would raise an eyebrow in the UK they weren’t technically illegal.
And even earlier did a blog post about a commercial product to isolate a phone that way when I first thought of it: Off the Grid Bag. (Which actually works quite well, as a matter of fact; I got one of those and have tested/used it exactly as intended.)
Well, now someone has come up with the idea of making actual articles of clothing using the same idea:
Sure, you could just turn off your phone. But that would be too easy. Now, thanks to Trident (yes, the chewing gum) and fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga, you can repel all cellphone transmissions simply by wearing these hip threads called Focus Life Gear—made of radio frequency shielding fabric.
I suppose that since I haven’t actually published St Cybi’s Well yet I can’t claim to have predicted this tech, but no matter — it’s an obvious application of existing technology and desire for privacy. But still, kinda fun.
Tip of the radio-wave-blocking hat to Tim for the news item! Thanks!
Filed under: Brave New World, Health, Humor, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, Society, tech | Tags: blogging, health, humor, jim downey, medicine, predictions, science, Science Fiction, stem cells, technology
“Mr. Jones? This is Jane from Universal Replacements.”
“I was just calling to tell you that your new left ear will be ready for delivery on Friday. Which medical clinic will be doing the installation?”
“Acme Doctors over on … hey, wait, did you say LEFT ear?”
“That’s right, sir.”
“No, no, no, there’s been a mistake. I ordered a RIGHT ear when I sent in the cell sample.”
“I’m sorry sir, my records clearly indicate that you ordered a LEFT ear when you placed your order.”
“That can’t be right, I know I ordered a RIGHT ear! I don’t need a new LEFT ear!”
“I’m sorry, sir … “
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Artificial Intelligence, Brave New World, Connections, Feedback, Genetic Testing, Health, Hospice, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, movies, Promotion, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, tech, Writing stuff, YouTube | Tags: Aliens, Alzheimer's, Amazon, artificial intelligence, blogging, direct publishing, DNA, feedback, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, movies, promotion, science, Science Fiction, Scrivener, St. Cybi's Well, synthetic biology, technology, writing, www youtube
Catch this news this week?
Synthetic biology: New letters for life’s alphabet
The five bases found in nucleic acids define the ‘alphabet’ used to encode life on Earth. The construction of an organism that stably propagates an unnatural DNA base pair redefines this fundamental feature of life.
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Sorry about the sparseness of posting lately. I’ve been … busy. Have had a couple of interesting things happen which could play out in some very good ways. One is still enough in an embryonic stage that I won’t mention anything about it yet, but the other is far enough along that I’ll share: there’s a literary agent who is potentially interested in representing me, something which I have been thinking about for a while.
And it seems like a good enough fit that I took all of last weekend to put together a submission package for formal consideration. That meant going through and doing fairly thorough revisions to the first few chapters of St Cybi’s Well, using the feedback I have gotten from half a dozen ‘beta readers’, as well as composing a formal synopsis of the book. Frankly, both were a lot of work, and somewhat skewed my normal work schedule such that it is just now getting back to what passes for normal in my life.
But it was also helpful, and forced me to clarify some things which I had left unfocused for the rest of the book. Because of the way I am writing this (using Scrivener), it has been fairly easy for me to block out both the overall arc of the book as well as character developments. But doing so has been based on chapter notes more than anything, meaning that it was still somewhat in flux. Creating a full synopsis meant that I had to put the whole thing into one coherent document. And even though it was something of a pain in the butt, the result is helpful.
I’ll keep you posted as to any concrete developments.
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Remember this scene from Aliens?
Considered a classic, and rightly so. But I’ve always thought that a big part of the brilliance of it is how it sets up what happens immediately after:
Back at the groups’ table, Bishop holds up his hand and examines a tiny cut closely.
BURKE: I thought you never missed, Bishop?
To Ripley’s horror, a trickle of white synthetic blood runs down his finger. Ripley spins on Burke, her tone accusing.
RIPLEY: You never said anything about an android being on board! Why not?!
BURKE: It never occurred to me. It’s common practice. We always have a synthetic on board.
BISHOP: I prefer the term ‘artificial person’ myself.
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Oh, one more thing: in observation of Mother’s Day, the Kindle edition of Her Final Year is available for free download through Sunday, May 11th. If you’re new here, just a quick note: this is our care-giving memoir about the challenges and rewards of caring for someone with dementia, as well as the long recovery/reflection period which comes after. It seems to have helped a lot of people. Perhaps it can help you or someone you know.
Filed under: Humor, Science Fiction, Star Trek | Tags: Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, blogging, Farscape, Geek, humor, jim downey, language, Science Fiction, Star Trek
Final exam sample question:
Discuss the origin and differences in nuance of meaning/use of the following words:
Demonstrate each in an appropriate sentence.
For extra credit, give the approximate Klingon equivalent.