Announcing my latest short story, now available for your pleasure at Baen’s Universe Magazine. The first half is up free. To read the rest (of part one), you need to subscribe to the magazine... which is well worth it! (There’s more content than in any print zine, and you can’t beat the convenience.) Indeed, you’ll be able to fish back and read Parts 1-4 of my hilarious serialized sf-spoof comedy, “The Ancient Ones.” And, coming this spring, another funny one in a much more broad comedic style: “Gorilla My Dreams.”
Membership/subscriptions are on a sliding scale. If you get a premium membership now, you can see the other half of part I of my new story right away. Or wait until 1 Oct, and you can get a regular subscription for $30. And now, just for you folks, an added bonus! Type in coupon code EE329517B2 - which is good for $5 off any subscription!
And, moving on from fiction to nonfiction... A reminder to get your hands on Through Stranger Eyes, a collection of cantankerously unusual and interesting (!) reviews, essays, and fun, presented by Nimble Books. (So far, orders originating from bloggers have been... well... disappointing? (hint!)
And from literary analysis to speculation... Ever wish for some television for adults? I mean grownups interested in stringing thoughts together at the high end of the spectrum? Closer to Truth is a terrific series, based upon conversations held by Robert Lawrence Kuhn with luminaries as diverse as Francisco Ayala, Gregory Benford, Paul Davies, Freeman Dyson, Roger Penrose and so on.
The Closer To Truth Website - will feature about 1400 videos from 128 experts, each 8 – 20 minutes in length. The site recently went live though it will take ~6 months to upload all videos. In addition, the first three CTT episodes, one each on Cosmos, Consciousness, God, are now available (in low resolution). See also a listing of stations that will air the show. Robert Kuhn discusses his groundbreaking television on the Science & Religion Today website.
See especially episodes: 110 Could Our Universe Be a Fake? [Cosmos], and 303 Where are They, All Those Aliens? [Consciousness] wherein yours truly joins the putative eggheads at work! Doing what eggheads do best.
And, continuing with more recent brin-blather....
While visiting IBM Research, I did a brief, ten-minute oral-essay about how science fiction can change the world. IBM has podcast it. This is separate from my hour-long (and detailed) talk about Third Millennium Problem-Solving: Can New Visualization and Collaboration Tools Make a Difference? That much longer talk ought to be be available online, at some point. I’ll let you all know.
Reminder to join my Facebook fan page!
------ A Timely Survey for Blog Community Members! -----
I’ve received a request from Daniel Milamed Prendergast of the Psychology Department at New York University, in the hopes that some of you folks might be able to help them with timely and important NSF-funded research about the cognitive bases of electoral decision-making. ”We would be very grateful if you’d help us recruit politically inclined respondents to our survey by posting to your blog the link to the online survey we are conducting as part....ground-breaking scientific research in the hopes of better understanding voting behavior from a psychological perspective. The survey we are conducting is not aimed at changing respondents' opinions in any way. This stage of the study focuses on the information people use to inform evaluations during the last few weeks before the election. They seek respondents of all political leanings from all over the country (and from the rest of the world) to complete a 15-minute questionnaire, the responses to which will be completely anonymous.”
I find myself personally with too little time to participate. Nor do I know these folks personally. But it has the appearance of a worthy undertaking. People who report back should remain vague about the process and questions, in order not to bias others -- till the last questionnaire is finished. There are some $100 “raffle” prizes for participating. Here is the link to the survey:
------ Other matters of timely interest ---
See: THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb... An Edge Original Essay... "When Nassim Taleb talks about the limits of statistics, he becomes outraged. "My outrage," he says, "is aimed at the scientist-charlatan putting society at risk using statistical methods. This is similar to iatrogenics, the study of the doctor putting the patient at risk." As a researcher in probability, he has some credibility. In 2006, using FNMA and bank risk managers as his prime perpetrators, he wrote the following: "The government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at its risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry: their large staff of scientists deemed these events 'unlikely.' " Taleb continues his examination of Black Swans, the highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact.
--- Small Indie Movies Take Flight ---
First off -- the Postman legend continues!
Also... I have to tell you I was really surprised by the innovative first episode of this Indie group. Have a lookStranger Things is the first dramatic science-fiction anthology series shot in high definition and digitally-syndicated through the Internet, predating even the larger-budgeted Sanctuary. Stranger Things depicts a world of ordinary people stumbling into the secret lives of the paranormal, the metaphysical, the unnatural, and the strange. The stories expose the bizarre and the extraordinary things happening all around us everyday, hidden behind the veil of the "real world.".
--- Energy Matters ---
Could this be true???? Ever heard of the Bakken Formation? GOOGLE it or follow this link. It will blow your mind.
”The U.S. Geological Service issued a report in April ('08) that only scientists and oilmen knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn't been updated since '95) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota; western South Dakota; and extreme eastern Montana .... The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable... at $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.” And there is talk of an even bigger find in the rockies. These ought to be tracked.
Of course, global warming still means we have to get moving hard in other directions. But anything that removes the r’oil grip from around our throats.
More important: Companies will build two solar plants in California that together will put out more than 12 times as much electricity as the largest such plant today, the latest indication that solar energy is starting to achieve significant scale. The plants will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, and in the middle of a sunny day will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant. The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, which is under a state mandate to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
==== Misc. Stuff! ====
Watch Professor (and former Clinton White House Privacy Maven) Peter Swire talk about “The Federal Role in Privacy Protection.”
Yipes! What creepy fun by my collaborator Jeff Carlson!
See a fascinating comparison of Chinese vs. Western attitudes toward education. “Wealthy Chinese parents who worry that their kids cannot face the pressures of the country’s education are finding ways for their children to go to North America for their primary education. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post recently reported on South Koreans paying for U.S. couples to adopt their children so that they can gain access to Western education.” and http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=5265
Help crack the Russian Hacker Mystery. (Vernor Vinge makes the important point is that the nation that most lives by the silicon chip might be the one that dies by it. At least, its enemies will work hard to make it so. Buy metal storage sheds! Use them as faraday cages to store important backup equipment. Keep an old fashioned corded phone. If we had a real president, he’d have urged this long ago.)
A spurt in human intelligence about 150,000 years ago was caused by eating (mostly) cooked meals, which would have lessened the energy needs of our digestion systems, thereby freeing up calories for our brains
University of Geneva scientists sent pairs of entangled photons to labs 18 kilometers apart, showing that if superluminal signals are responsible for entanglement, they must travel at more than 10,000 times the speed of light.
I can’t buy or read every info-age/transparency related book that comes along. Has anyone seen (or care to review for us) Inescapable Data by Chris Statutis?
A cool fun “Large Hadron Rap.”
Reminder to sign up as a “follower” to this blog... and to RSS subscribe to the more formal Salon source (I’ve abandoned Kos). And to be sure and join that Facebook page. Subscribe to UNIVERSE!