Archive for December, 2010

Dec 31 2010

Interlude: Under the Bridge, Earlier

Published by under callie

Z’Aria was where Callie expected her to be, back in her squat under the deserted overpass. She looked up from her reading as she heard Callie’s footsteps on the gravel and debris scattered across the ground.

“Oh, you got the key! I was so happy when someone in Iris’s house said they knew about it.”

Callie held up the key to show her an affirmative.

“You were lost for a long time, I got tired of waiting and walked around looking for someone else to help. I even went by your place to see if you’d gone home somehow and found your letter to me. I wanted to help so much but didn’t know how! I didn’t find anyone for a while but when I walked past Iris’s big house that weird glass bubble was gone. They are so nice there!”

“I’m sure they are.”

“And they said Iris had found a key and that they’d heard about you and could deliver it. And they must have, here you are!”

“Here I am.”

“Did you find anything while you were lost?”

“I think I might have found a solution to all this craziness, and where all the people went. And how to stop it.”

“That’s wonderful! I’m tired of being scared and hungry all the time, it would be good to have things change.”

“Change often isn’t easy or pleasant, even when necessary.”

There was silence for a moment while Callie continued to look steadily at Z’Aria. The girl was a bit slow but she eventually started to put the subtext together. Callie watched the interplay of thoughts and emotions move across the other’s face and waited.

Z’Aria shifted on her seat and looked uncomfortable. “Those stories about the lady in the Box…the kids weren’t just making those up, were they?”

“I never heard those stories. But if I had to guess, I’d say they are more accurate than not.”

“Oh.” Z’Aria appeared a bit sad as she thought about this. “So what happens to me now?”

“I believe you’ll become part of the solution,” Callie replied.

“That part sounds nice at least. Will I be remembered?”

There were at least two answers to that one, and Callie found herself giving the nicer one. “By me, most assuredly. I have a method for never forgetting these moments.”

Z’Aria looked up at the overcast sky, her eyes looking moist at the corners. “I watched the stars all night last night. I would have liked to know why they were so different from back home. What happened to me, why I’m here. Just…why.”

Callie didn’t have a response to give her.

“It wasn’t the story I thought I’d have. At least the end will make some sense.”

That was as good a cue as any. Callie moved forward. This one was gentle and quick.

Afterward, Callie pulled out the paper with the snippet of paragraph that had first led her to Z’Aria. As she’d suspected, the words were already fading as she read. She reached the last word just as it disappeared into the perfect blankness of the page’s whole. A death perhaps more final than any Callie was familiar with.

The sky appeared to grow darker, and tiny vibrations shook the ground for a moment. Callie pushed the paper back into her pocket and hurried toward home. There were a few last things to take care of before her guest showed up, which would be quite soon now that the invitation had been delivered.

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Dec 26 2010

festive weekend links

Late this weekend due to holiday, enjoy anyway!

A depressing but unsurprising look at the sexism inherent in gaming and gaming advertising here.

A link sent from a friend to a video about the dark side of positive thinking here

Spiffy essay about forensics and tattoos over at Storytellers Unplugged.

I have been saying this next bit for years, and might eventually write a story about the concept: Scientists say dolphins should be treated as non-human persons

Why writers should have blogs

…and criteria for deciding whether you should enter a writing contest, over at Writer Beware

Interesting article on ebooks and illegal downloading here

And for those supporters of Wikileaks, I strongly suggest you read these two articles to get a well-rounded and rational perspective of the other side of the argument. After all, we don’t want to be slaves to our biases, do we? Bruce Sterling’s take on Wikileaks , and The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy by Jaron Lanier (long but worth the read)

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Dec 18 2010

wandering weekend links

Traveling this week so most of these were collected early in the week. Also posting a day earlier than usual since I’m not sure of the availability of net connection tomorrow.

I received a lovely mention in a food blog last week from a fan of Steve’s who took us out to a very tasty steak dinner at Cool River Cafe in Austin Texas. I’m not quite sure I’ve earned those accolades yet but I plan to! Thanks to Greg, Thane, and Carl for the excellent food and conversation.

Economics of Space Infrastructure

Science theory awesomeness, postulating on solving the impending food shortage through bio-alteration

More on Mr. Assange’s mission statement here. What a neat time to be alive, so many interesting things!

This kind of censorship stuff makes me sad: Museum commissions then paints over anti-war mural

Evidence for other universes?

It isn’t a large-scale cure yet, but what awesome progress! Man appears free of HIV after stem-cell transplant

Great advice to writers for writing query letters to agents and what mistakes to avoid

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Dec 16 2010

Gaga Fabulous

Published by under pop culture subversion

I never do photo posts but I am now…

One of the many reasons I like Lady Gaga as a performance artist can be seen in the following pictures. She takes the silly rumor about her being actually a guy and totally plays with it…

Girl Gaga

Boy Gaga

(The first is one of her many, many photos as we “normally” know her; the second is her male alter ego as a model for Japan’s Vogue magazine.)

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Dec 15 2010

Out of town week

Published by under travel

We are out of town (and state) this week with periodic internet access, so if responses are delayed that’s why. It’ll likely be a quiet blog week too. Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

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Dec 11 2010

Writerly weekend links

Most of these are oldies but goodies found this week from following the first link in the chain:

From Making Light, How To Get Published, by Jim MacDonald

Though this is an older one, there are definitely still publishers with this slow of a response time (or longer): The Sobering Saga of Myrtle the Manuscript

An excellent link to common mistakes in writing, sorted into categories: The Standard Deviations of Writing, by Roger Allen

I’ll be reading through this one for a long while: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim (though I skim over some of the non-Uncle Jim comments in the thread, some people like to hear themselves write)

Medical fun:

Scientists create mice from two fathers. And in my novel I only had a guy carry a fetus to term, how banal in comparison! Hehe

For all the money put into cancer research, we’re still only winning battles, not the war. Fuck cancer.

Aaaaand, activism:

Training your mind to see manipulative scams of whatever type is good and useful work. Though this article is about debunking “Forbidden Archaeology” ideas, the observations can readily be applied to other areas of flawed thought.

If you haven’t heard some of the flak around this subject lately, what rock are you under? Everything You Need To Know about WikiLeaks. These guys are amazing. The layers and balancing and subversion and everything else of this project are just…beautiful in their execution. Information wars are totally here. I love being alive in this era, it’s endlessly fascinating! Charlie Stross also has some thoughts.

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Dec 04 2010

science! weekend links

Biggest news of the week/year/decade/etc: remember that article about weird life and the shadow biosphere I linked to a few weeks back? It ended with the following paragraph: “The discovery of a form of life that could have arisen only via a second genesis would be the most sensational event in the history of biology, with sweeping consequences for science and technology. It would also have immediate implications for astrobiology, as we could then be sure that the universe really is teeming with life, as so many commentators glibly assert.”

Well, this week they announced that they found something quite close to second genesis. A bacteria that uses arsenic in place of phosphorus. Cue explosion of sf stories deriving from this… Now the further news is that it is not true second genesis, but an alternate strain of carbon/phosphorus-based bacteria that adapted so extremely they changed their genetic building-block elements. Many are disappointed that it is not true second genesis or alien life, but we still have more tools for finding life-as-we-don’t-know-it than we did before finding this strain; and if life can exist in a form other than the six elemental building blocks of life-as-we-know-it, just here on Earth, then the hypothesis that life (as we know it or not) formed elsewhere becomes much more likely. Feel free to discuss in comments!

A leap in anti-aging techniques (in mice) here.

What happened before the Big Bang? Some scientists have an interesting theory…

A flat universe?

More kinesthetic technology please!

Cancer vaccines made from patient’s own tumor?
Some success on this finally shows up…

And some activist thinking with your science-y weekend…

I don’t agree with every single one of Single Dad Laughing’s points in these articles, but I highly approve of how he says them and how he’s thinking about this issue. Worthless Women and Worthless Men are worth reading. Even though our household incorporates most of his suggestions near the end of the second article (we’re all pretty good about appreciating each other regularly) it never hurts to have a reminder/refresher course on how much words and actions matter in interpersonal relationships.

And in the ongoing TSA debacle, I don’t advocate boycotting flying, but I am ecstatic when people who ARE privileged enough to take a stand on these violations of personal rights do so, whether it’s Penn Jillette calling the cops for assault (older link), or this TSA officer refusing to touch genitals.

And in creepy news, the TSA officers get to assault you, but if you decide to like it back (like the many humorous rejoinders to current TSA policy I’ve seen floating around the internet suggest) you will be arrested. How screwed up is that?

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