Sunday, May 24, 2009

Announcements... Coolstuff... and Halliburton

See my latest manic comedy story “Gorilla My Dreams” in UNIVERSE Magazine (online).  This is a very different flavor of humor than my more - well - level-headed comedic serial “The Ancient Ones.”  Subscribe to UNIVERSE with this coupon code EE329517B2 and get $5 off!

And yes, this is one of my catch-all postings, filled with wonders... zipping from topic to topic but ending on a serious (and political) note.)

 Please drop by the GoodReads web site and see if this endeavors, helping readers connect with authors and books, appeals to you.  (Of course, it would not hurt to rate your favorite author there!; ) 

Some folks try this and comment! Scribd, an Internet start-up here, will introduce on Monday a way for anyone to upload a document to the Web and charge for it.

See my brief essay on the can-do spirit of Star Trek, in The NY Daily News site.  I have subsequently thought further.  The self-indulgence of including every character from the original series, right away, is as irritating as ever.  (In fact, I hate it.  The characters spanned a wide range of ages, in fact.)  And the massive death toll was disturbing.  And the “red matter” and “supernova” stuff could have done with a technical advisor -- someone savvy in both science and fiction, to make it more plausible and less, well, boneheaded.  Still, it was overall entertaining and cheerfully manic and within range for me to tune my “expectation dials” and have a rollicking good time.

See a mostly positive article in the Washington Post about the involvement of SIGMA - the think tank of science fiction authors - at a recent conference on Homeland security.

Anyone care to study up on this, telling us more than is in the article?  Tantalizing!  Ultra-dense deuterium may be the nuclear fuel of the future.  I wonder if they are talking about Rydberg Matter. (Thanks Mike G.)

Alas, it’s probably to good to be true.  Says Brian Wang: “It isn't even "microscopic amounts" - for "microscopic" means "visible in a microscope". Do the math, fellow NBF visionaries: 2.3 picometers .....   This is not a union-of-deuterons lasting nanoseconds, or microseconds, or milliseconds, or seconds. No, these are the fragments that lasted just long enough for the D(-1) state to hold together in a laser beam for ATTOSECONDS.”  sigh.

Fascinating look at “The Economics of Star Trek.” 

Side appeal:  See BETTER OFF TED on ABC.  It is hilarious and terrifically written and needs some buzz in order to survive.

Thoughts on the “natural burial” movement... or “be a tree?”

"Isolation of a gene called DARPP-32 helps explain why some people fly into a rage at the slightest provocation, while others can remain calm. .. Those who had the "TT" or "TC" versions of the gene portrayed significantly more anger than those with the "CC" version." Telegraph 6th May 2009.

Here’s a cool looking new magazine with an ambitious theme and a quirky title: Build a Model Orbiter  (!)  Seems I’ll be featured in an upcoming article.   

Somebody do a book report for us on Jacques Pitrat's new book Artificial Ethics: Moral Conscience, Awareness and Consciencousness   “...of interest to anyone who likes robotics, software, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and science-fiction.”

=== Miscellany ===

More than 100 schools have partnered with YouTube to make the YouTube EDU channel, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, and UC.

 Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

 GM and Segway demonstrated Tuesday an electric two-wheel, two-seat prototype vehicle for use in congested urban environments. The 300-pound, zero-emissions vehicle is powered by a lithium-ion battery and dual electric wheel motors. It features all-electronic acceleration, steering, and braking.

 A new thermodynamic analysis suggests that 10 of life's 20 amino acids must be common throughout the cosmos  for reasons that I explicated in my 1983 SETI review article.

 A roundup of the coolest computer interfaces past, present, and future.

A sixth nucleotide?

 See another TED video about data visualization.  The Allosphere.

 Tweet this: Rapid-fire media may confuse your moral compass.  Um.... duh?

 At a  conference last week, researchers showcased many new and innovative ways to interact with machines, from  to .  Including (out of sci fi) Eye-Tracking Goggles....

 Just after midnight on Thursday, April 9, unidentified attackers climbed down four manholes serving the Northern California city of Morgan Hill and in what appears to have been an organized attack on the electronic infrastructure of an American city. Its implications, though startling, have gone almost un-reported. That attack demonstrated a severe fault in American infrastructure: its centralization.

 Ugolog Creates Surveillance Website To Watch Anyone, Anywhere

  Free Will... or at least the place where we decide to act, is sited in a part of the brain called the parietal cortex, new research suggests.

    Looking for signals from distant civilizations might be an effort in futility, according to scientists who met at Harvard University recently. The dominant view of astronomers at a symposium on the future of human life in the Universe seems to be that if other life is
out there, it likely is dominated by microbes or other nonspeaking creatures.   If life did develop elsewhere, Andrew Knoll, the Fisher Professor of Natural History, used the lessons of planet Earth to give an idea of what it might take to develop intelligence. Of the three major groupings of life: bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes, only the eukaryotes developed complex life. And even among the myriad kinds of eukaryotes, complex life arose in just a few places: animals, plants, fungi, and red and brown algae. Knoll said he believes that the rise of mobility, oxygen levels, and predation, together with its need for sophisticated sensory systems, coordinated activity, and a brain, provided the first steps toward intelligence.

Josh D supplied these about ZOMBIE animals... and maybe zombie humans...brrrr...

Achieving WaterIndependence

Living Machines.  Wowser.  And I portrayed them in EARTH, of course.

CaliforniaWaterAndEnergy does seem to be based on my Kiln People concept.  But that's not my biggest complaint.  It takes forever to load each page of their site, in exchange for lots of gloss and very little actual information.  Frankly, I haven’t the patience to wade slowly through their interface.  Somebody try it and report?

What would you do with a $40 Linux computer the size of a three-prong plug adapter? Marvell Technology Group is counting on an army of computer engineers and hackers to answer that question. It has created a “plug computer.” It’s a tiny plastic box that you plug into an electric outlet. There’s no display. But there is an Ethernet jack to connect to a home network and a U.S.B. socket for attaching a hard drive, camera or other device. Inside is a 1.2 gigahertz Marvell chip, called an application processor, running a version of the Linux operating system.

And finally, lighting the political lamp...

Halliburton exposed.
This is absolutely necessary to view.  A wave of “emergency-override” crony contracts that violated every US contracting law.  Anyone who does not realize that this was the main reason for the war has got to be crazy.  And mind you I wanted to go and get Saddam!  In order to make up for the way Bush Sr. betrayed the Iraqi people in 1991.  But that was never the goal. It was the excuse. 

 Said one viewer: “God, I wish Obama had the balls to go after these bastards. Dig down deep enough, and you'll find the roots leading up to Bush and Cheney.”  Indeed, unleashing totally apolitical auditors and civil servants and prosecutors is precisely the way that BHO can attack without seeming to be pursuing a witch hunt.  Again... see this video! And get others to do so.

*  Oh... and political art dada.

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