Sunday, July 31, 2005

Back On The Grid (Or "I Win, Bitch!")

More on NASA's autodarwinatory tendencies
NASA looks into shuttle "debris": Oh yeah, put it in quotes, that'll keep them safe. I swear to God, if they crash on re-entry because of this shite ... Argh. I'll do exactly nothing other than mumble itoldyousos to whoever will listen.

Shuttle almost declared safe for landing: Sure, whatever. I'll believe it when those astronauts walk away from the landing, safe and vertical.


Lady of Mazes: is a fountain of ideas. I mean, the votes, 3340, tech-locks ... wow, that was just so amazingly cool. Karl Schroeder is evidently no neophyte but he's new to me, which is all that counts.
Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again; great minds think like me. Case in point: the true nature of 3340 is pretty much what I had in mind here.

A Place So Foreign: I'm ninety percent sure that Manfred Macx is based on Cory Doctorow. No one else comes close.

Speaking of Accelerando, check out this piece of proto-exoself technology.

This, too, will pass, thinks the bulk of his metacortex. And it drifts off into the net to think deep thoughts elsewhere ...


Last but not least
Incidentally, I stomped Writer's Block into the ground using hitherto unknown techniques. The battle slashed across the heavens, traced in bolts of lightning and witnessed by cloudminds worth of ravens, deep in meditative susurrus. Not only did I assemble a truly brilliant+holistic explanation for chi, magic, psionics and the existence of gods, I also did so in the form of two chapters. I effing rock.

Quote of the Day
"I totally respect my fellow soldiers. It's just that I'm so much more badass than them."

Says it all right there, really.

(From Last Days of FOXHOUND)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Me, Myself and Me.

Doing: savage battle with Writers Block.

Eating: Honey Bunches of Oats.

Reading: The Traveller, Olympos, A Place So Foreign

Read: Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow, Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder

Listening: What We Livin' For - Team 220 & Krumbsnatcha (plus Shirley Bassey sample)

Watching: Over There on FX

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NASA: Groundward Bound ...

First, Hubble went down. I didn't comment. Was I upset? Yes, Hubble pictures have always been a thing of beauty and hope but hey, they're just pictures, right?

That was before I became aware of the insidious snake coiled within ... no, not yet.

Next, when they launched the Solar Sail, I distinctly recall making a comment about the collective deathwish of humanity, seeing as the funding came from a freakin' TV station, not governments working together. Of course it failed.

Fast-forward a month or two, NASA's ready to send up a shuttle again. Weee!! All to the good? Not on your life. You see, by this time I was getting wise to the game behind the game. Still, some unsmashed vestige of hope and optimism remained.

Sure enough, they self-sabotage by launching with a broken fuel gauge. Then, they actually get off the ground launched and the damn thing spills debris, just like two years ago.

And now this.

How long till they scrap the whole space thing altogether? How long before they just give up completely? The coming re-entry accident is likely to be a back-breaking straw. Head down all the way, m&(*#%$%#@ers, eyes to the ground. I've been saying this for a while (not here though); there is a conspiracy or at the very least, an attitude that is driving those in charge away from anything related to space travel, to looking up, to looking out, to in any way exploring infinite untapped potential. No no, sit in your cubicle! Grind away! Drink coffee! Eat muffins! Die.

And all it will cost us is the boundless potential of outer space. Oh and, you know, the lives of a few astronauts. No big deal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Who Knew ...

... that there were people like this in real life?

Bottomless drive, brilliance wrought of sheer will, glorious neoteny ... and here I thought the superheroes of our milieu were celebrities and pornstars.

Fly, Zora. Fly.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

$ for your Soul ...

... can't believe it took me this long to link it.

Sinfest, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Feynman ex Machina and more rampant bibliophagy ...


Scardown = not so much a sequel to Hammered as the second half. As in, buy both, tear off Hammered's back cover, do the same to Scardown's front cover and you've got you a single very cool doorstop of a book. Despite Elizabeth Bear's mild denunciation of the Singularity (in the sense that the likes of me define it), she's clearly taking her story there, come Worldwired. Much like Richard K. Morgan in that regard.

On the other hand, she did say she intends to deconstruct the concept quite a bit; the idea being that thinking faster, being a thought-being (heh heh) and being able to self-replicate helterskelter doesn't guarantee transcendence or fundamental superiority. I disagree but I'll wait till I've read Worldwired.

Iron Sunrise: Stross, the Warren Ellis is strong with you (see Idi Amin Dadaist for details). I am consumed with annoyance every time Wednesday appears on-page. This however is eclipsed by the enmity I hold for Y.T. The only way I can reconcile my loathing for the latter with my love for Stephenson's works is to assume she's a parody of something I haven't read. Goddamn all Mary Sues everywhere.

Ahem. Moving on ...

Ilium = roxx0rs! Achilles is teh badass!! Moravecs (and their cousins) 0wnz0rz j00!!

Currently reading:

The Traveller: John Twelve Hawks (who apparently lives Off The Grid) wrote this. I'm only about twenty pages into the thing so I have very little to say. Cover design is pure aesthetic kickassery and the author seems to have a poor opinion of western civilization.

Olympos: sequel to Ilium. Godsex is, heh, godlike, wouldncha know . Best opening line EVAR. More Classics than you can shake a vibrosword at; The Aenid, secret history of The Odyssey, the Tempest and somehow, freakin' Cthulhu.

Loving it though.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Ultimatization of a Legend?

Not being a Star Trek fan, only having seen about ten episodes of TOS and the Khan movie, I can't even remotely bring myself to care that the franchise is no longer on air.

I am however familiar with the setting and like Chris Roberson here (him I know), I've always wondered why the hell the Federation isn't a lot more powerful than it's portrayed.

Consider the following:

The Federation is a post-scarcity economy, with FTL technology and the ability to create AIs.

Exactly. What I never considered though was applying the Singularity mindset to the Star Trek universe. As Roberson shows, the results would be devastating:

This should be approached as a post-Singularity culture, in the best Vingean tradition. Zipping across the cosmos at superluminal speeds, explorers able to instantiate at innumerable locations on a given world simultaneously, multiple iterations of each individual spawned by the ship's ability to break down organisms into replicatable patterns and then rebuild them from available matter. Whole research teams made up of multiple copies of one scientist, a kind of hivemind working in concert. Human-machine hybrids, augmented humans, and artificial intelligences rubbing shoulders on the bridge.

To which I add, vacuum-proof invincible holowarriors, infinite ammo, Khan-style enhancements for the entire human race. Let's not even get into the famous "technobabble" one-off devices.

Star Trek could - should - have been awesome. Here's to Moore (of Galactica fame) getting his hands on it in the next decade.

Sprinklefiction ...

... or "Our Hero discovers a new technique":

- I reach out and grab – my god, grab – one slashing claw. Clench. Bone or something like it crackles in my grip. Quickly-freezing skin limns my hand. The creature howls, incapable of being still, lashing out with every limb, teeth snapping. I just keep at it; snag and break, snag and crush, snag and snap. With the accompaniment of hissy shrieks, it starts to sound almost like music. Aural taste of chicken. On the edges of my sensorium, I can pick out my guys boggling at the scene; I grin and, of course, they get the wrong idea. Can’t blame them though; my teeth - and every other body part - are glowing black.

The Chiang Sh’ih heals the damage as quick as I can do it but its chi supply’s been cut off. I'll bet it wishes it’d gone for my jizamurai when it had the chance. Grass dies pointlessly around the monster's feet. Soon, its healing rate starts to lag behind my osteologist symphony and its cries grow more piteous than feral. Impatient, I grab its neck and ram its face into the earth. Wriggly bastard’s still flopping about so I seize a leg too. Then, with all equanimity, I place a foot gently on its spine – and lift. There’s no need to stop till I hear Kellogg’s. Not even then

Sunday, July 17, 2005

There are no words ...


Thin Sandar, a chicken seller in Myanmar, had always dreamed of being a man. When she inexplicably grew a penis last month, the 21-year-old treated it as an awe-inspiring omen – as have the thousands of stunned villagers who have traveled to a pagoda to see him.

... *opens mouth*

*can't find anything to say*

Just ... let the link speak for itself.

Picture from Blogsimages

Saturday, July 16, 2005

"Kung fu Bomb Making" ...

... Ellis is a past master at the fine art of the anti-infodump; delivering piping hot instantly-understood scorpion-sting payloads in six words or less. The comic from which the above quote comes is the best thing he's done all year, including Ultimate Fantastic Four.

Desolation Jones #2. Go read. Now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

See you Saturday and Other stories ...

... as per usual, I'm going off the grid until <see above>.

Tidbits to go out on:

- I just medusaheaded ImproveNigeria. This is important to me for a variety of reasons.

- for the 3.5 people who care, I've finally gotten a handle on Weepee Prime. Imagination firing on all cylinders etc. Auto-induced stigmata formation is one hell of a demon repellent.

- I'll be reviewing The Crown at some point in the near future.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Things that are true ...

... Zeno's Paradox is only true when you're falling into a black hole.
Similarly, Lamarckian evolution is only true for software, memes and, eventually, the entities produced thereof.

Vernor Vinge deliberately left out self-replicating machines from Marooned In Realtime because one of the novel's prime conceits i.e. the inability to repair autons, could not exist otherwise.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Too late, now you have to buy it ...

... hey, don't look at me, you had your chance.

Books 1 and 2 of Hannibal Tabu's The Crown have been collected into The Crown: Ascension, ladies and gentlemen. For sale at Booksurge.

Entertaining content only.

NASA Deep Impact: Comet's huge plume hides crater ...

... also, children.

From BBC Science and Nature

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Chindogu ...

... Not all useless things are design failures. In fact, chindogu is an entire line of Japanese inventions with the sole purpose of having no purpose. To be chindogu - which means "weird tool" - a product cannot be patented, must be anarchic in spirit, must exist, and, strangely enough, must not be for sale.


This shiznit is even cleverer than first impressions would indicate.

The Revenge of Sprinklefiction ...

... or because I just felt like posting something from weepee-Prime:

… I watch the Ghost Pathist approach, her oh-so-spectacular leap-kick trapped in the amber of my subjective fasttime. I debate whether to continue holding to their upper-most performance threshold.

Or whether to just stop f*@#ing around and kill them all …


...Aloud, while bouncing punches off her knuckles, I remark conversationally, “You should know: breaking a mirror is seven years bad luck.” Her eyes flicker; she’s caught my meaning. But what luck has the mirror? She’ll be slipping in a would-be surprise any time now. Some desperation tactic, perhaps a Pyrrhic attack; her breed tends to go that route at the drop of a hat. It can be irritating.

“What kind of person takes pride in being disposable?”

Her eyes. Shock. Anger. Fear. Will. Pride forced to prominence. Kamikaze mode _off_, biatch. Fight me. Fight for your life. Fight for _your_ life. I retreat. She follows. Battle is a juggling act and that goes double for fanatics. Triple for fanatics you’re trying not to kill or let die …

Backdated from 6:25 PM

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"A womans place is not in anything scientific" ...

... got your attention, did I ?

Check it out: Letters to Astounding circa 1939. There are some delightful surprises to be found therein.

- Via coalescent's livejournal

'Cause I'm Badass but ...

... like the man said.

For the uninitiated, there are MGS3 spoilers. Proceed at your own -



- From Last Days of FOXHOUND

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Currently reading ...

... Dan Simmons' Ilium. Roughly halfway through the book.

Impressions so far:

- There seems to be a halfassed splice of Zelazny's Lord of Light with some insufficiently-explored singularitypunk tropes going on here. But, if I know where he's going with this (and I think I do), the ending of Olympos is going to be brilliant beyond all reason.

- The Iliad parts seem much better written and enjoyable than the scifi parts ... which is insane coming from the author of Hyperion and creator of my hero, the Shrike.

- Never read Proust, liked exactly two Shakespeare plays (haven't read enough of the sonnets to form an opinion) and yet the moravecs are my favorite characters.

- Sex with Helen of Troy = fanboy wish-fulfillment

More when I finish.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Title? What title?

Warren Ellis in a suit. Now I've seen everything.

Brief and incoherent rant about recentralization and the iPod ...

... behold the Bose Sound Dock. For use with thine iPod (assuming you haven't boarded a train recently).

Why in the name of all that is good did someone think this was necessary? Isn't the whole point of portable devices to be ... idunno, portable? Or is there something larger at play here? Is The Man trying to keep free peds Down?

In a most geeky discussion I recently engaged in, there was an argument as to whether one would willingly become a superintelligent skyscraper (runaway IA to cut a long story short). The general consensus was no. Now nice in-brain implants on the other hand ... mmm, iiimplaaants ... *glaaaargh*

... ahem. Anyway, why is the iPod, which is rapidly becoming a symbol (however commercial, however shallow) of freedom in today's America, being given a home, a prison, roots? Can't society break away from this "maturity" thing for one lousy second?