Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quick Review of "Time to Write"

Kelly L. Stone's "Time to Write" (Adams Media 2008) features advice from over 100 professional writers, interwoven by her own commentary on finding time to write.

Introduced in chapter 2 and reiterated throughout the text she focuses on what she aptly calls the "Burning Desire to Write", which is something that writers just know they have to do, and as such, are deeply motivated and will find the time to write.

She also says paramount to writing success is devising a schedule and sticking to it no matter what. And in chapter 4, she sketches out seven types of schedules for different lifestyles, also pointing out the pros and cons of each.

The rest of the book gives tips and advice on planning, making goals, and overcoming resistance to writing. The appendices feature a character sheet, online resources, writers organizations and short biographies and web pages of all the interviewed writers.

I found that the book is abundant with helpful, practical and sound advice and definately worth the time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Counter-Clock World

As the dawn of the 21st Century approaches in Philip K. Dick's "Counter-Clock World", the Earth enters what is known as the Hobart Phase. The beginning of this phase is marked by what essentially amounts to a reversal of Entropy. The buried Dead can be heard scratching at their enclosures and yelling for assistance. Cigarette butts are taken from ashtrays and smoked into full length sticks and then packaged. The Old get younger and copulation marks the end of a pregnancy. A greeting is announced by "Good-bye" and parting with "Hello". Books are eradicated at the Library instead of checked out.

Sebastian Hermes is the owner and manager of the "Flask of Hermes" Vitarium. There, he leads a motley crew consisting of a physician, a salesman, a techie and a priest. His business is that of assisting the "Reborn" and then negotiating a sale to any party interested.

As the rebirth of a prominent religious leader, Anarch Peak, is forthcoming, rivalry ensues amongst certain government factions, Hermes's Vitarium, the Uditi , and the Library. For whomever controls the Anarch, may very well control the world.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nexi, the Robot


Meet Nexi, MIT's Media Lab's experimental emotive robot. She (at my own liberty) is truly impressive with expressive eyebrows, and various gestures correlating to all the human emotions. Neat!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bagua Tattoo

I've finally took a low-rez picture of my Bagua Tattoo on my left deltoid (upper arm). I apologize for the long delay. Wikipedia has a decent article on the meaning behind the symbol. Surrounding the yin yang are eight trigrams, each with different meanings.

I realize that it is similar to the Dharma logo in the ABC series "Lost". I did watch Lost before I got the tattoo, however, it had in no way influenced my decision to obtain one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Geeks and Nerds: A Guide has a really neat article with an image guide showcasing diffderent types of residents of geekdom. Neat!

Thursday, April 10, 2008



It seems our Intelligence community has finally caught up with TV. IARPA is a new agency that is similar to DARPA. Instead of Defense Advance Research Progects Agency, it is Intelligence Advance Research Progects Activity. Its function is to be to the Intelligence community what DARPA is to the Defense community.

It reminds me of the TV series "Alias" with Marshall Flinkman as the chief geek tech guy for first SD6 and then later the CIA.

Oh, by the way, it's pronounced "Yarpa".

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Robert Sawyer's "Rollback"

The last book I read by Robert Sawyer dealt with the issue of near immortality by uploading a "copy" of the human mind to a mechanical body. This time around, he elects to tell us of another method of life extension, which he call's a "rollback", also the title of the book.

A rollback is an assortment of procedures that uses gene therapy, nano-robotic drones, cloning organs, and traditional surgery to essentially turn back the living clock that we are counting down to. The clock can be set back as early as the age of 25.

Although the process is extraordinarily expensive (not even multi-millionaire celebrities and sports icons can afford this luxury) Sarah and Don Halifax are given the procedure because a certain party thinks Sarah Halifax should be present for their ongoing commucations from an Alien species know as the Dracons, whose home is almost 19 light years away.

Although Sarah's husband, Don, isn't particularly needed for the Alien communications, Sarah wouldn't even consider the possibility unless her husband would be granted a rollback, as well.

When the rollback procedure is complete and the effects seen to be recognizable (a couple of months after the procedure is finished) Don, is reaping the benefits of youthfulness and vigor. However, Sarah's body had some interfering factors (a result of treatment for a previous cancer) that inhibited the success of the rollback.

Not the least resentful, Sarah is in a race to decode the latest message from the Dracons, before her weary body succumbs to the aging process, while Don struggles to adapt to his new found youth and vitality.

Sawyer succeeds in portraying how such a rollback affects the inquiry of immortality and the disadvantages and struggles it could assume, as well.

Contrasting the difference in physical age between Sarah and Don, he also shows us that true love and respect knows no such boundaries.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Human Hair Carved to reveal University Logo


This link from led to a story on boing boing about researchers from the McMaster University in Hamilton, Onatario using a "focused ion beam microscope" (FIB) to strip away atoms from the surface of a strand of human hair.

Definately worth a look.

The FIB microscope will be used to fabricate nanoscale devices.