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Concomitant Lessons October 25, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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From SF Microcontrollers list on Yahoo Groups: “The other, somewhat dubious, benefit of breadboarding stuff over and over again: they teach you a lot about both troubleshooting and neatness.  Usually simultaneously.”

Armor by John Steakly October 24, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books.
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Armor by John Steakley is the sort of tale I read while still a bored adolescent, and consequently fits my morning and evening commute very nicely.  It is the story of a man joining the equivalent of the French Foreign Legion (in space, with powered armed exoskeletons) fighting people he can’t understand (eight foot-tall ants) for no reason except to lose himself.  Fate is not so kind to him; he survives (barely) twenty horrible battles which were decisively lost by the humans—sort of.

This ordinarily would be a dull story of war but it’s told from the point of view (partly) of a pirate thief sort of character, who is forced to relive the Legionnaire’s  battles when hooked up to the power suit…this is sort of interesting, because he gets a feelings transplant from the dead Legionnaire.  Hilarity does emphatically not ensue but a real disgust with war does, and so does the ability to make tough decisions.

Read by Tom Weiner (narrator of many of Larry Niven’s novels), the audiobook is $109.00 for the CDs and $19.95 for the Audible edition…guess which one I heard.  Go on, I’ll wait.  There is no Kindle version, alas.

John Steakley apparently passed away in 2010, and was the author of Vampires, on which the John Carpenter movie was based.  I haven’t read it, but assume it’s close to the movie version because the movie is so damn visceral.

Whatever. October 24, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words, Photography.
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I live in the most beautiful city in the world, but the countryside is better (there, I said it.  Leave me alone).  This photo is from John Scalzi’s blog Whatever, part of my extensive RSS feed.  He has lovely photos of the sunsets as well, pretty much every day, cause that’s how cool Ohio can be.

What the Hell? October 23, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable.
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I used to think myself eloquent, or at least voluble.

Now I think I’m too stunned to ever speak again.

The Book of Mormon, uh, Sort of. October 22, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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Not only does it parody the Book of Mormon advertisements on TV (are those still on?  I don’t really watch enough to know) but it has exactly the same level of credibility.

Sushi Fights Back at Last October 22, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Japan, Mutants, Octopus, Video.
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Newsweek is Now The Weekly World News October 18, 2012

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“Citing “the challenging print advertising environment,” Newsweek – which will turn 80 next year – has announced that it is canning its print publication and transforming itself into a single, worldwide digital edition, Newsweek Global.”—theregister.co.ukNewsWeek

Bullshit.  They just can’t write anything anyone wants to read.  Look at that headline.  It’s just like WWN used to be: “Telephone Talks to God”, “Bat Boy Lives” and “Baby Born Talking Gives Father Winning Lottery Numbers” (my personal favorite).

It’s kind of fair, though: no facts, no money.  See how that works?

Sunrise on the San Francisco Bay October 17, 2012

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GG Bridge sunrise panocropped

Taken from the freeway up to the Waldo tunnel.  No special panorama widget because my phone is not that great of a camera.

Sunset Over Ishi Wilderness October 17, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography.
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Taken from the helicopter pad at the CDF staging area in Campbellville.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley October 9, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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I will not say that this video captures anything but the spirit of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, and that only of the second part, wherein the protagonist really grows into her part.  She has to, having lost all the parts of memory and personality that made her herself.  Rook Thomas is a highly-placed member of the secret agency that guards the UK from domestic and foreign terrors (not to be confused with terrorists).  You know, manifestations and that lot.  When we join her story she wakes up naked, wet and screaming (oops, wrong reference.  Damn painkillers), surrounded by dead people wearing gloves and with no memory of herself or how she got that way.  Fortunately, she left herself detailed notes knowing it was coming.

Yeah, I know; but he tells it well.  Really.  I read this in the Kindle version and it was quite nice.  Many snarky remarks which suit my screwed-up personality very well.  I’m sure I’d like a beer with this guy.  The Audible version is USD 20.95, and I would probably listen to it now knowing how it all works out, just to hear someone read those lines to me.

Close-orbiting Stars at Milky Way’s Core October 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Science, Uncategorizable.
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Look at that.

Damn.  That’s seventeen years of data taken by radio. The intersection of all those orbits is the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The track in yellow is 11.5-year track of S0-102’s orbit around the black hole. “The fruits of these observations include the measurement of the mass of the Milky Way’s central black hole: approximately four million times the mass of the Sun.”

Take a moment to digest that.

I stole that image from Ars Technica, where I also stole the following one, but it might not show as well, being animated and all (WordPress sometimes doesn’t show them well for me; YMMV):


They in turn stole the data from Science, 2012. DOI: 10.1126/science.1225506.

Ribbon Eel October 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable, Video.
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Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson October 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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A seminal novel written during the pregnancy of her firstborn, G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen is a nice mixture of intrigue, romance (twisted through Islamic notions, sure, but still romance) and Arabian Nights fantasy by way of Charles Stross’ Laundry.  Extra points for correctly identifying the fantasy characters.  There may be a quiz later.

Alif is a poor hacker for hire who specializes in hiding people online from the security apparatus of the State (unspecified but Middle Eastern with an emir, if that helps any).  His well-to-do lover leaves him for an arranged marriage to the head of said apparatus (“The Hand”—are we ominous yet?) just as the eponymous finger is put upon him thereby.  The girl of course has an additional problem to leave with him-a book written by jinn containing perhaps the secret to true artificial intelligence, and a lure for The Hand.

With the MacGuffin securely in hand, Our Hero retreats into the Empty Quarter, a kind of knothole in reality where jinn and related magic critters live, and where interesting bargains are struck…oh it’s ever so much more complicated than that with interesting characters called upon to do frightening things.  I will spare you surprises which I think will delight you; they delighted me.  Certainly I haven’t begun to tell you the weird stuff.  Go buy the book, and be entranced.

Once again, due to gods know what algorithm the audiobook from Audible is more expensive than the CD by seven bucks.  I read the Kindle version, myself, which is still more expensive than the CD by one dollar. 

Go figure.