Echopraxia by Peter Watts

September 5th, 2014

Science fiction is often divided into two main genres: soft and hard. Soft science fiction tends to be more humanistic, with a greater emphasis on traditional story and character development. Ursula Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, and Cordwainer Smith are good examples.

Hard science fiction tends to focus on concepts, with more weight given to scientific rigor and speculation. Its lineage stretches from Asimov and Clarke to modern authors like Greg Bear and Alastair Reynolds. It's not to say these guys can't write stories, but this is primarily a literature of ideas.

That's where Watts comes in. His books are defined by pessimism towards the future and a density of scientific detail. He wants to make a point as well as tell a story.

National Mutt Day

July 31st, 2014

They get their own holiday, too. Since Maia doesn't actually have a job, she doesn't get a day off.

So, mostly it's an extra popsicle and a bit more crotch sniffing than President's Day.

Maia on the couch

That Explains It!

July 8th, 2014


I have to admit: it's not the loopiest hypothesis I've heard. For those concerned about drones, there's informative, if not misguided, information here.


May 26th, 2014

Politicians didn't waste any time calling for gun control following the Elliot Rodger shooting. The usual suspects like Dick Blumenthal and Peter King have already made their voices heard. So has Dianne Feinstein, whose renewal of the ineffective Assault Weapons Ban was snubbed last year.

We must ask ourselves if an individual whose family called police with concerns about mental health, who is receiving therapy and who has had several run-ins with police should be allowed to own multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. When anyone, no matter their mental health or history, can so easily obtain

Two Can Play

April 20th, 2014

Michael Bloomberg has started a new initiative called "Everytown for Gun Safety." It's easily the worst gun safety site I've ever seen. There is no information about safe handling, safe storage, safety training, or anything about safety at all. It's just boilerplate for gun-control advocacy.

That just won't do. Someone created a pro-gun "Everytown for Gun Safety" Facebook page, but it has been removed. Bloomberg must be a really poor sport.

For an alternative, check out Anytown for Gun Safety. Yes, I'm being snarky and spiteful. If anyone wants the .com or .org domains for a …

So, This Happened…

March 21st, 2014

A dealer in Minnesota shipped us a pistol like this:

Postage Fail

That's 92 stamps, in case anyone's wondering. The saddest part was that he was still $0.14 short when he got to the post office.

I spent a couple of minutes marveling at how long it must have taken to stick all those on the box. Bonus points for persistence, I suppose.

Rogue 2 is Down

February 18th, 2014

Christopher Malcom has passed away at the age of 67. He played Zev Senesca in the Empire Strikes Back.

If you don't know who that is, you can do your penance by watching the original trilogy again tonight.

By Ysgramor's Scraggly Beard

February 12th, 2014

☠☠☠☠. Really. I mean, ☠☠☠☠.

I guess I'm not going anywhere for awhile. On the bright side, I still have power. Many people in Georgia don't at the moment. Fortunately, everyone knew enough to get off the roads before the worst hit.

The bird feeder gets pretty popular in this weather, and I'm getting visitors I've not seen before.

Bird Feeder

Here's hoping something thaws by tomorrow.

Here We Go Again

February 12th, 2014

It looks like we're in for a repeat performance of the weather problems we had two weeks ago. As usual, our infrastructure is woefully underprepared. People may be stuck in their houses for several days, and power outages are likely. We can expect a bit of finger-pointing when it's over, but nothing will change.

In the meantime, make sure you've got batteries charged and your 30-caliber magazine clips loaded. For while we sit at home and eat Cheetos, the Draugr are training.

Acceptance vs. Investigation

February 5th, 2014

Last night, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis. It didn't go so well for Nye.

Why? Because Ham has certainty on his side, and certainty isn't something scientists do. Scientists don't accept explanations without proof, and they're smart enough to admit when they don't know something. Creationists, on the other hand, claim to have all the answers. At the end of the day, the latter approach appeals more to a crowd.

Creationists generally issue a few stock arguments against various theories, most of which are easily debunked by even the layman. Notice …

Always with the Democrats

January 31st, 2014

We've got eleven Democrats retiring from Congress this year: four from the Senate and seven from the House. While gun owners will hardly miss Carolyn McCarthy or Henry Waxman, we're also losing a few allies. For all the facile claims that the Republicans support the 2nd Amendment and the Democrats don't, this may be of interest.

Tom Harkin of Iowa and Carl Levin of Michigan both co-sponsored the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act and have F ratings from the NRA, as does Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. On the other hand, consider Max Baucus, who holds a B rating. Despite some …

Snow Day

January 28th, 2014

When it snows, the wolves come.

Maia Derping

…or at least, Derp Hound. As far as I know, this is the first time Maia's seen snow. She seems to approve.

Frozen bird feeder

Meanwhile, my whole yard looks like a Joni Mitchell album cover.

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