Thursday, September 30, 2010

InterstellarNet: New Order

Machiavellian?  That's kids' stuff!  Beware humanity's new neighbors ...

Machiavelli advised that, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." And he only schemed about petty squabbles between Italian city-states.

That brings me to InterstellarNet: New Order, the latest installment in my InterstellarNet future history.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wild, wacky stuff

The universe is strange. If I'd ever been so foolish as to think I understood the place, any of the following recent discoveries would have disabused me of the notion.

Apparently the sun affects the decay rates of radioactive elements here on Earth. The effect is tied to solar flares and the rotation rate of the sun's core.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When robots collide

Today's topic: some interesting articles I've accumulated from the world(s) of computer science.

Like progress toward self-driving vehicles. See how the University of Parma’s Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory drove a robotic car from Italy to China. (It wasn't always quite autonomous, or always entirely trusted, but this was an impressive feat nonetheless. See article for exceptions. )

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Of Gw'oth and Jotoki

It's less than obvious from this post's subject line, but I can still type. Gw'oth (singular, Gw'o) are starfish-like aliens that figure in the Fleet of Worlds series of novels. Jotoki (singular, Jotok) are starfish-like aliens that figure in the Man-Kzin War series of books.

The FOW novels are my space-operatic collaborations with Larry Niven. The MKW books are short-fiction space-operatic collections "created by Larry Niven," with most stories contributed by other authors. Both series share a setting Larry calls Known Space.

But that's a very spacious (pun unavoidable) setting: call it a thousand years of future history in a steadily growing volume that is many light-years across. Plenty of room therein for storytelling ... MKW and FOW do not meet.

Humanoid aliens teem in SF, with seldom any speculation that the species are related even when the humanoids share a fictional universe. No such forbearance for starfishoid aliens. Speculation abounds, as in this Wikipedia article about Known Space, that Gw'oth and Jotoki are related.

They're not.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Juggling chainsaws

Mental chainsaws, anyway. Working too many projects at the same time *is* hazardous to one's mental health. But there's relief in sight. In the past few days I: