Monday, December 19, 2016

Biological bits

My academic background, first/pre-writing career, and typical surfing all involve(d) physics and computer science -- but I nonetheless sometimes run across interesting biological topics. And so, herewith, one in an occasional series of looks at news from the biological, including the exo-biological, frontier...

Johnny Bee Goode?
I read a lot of alarmist mentions of "colony collapse disorder" affecting bees. Here's a more upbeat look: "Believe it or not, the bees are doing just fine." The takeaway:
You've probably heard the bad news by now that bees were recently added to the endangered species list for the first time. But if you're part of the 60 percent of people who share stories without actually reading them, you might have missed an important detail: namely, that the newly endangered bees are a handful of relatively obscure species who live only in Hawaii.
The bees you're more familiar with — the ones that buzz around your yard dipping into flowers, making honey, pollinating crops and generally keeping the world's food supply from collapsing? Those bees are doing just fine, according to data released by the USDA this year.

Mechanical and biological approaches to design seem disjoint. True, such approaches often differ -- but disjoint is a higher standard, disprovable by a single counterexample. As in this one: "Functioning 'mechanical gears' seen in nature for the first time." Said gears are found in the jumping mechanism of an insect. (Cool, no?)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Must ... finish ... novella

I would hate to go a week without posting, because skipping once makes it easier to do so again. Good habits are to be reinforced, after all. But I also have a story in process, about which I'll say no more than it's a secret history and it demands(!) to be finished.

Put this all together, and it's a good time to share some of the more eclectic items that have recently caught my eye -- such aggregation posts come together quickly. You might not find every item herein to be noteworthy, but you'll surely find something interesting in what follows :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

By the numbers

If you took part in the recent SF and Nonsense reader survey (Touch this poll with a ten-foot pole?) -- thanks! I found the responses helpful, and I expect to use the feedback to keep this blog of value to you. If you as much as considered participating -- thanks for that, too. If you had no interest in the poll -- well, I appreciate your patience and hope you'll come back.

Many of you did take a minute to respond, and I suspect that you (and perhaps others) will be curious about the results. And so (drum roll) ...