Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Some days, everything modern is maddening

Cryptocurrency mining isn't something I chose to undertake, but plenty of people do. If that's you, please note: "If you’re mining bitcoin from home, you’re now losing money." (In detail, the truth of that assertion depends on the rate you pay for electricity -- but subject to typical retail rates ....)


Do you use any Apple website? How about Amazon? Maybe you care about the integrity of (private) cloud servers used by the DoD. If any of those apply, you would have been justifiably alarmed by this recent Bloomberg headline: "The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies." Only Apple and Amazon deny the assertion vehemently, and other journalism shops find the claim unsubstantiated, impossible to confirm, and otherwise dubious. See (from the Washington Post), "Your move, Bloomberg."

(Is hardware with hidden trapdoors a threat? You bet your sweet bippie. This peril was the premise of a novel I started way back, circa 1990, and then shelved, when the Cold War -- however fleetingly -- went away.)

Get a lot of spam/scam calls on your cell? And the majority spoofed to look like your area code, and plausibly real? Me, too! And the trends are ever more ominous. See (again from the WaPo), "Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says."

Monday, October 15, 2018

I *do* exist (and other biological updates)

So, no post last week. A rush task took all my attention (details once the paperwork catches up to make matters official). But that job is done, and I'm back ...

With interests as eclectic as ever. Today: news of topics biological.

The core concept in modern biology is (and long has been) evolution -- and yet there are those who remain skeptical of evolution. Here (not that I expect it to make any difference) is one more demonstration: "Ultra-violet experiment confirms 'Darwin’s moths' "

The (in)famous double helix
Genetics is a messy thing. It's far more complex than was understood when DNA's role was first ascertained, or even after the first genomes were decoded. Witness this analysis of the surprising intelligence of octopi (fair warning: it's a long-ish article): "How the octopus got its smarts."
Did the octopus evolve its unique intelligence by playing fast and free with the genetic code
And turning to truly scary things ...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Back from Capclave

I just spent an exhausting but fun weekend at Capclave, the excellent annual DC-area con hosted by the Washington Science Fiction Association.

Did I encounter any SF and Nonsense readers there? I wouldn't be surprised. Certainly I had the pleasure of chatting with many readers of my novels, short fiction, and related articles -- and maybe some of my future readers. To all of you who sought me out -- thanks!

Check it out on Amazon
Part of the fun? Picking up an author's copy of the latest antho in which I made an appearance, containing one of my rare fantasy pieces. Seriously, you gotta love that cover.

Here's hoping Dial and Easton wind up doing Horror for the Throne -- because you gotta wonder what that cover will be like. (Cthulhu and an outhouse ... the mind boggles.)

Now back to my post-con to-do list ....