Monday, December 24, 2018

A Visit from Old Nick

Neither a typo nor a synapse misfire, today's subject line does, nonetheless, reflect an error of sorts: it's what I should have named "A Visit to the Network Control Center."

Futurama version?
And having posted a link last year at this time to this very poem, I can now declare it a holiday tradition :-)

See you back in this space next year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Random musing amid the end-of-year/holiday scramble

Above, I wrote scramble, not Scrabble, but still ... "Scrabble has a whole new vocabulary. Yowza!" (Yowza being one of 300 or so newly approved words.) Let the games resume ;-)

You remember how forests were going to soak up excess CO2? Well, maybe not so much. "Trees and plants reached 'peak carbon' 10 years ago." Like the oceans, the biosphere's CO2-absorption capacity has its limits ....

And speaking of eco-issues, consider this: "A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history." The Taylor spill is "only" leaking a few hundred barrels per day, but over 14 years, that adds up. As in:  
With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.
Still eco-ish, consider how little we yet understand about earthquakes. As in, "Discoveries about 2017 Mexican Earthquake Rattle Geologists."
A magnitude 8.2 earthquake that struck southern Mexico on Sept. 7, 2017, not only occurred where existing earthquake modeling said it shouldn't happen, it also broke a tectonic plate, according to scientists ....
The epicenter of the Tehuantepec quake, however, was much deeper – about 28 miles deep in the Cocos plate – than earthquake models said it should be, according to a report in the journal Nature Geoscience ....

The study also showed that the Cocos plate completely split apart, National Geographic writes. A tremendous amount of energy was released in seconds.
What we don't know about seismology pales next to what we never really knew about psychology. See "Psychology’s Replication Crisis Is Running Out of Excuses." The subtitle says it all: 
Another big project has found that only half of studies can be repeated. And this time, the usual explanations fall flat.
And lastly (for today, anyway) to keep you musing, consider this: "Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck."
Despite vast increases in the time and money spent on research, progress is barely keeping pace with the past. What went wrong?

Alas, I need urgently to step back from such random musings to focus on my own end-of-the-year crunch.

Monday, December 10, 2018

End-of-year(ish) writing update

It seems I'm overdue on reporting authorial news. And there's much to report ....

Remember these?
Let's begin with Analog. The November/December 2018 issue is currently running my guest editorial "Dystopic? Or Myopic?" As you may have guessed from that title, I'm no fan of the genre tendency these days toward dystopias.

The January/February 2019 issue of Analog will have my short(est ever) story "Clockwork Cataclysm." And in an issue TBD, look for "The Gates of Paradise," sequel to the last year's award-winning "Paradise Lost."

On to The Grantville Gazette (Universe Annex). Following up on last year's novelettes "The Company Man" and "The Company Dick," the November 2018 issue is currently running "The Company Mole (Part I)." Part II will run in the January 2019 issue. Suffice it to say, the plot has really thickened ....

Over at Galaxy's Edge, you can look forward to the short story "I've Got the World on a String" in the January 2019 issue.

Oh, and have I mentioned my cameo in The Washington Post? That's in the article "We crashed a science-fiction writers convention to ask about Trump’s 'Space Force' " (I believe my "could" got turned into a more definite "would," but otherwise the conversational snippet that's quoted is as I remember it. Could be I mumbled.)

I've saved the best for last ... a new collection coming in 2019 from Phoenix Pick. The new book has story selections that originally appeared in more than a half-dozen disparate venues. This will be -- mirabile dictu -- my nineteenth book (twentieth, if I count a chap book). The new book's working title is Muses and Musings.