Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Typical Shadows

                Awake from another dreamless sleep. Roll out of bed. Get ready for another dreamless day. Brush your teeth and tie your tie, drive through the snow to walk through the taupe-colored door. Pour a cup of coffee, cheap and black and strong. Walk into your box and sit down, watch the typical shadows flutter by as you stare at the screen.

                Stop on the way home, buy a bottle of whiskey. Open your door and pull off your tie. Ignore the urge to throw it into the fireplace and toss in a match. Step on to your porch and pull out your cigarettes. Stare over the railing and into the trees. Watch the smoke curl into the cold, stale air and disappear like the hours behind you.

                Open the bottle and pour a glass. Drink it in one. Wash it down with your last can of Coke. Take another drink. It won’t hurt anything. Have another. Wash them down until the Coke is empty and your head feels light. Now go for a walk.

                Keep walking. The air is cold, but you have a coat and the whiskey keeps you warm. When the cold starts to bite, stop at the coffee shop on the corner. Order it black. Smile at the barista. She smiles back. Sit and drink your coffee and stare at your cell phone. Read some email, catch up on that blog. Now step outside for another cigarette. There are people walking in and out. Go around the side of the building before you light up.

Book Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

Today I get to review one of my favorite books by an author who I only discovered about a year ago, but has quickly become one of my favorites. If you've ever read John Scalzi, you'll know why.

Today's review: REDSHIRTS

Introduction - Fever Dream

This is the first page of a novella I wrote called "Fever Dream"

Amit knew the physics of the place were off, but there was no way they should have survived that crash. The Jeep had rolled three or four times, he wasn’t sure, and now it was sitting on all four wheels. Granted, it was apparently stuck in a big pile of rocks, but it was running, and it shouldn’t be. He wondered if the girls were having better luck. It was starting to get dark, just that twilight time when the sky is a pale purple-blue just after the sun sets, and Jordy hit the overhead light to check out the inside of the car. Amit looked out the window and there was something weird about the landscape. Well, weirder than usual. He couldn’t place it until he switched focus to his own vague, transparent reflection. Or rather, the reflection that should have been his own. He was looking into the reflection and instead of seeing a transparent version of himself returning his gaze with Jordy in the background, there were the girls. A transparent Shay was in the passenger seat and Kelly was further back, behind a spectral steering wheel.

“Damn,” Amit said. He shook his head, trying to clear the fog that had settled over his mind, “something weird is happening again.”

“No shit,” said Jordy, “what gave it away, this mountain that appeared out of nowhere or the road that turned into quicksand fifty yards back?”

“No,” said Amit, “I mean something new. Do you remember when we split up with the girls?”

“Bro, that was like half an hour ago.”

“But do you remember?”

“Sure, we were deciding whether or not to split up,” Jordy’s brow knitted and eyes narrowed, “and we… decided not to…”

“Right,” said Amit, “I think we should get out.”

“You want to go out there?” asked Jordy, incredulous, “We don’t know if those... those big dog things are still out there!”

“They’re wolves.” Said Amit in a flat voice, “Just call them what they are. It doesn’t matter, though,” and he started cranking the manual window.

“Wait!” said Jordy, but Amit was already climbing out the window.

Jordy looked out his own window, and saw the strange red desert that they hadn’t been driving through until a split second before the crash. He sighed and rolled his eyes. This place was getting ridiculous. He turned back toward the passenger seat to shout out to Amit, but instead he saw Shay sitting in the passenger seat, looking a bit excited.

“Whoa,” he said, “when did you get here?”

She looked at him, not his eyes but a spot just a bit below and to the right. She was mouthing something with enthusiasm, and pointing out the window toward Amit, but there was no sound and he couldn’t make out what she was mouthing.

“Just get out of the car!” he heard Amit say through the open window.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Caltech Scientists Develop New Method for Producing Space-Age Material

Here's the story

So some scientists at Caltech have developed  a new method to produce Graphene, which is a space-age material that is orders of magnitude better at conducting than Silicone, and can be produced in the thickness of a single atom. That means that it can carry data and information and information at higher speeds and in higher quantities than anything we can currently produce. Imagine power that can be stored and transferred in quantities like that! Solar panels could be literally 100,000% more efficient than they are now. Hard drives are already ridiculously small, but imagine supercomputers the size of a dime.

Not only that, but if Graphene can be produced cheaply and in enough quantity, it could be used as a building material. It is 200x stronge (by weight) than steel. Carbon-fiber has got nothing on Graphene.

This is the material that sci-fi stories all use as futuristic, almost impossible materials, and it's happening now. To me, that's as cool as it gets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Merriam-Webster Releases Statement: List of words that don't offend any group is alarmingly short.

In a press conference earlier, officials from Merriam-Webster confirm that after months of looking into the offensiveness of individual words, their researchers threw up their hands, yelled, "Fuck it" and got rid of all adjectives, verbs, and nouns. The only words now that don't offend anyone are gender-neutral pronouns and indefinite articles. When asked to comment, representatives from Oxford Dictionaries said, "Merriam-Webster? They're a bunch of fucktards."