February 7th, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Thursday

Iain Banks on how easy writing is — Don't read it. You'll be resentful. You were warned. (Ganked from Elsewhere.)

UK to end submarine goat tests — Um, yeah. Hell of a headline.

Purussaurs: monster caimans of the Miocene — File this one under the dept. of things that make me glad I live in the Holocene.

USB rechargeable AA batteries — :: wants :: (Thanks to garyomaha.)

Cable Cut Fever Grips the Web — Coincidence? Or conspiracy?

Seattle had a monorail in 1911?

Virgin Atlantic to test fly 747 with biofuel

Why do we call her Hillary? — A guest blogger on Bad Astronomy (yes, part of my daily blurg) takes exception to Hillary Clinton being referred to as "Hillary." A couple of my own commentors have done the same thing on this LJ. Yet her campaign refers to her by that name. As I replied in comments recently, the "Clinton" brand is very freighted, for both good and ill, and inextricably linked to Bill Clinton. Is it demeaning to refer to her by her first name when all her competitors are surnamed? Not if she chooses to use that as her own branding. To me, it's a mark of respect to call her what she calls herself.

DNC boost for sex biz — "It would be a lot better for the sex workers if it was the Republican convention."

Bay Buchanan, Romney campaign adviser, on MSNBC two days ago:
Conservatives don't start pre-emptive wars.
Wow. Just wow. It's so sweet, what conservatives believe about themselves. (Thanks to my aunt M.)

[process] A little regret, like spice, to flavor the day

A little bit of career weirdness is staring me in the face. Not counting "The Baby Killers" (which was a special case), I believe I have written two spec stories in the past year. According to my records, I've written 19 short stories since the beginning of 2007, 17 of which were invited. Not all of those sold, and so they became spec inventory, of which I am at my lowest level in many years.

Since I first began trying to work professionally, I've always defined myself as a short story writer. The novelist angle has unfolded slowly, but it still feels new. The more I do in novels, the more I compromise my short story work. I have no Year's Best appearances this year for the first time in a while, for example. (I am petty enough that this bothers me.) The sheer irrational exuberance of playing in the short form without any market expectations is a rare treat rather than a weekly pleasure.

Am I complaining? Um, no. I no haz teh stoopid. But just like career progress means trading up to a better class of problems, it also means trading away some of your mainstays. The key here is trade — the pleasures of book length fiction are much clearer to me now. The little squee at a quiet invitation to an upcoming project hasn't faded.

This is a funny journey. Sometimes I find myself regretting the oddest things. Like inventory depletion.

[links] Link salad afternoon update

Rocket Science: the Sculpture

NPR discovers steampunk — (Thanks to A.)

Strange Tanks — Weird stuff here. Possible steampunk or AH vehicle designs. (Thanks to the_flea_king.)

the_flea_king on the awesomeness of giant fighting robots — :: laughing ::

Atlantropa — Wow. Big science gone totally amok.

Future cars — :: wants the future now :: (Thanks to garyomaha.)

The quotation marks blog — (Thanks to AH)

The Hacker's Diet — Some fascinating stuff here. (Thanks to the_flea_king.)

Very detailed notes from an ID conference — Quite funny, if you like subtle, scientific snark. For example, "Irreducible complexity seems to be the principle that, 'if I can’t figure it out how natural processes operate, it must have been designed in a manner I can understand.'" (Thanks to lordofallfools.)

Bridge inspector confesses to faking paperwork — Obviously the answer is market self-regulation! And tax cuts!

Saudi Cops Grab U.S. Woman In Starbucks: Kingdom's Religious Police Take Her To Jail For Sitting With Man In Coffee Shop — That's what happens you bring God into politics. As I've said before, the difference between Saudi Arabia and Christian America is only a matter of degree. The intent and rationale are the same — that we'll be a better people if we follow God's law.