February 17th, 2008


[fiction] "The Soul Bottles"

I'm continuing to post reprints of my fiction here on this blog. Watch for the tag "fiction," as in http://jaylake.livejournal.com/tag/fiction.

The current installment in this series is the original novelette "The Soul Bottles". At 8,800 words, this originally appeared in Ministry of Whimsy's Leviathan 4, ed. Forrest Aguirre, Powell's | Amazon ] back in 2004, then reprinted at The Fortean Bureau in 2006. This piece also forms the backstory for my Night Shade Press novel Trial of Flowers Powell's | Amazon ] and its upcoming sequel, Madness of Flowers. If you like the story, please consider giving the book a try.

The Soul Bottles

by Jay Lake

In my boyhood it was the fashion among the established families of the City Imperishable, much aped by the arrivistes, to believe that one's soul fled with each exhalation, and was recaptured with every indrawn breath. Lovers eagerly seized yet another excuse to exchange essences, while members of the Glasswright Guild profited handsomely from tiny "soul bottles" meant to arrest the airy spirit lest it take flight in a strong wind. Parlor magicians compounded spells from the breath of the mighty while scholars in their towers attempted to distill essence of soul.

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© 2004, 2006, 2008, Joseph E. Lake Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

[links] Link salad takes the day off

Another no-link morning, due to being on Con time. We did get in a workout this morning, followed by breakfast with Harry Turtledove, kenscholes, jensfire, Bruce Taylor, Roberta Gregory, Chris York, Steve York, Harold Gross, Dan Duvall and a rotating cast of floaters.

Weight has been swinging due to sharply increased carb intake, party food and drink and irregular hours in measuring myself. I seem to have brought the post-diet bounce into line without immediately trending back up. We'll see how the next week unfolds. I'm going to have very carefully examine how carbs affect me.

Time in saddle: 20 minute mix of bike time and vigorous walking
Last night's weigh-out: 275.0
This morning's weigh-in: 271.8
Not with me at RadCon Currently reading: The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, by Leonard Shlain Powell's | Amazon ]

[videos] Origami bulldozer in the test tank at Hanford

As part of our tour of the Hanford site last Friday, the group of us got to enter the test tank and see their Foldtrack® robot in action.

This is basically an origami bulldozer.

The mission profile is that the machine must be insertable down a 12" diameter pipe. Once through the pipe, it is deployed within a 75' diameter tank filled with unprocessed nuclear waste, which has typically separated into liquids and nitrate/nitrite salts. The environment is immediately lethal to unprotected humans and rapidly lethal to protected humans, including radiation, corrosion and toxic threats. These tanks are being pumped out so the waste can be reprocessed for safe long-term storage before tank failure releases (more of) the waste into the environment. The problem solved by this device is breaking up the extensive salt deposits and slurrying them so that they can safely be pumped out.

We watched the machine fold from a Swiss army knife configuration into a the two-tracked bulldozer with a 24" blade and an ultra-high pressure water spray system. The operators then put the machine through its paces. It is completely hydraulic, with no electrical systems at all.

Here is a video of part of the demo, with commentary track by Rick, our excellent tour guide.