August 25th, 2011


[links] Link salad rises at morning, greets the dawn

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books We Can’t Wait For This Fallio9 gives my novel Endurance some love, as well as the terrific Dan Dos Santos cover art.

The visibilizing analyzerLanguage Log on the dangers of writing SF. Some of the comments are interesting, some are annoying.

My new job. In his own words. — Roger Ebert on audiobooks, specifically his biography, but there’s some neat stuff in here about voice performance.

Stanley Kubrick’s ’2001: A Space Odyssey’ Invalidates Apple’s Design Patent On The iPad, Says Samsung — Uh…

Born, and Evolved, to Run

The Tricky Transition From Walking To RunningBiomechanical engineers say we can switch from walking to running without increasing our energy use

Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door — Voluntary death by VSED.

WISE: Coolest Brown Dwarfs Yet

Fossil redefines mammal history

Case closed: “Climategate” was manufactured…the “ClimateGate” nonsense of the past couple of years, where leaked emails were taken hugely out of context by the press and climate change deniers, and used to smear scientists. Dr. Mann was at the center of the whole manufactured controversy, being the biggest target of the people who want to deny the Earth is warming up. Quelle surprise. Another conservative smoking gun turns out to be a cynical lie. Still, millions will remember the accusation who will never hear of the exoneration, so the lie serves its purpose.

Abortion Is Legal, but What Percentage of Ob-gyns Will Provide One? — It always amazes me that the very same conservatives who are violently opposed to having the government come between you and your doctor (HCR) are violently eager for the government to come between you and your doctor (the forced pregnancy movement). Intellectual consistency much?

Big-Spending Bureaucrats — Tea Party to America: Keep your government hands off my clean water and safe food and maintained roads!

Indiana GOPer: ‘Self-Destruction’ Of Soliciting Young Man On Craigslist Won’t Make Me Resign — Mmm, family values. Remember, liberals are immoral!

?otD: What would you have had for breakfast?

Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (2,800 words on Sunspin plus some WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 230.4 (yikes!)
Currently reading: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[personal] Winding the clock

I have a nineteenth century German grandfather clock here at Nuevo Rancho Lake. It belonged to my Lake grandparents, who got in Germany during the 1950s, probably for the equivalent of a few dollars, given the disparate economies in those days. The clock features prominently in my early childhood memories of being in their house, especially the ticking sweep of the pendulum and the chime of the hours.

The most interesting thing about the clock is the winding. About every five days I have to open the case and very carefully lift each weight one by one while pulling down their chains. It’s a very deliberate act, me imparting potential energy to a system, trading the movement of my arm for a few more days of timekeeping.

This is such a direct involvement in the process, that electric clocks don’t provide. I don’t do anything to my bedside clock except reset it after the occasional power outage. Virtually everything in my house works at the push of a button or the flip of a handle. My relationship with the grandfather clock is more direct, the transfer of energy not mediated by my power bill and the good offices of Portland General Electric.

I touch it, and it goes.

So with writing and reading, I’ve decided. The grandfather clock is a metaphor. Watching a movie is like using my electric clock. It’s just there, it’s available, but the effort is indirect and the result convenient. Time does not tick sonorously by, nor do the nets of memory get dragged by the digital display the way the grandfather clock’s chime can call back my childhood. Reading, though, book in hand and words in my eyes, that is direct effort, energy being transferred from hand to eye and later eye to hand. Though in truth, I suppose the book is winding me.

Still, I feel a kinship to this tall, dark atavistic mechanical inhabiting my home. The weights must be lifted for time to be measured. In my own head, the mechanisms of writing must be given energy by the processes of reading before words can be measured.

And the hours toll beautifully.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.