"The future is inherently a good thing. And we move into it one winter at a time. Things get better one winter at a time. So if you're going to celebrate something, then have a drink on this: the world is, generally and on balance, a better place to live this year than it was last year." - Spider Jersualem

Also: Reasons to be Cheerful by Charles Stross
Unseen Academicals - Terry Prachett
Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
The Truth about Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte
1635: The Dreeson Incident - Eric Flint, Virginia Demarce
Natural Capitalism - Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
Spook Country - William Gibson
Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science - Surendra Verma
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa
The Elements of Moral Philosophy - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Consilience - Edward O. Wilson
Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others - Charles S. Cockell
Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Site Remediation - Kathleen Sellers
After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien - Various Authors
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature - Tom Siegfried
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery - James R. Benn
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers - Tom Standage
The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature - Janine M. Benyus
The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America - Steven Johnson

22 books, not too bad. See how this coming year goes, without school work to workaround.

And happy New Year everybody, a proper post on New Year later (or maybe not).

All Done

Dec. 17th, 2010 10:38 am
So, I just finished the last final, the last projects are behind me, and everything is all done. I'm finally finished with school. All done and graduated. Woo!


So... now what?

EDIT: To expand on the "Now what?" portion a little. I started taking classes again, part time, in 2002. That started as just one or two classes a semester, and the first one was a creative writing workshop type class. But since then, there's been a couple summers I didn't take anything, but for the most part, especially the last three years and a bit years, I've been taking at least three classes all the time, including summer. Now, it's all done, and I'm an engineer (even if the FE exam results haven't come back, I'm not worried about them) and even have a ring as a reminder of my oath to use my powers for good, and not evil. But now, in a way, the easy part's over. Or perhaps, to use a different metaphor, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and now that some of those first steps are done, I'm at that point where a bunch of paths diverge, variously traveled by, and I have to pick which to take, or to pick a bit of each and make my own.

More Books

Dec. 7th, 2010 10:24 am
Unseen Academicals - Terry Prachett
Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
The Truth about Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte
1635: The Dreeson Incident - Eric Flint, Virginia Demarce
Natural Capitalism - Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
Spook Country - William Gibson
Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science - Surendra Verma
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa
The Elements of Moral Philosophy - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Consilience - Edward O. Wilson
Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others - Charles S. Cockell
Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Site Remediation - Kathleen Sellers
After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien - Various Authors
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature - Tom Siegfried
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery - James R. Benn
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers - Tom Standage
The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt

I think next year I may try reading all of the Hugo winners I haven't read yet.
"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors: we borrow it from our children." - David Bower

I've been thinking for a while about knightly orders, superhero societies, and the like. Some of this is likely due to the Order of the Engineer, which we can join as part of our graduation, but it's more than that. I've been trying to think of a, not exactly oath, definitely not a "mission statement" or any of that kind of thing. More what a mission statement or "statement of principles" wants to be, before the marketers and consultants drained all the vitality out of the idea. So maybe it really would be more like an oath, then.

And yes, I know knights were mostly just some aristocrat who had the money to afford a horse and some pikemen to go in the armies of the Crowns, and were mostly NOT the "knight in shining" armor cliche. But it's that image I'm trying to tap into, the symbolism of what the knights tried to present themselves.

The hard part is trying to write one that'd be specific enough to mean something, but broad enough to allow people of goodwill to all get behind it. Which is part of the Death by Committee that happens to Mission Statements. But even so, it's something I'm trying to make.
Man. LJ has a WAY higher ratio of interesting links and stories and knowledge to crap than Facebook. Even once you block all the game spams that somebody grew a squash in Farmville, but needs your help carrying it to the market!
John Egbert is king of the trolls. He fools them all with his derpy innocence, then knocks over their whole worlds. All of them.
School's been keeping me too busy to read often, much less to get on LJ and comment about much of anything. But I did make some time to read, so here's the update.

Unseen Academicals - Terry Prachett
Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
The Truth about Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte
1635: The Dreeson Incident - Eric Flint, Virginia Demarce
Natural Capitalism - Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
Spook Country - William Gibson
Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science - Surendra Verma
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa
The Elements of Moral Philosophy - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Consilience - Edward O. Wilson
Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others - Charles S. Cockell
Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Site Remediation - Kathleen Sellers
After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien - Various Authors
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature - Tom Siegfried
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery - James R. Benn
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge
At least we know if the laws of physics were to suddenly change one day, we'd notice, because of the innumerable high school and college science classes replicating basic experiments every day.
I have been doing SCIENCE! The sciencey kind of science! The kind that you see on PBS documentaries. I have been out to the Gulf Stream on a dedicated research ship, hauled up parts of the ocean floor, been seasick, thrown equipment that cost more than my car overboard, thrown fishies back to the sea, watched dolphins surfing in the bow waves beneath my feet, seen the ISS go overhead, seen the ocean turn a brilliant blue, watched a Navy weather platform colonized by seagulls, and walked through the churning engine guts of the ship.

This was all two weeks ago, and was awesome. I need to set up a flickr account, or find my old one, or something, to get them somewhere besides Facebook where the school people can see them.
Slate has begun a series, "The United States of Inequality", talking about exactly the concentration of lots of income (and even moreso, wealth) in fewer and fewer hands.

Gosh, I don't possibly see how this could cause any problems for the country!
"Wait, you thought you could defeat Death by KILLING PEOPLE?"
Luke: Is the Dark Side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

(Yes we're not acknowledging the violence the prequel trio did to all of the themes and metaphysics of the Star Wars universe.)
Unseen Academicals - Terry Prachett
Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
The Truth about Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte
1635: The Dreeson Incident - Eric Flint, Virginia Demarce
Natural Capitalism - Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
Spook Country - William Gibson
Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science - Surendra Verma
Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters - Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa
The Elements of Moral Philosophy - James Rachels & Stuart Rachels
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Consilience - Edward O. Wilson
Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others - Charles S. Cockell
Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Site Remediation - Kathleen Sellers
After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien - Various Authors
A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature - Tom Siegfried
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery - James R. Benn

I haven't commented on too many of the books I've read since that'd get too long, but I do have a few comments this time. First, the short stories in After the King are really quite good, my favorites in many ways are the fairy tale style ones. "Silver or Gold" by Emma Bull, "Reave the Just" by Stephen R. Donaldson, and "The Fellowship of the Dragon" by Patricia A. McKillip are three that stood out the most for me. And of course Terry Pratchett's "Troll Bridge". There's a couple that aren't so good, but that's the deal with short story collections.

As for the Game Theory book, he spends a good bit of one chapter talking about game theory and economics, including the physicists who ended up going to Wall Street and applying somewhat similar theories from thermodynamics etc. to make themselves lots of money, rather than going into science. In retrospect, considering how those very same 'innovations' just siphoned off money and helped crash the economy, that calls into question the rest of its conclusions, I think.
I would (and, in fact, am) recommend Space Exploration: Serpens Sector to anyone seeking to fill a few random half-hours with seeking out new life, and new civilizations in a randomly generated cluster of stars. It's a lot of fun, and there's interesting little interactions based on your crew and previous actions in all sorts of places, so even if you think you've found all the quests, there's still lots of little things to make repeated playthroughs worthwhile. And not every tactic will work the same each time, so diplomacy isn't just a matter of memorizing responses.
So I was reading the comments on The Ferret's post about manilness and somebody linked to the website The Art of Manliness, and I clicked over because I was curious, and I was ready to make jokes about it, but then I saw the title bar.

I simply cannot argue with that moustache. That is a truly elegant and wise moustache, and only a fool would dispute with it.

Now I'm actually going to go read the site, but between the moustaches, top hats, and illustrations taken from vintage men's magazines, I get the feeling that these people have their heads on straight enough to not actually take it all seriously, while taking it seriously. Or maybe it just reminds me of David Malki!'s Wondermark.
Is the Daily Show seriously the only news show out there with a research team, and video archives? Or even Google?

EDIT: Okay, the embed worked on preview, but not when posted, so here's the link: The Parent Company Trap
So, I set up a facebook account a while ago, in part to keep in touch, so to speak, with people I know who'd graduated and such. My opinion so far? It's Twitter and Flickr combined, with a bunch of flash games. But I blocked all the games, especially the annoying ones that spam updates to all your friends, so I could actually see if anything important was going on. Usually there's not. And the "status updates" have a short character limit (thus the Twitter comparison) which makes it nearly useless for long-form blogging, or my didactic explanatory posts. So basically I've used it for things like "So who's doing $thing?" and posting links to neat stuff. For the forseeable future, I don't see it replacing LJ or much of anything, for me.

Squish

Aug. 18th, 2010 07:05 pm
So, Black Widow spiders are on the list of things I can squish without feeling terribly guilty.

It's a list mostly limited to parasites and things dangerous to family and pets.
Okay, so. I am absolutely done with Vista on this thing, when the computer runs a high quality downloaded version of a video slower than streaming the same video from Youtube, I'm done.

So, since I have access to (legal, even!) copies of WinXP and Windows 7, I'm thinking I'll put both on here. And also plan on putting on some kind of Linux, so that leads to my techie question. What's the best program or system to set up a computer to dual (or more!) boot?

Suggestions on good varieties of Linux that support HP laptop stuff are welcome too.

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