Starlinks and Stuff

March 24th, 2010

I’ve been swamped with a lot of things going on, mostly professional but also personal.   Nothing bad.   Actually quite a lot of good stuff, but it’s like the Eagles song… “Everything, all the time.”

Let me mention some things about some local events coming up.   I’ll probably make some individual posts about these to highlight them, but let me mention them now.

I’m having a party at my place Friday evening.   If you’re local and a friend of mine, you’re invited.   It’s part birthday party, part physics/astronomy party for visiting prospective grad students.   There are also the Brazilian party events this weekend that I blogged about before.

Launch Pad application deadline is March 31.   Total numbers are a little lower than last year, but the quality is excellent and making final decisions is going to be hard.   A good problem to have, although I hate to reject such qualified people.

I wanted also to update everyone about my girlfriend’s return trip…the universe was again cruel.   Or, I should be more specific.   Atlantic Southeast Airlines is the one to blame.   She made her flight to Atlanta fine, but they changed the gate on her there and she didn’t hear an announcement — and neither did half a dozen other passengers.   $50 ticket change to take a later flight, with snotty service.   And they changed the gate for that one, too.   So between the canceled and overbooked flights coming, the problems returning, it was frustrating.   And apparently normal.   Atlantic Southeast Airlines is apparently the worst carrier (as of a 2008 survey) and still sucks big time.   Avoid at all costs.

Oh, and there’s apparently going to be a science fiction convention here in Laramie over Easter weekend: Sagecon.   I will likely be participating.

Canadian science fiction writer Peter Watts now a convicted felon, following his border altercation.   I think this is total bullshit.   US borderguards on the way OUT of the country, and all the dude did was get out of the car and ask what was going on.   Then, for either not following an order to get back into the car or for being too slow to follow it, he gets a beat down and a felony.   Wrong punishment for what should have been a non-incident with better trained and competent officers.

Michio Kaku on the Science of Mass Effect 2.   [Video] Thanks Travis! I’m getting back into video games a bit more, playing Borderlands in addition to Bejeweled Blitz on facebook and Rockband 2.     Information about the new Dragon Age expansion at the link.   More on Dragon Age and Mass Effect games here.   And how about swapping class grades for experience points?

Be Sad and Succeed. (Scientific American)

Politics in Science Fiction.

Texas scientists make breakthrough on coal to gas conversion.   So maybe less Peak Oil and more Global Warming…

Amazon fighting with publishers again…

The Oldest Trees on the Planet

How to build a compression book shelf system.

Project Prank with prizes from Think Geek.   Still time to enter!

Can you define African Science Fiction? In response to the infamous Asimov’s essay by Norman Spinrad.

In search of a good read.   Mainstream recognizes genre fiction has some good stuff!

Artwork of Dave Ellis for sale on ebay.   Some nice original genre work.

Cosmologist Sean Carrol on Sam Harris’s TED talk about science and morality.   Interesting issues.   I lean Sean’s way.   I like a lot of what Harris says and find him dead on about many issues, but he tends to get a little irrational himself on pushing some alternative ideas.   Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic also posted the video.   Hell, I will too:

And apparently the National Academy of Sciences is going to host the Templeton Prize (see what Richard Dawkins has to say about that — and I agree with him).   Religion and science are not compatible and I hate crap like this that tries to blur the line.

Buddhist atheism.   Really?   OK…fine.   Basically get rid of the supernatural garbage in Buddhism and keep the philosophy…which has its good points but also some that fail to impress me.   Epic fail.

Ten Coolest College Courses.   Photo slideshow (boo!) but includes a Philosophy of Star Trek class (yay!).

Why we can’t find bigfoot.   I was with some of the obvious statements until we got to the telepathy…

Threesome request ends in choking, and not the good kind.   Too salacious not to share.   “When your girlfriend wants to bring in another girl,” has got to go right up there with “When someone asks if you’re a god…”

For the writers out there working to name characters…Elite Baby Names.

Neptune may have eaten a planet.   Is Galactus going to sue to protect his MO?

Vortex junctions.   Not as cool as they sound.   But they sound cool, so we should build them.   We can put them in ONECITY.


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