Sunday Starlinks

October 21st, 2012

Or, as I am in Brazil, Domingo Starlinks…

Article about Obama and Romney’s favorite books.  Obama comes across as a snobby reader to me, with lots of serious books that are important in intellectual circles but not that popular otherwise.  I mean, I’m a fan of (the abridged) MOBY DICK, but light reading it is not.  Romney’s picks include science fiction classics like ENDER’S GAME by fellow Mormon Orson Scott Card and not so classic like BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard, which the author of the piece unfairly lumps into “escapism” along with THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain.  There’s a bit of snobbery in there implying that easier to read or short books are less serious than long, ponderous reads, which I think is an unfair assumption.  Twain, in my opinion, has or had few equals.  Anyway, maybe I’m reading too much into this.  I read widely and for different reasons, and believe that any reason to read a book is probably a good one and not to be judged in a biased way.  The quote that “good books take time and effort to read” really betrays an unsupported bias.  There are certainly good books that don’t take so much time and effort, and bad books that do.

At least they read…unlike most folks in the Star Wars universe.

And on the scientifically illiterate end…how creationists age the universe.  Fascinating in a “look at how misguided that is!” kind of way.

And for other science deniers who don’t read, or at least not the best things, a seven-part video series from the National Research Council outlining the evidence for climate change.  Al Gore didn’t do this, so maybe there’s a chance it will take with the denier crowd.

Three Science Fictions We Really Just Built.  Sort of an oddly phrased title, and I bet there’s more than three (phones with “facetime” ala Dick Tracy?), but some interesting choices worth sharing.

Benford and Niven on Big Smart Objects.  Interesting, and I want to check out their new book.

Large Hadron Collider Won’t Destry Earth by Black Hole, Court Says.  Ha!  Like we should let science be decided by the courts.  We’ll show them!  They won’t see the black hole coming!

Sequencing Martian DNA.  It could work, but seriously my first thought was “Are we sure all like has to be based on DNA?”  I’m not so sure.  I am sure it’s hard to see other possibilities as a DNA-based lifeform on a planet where DNA dominates.

Centauri Dreams on Alpha Centauri B.  An old acquaintance of mine who has found a few planets herself, Debra Fischer, is quoted.

Maddox is angry and ranty and misses the point here, but check out his screed against “I fucking love science” on facebook.  Personally I’m happy for science to become more mainstream and popular, even if there’s some shallowness involved there (because what’s hugely popular that isn’t kind of shallow?).  And he’s offensive insisting that attractive people can’t be nerds.

David Brin’s definition of hard science fiction in haiku form:

And some nice videos of Brin up on sfsignal about sf as literature and cynicism vs. enlightened optimism in sf.


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