Lately I’ve been in editing mode. It’s not my strongest area, so I felt I should try to get to grips with it more. Writers often become blinded to their own words; familiarity with the piece and also the fact that we know what we meant to write contributes to this a lot.
The first story I looked at had already been through quite a few “edit cycles” so I was fairly confident of its quality. Rather than follow my usual work pattern I thought I’d Continue reading
I recently updated to the latest version of Scrivener for Windows. Scrivener is a word processor aimed at creative writers and has great support for the kind of unstructured work many writers undertake. For me it’s probably the best piece of writers’ software currently out there. Though not necessarily perfect.
I discovered one of Scrivener’s “foibles” shortly after my initial purchase and installation. It was incredibly slow. I installed it on a computer that had no problem running any other software including traditionally “weighty” apps such as photo and video editing software, 3D modelling , databases and similar. Scrivener crawled along like a spider trapped in prehistoric amber. It was so slow as to be virtually unusable.
Naturally I contacted the support team and Continue reading
NASA announced on Friday that the meteorite that exploded over Russia was a small asteroid, probably around 15 meters across. A subsequent collection of fragments by Russian scientists has confirmed this.
The event resulted in thousands of injuries and millions of dollars of damage as the asteroid exploded in the atmosphere with a blast as large as a nuclear bomb detonating. It did, in fact, trigger monitoring systems that have been set up to look for nuclear test explosions.
This could have been so much worse. Imagine the effect if this had happened directly over the Kremlin in Moscow or Washington D.C.? Considering the paranoia so often displayed in international politics, would calmer heads have prevailed long enough to determine what really happened before “hitting the button”? A knee-jerk response to a presumed attack would trigger devastation that would almost certainly be the “end of civilization as we know it”.
This to me says three things.
- It is imperative that the world’s major nations combine resources to create a better detection system for this type of space debris.
- We need to invest in effective counter-measures.
- Nuclear weapons need strict systems to avoid “Pavlovian” launches.
Scientists and SF writers have been warning of this potential danger for decades. It’s about time the world took notice.
I’ve always liked the Aliens movies (well, the first couple anyway, they went downhill somewhat after that). The first was a tense nail-biter that really wound up your stomach as the suspense built. The second was an all-action military romp with aliens, pulse-rifles, flamethrowers and big explosions. What’s not to like?
So here we are, a ridiculous twenty-seven years after and what do we have? “Aliens: Colonial Marines” the computer game!
It’s been years since a computer game really caught my attention, but this one has me chomping at the bit.
“Remember: short, controlled bursts.”
Today is the 4th annual Carl Sagan Day and like so many I find myself thinking about his memory and the legacy that he left us in words, images and video. This year’s theme is “Mars and Curiosity”, both topics that Sagan was very familiar with and especially timely with the Curiosity rover now active on Mars.
That said, I remembered a quote from him that to me embodies the very valuable, humbling fundamental idea behind science, and what separates it from the vast piles of irrational and unsupported beliefs.
In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.
Carl Sagan (1987)
It’s true: in science this actually happens. People actually do accept when they are wrong and simply move on. How much better the world would be, how much greater would be our chances of increasing survivability for our planet and descendents, if we could all do that.
I just spotted these news items on the mail.com front page.
Hmmm… a story about Vladimir Putin’s heavy-handed interventions with the Russian military and another about investigations into possible pedophile connections to several high profile entertainers in the UK.
I think the mail.com team may want to edit those…
About a week ago I was in a bad place. Things are a bit tough at work right now and I’m finding it difficult to focus on writing. It’s the kind of thing that happens to everyone at one time or another, whether on writing or other projects. Continue reading
I was reading a Space.com article on fifty years of human spaceflight and it contains a graphic entitled “How Far Into Space Have We Gone?” That got me thinking. The longest journey made by manned spaceships is to the moon (and back!) which is a distance of approximately 400,000 km. That’s a long way, but how does that really measure up against other potential astronomical targets? Continue reading
The latest alien planet discovery looks like it could be an Earth-sized one orbiting Alpha Centauri B. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise as the discovery of new exoplanets over the last few years now runs into thousands. This latest discovery is cool for a couple of reasons though.
First, it’s orbiting Continue reading