Science Fiction Writer

dmk

It’s supposed to be good for the soul – but I haven’t got one of those so where does that leave me? ūüėČ

I suffer from depression and have done for a long time, since in my early twenties in fact. It’s something that comes and goes,¬†like¬†most people I have good days and bad days, only my good days are sometimes amazingly good and I feel free in ways a lot of people probably don’t and my bad days? Well, they’re probably a ¬†lot worse than other peoples. I find it very hard to find the ‘middle ground’ and even harder to stay there.

That doesn’t make me necessarily a depressing person to be around (I don’t think!) and my friends don’t seem to think so. Most of this is internal and very hard to explain to other people who don’t suffer from these kinds of feelings. Most¬†people¬†don’t really want to know and dismiss you as a loonie/attention-seeker/faker or else they think you have some kind of contagious disease and they should stay away (Hey everyone, bad news, it’s been scientifically proven to be highly contagious so you’re all screwed!).

Okay, I was joking about the contagious bit – so you can all relax again ūüėČ

The reaction by most people when confronted with someone like me is that they tell you to ‘pull¬†yourself¬†together” or “get a grip” and other similarly trite sayings. The problem is that when you get down the way I do, you just can’t do that. I have problems just dragging my arse out of bed and basics like eating and drinking – I can’t just pull myself together. If only it were just that simple.

With me it really started just after my Dad died, though I think some of the seeds were there earlier so maybe that was just the final catalyst. I went through a period of several years where doing anything was almost impossible to do. I hit the very lowest of the low.

Coming out of it was strange too. I just woke up one day and realised I was quite literally going nowhere with my life. That really scared me and I started to change things. It was slow progress and very hard to do – like trying to climb out of a bottomless pit filled with endless tentacles trying to pull you back down.

I’ve never gotten quite so bad again, but it’s still with me. Tucked away in dark corners of my mind just waiting to spring out again and, sadly, sometimes it does.

I sometimes think that depression is like Malaria, once ‘infected’ it never really goes away and can flare up again at any time – sometimes without you even knowing what sparked it.

I find it a constant battle that I have to fight. And I do mean fight – so I do, sometimes everyday. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

There you go. My ‘confession’ is complete. Still haven’t found a soul though ūüėČ

I’ve been a long time reader of New Scientist and generally enjoy it’s coverage (despite the occasional somewhat dubiously sensationalist headlines) but recently I’ve seen a strange and¬†altogether¬†mystifying trend.

Several of the issues recently have had either articles or editorials that seem to take a rather anti-science (or anti-scientist) view. This seems especially prevelent with regards to the recent supposed ‘scandals’ in climate science and the alleged ‘cover up’ of anti-climate change data.

In a recent editorial NS alluded to the popular idea that “greens and environmental scientists are¬†authoritarian¬†tree-huggers who value nature above people”. The gist of the editorial, and one that has been repeated in several other NS pieces is that scientists as a whole, and in particular environmental scientists don’t ‘sell themselves’ well enough to the mass media and are often seem elitist and¬†impenetrable¬†to the average person.

For one thing, the vast majority of environmentalists seem to have the exact opposite view. The reason they are so worried about environmental change is precisely because they value people and their continued existence in to the future so much. If they didn’t care so much they wouldn’t really give a damn what happened to the world.

Secondly, it’s not really part of a scientist’s “job decription” to popularise science and they’re not usually very good at it. Some are and thank goodness for those blessed with those skils. But the people who’s real job is to explain science to the general public are science popularisation publications and shows. Just like New Scientist .

It seems rather hypocritical of a media outlet designed to popularise science to be criticising scientists for not doing their job for them.

Most of the news and press we see is aligned heavily with vested interests. As a result of this, what we see on our TVs and other forms of media is heavily slanted to align with one skewed view of the world or another.

The Real News Network is dedicated to bringing back independent and unbiased news coverage. Help yourself and help them by visiting them regulalry – as they say in their tagline “The future depends on knowing”.

According to IT Business, Ontario’s Electric car infrastructure will use a “cell phone” business plan.

People will buy electric ‘miles’ at top up stations or swap batteries in a system combining subscription and pay-to-play models. This apparently is the best for everyone concerned. As the article says:

“Much like how your cell phone contract helps to subsidize the expensive handset you purchase with your plan, your electric car could also be subsidized with your subscription to using the electric infrastructure.”

Interesting. Now I obviously always completely misunderstood the motivation for this type of pricing model, as I always thought that the only reason for its existence was in order to guarantee a constant stream of revenue for overpriced services to the very wealthy phone companies.

I guess I must have got that wrong…

Now, let’s see. A high level phone costs around $400. A typical phone contract would be about $40 a month, with a three year commitment.

So Obscenely Rich Phone Company (TM) gets a guaranteed ($)12x40x3- $1440 for a $400 phone (which doesn’t even cost them $400 anyway!).

Oh and then they screw you for ‘air time’ too.

Sure, let’s apply this to electric cars too. I’m sure the electric car companies are all in favour of this ‘model’.

How about doing something for the consumers for a change, Mr. McGuinty?

Oops there goes another aerial porcine…

So today I went to the “Sonystyle” website to order an electronic doodad. Filled in the order details, added the billing and shipping addresses, entered in my credit card details, double checked my cart contents, hit the ‘buy’ button…

and its now suspended, hanging in limbo at 38%…¬†Contestent number three, do you:

  1. close it down and hope that they havent actually processed it and try again
  2. try to refresh and hope you don’t get double charged
  3. close it down and just not bother

So I thought I would throw the experience on here as a little five minute blog posting. Open up the site, set up the blog, set account for blogging with. Make a blog post with new account. Notice a couple of mistakes, try to edit…

No edit option… huh?

Log back in as administrator to check settings. Hang on, now I can edit? Log off, log back on to check bloc account cant edit and I’m not actually just insane. Log back out, Log back in as administrator. Oh screw it, I’ll just change the post as the administrator.

Log out completely to check post from user perspective. Hang on – it’s showing the post as being written by the administrator not the blog account. Log back in as administrator, check settings again. Nothing obviously wrong. Okay double screw it. I’ll just delete the account and do everything through the administrator account. Delete blog account and…

the blog post dissappears… even though it was “written by the administrator”

Give it up, come back to it this evening, recreate everything, the whole damn blog set up, re-write post click to change te bulleted list above to use letters instead of numbers…

pop-up blocker triggers, say yes, I really DO want to allow pop-ups on this site you moronic browser pile’o’shite and pooof…

browser refreshes losing the unposted post and I start again.. tears running from my tired red eyes…¬†I wonder how much time is wasted on this kind of thing? How many hours do we collectively sacrifice to re-ordering, cancelling duplicate orders, re-doing the same task multiple times because the ‘system’ went wrong etc. Technology is truly glorious…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7292981.stm

Really? What can you say to something like this? It always amazes me when people claim that there’s no harm in having these different beliefs. I suppose not, as long as you don’t classify ‘blinding yourself through stupidity’ as ‘harm’.

Just one thing though:

“Their retinas were damaged due to direct exposure to the sun,” Dr Annamma James said.

I doubt that their retinas were directly exposed to the sun, I imagine that a few lenses, corneas, fluids, and around 150 million kilometers got in the way slightly. It would perhaps be more accurate to say “Their retinas were damaged due to stupidity.”.

“The main conservative opposition party, Fidesz, insists that the government must find the money.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7287210.stm

How is it that so many people manage to miss the most basic, fundamentals of how governments work, including those actually within those circles? Let’s all take a deep breath, that’s it, now repeat after me.

“Governments don’t have any money.”

Try again.

“Governments don’t have any money.”

The only money that any government ‘has’ is what they’ve taken from the public in taxes, fees, more taxes, more fees, taxes on the taxes etc. In other words, yours and mine, or in this case the population of Hungary. They can’t just ‘find’ money. They can only take it from us, and if you vote to prevent that, guess what? They have no money.

Oh and if you think somehow they could dip into their own (undoubtedly well lined) pockets…

Governments don’t do that either.¬†Perhaps they should.

Six questions to ask every prospective candidate to separate the wheat from the chaff:

1. Do you believe that Creationism should be taught alongside Darwin’s Theory of Evolution?

2. Do you believe that prayer has any chance of providing any practical help in times of emergency?

3. Do you believe that astronomers and astrologers should be given equal funding?

4. Do you believe that any major industry will effectively self-regulate itself, without the need for external controls?

5. Do you believe that UFOs are spacecraft full of aliens?

6. Do you believe that people will voluntarily limit themselves to combat global climate change?

If they answer yes to any of these, you know not to vote for them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will get good government – just somewhat intelligent government.

Surely that has to be better?

Strange use of the word ‘stunned’ on the CBS page.

http://www..cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/15/world/main3504859.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3504859

“it is only one piece of evidence and it’s one person’s view, the
viewfinder of one individual,” said RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr, adding that
something made the Mounties take the action they did.

hmmmmm… blatant police sadism? The common police mindset that the
they have the right to act in any gung ho brutal fashion that they want?

“The RCMP urged the public not to rush to judgment.”

Yes.. don’t you naive public people rush to any judgements… err…
like the police do…