Archive for the 'Anomaly' Category

The Wreck of The River of Stars

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

I don’t have too much to say about Michael Flynn’s The Wreck of The River of Stars, besides that you should go out and read it, especially if you’re interested in personality typing. On the surface it’s a hard-sf tale of the wreck of the last great magnetic sailing vessel, written in a literary-mainstream style. That is, the omniscient narration gives away its own ending (as if the title hadn’t sufficed) and distances the reader from the crew to the point where they’re not dying fast enough.

That’s a little more quality literature than I signed up for, but the novel makes up for it all by being the world’s only SF Myers-Briggs puzzle. There are sixteen characters (give or take a few corpses) representing the sixteen types, and the reader gets to guess who’s who. Find out how your own special and unique personality helps doom a spaceship full of people to a tragic cold-equations end!

It may sound depressing, but it really was a great read. I highly recommend it. There’s more discussion of the novel and its Myers-Briggs types over at sffworld.

Rare but Real

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Apology of the day: The management has been working too hard and neglecting the blog. The management apologizes in advance for this brief link-post.

For RJ: Synesthesia in the news.

Parasitic Twin

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

A baby had its parasitic twin amputated in Cairo Sunday. The baby’s doing fine; no one seems to care about the twin, who apparently could smile and blink. How much of a brain was in that second head, anyway, and did it love its mother, too?

Shrimp Pasta

Monday, February 14th, 2005

I’m behind on my bloglist, so I must wish Rocky a happy but belated birthday, full of fun food but not this wacky shrimp pasta invented by a Manhattan chef. I’ll wait for the carb-free cake, thanks.

I usually disapprove of food-free foods, but these transglutaminase inventions sound interesting in their own right. The scary shrimp thing wasn’t necessary, but chicken pasta made out of Real Chickens™ would be pretty cool.

Fun with the IPA

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

For reasons I like to pretend are writing-related, I’ve been looking at the International Phonetic Alphabet. It’s fun to compare the sounds of various languages. Who knew that Portuguese has almost as many vowels as English? That’s going up against some pretty stiff competition.

My favorite Portuguese letter is /R/, uvular r. I can’t trill an /r/ to save my life, but I can pronounce /R/. We all have our skills…

Moss in Space

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Via GeekPress: experiments show that moss grows funny in space.

More on Hobbits

Friday, January 7th, 2005

/. of the day: What’s your favorite vaporware?

John McWhorter on the native tongue of the hobbits (which has of course been mostly lost in the mists of time since the Third Age of Middle Earth):

This year, researching the languages of Indonesia for an upcoming book, I happened to find out about a few very obscure languages spoken on one island that are much simpler than one would expect….
So isn’t it interesting that the island these languages is spoken on is none other than Flores…local legend recalls “little people” living alongside modern humans, ones who had some kind of language of their own and could “repeat back” in modern humans’ language.

Read more about it at GNXP.


Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

There’s already a blog devoted to the tsunami. On LiveJournal, mabfan recounts Europe’s worst earthquake/tsunami. For tsunamis in general, see the WWW Tsunami Information Resource.

Don’t think you’re safe on the East Coast. There are several ways it could happen here - if Cumbre Vieje in the Canary Islands drops a huge chunk of itself into the sea, if Portugal has another earthquake like the 1755 terremoto, or if the continental shelf starts cracking up. It could be bye-bye Boston at any time…

The Incredible Shrinking Moon

Saturday, December 25th, 2004

From SpaceWeather: the Christmas Moon will be the smallest full moon of the year.


Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

Firefox extension of the day: LiveHTTPHeaders

Slashdot is having a field day over Genetic Savings & Clone. You can now clone Fluffy for a mere $50,000.