stormsewer: (rocks)
Alright, I suppose we can't put this off any longer. Incidentally, I've decided not to disclose if and how I'll be employing "No Award" votes this year. My picks for short story. )
stormsewer: (death)
I'm not generally a huge fan of spouting my opinions on the internet, but one exception seems to be the Hugo Awards. Far more posts in this blog in recent years have been devoted to that topic than any other (the complete list of my Hugo posts is here).

This year the Hugo nominations were announced at a time when I was too busy to pay much attention to them, but I do remember noticing that I had never heard of most of the nominees, and that one guy in particular who I had never heard of got three out of five of the novella nominations. On Twitter people were angry.Read more... )
stormsewer: (the rock)
Last time I talked about gene drives (genes that remove competing versions of themselves from the genome) in yeast. Now a group has published doing essentially the same thing in flies. Using this technique you can force 97% of the offspring to lose the gene variant you're targeting. Things are moving fast...
stormsewer: (the rock)
I don't often read about scientific advances that give me a sense of vertigo, but it did happen recently. And no, actually, it's not the idea that we may soon be editing the genomes of human embryos, which has gotten people quite riled up [1]. It is work out of a lab working towards the same or similar goals, though: the Church lab at Harvard [2].

The article is entitled "RNA-guided gene drives can efficiently bias inheritance in wild yeast" [3]. I'm fond of saying that humans will soon be taking control of their own evolution, but the work here was a punch in the face for me regarding with how very possible that is going to be in the near future. Read more... )

the N-word

Nov. 25th, 2014 03:40 pm
stormsewer: (power lines)
It does seem like our culture has gained much more mainstream acceptance and even respect than it had when I was young. Maybe it's a generational thing. But when I was growing up, being called a nerd was not good.

We didn't invent the word. But we took it up, occupied it. Made it a term of empowerment, of solidarity, of understanding a shared experience. There is such a thing as nerd pride, and it won't be quashed by those who hate or fear it.

But still I cringe a bit when someone who clearly does not self-identify as a nerd uses the word. From someone without firsthand experience with the difficulties that "nerds" can encounter, especially in the nation's schools, it's hard not to hear in their voice the derision, exclusion, and aggression intended by those who first used it against us.

Funny how that works.

[The disclaimer I hope is not necessary: I'm not trying to equate the white American nerd experience with that of African Americans. What I am trying to do is answer the question of "how come black people get to use that word but we don't?" with an analogy from my personal experience.]
stormsewer: (death)
So, I've been thinking a lot about death lately.Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
So, the Hugo Awards ceremony was yesterday. Nothing really horrible won, so that's nice. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
a coyote, a loon
an asthmatic frog
laugh in the darkness
leeches flock to kiss my feet
as i move across the water
greeting kings against humanity
the fire is a beacon from the shore
and the stars beckon from beyond
but i think i'll stay here
a bit longer
stormsewer: (rocks)
This is the category where the SF culture war partisans seem to be out in most force. Alright, let's wade in, then. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
None of these were terrible, and yet my favorite science fiction film of the year (Her) didn't make the list, so that's irksome.Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
Is it that time of year again already? Here we go. Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
So, I went to last year's WorldCon in San Antonio. One of the more interesting people I encountered (first on a panel and then by hounding him longer than was probably polite) was Yasser Bahjatt, a Saudi who gained a taste for science fiction growing up in Michigan. Upon returning to Saudi Arabia, where he now lives, he noticed that science fiction doesn't really exist in most Muslim countries. He further noticed that the correlation between the amount of science fiction published in a country and the amount of patents filed in that country is pretty good. So he decided to take on the mission of creating an Arabic and, more broadly, Muslim culture of science fiction.Read more... )
stormsewer: (the rock)
Graduate school is a great experience... to have had in the past. On this, my official graduation day, I've decided to write down some of what I learned, about being a scientist and a human being.1 (The TL;DR might be this.)
Read more... )
stormsewer: (rocks)
I recently read Marcus Aurelius's Meditations (the Long translation, though I've heard the Hays is good). I'd always admired the quotations I'd encountered from this, so I decided to give the whole thing a go. This is my book report.

learn how to be a Stoic )
stormsewer: (death)
In the first period of sleep I got after finishing my dissertation last month, I had two dreams that I remembered and wrote down:

1. I have gone on a shooting rampage (which was not part of the dream; it was just my subconscious convincing me that I had, despite having no memory of it), and I have to find a way to accept that and take responsibility for it.

2. I get in line with a large group of young people (college undergraduate age) who are joining the army of a powerful witch, whose previous army was all killed. None of the young ones seem much concerned by this. The only reason I am signing up is because I am an orphan who believes the witch is my real mother.

Psychoanalyses welcome.
stormsewer: (up)
As I was packing in Texas, in the process of going through a trunk in search of things to throw away, I came across a statement of life goals I'd written for an assignment in a high school English class. This is what I wrote:

To learn and to teach
To love and understand
To live and to die
To seek truth, love, and courage


My age has doubled since I wrote that, but I think it will still do pretty well as a personal mission statement.

(P.S. One thousand geek points if you know where the last line came from.)

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