Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals for the New Year

It’s that time to set my goals for the coming year and I figured by sharing them on this site it would give me added incentive to reach them.

First category of goals is for this site:

I’d like to double its viewership, get it up to 200 hits a day and 70 regular viewers.

To reach that goal I’ll continue to work on what’s been working, 3+ posts a week. I tried doing a post everyday for a while and it made me have to scramble to get posts up and I felt the quality suffered. At 3+ posts a week I’ve got a little more time to polish the posts but still get enough content out to keep people coming back.

My next goal is related to that:

When I started this site I made a vow that it would be self-sufficient, meaning I wouldn’t put any money into it. I also vowed I wouldn't put up any ads that were outright scams, believe it or not there are some scams on the internet. So revenue from this site has been coming solely from Google Adsense, once I get enough Adsense pennies I plan on getting Project Savior its very own domain name and everything. Which is a goal for 2010.

I haven’t made anything from Rifftracks but I keep their ad up because I loved MST3K and their Rifftracks make me laugh. If I ever get a payment from Rifftracks I’ll probably spend it on Rifftracks.

Also in 2010 I’m going to start a new monthly series: “Better Know a Gang Rape Supporter” where each month I will profile one of the nine Senators that are up for re-election and voted against the bill to hold Government Contractors liable if they enable their employees to gang rape co-workers.

I figure I’ll give them a full profile and email them and call their offices to see if I can get a statement. This series will have nothing to do with trying to increase the popularity of this site, I just feel those Senators need to be held accountable for their vote.

My next set of goals has to do with writing:

In 2008 I wrote the Novel “Invasive Thoughts”. In 2009 I wrote “Project Spare-Rib” and “The Setting Earth”. So in 2010 the natural extension is to write 3 books. I’ve got one started and the second one will be a departure for me, it will be non-fiction. I plan on greatly expanding my posts on Peak Oil and Alternative Energy and make a book out of it.

This leads to my second writing goal, I want to get another book published in 2010. It took me a year and half to get a publisher for “Invasive Thoughts” hopefully I have learned something from it and can reduce the amount of time it takes for the next one.

My third writing goal is to have at least 6 more short stories published. My success rate in getting stories published is about 1 in 4. So I’ll need to write 24 short stories to hit this goal.

My personal goals for 2010 are fairly simple:

I want to volunteer at least one day a month to charity this summer. Habitat for Humanity is building a few houses in my area and I’d like to help out.

Lose the 10 lbs I’ve gained and this time keep it off.

Do a few projects around the house to make it more energy efficient.

My last goal is probably the hardest one for me. As I mentioned in my last post I love getting comments, but coming up with a concise, related comment to put on other peoples blogs is tough for me. But I am going to try and leave good comments on the sites I visit and like. Hopefully it will encourage those bloggers to continue writing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Aiming higher

It’s a weird thing actually hitting all my goals for the year. I think the secret is to be so far down that any movement is an improvement.

I started 2009 in a pretty rough shape, my only income was $55 a week from giving blood minus the $10 the trip took. Creditors had raided my bank account wiping what little money I had, and at interviews I was asked why a former Securities Broker/ Insurance Agent would want the job they were offering and they weren’t impressed with the answer, “I need to eat.”

The place that I had been turning to for both emotional support and to post some of my writing was a site called TIBU and it shut down, and no agent would look at my book.

With a start like that it was pretty easy to set some goals to reach in 2009.

1) Survive – Done I’m still here.
2) Write another book – Wrote 2 so I blew that goal out of the water.
3) Get a job that pays the bills – My current job pays the bills even if I don’t have anything left to play with, and I found out that working 40 hours a week doesn’t have to leave me mentally exhausted. Without being mentally exhausted I can spend 30 to 40 hours a week writing.
4) Get some short stories published – Done
5) Not become a crazy cat person – This has been the hardest of my goals, every time I go outside and see the evil minions I want to bring them inside and take care of them, but I know I can’t. I make sure that I feed them less than their daily requirement so they still need to hunt and give them places to rest that marginally better than sleeping outside, but I make sure they don’t get totally dependant on me.
6) Get bill collectors to stop calling – I tape my calls with them so if they dare to sue me I can play tapes of them saying things like “No, we don’t honor our agreements” and “Yes, I was lying before”. It’s amazing how few of them want to talk to me knowing their ridiculous lies will be recorded. I also get a chuckle listening to one of them saying he will call the people across the street and let them know a debt collector is calling, I live across from a cemetery.
7) Start a blog and get over 100 hits a day (more than any other website I’ve had) – Done, since joining Entrecard my hits are nearly always in the triple digits, and more importantly I’ve got a steady 35 to 40 people that check on this site regularly. It’s you guys that keep coming back that make this blog worthwhile. Just know that if you leave a comment it makes my day, if you don’t that’s cool too.
8) Lose the last lingering 5 lbs – I guess this was a sort of hit goal, I lost the 5 lbs I wanted to lose, plus 10 I didn’t, in February, when I didn’t have the money to eat properly. Once I had the money to eat regular meals I gained back that 15 pounds and plus 5 so I’ll have to be more specific for 2010.
9) Get my book published – “Invasive Thoughts” comes out this summer.
10) Be happy – Even though I’m making a tenth of what I made 3 years ago I’m much happier now. I feel the end of 2008 beginning of 2009 threw enough crap at me to knock anyone down and I survived, barely. I just have to remember how bad the beginning of 2009 was and how much better a place I’m in now.

So my Temper Tantrum today is that I didn’t set my goals high enough last year, and I need to up the ante for 2010. I’ll post those goals before the end of the year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Decade of the Unreal

The decade is drawing to a close and hopefully we have learned some lessons from it.

This last decade was like the Asch Conformity Experiment on a national scale.

In the Asch Conformity Experiment researchers presented a group of subjects with the following picture:

All the subjects but one were told to give the wrong answer and Asch studied how often the people would go along with the group when they were clearly wrong. The answer was about a third of the time.

So in this decade we were told that dismantling Federal Government Services and paying more to private companies to perform the same tasks would strengthen the country, because paying more for less has to be good.

Like the Asch Experiment people heard this over and over again and began to believe in what they thought was the majority view.

We were told that Iraq attacked this country in the Anthrax scare that left 5 people dead, giving America a reason to invade. Then were told that there were no attacks on America since 9/11, including the Anthrax scare, which meant the war on terror was working.

We were told the stock markets rising at a pace that didn’t keep up with inflation was a boom, and that was a reason to continue to shift money into the hands of the top 1% income as the income of the bottom 99% got less.

We were told that artificially inflating the housing market would serve as a substitute for manufacturing to power the economy.

We were told war could pay for itself, even though it never has.

Throughout the last decade the MSM subjected the American people to a mass version of the Asch line experiment and convinced enough people to believe that line C was the same length as the line in exhibit A, Until Reality Struck Back.

Katrina showed that having a working Federal Government would be beneficial.
The Financial Meltdown showed that the economy can’t be separated from reality.
The massive deficits that have been used to pay for the wars showed that wars don’t pay for themselves.
The (Healthcare, Banking, ect) Industry abuses show that businesses can’t regulate themselves.

So to all the people that want to bring back the last decade by repeating over and over again something that is blatantly false, like: Sarah Palin has a brain; That President Obama isn’t an American citizen; That healthcare reform means Death Panels, Larger Deficits and Liberal controlled Time Machines; That ACORN has launched a coup and took over the country; That activist judges can prevent prayer in schools; and whatever other blatantly false stories that can be debunked by opening your eyes, To those people I say “shut-up stupid” and let the coming decade be one where we actually use reality to guide our decisions.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fantastic Future Christmas

Santa Claus will continue to bring presents.

This will make a Merry Christmas and Fantastic Future.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas Minions

Hello Mommy of the little Minions
Where are the little Minions, today?
They're all tucked in waiting for Santa Paws.
The Evil Minions want to wish everyone a
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: The War on Christmas

This is my last Shut-up Stupid post before Christmas so I thought this topic would be fitting.

I’ve had friends of a lot of different faiths, Atheists, Jews, religions considered cults, you name it. One thing we all shared was celebrating Christmas.

The celebration of Christmas is to celebrate the joy of sharing with you’re fellow human beings. It doesn’t matter whether you look at its Pagan roots, its Roman roots or even the New York City roots that most of its current traditions spring from. It’s a time to be happy, reach out a hand friendship and reflect on whatever good things happened in the last year.

It is the people who wish to divide us who are offended when someone like me, or an Atheist or a Jew, says, “Merry Christmas”. They look to use the celebration intended to bring us together as a tool to tear us apart.

To them I say, “Shut-up Stupid” and to everyone else I say, “Merry Christmas.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fantastic Future Friday: Skipping a Century

This week I decided to jump forward about a century in human progress (or 150 years with current R&D budgets) and talk about a project for the 22nd century. I’m sure Stephanie will correct my rocket science figures so make sure to read her notes.

Two things limit space travel right now: Money and Specific Impulse. The money problem is complicated but the Specific Impulse problem is fair straight forward.

There are three types of rockets currently being used, Solid, Hybrid, or Bipropellant Rockets. Their effective exhaust speed, how fast stuff shoots out the back making them go forward, is between 4 kilometers per second and 4.7 kilometers per second. As a general rule rockets are most efficient when traveling about or slower than their exhaust speed, or Specific Impulse. Once a rocket reaches twice its Specific Impulse (it’s a more complicated formula than that, but doubling it gives a ballpark figure) its efficiency drops dramatically.

So our current generation of rockets can just break Earth’s orbit and go into their own orbit around the sun. In order to go faster they need to use a gravitation boost, which is why most space missions swing by Venus or Jupiter.

Using our current chemical rockets, trips to other planets are governed by orbital mechanics and it will take several months to reach Mars and Venus, years to go to the Outer Solar System.

Our next generation of rockets is Ion Thrusters; they use a stream of electrostatic ions for thrust. They have very low thrust so they can’t be used to go to orbit, but their Specific Impulse is much higher than the current generation of rocket. 15 kilometer per second for the NEAR probe, and a hypothetical exhaust speed is 80 kilometers per second.

As this science advances Ion Thruster powered rockets could (slowly) reach 160 kilometers per second opening up the inner solar system with trips taking a few months, mostly spent accelerating to the top speed.

To reach the outer solar system it would still be at least a year to reach Jupiter taking the slow acceleration into account. Several years to go to Saturn and beyond.

Skipping forward to at least the mid-21st century there are designs for Magnetic Field Oscillating Amplified Thrusters, using fluctuating magnetic fields to induce density waves in electric conductive media. These send magnetic fields over a material to hurl their atoms out at great speeds, around 130 kilometers per second. So a ship using this technology could reach 260 kilometers easily.

The problem with these rockets is they need a powerful energy source, current plans envision using Nuclear reactors to power these. In my book “The Setting Earth” I had them powered by Helium 3 fusion reactors.
These rockets could open up the inner solar system and reduce travel time between the planets to weeks, but it would still take months to reach Jupiter and years to go beyond.

With those limitations in mind here is the big project for the 22nd century, because my ideas for 21st century projects are too small.

In order to open up the Outer Solar System humanity will need a few really fast rockets, in order to have faster rockets we need a huge energy source. Luckily we happen to have one lying around, The Sun.

As space based solar power is advanced in Earth’s orbit we can use that on a larger scale at Mercury’s Lagrange Point, the spot in Mercury’s orbit where an object will always be between Mercury and the Sun. In Mercury’s orbit the Sun’s Power is roughly 10 times the power it is here on Earth so a large Solar Power Station could generate huge amounts of power.

Making a Solar Power Station that put Mercury and the surrounding 100 kilometers around it into its shadow could easily generate 180 terajoules per minute of power, roughly the same as the largest Thermo-Nuclear bomb ever made. This power could be harnessed to make a huge particle accelerator capable of producing one gram of matter and one gram of anti-matter. The anti-matter could be used to power more advanced rockets with a Specific Impulse of around 1,000 kilometers per second or a top speed of roughly 0.6% of the speed of light.

This would get the travel time to Saturn down to a couple weeks, and even the outer reaches of the Solar System, the Kuiper belt objects would be a few years away.

The staff of this Solar Power Station/ Anti-Matter generator would probably like a nice place to stay and that is where the size of the project helps. By only taking 90% of the Sun’s light to power the station, the same amount of light that hits Earth could be used on Mercury. By only extending the shadow of the station 100 kilometers to Mercury’s sides, comets could be placed in orbit.

When these comets come into full exposure of the Sun they will melt into water vapor. In Mercury’s orbit this water vapor will be broken into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The Solar Wind will get rid of the hydrogen and the Oxygen will slow break orbit and fall to the planet giving it an atmosphere. By constantly feeding more comets into Mercury’s orbit we can turn Mercury into an Earthlike planet with the same land mass as Earth.

With a few million people living on Mercury and nearly unlimited energy they can work on the next big project.

The speed limitation of Anti-matter powered ships is 0.6% of the speed of light. At that speed it would take roughly 800 years to reach Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighbor with stars that are sort of like our own.

To reach the stars we need an even faster ship. Having a Solar Powered Particle accelerator in Mercury’s orbit would allow us to make that.

Using the Particle accelerator as an atom smasher, it is possible to reduce over a million tons of matter into quarks and reassemble them as higgs boson particles. These particles respond only to gravity and none of the other atomic forces, so they could form a semi-stable black hole.

This artificial black hole would slowly break down emitting Hawking’s Radiation. A perfect mirror could be used to reflect this radiation making the ship attached to it have a specific impulse of the speed of light.

A ship powered by Hawking’s Radiation could accelerate at one Earth’s gravity for a year and reach 90% of the speed of light. That would put the nearest stars within a decade travel time of Earth.

With the travelers experiencing time dilation they would only feel the time it took to accelerate plus a few months, even though for the rest of the solar system time would act normally. It is kind of like college.

That is the upper limitation of rocket science. Going any faster would need to use something else, unfortunately at this time there is nothing that I see as practical to replace rockets at the present time.

In the 23rd century scientists will have to look beyond rocket science, so Stephanie your job will only be around for the next 200 to 300 years.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catspiracy Purrsday: Attack of the Minions

I was working in my office and thought a minion might be secretly spying on me.

Possible Minion Spy

So I went outside to check.

It turned out to be a trap.

Minion Trap

Before I knew it they were treading on me and I had my lap blundered.

More Minions

Then two of them started clunking their heads against me. The horror.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing Wednesday: Another site and another book

With my first book, “Invasive Thoughts” in pre-production (aren’t books technically in pre-production from the time you first think about them?) I’ve started the website for it. there isn’t much to put in it yet, but I’ll work on it.

One of my goals for next year is to have at least one more book published (or at least accepted) so I worked on the back cover for my novel “Project Spare-Rib”. Using the same guidelines as the back cover for “Invasive Thoughts” I tried to boil down my 60,000-word book to 150 words. It should be easier as it’s a shorter book, right?

Project Spare-Rib:

Tom is an interesting fellow; he tastes sounds and sees numbers. He can make up mathematical theorems on the fly that challenge the math departments of the best Universities, but he has to cheat in order to hold simple conversations.

After a friend of his sends him a mathematical representation of a Nazi Hollerith machine he can’t resist investigating what it was used for.

He is thrown into a world of political intrigue as his investigations reveal that the Nazi’s were working with American businessmen in order to crack the secrets of the genetic code and create a superhuman.

His life is in danger when he learns the Project did not end with the Nazis but was continued by one of the most powerful families in America.

In order to save himself, he must rely on his friends who have been hurt by him in the past.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: What a Piece of Work is Man?

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.

Shakespeare eloquently captured mankind’s struggle in just a few words. With science and research, political policy and any decisions involving the future of mankind the discussion ultimately boils down the young prince was talking about.

Progressives simply believe that mankind can change the world, that our intellect and technology enables us to be as Shakespeare said, “In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!” Since we can change the world we have a responsibility to change it for the better.

Conservatives look at mankind like the troubled prince, to them man is merely the quintessence of dust. Mankind’s action can have no impact on heaven or Earth.

In looking at problems like Climate Change Progressives “know” that mankind is a powerful enough force to change the very planet we live on. They look upon the landscape that has been transformed by technology, mono-crop states, dams large enough to change the spin of the planet, satellites in Earth orbit where the most powerful volcanoes can’t reach and think human ingenuity can do more than nature.

Conservatives in their hearts deny that man can have an impact. In looking at Climate Change the heart of their argument is that the planet is so big and we are so small we can’t possibly be affecting it.

This goes for other arguments as well. With peak oil, we’ve burned 1.25 trillion barrels of oil out of an estimated 3 trillion barrel global supply. Progressives feel that man’s actions by burning nearly half of our global supply of a non-renewable resource will cause us to run out. Conservatives feel we can’t impact the Earth so it must be environmentalist are getting in our way of getting more oil.

As far as investments in research and development, Progressives see the new products and services that arise out of technology as the way to grow our economy. Conservatives feel no actions can affect the economy so money is better put into the financial sector so they can keep passing it around while creating nothing.

It all boils down to your vision of mankind, whether you believe that humans can continue to progress so that they can be in apprehension like gods, ultimately able to reshape our world and eventually our solar system; or if they are merely the quintessence of dust unable to affect their surroundings.

A special thanks to Vet who encouraged me when making my “evil” character to really look and try to sympathize with them, leading me to really examine why people are against progress.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Evil Minion Monday: Spies in Training

There is a new generation of Evil Minions and they are being taught how to spy on me.

Spy training

I will have to keep an eye on this one. It looks like it will grow up to be a very powerful evil minion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shut-Up Stupid Sunday: Alt-Meds

Alternative Medicine, or Alt-Meds, is a tough subject because the field is so wide. It covers everything from the use of herbs with mild sedative properties to deal with anxiety to using weak magnets to somehow cure people.

To give Alt-Meds credit some things that were covered under Alt-Meds did point out where there were gaps in Medical Science and started research into those gaps, but those gaps are becoming fewer.

On the legitimate side of Alt-Meds, using nutrition and the natural source of common over the counter drugs can help low-level medical problems. Drinking herbal tea with a mild sedative while having a cat sit on your lap can reduce anxiety in a normal person, leading to a healthier life.

It’s when people claim it can do more that the problem comes in. Although using Alt-Meds can relieve mild anxiety in a normal person it is not going to have an effect on a person that has full-blown panic attacks. Those people need to see a doctor who can customize a treatment for them.

It’s the same with vitamin C and citrus for a common cold, it helps the body recover faster but using it for Swine Flu is pointless.

These herbal remedies (the legitimate ones) are like putting a towel down in front of the door to keep water out when it rains, it will work for normal storms but it’s not going to save you from a hurricane like Katrina.

The other legitimate Alt-Med is homeopathy, treating the whole body instead of the symptoms. There is a legitimate science that does this it is called nutritional medicine. Nutritional Medicine studies the effect of diet on a person’s health. Good homeopathic treatments are just amateur attempts at this science. Bad homeopathic treatments are either missing the science or an attempt to make a quick buck.

So people who claim that alt-meds can do anything better than over the counter drugs and a healthy lifestyle are either being delusional or are making money off the dysfunctional healthcare system we have.

Other Alt-Meds are down right scams, like magnetic therapy where you put low-level magnets on your clothes (so weak a magnetic force that you can’t pick up a paperclip with a sock over the magnet). These cures do absolutely nothing.

So with Alt-Meds like herbal treatments, homeopathy, massage therapy and petting a cat do your own research into using them for normal problems that aren’t severe enough to see a doctor for. Remembering that they probably aren’t as effective as over the counter drugs but the side effects are probably weaker as well. Just don’t use them to skip a trip to your doctor.

And to the people who tout Alt-Meds as cures for cancer, AIDS, severe mental illnesses and the like, I say, “Shut-up Stupid” if there is a legitimate scientific basis behind the claims of an Alt-Med treatment it will be studied and marketed through the legitimate healthcare system, if there’s not it will be studied and debunked.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fantastic Future Friday: Cash for Caulkers.

The White House has taken steps in regaining the sexual innuendo war that they had been losing to the Teabaggers, the Guy Fawkeser and the Dick Meat Sandwichers (people who take the insanity of Dick Cheney, the energy of 80s rock star Meatloaf and the fiscal policy of the Earl of Sandwich) and announced the “Cash for Caulkers” Program for people who weatherize their homes.

The principal behind using your caulk to save money is very simple; you put your caulk into a hole when it is soft. It quickly hardens up filling that hole. This makes the interior of your house more pleasurable as you don’t have chilly breezes and saves you energy that would otherwise make you frustrated.

You don’t have to put your caulk into all the holes you find, only the ones that let draughts in. Although some people do put their caulk in holes that are exit only, the majority concentrate on the other holes.

You can hire someone to put caulk in your holes, but it is a job that most homeowners can do for themselves.

You can use your caulk to save money and energy this winter leading to a Fantastic Future.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catspiracy Purrsday: The unstoppable weapon of mass cuteness

In researching the Catspiracy, the evil plan for cats to take over the world by cuteness. I came across this scary picture on “The Meow Diaries”.

It’s plain to see the cats have upped their cuteness assault and it would be nearly impossible to resist picking this little cuteness weapon up and giving it a big hug. Even knowing that it would surely unleash its mind control and plunder my lap in second after I picked it up, I still would be powerless to resist. An unsuspecting human would fall for this in a second.

Just a quick note on other evil minions. With the cold snap that the nation is experiencing the evil minions mind control grows stronger. It can be weakened by making sure they something to eat and clean water. On cold days the evil minions metabolism speeds up to fight the cold. If they don’t have enough food to deal with this increase they put it toward mind control. If they have a full belly they will find someplace to curl up and wait it out.

So make sure any outdoor evil minions have enough to eat and drink.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inspiration for Writing

I was thinking of a challenge that I gave Stephanie awhile back, an examination of where inspiration comes from. I decided to take my own challenge.

Just in case any readers of this blog aren’t aware of this by now, I love science fiction. Especially when the two parts of the name (Science and Fiction) come together.

When I write my own science fiction I get my inspiration in two ways. Either I have a great idea for a story and I blend the science into it, lovingly working on the storytelling and character development, summing up the science in very well crafted and concise paragraphs taking weeks to get the proper flow so none of the elements drown each other out. I then send those stories out to magazine editors who tell me that my story was the worst piece of gibberish they have ever read.

The second way I get my inspiration is to have a fantastic idea for a technological feat, like wrapping up a small star in buckypaper and harnessing its energy to create a livable solar system, or pushing someone out of space-time and having them react in horror as their observable universe grows smaller and smaller until it becomes smaller than their own body. I then quickly force this great imagery into a story, taking about 10 seconds to work on the storytelling and maybe 15 seconds on the characters and send it off to magazines that specifically state that they are not interested in imagery and only care about character development. A few months later they send me a check.

Either this shows me my strength in writing is my imagery, or that editors have no clue what they like.

The problem in having my strength being in coming up with unique new technological feats and writing about them passionately is I have to keep topping myself. Which might be a problem with my new series of books about the 23rd century solar cold war.

The idea for the trilogy is a simple one. One group (Ganymede) uses their technological skill to the betterment of mankind. This threatens the existing power structure (Earth) who tries to stop them.

I originally envisioned this as standard trilogy, Book One: Introduces the players and ends in a draw. Book Two: The heroes are foiled and find out the enemy is more powerful than they think. Book Three: The heroes regroup and press on to victory.

Now I’ve got two problems: In the first book, The Setting Earth, I used my technological imagery to give a solution to end all human poverty and scarcity (With no inventions that aren’t being worked on today). For the second Book I’ve got them building several thousand square kilometers of solar panels at Mercury’s Lagrange point with the sun in order to do three things. First block 90% of the sun’s light from hitting Mercury so it can be terra-formed into an Earthlike planet. Second create a 180 Terajoule pulse to power a particle accelerator that can produce a gram of matter and a gram of Anti-Matter per hour. Shrinking the solar system by allowing anti-matter propulsion ships to go from Earth to Saturn in two weeks instead of months using He3 fusion reactors. Third, the matter they create allows for faster than light communication through Quantum entanglement. They are also planning on using the 180 Terajoule pulse to create a million ton singularity to power an interstellar probe by Hawking’s radiation to meet the extra-terrestrial civilization they have detected through the gravimetric ripples left by the spacecrafts traveling 50 light years from the Solar System.

The easy problem is I’ve got to come up with an even more elaborate technological feat for the final book. I don’t know what it is yet but I will think of something.

The tough problem is I’ve fallen in love with my characters and having them go through the set back in the second book isn’t something I look forward to.

So, that’s how I get my inspiration, I think up fantastic technological imagery that people who say they don’t like technological imagery love. Then I struggle over the storytelling that I care about but all the people who say that’s what they want, can’t stand my storytelling.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Skeptics vs. Denialists

While writing my Sunday post about “Climategate” I looked around the Blogosphere and saw that comments are divided into two camps. On one side are people who know something about science and can see this story is bunk, and on the other side are people who get frightened by scary words.

The people who get frightened by scary words look at the posts of people who have some clue what they are talking about and cry “Denialist” because they have no idea what that word means.

With Global Warming as well as most science stories there is a difference between Skeptics and Denialists. I am a Global Warming Skeptic. That doesn’t mean I disbelieve the science, actually the exact opposite, I disbelieve non-science being put forward.

A denialist just simply doesn’t believe everything about it, even if they can see it with their own eyes. It’s easy to spot the difference between a skeptic and a denialist by asking not what they don’t believe, but what they do believe. Start with the most basic concept and work your way up.

Do you believe that the Earth’s average temperature is 57 degrees or the –67 degrees (the average temperature for objects as far away from the sun as Earth)?

A skeptic will look at the fact that the oceans are liquid, not ice and agree on that the average temperature is in fact 57 degrees.

Do you believe that the spectral absorption tests that are preformed daily in thousands of labs in universities across the world show that CO2 lets visible light pass through easily but blocks the infrared?

A skeptic will agree with the fact that it has been repeated over and over again means it is true. (Unless you can show that part of the result was achieved through Quantum Tunneling and write a brand new mathematical theorem on the back of an envelope to prove your point, that if you sent it to the math dept at Harvard it would take them 20 years to prove your theorem, in which case all I can say is stop showing me those envelopes and send them to people with PhDs in math, they make my brain hurt.)

Do you believe that the careful measurements of the Troposphere that show its temperature is rising while measurements of the Stratosphere and above show those parts are cooling mean heat is being trapped in the lower atmosphere?

A skeptic will have to agree.

Do you believe that the increase in CO2 which has proven infrared blocking abilities can be (and has been) calculated to show a correlation and those calculations have accurately predicted the rise in temperatures within one standard deviation?

A skeptic will look at those predictions and have to agree, although the fact that the real temperatures have consistently hit the higher end of the predictions tend to make them believe the models are too conservative.

Do you believe that since the vast majority of climate models using different approaches from different specialties point to a 2 to 6 degree (Fahrenheit) increase in the Earths average temperature over the next century that there is a high probability that it will happen?

A skeptic can have fun here, there is the fact that most of these predictions have been too conservative, and there is also a thing known as regression, where complex systems may change quickly at first then try to move back to equilibrium closer to the original value. Both of these have merit and that is why the climate models have a 4-degree uncertainty. I tend to think that since the middle value of 4 degrees hasn’t changed since climate modeling began in the 60s that’s probably the correct value, but there are valid arguments for a 2 to 4 degree change or a 4 to 6 degree change.

Do you believe that various feedback mechanisms within the planet’s troposphere and oceans will be triggered and cause the end of all life on the planet if the temperature increases by more than 4 degrees?

A skeptic will look at the probability of those events and use basic 9th grade math to add up the probabilities: Event A has a 25% chance of happening, leading to a 25% chance of triggering Event B. The chance of Event B happening is 6.25% (25% times 25%) when you add on Event C and Event D you quickly run into the world of the improbable and as Douglas Adams said, if you add up enough improbables you get the impossible. So a skeptic will probably disagree with an 18 degree temperature rise, but agree that studying the possibility of the first stages in the feedback loop is a worthy endeavor.

The real difference (and it is an important one) between a skeptic and denialist is the skeptic can point to the exact spot in the chain of logic that they disagree with and have a pretty good idea of what it takes to change their mind. A denialist simply states that everything in the chain of logic is false and will refuse to be pinned down as where they disagree.

Being a skeptic my mind can be changed if the known facts change. Like if new evidence shows Event A has a 50% chance of happening then I would start to worry about the 12.5% chance of Event B happening.

A denialist refuses to be pinned down so changes in the known facts don’t change their opinion.

Its like Stephen Colbert said about President Bush, “Facts may change from day to day, but his opinion never does.”

So I have a challenge for all of you Global Warming denialists reading this. (I’ve been to your sites, I know you visit.) Point out exactly what part of global warming and climate change you do not believe and I will treat you with respect and write a respectful post linking to your site, and I will stop commenting that you think that the Atlantic Ocean is frozen.

(Sorry Stephanie you are excluded from this challenge as you are not a denier and you’ve posted on the exact points where we disagree and gave well thought out and reasoned points why.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Climategate

All over the news last week the MSM was saying how stolen emails showed that “Global Warming” was actually a vast conspiracy.

If you are like me, and I know I am; you immediately started rummaging through your closet for your old ice skates and looked to book a flight to the South Caribbean to go ice skating on that huge ice ring known as the Atlantic Ocean, figuring that it was just a conspiracy that convinced you that the average world temperature is 57 degrees F, not the 67 degrees below zero that it must be because reporters are saying global warming is a fraud.

My plans for strapping on 60 lbs of hockey gear and taking a boat a mile off shore in the Caribbean so I could skate back were delayed as a little voice told me that maybe I should verify these reports before risking my life based on these reports.

If I hadn’t remembered that the very same reporters were reporting that in the 70’s scientists were predicting an ice age, which is why Harry Harrison didn’t write “Make Room, Make Room” back then, talking about Climate Change making the interior of the US uninhabitable, and it was never made into the movie “Solent Green” starring Charlton Heston. If it weren’t for that I would be skating on the frozen Caribbean right now.

I did my own investigation into what the stolen emails actually said. I came up with nothing. The full text of the stolen emails hasn’t been released only the supposedly damning sentences. The best analysis I found was this:

Basically the whole non-story is scientists used the word “fixed” in their climate modeling programs.

I worked as a programmer before the dot-com crash. I wrote a 250-page program for the mortgage industry, and I used to “fix” the data. I used SQL to access the customer database. SQL hates apostrophes, so while I was working on other things I made a quick fix by making the ‘ button on the keyboard type a *. From the beginning of the contact process until the last step before the mortgage papers were printed a customer might be called O*Reilly. That doesn’t mean Mr. & Mrs. O’Reilly’s loan didn’t exist it just meant that I used a fix to make the program work until I got around to modifying that part of the program. (Which I never did.)

So “fixing” data doesn’t necessarily invalidate the results. It’s just a term programmers use.

Dr. Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy talks about other ways scientists use the word “fix” in their models. Just like in my mortgage program using the word “fix” doesn’t mean those mortgages don’t exist. The fact that he used “fixed” data in his program for the Hubble doesn’t mean that the universe doesn’t exist.

The other part of the non-story was that researchers erased some of the data they used. Somehow, even though this data is part of the open record and many other scientists have the exact same data they should have treated it as preciously as if it were the original Apollo Moon Landing Data that could never be reproduced. Apollo 11 missing tapes.

Some of this Data was terabytes gathered in the 80s. Back then Data storage was expensive. Go to any Mac bashing site and you’ll see PC fans saying Apple should have put a harddrive on the original Mac. If those people actually used a computer in 1984 they would know that it would add an additional $1,000 to add a massive 4-megabyte harddrive back then (That’s not a typo that’s megabyte not gigabyte). Back then it was actually cheaper to store the paper print outs and hire someone (in the late 80s these people became known as Wang Inputting Experts based on the Wang PC’s data entry program) to manually re-enter data.

For Data that was used often they were stored on huge reels of magnetic tape that were only labeled with a 2” by 3” piece of white tape that fell off easily. So dumping Data, especially if it existed elsewhere was commonplace.

So it turns out the despite the reports in the MSM that Global Warming is a hoax, the Earth’s average temperature is still 57 degrees and the Atlantic Ocean is above freezing so putting on 60 lbs of hockey gear and jumping off a boat miles from shore so you can skate home is not a good idea.

So to all those people that point to stolen emails taken out of context as proof that Global Warming is a hoax I say either “Shut-up Stupid” or slap on 60 lbs of skating gear and I’ll drop up you a mile from shore. If you skate back I’ll believe you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fantastic Future Friday: Through a Mirror Darkly

We do not live in a Universe where our reality is the only one, but a Multiverse where every possible decision has been played out. While experimenting with some of the new features in HTML 6.0 I accidentally typed in -alt.dim- Fantastic Future Friday -/alt.dim- and got the post and picture of the Project Savior who is a Conservative.

If you want to see our realities Project Savior’s Fantastic Future Friday post you will have to travel to that dimension in the Multiverse.


On that fateful day 9/11 the way of life that we had enjoyed for a half century was attacked. It was an attack by shadowy enemies of freedom that were enabled by our own dependence on foreign oil. Since the 1970’s we have been sending billions of dollars to the enemies of freedom who would use our addiction to oil to fund our demise.

The biggest threat to our national security is our very own shortsighted thinking that strengthens our scary faceless enemies while weakening us in the process.

The most graphic attack was the horror of 9/11, but that was not the only attack, and it was not even the most effective attack.

The other attacks to our great nation have been the thousands of economic pinpricks that the ever-increasing cost of energy have slowly bled our strength. In the summer of 2008 as businesses needed to lay-off workers or close their doors altogether because of the high cost of fuel, that was an attack that has led to more deaths than the thousands that died on that fateful day on 9/11.

Every person who has died because they have been pushed into poverty due to the high cost of energy is a casualty in this new struggle.

Make no mistake this is a war, a war unlike any other previous war. It is a war for dominance over civilizations source of energy.

Now in this war there are many vague unnamed critics who would argue that we should take the low road. In this case the low road is very low, 2,000 feet to 2 miles down. They say we should grab the remaining oil and gas and use it up in the next 25 years before anyone else can.

I say boldly and loudly to those critics that taking the low road has never been the American way. The American way has always been to take the high road, that when faced with a challenge we don’t merely fall back on the old ideas of the past. Instead we forge new roads and conquer challenges through new innovations, surmount obstacles with the power of new ideas.

This war for control of energy, our civilizations lifeblood, will be fought on several fronts. The main artillery will be coming from the labs in universities across this country as a surge of 30,000 scientists and technicians will investigate new cheaper, more powerful, and lighter solar energy panels. To win this battle we will back up our unwavering resolve with a $3 billion a year investment.

In the beginning stages, the battlefields will in the American homes as we build and install these new more powerful solar panels to replace the energy that comes at the cost of the lives of American workers and soldiers, with heavenly power that shines down on America from the sun.

As our new smart offensive against the enemies of freedom progresses, it will move to building a new smart energy grid to reduce waste of our precious resources. New methods of mass transit will be deployed so that we can fight this enemy here so we don’t have to fight them over there.

As we gain control of more and more of the energy resources of the planet we must keep in mind the need for a permanent solution, and that’s where the final front will be fought.

The final front in this war for energy will start with a commitment to NASA in the form of a $4 billion increase in the Constellation Project. This commitment will not only allow us to return to the moon but it will give us a secure way to access space.

This commitment will include not only building the Ares family of spacecraft, but the new Maia ion propulsion transport. Named after the shyest God she will handle the heavy moving of material from Low Earth Orbit to higher orbits and even to the Moon.

She won’t be in the spotlight like her swifter siblings but she will carry out the most important step in battle to forever control America’s energy sources.

Her most important mission will be to take solar panels from Low Earth Orbit into the higher Geo-Synchronous Orbit where the sun is always shining. Once there they can beam this heavenly energy back to America to forever power our freedom loving way of life.

In this war to control the energy source for civilization, our commitment is strong and our resolution is unwavering. This is a war that not only can we win, but it is a war that we will win.

And by winning the war for energy we will lead America into a Fantastic Future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Writing Update

As my life has gotten busier, for the better, the first casualty has to be “What we know Wednesday”. It was my least viewed series and the hardest to write. I actually had to look up all the stuff I was talking about, even the things that I was 99% sure of, it was an attempt to hold myself to a higher standard. As a result it took a lot longer to write than the “Shut-up Stupid Sunday” my most popular series. If I get more time I will bring back the “What we know Wednesday” series because even though it was time consuming I found it very rewarding to take a deeper look into topics I thought I knew a lot about.

In it’s place I’m going to keep anyone who is interested updated on my writing career.

“Invasive Thoughts” – I’ve finished the back cover and sent everything off to the publisher. It is in pre-production now, they do the final proof-reading (I’ve proof read it about 20 times and my wife has proof read it 3 times, but as anyone who has read this blog knows spelling and grammar is not my strongest attribute as a writer. So I really pity the proofreader.)

I’ve got to wait for them to finish that and the cover art. I often feel that “wait” is the worst 4-letter word in the English language.

“The Setting Earth” – My First Draft is done, I’ve got 5 things that need to be included in the early part of the book to make the ending more powerful. 4 are easy the 5th one is hard, one of the characters needs to be competent at his job, just not as good as the insecure, young tech who saves the day. So I need to flesh him out more than I did.

I was shooting for the first draft to be 65,000 words and it ended up being 65,900. Not Bad.

“The Pizza Diaries” - In the last week I wrote or rewrote 15,000 words into the book. I’m afraid this one will go in spurts as it is a collection of horror/humor stories that revolve around a Pizza Delivery Driver that runs into all sorts of unusual things. So far he has run into an incompetent Satanic Cult that wanted to use him as a sacrifice, a shopkeeper that runs an inter-dimensional dating service, an outbreak of the living dead, a shape-shifter that drains people of their blood, and a rival pizza place that is run by Aliens that use people as their source of food.

It is nice having the same main character for these short stories as when I get an idea I don’t have to build a character from scratch, but I need to make sure the story can revolve around him.

Other than that its been awhile since I’ve had a short story accepted, so I will have to check and see what stories I’ve sent out that have gone past the 3 month mark without receiving a response and submit them elsewhere. I’m always afraid I will see one that has just gone past the 3-month mark with no reply, I’ll send it to the next magazine and then it will be accepted by the first one. So far that hasn’t happened but it is one of my fears.

Legal Disclaimer:

In order to comply with the new FCC guidelines on blogs I must reveal any compensation I have received from anyone or anything I have blogged about.

This evil minion has dropped a bird, and a snake at my feet. I’m not sure if that counts as compensation but you can’t be too transparent.

This evil minion has made numerous funny faces at me that have made me laugh.

And these evil minions are just so damn cute that it has to count as compensation.