National Novel Writing Month…

If you follow me and glance over ThisWoldAndOthers you will realize, I hope, that I write SciFi, not for a living but for relaxation and as an outlet. I have mentioned NaNoWriMo before but forgot to mention it this year, just in case someone passing by might be interested but not know about it. November is/was the month and I have participated in (and become a winner once more!)

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel. Here’s a little more about how it all works.

National Novel Writing Month is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes your story matters. You know how writing makes the world a more creative, vibrant place. Through NaNoWriMo—as well as our Young Writers Program, the Come Write In program, and Camp NaNoWriMo—we work hard to empower and encourage that vibrant creativity around the world. We can’t do it without writers like you.

NaNoWriMo 2012 at a Glance

341,375 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

648 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 586 regions on six continents.

82,554 students and educators created worlds with the Young Writers Program.

615 libraries opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.

And in 2013, 44,919 Campers participated in Camp NaNoWriMo’s online writing retreat.

The novels not done even at 50k+ words its about 1/2 way, but here is the draft cover….and synopsis…20131201-100915.jpg

War of the Worlds?

It’s a Black Swan event, a disaster no one was looking for, despite decades of discussion. A killer asteroid slingshots around the sun and is heading straight for the heart of the US.

A desperate shot with an experimental space plane and obsolete nation killer bomb may save the day. Except worse turns to weird when it becomes obvious that the incoming hundred thousand tons is not an asteroid but a derelict starship.

Weird turns to near certain war when the ‘derelict’ starts spinning out landing craft, does the President destroy it, do the aliens come in peace?

The story of the men and woman who get to put the answers together and live…if they survive…with the consequences.


iPad next?

The iPad is the premier tablet and it’s probably nearly the perfect size and weight for its form factor.  That’s not to say that within the form factor there is no room for improvement. A screen that takes up most of the face should be a near term target, as should an auxiliary screen on the back face that provides bright light reading and low power / speed interactivity for those who don’t live indoors all the time.  To support the iPad as a companion device, multi level security is a growing need.

Make the bezel the same on the iPad as minimal as possible (get rid of the push button) push the screen out to the edge, don’t change the shell size. This with continued pixel densification will put the screen on another level altogether.  Make thumb and palm detection native and intelligent enough to enable me to rest my palm on the screen and write with a stylus as if the screen were regular paper.

Put an eInk reader panel on the back to enable the display of text and graphic art, this will enable high light low power reading applications and some other limited visual bandwidth applications such as phone etc. (This will be accomplished with a smart cover but it would be cool if it were integral with the iPad.)

The radio suite & battery life along with the camera, face time, GPS, and other built in sensors are probably good enough not to call for increases in size weight, but neither should they be decremented.

The iPad is far to big a part of many people’s eLives to leave to the pitiful protection it has today.  We need multi level security, enable me to turn the iPad on as if there is no security for consuming web pages, playing games, and using certain apps.  But for other functions use face recognition, symbolic coding other than a number pad, voice recognition, retina image recognition and even finger print recognition in combination to protect various levels of data in the unit.

Enable cyber security with one or more over watch processors that is not linked to the outside world for some level of checking to make sure that the tablet has not been compromised.   A version of this ‘chip’ may be linked to a secure remote system (short-range) so businesses or organizations can disable certain functions of the iPad remotely to make sure that pictures, audio, or other data cannot be put into memory without authorization.  This Big Brother functionality is a bit daunting but at least the over watch processor is probably going to be needed.  The full BB may be an external attachment and not integral so one can shed it easily….


Eisenhower National Historic Site

Ike and the Generals
By Evan Thomas Published December 16,

I like Ike more every time I read about him, I seems to me that he may well be the most under rated president of the modern era.  Many will say that he’s remembered for his glory in WWII and that this has covered up the fact that he was past it when it came time to be president and just yucked and golfed his way through eight years with no real threats.  And yet its was this period in the 50’s that was probably the most risky insofar as the chances of nuclear war went, because of Soviet Military Weakness and US Military Arrogance.  Evan Thomas’ argument is that Ike bluffed both sides into quiescence by essentially posing an all or nothing threat over everyone’s head.

Warning, my interpretation of what I’ve read in the above article and elsewhere:  Why would he have had to hold something over the head of his own generals?  Because they had developed their own power base (military industrial complex, remember) and were if not out of control, then out to control the narrative regarding the Red menace and the solution to said menace.  Ike realized that he did not have enough direct control over his generals to stop an accidental or ‘accidental’ escalation from taking place.  So he put forth a strategy of massive retaliation and pulled US forces back to positions where they were not in direct confrontation.  He then supported the technology that would give the president the best and most immediate information about the enemies capabilities and to some extent intentions (spy planes, spy satellites, the NSA etc) so he and future presidents would have the tools to keep the generals flights of fancy (missile gap, bomber gap, etc) in check.   He also started the process of professionalization of the nuclear triad that essentially created a grand strategy / strategic viewpoint that made it harder for high-octane hot heads like Le May etc to become threats to peace and human survival.

NaNoWriMo 2012, water under the bridge and other thoughts…

So obviously I dropped the ball on NaNoWriMo 2012, and I started out doing so well with all the best intentions.   However with a daughter’s wedding and thanksgiving to survive and real work requiring attention so we can continue to pay the bills (not to mention a semi major home construction project gone a lot over schedule) I just ran out of the mental and chronological resources to ‘get-er-done’ as it were.

Catching the Watcher is not done-fore however I have continued to work on it though at a lot slower rate.  Its now upwards of 40K words and (I think) roughly half done, hopefully I can wrap it up sometime in January.

So obviously I am not a ‘real’ blogger either  … real life intervened and I heeded the call.  Despite all my toys and channels of access I still could not find it in me to even put a few thoughts down, post a picture, etc.   Maybe I should blame it on the new iPad with its beguilingly sharp yet tiny text and butter smooth reaction to my every touch, along with the strikingly fast LTE link and up-rated WiFi.  But then again I can do all sorts of blogging from the iPad so it should really be an enabler of more doing not more slacking off.

I could blame it all on others or on my own failures as a person.  But the fact is that life is impossible to regulate.  There is only one me on this thread of time from past to future and a practical infinity of other threads are bustling against me at the wave front of now.  To change frames, the water is flowing under my bridge and it will never come back.  But its good to watch it slide past every once in a while and realize that in no possible world can I ever realistically aspire to perfection, let alone reach it, but in aspiring to do the best I can with the now I have, I at least make progress in a direction I get to call ‘right’ as in right for me and the world as I understand it.

Let’s think about this

I hate to add to the the conspiracy theorist’s trope but think about this; if President Obama were re-elected then impeached…President Biden! That should send a shudder down anyone moderately anything’s spine

So is the main-stream-media in its largely subconscious protection of the president on the cluster-f__k spiraling around the Benghazi attack figuring no one in their right mind would prosecute / impeach Obama if Biden would end up in the oval office?

Don’t get me wrong VP Biden’s probably reasonably smart and competent in the right environment (like his boss) but he’d most likely back the most rabidly reactionary liberal, union, tax and spend policies available because he believes those are the right policies and he’s much more of a doctrinaire warrior than Obama + he’d pretty much know he was toast come the next election.

Upshot? Get out the vote, vote the competent and reasonable Romney in as POTUS. Then if Obama really did leave our people to die, even if he thought it was ‘the right thing to do’ at the time we make sure he never holds another office of public trust..

‘Just sayin’


From the word source section at Dictionary.Com

  • c.1300, “an area, extent, expanse, lapse of time,” aphetic of O.Fr. espace, from L. spatium “room, area, distance, stretch of time,” of unknown origin.
  • Astronomical sense of “stellar depths” is first recorded 1667 in “Paradise Lost.”
  • “Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.” [Sir Fred Hoyle, “London Observer,” 1979]
  • Typographical sense is attested from 1676
  • (typewriter space bar is from 1888).
  • Space age is attested from 1946;
  • spacewalk is from 1965.

Many compounds first appeared in science fiction and speculative writing, e.g.

  • spaceship (1894, “Journey in Other Worlds”);
  • spacesuit (1920);
  • spacecraft (1930, “Scientific American”); space travel (1931);
  • space station (1936, “Rockets Through Space”); spaceman (1942, “Thrilling Wonder Stories;”
  • earlier it (spaceman) meant “journalist paid by the length of his copy,” 1892).
  • Spacious is attested from 1382.
  • 1703, “to arrange at set intervals,” from space (n.). Meaning “to be in a state of drug-induced euphoria” is recorded from 1968.
  • Space cadet “eccentric person disconnected with reality” (often implying an intimacy with hallucinogenic drugs) is a 1960s phrase, probably traceable
  • to 1950s U.S. sci-fi television program “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,” which was watched by many children who dreamed of growing up to be one and succeeded.

I was born the year and month that Sputnik was blasted into orbit and so I grew up dreaming of the great rockets roaring into space.  My dreams died a little with the end of the Apollo era and a little more with every year of the space shuttle and ISS travesties that followed.  Not because of the actors in the piece but because of the dead hand of bureaucratic-management-executive risk aversion that could be seen crushing the glory out of the endeavor.  It was only the glorious optical archive that is Hubbles legacy that kept a dream alive, a dream rekindled with Faster Better Cheaper and the Mars flurry and then blown to full flame in the last few years with Space X, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow, Orbital, and more.

The Truth is Out There

I posted on Truth, Fact, Lies and Fiction some weeks ago and I find it very interesting that one of the major progressive/liberal reactions to the Romney trouncing of President Obama is that it was all Lies.  And then the follow-up analysis that yes of course it was lies, see this factoid, that factoid, and this other factoid.

In the big picture though Romney didn’t lie, it is not in his temperament or interest to lie and he’s too smart and too well supported to lie by mistake (and the same can be said for President Obama.)  And all those handy Factoids aren’t lies either.   They are all truths that take one cut through a matrix of facts that are too complex to make into sound bites,  too complex to express in an hour, let alone a few moments and in the end too complex to really ‘know’ the end results of at all.

Anything a politician says can be said to be a lie unless it is so basically simple to parse that it cannot (practically) be a lie.  The statement “The dog licking  my hand is alive.” is pretty damned hard to make into a lie {unless the statement’s made on radio and no one is in the studio to vouch for the dog’s existence…but never-mind that!}  But the statement that ‘My Proposal to cut the tax rate for the top five percent of wage earners will not decrease government tax revenues at all, in fact it may raise them!” is impossible to prove as a fiction or as a fact.

The FACT is that many MODELS of taxation show that tax intake does rise if you decrease the tax rate.  This is because those high earners leave more of their money ‘in play’ in the economy attempting to make more money and thus putting it, and any extra they take in, within reach of the taxman.  Those models are pretty simple and anyone who can and will sit down and think about it will realize almost has to be true in the real world.  That is unless you assume that most money is made in a black market beyond the reach of the taxing authorities, and while that may be true in Russia it is patently not true in America.

Throwing the Liar word around is in my opinion simply lazy character assassination and it has backfired on both the right and the left.  The right has again and again attacked the president as a liar  when any reasonable person would see the situation as one of views and values, this ticks the hardliners off and they start frothing and soon turn a lot of people who originally listened to them off (I have been one of these people though I usually calm down and come back.)  The left has said the same thing about Romney and Ryan, often not overtly (but often very overtly) ever since Romney started moving ahead of the pack because many on the left who had met the man when he was Governor of Massachusetts, Savior of the Olympic games or Head of Bain Capital knew him to be a relentless, effective and innovative person of deep convictions but reasonable temperament.  As has been said elsewhere when Romney was a cartoon cutout the character assassination was effective, when they saw the person in action it was a stunning revelation.  The fact that the left and their enablers in much of the media had made him such a cartoon made the revelation all the more shocking, and all the more damaging to the left and the enablers.

Don’t call a politician a liar because you disagree with him.  He may be mistaken in his beliefs but no politician at the national level can be fool enough to just lie because he thinks everyone else is a bigger fool.

So do politicians never lie? Of course they do.  But Statesmen never lie, right? Of course they do.  Statesmen have to lie more that politicians do, and while it’s usually a bad idea for a politician to lie (shading the truth or dodging being their better and most oft chosen course) it is oddly a bad idea for a Statesman to be truthful all the time (though again shading and dodging are often better choices.)

Statesmen, being very important people who know more than they probably care to, cannot tell all to the people because they know damned well that the truth is ugly, the facts poorly understood and the most basic facts are that life goes on and that good people do bad things and bad people do good things.  None of which changes the truth (in the statesman’s eyes) that they are good people and bad people.

So in some ways I feel that President Obama has to be given a bye on some things that he is called a liar on.  Telling the truth is not always a good option and he could well hurt many more people by telling the ugly truth than he is by dodging, equivocating or occasionally outright lying.  But there are limits to the byes and a limit to the things that can pass as Statesmen’s issues.  And the President seems to be skating to the edge or beyond.  But then, what do I know?  Not enough to judge as yet.

You say that sucks!  And I agree.  But think about what a little incitement based on a stupid and utterly dreadful piece of video-logy did in the Muslim world.  That was truth and fact used in the pursuit of sociopolitical ends by enemies of change and development.  That social reaction was pretty much universal once, the torches and pitchforks came out very quickly.  That is the world where Statesmen of good standing learnt they had to lie in pursuit of a more fair and liberal world.

And that sucks. But that’s the world we live in.


iPad , iPad

Not sure what I think about the iPad these days, it’s still the single most used computing device I own but to be honest its the one that I would give up first as well.

Which seems odd.  But while I can do many things with the iPad (reader, Music, light blogging, internet addiction) even creative and work related if I have to, it is by its nature more limited in the depth of work that it supports.  It allows one to create a document and presentation or spreadsheet very well but linking them together is far harder than on a PC.  The scientific calculators I have worked with are simply remarkable but their results are hard to integrate with other packages.  Pictures etc are the same, it’s not that the iPad can’t it’s just that with the App model and its flat file structure you cannot organize or cross pollinate work like you can on a PC.

I am sure that many out there would argue with this, they probably feel that the iPad is liberating or does this or that better than any PC, and they could be right.  I also think that I could get used to using the iPad for many more things, but the effort to change over and figure out how to do things differently would be a very deep time sink.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a remarkable development, the culmination of many attempts over a long time, but it’s not clear that it’s the be all that some, even I, thought it  to be.

That said you’d have to pry my iPad out of my cold dead fingers if you just wanted to take it away now (though if you’re thinking of mugging me for it, you can have it, gives me an excuse to go buy a newer one.)

I am disappointed that no one has developed a better stylus technology, for the iPad.  It needs a pen like system as well as the finger painting mode (the Blue Tiger device that was being hyped a few months ago seemed promising.)  And I also feel that the iPad could do with a daylight readable screen at the current or only slightly higher resolution, with a longer battery life, faster processing and graphics and better error handling (than my old iPad v1).  One cool idea would be a two-faced version.  One with eInk on one side and the existing screen on the other.  That way you could do what you most often want to do in daylight, read and interact with documents, and you still have all the capability of the main screen on the other side.

Ah well, who knows what’s to come in the months and years ahead.  Hopefully someone at Apple will think of a better way of doing the things I want the iPad to do.