Book Foo

Dec. 26th, 2008 04:49 pm
newnumber6: (rotating2)
Boxing Day. However, I decided to avoid the boxing. Not much I would have wanted to buy (the things I might have considered buying because of the deal are generally too rare to make it worth going out and looking, or too expensive such that I don't have the money on hand and that I need to know if I'm getting certain other money I'm owed before I can consider it. Or both). Did have to work, and it wasn't too bad, though they were a bit idioty in ordering too much. Ah well.

So let's do some Book Foo. I don't know if this'll be the last of 2008, still a couple more reading days and there's a chance I might finish another one or two.

Finished: Wild Cards, Vol 5: Down and Dirty, edited by George R. R. Martin (reread)
Started: Wild Cards, Vol 6: Ace in the Hole, edited by George R. R. Martin (reread)

Down and Dirty's somewhat enjoyable, although the story sort of meanders. Minor spoilers.
Read more... ) I'll probably end my rereading of the series with Vol 7 (which takes place at the same time as Vol 6).

Started and Finished: Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (available online, and read that way) (reread)

Just was bored last weekend and felt like a reread. Still rather enjoyable, no furthur comments.

Finished: Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler (Nebula Award Winner, 1999)
Started: Forever Peace, by Joe Haldeman

Comments and a quote, behind the cut, some spoilers but relatively minor, plus some thoughts on the religion in the book. Overall: Enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Read more... ). Anyway, while I probably wouldn't seek out the Parable of the Sower specifically, if I happened to find it used for a good price, I might well pick it up, just to see how the story started.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Just a little thought experiment.

Premise 1: Multiple Universes exist from every possibility. This is like you see in SF shows all the time - for every choice (either personal or right down to particle interactions), the universe branches out into two (or more) possibilities, creating a new timeline for every possible choice.

Premise 2: Identity (for people) is a combination of two one-way operators (was and will be) which are continuous from any moment X to and moment Y in the future for will be, or past for was, where the state of the object in the earlier (or later) moment is directly dependant on the earlier moment. That is, I was me at 5 if the state of me now is a result of a continuous set of changes from me at 5 until now, in my universe. I will be me at +5years if the state of the character 5 years from now in any one universe is a result of a continuous set of changes over 5 years in that particular universe. This allows there to 'will be' multiple mes at +5 years, but they cannot claim to have identity to each other, because although they share a was connection, they don't share a will be .

Premise 3: There is no afterlife of a supernatural nature.

Under premise 2, it is theoretically possible that there is a non-supernatural afterlife (after death, some advanced entity is able to look back in time to the moment of death and register the mental states, and recreate it), but we will not consider it at first to simplify matters.

Premise 4: Life is awareness
That is, you have to have some level of present or future awareness of your condition to be considered alive. If you've been braindead and in a coma with no awareness for 30 years and then die, technically, for the purposes of the argument, you've been dead 30 years. If you're in a coma with no awareness for 30 years, wake up, and die 5 minutes later, you were alive the whole time. What counts as a level of awareness we can leave somewhat vague. It may well include reduce mental states, dreamlike comas, or extreme brain damage that leaves you functional, or it may exclude those after a point. It doesn't strictly matter which one you choose, so long as you're consistent about it. (Where necessary, we will use 'technical survival' or 'technical life' to talk about moments where the body is alive but there is no awareness)

Arguement: Take a suicidal person. Let's call him Gil Read more... )
newnumber6: (rotating2)
Bah, I had most of this written up but a power blip made me lose it. Die power blips, die!

Okay, let's start out with more questions from that interview meme, these ones from [livejournal.com profile] monkeykong...

1. You keep a fictional 'alternate journal.' What drove you to writing that story in this format as opposed to, say, a novel? Read more... )
2. Least favourite Firefly character? Why? Read more... )
3. In the imminent zombie holocaust, how long do you think you would last? Read more... )
4. What would your super hero costume be like? Read more... )
5. Would you rather be a cult icon or a worldwide superstar? Read more... )

Remember, if you want questions from me, post here.

Book Foo:

Finished: The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (Reread)
Started: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Thoughts (some spoilers), selected quotes, and thoughts springing off from the quotes behind the cut.
Read more... )

Moving on to Dream Foo!

One a cracky crossover with The Office, Doctor Who, Stargate Atlantis, and Runaways. Another is book foo related.
Read more... )

On my floor, which is wood-panelled, there are a few dark spots, looking like burns or whatever, slightly ovalshaped. There's a big cluster of them in a spot that I don't see on a regular basis, but will occasionally see. Sometimes if I'm not paying attention or I see them when my eyes are a bit blurry or in the middle of focusing, spotting them sets off my OMG BUGS! reflexive reaction before I realize/remember what they are.

Heroes tonight, woot! (That's a general woot, not a comment directed at [livejournal.com profile] woot, unless she's also interested, in which case it serves both purposes) Bit of a shame Drive got cancelled, but I can't be too upset, I was only partway interested in it. Enough to keep watching, but not enough to be broken up at it being cancelled.

I've noticed while looking through some LJ entries (and adding tags to a bunch) from long ago year that I write a lot less now than 2 years ago. Huh. I suppose at least part of that is that I save up stuff to do in megaposts like this rather than posting every time I get the urge, though.

I think as of this entry I will be resuming my old habit of choosing my mood completely randomly, regardless of my current mood. Because you people already see too much into my psyche for my tastes! Also, because if I use my real moods I only get to use a few of my mood icons, and, well, that's not as much fun.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
My thumb's sore. And not quite as opposable as usual. Am I devolving down the evolutionary chain? Or perhaps I just hurt it playing Ultimate Spider-Man. Probably the latter.

This year, I'm going to try really hard not to post a depressed, ranty, V-Day post. Because really, it's all been said.

Features I wish LJ had (or if they already do, I wish I knew how to do it):
1) Browse posts to a community written by a specific person. Mostly this is so I can track down some of my old posts, but sometimes I might want to see what someone else has posted before.

2) Apply tags to your friends list. A lot of times I watch, say, Supernatural a couple days later than everyone else, and lots of my flist post about it that first night. I don't want to backtrack 3 pages to find the posts about it, or go to everyone's individual journal and read back (as I ususall do), I'd rather just say 'okay, let's look at 'tag supernatural' on my friends lists. Though I realize it'd probably be a lot more complicated to code than basic tagging (depending a little on how the flist is implemented), it would still really improve my LJ experience.

Book Foo:

Finished: Big Planet, by Jack Vance
A Fire in the Sun, by George Alec Effinger

Some thoughts, minimal spoilers, behind the cut.
Read more... )

Started: Hyperion, by Dan Simmons (Thursdays and Sundays) (reread)
Stardoc, by S.L. Viehl (Wednesdays)

Random cracky crossover idea. Yet another thing I'm not going to write, and I'd be surprised if nobody else has come up with it yet, but I've been playing around with it in my head a little. One of them is Supernatural.
Read more... )

One of my minor goals in life is to have the adjective 'intrepid' prefixed to whatever description of me someone gives. I mean, sure, intrepid explorer would be great, or intrepid astronaut, or intrepid post-apocalyptic drifter would be awesome. But I'd settle for 'intrepid manual labourer'. Or 'interpid slacker' or 'intrepid layabout'. I think I've just typed intrepid way too much.

Some TV thoughts. Spoiler-Free.
Read more... )

Oh, speaking of TV, here's a quick list of the SF-related pilots for next year's TV. My thoughts:
Read more... )

Life update: Apartment hunt continues. No luck yet. I hate moving.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
First, Dream Foo. Both actual dreams, and lucid dream strategy.
Read more... )

Anyway, speaking of that last lucid dream, I've been thinking lately of the somewhat flexible nature of consciousness. Read more... ) It's also possible I'm just going mad.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching the Canadian classic Strange Brew, and I happened to look up something about it and noticed that it was a loose adaptation of Hamlet (with the McKenzie brothers playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). Never heard that before, but I can see it. So, anyway, later in the day I was watching Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, and my mind wandered (as it often does) to how one might be able to reinvent Farscape in another genre.
Read more... )

I think I've mentioned before that my brother got himself a PS2 recently, so I've been able to play some. Only have two games at present, Castlevania and GTA: Vice City. Don't much care for Castlevania, but GTA's fun. Anyway, that's not really the topic I'm going for: I was a bit bored, so just did some random thinking on Video Games I'd Like To See: Read more... )
newnumber6: (rotating)
Haven't done one of these in a while.

I'm hungry.

Dream Foo: Possibly the weirdest dream ever. Read more... )

Meh, I want to RP again, but I'm still too damn picky.

Commercials annoying me recently: What the commercial is vs what impression I get from it! - Read more... )

New TV season starts soon. So far the only new show I've seen and kinda dug was Jericho (downloaded the first episode). Still have hopes for Heroes, but haven't seen the first ep yet (I know it's available, I just haven't gotten around to it). And of course returning shows are love.

Oh, and remember the convention? Turns out I was right. According to another browncoat (who actually saw me but didn't know who I was or that they knew me from online), Christina Hendricks (Saffron) showed up on Saturday, pretty well right at the exact time I was leaving the convention. If t'weren't for bad luck, sometimes I think I'd have none at all. ;)

Book Foo:
Finished: Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card
Thoughts and selected quote behind the cut (very low on spoilers, probably safe even if you haven't read the book): Read more... )

Started and Finished: Shadow of the Hegemon, by Orson Scott Card
Again, thoughts and quote (and again, very low on spoilers).
Read more... )
Started: Swan Songs, the Complete Hooded Swan Collection by Brian Stableford (Wednesdays)
Will be starting: Shadow Puppets, by Orson Scott Card (Fridays and Sundays)

Ha-ha, today I found $20! Of course, it was _my_ $20, but it was $20 I thought I must have lost somewhere, perhaps in the laundry. Turned out it had somehow got on the floor near my hamper.
That makes me feel better.

Working on a WIDW for Runaways after BKV leaves, based on a thread on the BKV forums (put some initial thoughts there, these'd be a little more detailed).

Haven't really written much, writing-wise, this week. Well, anything (aside from my [livejournal.com profile] alternaljournal). Still been good about not napping if I don't write first, at least, but I was getting into a decent rhythm (wtf is up with that word, it never looks right) going. Oh well, maybe I'll officially declare this week a vacation in honor of labour day holiday and get back in to the rhythm.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
Random Foo! Segues begone, you have no power here!

First, I guess, new icon. This was the one I mentioned working on, probably amusing only to me and maybe two others at most on my flist, but hey, I had fun with it.

Mini-dream foo. Last night (among a bunch of mini dreams I can't remember), I dreamt that I decided that on one of my days off, on a lark I should try to go on a tour of Marvel comics, since I live right in New York and it's kind of silly for me not to. It was only a minute or two after I woke up that I realized the big flaw in my plan: I don't actually live in New York.

I recently discovered a 'webcomic' 'A softer world'

It's like crazy, odd, occasionally funny and occasionally disturbing haiku written by a crazy person (and not following haiku's syllable scheme, at least most of the time). Also hold your mouse over the picture for a hidden 'extra text' related to it.

I've been thinking lately about 'group loyalty'. Y'know, nationalism, or culturalism, etc, all the way up to species loyalty. I don't really feel it in myself. (Yes, this is one of those long, rambling, not-terribly-well-edited, pseudophilosophical and probably uninteresting to anyone but me, mainly stream-of-thought type digressions, cut for your skipping pleasure)
Read more... )

Book Foo!
Finished: Xenocide, by Orson Scott Card (reread)
Started: Children of the Mind, by Orson Scott Card (reread)

Thought, trying to be non-spoilery, and my selected quote-from-the-book, behind the cut.

Read more... )

Taste of the Danforth this weekend. Woo! Most Toronto streets I wouldn't care to taste, but the Danforth, mmmmmm. Yummy! Gyros!

I think that's about it for this one.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
First, tomorrow's my birthday. Not all that important and I'll be doing more of a substantive birthday post tomorrow, but this is the random post and it's unrelated to anything else in the post so it fits here too.

I've mentioned before how I'd like to ban newscasters from using the meaningless phrase 'made history'.

I would also like to ban them from the phrase 'You might be surprised.' in their promos, and all variations of it. There's a new poll about so-and-so. What are the results? You might be surprised! What's the law about such-and-such, and what rights do you have? You might be surprised!

Yes, I might be surprised. Rant proceedeth )
-

Moving on, a phrase has been bouncing around in my head for the last week or so. I don't know what started it, specifically, some other random line of thought, but the phrase itself stuck with me - "The purpose of life is to create fiction." Read more... )

Finally, some thoughts on Stargate: SG-1 Season 9 and Stargate Atlantis Season 2, since they just aired the Season 9 finale tonight here. Spoilers behind the cut, nothing really big, but if you happen to be one of those who doesn't like to hear anything and haven't yet seen Season 9 because it airs in syndication for you or whatever, well, there'll be something.
Read more... )

And thus ends this random post.
newnumber6: (runaways)
I was thinking the other day, that we're very near (if not at) the technological point where someone could set up a service where, for a monthly fee, you could order any TV show or movie in existence, at any time you wanted to, on your TV. Whether somebody actually would do that is another matter, and there'd always be rights issues to work out, but let's say for the sake of discussion that such a service were available.

What would be, in your mind, a reasonable monthly fee for such a service? Let's say that new movies are only available after the movie has been available on pay-per-view for two months (other pay per view events are also available after a 2 month gap). TV shows are available right as soon as they air.

After I considered this question, I thought about other technological advancements, and the potential price tags.

What would you pay, if teleportation were available, for one instant cross continent or cross ocean trip?

What would you pay to go to space? If there was a moon colony open to tourists, what would you pay for a roundtrip there?
More such questions here )

I'm curious to hear about other people's viewpoints. Assume costs are in today's dollars, with most things available today unchanged in price (unless the new tech is a direct competition), and we're not talking about what it would cost when the technology is first introduced and available only to those who have lots of money anyway, but rather what you'd think is the highest price you'd consider 'reasonable', as a more or less 'stable' price, such that you might seriously consider going for it. And sure, 'I'm not interested in such a service at any price' is a valid response. Oh, and if you have any other future-tech you'd like to get a price quote on, suggest it.

My answers:Read more... )

Unrelated to this: Was bored so went through and added a bunch more interests to my profile. And done a non-fandom-specific friending meme. Edit: Oh, and silly, impolite me, I forgot to welcome the friends gained from that. Hi! :)
newnumber6: (chase)
Apricot jam does not go very well in Peanut Butter sandwiches.

Now, with that completely irrelevant opening out of the way (it is the random post) I'm very passionate about a particular cause for which I was sadly probably born far too early for it to really matter. That cause is probably best summed up as 'AI Rights Advocacy'.

To start with, there's a concept I like to bring up now and then. I call it the Robot vs. Puppies dilemma.Read more... )

New Topic! So when I had dinner with my mom she gave a bunch of little mini gifts. Among them was a shoulderbag, which I claimed for myself because my previous one was... wearing out.

And by wearing out, I mean the following: Read more... )

Book Foo! I have finished: Wild Cards, Book 10: Double Solitaire,
by Melinda Snodgrass. Read more... )

And... done!
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
This week, we have the '6 social interaction report', links that caught my eye, a fragment of dream foo, and some thoughts on emotion. As usual, a lack of segues.

Homeland Security is finally after the real threat to the US... vegans!. It seems odd that merely writing down the license plate of an undercover vehicle is a criminal offense. I mean, it's out in public. They can spy on you but you can't know about them? Okay, in real crime there might be a reason to avoid it, but if they're going to go out on bull$#!% stuff like this they should at least have James Bond style quick-change license plates. If the security of your operation can be threatened by a vegan with a pad of paper, something's wrong with you.

Yahoo, AOL charge fee for 'guaranteed e-mail delivery'. So if you have these and you don't get an e-mail from me, it's THEIR FAULT. They say it'll help them to reduce spam. But hey, geniuses - spam constantly gets through all your filters ALREADY. Charging companies who (theoretically, according to the terms of the agreement) who DON'T SPAM a fee to bypass spamfilters and other blocks ain't going to help a whole lot. If you use yahoo-mail, flee, flee for your lives!

The 6 Social Interaction Report )

Dream Foo: Nothingmuch to report in the way of details, but I believe it was Stargate-heavy.

I was thinking the other day about emotions, and specifically the fact that for the most part we can't control them. (I've mentioned before that I can turn off things like disgust and sort of put myself in a zen state and look at or think about pretty disgusting stuff without being at all bothered, but I can't do that to get rid of depression or immediately cut out anger no matter how much I try). Anyway, this lack of control, that's pretty much the only reason I can find why we so value them.

I mean, imagine for a moment a being that could control their emotions. Read more... )
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
First, I'm feeling better than I was this morning. My eye still regularly shouts, "I'M ABOUT TO EXPLODE!" but it's less frequent and I'm not as headachy in the in-between times.

Anyway, I spent the better part of the morning reading this:
http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_index.html

The Edge Annual Question — 2006


WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?


The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?

They asked a bunch of scientists, philosophers, and even one of the Monkees (though he's also a scientist) the question, came up with a whole lot of replies, 12 pages worth, 4 or 5 a page. Some are repeats of a similar idea, some contradict each other, some I agree with, some I don't, and I don't claim to have understood everything, but it's been a while since I've read something where so many times I encountered something I'd genuinely hadn't considered or was aware of. I really recommend reading them through. I'm actually bookmarking it because I think I'll want to read some of them again.

In that spirit, I'm going to write a few of my own Dangerous Ideas:
Read more... )
Feel free to share your own dangerous ideas, either in comments or make a meme out of it if you want.

Finally, just cause I think some of them are cool, Worth100's photoshop contest:

Photoshopped art with nature as the canvas
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Just noticed that LJ gave us free users an extra 3 userpics (apparently since I had 7 from when I was a paid account holder, I wasn't able to use them until I deleted one, so I didn't notice until now even though they gave them a few days ago). Yay LJ anyway.

So the other day I was hanging out on a dead MU* (one I still
frequent to chat with someone). Read more... )

XET looks like it's temporarily down again.

Book Foo: Recently finished: Brothers-In-Arms and Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Started: The Einstein Intersection, by Samuel Delany
Minor spoilers beyond the cut. Read more... )

Am I the only one that thinks 'trust us, we're the government' is better as a punchline to a joke rather than official government policy?

Philosophical Question of the Moment: You've just died, but just before that happened, the entire contents of your brain were downloaded into a new supercomputer. The computer has all the memories you did, and behaves in a way consistent with your personality. Is the computer 'you'? Or is it a copy/imitation?
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Thought experiment: Assume you have a perfect, 100% reliable lie detector, and people who will answer. Keeping in mind a) that people who are bad from your perspective often think they are good, and b) that many people who commit crimes would honestly think they wouldn't until the situation actually came up, come up with the smallest set of questions that you could use to divide the generally good people from the generally not good people (good people being defined by your own terms).

Still thinking about what I'd use, but the question interests me.

Things that are annoying me lately:
I really wish newscasters would stop using the phrase 'make history' in
any newscast, but especially those that are about sports or more or less meaningless trivia.
Read more... )

The following commercials: Max 5 chocolate bars - Okay, I can see 'caramel is sweet', and 'pretzels are just twisted' and even 'peanuts are just nutty', but the second line of that jingle 'Peanut butter's funny'? No. Peanut butter is not funny. You're being a sloppy lazy-ass with your songwriting. I have never looked into a cupboard and seen a jar of peanut butter I wasn't expecting and burst out laughing. I've never seen anyone else crack up in the grocery store in the peanut butter isle. I'd also tend to consider peanuts and peanut butter one ingredient, since chunky peanut butter has peanuts in it, but I'll let you slide on calling it two. THERE IT IS RIGHT NOW WHILE I'M TYPING THIS SHUT UP.

Some shaving thingie- I am a reasonable approximation of a man, and I do not hate shaving, certainly not to the point that I'd rather light my shorts on fire or eat dirt. Both seem pretty drastic steps to take to avoid shaving, in fact.

Random additional work notes:
1) Guy I work with and I were talking about things like 'unlawful combatants'. In making some point or another, I used an analogy.
"Say, wild scenario, some other country invaded the US, like Russia."
He asked me, "Why is it always Russia with you?" (since apparently I'd used them in some other example in the past). I thought for an instant, said, "I guess it was because I grew up during the Cold War." He disputed that, and we got to trying to figure out when the cold war ended, and agreed that, at the earliest it was the late 80s. So I said, "Yeah, but I was born in 78". So then he said "Wait..." and figured out, and said, "You're 27?!" He must have put me around 21 or 22, mostly because he knew I was done with college. I think I can still, when freshly shaven at least (and maybe even when not), even pass for a teenager. Such comments always amuse me though.
2) I'm not actually high strung or particularly annoyed today.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
So, last night I was watching "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" on TV. I hadn't seen it before. Overall, I quite liked it... occasionally drifted too much into being too much about looking great, for my tastes. Maybe a bit too long. And I hated hated hated hated hated hated the ending. If they ended it maybe 5-10 minutes early, it'd have been great, but I hated what they did with it and will have to mentally edit in my own ending to be at all satisfied with the movie.

Anyway, the movie brought back to mind a few issues about artificial life. Read more... )

So, in general, I was just curious about the views of people reading this on the issue. Maybe it's in part self-selecting, because probably a high percentage of my friends list is a fan of SF or comics and so are routinely exposed to artificial characters who are treated as human.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Been a while since I've done one of these, but, recently on one of the discussion forums I'm on, someone raised the question of what sort of afterlife you'd design. So, I've been thinking about it for a while.

Read more... )
(Archived in Memories like all WIDWs)
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
No actual dreams to report, mostly had fragments lately that aren't very interesting or easy to relate.

Just some vague thoughts and noticings on dreaming in general (for me).

Read more... )

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