Only shoulders can be shrugged

For those new here, this blog occasionally experiences long droughts, and I do not apologize or explain such things. It’s not because I stop learning. It’s because I stop blogging.

Yet having been a while, and in hopes of more regular updates in the future, let me re-introduce myself a little bit.

I am the second most famous Padegimas on the internet.

I am a lot of things in my spare time:

I also maintain a house, marriage, full time job, two kids, two dogs, two cats, two chickens and rabbit and a fish.

And sometimes, I just need to drink beer and watch baseball.

A few things I have learned recently:

A quick writing to to cut a few needless words: never write that a person shrugged their shoulders. Redundant.

Only shoulders can be shrugged.

Most of the electrical professionals assume that electricity goes from the positive pole to the negative pole, except for the US Navy, which has always operated on the opposite assumption – and there stuff also works.

Arizona still has a big steam punk community, and tea-dueling is a real thing.

Blog posts are easier to just do when they are short.

Now you know.

Advertisements

Graphic displays of hope and fear (and some words for the writers)

From the NYTThe top bar is how wealth is actually distributed in the US. The middle bar is how (via survey) we commonly believe it is distributed in the US. The bottom bar is how we think (again via surveys) wealth should be distributed, given the choice.

That’s right – in reality, the top 20% of the income bracket owns 85% of the country while  the bottom 40% of us own nothing. When liberals whine that our defecit is at least partially caused by not taxing the rich enough – they actually have a case to make. But, as the New York Times article this was pulled from points out:

Why would the poor oppose taxes on the wealthy? Because many believe that they, or at least their children, will eventually be wealthy, voting for taxes on the rich may feel like voting for taxes on themselves. As a result, even the word “redistribution” has negative connotations.

So hope contributes to our national debt as much as fear. Good to know.

We’ll come back to hope. On the subject of fear – here’s the graphic truth about radiation levels courtesy of XKCD:

So you don’t take HP damage until you absorb a full Sv. And you don’t get that much accidentally.

What’s happening in Japan is pretty much a worse-case scenario about nuclear plant disasters. If this is all an 8.9 quake and a Tsunami can do to a coastal nuclear plant (so far, no one outside of the plant itself has taken harmful levels of radiation) – then its simply not that dangerous. How many people die every year mining coal?

Thousands (worldwide).

Vintage Russian safety posters – from English Russia. It translates “Don’t clean the cylinder while it’s in motion.”

Some links and notes (mostly words) from Writer’s Group – and elsewhere:

Join  or meet our gang at First Friday tomorrow night. Chaos of the Earth Cafe and Art Collective – 910 N. 5th Street (downtown Phoenix) – from 6pm to 10p.

One of our own – Greg Clifford –  has published a story in Golden Visions Magazine.

Literotica is a real thing – and NSFW.

A sample of Eudora Welty’s southern literate charm: Why I Live at the Post Office

Kelly and Kelly’s Moorea website. It was all true – with photos.

Finally, James Gleick explains to Wired magazine how everything is information and information is everything.

Now you know.

How I spent my vacation

I took some vacation to coincide with the kid’s spring break, and to get some work done on the house (still hail damaged) while the weather is good.

If you remove the ugly siding from my house, the turquoise cinderblock beneath  is even worse. BUT my backyard is now a more organized landfill with my new shed. If you build a pre-fab metal shed, you have to get it square and level, or the holes won’t line up. But after 8 hours, you really stop caring and just screw into the metal wherever you have to. It’s a shed. It keeps the rain off the lawnmower and the sun off of the plastic sawhorses. Relax.

That said, beer does not make the roof assembly go any easier.

I am studying for my ETCP rigging certification. Really. So I’ve been covering basic force calculation and remedial pythagoran theorems. to wit:

If you have a weight (some big stupid moving light) hung from a truss supported by two motors, and you want to know the weight held by a particular motor, the formula is:

F= D2/span x Wt

Where F is the force

D2 is the distance past centerline (or in this case, the point the weight hangs from)  opposite from the motor

span is the entire span between the motors

and Wt is the weight of the thing.

I won’t get into the algebra and the special cases and such, but a few things to remember:

This formula also works for bridles

Remember to include the weight for everything in the air

When figuring bridles, its helpful to know that they reduce themselves to triangles, and all sorts of remedial geometry applies.

When calculating a circumference, PIxDiamter = (2PI)radius. This isn’t a secret, I just never realized it.

For the writers:

Duotrope’s Digest lists “over 3325 current Fiction and Poetry publications” online and free and search-able.

One writer’s encounter with “gastronaughts” and blood pork.

And fat may help us live forever after all. This National Geographic article splits the difference between scientific journal articles and pop-news coverage.

(These topics all came up at our Thursday Night Writer’s Group)

Did I post this already?: Mike Brotherton’s hard SF resource page

And finally,

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why religious fundamentalism is the opposite of progress.

You Tube teaser – if you don’t have time for the full talk:

Now you know

Random geography and other writer’s notes

Yes, the Thursday night writer’s group is still going, and I have been able to attend most of the meetings, despite my neglect of just about everything else that didn’t have money attached to it for the past six months.

Dolce Expresso closed, and we were sad – and homeless.

Restaurants make poor meeting places for writer’s groups.

1) the wait staff will interrupt the read-aloud without remorse – because they don’t know.

2) A large party tends to be put in a booth – which is troublesome.

3) You will baffle or annoy those around you.

BUT

4) (and most importantly) if you’re going to tie up a chair for two hours, you’ll need to spend $10+. A cup of coffee only buys you about 45 minutes.

Also, the particular restauraunt we chose slapped an 18% gratuity on all of our checks because we were more than six butts.

So now we meet at Urban Beans – and life is much better.

For those who attended – and those who enjoy random, out-fo-context facts:

There are two Kashkars – one in Kyrgyzstan (Kara-Kashkar), and one in Chines Turkestan (aka Kashgan). The latter was on the Silk Road and is at least 2000 years old in one form or another.

More famous than either one – at least according to Google – is Cafe Kashkar, your source for Uzebek cuisine in times square.

Novosibirsk, Siberia, is actually a big place, and lloaded with all the culture and class you would expect from Siberia. Actually, it odes contain a major university and the State Opera Academy.

Add this to your try before you die list: Absolut Pepper vodka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By-the-wind jellyfish (above) are properly called Velella Vellella.

And Ace Carson is not Buck Rogers. Really.

This is Buck Rogers:

(Yes, that’s Gil Gerard and Erin Grey – the stars of the late 70’s movie and TV series.)

Now You know

 

Writer’s Group Notes return

In the past, I followed up the writer’s group I participate in with some remarks relevant to what was discussed about writing and other things.

These are the notes (mostly links, actually) from the 7/14 meeting:

New word: numismaty – the study of old coins.

Numismatic Doug Smith gives an overview of the subject in one of the 100+ pages of his comprehensive site.

Looking for a specific name? Try Coin Community’s Numismatic Glossary.

Hohman transfer orbits are the bicycles of interplanetary travel – fuel efficient compared to any other vehicle, but really,really slow.

The Polaris Project from Iowa State University patiently explains it all (and we mean all).

And if you’re worried about traffic on the orbital highways, check with these folks first.

Finally, GRR Martin does not have a blog, except he does, and he updates us on the casting and other production progress of HBO’s adaption of his novel Game of Thrones.

Now you know.

About damn time…

I promised some notes for the Thursday night folks, and they’re here, and you don’t have to skip down that far…

2nd edition AD&D came out when Excel was still almost strictly an accountants tool. By the time the RPG community discovred it, we had all collectively (and pretty much at the insistence of Wizards of the Coast) moved on to 3rd edition+. Consequently, there are no good Excel character sheets out there for ADD2. I spent longer researching this than any other item below (except the car keys).

The correct tire size for a 2006 Chevy Equinox 2WD LT with 16″ rims is: P23565R16 – which is the size of the tires in the front. It was not the size of the tires in the back which were both smaller and (consequently) balder than the front.  Or they were. $230 later and all the tires match – two of which are new. Related: 20 minutes on the internet saved me $30. Not a bad return.

The keys for that Equinox are either:

  • Within 100 feet of N33d 35.478   W 110d 36.618 (the campsite where I lost my keys) OR
  • Somewhere within the Equinox that can only be reached by tools.

Leaving an extra set of keys with your loving spouse will save you several hundred dolllars. The tank of gas and dinner for the in-laws involved in having them delivered was, then, pennies on the dollar.

2006 Chevy Equinox is the most frequent search term that leads to this site. But let’s talk about writing.

I have already written a little primer on how to seek and query literary agents: Quick & Dirty guide to finding agents

Writer’s Market and/or WritersMarket.com is the industry standard for finding an outlet for non-fiction articles and/pr short fiction (and basically anything else that’s not a book. The physical book is more complete, but tends to get out of date by the end of the year. The website (which requires subscription) has gotten mixed reviews for functionality. I’m about to subscribe myself – I’ll let you know.

[The book I linked to includes a free sub to the website.]

Meanwhile, freelancewriting.com has a less exhaustive but free listing of writer’s guidelines for various publications

Nerd-pron: Attack Vector Tactical

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

Looking for Thai-American magazine markets leads you to Writer’s Market or site in Thai.

If you can re-map you keyboard from Windows – I dunno how. (And I looked). So there’s I failed to learn. Sigh.

I’ve been traveling, which is always full of lessons, but that will wait for next post – which will be sooner than 9 days.

Now You Know

Notes from the 1/14/10 Writer’s Group

Big group (11 writers at our peak). I would’ve have split into two groups if more people had brought work to read. As it was, you had two choices, read loudly, or bring a lot of copies. We had examples of both approaches.

Here are some relevant links:

Pine Ridge Reservation is a real place.

Em’s island is fictional, but based on the real Sandwich Archipelago in the south Atlantic/North Antarctic ocean.

www.ipulpfiction.com has some sort of Quicktime thing that locks up my browser. They have a $10 reading fee, which violates the Harlen Ellison Rule that money should always flow towards the writer, but they are up-front with the terms, and your odds are better than contest writing. Besides, some of that reading fee goes to one of our own.

An after-hours conversation brought up some interesting things:

That “long vowel sound” that your teachers beat into your head no longer exists. Its a relic from middle English (and several other languages) where a long vowel was just that – a vowel you held for multiple beats. It was abandoned in English around the 15th century, but its legacy still complicates our spelling. More on that here and here.

Finally, James Merill – poet – a brief bio from poets.org.

Now you know.