On Equine Excrement

This post contains language you might not want your boss to read over your shoulder. It’s a comparative taxonomy of two subspecies of four-letter excrement. You have been warned.

The Rules of Scotch

By popular request, here are the Rules of Scotch, as defined in Down From Ten. According to Carol in the book a good scotch: 1) Must be unpolluted (served neat–no water or ice) 2) It must be individualistic (single malt only–no blended scotch) 3) Must be bold (i.e. distinctive flavor …

The Future Snuck In The Back Door

If you’re not the kind of obsessive geek I am, you might have missed that yesterday the first major accomplishment in de novo life extension through gene therapy got published. This project has been going on for a while, but up until yesterday, all therapies and attempted engineering have either …

The Most Important Question?

I spend my life cultivating and exploring questions at all levels from the inane to the putatively profound. Part of my job is asking questions–in fact, if you squint hard enough and look through enough lenses, you will be able to find a question or cluster of them behind every …

Interstellar Synthesis

In the great search for other earth-like planets, things have oscillated between encouraging and downright weird. So few of them seem rocky at all–mostly just gas-giants–but we’ve assumed that it’s just because the detection methods we’ve been using (gravitational wobble) are biased toward finding gas giants in close orbit. That …

Principles of Contracts: You CAN Fight City Hall

Because this one deals a lot with the law again, the usual disclaimers apply: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. This is one man’s opinion on how business is done. Always consult a qualified legal professional when seeking legal advice. — — — — Previous chapter: …

Playing Jazz With Words

You hear a lot of talk of “discovery writers” and “outliners” in the writing world. The “pantsers” and the “plotters,” respectively. It’s true that there are a lot of people that fall into both categories–including many of my friends–and human nature loves dichotomies, but I’ve never fit comfortably either, and …

Skin Deep

I saw Star Wars for the first time when I was four year’s old. I’d been a fan long before, thanks to the read-along books and the action figures, but actually seeing the film mad equite an impression on me. One of the things that bugged me, though, were the …

You Are Not the Customer–You Are the Product

My gripe session about Dropbox’s new TOS and my presentation (wherein I all but came out and shouted that it’s stupid to use a free cloud-based backup service) understandably rankled a healthy percentage of the commenters. My fellows in the hacking community, who eat, sleep, and breathe security issues, described …

Failing the Wikipedia Test

Writing fiction in the age of the Internet can be fraught for the author who values authenticity–particularly if you write historical or technical fiction. Since the glorious thing about writing fiction is that you essentially make shit up to entertain other people, there are a range of opinions about the …