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Tag: science

Moneyball is the most pro-science film you will see all year.

Moneyball is the most pro-science film you will see all year.

I watched Moneyball on a flight between Toronto and Vancouver. I’d had no sleep the night before, and I was in the mood for a story about winning against severe odds. Moneyball is actually a story about winning because of extreme odds. It’s about the triumph of science over tradition, and in that respect it is more progressive than most science fiction films of its year.

Welcome to the Institute

Welcome to the Institute

Real life is always stranger than fiction. Always. Evidence: One of the twins admiringly touches my head. Before coming to wardrobe, I’d stopped in hair and makeup. My nape and temples are now shaved clean in an approximation of an old hairstyle called a half-box. All to help me blend in on the set. Only, from here on, I can no longer call it that. According to a glossary of forbidden terms posted right in front of me on the…

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Happy birthday, Mom.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Today is my mother’s birthday. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month. She is a breast cancer survivor. In that spirit, I link to this post, which critiques the “narrative” surrounding breast cancer — namely, that early detection always saves lives. I suggest that everyone read it, because it highlights some interesting truths about diagnosis and treatment. Example: …mammography is an inefficient method for detecting breast cancer. It’s much better at finding the indolent cancers that would have never caused…

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Today is a good day for finger-wagging.

Today is a good day for finger-wagging.

In a rare coincidence, two pieces of mine are up at SF Signal and Tor.com, respectively. Thanks to Paul and Bridget, the editors, for allowing me to rant at my leisure. The first is a piece on how to raise stakes for characters in post-Singularity or post-Scarcity novels. Snip: I belong to a genre writing workshop that’s lasted for over twenty years, and its collective wisdom is that the “literature of ideas” excuse is just that — an excuse. Listening…

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If you can smell a zombie, you can be a zombie.

If you can smell a zombie, you can be a zombie.

Lan-Caihe is real, or so Will Sargent told me via Twitter, this evening while Squid and I were doing our best impersonations of Albert Finney and Peter O’Toole at a bar near my workplace. Will was, of course, referencing this story, in which a disease called Lan-Caihe (named for an eccentric Chinese deity whose sole defining characteristic seemed to be unpredictability and capriciousness) ravages the techno-factories of Shenzhen. Snip: Lan-Caihe is a degenerative brain disorder that, like Alzheimer’s, erodes the…

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How is right not like a particle?

How is right not like a particle?

So glad you asked. Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about modifying Miranda warnings, or the warnings suspects are given upon arrest in the United States that inform them about their rights to silence, an attorney, termination of questioning, and possible contact with a consular authority. Current Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing Congress to modify the rules for terror suspects, specifically to change when Miranda warnings can be read, and to whom they apply.

In which I am distantly connected to NASA:

In which I am distantly connected to NASA:

This morning, my husband woke me with the news that a company located close to where I grew up had won NASA’s $900K Space Elevator prize for a prototype power-beaming device. “Huh,” I said. “I wonder if I know anyone who works there.” Turns out, I do. I went to school with David Bashford’s sons, and I’ve visited his home on multiple occasions. (Hey, Mr. Bashford! You may remember me from such episodes as “that time I caught two kids…

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Get your kids their #[email protected]*%&^ shots.

Get your kids their #[email protected]*%&^ shots.

Via BB, we have this article from Wired about the anti-vaccine movement (specifically the movement which blames childhood vaccinations for autism). As a consequence of my time at OCAD, I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about H1N1 and when I’ll be queuing up for my vaccine. At the same time, I’ve been utterly agog and aghast at the sheer number of people phoning the CBC or other news outlets with questions about the vaccine that are based solely on…

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WANT: BMW's new AR goggles

WANT: BMW's new AR goggles

This is exactly what AR should be used for. And it clearly works as a method of ingratiating the product with the consumer, because holy Christ I want a BMW right now. Imagine using this technology on your kitchen sink. Your gas furnace. Your toilet. Oh God, whither slapstick?

Even robots got more game than me

Even robots got more game than me

This super-fast robot hand dribbles, throws, and tweezes more effectively than I do. If you could observe the current state of my eyebrows, you would know this to be true. You’ve probably already seen this footage, so I thought I’d show you some eventual applications for super-fast robot hands. (Oh, shut up. That would chafe and you know it.) Warning: Major spoilers below for Stand Alone Complex. In all seriousness, I get really excited when I see stuff like the…

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