Oh, Hai – You Can Buy Our Book Nao!

There ’tis, on Amazon: The Best Science Writing Online 2012, with me and Chris Rowan right on the cover. We’re also inside. Scha-weet! It’s even available for Kindle. You can buy it today.

Open Lab 2012 cover

But, y’know, if you buy the paperback, and we meet in meatspace one o’ these days, and you happen to have that book upon you, I can, y’know, autograph it if you like.

Interviews will be coming up, and perhaps I’ll lay in a few copies for contests here and there, so watch this space. And, y’know, maybe possibly purchase the book. It’s stuffed full of really quite good science writing. And if you’ve got one of those cantankerous relations who likes to drone on and on about how useless blogs are, this might be just the book to hand them in order to effect a swift reappraisal. Every single essay in here started life as a blog post, ye know. And they’re just a sample, a bit of cream dabbed off the top of a towering mound o’ cream, as it were. The science blogosphere is one of the best parts of the internet. And now a small selection of it resides between covers, just waiting to be opened by someone who wasn’t expecting the strange new worlds they’ll find within.

Who needs science fiction when science fact is quite wonderful enough? Okay, well, most of us need our science fiction, too, admittedly, but as a seasoning rather than the main course.

Dig in!

Baby Bullfrogs. That Is All.

Sigh. Seattle’s doing this let’s-hold-on-to-summer thing that it rarely does. I want to be outside so bad it physically hurts. And, of course, it’s now that they’ve closed the vacation calendar and are making noises about mandatory overtime. Combined with some of the other stuff going on, it’s enough to make me scream.

So it’s nice to come home and spend a few minutes with frogs. I haven’t got time or energy for anything in-depth, but you won’t care. Baby bullfrogs. That’s all I need to say.

[Read more…]

Life is Short, and It Was Hot

Doctor Who fans will have begun grinning as they read the title to this post. I hope they heard it in a Jamaican accent.

It’s also part of my excuse for being absent without leave. Work became, how shall we say, challenging. I began to feel like Bilbo Baggins: needing a very long holiday. Wanted to see mountains again. And the bastards had closed the vacation calendar, but I finally said fuck it and took a mental health day. I wandered down to Snoqualmie for a look at the Falls in fall, when the volume of water is lower, because I plan to do you up a nice set of posts on the place. Eventually. And I dropped by Three Forks Natural Area whilst there. The views of Mount Si will make you sigh with happiness, even when the air is hazy from fires burning on the other side of the Cascades.

Mount Si and the Snoqualmie River (or a fork thereof – not strictly sure where I was)

That one isn’t the best. I’m saving the best for another day. Also, three stages of bullfrogs. Oh, my darlings. One of the happiest end-of-summer days is the one spent on the bank of a slough, watching baby bullfrogs.

[Read more…]

World Premiere: The Delectation of Dragonflies

When you return from an outing with a camera full of dragonflies in flagrante delicto, as it were, there’s really only one thing to be done: dust off the “Pornochz” track your dear friend Eric Kenning composed for your article on writing bedroom scenes and create a movie of surpassing educational interest. Eric has been kind enough to allow this retasking of his tune. The movie itself came together in a trice, as if it were meant to be. And now, after causing you to shiver with anticipa….tion, I click upload, and embed, and present to you, for your viewing pleasure:

[Read more…]

A Further Update

Oh, my fuck, you guys, I just finished our dragonfly porn, and it is a masterpiece. Now all that’s left is to hope the musician checks his email and grants his permission to use his music for this purpose, as I’ve bloody well gone and lost his phone number. Sigh.

If he withholds permission, which I hope isn’t likely, I’ll need someone musically inclined to whip us up a bow-chica-wow soundtrack. Don’t worry. You retain all rights to your music, but you don’t have to reveal your real name if terminal embarrassment prevents you from using other than a pseudonym. I can help you think of a suitable ‘nym if you haven’t already done that “what’s your porn name?” game with your friends.

Either way, this will be brilliant, one of the most entertaining things we’ve ever done here at ETEV.

I can’t bloody wait!

Updates

Some of you have already noticed, but FreethoughtBlogs has been forced to put countermeasures in effect against various and sundry trolls who thought it the height of funny to pretend to be regulars saying disgusting things. If this has an adverse effect on your ability to comment, please let me know at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.

(Trolls need not let me know, because they’ll end up spammed whilst I laugh and laugh at their pathetic selves. Sad, really, that some people are such ineffectual losers they are reduced to lurking around blogs hoping their misbehavior earns them a cookie from other misbehaving dumbfucks. If I myself had such mad playground taunt skillz and the ability to lie with abandon, I wouldn’t be wasting them at FtB, but would be selling them to Fox News or the local Republican party for cash money. But I suppose that’s just because I don’t have the soul of a Troll Artist.)

Anyway. Onward.

A request has been made for the dragonfly porn to be displayed forthwith. But you cannot rush these things. Not when you have just the right soundtrack, and needs must only combine same with photos just so in order to create a masterpiece. Believe me when I say it will be worth the wait.

Also, interest has been expressed in the status of my nicotine habit. It has now, officially, been a month, and I am still smoke-free. Yes, I still want a cigarette at times. Yes, some people in my life have noticed my lack of patience with stupidity. But I think they’re putting irritations down to quitting that don’t belong there – I’ve always been like that, it’s just that they’re noticing for the first time because I no longer smell of stale tobacco smoke.

What I have wanted more of is solitude, and food, and Doctor Who, all of which I provided myself with in abundance over the weekend. Currently, I’m gorging myself on P.G. Wodehouse novels. Yes, while I’m supposed to be blogging. Yes, while my email lies horribly neglected, even so. It’s a reaction to work, which has decided they desperately need a weekly newsletter. Being run off my feet writing, I am. Not to mention fighting with recalcitrant text boxes in Word. Don’t talk to me about Word. Especially don’t talk to me about the fact that Word is, presently, the only publishing program I can weasel out of my employers. Do you understand now my anomie, my anguish, my desire to bury myself deep in British literature and television?

Don’t worry, I’ve also written some blog posts. They only need to be typed and pictures appended to make them complete for your viewing pleasure. But first, Wodehouse. And some more Doctor Who.

Don’t rush me, my subconscious is busy working on dragonfly porn.

The Exclusive ‘Things With Water Lilies’ Collection

I didn’t intend to write today – this was supposed to be my completely-off weekend, in which I didn’t nothing but watch Doctor Who and read and play in the sun. But I’ve just been going through my Juanita Bay photos from Saturday, and had a major squee moment that couldn’t wait.

[Read more…]

Accretionary Wedge #49: Out of This World

T-4 and counting…

“No one regards what is at his feet,” Quintus Ennias, the father of Roman poetry, said. “We all gaze at the stars.” And so we do. Those cold points of light in our skies remained mysteries for so long, until we realized they were other suns. And if there were other suns, there could be other worlds.

And where there are other worlds, there will be geology.

[Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Volcanic Snow on Io

Right, well, you knew someone had to do it. One of us had to do up Io. I mean, how can you have an Accretionary Wedge dealing with geology in space without Io?

And I thought, really, that it would be a bit of a lark, you know. Just, “Oh, look! Volcanoes in space. Everybody knows about Io, but here’s some lovely pictures and a few facts and have a nice day.” Almost boring, really, considering everybody babbles about Io’s volcanism, and sniggers things like, “Looks like a pizza, dunnit?”

But as I researched a bit, and then a bit more, squee after squee happened, culminating in the discovery that the USGS – yes, that’s right, the United States Geological Survey – has done up a geologic map of the thing. Nerdgasm? Oh, honey. All I can say is, it’s a good thing our office building was built to withstand subduction zone quakes. Wowza.

Voyager 1 acquired this image of Io on 4 March 1979 at 5:30 p.m. (PST) about 11 hours before closest approach to the Jupiter moon. The distance to Io was about 490,000 km (304,000 miles). An enormous volcanic eruption can be seen silhouetted against dark space over Io’s bright limb. The brightness of the plume has been increased by the computer as it is normally extremely faint, whereas the relative color of the plume (greenish white) has been preserved. Image courtesy NASA Planetary Photojournal.

So go check it out, but don’t forget to submit your own entry for our 49th Accretionary Wedge. Get out there. Explore the universe. Bring a rock hammer – you’re likely to need it.

Only do it fast, because your entries are due by midnight Pacific time tonight, and stragglers won’t be picked up until the next rocket blasts off next week.

This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io’s Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter in 2007, this first-ever movie of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 km (200 miles) above the moon’s surface. Only the upper part of the plume is visible from this vantage point. The plume’s source is 130 km (80 miles) below the edge of Io’s disk, on the far side of the moon. Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Mystery Flora: Lilies of a Day

Flowers, unlike birds, don’t fly off and hide when I approach. They’re like rocks in that regard: delightfully immobile. Perhaps that’s why we get on so well.

But unlike rocks, flowers are brief. A few days, a few months, then gone until next season. These lovely lilies from atop Marys Peak blazed in the warm summer sun: now they are no more.

Mystery Flora I

But they’re glorious while they last. No wonder Ben Jonson eulogized his infant son by speaking of lilies.

[Read more…]