ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
They spy on you.  The potential for abuse is enormous.

Remember that paper books do not track which parts of them you read.  If you read books in a library without checking them out, or buy with cash, there is no way to tell which ones you have read.  This protects sensitive information.

It does not matter if what you are doing is legal.  The police are not obligated to know or follow laws; they can arrest you if they THINK you're breaking a law when you're not.  People have been arrested for reading or even just having books or other learning materials that somebody thought they shouldn't have.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This contest has no entry fee and offers cash/publication prizes.  Stories should feature diversity and be suited to young readers, from authors of diversity who have not yet had a book published. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interesting piece about falling in love on purpose.  

While there are no guarantees, given two potentially compatible people, it is possible to generate love by going through steps of increasing intimacy.  This is how the more effective arranged marriages work.  There is a culturally framed series of meetings and activities through which the couple-to-be grow more involved with each other.  As long as they're both decent human beings and want similar things from the relationship, love (or at least a strong friendship) tends to result.  Some people find this more appealing than love by random chance, which can stick you with someone who is neither decent nor compatible in ways that may be difficult to unstick.  

If you aren't looking for a sex/romance partner, bear in mind that the same techiques work for building friendships and other connections.  You might want a different set of questions, depending on what kind of partnership you want.

Intellectual Foreplay and Virtual Foreplay are good resources.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Better colors, lower energy, cheaper to run.  I really hope these work for my brain, as not every imaging tech does.  But I'm hopeful, because of the color aspect.  It sounds very promising.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
A scientist built a supercomputer from gaming consoles to study black holes.  Jerryrigging level = epic.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
When a computer program breaks a law, who is considered at fault: the programmer, the program, or the program owner?  The more things people have programs doing, the more of an issue this becomes.

My concern is that it will probably not be decided by justice, but by either convenience or profit.  What would most effectively prevent a recurrence?  Probably holding the programmers responsible.  Likely you'd have to do without certain features of program though.  What would be easiest?  Going after the program owners, most of whom would be ordinary people.  The problem with that is, a lot of these incidents will be mistakes which an ordinary person could not feasibly prevent, because most people aren't programmers and understand little about how computers work.  It's like an accident caused by brake line failure; they step on the pedal expecting the car to stop but it doesn't.  Even more fun: consider how little control people have over their lives now.  I can easily foresee situations where someone in power will decide to use a bot on behalf of many other people, it will do something wrong, and not the decider but the but the downline people will be blamed.  A fundamental principle of justice is that people should not be punished for someone else's actions, but that has been so eroded that it's little defense anymore.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One woman dealt with a canceled wedding by having a paint fight with her bridesmaids.  Your life is your masterpiece.  Don't let anyone else jostle your elbow while you're holding the brush.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Here's an article about the assault on public education -- which isn't really education anymore, just training.  And when you make "schools" a stultifying, often hazardous location with most of the same features as prisons, then the "compulsory" part of universal childhood education becomes a great deal more odious.  It puts children into a miserable place by force and then punishes them when they object.  That's a lousy way to make good citizens, but highly effective for making human livestock.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I would eat these.  They are aesthetically designed, but also, I agree that the shapes are likely to interact very well with different types of sauce.  All three shapes -- resembling a rose, an evergreen tree, and a moon with craters -- would make ideal feast foods for various Pagan celebrations too.  Of course, the uncommon shapes of pasta tend to be vastly more expensive than the ubiquitous ones, but I have bought some before on special occasions.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Mall of America oppressed protesters recently.  My thoughts ...

* Yes, protests can be inconvenient and troublesome, but they are necessary  to a healthy society.  Protests happen when purely rational methods of conflict resolution have failed.  If peaceful protests are suppressed, then violent ones are the next step, and so on down the line until the problem is solved or society comes apart at the seams.  And oh, the irony of Mall of America  oppressing protesters, when freedom of assembly and petition are among the things that the founding fathers went to war to secure.

* If you are a protester targeting a commercial installation, you get the most bang for your buck from hitting them on a day they can't recover from, such as Black Friday or right before Christmas.

* If you're caught up as a bystander in a situation like this, one safe and legal option is to put down whatever you intended to purchase, and leave.  If the establishment is a luxury stop like a mall, refuse to go back.  If it's necessary like a grocery store, you can still deny them your willing support by instead supporting petitions and other actions against them.  Tell the store why they've lost your business.  In this particular case, you might want to spend your money at a black-owned business instead.  Since the only thing some people care about is money, hit them where they live by diverting your funds from them to the people you support.

* This moves Mall of America from my list of places it would be fun to visit, to my list of places I actively disrecommend.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article explains how scientists created a new species of lizard not by genetic engineering, but by crossbreeding.  The hybrids are typically not fertile but can reproduce by parthenogenesis.  Whiptailed lizards can wind up with two sets of genes from different species.  But apparently some hybrids are sexually fertile because there have been species with three and even four sets of genes -- created by a monogenetic male mating with a female who has multiple sets.

Most of the time I posit that interspecies sex would not produce viable or fertile offspring in science fiction.  But several times I've written a basis for interspecies procreation, and it tends to be because the alien species is predisposed  to reproduce with the assistance of a different species.  On Earth, for example, there is the cuckoo; and now this, with actual crossbreeding.  It would be interesting if the alien species had the parthenogenesis option.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
NASA just emailed a wrench to space.

While everyone else is geeking out over the idea of emailing a wrench, I'm over here thinking, "Damn, that is a great way to save on cargo weight!  Instead of expending  massive effort to send everything astronauts might need, we can instead send a smaller amount of materials to make stuff they need, and they can make exactly what they need when they need it."  That will work for everything that can be made of currently 3D printable materials and isn't needed all the time.  Send basic high-need supplies and stuff we can't just fab up yet.  Use the 3D printer to make the rest.  Even a very small  savings in cargo weight adds up very fast.

Space just got a lot more habitable.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some languages connect to others through translation.  English is by the far the strongest in this regard.  Russian, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese also make good hubs.  That gives these languages more global influence.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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