ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I got to thinking about the literary device of a "fixed point in time" that can't be changed by a time traveler -- an event that always happens, an earliest thing that can be changed and beyond that can't be reached, etc.  It usually seems like a deus ex machina copout to me.  (An exception is if the time travel mode itself has a limited travel range, as most conveyances do: a practical rather than arbitrary restriction.)  So then I noodled around ideas that might work better, and thought of ...

Time Jenga.  There are not fixed points in time.  There are load-bearing  points in time.  They cannot be altered while the weight is resting on them, because it pins them in place.  However, you can move things around in other parts of the timespace continuum.  That causes the load to shift, releasing pressure to make some points malleable while pinning new ones down.  A time traveler with a specific goal may be able to meet it directly, or may discover that it is currently stuck and have to figure out what else to change so as to release it.

Basically, it's the opposite of every "don't change anything because butterflies" story ever.  The whole point is to run around making changes that you think will loosen what you're trying to fix ... but without toppling the whole tower or destroying the universe in the process.  Quality in a time traveler, then, is less based on range or subtlety than on an exceptional grasp of temporal physics and connectivity, whether obtained via logic or intuition.  You can eyeball the structure and calculate the load, or you can touch it very delicately to feel for loose pieces.

Except of course that real life is less like the orderly stack of Jenga blocks and far more like a game of Bausack Towers in which God keeps giving you the Christmas trees.
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.

Thoughts

Dec. 26th, 2014 03:02 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I am so tempted to write about this bit of Nobel history for Terramagne.  However, I thought of some improvements:

1) Chop up the gold to make it dissolve much faster.

2) It's gold.  Hit it with a hammer until it turns into an ashtray or a coaster.  Or lumps, and put it in a box with a pack of cigarettes and a bar of soap.

3) Also if you adulterate it with silver, gold turns green; copper turns it pink.  Few people know this, making it an excellent disguise.  The right shade of pink gold looks a lot like copper.
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)
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)
 Consider the physics of Cinderella's slippers.  Note that they could be made much safer by lowering the heel.  "Slippers" are usually flats or shoes with low, wide heels.  High-heeled shoes are different.  Also they were worn by men, not women, until more recent times.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the May 6, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] stardreamer.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 It turns out that when you do music to science, you can make matter sing and dance along.  So. Much. Win.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
This is catchup from what I missed earlier.

The theme for October was "mad science."  I worked from 1 PM to 4 AM, so about 13 hours allowing for lunch and supper breaks.  I wrote 11 poems on Tuesday and another 9 later in the week.  There were plenty of epics but a reasonable mix of shorter poems too.

Participation was okay.  We had 26 prompters making 38 comments on LiveJournal and 39 on Dreamwidth.  There were no new prompters.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"Better Living Through Gizmology"
"Brewing Trouble"
"The Doctor Is Out of His Mind"
"Facing Justice"
"Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble"
"Good Minions Are Hard to Find"
"Into the Diminishing Point"
"The Lights Behind Us"
"The Mad Engineer"
"The Mad Science of Modern Times"
"Mad Scientesses"
"A Matter of Breeding"
"A Mimmoth Problem"
"No Mind Without Spirit"
"Sanitation Engineers"
"Those Who Hear Not the Music"
"We're All Mad"

"Testing the Metal" (outside fishbowl, A Conflagration of Dragons)
"The Girl with the Hair That Would Not Be Tamed" (outside fishbowl, Polychrome Heroics)


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, read the unsold poetry list from October 7.  (Not posted yet.)  That includes the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

Currently sponsored poems have been posted.  Prompters have their backchannel copies.  Per the $200 goal, "The Girl with the Hair That Would Not Be Tamed" is the free epic.  Per the $250 goal, that's one tally toward a bonus session.  Per the $300 goal, there was a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics.

The donor perk has not yet been written.  The October donors included [livejournal.com profile] zianuray, [livejournal.com profile] marina_bonomi, [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles, DW user Dialecticdreamer, Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  There were no new donors.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interview about Lucy, one of my all-time favorite fossils. 
ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem is spillover from the June 17, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user Moonwolf1988. It also fills the "loss of possessions" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

Read more... )

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