Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Sociology and Crime

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

An odd, little item that caught my attention…

In this commentary from the Guardian, a couple of interesting sociological phenomena were brought to my attention.
First, the clever way of dealing with armed robbery in a restraunt. It seems that in certain “unruly” neighborhoods in Honduras, women always order red wine. The reason being that it’s easier to hide their jewelry in their red wine than in white wine. Apparently, they’ve discovered that hiding their jewels in their drinks is an effective way of foiling the robbers.
Second, the whole culture of Americans essentially buying a trophy wife in Latin American countries. Middle-aged men are apparently offering younger women from Latin American countries security in exchange for, well, whatever middle-aged men get from having a trophy wife.

What got me thinking about these two things, though, was how odd it seems to my American way of thinking. So, if my culture skews my vision on this, what else does it do that I’m not aware of? How does that effect my description of a created culture? Sure something to think about as we create our unique, fantasy worlds.


Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night.

A friend who also recently finished this fifth installment of the Harry Potter series said that he thought this was a “darker” novell than the other four. After thinking about it, I had to admit that it was. In fact, the books have been getting progressively darker as time goes on. Which, really, is to be expected. Things have to get more and more dire for Harry and his friends all the way through the last book when he will, no doubt, kill Lord Voldemort.
Otherwise, though, the book was good. The characters are, as they have always been, quite engaging and J.K. Rowling manages to get us quickly interested in what’s going to happen to them next. This year at Hogwarts, we see Harry dating, dealing with family, and find out why he has to stay with the Dursleys every Summer. We also see Harry grow up a little bit, though it’s mainly teen angst and growing pains.
If you’ve been watching the news stories, you know that someone dies in this book. I won’t spoil it and say who, but it is someone significant. And, I correctly predicted who it was early on. I guess I’ve finally figured out Rowling’s writing style enough to make it a little predictable, but the book was no less enjoyable for all that.

Also, I’ve started reading Aliens and Linguists: Language Study and Science Fiction by Walter Earl Meyers. It’s out of print, so I was really lucky to find a copy, but it’s well worth the hunt. I haven’t gotten very far into it, but it’s about linguistics and language used in sience-fiction and fantasy. Very cool.



Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a New Moon

Okay, this is an old concept, but it’s back in the news, so…

Data-goggles. Info-shades. Whatever you want to call them, they do the same thing. They’re an on-line manual that you can see, and sometimes hear, hands-free while working on something else. According to this story on EE Times, there are auto manufacturers that are actually using them right now on assembly lines to cut training costs and improve effieciency.
Of course, this is a staple of science-fiction. William Gibson used it in Virtual Light and there was a manga (Japanese comic) that used something similar, too. So, once again, we move a little close to science-fiction becoming our reality.
Personally, I’m waiting for a scene like the commercial where the guy is shouting buy and sell orders to, apparently, pidgeons. How soon before we have this technology available to the public? How soon after that will people crash cars because they’re looking through a goggle display instead of looking at the road?


Super Powers on the way!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a New Moon

One day, we may all have them.

Yeah, right. Well, okay, it would be fun, but somehow I have a hard time picturing science advancing that far anytime soon. According to this article on Wired News, though, it could be a reality. The article details various “super powers” and the very real science that might, eventually, lead to their creation. Mainly, it’s just a fun article that opens up some creative thinking in regards to the science in science-fiction.


New Source for Research!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Okay, now it depends on how they do it.

According to this article on The New York Times, Amazon is going to be expanding their “Look Inside The Book” program to include more readable text and a search engine. It’s the search engine part that really gets me. Now, I can search books that I haven’t bought to see if they have what I’m looking for or not! What a great idea. Now, I don’t have to blindly buy books from Amazon, hoping that they’re as on topic as they look. I have to admit, that’s burned me at least twice before.
Anyway, I guess this is why Amazon got on top of the on-line book market, and seems to stay there.



Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Now, this is just cool!

When I read this article on Wired News, and in Wired Magazine, I was totally entranced. The idea of a working anti-gravity drive is just so mind-boggling and, really, the “Holy Grail” of every science-fiction fan that it’s easy to get carried away. Of course, the article eventually debunks the “anti-gravity” portion of the story, but it opens a new possibility… An efficient, working ion drive. Hmmm, now that’s something to think about. Imagine a single-stage-to-orbit craft that uses an ion engine to get up where the atmosphere is thin, then ignites a rocket engine to finish it’s assent. Or, even a lander that uses the ion engine, powered by solar energy, to explore, say Mars. (In fact, that’s just what NASA is contemplating!)
Now, if they can get this working with a form of ionization that works in a vacum… Well, it wouldn’t be anti-gravity, per se, but it would be just as good.


Linux Unlocking the “Tree of Life”

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Cheap computing makes research easier and more feasable!

Researchers are using low-cost “super computing” ala Linux to figure out how species differentiate, according to this article on Wired News. They’re also investigating the relationship all these sub-species have to each other currently. It sounds so simple that I think it’s deceptive. They’re inputing tonnes of data, including habitat, diet, and reproduction statistics. Then, they’re analyzing all that for subtle relationships that might not be obvious to human researchers.
But, what’s cool is that they’re doing it on a budget using an Open Source operating system! Truly, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants as we march into this new century of high-technology. And, that, as far as I am concerned, is very, very cool.

Of course, I also wonder what they will find. Can we ever know how things evolved? More importantly, can we begin to predict in what way things will continue to evolve? Will we then try to steer that evolution? Should we? As always, new improvements in science and technology provoke moral and ethical questions that we, as a race, will need to answer eventually. We try to skirt these issues now, but we must deal with them or they will deal with us!

(And, again, this appeared on my other blog earlier this month. This, BTW, is a shameless attempt to promote my Diary of a Network Geek.)



Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Will memory that remembers make faster, better hand-helds?

Well, maybe, but I’m waiting to see the actually products. See, according to this article on Wired News, there’s a new kind of memory coming that doesn’t get emptied when it looses power. So, the upside is, allegedly, faster startups and better hand-held devices. The down side, to me, is that when you want to clear memory, it’s going to be more complicated than just killing the power. Still, it’s being backed by Motorola, and I’ve always enjoyed their technology. Of course, it helps that my older brother works in Motorola’s R&D department, but, still, they are innovators.
Well, maybe it will help invigorate the IT industry. Now, you’ll have to be an expert to reboot your machine!

(Oh, yeah, this post also appears on my other blog, Diary of a Network Geek. Go check it out!)

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.