Monday, November 28, 2005

The COPs and MOPs of Climate Change

Posted by goatchurch at 4:34 AM
COP11/MOP1 (Congress of the Parties 11, Meeting of the Parties 1) of the Kyoto Protocol happens this week in Montreal. Without doubt, this is the largest international program of hard scientific speculation into the near future (the next hundred years) ever conducted in the history of the human race. Don't be distracted into thinking it's only about Climate Change. It's so much more than that.

Even if you believe that the entire hypothesis of Climate Change is a hoax, like a certain SF writer Michael Crichton, or the Exxon oil company funded PR man Myron Ebell, suspend your disbelief for a minute, like you would for a short story involving interstellar faster than light space travel with a galactic empire where everyone speaks english.

Forget about the computerized climate models that predict that a doubling of the CO2 in the atmosphere will wraught significant physical changes, and instead imagine it is a computerized model of the solar system that predicts a natural wobble in the earth's orbit will take us five million miles closer to the sun for the next hundred thousand years, as it did twenty million years ago.

That's roughly the equivalent of what is happening, and people may be able to believe the latter hypothesis more easily than the one about CO2, partly because the same Public Relations industry which has sold us the products of cigarettes and McDonaldsburgers -- long been known as guilty of inflicting long and painful illness that kill us ten or twenty years early -- has been used to fool us into the believing that credible but inconvenient hypotheses coming out of modern scientific research are not worth worrying about.

Log on to the COP website and follow the webcasts and plenary sessions that detail the implications of climate change in terms of sea level rise, mass human migration, food and water insecurity, oil wars, nuclear power and weapons, renewable energy, the reappraisal of our infrastructure, as well as the consequences of a sudden shift in the availability of cheap transport that could suddenly cut off the suburbs from the cities and supermarkets from their supply chain.

There are talks on all these matters, with a wide range of indepth speculation beyond what most SF writers hava time to research, or work out how to persuade people to believe in within the narrow confines of acceptable use in the genre. Prepare for surprises. Until now, most such futurology has been conducted by corporate advisers or strategic military planners. Their job is to sell you something. This one is by scientists. We discount it at our peril.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

quantum entanglement for beginners

Posted by Trent Walters at 3:40 PM

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Fear, SF Workshop, Escape Pod Disses Us (x-posted to s1ngularity blog)

Posted by Trent Walters at 6:21 PM

Researchers have found a gene in mice that controls fear. With the gene turned off, mice became fearless. Might this have future applications in human psychology?


Online SF Workshop with James Gunn!

If you want to write SF, this is an important first step for at least two reasons: 1) You'll go through winnowing an idea to something workable. 2) You'll learn what makes a scene. This workshop flops for a number of writers because they either don't write or don't follow the exercises. Some writers start with the story first and worry about the science later. That's cool, but just try at this method and you may find it expands your horizons.

Gunn is of a newer old school cut, but that doesn't mean he doesn't mean he's incapable of reading your work. After all, he's studied under Caroline Gordon [and Allen Tate, I think] if that name doesn't ring any bells, consider that Gordon critiqued most of Flannery O'Connor's work.


Escape Pod

Since I do a lot of jogging, Escape Pod is perfect to catch up on a few of the less well-known writers I should have read by now--bless the editor's heart for taking on the project. I'll be reviewing the podcast stories available over there soon. I had to grit my teeth when the editor said that some wanted SF to be [M]undane and unambitious. Through reviewing the stories, I'll be able to demostrate how the editor is mistaken and misinformed.

The most effective story so far for their format has been Ben Rosenbaum's "The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario," but Tim Pratt had the most solid speculative work available in "Lachrymose and the Golden Egg."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

How Effective Is Your Tinfoil Hat?

Posted by Trent Walters at 12:36 PM
If you've been wondering, now there's no reason to argue with your third personality since MIT has investigated which tinfoil hat is best.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Posted by Trent Walters at 11:38 AM
It may not be enough to be have a flu shot. Researchers believe that death is precipitated because of an overactive immune system.

In the aftermath of global warming, as a review of past warming events on Earth have shown, both the composition of flora and fauna may be changed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Don't feed your rat GM food

Posted by Trent Walters at 7:38 AM
Though "preliminary in nature" this study showed rat-moms fed on genetically modified [GM] soybeans before and after birthing her young had more significantly stunted babes. Over half of the offspring died while only nine percent died in the control group (i.e. normal soybean conditions, presumably). They're calling for someone to immediately replicate the study due to its importance.