new pet?
graveyard tree
stormsewer
So, we finally got around to watching Jurassic World last night, and now of course the wife wants a pet velociraptor, and I have to explain, that no, you don't understand, these things have to be potty trained, and they can't be left alone and they're going to follow you around everywhere you go, and what with her clinical year coming up and then residency, you just know that I'M the one who's going to be walking it every day and constantly telling the neighbors, "Oh, no, I haven't seen little Jimmy today, where could the little rascal possibly have gotten off to," but yeah, sure, great idea, let's get a velociraptor.

2015 Hugo picks: novels
rocks
stormsewer
2015 Hugo picks: Novels

This post is of course too late to influence voting (life intervened, though I did vote (and who am I kidding about influence?)), but these are my rankings. Read more...Collapse )

2015 Hugo picks: Novellas
death
stormsewer
These were a chore. The novels will be better. Right? My picks for novella.Collapse )

2015 Hugo picks: Novelettes
the rock
stormsewer
Not all of these were terrible. My picks for novelette.Collapse )

2015 Hugo picks: Short stories
rocks
stormsewer
Alright, I suppose we can't put this off any longer. Incidentally, I've decided not to disclose if and how I'll be employing "No Award" votes this year. My picks for short story.Collapse )

Initial Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominations, Rabid and Sad
death
stormsewer
I'm not generally a huge fan of spouting my opinions on the internet, but one exception seems to be the Hugo Awards. Far more posts in this blog in recent years have been devoted to that topic than any other (the complete list of my Hugo posts is here).

This year the Hugo nominations were announced at a time when I was too busy to pay much attention to them, but I do remember noticing that I had never heard of most of the nominees, and that one guy in particular who I had never heard of got three out of five of the novella nominations. On Twitter people were angry.Read more...Collapse )

Gene Drives, Edited Embryos, and the Future of Evolution PS
the rock
stormsewer
Last time I talked about gene drives (genes that remove competing versions of themselves from the genome) in yeast. Now a group has published doing essentially the same thing in flies. Using this technique you can force 97% of the offspring to lose the gene variant you're targeting. Things are moving fast...

Gene Drives, Edited Embryos, and the Future of Evolution
the rock
stormsewer
I don't often read about scientific advances that give me a sense of vertigo, but it did happen recently. And no, actually, it's not the idea that we may soon be editing the genomes of human embryos, which has gotten people quite riled up [1]. It is work out of a lab working towards the same or similar goals, though: the Church lab at Harvard [2].

The article is entitled "RNA-guided gene drives can efficiently bias inheritance in wild yeast" [3]. I'm fond of saying that humans will soon be taking control of their own evolution, but the work here was a punch in the face for me regarding with how very possible that is going to be in the near future. Read more...Collapse )

the N-word
power lines
stormsewer
It does seem like our culture has gained much more mainstream acceptance and even respect than it had when I was young. Maybe it's a generational thing. But when I was growing up, being called a nerd was not good.

We didn't invent the word. But we took it up, occupied it. Made it a term of empowerment, of solidarity, of understanding a shared experience. There is such a thing as nerd pride, and it won't be quashed by those who hate or fear it.

But still I cringe a bit when someone who clearly does not self-identify as a nerd uses the word. From someone without firsthand experience with the difficulties that "nerds" can encounter, especially in the nation's schools, it's hard not to hear in their voice the derision, exclusion, and aggression intended by those who first used it against us.

Funny how that works.

[The disclaimer I hope is not necessary: I'm not trying to equate the white American nerd experience with that of African Americans. What I am trying to do is answer the question of "how come black people get to use that word but we don't?" with an analogy from my personal experience.]

nature wants you to die
death
stormsewer
So, I've been thinking a lot about death lately.Read more...Collapse )

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