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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



A First: A Review in the Wall Street Journal

August 26th, 2011 by Steven Gould

Gosh.

I have never been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal before. Color me chuffed!

One thing that Gould, Heinlein and Kipling would all agree on is that a clever kid beats a fool adult any day. A young mind can absorb skills, techniques and practical knowledge—those are the basis of civilization, not metal and gadgets.

Posted in Daily Life | 2 Comments »

indieWIRE is rooting for Buddy Holly

April 21st, 2011 by Steven Gould

Lovely article on the Buddy Holly projected at long-time independent film coverage website indieWIRE where they say, “In today’s in-production column, indieWIRE takes a look at an adaptation of the geek-approved sci-fi comic novel “Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede,” which has Jon Heder in the role of a young man who is the target of a resurrected Buddy Holly.”

Read it here.

Posted in Daily Life | Comments Off

Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well Development Teaser

April 15th, 2011 by Bradley Denton

The “development teaser” for the film version of BUDDY HOLLY IS ALIVE AND WELL ON GANYMEDE was released this week.  But since I’m having trouble linking to YouTube, I’ll just send you to the movie’s website (www.aliveandwellmovie.com), where you can click a button on the front page that’ll take you right to the video.

(fixed by the video fairy)

Produced by Molly Mayeux for Dahlia Street Films, written & directed by Robert Rugan, and starring Jon Heder.  It’s a lot of fun.

Posted in Daily Life | 3 Comments »

Ghost Riders and Vampires

November 13th, 2010 by Rory Harper

Well, hi, gang! Long time no see.

I got in a new suite of audio repair software tools a week or so ago and found myself rummaging around in my collection of old Los Blues Guys tapes, looking for something to throw on the slab and eviscerate with them.

The specimen we have here, after a fair bit of tweaking and EQ’ing and other more exotic processing that you don’t care about, is a performance from AggieCon XXII on the evening of March 22, 1991.

As far as I can tell, it’s the usual line-up — Unca Brad on drums, Unca Stevie on keyboards, Casey on bass and back-up vocals, me on lead guitar, and Unca Scott on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Frankly, Brad and Scott are what make this performance so awesome. IMHO. As was so often the case. I’d kill to have Scott’s rhythm chops, and long ago gave up the idea of ever trying to learn to play drums, faced with the mountain that is Brad.

And we had a surprise rock-star guest in Warren Norwood, who sang his original set of lyrics at the end.

Without further ado, I give you:

:

Ghost Riders in the Sky / Vampires in the Sun

:

(Incidentally, either I or WordPress have completely lost the ability to format mixed text and pics properly. My apologies for this post looking so amateurish here. Working on it…)

Posted in Brad, mp3, Music, Rory, Steve | 6 Comments »

Balloon Bass and the BOX.

September 10th, 2010 by Steven Gould

Ballon Bass And Box Jam – Watch more Funny Videos

Thinking about Bob and Brad.

Posted in Daily Life | 4 Comments »

Earthquake in the Living Room.

May 22nd, 2010 by Steven Gould

Eldest Daughter, AKA Noble Girl, is doing experiments for her Independent Science Project. We built an earthquake table and she is busy destroying civilization (for values of civilization made out of magnetically coupled straws and cardboard.)

She’s using my iPad and an acceleration app called iSeismometer to measure the frequency at which her buildings collapse, then emailing the data to her own account, right from the table.

What have you destroyed today?

Posted in Daily Life | 4 Comments »

“To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.”

March 24th, 2010 by Steven Gould

Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her by scraping her skin off with tiles and bits of shell. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.

Socrates Scholasticus 5th century AD

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not easy being a woman in the sciences.

Hypatia, born somewhere between 350 and 370 AD, died March 415 (see above) was a Greek scholar from Alexandria in Egypt. Considered the first notable woman in mathematics, she also taught philosophy and astronomy. She was killed by a Christian mob who falsely blamed her for local religious turmoil.

Notable quotes:

“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”

“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for under standing those that lie beyond.”

“To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing.”

Happy Ada Lovelace day. Large chunks of above from the Wikipedia article on Hypatia.

Posted in Daily Life | 5 Comments »

What I did on my vacation…

March 19th, 2010 by Caroline Spector
Okay, so it’s been a while since I posted anything here at EoB.

I have many excuses — most of them are pretty good.  My favorite is that we spent the last year remodeling most of the house — including the kitchen.  This is a special kind of hell.  I know child birth is supposed to be tough, but at least it ends in a relatively short period of time. And my ob-gyn has never looked me in the eye and promised me my exam would be over in a certain amount of time only to have it drag on for months.

However, I did learn a few things during the remodeling process.

First, contractors are delicate flowers. Really. Oh, sure, they’re sweaty, cranky, and prone to never showing up on time. But like the Wicked Witch of the West, they will melt if it rains. (I have never seen a contactor in the rain.  So that whole Wicked Witch thing is wild speculation, but, you know, it would explain a lot.)

Me (on the phone): “Uhm, hey, it’s Caroline.  It’s eleven and you guys said you’d be here by nine.  I hate to be a bother, but could you give me a call and let me know when you’re going to be here?”

Me (on the phone): “Yeah. It’s Caroline. Again. It’s noon and y’all still aren’t here. I kinda need to run some errands. Could you please call and let me know when y’all will be here?”

Me (on the phone): “It’s Caroline. Seriously.  What the hell? It’s two o’clock and no one is here. And I haven’t had a call. Jesus jumped-up Christ on a moped, how difficult is it to pick up the fricking phone and let me know that you’re not even going to bother to come. Fuck me!”

Me (answering the phone): “Yeah, what? My language?  Seriously? Do you have any idea how much they swear when they’re here? I made them cry? Oh. My. God. You have got to be kidding. Uh huh. Uh huh. But it wasn’t even raining, for fuck’s sake. Uh huh. Uh huh. Yeah. Fine. But I’m not sending them roses. Fine, daisies. No, I’m not going to send them candy. Well, sure I’d like the sink to get put in.  It’s been sitting in the guest bedroom for four months. Uh huh. So, nougat or cream filled?”

Secondly, things will happen if you leave the house. And the corollary: Carpenters are never happier than when they’re destroying someone else’s work.

In order to save some money (oh, the hysterical laughter that’s bubbling up in my throat even now), I decided to keep kitchen’s center island.  We were going to retro fit the cabinets.

I get home after going to the grocery store. The center island is gone.  There are two sad-looking pipes poking out of the floor.

Did I mention the island was gone? This was not an insubstantial item. It was ten freaking feet long, four and a half feet wide. Gone. Vanished. Poof!  It’s like an episode of LOST.  The Others have done something terrible and now they want me to believe that they’re the good guys.

Me: “The island is gone. Vanished. Poof!”

John (my carpenter, looking manically cheerful): “We had to!  We discovered the plumbing had been leaking into the base of the cabinet.  The wood had rotted. Hee hee!”

Me: But, but… the island is gone! Vanished! Poof!

John: We had to.

Me: “What time is it?  It’s cocktail hour somewhere. Wanna shot?  I think I need a shot. We all need shots. There’s tequila somewhere on the back porch. I’m going to find it.” 

Thirdly, painters are evil. Really, really evil.

Fourth, you can’t work in a house that’s being remodeled. And you can’t leave to work somewhere else because there are a million questions You Must Answer Now. And these are questions you have never once in your life thought about. Questions like: “How do you want the random tiles in the backsplash arranged?” and “Where do you want these outlets put?”

And my favorite part about the remodel: Living without floors.  Well, we had floors, but all the carpeting and old tile had been pulled out.  Which would have been fine, except that the floor guys, thoughtful fellows that they were, laid a skim coat down to help the new flooring material adhere better.  Then they wisely decided to wait on putting in the new floors.

The problem? A skim coat is mud. You have a mud flat. In. Your. House. I now know why pioneer women went batshit crazy. (Okay, aside from the crushing boredom, loneliness and the backbreaking work.)  They lived in what amounted to dry mud flats.  

There’s a lot of all kinds of crap that gets stirred up during construction, but I swear that skim coat was the worst of it.  I’m getting the vapors just thinking about it.

All my friends have instructions to smack me if I ever start talking about remodeling again because, like childbirth, you forget the pain.

Like I said, I’ve had my reasons…  

*Oh, and the damn island is back.  One day it just reappeared. Voila!

Mysterious Island

Posted in Daily Life | 10 Comments »

Standing Around the Locker Room Comparing Sizes

March 14th, 2010 by Steven Gould

Gardner Dozois linked to this on a list we’re both on.  It starts with our moon and then takes progressively bigger objects and sizes them against the previous, ending with the largest known star, VY Canis Majoris, a Red Hypergiant.

(Well worth clicking through to YouTube and Watching it in HD.)

VY Canis Majoris has a diameter of 2,800,000,000 kilometers.  I did some very minor math: if it were in our solar system (instead of our own sun) it’s edge would extend out to the orbit of Saturn.

There are lots of videos out there comparing sizes, but this is the best one I’ve seen so far.  If you’ve got a better link, do put it in the comments.  No rickrolling.  No porn.

(I take it back–if you want to rickroll me, go right ahead.)

Posted in Daily Life | 3 Comments »

Rory and I have Stories Coming Out. Bring Brains.

March 8th, 2010 by Steven Gould

From the Preliminary Cover copy:

Two years ago, readers eagerly devoured The Living Dead. Publishers Weekly named it one of the Best Books of the Year, and Barnes & Noble.com called it “The best zombie fiction collection ever.” Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams is back for another bite at the apple — the Adam’s apple, that is — with 43 more of the best, most chilling, most thrilling zombie stories anywhere, including virtuoso performances by zombie fiction legends Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), and David Wellington (Monster Island).

Read More »

Posted in Daily Life | 9 Comments »

More On Texas A&M’s Upcoming SF Exhibit

February 19th, 2010 by Steven Gould

It’s Hyper Cool.

Promoted from the Comments, Dr. Hal Hall, Librarian and Curator of Special Collections says:

Thanks for mentioning the Exhibition. Elizabeth Moon will also be speaking at the opening. Take a look at the large banners on the Cushing Library building at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36274857@N05/sets/72157623267964811/

Posted in Daily Life | 3 Comments »

Tourists

February 17th, 2010 by Steven Gould

"Tourists" by Sean Craven

So, Sean Craven, long time commentor here at Eat Our Brains, sold his first fiction to Tor.Com a while back. I was delighted because I saw the story as his submission to the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop where I got to meet him in the flesh. Click the pic to check out the excellent revised version.

Posted in Daily Life | 6 Comments »

A Hundred Years Hence

February 14th, 2010 by Steven Gould

I’ve heard that SFWA Grandmaster James Gunn will give a keynote speech for the Cushing Library’s Exhibit above. I wish I could be there. After all, for the last 35 years I’ve witnessed some of that “SF & Fantasy” at TAMU. I remember the first time I ever met Jim Gunn–he came down for something and Dr. Kroiter brought him to the SF as Literature class to talk to us. I hadn’t read much of his work at that time but I was a big fan of the TV series The Immortal.

Since then I’ve learned usual lesson. The source material is almost always better.

Brad Denton was a graduate student under him, writing some of his early short fiction in the program. Read his post about meeting Dr. Gunn back in college, “First Contact with a Grand Master.”

Posted in Fantasy, Pop. Culture, Science Fiction, Steve, Writing | 1 Comment »

Defending Freedom of Speech Thru Gag Orders or Belief Versus Knowledge

January 11th, 2010 by Steven Gould

I am a fervent supporter of the separation of Church and State for several reasons.  Among other things, I believe that people should be able to hold any spiritual, religious, and crackpot notions in their head that they want.  Thus, if Tom Cruise wants to believe that the director of the galactic confederacy (a guy named Xenu) brought aliens to this planet, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with H-Bombs 75 million years ago, causing their essences to pollute us ever since, then that’s fine.  If Christians want to believe that children are born inherently sinful, great, go for it.  If Buddhists want to believe that they will be reborn after they die, not necessarily as a human, but reborn nonetheless, fine.  None of them should be able to tell the others what to believe anymore than I should be able to tell them that when we Frisbeetarians die our souls go up on the roof and we can’t get them down.

That’s what faith is about.  A belief in something without evidence.  Yes, the Catholic church believes in miracles.  Documentation on the other hand, is iffy.  Never mind.  Let them believe.

Behavior on the other hand is a different thing.  If we are to agree on public policies that affect everyone, they really need to be based on things we can demonstrate to each other.

For instance, it is generally agreed that stepping off a cliff is a bad idea.  You can demonstrate this in many ways.  I prefer dropping a watermelon rather than an actual person, but we can clearly demonstrate, time and again, that whether the watermelon hits the ground or the ground hits the watermelon, it’s not going to end well for the watermelon.  This is called evidence.  Whether I’m an atheist, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Scientologist, we can agree, stepping off cliffs–generally bad.

Interestingly enough, it was probably only anecdotal, at first.  “I heard this guy, named Ugh went off the cliff after the mastodon and it was not pretty.” “Yeah?”  Then, through something we call inductive reasoning, we saw that every time someone went off the cliff (and lets not be petty, we’re talking cliff, not a slight drop–fifty feet minimum) there was clean-up involved.  (Unless you landed in a big pile of dung like what happened during the second defenestration of Prague.  And there was still clean-up involved.)

So, here’s where I get really incensed.  I believe that our public policies on health should be based on this evidence thing.  I don’t want people going, “Oh, my brother-in-law got aids and they threw him off a cliff.  It cured him completely.”  In particular, I am upset with the Anti-Vaccination movement, a “health” movement that is killing people daily. In the 1980′s there was doubt raised about the safety of vaccinations and ingredients used to preserve those vaccinations.  When concerns are raised, people conduct studies.  They investigate the concerns.

Consider Vioxx (rofecoxib).  On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew rofecoxib from the market because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use.  Previous and subsequent studies demonstrated an 4-fold increase of heart attack and stroke.

In the late eighties, a concern was raised about vaccinations, the preservative thiomersal, and autism.  There was a concern so studies were done.  There was no correlation.  Tiomersal was removed from vaccines though in 1999 and in the interval since, there has been no drop in autism.  More detail here.

And still the anti-vaxxers claim it causes autism, though they’ve mostly shifted their attacks to the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.  Again, evidence is against them.  Unfortunately, their influence has increased the number of families who don’t vaccinate their children leading to increased outbreaks of these diseases, some leading to death or permanent disability.

Here’s a related insanity, aptly described by Rebecca Watson of Skepchik and the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

Posted in Medicine, Politics, Religion, Science | 13 Comments »

Facts Formed, Lessons Learned

January 7th, 2010 by Bradley Denton

2009 was a banner year here at Casa Ramrod, assuming that the banner said “Mission Accomplished” in a font called “Clueless Irony.”  (Yes, I know.  It’s been done.)

Nevertheless, I think I learned a few things in 2009 that may serve me well in 2010, especially if I retain the backup option of hiding under the covers.  Here, then, are a few 2009 True Facts and the lessons I’ve taken from them:

True Facts:  In June, I was diagnosed with small lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  SLL/CLL progresses slowly and is considered indolent.  So rather than start treatment, I’m engaged in “watchful waiting.”

Lessons Learned:  As I already suspected from my own personal habits, “indolent” is not a bad thing.  Barring meteor strikes or other accidents, then, I’ll probably live more-or-less normally for many more years.  I’ll just have to regard my body as if it were a suspiciously unattended package at the airport.

True Facts:  During both my endoscopy and colonoscopy, I was given a wonderful “twilight” anesthesia that made me forget the most uncomfortable and unpleasant parts of the procedures.  But I was given no “twilight” during my bone-marrow biopsy, so I remember every undignified second of it.  Afterward, however, I was given a snack.

Lessons Learned:  Drugs are good.  But so are cookies.

True Fact:  On the same day that a doctor first said the word “lymphoma” to me, I received an email telling me that the movie version of my second novel would begin filming in October.  This coincidence seems to indicate that God is a merry prankster.

Lesson Learned:  Not really a big fan of merry pranksters, here.

True Facts:  The movie did not begin filming in October.  Or November.  Or December.  This seems to indicate that Hollywood is a merry prankster as well.

Lesson Learned:  See above.

True Fact:  I have an amazing spouse who always has my back despite the fact that I’m a foul-tempered old crank who’s addicted to cookies.

Lesson Learned:  None.  I already knew that.

True Fact:  My friends aren’t half-bad, either.

Lesson Learned:  Suckers.

True Fact:  Throughout 2009, the first picture that popped up in a Google Images search for “Bradley Denton” was a photo of me kissing Steve Gould.

Lesson Learned:  Make one mistake, and you pay for it the rest of your life.

Posted in Barb, Brad, Daily Life, Dammit!, Health and Safety, Steve | 5 Comments »

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