New for spring…

Feb. 10th, 2016 08:29 am
[syndicated profile] ninaaallan_feed

Posted by Nina

occupy me. sullivanToday I’d like to say a few words about two brand new science fiction novels that I was lucky enough to have the chance to read in manuscript. The first is Occupy Me, by Tricia Sullivan. If I were to tell you that Occupy Me is the story of an angel discovering her true destiny, that would probably give you an extremely skewed idea of what this novel is actually like. If I were to tell you that Occupy Me is the story of a quantum being discovering the gateway to another universe, that might give you a better sense of the textures and themes you’ll find yourself experiencing if you pick up this book. Both statements would be true. Neither gives the whole picture.

“Most of the cabin class passengers are aware that they’re doing something extraordinary by flying. Even if they only let out a fleeting smile when looking out the window, or utter a silent prayer on landing, most of them sense that they are close to heaven. And heaven isn’t what you think it is. Heaven, even glimpsed side-on, is awesome. While folks are hurtling along at angel-altitude, their souls are open. Their hearts are accessible. Their minds can be touched. I’d like to think that a little nudge from me at the right moment on a flight can bring about long-term changes on Earth.”

I first read Tricia Sullivan’s Occupy Me in draft, in the summer of 2014, and I’m still trying to think of words that accurately describe it. ‘Adventurous’ and ‘ambitious’ don’t seem sufficient by themselves. ‘Experimental’ has to be in there somewhere, but I would hate to suggest that this novel doesn’t also deliver a blistering story. Occupy Me is skittish, fluid, unpredictable, rapturous, and wayward. There are so many ideas here – ideas on every page, jostling each other impatiently, like precocious children. I think the thing I love most about Occupy Me is that it feels so alive – as if those ideas are being created as you read about them, as if they’re still being thought about even as they plump down on the page. Nothing is fixed here – everything is up for grabs.

The voice of Occupy Me is alternately angry, tender, contentious and filled with wonderment. This is a novel in motion, and another thing I love about it is the way its language mirrors the mercurial fluidity of its thought processes. Sentence fragments, word cascades, thickets of imagery – this is a work in thrall to the power of the written word.

There need to be more science fiction novels like this: elusive, combative, curious, willing to take risks. Occupy Me is science fiction at its leading, not to say bleeding edge: there’s no formula for work of this kind. You won’t know exactly where you’re going until you get there.

It’s clear almost from the first that Occupy Me‘s central character Pearl is graft.2016working from a place of deep compassion. Compassionate would not be the first word that comes to mind when describing the various protagonists of Matt Hill’s thrilling second novel Graft – the book opens with a particularly brutal punishment shooting – but travel the road with them a little further and you might be surprised.  What Graft also has in common with Occupy Me is an interest in quantum dimensions and parallel futures – according to Hill as to Sullivan, these can be very dangerous places to wind up in.

For anyone who’s read Hill’s debut, the terse and wonderfully unpredictable The Folded Man, his vision of a future Manchester – cracked and bleeding – will be familiar as well as fascinating. But you don’t have to have read that first book to enjoy this new one. Graft is more immediately accessible than The Folded Man, but its concepts and characters are no less challenging, no less original. As with Occupy Me, what I admire most about this novel is its language, its wily construction. You’ll begin by wondering where you are and what the hell is about to happen. But within a short space of time you’ll be drawn into a story you won’t want to put down. Matt Hill is shaping up to be one of the most innovative and outspoken new writers of British science fiction currently on the scene. If you enjoyed Dave Hutchinson’s Europe in Autumn, or Matthew di Abaitua’s The Red Men or If Then, then I’d strongly recommend you give Graft a read as soon as possible.

Beware the Manor Lord, though. And mind the Slope…

Graft is out any day now from Angry Robot. You’ll find an interview with Matt here at SFF World, and more on his insights and inspirations for Graft here at SF Signal.

Occupy Me is out now from Gollancz. Check out Tricia’s blog for more information on the science and even the music behind the novel, and listen to her in conversation with Mavesh Murad on the podcast Midnight in Karachi.

 

☆ civil war icons

Feb. 10th, 2016 03:30 am
proust: (Default)
[personal profile] proust posting in [community profile] fandom_icons


civil war (tv spot)

words 364

Feb. 10th, 2016 02:28 am
the_future_modernes: a shot of the earth from the perspective of someone on a rock in space (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
and now for bed.
sholio: Peggy Carter smiling (Avengers-Peggy smile)
[personal profile] sholio posting in [community profile] vidding
I remastered my Agent Carter season two vid (posted here a few weeks ago) with MUCH nicer footage. I hope it's all right to post it twice -- but seriously, it is like a whole new vid now, and the old links no longer work!

Song: There Will Never Be Another Tonight
Fandom: Agent Carter (season two)
Vidder: [personal profile] sholio
Artist: Bryan Adams
Warnings: spoilers for 2x01 and 2x02; otherwise none
Summary: Make a little magic, raise some hell. They're back and making trouble in LA! Footage is from the first two episodes of season two.

Download and streaming at my journal.
the_future_modernes: a shot of the earth from the perspective of someone on a rock in space (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
deal with those of your ancestors who were abusive evil assholes when they were alive?
are you, the victim of their bullshit, still expected to acknowlege them?

Fire From Moonlight

Feb. 9th, 2016 12:00 am
[syndicated profile] what_if_feed

Posted by xkcd

Fire From Moonlight

Can you use a magnifying glass and moonlight to light a fire?

—Rogier Spoor

At first, this sounds like a pretty easy question.

A magnifying glass concentrates light on a small spot. As many mischevious kids can tell you, a magnifying glass as small as a square inch in size can collect enough light to start a fire. A little Googling will tell you that the Sun is 400,000 times brighter than the Moon, so all we need is a 400,000-square-inch magnifying glass. Right?

Wrong. Here's the real answer: You can't start a fire with moonlight[1]Pretty sure this is a Bon Jovi song. no matter how big your magnifying glass is. The reason is kind of subtle. It involves a lot of arguments that sound wrong but aren't, and generally takes you down a rabbit hole of optics.

First, here's a general rule of thumb: You can't use lenses and mirrors to make something hotter than the surface of the light source itself. In other words, you can't use sunlight to make something hotter than the surface of the Sun.

There are lots of ways to show why this is true using optics, but a simpler—if perhaps less satisfying—argument comes from thermodynamics:

Lenses and mirrors work for free; they don't take any energy to operate. If you could use lenses and mirrors to make heat flow from the Sun to a spot on the ground that's hotter than the Sun, you'd be making heat flow from a colder place to a hotter place without expending energy. The second law of thermodynamics says you can't do that. If you could, you could make a perpetual motion machine.

The Sun is about 5,000°C, so our rule says you can't focus sunlight with lenses and mirrors to get something any hotter than 5,000°C. The Moon's sunlit surface is a little over 100°C, so you can't focus moonlight to make something hotter than about 100°C. That's too cold to set most things on fire.

"But wait," you might say. "The Moon's light isn't like the Sun's! The Sun is a blackbody—its light output is related to its high temperature. The Moon shines with reflected sunlight, which has a "temperature" of thousands of degrees—that argument doesn't work!"

It turns out it does work, for reasons we'll get to later. But first, hang on—is that rule even correct for the Sun? Sure, the thermodynamics argument seems hard to argue with,[2]Because it's correct. but to someone with a physics background who's used to thinking of energy flow, it may seem hard to swallow. Why can't you concentrate lots of sunlight onto a point to make it hot? Lenses can concentrate light down to a tiny point, right? Why can't you just concentrate more and more of the Sun's energy down onto the same point? With over 1026 watts available, you should be able to get a point as hot as you want, right?

Except lenses don't concentrate light down onto a point—not unless the light source is also a point. They concentrate light down onto an area—a tiny image of the Sun.[3]Or a big one! This difference turns out to be important. To see why, let's look at an example:

This lens directs all the light from point A to point C. If the lens were to concentrate light from the Sun down to a point, it would need to direct all the light from point B to point C, too:

But now we have a problem. What happens if light goes back from point C toward the lens? Optical systems are reversible, so the light should be able to go back to where it came from—but how does the lens know whether the light came from B or to A?

In general, there's no way to "overlay" light beams on each other, because the whole system has to be reversible. This keeps you from squeezing more light in from a given direction, which puts a limit on how much light you can direct from a source to a target.

Maybe you can't overlay light rays, but can't you, you know, sort of smoosh them closer together, so you can fit more of them side-by-side? Then you could gather lots of smooshed beams and aim them at a target from slightly different angles.

Nope, you can't do this.[4]We already know this, of course, since earlier we said that it would let you violate the second law of thermodynamics.

It turns out that any optical system follows a law called conservation of étendue. This law says that if you have light coming into a system from a bunch of different angles and over a large "input" area, then the input area times the input angle[5]Note to nitpickers: In 3D systems, this is technically the solid angle, the 2D equivalent of the regular angle, but whatever. equals the output area times the output angle. If your light is concentrated to a smaller output area, then it must be "spread out" over a larger output angle.

In other words, you can't smoosh light beams together without also making them less parallel, which means you can't aim them at a faraway spot.

There's another way to think about this property of lenses: They only make light sources take up more of the sky; they can't make the light from any single spot brighter,[6]A popular demonstration of this: Try holding up a magnifying glass to a wall. The magnifying glass collects light from many parts of the wall and sends them to your eye, but it doesn't make the wall look brighter. because it can be shown[7]This is left as an exercise for the reader. that making the light from a given direction brighter would violate the rules of étendue.[8]My résumé says étendue is my forté. In other words, all a lens system can do is make every line of sight end on the surface of a light source, which is equivalent to making the light source surround the target.

If you're "surrounded" by the Sun's surface material, then you're effectively floating within the Sun, and will quickly reach the temperature of your surroundings.[9](Very hot)

If you're surrounded by the bright surface of the Moon, what temperature will you reach? Well, rocks on the Moon's surface are nearly surrounded by the surface of the Moon, and they reach the temperature of the surface of the Moon (since they are the surface of the Moon.) So a lens system focusing moonlight can't really make something hotter than a well-placed rock sitting on the Moon's surface.

Which gives us one last way to prove that you can't start a fire with moonlight: Buzz Aldrin is still alive.

Daily Happiness

Feb. 9th, 2016 11:30 pm
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Kinda hectic at work today, but nowhere near as bad as this weekend, thankfully.

2. This week's Brooklyn Nine-Nine was (unsurprisingly) pretty great. Seeing Damon Wayans Jr. on there made me want to rewatch Happy Endings, though. (I miss that show!)

3. It was definitely cooler today than yesterday.

4. Got the state tax refund, too! We're planning to go look for cars on Thursday, so I'm hoping we find something.

Wednesday 10/02/2016

Feb. 10th, 2016 08:07 am
dark_kana: (3_good_things_a_day official icon)
[personal profile] dark_kana posting in [community profile] 3_good_things_a_day
1) Going to try and write some during lunch break today.

2) I have a managable to-do list for today.

3) Dinner at my parents this evening.

dear 2016

Feb. 10th, 2016 12:38 am
the_future_modernes: a shot of the earth from the perspective of someone on a rock in space (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
you are NOT ALLOWED to steal Ken Watanabe from us. NOT. ALLOWED.

bring on the salt

Feb. 10th, 2016 12:58 am
findingserenity: (SPN: do these tacos taste funny to you?)
[personal profile] findingserenity
There is not enough time in the day, yet sometimes there seems to be way too much of it to try and fill.

My daughter and I have been watching a lot of Supernatural together, at her prompting. Several episodes a day. We're about half way done the second season at the moment. I've seen these episodes a lot but I still have so much love for them and it is fun to share that love.

One of my new mugs came today:

Untitled

Oh yeah, and I changed my username. Also extended my paid time while I have the money.

.

Feb. 9th, 2016 09:30 pm

Unsorted linkspam

Feb. 10th, 2016 12:29 am
umadoshi: (Killjoys - Johnny 01 (inawhirl_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
At The OASG, "Five Questions with Dr. Casey Brienza, Author of Manga in America". [Probably unnecessary disclaimer: I haven't read the book yet, but I was one of the manymanymany people Casey interviewed when researching it.]

"How To Make Something People Give A Shit About".

"20 free fashion books to download from The Metropolitan Museum of Art".

"Decipher Your Cat's Body Language With This Helpful Infographic". (Also includes the corresponding dog body language infographic.) [Mental Floss]

"Why Do Poor People 'Waste' Money On Luxury Goods?"

"Girth Guides are online!" is a post announcing Girth Guides: Patches for Fat Activists. Being a fat person is tough work & sometimes we deserve a bit of recognition for living in the world while fat. Girth Guides is a way to connect with other fat activists and seek comfort in community; a club where we can witness and validate our own strength and lived experiences.

"10 Things You Should Say to Someone with a Chronic Illness". [2014]

"17 Pictures Of Beach Bodies That Will Get You Motivated". [Buzzfeed] No humans in sight in this article! "“Being able to return to a stage of sexual immaturity after reaching sexual maturity and remaining essentially biologically immortal is really helpful for maintaining my youthful glow,” she shared."

Here is a tweet with a retail listing description and a link to photos. Hard to describe; worth a look.

The Globe and Mail has an excerpt from Untangled, in which "psychotherapist Lisa Damour uses neuroscience to help parents – and anyone perplexed by teenage girls – understand what’s really going on in their heads". (Not a field I know anything about, so take my linking it with a grain of salt, but I found the excerpt more interesting than The Globe and Mail's description suggests.)
the_future_modernes: a shot of the earth from the perspective of someone on a rock in space (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
used in women's magazines to reference our bodies various shapes again it will be too soon.
also, fuck shape wear.

Profile

highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
highlyeccentric

February 2016

S M T W T F S
 12 3456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Feb. 10th, 2016 08:38 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios