After a reading lull brought about by way too much painting in September, I've returned to my books with a vengeance.
Science fiction dominates my reading list this time around as I return to Ben Bova's "Grand Tour" of the Solar System with the hard science fiction novel Jupiter then have some fun with Vernor Vinge's high-minded space opera A Fire upon the Deep.
I wasn't thrilled with the electronic voting machines that were rolled out across the Lehigh Valley for today's voting -- the lack of a paper trail continues to bother me greatly. But I wasn't as upset as a man from Allentown, Pa., allegedly was as Engadget reports:
The highlight of the day, though, has nothing to do with shoddy equipment and everything to do with a crazy voter who attacked a Diebold-brand machine in Allentown, Pennsylvania. [The forty-three-year-old] a registered independent, apparently believed that the e-voting machines had been deployed in a wild conspiracy by Republicans, and decided to make a statement by smashing the $5,000 device with a metal cat paperweight.
Geek fitness (or the lack there of) leads Episode 40 as I talk about my quest to lose 35 pounds. Over in Net News, I congratulate Jason Adam's for reachign the 50th episode of Random Signal, talk about Nathan Fillion's upcoming appearance on the 7th Son podcast, and offer some old school, 1st-edition D&D-style gaming with OSRIC.
Jericho, the series about the inhabitants of a Kansas town surviving a nuclear war, has been picked up for a full season by CBS. I find this astounding since I've never seen it, no one I know has ever seen it, and it's generated absolutely no buzz in my various science fiction orbits.
So who's watching this thing? I've got to figure that it's gaining traction with mainstream America, which really makes me curious as to what the show's about. We've been talking about what it'll take for science fiction to regain its popular attraction ...
The early-November edition of SF Site features reviews of Year's Best Fantasy 6 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective by Harlan Ellison, The Hounds of Ardagh by Laura J. Underwood and Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines by Karen Traviss.
Issue #330 of the Role-Playing Tips newsletter is all about non-player character names, from tips on creating memorable ones to making ready-to-use lists to random generators. The tips here are excellent for anyone (like me) who's ever struggled with creating memorable names on the fly.
Issue #38 of Mongoose Publishing's Signs & Portents pdf magazine is available for download. Here's an overview of the issue, which is divided into Wargamer and RPG sections:
SIGNS & PORTENTS 38 - WARGAMER
We have random event cards for Mighty Armies, new Drakh vs. EarthForce in A Call to Arms, and the Gorith Campaign for Starship Troopers. If that is not enough to get you going, we have new official ships for A Call to Arms (including the all new Sagittarius and some new Drazi hulls), the Rebel Colony Army List for Starship Troopers, and the Transdime speciailist for Gangs of Mega-City One. This is on top of all the usual terrain and tournament articles, making this issue jam-packed with new things to try out!
I recently had a request from one of the librarian's at work to come up with a way to display a librarian's current AOL status (online, offline, away) via a Web page. I spent some time digging around online, but didn't find anything particularly useful. Then I mentioned it to a co-worker, who said he had a snippet of code on his site that did exactly that.
A little digging turned up AOL's AIM Presence, a quick-and-easy utility that allows you to display an icon on your web site indicating your current status. This did the trick nicely, and worked even when logged in via iChat or Trillian (though in both cases, we were using AOL available accounts).
Yes, now is the time to be jealous. 1UP.com (companion web site to print magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly) is offering three weeks of features and inside looks at Halo 3. It includes first-looks at multiplayer maps, Bungie's responses to fan complaints, hands-on impressions of multiplayer play, and even an H3 podcast with Bungie.
I consider my Xbox 360 to be a down payment on Halo 3, so the more I can learn about what the game will feature (and more importantly, when we'll get to see it) the happier I'll be.
According to Space.com, NASA is funding engineering physics undergrad Daniella Della-Giustina's proposed research into using asteroids and perhaps comets to shield spacecraft from harmful solar radiation during trips to and from Mars. Astronauts could either burrow into the asteroid or simply hide themselves behind it. What help this would be with interstellar radiation, such as cosmic rays, isn't addressed in Space.com's article.