PseudoScience

Over at Jim Macdonald’s blog, there’s a book review that y’all might find interesting.

Madhouse Manor

The UniversityThe Pseudoscience Warsy of Chicago gives away free e-books.  Every month there’s a new one, and they’re all swell.  This month’s freebie, I think, is one that folks who follow my blog may really like: The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael B. Gordin.

I remember reading Velikovsky back when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  My dad had copies of Ages in Chaos, Earth in Upheaval (both in paperback) and Worlds in Collision in hardcover.  I loved those books.  They were Grand Theories of Everything, in engaging prose, and filled with footnotes to obscure sources.  Then something occurred to me: “Hey, wait a minute,” I said to myself. “This guy literally can’t tell the difference between a carbohydrate and a hydrocarbon.”  (I had a chemistry set and I knew how to use it.  Yes, I was the…

View original post 346 more words

Questions I Have Asked My Cats, to No Avail

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of providing you with a perfectly cromulent catbox and high-quality kitty litter, do you nevertheless persist in using, instead, the floor directly adjacent to same?

Cat: Meow. (If you really understood me, you wouldn’t have to ask.)

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of acquiring for you a warm, high-sided, fleece-lined cat bed, which last winter pleased you entirely, do you this winter insist on once again ignoring it in favor of sleeping draped across my forearms while I’m trying to type?

Cat: Meow. (That was last year. Now it’s this year. Get with the program, human.)

Me: Why, O Cat, do you complain vociferously if you do not get your daily ration of wet cat food along with your dry, and then ignore it until it dries out from the winter cold?

Cat: Meow. (Have you considered microwaving it? You don’t eat your food cold, do you?)

And so it goes. I tell myself that they are transitioning from middle-aged cats to older cats, and getting crotchety in their later years.

Reposting for a Friend

Old-timers who remember SFF-Net may remember Robert W. Glaub, who was a regular poster there and later on Making Light.  He was also a long-time worker for the Federal government, which has — in accordance with unhallowed tradition — repaid him in his recent retirement by shafting him big-time.  The following message is reposted from his Facebook group at his request:

I need help. The government says they overpaid me and emptied out my bank account. I have no money for food or insulin. Plus since I declared bankruptcy my credit union will close down my account on Friday. So if you can send me what you can to my PayPal account by Thursday, that would be a big help. rwglaub@yahoo.com.

Civic Duty, Accomplished

Jim Macdonald and my brother and I went out at 9:30 this morning and voted. (Pencil and paper ballots, marked in curtained booths and stuffed into a big wooden box. We’re a small, small town.) The folks at the polling place said there had been a high turnout so far.

The only hard decision on the ballot was for our district’s state senator. The incumbent, a Democrat, has been accused of domestic violence; the challenger, a Republican, is . . . well, is a Republican; and not voting at all might as well be voting for the Republican. So no matter which way a non-Republican of conscience votes, at least one set of personal principles is going to get outraged.

This is why secret ballots are a good thing.

Autumn, At Last

The local trees are showing color, and I’ve changed my header image accordingly.

At least one weather site is predicting that this year will be one of the best for fall colors in the northeast (though not in other parts of the country), so if you’ve always wanted to do a leaf-peeping vacation, this might be the year to do it.

(People will probably tell you that the colors were better last year, and that they peaked last week anyway, but we always say that, so don’t let it worry you.  It’s just a thing we do, because life in the north country is all about managing one’s expectations.)

Dammit, We Thought of It First

President Trump, in his infinite fatuity, has decided to call for a United States Space Force.

This peeves me no end. We came up with the idea of a Space Force years ago, in our novel The Price of the Stars, and now people reading our books are going to think we’re echoing That Man in the White House.

Of course, the difference between our Space Force and Trump’s is that ours is science fiction — if not outright fantasy — and Trump wants his to become fact. Or, at least purports to want it to become fact. But I could be wrong. Maybe he just wants a Hugo award.

(Good luck with that. Science fiction fans have already demonstrated that they have more sense than to buy that sort of nonsense.)

In Which I Eventually Make It to a Recommendation

This is a post for all the female, female-identified, and female-presenting people out there, or for anybody else who has ever, for some reason, needed to buy and wear a bra.

If delving too deeply into Women’s Mysteries™ is not for you, read no further, and I’ll see you next post. But if you’re still with us, I’ll start by explaining a couple of things about bras that most bra-wearers already know.

The first thing is that bra sizes — for all shapes and sizes and configurations of bra-wearing people — are based on two measurements and two measurements only. One measurement is taken around the rib cage just under the breasts; that’s the 36, for example, in the classic 36DD bra. The second measurement, for the cup size, is derived from the circumference of the chest at nipple level on the bustline. (It’s not an absolute, because the D-cup in a 32D bra is not going to be the same size as the D-cup in a 42-D bra.)

That’s it. Those two measurements are the whole thing. Never mind the shape of the breasts in question (which will vary from one person to another for all sorts of reasons), or the placement of them (higher or lower; closer together or farther apart) on the rib cage, or the muscular development (or lack of it) of the wearer’s chest and shoulders. Two measurements.

Which leads us inexorably to the second thing that most bra-wearing people already know: You can’t just pick up a bra off the rack in your size and expect it to fit. You have to try it on, first. And it’s probably not going to work for you when you do — the cups will be the wrong shape for your breasts, or will be set too close together/too far apart, or they’ll fit just fine except for the internal seam that irritates you unspeakably; or the straps will slide off your shoulders, or cut into your shoulders, or somehow, in defiance of all common sense, manage to do both at once; or it will be your perfect bra in all respects, but will be the last one in the store and the manufacturer has discontinued the line.

So you can’t just try on a single bra when you go out bra-shopping. You have to try on a whole stack of them, and most, if not all, of them won’t fit.

It is, therefore, no wonder that shopping for bras is an experience calculated to make almost anyone feel — at best — like some kind of mutant alien.

Which brings me to the science-fictional part of this post.

We already have scanners and sensors that can map and image a body, either still or in motion — Hollywood uses them all the time. And we have 3-D printers that can spit out everything from houses to handguns. So how long will it be before some servant of bra-wearing humanity combines the two and comes up with a commercially-viable device that will scan you and then print out, in a comfortable material, a custom-made bra in your own personal size?

My guess? Quite a while, probably. Maybe not until we get enough bra-wearing people in STEM fields to make it likely that at least one of them will think that the problem is one worth tackling. And maybe even longer than that, because while handguns are easy (they were what the idea of interchangeable parts was originally developed for), bras — because people do not, in fact, have standardized measurements and interchangeable parts — are hard.

(Also, guns are a cool guy thing, and bras are girly. These things should not matter, but they do.)

Which brings me to a recommendation. If you’re a bra-wearing person on the east coast of the USA, check out Zoe&Company in New Hampshire or Rhode Island. They’re not just bra sellers; they’re bra fitters, and they’re damned good at it. Their store carries the full range of bra sizes, from AA all the way out to KK  (yes, the range is that wide), and they’re trained to help you find bras that actually fit.

Also, they won’t make you feel like a mutant while they’re doing it.

Marching in Lancaster

A couple of scenes from the Lancaster NH March For Our Lives (let it be noted that Lancaster, while the county seat for Coös County, only has a population of 3,507):

20180324_121012

“More Bears, Less Arms’

20180324_121043

“What Can You Hunt With an AR-15?”

Be it noted:  I’m not against guns.  Hell, I’m from Texas; my Daddy owned guns.  And I live in a part of New Hampshire where the question “Got your deer yet?” isn’t an invitation to an act of performative masculinity, it’s a serious inquiry into the state of somebody’s winter larder.  Fifty or sixty pounds of venison in the freezer is a not-inconsiderable number of meals you don’t have to pay for at the local grocery.  If you want to shoot a deer with a proper deer rifle during the proper hunting season while in the possession of a proper hunting license, I’m right there with you, and if you’ve got any venison to give away, I’ll happily take some and eat it with pleasure.

It’s gun violence that I’m not in favor of.

A Sonnet

My spouse and co-author waxes poetic.

Madhouse Manor

While streaking in my rocket ship through space,
Galactic empires seeking to destroy,
Subsonic signals hailed me with “Ahoy!
O spaceman launched from secret lunar base!
Turn back your craft at once!”  Sour was my face.
Switched off the signal; turned then to deploy
My proton missiles. With those I’d annoy
The surreptitious foes who’d marked my place.
When of a sudden, standing at my side,
A bearded wizard with a staff of flame
First tripped me, then, whilst stroking his goatee,
Gazed downward, as he called me by my name.
Quoth he, “Soft! Stay thy vaunted techno-pride:
This is not Sci-fi but a Fantasy.”

View original post