Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logo Question

September 15, 2011

Is UPS marketing to tweens now? Their bills have a heart-shaped logo with the words, "We (heart shape) logistics."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Theoretically Speaking

September 23, 2011

OK, here's another post that I "aged", because I couldn't get the wording right. I started it on September 13, and just read the epilogue today.

September 13, 2011

OK, as you know, I don’t think that primitive man has gotten enough credit over the years. Here are a couple more recent discoveries that indicate that earlier versions of humans had more on the ball than modern humans suspected:

Another human-type fossil has been discovered, this one in South Africa. Its discoverers say it’s the most plausible known ancestor of modern humans. People who didn’t discover it disagree, but generously admit that it’s important.

In related news, to the surprise of no one but anthropologists, it appears that ancient humanoid species
interbred with more human-types than just Neanderthals.

Finally: New evidence suggests that tool use by humans has been pushed back by a hundred-thousand years or more. Homo erectus actually shaped tools, they didn’t just bang rocks together.

I’ve often wondered if the reason that physicists can’t find the “universal theory of everything” is that they’re working on at least one false assumption. Like the anthropologists, physicists are taught that things work a certain way and go forward with that mindset. Therefore they find “inexplicable” findings—and like bad detectives in an Agatha Christie mystery, they throw out what doesn’t fit the theory.

In July I read an article saying that scientists had proved conclusively that time travel is impossible, because a single photon can’t travel faster than the speed of light. I immediately sat down to wait for the contradictory finding.

September 23, 2011

Between September 13, when I started this post, and today I've read articles claiming that String Theory and Dark Matter may be a bunch of hooey. (OK, so not everybody is just accepting the false assumptions—some people are working on proving them.)


Today, we have a winner—although it’s shaky, at best. Scientist working at a reactor in Italy clocked neutrinos moving faster than light. They’re not ready to scrap relativity—they’re reasonably sure that the findings are merely timing errors. However, it’s interesting to see the reactions—people are actually scratching their head, thinking, “Maybe—just maybe…”


February 23, 2012

It was a measuring error. Dang! So close...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More on Realism in Teen Books

September 22, 2011

I can hear the comments about my previous post now:

Don’t you think people have a right to write books with realistic endings? What about teens who DON’T think that everything will work out OK, and resent being spoon-fed sappy endings?

Sure I believe that people can write and read all the realism they want to. I’m just saying, “Be honest about it.”

Julie of the Wolves didn’t frolic with the pack through several adventures before her wolf father got killed. The girl on the Island of the Blue Dolphins went through several years but only one book before realizing that her brother was dead. Nor did The Red Pony or The Yearling romp through several humorous books with their young human friends before meeting their respective fates.

Writing a series of books with feel-good endings, only to crash into a sad ending under the guise of “Realism” in the last one seems like a cynical ploy to me, as if the authors realize that nobody will buy succeeding books if the first ones end on downers. If they want the stories to be realistic, then let them write that way from the beginning, so people know what they’re getting into. Then readers can decide for themselves if they want to continue the series.

Especially don’t trick vulnerable teen readers into depressing finales.

That’s all.

Get Real?

September 22, 2011

Another writer of teen fiction succumbs to the lure of “realism”, as in: I want kids to know that life is HARD. There aren’t always easy answers and things don’t always end happily.

Since I don’t want to ruin the current series, in case you haven’t read it yet, I’ll revisit my objections to this approach by talking about two older series. This is from June of 2008:

I don’t know what possesses writers of teen sci-fi to suddenly decide they have throw in a dose of realism at the end of the line. A series will rollick along, with plenty of laughs in it, and with each book ending, if not totally happily, at least on a high note. Then, at the end, when the reader can reasonably expect to leave feeling good, the author drops the hammer, and blows the whole thing.

Take killing off a Harry Potter character, or doing rotten things to the Animorphs. Let’s face it: Six kids saving the entire world from an invasion of parasitic, ear-entering alien slugs by changing into animal forms through a device they got from another alien is hardly realistic to start with.  And people zipping around on high-powered brooms, waving wands and chanting incantations to change butterbeer into wine is not something we encounter in everyday life, either.

So why the sudden need to go all real-life on us? What about the series was particularly realistic in the first place?

Note to writers of teen fiction: Sometimes the happy ending is all that keeps the kids believing that things CAN go right in life. Unless you grew up in an unusually idyllic setting, you should know that no teen needs more “realism.” Even the ones who don’t live in terrible neighborhoods or with abusive parents have plenty on their plates already. They don’t need more downers. They need hope!

Leave the reality to Dostoyevsky.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TV Fun and Games

September 13, 2011

I've just thought of a new game for the upcoming TV season:

Grab a scorecard and mark down how many times a female detective chases a suspect while wearing high heels.

Bonus game for Southerners:

See how many times an actor who is supposed to be portraying someone from your region doesn't even come close to using the right Southern accent.

(Why can British and Australian actors do such good American accents, while American actors can't get regional Southern accents right?)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a Surprise!

September 1, 2011

Today's least-surprising headline: "Hurricane Irene Spins off a Scam"