Of fonts and numbers

I got around to making a font / number system for the Planet Mover text in the book. The original was deliberately low-res, specifically because I don’t have great artistic talents, and I wanted to give no more than a general impression of what they were. For print, I really need something higher resolution. So, after experimenting a bunch with pen and calligraphy pen, I stumbled upon a basic theme that seemed to work, and did the drawing for them in PowerPoint, not so much because it has great drawing tools, but because they are adequate and I know how to use them.

The PM message is in a constructed language (or at least the script and basic structures are), so it’s more regular and less flowing that something like Elvish.

Just the numbers and basic arithmetic symbols so far. Possibly more later. Continue reading Of fonts and numbers

A step toward Armadillo

Flight-sim AI beating good AF pilots. One step (not sure if it’s big or small) with interesting possibilities. A human “captain” in a fighter, with a “personal squadron” of AI fighters flying as his wingmen could be a game-changer. Or at the very least, very difficult to beat. Human for the operational/strategic decisions on the spot, and two or three (or a half-dozen?) unmanned AI “drones” with guns, lasers, missiles, and bombs, to carry out the details and defense.

Skynet, anyone?

H/T to Kirk

Monkish questions

I’m up to about 90K words on the founding of the monks of St. Possenti.  I think I’ve covered most of the bases as far as how they came into existence and how they developed some of their idiosyncratic methods and traditions. Are there any that bugged you when you were reading, and made you wonder where/when/how they came into being? If so, now’s your chance to ask, so I can make sure I’ve got a fairly complete back story. I’ve still got a few minor gaps to cover, I know, but its mostly there.

So: anything you wanted to know about them?

Happy 4th

Happy 4th, he said ironically.

America’s birthday. But the corpse of the freedom she represented has been dead a long time, and I don’t see any resurrection miracles on the immediate horizon.

I still love this nation, and think it’s the best one on the planet. But far too many of her citizens no longer desire freedom, they demand freebies. Too many don’t want opportunity, they want guarantees. The masses don’t want free speech, they want freedom from offense, and demand to shut down the speech of those they disagree with. They demand their opponents be wrapped and tied down like Harrison Bergeron. Too many of those in charge at all levels don’t desire challenge, they want sure things: they are risk averse, bureaucratic, and mindless rule-followers, and if judgment is demanded they want another rule passed by committee in which to wrap themselves for defense. Continue reading Happy 4th


The UK voted to leave the EU.

Some posts about it here, and here, and here, lots of articles at ZeroHedge, and I’ll add more later.

A few general thoughts: centralized, distant, bureaucracy-heavy control never works. It can’t. But people are lazy and easy to scare, so it’s easy to entice them into a honeytrap by promising them something for nothing and security. Orwell and Kafka and Rand understood it only too well, and people don’t want to hear the truth. But when reality is staring them in the face, they can wake up and make the hard decisions… because they see that although the short-term cost is high and painful, the long-term cost is crushingly unbearable. Congrats. UK. Now let’s see what you can do with the follow-through.

Updated thoughts: It’s likely that the powers that be, the global elite power-brokers, will try to make an example of the UK, making the break-up as painful and expensive for the people of England as possible and still not appear to take deliberate and public (i.e. visible) punitive actions. They will do it as a warning to anyone else that tries to gain  freedom for the chains of distant bureaucracy and. The bankers will save their own, but make others pay the cost, for all their tears they shed. It’s going to be a particularly ugly few years for the islands. But if they suck it up and live up to traditional “stiff upper lip” standards, and face the economic reality of the bad end of the debt cycle when the debts come due and the soul-crushing spirit-suck of the welfare state, they will survive. If they cave in like an addict that can’t go cold-turkey and go back for another hit of easy credit and cheap immigrant labor and overlooking corruption and incompetence and the downsides to diversity, then they are doomed.

I really, REALLY hope Kratman’s Caliphate doesn’t predict the future. And this may well be the inflection point, the fork in the road, where Europe goes one way…or the other.

Back on the job-search treadmill

The school year is over, and yet another leave-replacement contract is done. Back on the search path for something in teaching (which I love, and most of the kids in my classroom like me), or maybe it’s time for a career-change if the money is right. My tech is a little dated, but I’m a fast learner, good speaker, decent writer, and can explain things to almost any audience. Anyone know of any open positions?

I’m doing all the normal job searches in the school districts that are a reasonable commute distance, but they mostly seem to want specialists (like a BS in bio to teach a bio class) and special ed, and while I’m “highly qualified” in five things (including science, math, and social studies) my MS in computer science doesn’t seem to be enough to generate much interest when they are winnowing twenty applicants down to the five they’ll interview. I’m good at connecting the classroom to the real world, if anyone wants that, and connecting different subjects that are usually taught as stand-alone and disconnected from any real meaning to life.

Eh, I’m sure something will turn up. But if you know of anything, a pointer in the right direction would be most appreciated.

Remembering the fallen

Memorial day is set aside to remember those who lost their lives while serving the nation in uniform. I’m known many who served, and did so myself for a term, but not been particularly close to any that died in service. I’ve known a handful of them personally, having met them a few times, but not known any of them closely. On the one hand, that’s good – I don’t feel as though I’ve got the aura of death that falls on those around me. OTOH, it is a somewhat remote thing when I hear that someone I met has died.

I honor their service, and for those that gave all they had, through bad luck away from the action or with great heroism right in the middle of it, you will not be forgotten. The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae died in uniform, it is true, but they are remembered much more intensely than the accountants and merchants that they protected who lived long and ordinary lives.