All posts by Rolf

“With” versus “from”

One of the puzzling things about Covid-19 has been filtering through the reporting of various reports -economic, medical, political, etc.- trying to get a proper understanding of what the risks really are. But even evaluating the actual medical risks based on reported death rates has been nearly impossible to make sense of until I came across an article that reminded me of a common complicating factor in understanding gun/murder stats. Continue reading “With” versus “from”

A swiftly shifting world

I expected a lot of blame throwing and politicizing of events, but the brazenness of some of it is surprising. Everywhere that has government-run healthcare (like CHINA) shortages and inefficiencies are the norm, yet when we are not at shortages YET people are already saying that it is TRUMP’S response that will result in death panels, and a government take-over of healthcare is going to be required to stave off the worst effects. When he imposed travel bans he was called racist, now that we have dead they say he could have done more (but they never really say WHAT, given the information and political reality at the time). They accuse him of being a fascists (like it’s a bad thing) while demanding the Federal government require all manufacturers to build ventilators and medical equipment, and require all healthcare facilities to have a stockpile of such things on hand (like that would be a good thing)… which is a centrally run/planed privately-owned economy… which IS FASCISM, economically-speaking! Man, the lack of self-awareness and critical thinking by some people is staggering. Continue reading A swiftly shifting world

Working from home

It’s a small change, in some ways. Big in others.  I work at a small private school, and as it turns out it’s not very hard to teach a class remotely. We have had the capability to use Google Hangout or Meet to conduct classes with students who are absent because of sickness or while they are traveling, as long as they have a web connection and a web-cam (which most laptops do these days). So, most of us can carry on as before, but from home. Clean up a bit of space to use as an office background for our own webcam connection, and avoid the commute. No possible chance of contagion if they are in their home and I’m in my home office space. Every meeting can be recorded (a variety of benefits to that), and you avoid the commute (which is pretty mellow now). Labs are a bit harder, but the curriculum has dry-lab data that can be used, and some are quite possible to do in any reasonable home setting. Continue reading Working from home

Plague Year, 02

Most retail sources are out of anything even remotely useful to a bio-weapon / plague outbreak. Protective masks and tyvek suits, replacement filters, sanitizers and “roll-your-own” ingredients such as alcohol, etc., are sold out. Scalpers / arbitrage agents who bought a huge quantity hoping to resell it at a major markup are being (rightly or wrongly) shut down and pilloried in the media. Continue reading Plague Year, 02

Komenagen (and general book) question

A quick couple of questions:

How much more likely are you to listen to an audio book than read an ebook or paper book? That is, how much demand is there really? In a recent conversation with a publisher he said that he saw several times more audio book sales for a title than ebook, and physical was nearly nonexistent. I don’t do audio books beyond lectures from The Learning Company’s “Great Courses” series, and am interested to know if I need to pursue that hard, or not, for my particular readership.

Secondly: How important would illustrations for a YA title like Komenagen: Slog be? Illustrations are expensive, but they definitely add to the charm of a physical book, particularly ones aimed at a younger market segment. Would it be enough to chip in a few bucks ahead of time to get it done?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Computer build

Now for something totally different. A computer build for the gamer-kid and I. He’d like better game-play, I’ve found that attempting to do video-editing on an older machine is, er, rather painful. Getting OpenShot to smoothly play even a small sample vid was choppy, and a 3-minute clip might take 5 to save as a final version to look at, and then another 5 in Handbrake to compress it to a reasonable size. A 15-min piece? Time enough to go make dinner. So, with that two-part goal in mind, I started shopping at NewEgg.com and Amazon, while reading various articles and watching many videos and comparing features and possibilities at PCPartpicker.com and Passmark. It took a little while. Continue reading Computer build

Insanity’s Children is out

Insanity’s Children, the sequel to The Stars Came Back, is up on Amazon. I’ll start working on paper now, and/or the second half of TSCB/prose version (writing is done, just needs formatting check and /sigh/ cover art).

As always, reviews posted to Amazon by readers are greatly appreciated.

A quick note for those who are not already familiar with this series:
The Stars Came Back is the entire original, screen-play format story.
Back from the Dead is the first half of the original story, but in prose format.
Insanity’s Children picks up from where TSCB left off.
Komenagen: Slog is backstory/prequel for some of the characters in the original story. It is aimed at YA boys, but should be a good read for any guy who was once an adventures youth (or wished he was) who didn’t quite fit in perfectly.
The Heretics of St. Possenti is very early backstory (set in current year+5) for a rather unusual monastic order which makes an appearance in TSCB. Strangely, though a “religeous inspirational” category of story, with roots in classic “space opera” it’s ideas were inspiring enough that some gentlemen with appropriate faith backgrounds are actually in the process of founding a very real Order of Saint Possenti with a similar mission; to save vets who have served and struggled only to be cast aside by society and the government they supported.