All posts by Rolf

In witch the fiziks are rong

In my story The Stars Came Back faster-than-light travel and anti-gravity was accomplished by some general hand-waving and techno-babble about physics implied to be more advanced than what we have today here on earth. But what if… what if our fundamental understanding of physics is wrong? Not just in the way that General and Special relativity  supposedly updated and refined Newtonian physics, but that the basic underlying principled about the universe, including the math in Einstein’s theories, are flat-out wrong?  What if all the string-theory research, phycisists looking for dark matter, scientists trying to perfect nuclear fusion, etc., are all barking up the wrong tree in terms of the basic nature of the problems they are working with? Here are some things for the science and engineering sorts to geek out on. It is looking more and more likely that they are. Continue reading In witch the fiziks are rong

Three-minute summary of the history of slavery, suitable for a HS history class

Deliberately omitting essential information needed to understand something is a “lie of omission.” This is a common problem in school, sometimes for understandable reasons like time limitations, other times for bad reasons like pushing a political agenda. Just about every people of any significance in world history has practiced slavery, and been slaves. Continue reading Three-minute summary of the history of slavery, suitable for a HS history class

Details, details

Drawing and sketching on a computer with the mouse as an input device is hard. A pen or stylus on a touch-sensitive surface works much better. To that end I picked up a Wacom intuos CTL4100 to play with. It advertised that it came with some complimentary software to do art and things with. I failed to look at the details on said software. It’s mostly “free 90-day trial” limited, then you have to buy it, and with one item and one item ONLY with a 2-year license. So you get the  cheap hardware, but have to buy the software to keep using it. Not nearly as good a deal as it looked like at first. Guess I’ll have to play with GIMP and see how that likes it. Also, it’s a “hover over the drawing tablet, tap it to click” thing, which is seriously strange. Not sure how I’ll like it. Firt impression (like set it up, still trying to get software for it, just tryig to click a few things) is “bizarre and not intuitive.” and if I don’t move the stylus well aware from it, then I can’t use the mouse because the stylus input keeps sending a signal. Will need some practice.

Making things I don’t use

This year was another bumper crop for blackberries. Those invasive pest-plants grow fast, have nasty thorns, and are immune to most chemical herbicides unless you use WAY more than you should be within a mile of a garden or children. They have one redeeming quality, and that is the berries are tasty and plentiful in August (or there about). Some years the weather is such that they are not ripe until one day they are, and the next they are moldy. Sometimes the peak beautifully for nearly a month, and you can go picking every day. Continue reading Making things I don’t use