Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh, Fortuna, from Carmina Burana

I first heard this music in Excalibur - the only King Arthur movie you ever need to see... now you hear it for practically all sporting events. Below is a version from the French opera house - pretty cool to see the conductor and the drummer really getting in to it.

Review: Miss Leavitt's Stars

Just finished reading a slim volume called Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman who Discovered How to Measure The Universe, by George Johnson. WW Norton. 2005.

July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921: Died from stomach cancer at the age of 53.

First I present below the (non-copyrighted) info from Wikipedia - just because it is more succinct than the information scattered throughout Johnson's book.

...Leavitt began work in 1893 at Harvard College Observatory as one of the women "computers" brought in by Edward Charles Pickering to measure and catalog the brightness of stars in the observatory's photographic plate collection. She noted thousands of variable stars in images of the Magellanic Clouds. In 1908 she published her results in the Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, noting that a few of the variables showed a pattern: brighter ones appeared to have longer periods. After further study, she confirmed in 1912 that the variable stars of greater intrinsic luminosity—actually Cepheid variables—did indeed have longer periods, and the relationship was quite close and predictable.

This relationship provided an important yardstick for measuring distances in the Universe, if it could be calibrated. One year after Leavitt reported her results, Ejnar Hertzsprung determined the distance of several Cepheids in the Milky Way, and with this calibration the distance to any Cepheid could be determined. When Cepheids were detected in other galaxies such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the distance to those galaxies could also be determined. These distances settled the debate on whether the galaxies were external to the Milky Way or part of it.

Leavitt worked sporadically during her time at Harvard, often sidelined by health problems and family obligations. But by 1921, when Harlow Shapley took over as director of the observatory, she was head of stellar photometry. She succumbed to cancer by the end of that year.

Little is known about Leavitt's life, according to Johnson, and indeed in his own book, of 130 pages (not including 30 pages of acknowledgements, notes, bibliography and index), she gets at the most about 10 pages worth of text. Unfortunately, Leavitt left no diaries and few letters, for anyone to do research into her life.

Johnson's title is a misnomer, therefore, specifically used jut to draw in those people who want to read about the lives of pioneer women scientists (i.e., me) - most of the book deals with the use male astronomers (Pickering, Shapley) made of her work.

The book is by no means uninteresting, it explains the astronomical principals of parallax and the Cepheids, etc. in simple language - it's just annoying that so little time is devoted to Leavitt -although apparently this is unavoidable because of the scarcity of information about her private life. However, it would've been interesting to learn more about the other female "computers" at the observatory - who made 30 cents a *day* doing the comparison work from which great discoveries were announced by the astronomers.

Stupid Idea 1: Runaway Bride Billboard

The Albuquerque Police are going to put up a billboard next month. "Running away from your job? Run to the police." Or something similar - and for their poster girl they are going to use the mentally unstable woman from a couple of years ago who got cold feet, didn't want to get married, and instead of simply telling people this ran away - causing police to search for her and think she'd been kidnapped.

And they want to use this woman as a role model to draw women into the police force?

Scary. Sad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Their Deaths Are What We Make Them

I came across the following poem on the website for the 38 WASP who were killed during WWII, but it is is just as easily applicable today.





1. "The Young Dead Soldier" by Archibald MacLeish.

Backstage at an Animated Series


This is a young childrens' book, one of a series. Others are Backstage at a Movie Set, at a Music Video, at a Newscast, and At A Play.

This one is written by Danny Fingeroth. Copyright 2003.

I like reading children's books. On one level, it's interesting to see what the kids are being taught, and on another level...I learn things.

This is a book for 10- 12 year olds - I'm bad at judging what age level books are written for, but it's got 48 pages and an index...

Because the Powerpuff Girls were on the cover, I expected it to be a behind the scenes look at that particular series, but not so, it was a general book...mentioning everything from the making of animated movies to shows like The Simpsons.

Kids will probably find it interesting, although the author didn't really explain how animation works, the idea of "persistence of vision."

I did learn something, or had something brought home to me that I should have known. Actors don't record their lines after the movie is animated - they record it at the beginning. That way, the animators can match mouth movements to how the actors say a particular word - quickly, slowly, angrily, etc. I always thought the actor would need to see the action on screen and mouth to that - but that's only when they're dubbing a foreign language movie/tv show.

Another thing this book didn't mention, but which I knew, is that actors in a movie don't act with each other when they record their lines - more often than not each actor is alone in the studio with a no one to feed off of when they're acting.

Anyway, whenever I read a book I take notes for possible articles - not enough here to use as the basis for an article on animation...though I really should research the Powerpuff Girls... I've only seen a couple of episodes many years ago and I think they were pretty cliched...interested only in "girly" things until they had to go out and save the world...crying at broken fingernails, etc...

The author also provided two webpages chock full of info for kids of all ages - highly recommended:

Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research
Animation World Network

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Day of the Triffids - complete

Begins on BBC Radio 7 on Monday, March 26, 2007. (Repeat from years ago)

Day of the Triffids
Produced in Belfast
Read by Roger May
Produced by Susan Carson

As the installments air I'll add to this page, and also put in cast details.

Episode 1 of 17.
Bill Masen wakes up in hospital to find that the world he knew will never be the same again.

Episode 2 of 17.
Bill remembers how the Triffids first came to England and why.

Episode 3 of 17.
Bill wonders if the Triffids are more intelligent than people think.

Episode 4 of 17.
Bill is shocked at what he finds in London but manages to rescue a girl from danger.

Episode 5 of 17.
Josella and Bill are horrified at what they find back at Josella's home.

Episode 6 of 17.
Bill gets to know Josella better and things begin to improve for them.

Episode 7 of 17.
Bill and Josella join the group at the University.

Episode 8 of 17.
Bill and Josella agree with the group's ideas for the future of their community.

Episode 9 of 17.
Bill does his best to help his blind group but conditions get progressively worse.

Episode 10 of 17.
Bill goes back to the University to locate Josella, but it isn't her that he finds there.

Episode 11 of 17.
Bill and Coker find part of the original group. However Josella isn't with them.

Episode 12 of 17.
Bill and Coker check out of Tynsham and start out to find the rest of the University group.

Episode 14 of 17.
Bill is determined to find Josella and brings Susan with him.

Episode 15 of 17.
Bill works hard to make a new home for his new family. Roger May reads John Wyndham's sci-fi thriller.

Episode 16 of 17.
Bill and Josella take a trip to the beach where they have a first glimpse of help to come.

Episode 17 of 17.
A visitor to Shirning threatens Bill's family and their future together.

Sci fi drama on Radio 7


The instinct for survival is explored when a group of space travellers are trapped on board a shuttle to Mars. Episode 1 of 2. (About the third time they've repeated this...)

Mel discovers some uncomfortable truths about herself and her past. Martin Kiszko's sci-fi thriller continues.

Trouble with Lichen
In John Wyndham's 1960 classic, biochemist Diana Brackley stumbles on a discovery which could change the course of humanity. Episode 1 of 5.

A man living in present-day Delhi is haunted by visions of the city as it was in the past and how it will be in the future. [fantasy/horror?]


The Day of the Triffids
Bill Masen wakes up in hospital to find that the world he knew will never be the same again. Episode 1 of 17.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Booklist: March 24, 2007

I went to my local library today and as is my habit, checked out a ton of books even though I don't have time to read more than one or two of them. I guess I hope the information in the rest of them will seep into me via osmosis...

I was at a different library today - but in the same region for my library card. Both my libraries are small 'sub' libraries with perhaps 20-30 books on each non-fiction subject - across the whole range of the subject, not on each discipline *in* a usually there is slim pickings and I get most of my books through interlibrary loan.

But, I hadn't browsed through this library before and saw plenty of interesting books, but contented myself with only a few:

Women of the Air, Judy Lomax, 1987 - history of women pilots, balloonists, etc.
Women in Space, Carole S. Briggs, 1999
Women With Wings, Jacqueline McLean, 2001
----common thread here being of course female pilots. Astronauts, etc. I'll be compiling a database of these women for Gale Force - the website for Avengerous women that I hope to launch one day....

Miss Leavitt's Stars, George Johnson, 2005 - biography of Henrietta Leavitt, the female "computer" who "discovered how to measure the universe."

Great Feuds in Science : Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever. Hal Hellman. 1998.

Between Ocean and Bay: A Natural History of Delmarva - selected not only because it's about an area in Virginia (where I live) but because I'm also interested in oceanography and geology...

So hopefully if I structure my time right in the next week I can both read and compile info from all these books.

Oh, and I also got 2 kids sci fi books, one a Norby book by Janet Asimov and another a sort of American 'Lion, Witch, Wardrobe' book (but without the subtext), as I hope to review them for The Thunder Child.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday on BBC 7

Ghost Zone
Marty Ross' new sci-fi thriller concludes. As the army closes in the village begins to disappear. Episode 5 of 5.

(This has its own page on this blog and is now complete.)

Ancient Sorceries
Mother and daughter invite Vezin to join them in the witches' Sabbath but Vezin is suspicious. Episode 4 of 4.

I keep getting hits from people doing searches on various BBC radio shows such as Ghost Zone, Oneira, Space Hacks, etc. It had always been my intention to write reviews of these shows...but all I end up doing is taping them and filing them away to work on later...and later never comes and my backlog keeps piling up like the stuff in Fibber McGee's closet...

I will try to get my girdle in gear re each episode is finished review it right away - that's going to be the only way to get things done, obviously...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday at BBC Radio 7

Ghost Zone
A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. Something lies buried beneath the village. Episode 4 of 5.

Ancient Sorceries
Vezin declares his love for Ilse but realises that he may only have fallen deeper into the clutches of her and her mother.

Lots of stuff to do today, of a science fictional nature. I'll update this page later!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday on BBC Radio 7

Ghost Zone
A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. A soldier comes back from the dead. Episode 3 of 5. [This is also going onto the complete Ghost Zone page.]

Ancient Sorceries
Vezin realises that beneath the townsfolk's apparent indifference, they are watching him closely. [Fantasy/horror rather than SF, I include it for completeness.]

By the way, a Finnish politician really digs Star Trek, and has had his website translated into Klingon (an artificial language originally constructed by the series, which fans have taken and expanded on.)

Finnish politician

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Frankenstein's Monster is a big ol' Mosquito

Just saw this news today:

Malaria-Resistant Mosquito Bred in Lab

and I'm thinking to myself...why? Why spend billions of dollars to genetically engineer a mosquito to be resistant to malaria (especially when its only resistant to mouse malaria, not human malaria) instead of spending that same billions of dollars just sending quinine to the thousands of African children supposedly dying of malaria even as we speak. Or coming up with a *cure* for malaria itself?

This is just too ridiculous. What a waste of money and scientific effort.

Mar 20 at BBC Radio 7

Ghost Zone
Jill finds her daughter alive after a meteor has crashed on a Highland village. A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. Episode 2 of 5. [Rptd Wed 12.00am].

Ancient Sorceries
Timid commuter Arthur Vezin is struck by how the people of a sleepy French village resemble cats, both in looks and behaviour. Episode 1 of 4.

Ghost Zone, by Marty Ross, Complete

March 19, 2007
Ghost Zone
A Highland village appears to survive the huge impact of a meteor. A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. Episode 1 of 5.

March 20, 2007
Ghost Zone
Jill finds her daughter alive after a meteor has crashed on a Highland village. A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. Episode 2 of 5.

March 21, 2007
Ghost Zone
A soldier comes back from the dead. Episode 3 of 5.

March 22, 2007
Ghost Zone
Something lies buried beneath the village. Episode 4 of 5.

March 23, 2007
Ghost Zone
Marty Ross' new sci-fi thriller concludes. As the army closes in the village begins to disappear. Episode 5 of 5.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Science fiction at the theater of the mind

aka BBC radio 7

ON offer for this coming Monday, and so avaiable for 6 days:

Ghost Zone
A Highland village appears to survive the huge impact of a meteor. A new sci-fi thriller by Marty Ross. Episode 1 of 5. [Rptd Tue 12.00am].

Where does man's sense of humour come from? Discover the answer in this intriguing story by sci-fi master, Isaac Asimov.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Booklist for March

Here's a list of the books I checked out of the library to read in March... I don't have time to read any of them but the hope is there...

Beneath the Metropolis, by Alex Marshall
"A fascinating examination of 12 of the world's greatest cities via the hidden world beneath our feet."
Detailed are New York, Chicago, San Francisco. Mexico City, Paris, Rome, London, Moscow, Tokyo, Cairo, Beijing and Sydney.

I'm surprised Seattle isn't included since apparently it's a city built on top of another city...but maybe Kolchak: The Night Strangler lied about that....

Our Country, Right or Wrong: The life of Stephen Decature the US Navy's Most Illustrious Commander, Leonard F. Guttridge

Jamestown: The Buried Truth: From the lead archaeologist who unearthed the secrets of America's birthplace. William M. Kelso
I've been reading up on Jamestown as 2007 is the 400th anniversary of its founding, and I live about 30 minutes away from it.

The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Roam Cnfidently with the cultured class.
365 pages, each with a piece of information on one of 7 subjects: History, Literature, Visual Arts, Science, Music, Philosophy, Religion

and a fiction book

Blindsight, by Peter Watts
2 months since 65,000 alien objects circled the something is approaching
(a very brief, truncated description - it sounds interesting though so if you're into sci fi, check it out from your local library.

Interview with Simon Bovey

I'm quite pleased and proud to announce a new interview uploaded at The Thunder Child: Interview With Simon Bovey at The Thunder Child.

Simon Bovey wrote two excellent science fiction serials for BBC radio: Voice of God about a sonic weapon in the wrong hands, and Cold Blood about a scientist in the Antarctic who experiments on himself.

He's also written a 8 minute short science fiction film called The UnGone.

(He's also written lots of stuff that *isn't* science fiction, but for the purpose of this interview I didn't ask him about that.

He's got lots of insight to give, so make sure you give him a read, and if you don't listen to radio drama... now's the time to start! Try it, you'll like it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pots Calling Kettles Black

or What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

not sci fi related, but just thought I'd comment on a couple of issues.

Over in Hawaii, a couple of native Hawaiians beat up on a Caucasian couple, seriously injuring them. One of the Hawaiians called them 'stinking haoles'. Haole is a deragoty term for whites, apparently. So, the prosecutors are 'investigating' whether they should charge this as a hate crime. If it were the other way around, with the same facts - you know there'd be no investigation about it. But since its minorities doing the crime and the white people who are the victims... (Which is not to say that I don't think the kingdom of Hawaii got the shaft back in the 1800s when they were literally invaded and taken over by businessmen/American polilticians, and that there aren't whites who aren't unjustly prejudiced against Hawaiians -- I'm saying that a hate crime is a hate crime - but it's rather more difficult for white/straight victims to get that call.)

Then, I took a brief dash to my local library and had the radio turned on for a few seconds. Don't know the name of the show, but some guy was saying that if you were a politician and said something against Hilary Clinton, the "Ice Princess," the Clintons would go after you and find something in your past political career to bury you.

And I'm sure that's very true. But...are the Clintons the only politicians who do that? No! Every politician vying for office tries to get the dirt on their opponent. Indeed, here in Virginia I voted for a Democrat, James Webb, specifically because his opponent, an incumbent Republican, brought up the fact that Webb had written books which featured scenes of violence against women and gay sex. The thing is....these were FICTION books, set in Vietnam, etc. during the Vietnam war, and that's the kind of thing that goes into those types of books. But Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity got into the act and it was just pathetic. So I said, hell with you guys, I'm voting for Webb.

Saturday on BBC Radio 7

Last Days of Shandakor
The adventure story on Mars continues. Fear of his captors turns to admiration as Jon Ros learns more about this alien race. Episode 2 of 2.

Music has been banned by the government of a totalitarian Britain and now lies at the heart of a battle between good and evil. Episode 1 of 3.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Last Day to Listen to The Last Days of Shandakor

Pt 1 of The Last Days of Shandakor by Leigh Brackett is about to drop off the BBC Radio 7 page, so go listen to it now, as well as Isaac Asimov's The Last Question.

You've got two more days to listen to ep 3 of The Laxian Key... ("after the stories of Robert Sheckley")

I've finished my report on the Williamsburg Film Festival, with guests Richard Anderson, David Huddleston, Andrew Prine, Heather Lowe (Mega-Con at Aberdeen), Margia Dean (The Quatermass Experiment) and Audrey Dalton (The Monster That Challenged the World)

Williamsburg Film Festsival 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Damn Viacom

A couple of days ago, Viacom filed suit against YouTube, because there were a lot of clips on YouTube of which Viacom claimed copyright. So now YouTube has gone in and deleted all those clips, including the cool one of Sherine Abetrayne singing Breakaway that I had here.

And it's just pathetic. With that stuff on YouTube, everyone could enjoy it for free. Now - no one will ever be able to see the material. I seriously doubt that Viacom was concerned about royalties not going to any of the performers - I'm sure they don't pay royalties themselves - because they keep the material locked in a vault where no one can see it. But YouTube was showing it and possibly earning a few cents from people clicking on ads on the site, and that had to be stopped!

As a writer myself, I know all about copyright - I don't want anyone taking my material and claiming it for their own. But when it comes to showing 5 minute clips of TV shows or videos - where's the harm? All it does is engender interest in that show or video...which would cause people to go out and buy the whole thing if they were even available - but that's the whole thing, this stuff is not commercially available and Viacom has no intention of making it commercially available. But they've got lawyers who have to earn their two-hundred-dollar-an-hour retainers.

So, I'm not too happy right now...

Monday, March 12, 2007

It never rains but it pours

I've got sooooo much work to do that it's not even funny. Paying work - which I'm delaying so that I can write up my article on the Williamsburg Film Festival for The Thunder Child webmagazine...I've got several gigs in the hopper now and while that's good...I need more hours in the day.

Anyway, Sunday's SF offerings at BBC Radio 7

The Laxian Key
Guilt stricken Arnold's call home to apologise for melting Earth is traced. Our planetary decontaminationists are on the run. Episode 3 of 4. [Rptd Mon 12.00am].

Fantastic Tales
Alarm Clock On The Night Table: A salutary tale about living for the moment. A chain of events forces an elderly woman to confront a tragedy from her past.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Asimov's The Last Question at BBC 7

Starting today (Saturday) and running for 6 more days:>

Last Days of Shandakor (by Leigh Brackett) - Read by Nathan Osgood
An epic space adventure set on Mars. The proud inhabitants of a dying city are determined to go out in style. Episode 1 of 2.

Last Question - Read by Henry Goodman
In a thought-provoking story, Isaac Asimov proposed an answer to the fundamental question - can entropy be reversed?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Heinous crime!

In the news article about Busta Rhymes being refused admittance to New York:

Police say he's driven with a suspended license, beaten his former driver in a dispute over money, and talked on a cell phone while driving.

I wonder which of the three his fans consider the most heinous crime.

I mean - please. Talked on a cell-phone while driving? Is that a felony now?

Seems to me the guy's a jerk - not that I like rappers anyway but his bodyguard is murdered and he refuses to cooperate with the police. He drives with a suspended licence - then why isn't he in jail for that? He beats up his former driver...why isn't he in jail for that.

But worst of all....he talked on a cell phone while driving! Was this before or after his license was suspended?

The Avengers Forever

Well, the Caroline Miniscule ouvre of Avengers fan fiction is now complete at this URL. There will be no more.

I've just uploaded the 154-page PDF for The Avengers Forever, which consists of two stories.

---The Avengers Forever is set in the modern day. John Steed is about to celebrate his 85th birthday...but things intervene. Cathy Gale, Tara King, Mike Gambit and Purdey join forces, along with Emma Peel, to save the day.

----Ever After harkens back to 1973, when Diana Rigg had her own show in America called Diana. Patrick Macnee guest-starred on one episode as a concert pianist, Brian Harris.

I've taken that story and turned it into an Avengers adventure. Mrs. Peel and Steed have been brain-washed to think they were those two people - but how and why?

As a bonus page, I've added 4 photos from the only episode in the Cathy Gale series where Steed kisses Cathy Gale. If you're a Cathy Gale fan, you'll want to see 'em!

Williamsburg Film Festival

The Williamsburg Film Festival ended today, and a good time was had by all. I am going to 'chill out' for the rest of the day and start writing my report on it tomorrow.

BBC Radio 7:

Blood Lines
Father's Day: The new writing series continues. A reunion between an estranged father and daughter is threatened by sinister state forces.

Fresh Blood
The Cupboard Beneath the Stairs: Four friends re-stage a 60's moon-shot in a Farnborough semi. It's space travel, Jim, but not as we know it.
----------This is a science fiction story, not a horror story...and it ends en media res, so I don't really care for it, but it is interesting.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Williamsburg Film Festival

With guests Richard Anderson and Andrew Prine among others, gets under way tomorrow. I'll be going there tonight however (the Willamsburg Holiday Inn Patriot, where it's being held) to touch base with Cadet Ed of the Solar Guard, who will hopefully have time to give me an interview.

So for the next 3 days I won't have much time to work on my various websites, as I need to cover the festival not only as a science fiction festival but also as a 'western' festival.

On BBC 7 for Tuesday:
Again, since it sounds like horror/science fiction to me, I won't be listening to any of it...

Blood Lines
The Quick And The Dead: The new writing series continues. In Victorian London, a scientist has just discovered how to keep death at bay.

Fresh Blood
Falling to Pieces: Mel's got man trouble, and when she literally starts to fall apart, it's up to big sister Kate to put her back together.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Avengers Forever

Oh, I am so bummed.

Three years ago, when I had a heckuva lot more time than I do now, I wrote several Avengers short stories, featuring John Steed and Emma Peel. Once of thse was a serial called Avengers Forever, or Die Hardest, and took place in the present day. John Steed, age 80, lives in a retirement home in a seaside community. He's scheduled to be visited on his birthday by all his old colleagues, but events happen and so it is only he and Emma Peel who are on board a navy ship when it is hijacked by villains. So, they're needed once again.

And that's where the story - that I found at where I'd uploaded it three years ago, ends.

And I know - I know - that I wrote at least three more chapters, where the news of the hijacked ship gets out, and Tara King, Cathy Gale, and Mike Gambit and Purdey learn of it and abandon all to hasten to England to save the day, while Steed and Emma work on the ship. I can remember writing those three chapters, I remember the highlights of the events that happened - but I can't find them! (I have a new computer - and the old computer I used to work on had a harddrive failure so everything's gone..)

So I have to rewrite these chapters, and I hate to do it because I know the previous ones were good...and they were written when I was fresh and in top form, fiction-writing wise. Now I'm out of practice...can I take up the reins again and remember what I was trying to do??

Damn! Damn! Damn!

I'd actually forgotten about this story. I had put together all my other fan fiction - completed fan fiction - yesterday into a PDF. Then I was reading my email which was cluttered with spam which I hadnt' done anything with for a month. So I spent a while deleting spam, and found an email from someone from a month ago telling me she'd read this story at fanfiction net and did I plan to continue it because it was really good.

So I went to fanfiction net and downloaded the chapters and re-read them - and yes, they are good! I really, really wish I hadn't lost those other three chapters...

Anyway, for those who want to see what's already done check out:

Two Such People

and stay tuned in a couple of days - I hope - for the complete Avengers Forever.

John Steed and Emma Peel, The Avengers

I grew up watching John Steed and Emma Peel, the Avengers, and they were role models for me, in particular Emma Peel. This has always been my perception of how a marriage/partnership should be - both people equal.

I have all the official novels of the series and none of them captured the flavor of the series itself - not surprising when they were written by Americans for an American audience..

A couple of years ago I wrote several fan fiction short stories in which I think I captured the wit, charm and flavor of the series to a T. In those couple of years the stories have sat idle, now I've decided to bring them out as a FREE PDF so that people can download them and read at their leisure.

Two Such People

If you're a fan of the original Avengers TV series, please check them out!

These radio programs at BBC Radio 7, playing Monday for 7 days, sound like horror to me and I"m not intersted in em, but I report them here for completeness:

Blood Lines
Cthul-You: The new writing series continues with a dark horror story featuring demonic goings-on in internet chat rooms.

Fresh Blood
By the Light of the Moon: Solomon's waiting in a restaurant. He's planned a very special evening but his guest isn't quite what he expected. Episode 6 of 10

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Science fiction on BBC 7

A chilling new drama finds Laura and Miles trapped between the centuries in a spiral of ghostly terror. With Jean Alexander. [Rptd Sun 12.00am].

Space Hacks

Mutiny on the Spaceship: Sci-fi comedy starring Dan Mersh, Tim Key, Prunella Scales and Dan Tetsell. Episode 4 of 4

I dont' like horror, so I won't be listening to Ralph to find out if its sci fi/horror or fantasy/horror. There will be a lot of new sf on BBC7 in the coming month, in a program headlined Bloodlines, but it all sounds like it's got an extra theme of horror to each one so I won't be listening.

Blood Lines
The Dweller In High Places: A brand new story by award-winning author Susanna Clarke launches Blood Lines, a series showcasing new short story writers.
Fresh Blood
A Fare to Remember: London cabbie James picks up a fare to his own patch - but then it all gets a little too close to home.

Simon Bovey - writer of The Voice of God and Cold Blood, has agreed to do an interview with The Thunder Child, so stay tuned for that!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Webpage woes - Isaac Asimov

About a month ago, I uploaded a few Isaac Asimov articles. Went back to one of them today (an analysis of his first collection of F &SF essays, Fact and Fancy) and discovered that all the text on the page was underlined and a couple of paragraphs were centered. Lots of people have looked at that page and no one - not one - bothered to hit the "Contact us" button and tell me that the html on that page was all messed up.

Well, it's fixed now, but I'm frustrated. I don't understand why people, if they seen an error on someone's webpage, don't tell them about it! Of course - I have performed that service a couple of times and have either been ignored or gotten a "do I know you?" response, and I'm like.... you've got a mistake on your website, which is unprofessional. I'm letting you know so you can fix it. All you need to do is say thanks, not act like I'm being a 'busybody' or whatever.

Anyway, if any of my readers see mistakes of any kind - from mispellings to bad html code - please tell me so I can fix it!

I also looked at the Asimov Quotebook page, and I really dislike the format of that now that I look at it after a month's absense. So I'm reformatting it to make it look cleaner and more attractive. I've also got some more quotes to add.

Meantime, I'm listening to the Lady Vols vs South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament via digital radio....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Antarctica: China plans third facility

China eyes 3rd Antarctic facility
By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-02 06:57

China will research the possibility of establishing a third research station in Antarctica, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said yesterday.

He made the remarks in Beijing at the launch ceremony to mark the country's participation in the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008.

"However, whether or not the country will set up a third station still remains uncertain," said Xia Limin, an official in charge of polar affairs at the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

The IPY 2007/2008, which started yesterday and will run until March 1, 2009, marks the first time that China has participated in IPY activities, said Sun Zhihui, head of the SOA.

The IPY 2007-2008, which was launched by the International Council for Science in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization, is the fourth of its kind since the 1882/1883 seasons, when the first joint polar expedition was organized.

Advancing understanding

This time around, the event will focus on advancing human understanding of how the Earth's polar regions affect global climate systems. It is the largest internationally coordinated scientific research effort in 50 years.

Chinese scientists had drawn up plans for the upcoming IPY expedition season, including a plan known as PANDA, which was listed as one of the core research missions, according to Zhang.

PANDA is a multi-goal research plan that includes deep-ice coring at Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic ice sheet, and a study of the interactions between ocean-ice and the shelf-ice sheet system from Pridz Bay to Dome A via the Amery Ice Shelf.

The IPY is an international event during which scientists' carry out large-scale joint scientific activities.

To date, more than 100 countries and international organizations have put forward 1,200 research topics or suggestions for the IPY 2007/2008 polar expedition season.

China has launched 22 Antarctic expeditions since 1984 and built two permanent exploration stations, named Changcheng (Great Wall) and Zhongshan, in the region.

China also launched two Arctic expeditions and built the Huanghe (Yellow River) exploration station in the Arctic in July 2004.

(China Daily 03/02/2007 page3

Cory Lidle: The vultures gather

As I predicted when Cory Lidle - the Yankee pitcher - died when the plane he was piloting hit a Manhattan building - the lawsuits have begun

Lidle's wife is suing the plane manufactuer for negligence. Why? Lidle was piloting the plane and didn't have enough experience - he's at fault.

Now some millionaire dentist is suing Lidle's wife (or his estate through her) because his home was destroyed. Man - it was an accident - your home was insured anyway - get away from the damn lawyers and get on with your life. Just be thankful you weren't in there when the plane hit.

Sea Lawyers

TechnoOcean is a project dear to my heart, which I have been unable to work on for some weeks due to excessive demands on my time from other quarters. My three reviewers are missing in action - and one of 'em had been working on lots of great stuff so I'm not best pleased with that. I think he's got financial difficulties due to family problems, but still it'd be nice if he'd communicate with me once in a while.

But, while the various departments of TechnoOcean haven't been worked on in a while, I did pick up a copy today, for the first time, of Professional Mariner: Journal of the Maritime Industry.

Opened it up, and the first thing that catches my eye is an ad for the SOS Legal Network and Hoffman & Associates - lawyers who specialize in marine law - "getting injured at sea."

"Some lawyers charge 40% maritime contingency fee rate, we only charge 33%!"
No recovery, no fee!
And yet, at the very bottom of the ad: "Fees computed after deduction of costs, disbursements and litigation expenses. If no recovery, ethics rules require clients to remain liable for litigation expenses, costs and dispursements. In NJ, the fee on the first $500,000 of recovery is 33 1/3%, 30% on the next $500,000, 25% on the next $500,000, 20% on the next $500,000, and for greater amounts, as set by the court."

So that's a bit of a contradiction. What does "no recovery, no fee" mean except that if the bloodsucking lawyers don't get you any money, you don't have to pay them. Yet at the bottom it does say you'll be responsible for expenses, costs and disbursements. Apparently because those aren't "fees," but just normal charges.

So plaintiffs who think they're going to be getting legal services for nothing - don't. And yet the ads are so designed to make them think they will. This goes I'm sure for the bloodsucking lawyers on land as well...

Other lawyer firms advertising in this magazine are Latti & Anderson LLP (they're proctors in admiralty, too!), Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris (no recovery, no fee, they speak Spanish and, I *think*, Vietnamese.

Also advertising was an insuranbce company: MOPS: Marine Maritime License Insurance, and WQIS - advertising Marine Pollution Liability Insurance. Great American. Captain's Coverage: Maritime Officer's Liability Insurance. Smitheick & Mariners Marine Insurance.

Don't get me wrong. Obviously working on barges and tugs and ships is a dangerous occupation, and if someone is injured through someone else's *negligence*, compensation should be made. But why should lawyers get 33% or even 40% of the 'recovery'? Why shouldn't they get paid an hourly wage for the work they do and have done with it.

Of course their hourly wage is probably between $200-500 an hour, charged in 5-minute increments....

Anyway, interesting reading. I need to do more research into the safety of 'some-third-world-country-flagged' ships. I wonder how many shouldn't even be at sea...

Lots of food for thought. (And withal, an excellent magazine.)