The Future Is Here Mash-Up

Science/Fantasy Monday: The Future Is Here Mash-Up

Over the last 2 weeks I have gathered up a plethora (heh, I love that word… plethora…) of news articles and blog posts on various science-y topics that I just find too damn cool to keep to myself.  So, for those of you who don’t generally have the time/patience to sift through, etc, I offer a fun mash-up of a few of the of the articles/posts that really caught my eye.  I’ve often heard some scifi writers and scientists make comments along the lines of “The Future is already here.”  These articles remind me of this.

This article from, “Space Junk Threat Will Grow for Astronauts and Satellites”, highlights one of the biggest concerns for scientists and space programs world-wide.  What is interesting to me is that many recent articles on this topic have been making the rounds on Yahoo and various news sites in the last 2 weeks, as if this is a brand new problem.  But the problem has been around for awhile, and was even the subject of a fantastic Japanese manga called Planetes, written in 1999-2004.

“How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck”: This blog featured on is about a bit more than a holodeck.  It is a survey of a variety of strange, complicated, awesome discoveries/inventions being worked on at Microsoft’s big “think tank” lab Building 99.  For example, there’s the “Skinput” wrist device that could theoretically control electronic devices by reading muscle movements in your hand.  And there’s The Wedge, a large acrylic prism that could change the way we interface with computer displays.  Just for starters.

This article about the possibility of a “Diamond Planet” that may be a stripped star, from National Geographic, is a little older, but it was such a COOL idea I had to share it for people who might have missed it.  Also, here’s something for the scifi writers out there to think about: assume this planet really is made of diamond, and suppose humans from Earth found a way to reach the planet… how well do you think that’s gonna end, huh?

Another article from National Geographic: “When Aliens Attack” asks what would really happen if aliens made contact with humans in light of the fact that humans seem intent on destroying their own planet.  Would they eat us, enslave us, or exterminate us for the greater good of the galaxy?  It is a strange, amusing little article.  To say the least.

“Attack of the Brain-Controlling Parasites”: I had to include this one because, seriously, who doesn’t LOVE the idea of Zombie Ants?  Really?  It’s the weirdest, creepiest, coolest thing I’d heard about in the last year or so.  And these pictures are awesome. (Also thanks to

“Sidney Gottlieb proved to the world that there are few things more dangerous than a chemist with a metaphysical streak” — so says io9 post entitled “Every Crazy CIA Plot You’ve Heard of Originated With One Man” which is about CIA chemist Sidney Gottlieb, who is apparently the man behind the infamous “poison cigar” scheme to assassinate Fidel Castro.

And finally: the COOLEST damn photo I think I have ever seen.  Saturn.  As seen from the NASA Cassini Orbiter.  It just goes to prove that sometimes real life really CAN be as amazing as science fiction, possibly even better.

If you have any cool science-related articles/posts to share, add them in the comments! I can always use more, and my other readers might just be interested too.

Writerly Habits 1: Carving Out a Little Space

Last week, Cid Tyer wrote a post about the space she carved out for herself so that she would have some place comfortable and not-distracting to work in: “Creating a Writer’s Space”.  She asked her readers what kinds of places they liked to write in, and rather than answer in comment, I thought I would write my own little blog response.

In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote an extended essay entitled A Room of One’s Own, which has become vastly important feminist work.  In it, she argues that a woman must have money (at her time, $500/yr) and a room of her own in order to write fiction.  I won’t get into the ins and outs of her argument.  The point is that I believe a writer does not a little space of their own in order to write.  And while this was especially important for women writers in the 1920’s, it now holds equally true for writers both male and female.

For myself, I can on occasion write in several different places without too much difficulty.  For instance, I used to write in the middle class quite often, when I supposed to be paying attention or taking notes or some such thing.  I also sometimes write at the kitchen table, mainly because the family dog can’t climb stairs and I like to keep him company sometimes.  We also just bought a new table and umbrella for the back patio, and I spent upwards of 6-8 hours in the backyard writing this past weekend.

All that being said, the real place, My real place for writing is what I call my library-office.  Yes, I have my own library-office.  For reasons I won’t get into, my bedroom, or rather the room that my bed is in, isn’t really MY room, so I don’t spend much time in it when I’m not sleeping (besides which, I can’t write in my bed like I could in high school, I just fall asleep).  Instead, I have a small room upstairs that I have claimed as a place for all my books.  And I have a LOT of books.  (I really should count them all some time; that would be fun.)  So, I have this room, lined with books, with two desks, and a white board and a corkboard, and lots of posters.  In fact, here, here are a few pictures:

(Sorry the pictures are a little blurry.  My mother borrowed my camera so I’m using the camera on my macbook. Yeah…)

This is the one room in the house that is entirely my own.  It’s like a snap-shot of my very odd little mind.  It’s where I think best.  Where I can isolate myself from the television, and my brother, and housework, and distractions, and just WRITE.  I bought the purple desk and the chair (which isn’t actually all that comfortable) from Walmart, and the other desk is left over from the bedroom set I has a child, most of which was destroyed during Hurricane Ike.  But the room is MINE, and I love it.  And that is, essentially, what Virginia Woolf had in mind.

So, I’ll ask the same question Cid asked.  What about you?  Where do you write?  Do you have a special place carved out for the purpose?  Can you write anywhere?  Do you simply not have any choice in where you write?  Anything in between?