Archive for March, 2010

I’ve Been Tagged (by LazyGal)

Posted March 29, 2010 By Jandy
 

The rules:

If you’ve been tagged, you should write your answers in your own journal and replace any questions that you dislike with a new question. Tag nine people. Don’t refuse to do that. Don’t tag the person who tagged you. (OK, I won’t make anyone but – Sardonic Girl? The Wife, the Mom? Marsha?)

The Meme

What song are you currently addicted to?
I can’t get Defying Gravity or A Wonderful Day from Wicked out of my head. Never mind it was over a week ago I listened to it.

What books are you currently reading?
I’m enjoying Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (see previous post), Brightness Reef by David Brin, Blood Sins by Kay Hooper, Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan (a trilogy that is the male version of Nora RobertsMontana Sky), and Content Licensing by Michael Upshall (professional book review).

What is the one skill you wish you had?
These days I think it’d be pretty cool to know how to fly an airplane.

If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, where and when would you go?
I’m pretty satisfied with yesterday. I’d probably make less french fries or less cheese for my dinner.

What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have one favorite – there are too many that fit different occasions. Oh, I know. I head this last week. “Your granddaughters are beautiful.”

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
Bewitched and Addams Family. I can remember as a kid I would pretend that Thing (the disembodied hand) would help me make my bed.

What websites do you always visit when you go online?
the crossword puzzle at the Boston Globe, the Reader’s Place Ning, Wordsplay (online Boggle) (personal) PubMed, other medical literature databases.

What was the last thing you bought?
A new book (The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear), a new pair of black walking sandals, and a surge protector for the laundry room.

Coke or Pepsi?
Coke

Do you get cravings? If so, what do you crave?
Chocolate, of course. Sometimes I crave salty so I keep crackers around too.

What do you do to change your mood?
It depends – read, cry, talk to someone, sleep, talk to a cat…

What was the last meal you ate?
Breakfast – vanilla yogurt, apple cinnamon danish, coffee

Five things you can’t live without.
My children, in-law-children, and grandchildren
My extended family
Sunshine (even though I stay in a lot)
My books and ability to read
The independence and freedom of my lifestyle

What is the closest purple thing near you?
A purple ink pen in my desk organizer. I never use it anymore.

What’s something that never fails to make you smile?
My granddaughters
My scrapbooks with my photos in them

What are you not looking forward to?
My extensive dental work continues Wednesday morning – at least 3 crowns and a bridge. I’ve already had 3 root canals in the past few months.

What significant world event that you have lived through stands out most in your mind?
(showing my age) Assassination of President Kennedy – there’s also the Challenger Explosion and 9/11

Name a movie you’d like to see, but just somehow haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.
Angels and Demons – I know it’s not as good as the book, which is probably why I haven’t bothered yet.

That’s a long list!

Turning Science Fiction Into Science

Posted March 24, 2010 By Jandy
 

Physics of the Impossible by Michio KakuIt was impossible for me to ignore a nonfiction physics book with a picture of the Tardis from Dr. Who on the cover. So I borrowed a copy of Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku from my public library. It’s fascinating.

Kaku’s main focus is to show how physics is moving into the realm of “impossible” science fiction. In the process of showing the reader what could happen, we learn what is happening or how it is happening. For example, in his discussions about phasers and light sabers, Kaku describes how computer chips keep getting faster and are able to hold more on them. Then he mentions how some studies into storing data on crystals are developing into reality. I know computer crystals rather than chips has been a science fiction staple for decades.

Right now I’m listening to Brightness Reef by David Brin in the car. One of the six alien races living on the planet Jijo moves around on wheels. I kept trying to picture how that would work, even with bones in sockets, etc. Then I learn in Kaku’s book that nature on Earth has already mastered atomic machines in some tiny creatures – so the possibility that larger creatures could work similarly is not a far stretch of the imagination. Brin’s characters could work after all.

Obviously science and science fiction work together. Science fiction takes imagination of what’s possible from what we know. Science can then turn that science fiction into reality. Then science fiction will take the imagination further. Then science will add to reality. Etc, etc, etc.

Cool.

Philosophy and Science Fiction

Posted March 14, 2010 By Jandy
 

Dying Inside by Robert SilverbergFrequently I’m reminded that science fiction and fantasy is more than entertaining space opera, wizards, and dragons. Right now I’m reading Robert Silverberg‘s Dying Inside. It was published back int he 70’s (I’m getting into all sorts of older SF these days). The narrator has been able to read other people’s minds all his life. Now, at 41, he’s losing the ability

The paranormal aspect is the character’s psychic talent. Otherwise, Silverberg wrote this as a self examination, makes you think about life type book. He feeds himself by writing ghost college papers for students who don’t want to do it themselves. We, the reader, get to read a couple of these papers, sinking the book even more into the philosophy of life. I must admit, I wouldn’t have guessed I would read a treatise on Kafka when I opened this book.

This book isn’t entertaining so much as compelling. Yes, I’m enjoying it. Will it have a happy ending? It’s hard to say. I bet instead it ends inconclusively – like ongoing life does.