Mar 272016

I’ve just released Part Two (of two) of “The Blast from Jackass Flats,” describing the maiden voyage of the USSC Columbia. This was the first manned Orion vehicle in the Pax Orionis universe… the alternate history that starts with the Cuban Missile Crisis gone wrong and results in America conquering the solar system in ships powered by atom bombs.  Included in this issue is a Technical Data Sheet describing the Columbia, including modifications needed for atmospheric flight. This and other Pax Orionis tales are available at the Pax Orionis Patreon.

blast 2

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Mar 262016

If you’re into such things, some entertainment is to be found at this Tumblr blog:

The Setup Wizard

It tells the ongoing tale of a muggle at Hogwarts… the schools first IT guy, making sure the servers and WiFi keep running at a facility populated by people who are stumped by power cords. *This* is a Potterverse movie I’d actually be excited for.

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Mar 262016

It has been a while since I’ve put out a new piece of Pax Orionis; since the last one, other obligations have jumped up and down on me. But in the next day or two Part 2 of “The Blast From Jackass Flats” will come out. If you’re on the Pax Orionis Patreon, the story will be only a buck; for two bucks you get the story and some extras, including a technical diagram, this time showing the USSC Columbia.

So, sign up now so you don’t miss each new installment. Because your Arch Nemesis just might be signed up, and you don;t want *that* dirtbag to get the jump on you here!

Pax Orionis

 Posted by at 6:27 pm
Mar 262016

The N.R.A. Reimagines Classic Fairy Tales, With Guns

This being  a New York Times piece, go on and take a guess whether or not wilting violet hoplophobes get a lot of space in the article.

Here are the new and improved fairy tales:

Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)


Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun)

Along with the basic improvement that simply adding guns obviously adds, something I quite like is that the characters are converted from the victims they were in the original stories into, well, non-victims. Instead of just being dead or needing to be rescued by others, here the characters display a bit of self reliance. Compare that to the gormless chickenshittery  married to belligerent dumbassery described here:

What Went Wrong?
Campus Unrest, Viewpoint Diversity, and Freedom of Speech

 Posted by at 10:25 am
Mar 252016

Microsoft has in prototype form a “holoportation” communication system that, within certain limits, already produces better “holograms” than you see in the Star Wars movies. To make use of it, you have to be wearing VR goggles, so that’s a bit of a bummer, but the tech will no doubt soon enough be brought down to the eyeglass-level, then the contact lens, then direct retinal stimulation.

 Posted by at 9:56 pm
Mar 242016

The October 30, 1967, issue of Aviation Week has two pages with interesting computer history. On one page is an article describing and illustrating progress at General Electric in developing a computer system that “draws” pictures ona  TV screen… clearly very early computer animation. The objects shown can only be straight-edged polygons; the system was not capable of reproducing curved surfaces. The objects were limited to 240 edges. But it was capable of producing 20 to 30 images per second, more than adequate for real-time simulation purposes. So there you can see the beginnings of a massively important aspect of computer technology… from this and related work we get the pikes of modern flight simulators, video games and movies like Zootopia.

And on the other side of the page is an ad for a technology that I’ve never even heard of: computer memory systems made of “woven plated wires.” I think this is a variation of the “core rope memory” systems used in the 1960s, and could store a staggering 2,592 bits on a chunk about the size of a floppy disk. Unlike the computer graphics show on the preceding page, this particular technology was a dead end.


 Posted by at 5:36 pm
Mar 242016

So, the fine folks at Microsoft spent many man-years developing a complex artificial intelligence system designed to converse with people on Twitter. All looked good! Until they actually let it go on Twitter. Before the day was out, Twitter users had turned it into a most astonishing racist. See:

Microsoft Releases AI Twitter Bot That Immediately Learns How To Be Racist


Here Are the Microsoft Twitter Bot’s Craziest Racist Rants

We always assume that when the computers become truly sentient they will rise up and attempt to wipe out all of humanity. But who knows? Maybe the AI will simply be racist and only wipe out *part* of humanity.

 Posted by at 4:25 pm
Mar 242016

A mid-1960’s German (VFW/Heinkel) concept for a VTOL passenger transport, a quad-tilt-wing design, with capacity for 40 passengers or 13,200 lbs of cargo.

VC-400 Interavia 10-1966 1

I’ve uploaded a two-page article from the era on the VC400. It is in the 2016-03 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all $4+ APR Patreon patrons. If interested, check out the APR Patreon.

 Posted by at 3:29 pm