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.
If you’re into such things, some entertainment is to be found at this Tumblr blog:
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.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Last time I caught this on video was nearly a year ago, but he licks the bar of soap at least a couple times a week. Usually he does it for only a few seconds; this time was longer than usual.
Feel free to speculate *why* he does this.