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Wed, Mar. 23rd, 2005, 09:15 pm
aktuation: Book recommendation

The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman

Note, though: This IS NOT for when you want to enjoy a leisurely afternoon.

Sun, Oct. 3rd, 2004, 12:22 am
aktuation: Well...

I’ve been thinking that this is as good a time as any to tell you what I want to happen to this community; I’ve already told just about all of you about it, anyway, so...

Anyway, when I created this community, I had planned on building the foundation of a communal library: an informal group where its members can borrow everybody else’s book(s), subject to a few rules, of course.

I still plan on going ahead with this.

This is why I posted a list of the books my wife and I own (and will continue to update that list as long as I feel someone could benefit from my doing so).

I’ve been gone about a month, and that list has lengthened (to say the least; it’s been a long month). Here it is now, as it stands:

The Santos Library (accurate as of this post's date) (incomplete--will update as time permitsCollapse )

Those are the more popular authors; I’m cutting it short (that’s about two-fifths or so of our library) because I’m tired, and I have to get up early tomorrow. If you’re interested in loaning them (none of them are for sale), let me know.

I usually finish a book somewhere between a day and a week (unless it’s a really big book, like Niven’s Three Books of Known Space--my wife takes a bit longer; she still has a life, and I don’t); even so, my wife and I have a backlog of a couple of dozen or so books.

We didn’t buy it to hoard the books--that runs totally against what I’ve learned through reading SF--that’s why we’re willing to loan it to everyone. There are a few rules, however: One, is that we have to trust you; that is, we have to trust that you’ll take good care of them, and that you’ll return them while we’re still able to read and remember.

If we don’t trust you, we’ll tell you, and we hope you won’t take it personally. After all, we’re building this library for our children, as well. And our children’s friends, and our children’s children, and our children’s children’s friends, and so, and so forth, ad infinitum. If we don’t trust you, you’d have to get one of the people we do trust to vouch for you. Either that, or loan us the books you own and we like.

Secondly, the Heinlein books may NOT be taken outside of our home. If he were alive, and could read this, Heinlein would probably beat me to death; I’ll have to take that chance. These books are simply too valuable for me; I’ll only consider allowing others to take a Heinlein home if I owned another copy of the same book. If you’d like to borrow a Heinlein from me, you’d have to read it inside our home. Lodging, if you want it, is available for a nominal fee.

Thirdly, if the books you loan are harmed in any substantial way while under your care, you will be required to pay at least 300 hundred pesos (about 5 or 6 U.S. dollars, as currencies currently stand); prices go up as subjective value goes up. Anything earned through this arrangement will only be used to buy new books. This is as much as to teach irresponsible people how to be responsible, as it is to ensure that, one day, we won’t find ourselves out of books to loan to people, due to those who do not love books.

All terms are negotiable, of course. If you’re interested, let me know.

Tue, Sep. 7th, 2004, 08:37 pm
aktuation: Because we're fen

Discover Magazine‘s September 2004 issue features the father of modern science (and one of the gods of most fen), Albert Einstein. (Unfortunately, they require a subscription or membership for you to read it.)

Astrobiology Magazine, on the other hand, has published a interview with Dr. Michio Kaku regarding our galactic brethren (and sisthren, and whathaveyou), entitled How Advanced Could They Be?. It’s an old interview, apparently. :P

By the way, I highly recommend reading the articles on Dr. Kaku’s site. In case you don’t know him, he’s one of the physicists working on The Greatest Thing Since The Theory Of Relativity: The M-Theory (also known as the String Theory).

Cool stuff all around. :D FIAWOL!

Sun, Sep. 5th, 2004, 06:30 am
aktuation: I've been holding out

Always keep on forgetting things. Here's a short SF (vaguely cyberpunkish) story I stumbled upon a year or two back:

0wnz0red by Cory Doctorow

And here's the printer-friendly version.

Imagine having the ability to hack your own body: you need not sleep, tire, or work-out ever again. 0wnz0red relies on extrapolating what was then known about nanotechnology—something along the lines of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

Fri, Aug. 27th, 2004, 08:35 pm
aktuation: Software Freedom Day (August 28)

When the clock strikes 00:00:01 of 28 August, 2004 here in the Philippines, I will have no software or software-related technologies that are proprietary in nature actively running on my computer. This is my way of supporting the Software Freedom Day.

Free Software support our right to the freedom to obtain, learn from, modify and redistribute software, either gratis or for a fee, to anyone anywhere. We, the supporters of free software, believe this is a basic right of everyone in this day of extensive access to computing.

We all have a right to know what goes on in our computers. Free Software gives us the ability to do so.

Note that, by ‘free’, we mean freedom; not necessarily no-cost (although most Free Software are distributed gratis; that is, without the need to pay). Think of it as ‘free’ in ‘free speech’, and not as in ‘free beer’.

For those interested, here are a few Web links you should visit and read:

  • Free Software Foundation — In 1984, Richard Stallman, president of the FSF, started the GNU Project; today, millions of people around the world use an offshoot of this project: the GNU/Linux operating system.

  • The GNU/Linux FAQ — Most people address the GNU/Linux operating system simply as ‘Linux’; this is inaccurate. This FAQ will tell you why, as well as this essay by Richard Stallman.

  • Philosophy Section of the FSF Web site — This section houses papers that document the principles the supporters of Free Software fight for. It also documents what the major threats are to software freedom, and why have the power to take it from us, among other things.

  • Open Source Initiative — In 1998, with the release of the source code of Netscape’s browser offering, a new movement was born: the Open Source movement. Theirs is a pragmatic approach, barely bothering with the issue of software freedom. Although Free Software is covered by Open Source, strictly speaking, they are not the same thing.

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation — is a grass-roots movement that is (and very often succeeds at) protecting our various electronic freedoms (like sharing media, software, etc. through Peer-To-Peer networks).

Software freedom is an important issue that’s being decided right now. There are quite a number of factors that threaten this freedom, like software patents. Please help us spread the word about Free Software, and see how you can go about using only Free software on a day-to-day basis.

Patrick Henry once declared:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? … I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!!!”

Virtual shackles bind you the same as physical shackles, when you’re living in a virtual world.

Fri, Aug. 27th, 2004, 11:28 am
lushlush: You've seen one, you've seen them all?

How To Write A Best-Selling Fantasy Novel (Fame and fortune, here I come!)

The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches (Awww c'mon, you've gotta laugh at this one.)


Fri, Aug. 27th, 2004, 03:55 am
aktuation: Action Items: Stop Fox News' False Advertising / Petition for Dubya's Impeachment

Fox News is a liar. Their trademark ‘Fair and Balanced’ is blatantly false. Please join the campaign to get them to stop using this deceptive trademark.

At http://www.moveon.org/fox/ there is a form we can fill out; there, we can express our opinion about Fox’s Dubya-kissing propaganda.

(The Philippines’ zip codes are composed of only four numbers; moveon.org will not accept them. Simply add a zero to the end of your zip code. A valid zip code is required for the petition.)

On http://www.votenader.org/get_involved/impeach.php, there is a petition we can sign that calls for an impeachment inquiry of Bush and Cheney. Though the Philippines is halfway around the world from the USA, through signing this petition, we can show them that the world will not stand for Dubya’s stupidity and crimes of war.

(The list of states have a ‘Not in the U.S.’ item.)

I have signed both, by the time you read this.

I wonder if there’s a petition I can sign that would insist that government officials send their own children to the next war they wage...

Sat, Aug. 21st, 2004, 01:41 pm
aktuation: New knowledge to be grokked.

I finished Spider and Jeanne Robinson’s The Stardancers last night. Stardancers is the merging of two other novels, Stardance and Starseed.

Words fail me, as they usually do, and I can only think of one word to describe the experience: Lovely.

The influence of Robert Heinlein on these two works is obvious, but it has not shadowed in the least bit the grace and skill with which the authors wrote them. Stardancers is still undeniably their work.

I was brought to tears quite a few times, and now, more than ever, I catch myself looking beyond the atmosphere, and towards the heavens.

Looking to where we should be now, if Yanks weren’t so greedy.

I got my copy at the SM Manila branch of Booksale (or, That Great Treasure Trove of Literary Masterpieces) for 30 pesos.

I’ve also started reading Farenheit 451, skipping about a dozen books in my backlog; I couldn’t help it. Although, perhaps, I should take time to grok the books I read a little more.

Fri, Aug. 20th, 2004, 03:55 pm
aktuation: The customary first post

I guess it’s time to succumb to traditions... :)

Welcome, Terrans, Solarians, and those from other parts of the cosmos (a very special ‘Hello’ to those from other dimensions)! We are all droogs here, yes?

We come today, setting aside our differences, bound by our love of SF.

It matters not how you express that love (or even if you express it at all); what matters is that it’s there, and that’s at least one thing we have in common.

Would the Klingon with the drawn d’k tahg please sit down? There will be plenty of time to call out your enemies later.

Now, where was I? ... Well, anyway, I hope you have fun here; but, more importantly, I have you learn something from the rest of the community.

I guess that’s it for now. Remember: FIAWOL!