Checking the math

When I see numbers in fiction that are in some kind of mathematical relationship with each other, I reflexively check the math. (Well, for basic math/arithmetic, anyway.) Like, if a story says “They traveled at 500 mph from California to Japan, arriving in 45 minutes,” then I think, Hmm, it’s 5,000+ miles from California to […]

Copying a story

Interesting situation with a recent crowdfunded anthology: The editors had sent out the ebook version of the anthology and were preparing to print the printed version, when a reader let them know that one of the stories in the book was a close copy of something published on Tumblr in 2017, specifically the first part […]

Canadian residential schools, and donation suggestions

Content warning for discussion of the Canadian residential schools and other horrific anti-Indigenous behavior by governments. Background: For over 100 years, the Canadian government funded boarding schools that it forced 150,000 Indigenous children to go to. The schools were administered by various Christian churches. At least 2%, and possibly as many as 20%, of those […]

Printing presses

Every so often, I get it into my head that I desperately need a tiny printing press. At which point I go through a mental process (and series of web searches) that goes something like this: I could buy a Speedball Press or other small art press. Art, ink, paper, squeeze them together—boom! printing! …But […]

Blaseball

This year’s Hugo ballot has a (one-year-only) Best Video Game category. I had heard of (but not played) most of the nominated games, but was curious about one in particular that I had never heard of: Blaseball. Turns out that it’s a free, web-based “absurdist […] take on fantasy baseball,” in which you bet imaginary […]

Accessibility in online gathering spaces like Gather and Kumospace

I’m seeing reactions that I think are worth signal-boosting regarding conventions held in virtual spaces like Gather (aka GatherTown) and Kumospace. The core of the issue is that although those kinds of spaces may be really useful and accessible for some people, they’re really inaccessible and hard to use for a lot of other people. […]

Google’s conversational AI, the Turing Test, and equity

In early 2020, Google posted about Meena, “a Conversational Agent that Can Chat About…Anything.” The post gets fairly technical, but it also includes two brief sample dialogues with Meena in which Meena pretty much passes the Turing Test as far as I’m concerned. (In one dialogue, Meena makes a couple of on-topic puns; in the […]

Recently acquired boardgames

I’ve acquired a ridiculous number of boardgames lately—eight of them in the past three weeks. (I bought 11 boardgames in all of last year, and most of those were near the end of the year.) Which I’m calling ridiculous partly because I’ve run out of space on my boardgames bookcase, but mostly because I’m unlikely […]

Free books again

Edited in 2022 to add: This is an old post. If you want free books, see my current version of the free-books list. I’m leaving the old version below, for historical purposes only. More books! Free to a good home. Let me know if you want any of these. Also some VHS tapes. (At the […]

The Prius saga continues

Yesterday morning, the car saga continued. Here’s the backstory, some of which I’ve posted before (but maybe only on Facebook rather than here, not sure): For complicated reasons, my 2005 Prius is in Chicago. The screen of the touchscreen system in the middle of the dashboard (the “multi-function display,” or MFD) has had some sun […]