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News broke last week that Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, had allegedly been videod smoking crack cocaine. So far, the video, apparently recorded on an iPhone, hasn’t ended up on YouTube, but hopefully it’s only a matter of time before that happens, and puts a final end to Ford’s disgraceful political career.
Over at rabble.ca, Michael Laxer puts the story into a wider context. It’s worth reading.
There is an understandable tempt (more)
LifeHacker reports that SwiftKey, the best replacement keyboard for Android, is on sale for $1.99. If you have an Android phone or tablet, this is the best $2 you could spend on upgrading your phone. Nancy and I have been using it on our phones for a while now, and like it a lot. It’s worth it for the predictive text (which is startlingly accurate) and the keyboard layout and features, which are fare superior to the default Android keyboard. Highly recommended.(more)
The 2013 Nebula Awards were awarded last night. The Nebulas are voted on by members of SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America), the SF writers’ professional guild. This year’s winner for best novel was Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, a book that I got halfway through and couldn’t finish. I haven’t read any of the other novel nominees. John Scalzi has posted the list of winners.
Posts may be sparse here for a while. For the next few days I’m attending a SharePoint conference in Toronto, which means I have to leave here early and will be home late. After that, it’s the Victoria Day weekend (otherwise known as the May 24 weekend, where 24 doesn’t refer to the date). The weekend after that is my 25th anniversary and my son’s birthday.
So I may be more or less offline here until the beginning of June. I’m sure you can find other ways of amusing yourself.(more)
Locus has announced the finalists in its annual Locus Awards readers poll. My tastes must be pretty mainstream – I’ve read 3 of the 5 books nominated for best novel, and have the 4th on my Kindle. If you’re curious, my pick would be Scalzi’s Redshirts.
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
If anyone was good at searching for information, you’d expect the NSA to be at the top of the list. You might even be right. Now you can get some of their expertise in a 600+ page document that describes how to search the Internet for all sorts of interesting things.
There’s so much data available on the internet that even government cyberspies need a little help now and then to sift through it all. So to assist them, the National Security Agency produced a book to help its spies uncover in (more)
The Society for Technical Communication (STC) Summit – in other words, their annual conference – is being held in Atlanta right now. I wouldn’t have minded attending another STC Summit – the last one I went to in 2009 was quite good – but I really didn’t want to visit Atlanta again (I’ve been there four times and given my limited opportunities for conferences and travel, I’d rather go somewhere I haven’t been before).
However, many other tech writers are there, including Sarah Maddox, who’s blogging about some of the session (more)
Most technical writers I know have at least a nodding acquaintance with the fundamentals of typography. But there’s a lot of history behind the fonts that we use everyday, and I suspect that most of us don’t know very much about it. This video, The History of Typography, by Ben Barrett-Forrest is a wonderful introduction to the history of type. Not only is it educational, but it’s entertaining, and a wonderful example of stop-motion movie making. Highly recommended. Even if y (more)
I’ve posted before about how our current government is muzzling librarians and scientists. Here’s a long article in Macleans that goes into detail about what’s happening and how it affects the process of science in Canada. It’s not good.
Since taking power in 2006, Stephen Harper’s government has rarely been caught on the wrong foot. Disciplined on the hustings, in (more)
Although the Hindenburg is the most famous airship, it wasn’t the only one. The British airship, the R100 carried passengers across the Atlantic, and even visited Toronto. BlogTO has an article about the airship’s only visit to the city. The pictures are quite spectacular – the R100 was huge, about as long as Union Station, and the passenger compartment was more like that of an ocean liner than a modern airliner.(more)
I am speechless after reading this post on BoingBoing. A 16-year-old high school student has been charged with a felony and expelled from school after an experiment she was conducting caused a small explosion. I’m sure the fact that she’s black and female had nothing to do with it.
A Florida high school student with an interest in science mixed together aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner as an ex (more)
I’ve always been something of an audio geek, ever since I was in university and started working for the student radio station and later part-time for the local FM radio station in the Soo. I was exposed to professional audio gear at a formative stage in my life, and it’s all been downhill from there, because I could never afford gear that would reproduce all the sounds I knew the recordings contained. My current audio system is pretty basic – a 12-year-old JVC receiver and Sony speakers. It’s adequate but I wouldn’t call it high fidelity. That probably doesn (more)
I’ve commented before on the the way the Harper government is restricting the rights of Canadian scientists and librarians. But it goes a lot further than that. This article in the Huffington Post points out just how far down the road we are to becoming a totalitarian state.
In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act — making it one of the first countries to pass legislation(more)
Here’s another wonderful photo gallery from The Atlantic’s In Focus blog. This one is a tour of our amazing solar system.
Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn, and two operational rovers on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirel (more)
The nominees for the 2013 Aurora Awards have been announced. The Auroras are the awards for the Canadian science fiction field. They are voted on by fans and will be awarded at CanCon in Ottawa, October 4-6, 2013. Here are the English language best novel nominees.
Destiny’s Fall by Marie Bilodeau, Dragon Moon Press
Food for the Gods by Karen Dudley, Ravenstone Books
Healer’s Sword: Part 7 of the Okal Rel Saga by Lynda Williams, EDGE
The Silvered by Tanya Huff, DAW Books, Inc.
Thunder Roa (more)
ITER is the demonstration fusion reactor being built in the south of France. If successful, it will be the first fusion reactor to produce more power than it consumes and will be the stepping stone to commercial development of fusion power. But it’s a long way from being ready – the foundations are now just being poured and it’ll be twenty years or so before the project moves out of the testing stage.
The Indepent (more)
If you watch Fox “News”, or read any right-wing blogs, you’ll find a constant stream of criticism of President Obama. (And if you read the comments section, you’ll find a lot worse – read at your own risk). The Forward Progressives site has collected and debunked pretty much everything you’ll hear the right-wingers say about Obama. It’s worth bookmarking for inserting into social media conversations when somebody jumps in with a Fox “ (more)
Google has released an extension for the Chrome Beta channel that lets you view MS Office documents (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentations) directly in Google Chrome for Mac or Windows. You’ll need to be running the Beta version of Chrome, but I’m sure this will make it out into the general release one of these days.