Friday, May 29, 2015

Oldest Murder Victim?

A 500,000 year old skull found in Spain may be the world's oldest murder victim. Whoever he (or she) was, he was killed by two blows to the front of the head, both of which cracked the skull.

Of course, we have absolutely no clue of the circumstances. The fact that the blows were to the front indicate this was probably a fight, not an execution or somebody sneaking up behind them with a sapper.

So, maybe it was a murder. It could also have been self defense.

Or, perhaps, the evidence of the world's first ever bar fight.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Real Dementors?

Well, they're wasps, but...

A new species of wasp discovered in Mekong Delta in Thailand has been named Apulex dementor.

Why? Because it likes to turn cockroaches into zombies and while cockroaches probably don't have souls to suck out...the idea is still kind of scary.

Maybe somebody needs to start feeding the roaches chocolate?


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Species Lines?

Is the panther chameleon one species...or is it eleven? Scientists now think the latter.

It makes me question, as I often do, where we put the line between species. Man is a naming and classifying animal - the ancient Hebrews recognized this when they made the first task God gave him that of naming all the animals and birds.

But...when is a species a species? When it can't interbreed? Uh huh - wolves, dogs and coyotes interbreed with no problems at all. Various cat species do with the issue of male infertility (which I firmly believe was also the case with hominid interbreeding - the evidence certainly points that way). Birds do it all the time too - ask any falconer to give you the special virtues of lanner/saker hybrids.

We're now resorting to measuring genetic variance, but...

Maybe there's no such thing as a species. Maybe all there is is a discreet population that generally shares traits...something we more normally call a 'landrace' or 'breed.'

In other words - do our pattern seeking primate minds make things over complex and overly simple at the same time?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Whewf

So, I'm back from Balticon and mostly recovered.

Highlights?

The Writing Diverse Characters panel was standing room only with people sitting in the aisles. (If we do this again, we need a bigger room!)

The Being A Fan of Problematic Stuff was pretty well received too. It managed not to turn into a massive argument ;).

I'd also like to thank David Van Tassell for a great presentation on fight scenes - it was a film panel, but very useful to us prose writers too.

And I apparently need to keep reading a certain passage from Mother...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Well, okay...

Last post before Balticon. Next post will probably be on Tuesday.

Here is my schedule, which is subject to change until, you know, I get there and get my table tent:

Friday 10:00pm - Being Out in Fandom
Saturday 11am - Writing Diverse Characters
Saturday 2pm - Targeting Submissions
Saturday 10pm - Off-Page Implications
Sunday 11am - The Best Worst B-Movies Ever Made
Sunday 1pm - Old Who For New Fans
Sunday 9pm - Being A Fan of Problematic Things
Monday 10am - Reading

See you all there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Balticon

For those wondering: Yes I am going to Balticon.

No, I don't have my final schedule. I hope the one on the website right now is it.

However:

I will have a limited number of print copies of Transpecial available.

I will also be, once more, giving away coupons for a free copy of The Silent Years: Mother. They're Smashwords coupons and can be redeemed through that website.

And I'll be in the bar. Or in the lobby playing Cards Against Humanity. Or...yeah. I'm easy enough to find.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hey Makers!

Up for a serious challenge?

NASA and America Makes are hosting a contest to build a 3D printed habitat for use on Mars. 3D printing could allow a habitat to be constructed ahead of the arrival of astronauts from native materials - so obviously it's the way to go.

Oh, and over two million in prize money. Of course, entering won't be cheap. Or easy.

But if you're interested, go here to check it out.