Technology Review has released their list for “10 Breakthrough Technologies” for 2018. It’s hard to argue with the list having some important developments in it:
3-D printing with metal — this could drastically disrupt manufacturing and give rise to lighter, stronger parts;
Artificial embryos — not exactly coming to a lab near you, but basically creating an embryo from another cell without an egg or sperm…great for research, but the ethical issues haven’t been worked out;
Smart-design for urban settings — using sensing technology and integrating tech into high-end design has always been part of the “future” in various sci-fi movies, but Quayside in Toronto will make some of it a reality;
Dueling neural networks — computer AI’s are bad at “creating”, but new techniques teaching them to learn off each other is creating a pseudo creativity with amazing applications for modelling, virtual entertainment, design, etc.;
Babelfish earbuds — auto translation in an earbud is great in theory, but I’m not convinced it will move out of the tourist zone as rapidly as some claim, particularly as early designs by no less than Google have been pretty clunky;
Zero-carbon natural gas — obviously, it’s still a non-renewable fuel, but having a clean version with no GHG emissions would be amazing, even if “Net Power’s technology won’t solve all the problems with natural gas, particularly on the extraction side.
I’ve been going through some of my saved/bookmarked pages, and I came across this one from April Hamilton from back in July 2011. It’s a great summary of some problems that newbie writers (like me) have with dialogue (Indie Author: 6 Dialogue Traps To Avoid).
So it mentions that newbies often have the characters talking the same way i.e. with the same “voice”, which doesn’t happen in real life and is really boring to read. I’m not sure I like her examples of fixing it, as it starts to sound a bit cliché to have 20-somethings or ex-military people talk like caricatures, but it can give flavour to their voice. Equally, newbies often go for melodramatic scenes that are tripe for soap operas, or heavy on the exposition dump. And I like the overall premise of “when in doubt, read it out loud”. If it sounds wrong, it probably is. » Read the rest
I’m frequently on the lookout for tips and tricks for astrophotography, although my ambitions are a bit basic to start with — smartphone use at the telescope eyepiece for now, maybe graduating to DSLR and webcam stuff later. And some of the easiest of the early photos are for moon shots. So, of course, I clicked when I saw an article on HowToGeeek.com entitled How to Take Good Photos of the Moon (by Harry Guinness, September 13th, 2017).
He breaks the challenge down pretty succinctly: the brightness and the distance. On the technical side, he recommends a tripod (duh), plus a 200mm lens for full-frame and 130mm on a crop-sensor. The tip, and why I thought the article was useful, came with a rule I’ve never heard of — Looney 11.
Astrophotographers have a rule for taking photos of the moon (it’s more of a guideline really) called Looney 11. The idea is that if you set your aperture to f/11, the correct shutter speed will be the reciprocal of the ISO.
Back in September, Carla Douglas published an article on the website “Publishing Perspectives” interviewing Merilyn Simonds on the state of publishing in Canada (A Leader in Canadian Writing Takes Stock of Self-Publishing). When I saw the title, I thought, “Cool, must read that.” Then I saw Simonds’ former job as chair of The Writers Union of Canada and thought, “Oh. Maybe not.”
I am not a giant fan of TWUC or their approaches to some issues. Like the Author’s Guild in the U.S., many of the members are sheep who think the publishing world is still flat and haven’t noticed that Amazon’s disruption was in giving authors the opportunity to bypass traditional publishing and go direct to readers, often with not only greater ease of access but also greater revenues. This of course is the 3rd sign of the Apocalypse for the Author’s Guild who surprisingly support the position of agents and publishers on issues almost 1:1. » Read the rest
There are lots of gurus out there who offer tips on “how to be happy”, with most of them stressing the importance of finding your “one true passion”, or if you prefer the model espoused by Jack Palance in “City Slickers” to Billy Crystal, looking for your “one thing”. However, there are other gurus who suggest aiming not for the moon, but for the little incremental steps you can take each day as you go about your daily routine. An article on Success Magazine’s site follows this latter technique, and looks at different ways to try and improve your state of mind in the short-term. My reaction is below, but first, let’s start with some excerpts.
Gregg Steinberg, author of the best-selling self-help book Full Throttle says, “Happiness in everyday life is all about mastering our emotions. You can be miserable even when you are successful, and you can be happy even if you are not successful.