On the rare days that I allow myself to dream that I will eventually make the time to write some more fiction, I dabble in reading interesting tidbits that resonate with me in terms of what I want to do as a writer. Not always “writing advice”, sometimes it is just about the industry, publishing, etc. Rarely do I find much in the way of real writing advice that I think, “Yes, that’s good stuff right there. I should bookmark that!”.
Way back in 2014, one of my regular feeds, The Passive Voice, shared excerpts from Gizmodo’s sub-website “i09” about science fiction writing entitled How To Create A Killer Opening For Your Science Fiction Short Story. Most of the time, I wouldn’t even bother to click on a title like that…too clickbait-y, and honestly, rarely does it live up to the premise. Often the writer will include examples of their own work, and the author isn’t usually that well-known. » Read the rest
The WordPress security plugin, Wordfence, published a blog entry describing how one of its techs working on cracking malware goes about doing the various steps in a recent day, analysing and developing responses to specific threats.
While the post seems at first to be highly technical, it’s quite readable by the informed layperson, and quite interesting to see. It also dispels the cryptocurrency baitclick headline to note it could have been running anything off the site, it just happened to be doing CCs.
One of our sources of threat data at Defiant is cleaning hacked websites. In this case, Ivan, a member of our SST team had cleaned a hacked site and handed me the forensic data for analysis. The site had been hacked for months before the owner discovered that it had been compromised.
My normal routine is to start by verifying the files we already detect to check if there is any new information inside any of them.
Often when I read writing tips, there is very little sense of balance. Most of them come down to a single form: “Do X, not Y”, with the small caveat that you can do Y if you do it well. The classic “Show, don’t tell” is a perfect example…except in some cases, a simple exposition deals with an info gap to get people to the next plot point. In that case, a little exposition can go a long way to avoiding stopping the action, jumping somewhere else to “show it”. Another classic used to be “Don’t use multiple points-of-view”. And then someone comes out with a fantastic book where they use multiple POV to great success. Because they did it right. Which means, often the real advice is “Do X, not Y unless you’re better than average and can actually do Y well, but know that it often doesn’t work for a lot of writers”. » Read the rest
For those not active in astronomy circles, there is a website called Cloudy Nights for all things astro related i.e. where astronomers can go to talk about astronomy when there are “cloudy nights”. Each month, they publish the detailed Celestial Calendar (by Dave Mitsky). Here are some of the highlights for May (times converted to Ottawa time):
May 4/5th — The peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower (20 per hour for northern hemisphere observers) occurs at 03h00 (May 5); the Moon, Mars, and Pluto lie within a circle of diameter 4.81 degrees at 19h00 (May 5)
May 7: Last Quarter Moon occurs at 22h09 (7th);
May 8: Jupiter is opposition (angular size 44.8”, magnitude -2.5) at 20h00
May 15: New Moon occurs at 07:48; the Moon is 8.7 degrees south-southeast of the bright open cluster M45 (the Pleiades or Subaru) in Taurus at 18:00; Venus is at perihelion (0.7184 astronomical units from the Sun) at 19:00
May 21: First Quarter Moon occurs at 23h49;
May 29: Full Moon, known as the Milk or Planting Moon, occurs at 10h19; the Moon is 8.8
This is another article from Farnam Street, and I confess up until a few days ago, I’d never heard of them. Run by a guy named Shane Parrish, he’s based here in Ottawa. Some really fascinating stuff on there, with decent curation and a lot of links. This article highlights that:
Not all of our grand schemes turn out like we planned. In fact, sometimes things go horribly awry. In this article, we tackle unintended consequences and how to minimize them in our own decision making.
You might think that the article is going to be about train wreck ideas or the butterfly effect causing tsunamis. Not really. In fact, I would say it is more about linear thinking from good intentions to good outcomes, without taking into account side effects. Some unknown, some unforeseeable, some just missed because they stopped thinking early. » Read the rest