WWW Wednesday: Yes, I Read Books!

It’s WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What did you recently finish reading?

Like Marie last week, I’ve also read Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, by John McWhorter, which I highly recommend. However, I most recently finished reading SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Continue reading

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Women Have More Education and Power Than Ever: Why Do They Still Feel Embattled?

More women than men will continue to graduate from college between now and 2050.

One of the most frustrating things about the War on Women is its laser focus on women’s reproductive rights, as if we still lived in pre-1921 America, and women could not control their bodies, vote, or own property. Statistics however show a far different picture. Our grandchildren will live in a world comprised of highly educated, high-earning women, and less-educated men.

Liza Mundy, Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and the author ofThe Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family, has analyzed research showing that a growing number of women out-earn their spouses, and that by 2050, in the overwhelming majority of countries, more women than men will complete a college education.

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We Only Read One Book In Our House

My daughter Meredith attended a Christian school. When she was in third grade, I was waiting outside her classroom for parent marching orders, and thought I’d make small talk with another mom, a lady whose child had attended school with my daughter since kindergarten. I and Meredith’s dad were splitting up at this time. I had already been branded with a slutty career woman “S,” at school, and even worse, Meredith’s dad . . . wait for it . . . Continue reading

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9-11 The Falling Man

The Design Observatory published a thoughtful, intense interview with Henry Singer, the British documentary filmmaker who made The Falling Man, a 2006 British television documentary about 9-11.

I watched an interview with Richard Drew, the AP photographer who chronicled much of 9-11 at the Twin Towers, arriving just after the second plane hit the second tower. The “Falling Man” photo did appear in news media across America on the day after 9-11, but it was quickly censored following complaints that the image was “too intense”. Continue reading

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Ralphie From A Christmas Story Grew Up

You never know what you’ll find out while reading the endless online news items.

Ralphie_bunny_suit “Ralphie” from A Christmas Story (1983) grew up to be a really handsome guy who is also friends with Vince Vaughn.

Who would have thought that the child who was hellbent on shooting his eye out would turn out this way?

Also speaking of the wonders of the internet, the Christmas Story house in Cleveland has been fully-restored, complete with Leg Lamp and a museum across the street.  You can also buy costumes and other crazy film memorabilia at “redriderleglamps.”  The house was originally auctioned on eBay!  It was bought and lovingly restored to its current glory. Continue reading

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“Perfect Stranger” and Bioethics

Many members of my family are involved in medicine.  I never chose that educational or career path, but I did end up with the basics of math and science to comprehend today’s bioethical debates.  I know very few people in medicine who share the cynical worldview of Dr. House, who is still a totally humane guy compared to eugenicists (those who philosophically favor the “culling” of weaker members of the human race – their definition of weaker, of course) like Peter Singer and current White House “Science Czar” John Holdren. Others have written books and coined the term “liberal eugenics” to advocate for the direct ending of human life combined with use of biotechnology to improve things for “superior” and “deserving” others who presumably will lead to a better, happier future.

A responsible concern for the balance of health, well-being and the carrying capacity of our world is not the same as full-on eugenics.  I agree with most, if not all, of the carefully thought-out positions of Garrett Hardin, the ecologist who authored famous and controversial essays including “Lifeboat Ethics” and “The Tragedy of the Commons.”  There is a world of difference between someone pointing up that, left unchecked, people can and will despoil group environments (the tragedy of the commons) as Hardin did, and advocating for directly ending people’s lives – from infants to adults – as those who advocate eugenics to this day do.  In “Lifeboat Ethics,” Garrett Hardin pointed up that providing temporary aid (food, medical aid, and unsustainable economic aid) to people with long-term problems that only they can solve themselves is akin to indefinitely keeping everybody on a lifeboat that has only a tiny amount of food and water.  This approach assumes that human life on earth is ultimately a “zero sum game;” however, many would argue that it is NOT a zero-sum game.  So far, it has turned out that food capacity has been able to increase, and that as time goes on and technology improves, many natural resources are able to be treated in a renewable manner.

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Space Elevator Could Take Us to the Stars

Spaceelevator The Space Elevator concept is real!  More than 100 colleges and universities from around the world have been working on projects related to building a real Space Elevator for several years now.

An annual conference and the “Space Elevator Games” with a prize sponsored by NASA and the Spaceward Foundation are growing events, and the next European conference will be in December in Luxembourg.  Eurospaceward!

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New Books For Me!!!

BL2_Final_Cvr The long-awaited cover for Blood Lite 2: Overbite has been released, so here’s the official announcement – it will be on sale September 28, and you can order it from Amazon here.

If you want to find out what type of story I wrote . . . buy the book!  Or at the least, try your local library.

This great book is edited by Kevin J. Anderson, a fantastic writer and editor.  You won’t often see the great lineup in the book, and since this is the first time I’ll be sharing a TOC with Scott Nicholson in like 10 years, well, that’s about all I have to say about that.  Sometimes friendship goes beyond “mere words.” Continue reading

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The Bechdel Test for Speaking Parts

I haven’t made much of a secret for my growing dismay at the entire thing with SF/F for adults – it isn’t “fair” to complain, I suppose, since the entire field is not in very good shape in terms of readership or earnings, and hasn’t been for some time.  I’m not going to say that’s anything like a permanent condition, because guess what, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining (1980) “Here’s Johnny . . . I’m baaaack!” – yes, the horror shelves are baaaack in the bookstore, and the books are selling.  As to horror, this is essentially literary fiction and doesn’t suffer from the same problems as fiction based more in heroic tales, etc. – i.e. SF/F for adults.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, wrote about her works in progress and where they fit along the “Bechdel Test” continuum.  This came up originally on the Broad Universe e-mail discussion list.  The Bechdel Test is a simple test originally applied to film and TV – does the film/show have more than one female character, and do the female characters talk to each other about something else other than a man. Continue reading

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The World is Ready For Your Book – But Are You?

 I had a wonderful experience this past weekend and want to share some great information I got with everybody.Sweetheart_of_prosper_county Debut novelist Jill S. Alexander and her agent Michael Bourret gave a fantastic sendoff to the educational part of this summer’s SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference in Century City.

They spoke about all of the ins-and-outs of getting ready for publication, pointed up pitfalls, and gave tips for best-practices. Continue reading

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