Friday, August 17, 2007

Science Friday

Hello Nation! I took a day or so off from posting. Hope you don't mind.

So last night, I found out that a "geek guru" was going to be giving a free speech at the Philadelphia Public Library. It was Author "William Gibson" who is often tagged with creating a special genre of science fiction called "cyberpunk".
I have to be honest here... I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Gibson's. I read I think 90% of Neuromancer. He's credited with coining the term "cyberspace" (which is never used anymore because everyone got burned out on all the "cyber-words" from the 90's).
I really wanted to go see him, because he is an icon. I thought too I'd hear some heavy duty science fiction stuff, or hear his thoughts on new technology, etc... Boy was I disappointed.
I think it was pretty clear he didn't want to be there. He read one of his chapters from his new book "spook country" (Which I bought there and paid the full cover price! $25 when I could have got it on amazon for $15). After reading for about 20-30 minutes (which was disturbed several times from people who came in late looking for a seat) he decided to take questions from the audience. There must have been close to 200 people there (the small theater was full). So guess how many questions he took... 3 for about 10-15 minutes! So his total talk was about 40-45 minutes then he left to go sign books.
No real heavy duty illumination either! Two of the key things he said were how "all science fiction writers are charlatans" and the second was that he bragged about being an excellent "bullsh_ter". Needless to say, my opinion of him dropped right there. I got his point though, he was saying that it was impossible for anyone to write about the future because we are all limited to what we know today. Sorry, I don't buy that.
I did stand in line for about 15 minutes and did get my book signed, but only because I made the trip to do that. It was clear he didn't want to be there. He even complained that the night before his publisher made him sign 700 books... Boohoo... you're gonna make tons of money off of this book, and you're gonna complain about the marketing aspect, and because your hand is stiff. Well, I just had to work to pay $25 for your book, $3 to cross the bridge, $5 for parking, and sat outside in the hot sun for about 45 minutes.
Ok, after writing all this out, I'm much more bitter than I thought I was :)

Moving on...
I just found this article, and if TRUE is a MAJOR breakthrough... Some scientists from Germany have claimed to have broken the speed of light. The article does not go into a lot of detail, but still pretty amazing if true.

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