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A Recovering Physicist's Apology

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Dear Rand Paul May. 28th, 2010 @ 07:43 pm
Dear Rand Paul,

Listen to this at 9:30.  Before we all "follow the Constitution" maybe you should "read the Constitution".  The 14th Amendment Section 1 reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

As a strict constructionists, who believes the Constitution should be followed exactly as written, you can't go picking and choosing which Amendments "count" and which ones need to be changed.  That would be the job of the Judicial Branch of government.  You'd think someone that has absolute respect for the Constitution would have at least some understanding of the document.

Ancient Astronaut Theorists May. 20th, 2010 @ 12:54 pm
Ancient astronaut theorists are my new favorite kind of moron.   Such theorists hold that alien's largely control the evolution of man and have intervened from time to time in earth history/evolution.  Their evidence is adorable.  Their reasoning is precious.  Look, I love 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I love Star Gate.  I love the idea as a fictional idea.  I also like the werewolves as a fictional idea, but I don't want them to be real, I don't dream up elaborate "theories" as to how the werewolves' are all around us.

So on the History Channel's Ancient Aliens appeared this actual line of thinking:
Sunken cities have been found around the Mediterranean and within the Black Sea, therefore they were flooded over.
Since there was a flood and the Bible talks about a giant flood these events must be the same event.
Most agree that Noah's arc as a giant ship containing 2 of every animal is impossible.
But isn't it possible that Noah's Arc wasn't a real ship but a gene bank made with alien technology?!?!
Actual conclusion drawn: "So, the question arises, could it be possible that Noah's Ark wasn't necessarily a boat made out of wood, but what if Noah's Ark was some type of a DNA storage facility that was used in order to preserve all the species on planet Earth? If each species can be held in a tiny vile like this, then it all becomes very logical."

To read the whole transcript (which is a real hoot) go here, the Noah discussion appears around 00:09:54

The problems here are manifest, but I'll just point out two.  Possibly true/actually true are not the same thing and the equivocation of "possible".  Conspiracy theorists make tons of hay off of this very error.  There are very few things that are actually impossible (logically impossible-the strictest form of impossibility) but most things are possible (logically).  When you consider other forms of possible the number of things that are possible shrinks.  It is, after all, logically possible that I could fly around the room, but this claim is not physically possible.  The only thing that is logically impossible are contradictions (and as we discover more about the quantum world even that is looking shady).  This is subtly used in the above "assessment".  It is concluded that a giant boat with 2 of every species on it is impossible.  This is NOT impossible logically.  No rule of logic is broken by a giant boat, but it is impossible physically.  This is not necessarily made clear because then the guy asserts that is it possible that the boat was actually a gene bank.  Here he seems to be talking about logical possibility rather than physical possibility (which was what he he used to sink the big boat theory).  But speaking strictly from the rules of logical, the big boat vs. the gene bank vs. pixies and werewolves are all equally logical!  You can't go around dismissing one silly idea by applying a different standard of possible to your silly idea.

Trust me, you don't want to live in a world where possibly true and true are the same thing.  It is possibly true that this room is filling with a poisonous gas, but that doesn't make it... [cough]... [cough]...  gaaaaaaa!.... See that's why the whole possibly true therefore true thing doesn't work.  It is possible that I'm wearing a red shirt, ergo I'm wearing a red shirt. That is horrible reasoning!  We don't live in that kind of a modality.

The Curse of Transparency May. 17th, 2010 @ 11:42 am
So now that it is summer time, I've been able to focus a little more on my writings.  Because I write for amusement and not to get paid, I can afford to really shop around and look for the best places to get my stories published.

Most submissions take place in the aether.  You mail out a transcript of the work, and then never see it again for a few months.  By the time you get it back, you vaguely remember the story or that you even sent the thing out.  The entire process is hidden from view.  It is tortuous, or so I thought.

I recently submitted a story to Clarke's World and their submission process is very transparent.  I have a link that I can go to and see where my story is in their queue.  At first I thought this was brilliant, but now I find it horrid!  I can't stop clicking on the link and seeing where my story is in the process.  Have they got to me yet?  What's going on with my story?  I'm constantly assaulted with transparency! 

Clarke's World is a relatively new sci-fi magazine so they do not receive that many entries and they have a very high turnaround.  My story entered their queue at 70 something and as of this post (after desperately slamming on the refresh refresh refresh button) I'm up to 30.  They may get to my story today!  It's driving me crazy!  I can't believe I actually prefer the opaque send the story out and then completely forget about it, this transparency thing is killing me!

When it comes to the submission process, perhaps ignorance really is bliss.

Away! Away! May. 9th, 2010 @ 12:03 am
My Flash Fiction entries are away! I just sent all 6 entries off. I'm happy with all of them, but I think I have 3 really strong stories in there. We shall see what they think :D

Tomorrow, back to studying for my Logic Exam. I shall defeat thee strict conditional!  Ohh yeah and mother's day!

Next Contest May. 7th, 2010 @ 03:09 pm
Now that I'm a published author :P, I need to keep the momentum going. So I'm entering into the next flash fiction contest (the contest that I won to get published).

Wish me luck!
Other entries
» 13th!
This is the last entry about the book for a while (I promise). After yesterday's chart rush the book made it all the way up to 13th in Amazon's Anthology category and 1,934th for all books!

Thank you all for the support: both emotional and also going to Amazon and buying, adding, or just looking at the book. I'm so pleased the book made it all the way up to 13th!

Thank you all.
» Interview Transcript & Thoughts
The interview went well.  I wish there had been more time for each author (or at least me!) becasue I enjoy talking.  All in all I had a great experience and can't wait to participate in Absolute XPress' next project.  I hope they accept my next flash fiction as well.

Transcript of interviewCollapse )

» Q&A Big Day

Today is the big chart rush for the book to which David and I contributed.  So, today is the day to interact with the book on Amazon.  Remember that doing anything with the Thieves and Scoundrels' page will bump the book up the charts.  You don't have to buy the book, just viewing the page, adding it to a wish list/cart, suggesting it to others, really doing anything pushes the book up the chart.  But seriously, you should buy the book :)

Also today, the 10th, is my Q&A session at the virtual book launch.  I will be in the hot seat at 2:45-3:15.  Just follow this link to Absolute XPress's page and go through the basic instructions to watch the and participate in the online chat--maybe even ask me a question!  Be sure to stick around or come back to the page because David's session is later in the day at 6:15-6:45, so be sure to participate in his session as well.

Thanks for all the well wishes and support from everyone!
» April 10th: Virtual Book Launch Schedule
Good news everyone!

I received my schedule for the virtual book launch on April 10th.  The event starts at 12:00 and runs until 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.  Feel free to participate in the live chat with either me or any of the other authors.  Just follow this link to Absolute XPress' Page.  You can pre-register for the event if you wish or simply follow the link on April 10th. 

On the 10th, each author will have about 30 minutes to answer questions.  There will be some basic intro questions asked by the publisher to get things rolling and then we will take questions from fans.  I'll be in the hot seat from 2:45-3:15.  Also, many of you may know my friend David, he will be on as well later in the day from 6:15-6:45.

April 10th, Eastern Standard Time
Andrew2:45-3:15 PM
David6:15-6:45 PM

If you were interested in buying the book Thieves and Scoundrels on Amazon,  April10th is the best day to do so.  Remember that just viewing the book's Amazon page, suggesting it to friends, or adding it to your wish list and/or shopping cart pushes the book up on Amazon's charts.  So just going to the page will help the publisher out (and by extension me).  The higher the book goes on the hot list the better.

I hope some of you can make it to the book launch, I'll look forward to fielding some of your questions, please check out the Amazon page on the 10th, and thanks for all the well wishes and support I have received!

» I'm a Published Author!
Some moments in a person's life are realer than others. I've known for about a month now that one of my short stories will be published in a compilation novel in April. The whole, "I'm a published author" thing seemed to have sunk in. I seemed to have processed it. I was pumped, but for some reason I didn't tell anyone. I'm not sure why. I guess I was waiting for the right time or something. In truth, I guess it didn't actually feel real.

Today I typed my name into Amazon and there it was. The first hit. The book: the book that I'm in. That made it real. That was one of those, "Wow" moments. I'm on Amazon. I'm on Amazon!

What makes this even better is that one of my best friends is also in the book. I've known David since middle school, and I'm really lucky to have him as a friend. David mostly does freelance non-fiction work, and this is his first fiction entry as well. It's wonderful that we are both have stories in the same book.

So there we both are on Amazon. Realness achieved!

The book is entitled Thieves and Scoundrels: Absolute XPress Flash Fiction Challenge #3

Now for the promotional type stuff--as a published author I have to get used to dealing with my public :P I will be participating in a Virtual Book Launch on Amazon.com and Absolute Xpress' website (my publisher) on April 10 between Noon - 7pm (Eastern Time) The goal is to increase the book's buzz on Amazon. This can be accomplished by buying the book, just viewing the book's Amazon page, adding it to a wish list, or suggesting the book to a friend. All these actions will increase our book's ranking on Amazon.com. This is good for the publisher, and, in turn good, for me. I hate self promotional where people have to buy things, so let me stress you need not buy the book. If you just look it up on Amazon on April 10th that will be doing me a favor--but seriously you should buy the book :P

I'm a published author now!
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