Category Archives: science



Yep, I’ve definitely got this day late thing down. Just need to watch to make sure I don’t get as good at the “and a dollar short” part.

I’m not doing Wednesday ROW80 check-ins this Round of Words, so these few intermittent WIPpet posts I make are going to be all story. Okay, maybe story and some odd thoughts on a few links.

Plastiglomerate — via The Scientific Fisherman

Like this one…  because I have been seriously trying to imagine what it would be like to be the ‘next species’ on a planet that had perhaps suffered a huge die-off event (say, something post-WWIII apocalyptic experience on Earth or something similar) and to be finding these: Rocks Made of Plastic on Hawaiian Beaches

I have to admit, after a quick Google search on these, that some are oddly lovely.  Will future jewelers look for specific colors for high-class ornamentation?  Will what we now consider detritus become rare and valued art?

And what will the future think of the society that these ‘treasures’ originated from?  Will there be anything left of our books and recordings that will allow them a glimpse into our wonderfully chaotic and often maddening lives?  It was considered a huge boon when in 1973 archaeologists found the first of  what are now known of as The Vindolanda Tablets which include personal letters from soldiers, business people, and even housewives from the 1st century AD.  Yes, archaeologists had found records of lives long before this, not just from Ancient Rome, but somehow those carved letters at the base of triumphal arches and statues just isn’t the same.

An ancient birthday party invitation

Thing is, these are unique resources.  These letters are personal, pieces written by people of the time to share with people of the time…  not a record for the future, not a copied and edited version of an old story.   These are the emails of today and the little notes of less than a century ago written on shaved bits of wood that survived almost 2000 years by chance.

Don’t know about you…  but I’d be interested to know how much of our ephemeral lives will last 100 years, let alone a 1000.    Maybe that’s why I write the stories I do.

Which leads, at last, to…


I should have posted this yesterday. It was picked for yesterday. It’s 12 sentences for the 12th of April, a snippet from The Swan Song Series: Marche (yes, the extra ‘e’ is intentional). Alanii and his aide de camp are the characters, location and time are outside a barn just after sunset on a courier mission.

An evening mist had begun to roll in, far later this evening than it had for the earlier points of the trip. The lack of sun for so many days had finally taken its toll. And, as if the sky were intent on adding its own insult, a soft drizzle, barely more than a mist itself, started.

He stayed where he was despite the sputtering of the torch by the house. His hair began to stick in thick damp hanks to his forehead. Rivulets of oil and traildust and rain began to flow down his cheeks. They stung his eyes. He would not have allowed himself to cry otherwise.

“You should go back in the barn, sire.”

Alanii didn’t allow himself to whirl around despite his surprise to hear Vartanian’s voice. He just sighed, earning himself a taste of gritty water for his trouble, which he spat out promptly.

He could almost hear the Hastor not-smirk, the man’s silence was so blatant.

Hope you enjoyed yourselves today. Head on over to the WIPpet linky and visit some our other awesome members. And while you’re there, give a cheer to Emily Witt for being our gracious host. 😀

And lastly, if you have the time and would like a very nice read:  Please enjoy this little author interview with Margaret Atwood on The Handmaid’s Tale.

Wondrous Wursday

With apologies to the Awesome Rachel Also Writes for stealing her creation of Wursday (a term that describes blogging for Wednesday on following Thursday)….  here I am, a day late for my WIPpet and ROW80 check-in.

I need to get into the ‘Pet and the check-in pretty quick as today has been booked pretty full.  So was yesterday…  and tomorrow is looking stuffed as well.  But I just had to share this through I Fucking Love Science:  it matters to me because I have characters for whom old wine might be near as fresh as the stuff bottled a few years ago.  Of course, thinking about that made me wonder how much old wine and alcohol would be found on Acaria and Tralan.  It’s not like people would die and secrets forgotten as happens so much with us, at least not as often.  It would happen, but usually a person in my stories can go and find someone who “was there” to talk…  for the right incentives.

Human Male Chomosomes

Human Male Chromosomes

Stuff like this makes being a writer so much fun.

I even found a possible scientific explanation of WHY my characters go through the process of Pause and Renewal that gives them such long lifespans (and why it might not always work right) in this IFL post as well as  this piece by a wonderful local science writer friend, Ricki Lewis PhD.  If you’re interested in genetics at all, read her books.  Ricki brings you into the process and insights of researchers working on all the cool discoveries you see in the news these days as well as what possible ethical ramifications of such research can hold for people.  And her books are fun to read too.


Continuing along the thread of genetics, I chose today’s five brief paragraphs from the Was Long Variation.  My present (main) WIP is the Swan Song series, but I’m always adding to the many subplots and threads of both the Was Long Variation and the Dots, my two fanfic stories (yes, one started as a variation of the other, thus its name).  Five for the two and three from April 23rd….  I kind of delayed this post intentionally so I could do that.

Audric had begun to avail himself of the comp viewer next to his seat and was looking over the records on cryogenic resuscitation. His expression hovered between grim and thoughtful. The man turned to him. “Your people don’t seem to have much info on cryonic suspension. I find no references for your own people. How did you initially manage deep space travel without it? Colony ships?”

Alanii was tired enough that the effort to maintain his reserve didn’t seem worth the effort. He chuckled. “You mean before we discovered warp gates and hyperspace?” When the scientist nodded, he shrugged. “By being very bored. Very, very bored.”

The human looked at him askance. “If I’m prying into state secrets, you could just tell–“

Before the man could finish, he raised a hand to interrupt. A thousand blessings to a wise Goddess who gave all Her children common gestures to ease communication across their species. “You aren’t prying. There is no more than that. Ask Vartanian if you want more detail. He flew a few of those initial scouting missions.”

Their guests all turned, first to look at his officer, then back to him. Alanii sighed. He hated explaining simple biological facts to offworlders. No matter what words he used, somehow he always ended up feeling as if he was somehow wrong and unnatural for being what he’d been born. He tossed a lick of Code to Vartanian. -Explain it. I’m tired.-

Last week I was a bad mousie and forgot to give proper accolades and ovations to the Queen of Flying Monkeys and other Wednesday awesome stuff (like the WIPpet). From her place at My Random Muse, K.L.Schwengel hosts our weekly bloghop.  She’s on hiatus for a bit, but you can find the rest of us here.


ROW80LogocopyIt’s all good….

Seriously, it is all good.  Despite being a bit frazzled yesterday, I managed to keep on target for all my goals.  If this holds up for a week, I’ll probably add some others that have hung in the wings, waiting their turn.

Write every day…  I’ve managed well over a minimum of 750 these last few days.  We’ll see what happens with the next few as I can’t be at my computer as often.

The Boodle made his Green Belt

It’s so pretty

Spending time with my characters….  I got double value on this lately.  If I’d chosen to focus just on writing one story at a time, I doubt that things would be as good.   It helps me to spend some time rereading alternate pieces involving the same characters or worlds; even if the stories are imposingly divergent, they spark ideas.

Push-ups…  I’m up to eight good ones…  or rather, I managed 8 good ones at my karate promotion last night.  Yep…  a nice pretty new blue belt, all for me.  The Boodle received his Green Belt and advancement into the senior class.  Either way it means new katas and defenses and kicks and…  that’s not including weapons training.  I still need to perfect this kata for that class:

That’s it for me this week.  If you’d like to meet other ROWers, have a peek at the new linky.

Tuesday Snippet and My Son’s Sight

Horse Pareidolia

Horse Pareidolia (Photo credit: CarbonNYC)

I like studying how we learn things.  Though often it seems that we don’t really understand the actual process involved until we find someone who doesn’t seem to do things the way we do.  Then the process seems obvious because it is involved in every step of how we try to make the other person conform to our expectations.


I was just doing my usual “spending too much time” browsing webpages, many of them at the Guardian UK’s Bad Science column when I detoured to read this piece about passion and what makes Bad Science’s Ben Goldacre the “best science writer” (which I have to say is not the case in my opinion–Goldacre writes a bit like Chuck Wendig, attitude and a little common sense  but with a focus on science


In Tess Shellard’s post on what makes a wonderful science writer, she mentions a few issues human beings have with our own thinking processes: aprophenia, pareidolia, and cognitive bias.


Pareidolia: the sensing of meaning in random objects or occurrence.  Things like seeing animals in clouds, believing that the wind is actually whispering your name, or that image of the Virgin Mary in your toast.



Pareidolia (Photo credit: peru, lili eta marije)

I wonder, given how little my son used to “see things” in clouds (and how much time I spent sharing my impressions of these things to inspire him), if the classic two circles and a line within a circle image (that supposedly so inspires children to recognize a face) mean less than we think, but that we as parents and adults urge our children to see it until they do….  I know that for the longest time, my son did not see faces or animals in clouds.  He saw shapes, and he could count them and wanted to know and understand how they could divide and move and reshape themselves and loved seeing weather maps that directed the restructuring.  He did not see static images.  The images moved, and he saw movement and patterns…  I understand it now in hindsight as I watch his play.  I wanted for him to savor and enjoy pictures and images as I did, but movement, motion is his strength.

It’s taken me seeing something that I thought was there, but wasn’t, finding meaning in the wrong places to see this.  I wonder how much this happens.  Is it good?  Can we stop it, and would we even want to.

I think about these things.

Continue reading