2015 Jul 20, 3:13 2013 May 29, 2:48 2012 Jul 14, 3:47 2012 May 6, 3:01
Answers those questions like “When will the Sun boil away the Earth’s oceans?” and “When will the Sun burn out?”, but brings up new questions like which supercontinent configuration will win? I’m
hoping for Pangea Ultima as it has the best name.
2010 Mar 12, 11:11
"All of the sculpted noses on the planet Viltvodle VI were fashioned after Douglas Adams' own. The creators used a 3D model he had created for the game Starship Titanic." The noses mentioned in the
previous sentence were depicted in the movie in a church. The religion of this church maintains that the universe was created by their god sneezing out the universe and so they have statues of their
god's nose throughout the church. Of course this is intended to seem absurd, however based on the previous sentence -- that the nose belonged to Douglas Adams -- then they really were worshping the
nose of their creator.
2009 Apr 7, 11:58
This past week I finished Anathem and despite the intimidating physical size of the book (difficult to take and read on the bus) I became very engrossed and was able to finish it in several orders of
magnitude less time than what I spent on the Baroque
. Whereas reading the Baroque Cycle you can imagine Neal Stephenson sifting through giant economic tomes (or at least that's where my mind went whenever the characters began to explain
macro-economics to one another), in Anathem you can see Neal Stephenson staying up late pouring over philosophy of mathematics
. When not
exploring philosophy, Anathem has an appropriate amount of humor, love interests, nuclear bombs, etc. as you might hope from reading Snow Crash or Diamond Age. I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.
On the topic of made up words: I get made up words for made up things, but there's already a name for cell-phone in English: its "cell-phone". The narrator notes that the book has been translated
into English so I guess I'll blame the fictional translator. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by the made up words nearly as much as some folk. Its a good thing I'm long
out of college because I can easily imagine confusing the names of actual concepts and people with those from the book, like Hemn space for Hamming distance. Towards the beginning, the description
of slines and the post-post-apocalyptic setting reminded me briefly of Idiocracy.
Recently, I've been reading everything of Charles Stross that I can, including about a month ago, The Jennifer Morgue from the surprisingly awesome amalgamation genre of spy thriller and Lovecraft
horror. Its the second in a series set in a universe in which magic exists as a form of mathematics and follows Bob Howard programmer/hacker, cube dweller, and begrudging spy who works for a
government agency tasked to suppress this knowledge and protect the world from its use. For a taste, try a short story from the series that's freely available on Tor's website, Down on the Farm.
Coincidentally, both Anathem and the Bob Howard series take an interest in the world of Platonic ideals. In the case of Anathem (without spoiling anything) the universe of Platonic ideals, under a
different name of course, is debated by the characters to be either just a concept or an actual separate universe and later becomes the underpinning of major events in the book. In the Bob Howard
series, magic is applied mathematics that through particular proofs or computations awakens/disturbs/provokes unnamed horrors in the universe of Platonic ideals to produce some desired effect in
2009 Apr 6, 10:47
"It's 1976 again. Abba are on the charts, the Cold War is in full swing - and the Earth is flat. It's been flat ever since the eve of the Cuban war of 1962; and the constellations overhead are all
wrong. Beyond the Boreal ocean, strange new continents loom above tropical seas, offering a new start to colonists like newly-weds Maddy and Bob, and the hope of further glory to explorers like
ex-cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin: but nobody knows why they exist, and outside the circle of exploration the universe is inexplicably warped."
2008 Aug 14, 4:29
Scifi short story, "What's expected of us", by Ted Chiang. Younger cousin of 'The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution'. FTA: "Civilization now depends on self-deception."
2008 Jul 3, 1:32
"Finally he cut the tape entirely, whereupon the world disappeared. However, it also disappeared for the other characters in the story... which makes no sense, if you think about it." That's what I
thought when I read that story
2007 Dec 31, 1:18
A short short story titled 'The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution' by CHRISTOPHER CHERNIAK. A classic (apparently) from the early 80s. No spoilers here. If you liked Snow Crash just read it.
2007 Nov 21, 3:54
An April Fools RFC about the Y10K problem. FTA: "Y10K compliant programs MAY choose to limit the range of dates they support to those consistent with the expected life of the universe. Y10K compliant
systems MUST accept Y10K dates from 10 ** 12 years in
2006 Nov 13, 11:50
This is awesome because its built as a constant into the Google Calculator. So try something like: http://www.google.com/search?q=answer+to+life+the+universe+and+everything+%2F+2