hugo nominees announced

== Hugo nominees announced == (from Boing Boing) Cory Doctorow: This year's Hugo nominees are out — congrats to all the great nominees! It's amazing to see great books like “Glasshouse,” “Rainbows End,” and “Blindsight” on the ballot, along with stories like Ian McDonald's “The Djinn's Wife,” Bill Shunn's “Inclination,” Geoff Ryman's “Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter,” Ben Rosenbaum's “The House Beyond Your Sky” not to mention Neil Gaiman's “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” Tim Pratt's “Impossible Dreams” — and the list goes on! An art book by Picacio, a bio of Alice Sheldon, a memoir by Chip Delany; badass movies like Children of Men and V for Vendetta, and a really top-flight list of Campbell nominees! Christ, it's going to be hard to pick favorites this year. Novel Michael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor) Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey) Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace) Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor) Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor) Novella “The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “A Billion Eyes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2006) “Inclination” by William Shunn (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, December 2006) Julian: A Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing) Novelette “Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov’s, December 2006) “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov’s, December 2006) “The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Analog, July 2006) “All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe, October 2006) “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2006) Short Story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things) “Kin” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, February 2006) “Impossible Dreams” by Timothy Pratt (Asimov’s, July 2006) “Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, June 2006) “The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons, September 2006) Related Book Samuel R. Delany, About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews (Wesleyan University Press) Joseph T. Major, Heinlein’s Children: The Juveniles (Advent) Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon (St. Martin’s Press) John Picacio, Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio (MonkeyBrain Books) Mike Resnick & Joe Siclari, eds., Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches (ISFiC Press)

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solder your own wine charms

Possible addition to Sunday events? Do you have a soldering iron? == Solder your own wine charms == (from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories) Here is how you can put together your own extra-snazzy wine charms out of electronic components. They look great, are easy to make, cost next to nothing, and make great conversation pieces. For an added bonus, you can solder them in place, making them semi-permanent yet easily removable. Wine charms can add a bit of interesting flair to your wine, martini, and margarita glasses. They can be something fun to look at, play with, and (yes) keep track of which one is yours. Like all the others that you're likely to come across in a big-box store, the sets that we have used were made (badly, in China) of low-grade cast metal and cost about $2 each. Not to say that certain of these don't have their appeal, but it still strikes me as wrong in a couple of different ways. First, there's the terrible irony of using such cheaply made trinkets to decorate nice wine glasses, doubly ironic since you're most likely to be using wine charms– and serving the good stuff– when guests are over. Secondly, since wine charms are such a good idea, to use the mass-produced ones is to waste an opportunity for art. Situations like this are, of course, where the D-I-Y community really begins to shine. You can read detailed instructions about how to make beaded wine charms at Not Martha, or learn how to make charms out of crocheted wire, or go for the simple and classic version instead. Here, we're making wine charms out of electronic components. It's an easy five-minute project with elegant results. Let's get started!

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milk research

Dr Mark Thomas, from UCL, said: “The ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that's evolved in Europeans in the recent past.

”Although the benefits of milk tolerance are not fully understood, they probably include the advantage of a continuous supply compared with the 'boom and bust' of seasonal crops, its nourishing qualities, and the fact that, unlike stream water, it's uncontaminated with parasites, making it safer.

“All in all, the ability to drink milk gave some early Europeans a big survival advantage.”

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bike trips in portland

Here's that article that I was reading yesterday about bikes in portland — I thought these two quotes were interesting:

In 1971, Don Stathos, a Republican state representative angry that his grandchildren couldn't ride safely to school, penned the Oregon Bicycle Bill. That law set aside 1 percent of all state highway funds to build and maintain bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

In Portland, an estimated 5 to 6 percent of trips made each day are done by bicycle. City officials wants to boost that number to at least 15 percent.

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website design and layout article

Just came across this today — From 2003, but very interesting interview with Mike Davidson, Art Director for the ESPN website. In particular:

One other unique aspect of is that we have built in the ability to lay our front page out differently depending on how big any piece of breaking news is. Essentially, we have four publishing modes: regular, twin-top, skirmish, and war. “Regular” is pretty much how you see the page 90% of the time—a big top story and a group of headlines on the right. “Twin-Top” is when we have two major stories of interest. In this case, we have our big top story and then a smaller top story box on the right.

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Continue reading

unrigging the game

The original article has links to the legislation that's mentioned. == Unrigging the game == (from Gristmill) Unrigging the game 11:29 AM In today's Victual Reality I discussed how a few companies dominate U.S. food production, and how their market girth weighs heavily on efforts to rebuild local-oriented, environmentally and socially responsible food networks. Now I'd like to add a few words on what might be done to remedy the situation. First of all, it's important to note that heavily consolidated food markets rig the game to favor large-scale, industrial-style farming. As companies like Cargill and Tyson have grabbed more and more control over food production in the past 30 years, they've systematically dismantled local infrastructure and concentrated their operations in a few regions. The withering away of local processing and distribution facilities dramatically boosts the costs of small-scale farming. The celebrated meat farmer Joel Salatin, who runs Polyface Farm in Virginia, estimates that regulations that force him to ship his cows to a distant USDA-approved processor add a dollar per pound to the retail price of his beef. Huge feedlots concentrated in places like Kansas, a beef-processing center, don't face those costs. I believe the local-agriculture movement — which, despite its surging popularity, still only supplies a fraction of our food needs — will be severely constrained by these factors going forward. I can think of two policy ideas that might remedy the situation. First, we need a return to competitive markets in the food industry, and that means breaking up the food giants — or at least regulating away the advantages conferred by their girth. One step in the right direction is the Competition Bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). There's a movement afoot to build the Harkin proposal into the farm bill by adding a “competition title.” That move deserves support. But curtailing the anti-competitive practices of the giants won't be enough rebuild local food infrastructure. Forty years of federal policy that favor their interests has given them an enormous competitive advantage that won't be easily legislated away. The infrastructure they tore down will not reappear as if by magic. Small farmers don't have the cash flow to finance the rebuilding of local slaughterhouses, canneries, milk processing plants, and the like. To redress the loss of such things, we need public investment, and that leads to a second policy proposal. Henry Herrera and Katherine Mendenhall of the New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group have come up with an elegant idea [PDF]: create a funding stream, within the farm bill, for regional and local food-infrastructure projects — indexed directly to the commodity payments now flowing to large-scale farmers who produce corn and soy for the global food (and increasingly, energy) industry. They propose committing a dollar to infrastructure projects for every $100 now going to commodity support. Between 1995 and 2005, the federal government doled out $129 billion to growers of corn, soy, cotton, and other commodity crops. If the Herrera/Mendenhall proposal had been in place, that would have meant $129 million in investment funds for local infrastructure over that period — which would have literally amounted to a rounding error compared to the commodity payments, but given a significant boost to sustainable food. The proposal has a certain Machiavellian appeal: No one seriously thinks that commodity payments will dry up in the 2007 farm bill, so let's at least leverage their momentum to create funding that's actually constructive. How would such a program be administered? Here are Herrera and Mendenhall: Eligible organizations will include non-profit organizations and for-profit small businesses that would institute and uphold commitments to local and regional food distribution and promotion while also maintaining transparent fair trading for all parties involved. So in addition to adding a “competition title,” the time has come to add a “reinvestment title” into the farm bill, providing funding for infrastructure projects equal to 1 percent of commodity subsidies. Unhappily, this idea remains on the fringes of the policy debate, and to my knowledge isn't part of the agenda being pushed by major environmental and sustainable-ag groups. But that doesn't mean you can't plant its seed in the minds of policy makers now. Please harangue your representatives about these topics as soon as possible. You can reach them here.

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five mistakes not to make in dns

Worth reading. == Five Basic Mistakes Not to Make in DNS == (from O'Reilly Network Articles) DNS has managed to keep the Internet afloat for decades, but it spend a lot of its time handling junk requests that should never have escaped from a local WAN. Ron Aitchison has a list of five basic things that every DNS administrator should take care of to keep DNS a happy infrastructure.

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netflix saving the world

So the total emissions from sending one billion DVDs to its customers is 320 tons (3,200,000 tkm x 100 g/tkm). Keeping in mind that those DVDs are also returned to the same facility we need to double that result to 640 tons of CO2 emissions. If Netflix wanted to offset this amount, which I hope they will, they could do it for around $4500 with DriveNeutral or $8448 with Native Energy.

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