Asteroid with its Own Moon is the Best Thing Ever.

Just a quickie here, but we have an asteroid due to pass the Earth today – Asteroid 1998 Q#2 – that has its own little moon.Check out this NASA JPL video:

Isn’t that sweet? It’s like that mother and baby owl picture that keeps getting passed around the internet. Only with death and destruction from the skies (not really – we’re safe).



3D Pizza Printer is the Best Thing Ever

I love pizza. Sure, everyone does right? But I mean I looooove pizza. I would marry it if I could. You know, with a tiny veil and a little bouquet for my little pizza bride…um, never mind.

So here is some awesome pizza related news from NASA! When you combine NASA and pizza, you know you’re in for a good time. NASA has handed out a $125,000.00 grant to Systems and Materials Research Corporation, based in Austin Texas, to develop a 3D food printer, which would print food on demand from canisters containing powdered nutrients. Check out this schematic:


Senior Mechanical Engineer Anjan Contractor won the grant with his proof of concept video, which shows a 3D printer printing chocolate. Apparently chocolate printing is not as new as I thought it was, and it’s damn boring to watch considering it’s implications for the future. But watch it anyway, Okay?

Of course NASA isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its heart, but rather with an eye to feeding its astronauts on interplanetary journeys. One of the main features of the 3D food printer is that it printers from canisters of powdered nutrients which will be shelf stable for up to 30 years.

So, Mr. Contractor’s first order of business is to construct a device capable of 3D printing a pizza, a food chosen because of its distinct layers. First the crust gets printed, and cooked as it prints (I have no idea how that would work), then the tomato sauce, then a nebulous sounding “protein layer” which I guess would mimic cheese. I think they could have spun that last bit a little better, don’t you? By calling it ‘space cheese’ or something? Wait. Maybe that’s actually worse…

But I’d still eat it. And right after the pizza I am going to print me out some tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Hehehehehhehe. I’m giddy with anticipation. 3D printed food is the Best Thing Ever. Now somebody 3D print me a sandwich…



How Do You Structure Your Daily Writing?

Let’s face it: I am an organizational nightmare.

Up until just now I have been opening my WIP file and diving in wherever. Three quarters of the time I end up fiddling with stuff that I wrote days ago, and the other 0ne quarter is just about all spent on Reddit, cruising Wikipedia, or lost on TV Tropes, leaving something like 1/20th of a quarter to write actual new material.


Clearly that isn’t working.

To prevent myself from wasting hours pondering the relative merits of whispering breeze, murmur, and susurrus, and to just write something frigging new instead of rehashing the same 4 paragraphs over and over, this is my plan: I am going to have a separate dated file for every day’s writing. That way every day is fresh, I don’t even get to peek at yesterday’s work, and I can track what I have done day by day to see if any patterns emerge.

So, other word slogging-type people, how do you organize your writing? I know some of you are quite prolific. How do you guys do it?




I didn’t think I’d ever get to ten thousand views, but it finally happened! So yay me! And thanks to all the hapless viewers who’ve had the good bad luck to end up on my page. I started this blog a year and a bit ago to give me something to focus my attention on, and to force myself to write. I’ve met some great supportive writers, and actually written a lot for me. My WIP, Undermount, is getting slowly longer, accreting more characters, and is making me increasingly angry.

I’ve been neglecting my blog pretty hard lately, but in my defense I’ve started a new job. I now work in a bookstore, which is a much better fit for my personality, but which (I suspect) is going to be a serious drain on my paycheck.

So, again, thanks all for reading my hapless ramblings. In return, I have a couple of fun easter eggs to show you!

1. Go to Google Images and type “atari breakout” into the search bar. If you can, I suggest you have a real mouse for this one. You’ll see why.

2. Go to YouTube and type “do the Harlem Shake” into the search bar.

Good, clean, immature fun!



Timeless Words and Nerdy Shirts are the Best Thing Ever

I didn’t post last week so here are two awesome things for you:

First, over at the Washington Post they have a great infographic on words that have remained the same for 15 000 years. It even has sound clips so you can hear the words spoken. Have a look at it here, it’s pretty friggin cool.

Anthropological and historical linguistics is one of those things that fascinate me. Words drop in and out of fashion, they get replaced by adopted words from other languages, they change pronunciation. Knowing this I expected to see words similar across the Indo-European Family of languages, which is something known, but sometimes the news isn’t as new as it could be.

But the exciting thing here is that all 23 of these words predate Proto-Indo-European by thousands of years. These so-called “ultraconserved” words appear across widely varying and unrelated language families. Of the seven Eurasiatic Language families, all these words appear in at least 4. One of them, the word “thou,” appears in all seven.

Here’s the list:

  1. Thou
  2. I
  3. not
  4. that
  5. we
  6. to give
  7. who
  8. this
  9. what
  10. man
  11. ye
  12. old
  13. mother
  14. to hear
  15. hand
  16. fire
  17. pull
  18. black
  19. to flow
  20. bark
  21. ashes
  22. to spit
  23. worm

This version comes from National Geographic, and is also excellent:

This amazing graphic shows the linguistic evolution of 200 common words, or cognates, across languages. Graphic by Oliver Uberti, National Geographic

Second, the awesome Tumblr of Megan Lara. I got here from the Doctor Who Subreddit on Reddit, but the first thing I saw upon getting there was this great Team Rocket design.

PREPARE FOR TROUBLEby Megan LaraBuy the shirt here!

It is possible that I watch too many cartoons, but if you have a nerdy bone in your body, you will find something here to love. Like this:

Or this:

Here’s the best part: all these designs are all available as T-shirts or prints. Go buy one, or 3, or 10, they are the best thing ever.