The Scientific Method: Or Why I Loath Metastudies

Every so often I am glancing through news headlines, or do not get the mute button pressed fast enough after the evening weather report, and read or hear a breathless headline about some massive medical or scientific discovery or research result. And 99% of the time, if I read or listen farther, it is the result of a single study with limited participants, or of a gigantic computer-correlated meta-analysis of hundreds of research papers that shows a two percent change in X. And never lists the starting percentage of cases of X, or the original numbers, or what the search parameters were. Or it is a computer modeled study. I have not hurled the remote through the screen, or punched my laptop, yet, but it’s tempting. Bad science seems to encourage my violent streak. Continue reading

Time Travel Ni Drako Style

Zabet wonders some days if Rada has any imagination at all. (Rada does, but she’s learned to throttle, stomp, squash, and otherwise discipline that wayward facet of her make up. Otherwise she’d never sleep again.) After all, one would think that Rada ni Drako would find better uses for a time machine than laboring as an overworked, dragon-pecked version of the Azdhag postal system’s parcel delivery service. She could charge large sums to take tourists to see great events, to carry scientists forwards or backwards to observe phenomena and creatures, and stuff like that. Instead she sells genuine antiques, does same-day interplanetary delivery, and gives Zabet the stinky eye when the reptile gushes forth with her latest idea.

You see, the problem is that Zabet doesn’t understand time travel. Rada knows it all too well. Continue reading

Drache- und Hausmärchen

A story in bits and pieces from the founding of House Drachenburg. It is set in  the late 1960s, before the events in  Promises and Powers.

 

<< And I do not want to hear anyone complaining about loose shoes,>> Ursula finished, surveying the dozen or so children lined up beside the fish pond.

Kristopher, the oldest glanced down the line. “Yes, Frau Ursula.”

<<Good. This way, then,>> and the True-dragon chronicler set off up the path, children following behind like an extension of her tail. They were not going far, just up around the shoulder of the Drachenburg and out of sight of the Schloss and the farms, to an ungrazed alp with some nice lounging rocks in it.

The summer sun poured down out of an almost cloudless sky. Ursula appreciated the heat. For all her energy, she wasn’t quite as young as she’d once been, and any extra heat on her scales made life easier. Birds sang here and there, and the afternoon breeze brought the dull chime of cow bells up the slope from the farms below. Not everyone used the summer pastures. Whiskers twitching, Ursula sniffed the wind, but no surprises wafted to her nose. That was good. She didn’t want to come around the bend and find another dead animal as had happened a few years ago. I’m not sure some of the parents have forgiven me yet. It wasn’t her fault that Hans Schraeder had died of a heart attack and no one had been looking for him, since he was supposed to be gone over a week, checking the high huts and alps. Continue reading

Founders’ War: A Father’s Choice

The first of what (I fear) may turn into a new major project is now available at Amazon:

AFT

 

Marleena never knew her father, and her mother joined the colonists as soon as space travel reopened. When she learns that her father dragoned, she wants nothing more than for him to disappear again. But a chance meeting and a co-worker’s match-making mother lead to a discovery that changes Marleena’s world.

Thursday Fiction: Alien Coin

Inspired by comments at According to Hoyt, June 2, 2015.

Tabi realized that the young man was not staring at her, but at her bracelet. He radiated “scholar,” from his optical lens implant to his scuffed ship-boots. Ah well, newbies.

She turned and walked back to the order processing and dispensing platform, better known as the bar, and logged in the militia men’s requests. She saw two green and one yellow indicator, and acknowledged the caution. They were running low on home-world beer. Tabi pressed her thumb down on the touch reader, acknowledging the message, and tidied the area a little as she waited for the order to finish passing through the combinator. People insisted on setting empty flasks and glasses on top of the platform, stars only know why. “Because that’s what spacers do at bars,” her boss said. Tabi shrugged and opened the access hatch, removing the drinks.

After she delivered three more orders, a lull appeared on her screen. She wiped the top of the dispenser again, then pulled her flask of tayfoy juice out of the cooler and took a big swig. The tart, cold liquid cut her thirst back down to bearable levels. Station air dried her out like nothing else short of getting caught in a duster. When Tabi finished her drink, she discovered the scholar standing by the bar. “Can I help you, sir?”

“Your arm band. It doesn’t exist. It can’t.” Continue reading

Free Speech?

Caution: political and philosophical comments below. You may be offended.

The United States is very unusual in how we regulate the spoken and written word at the federal and state levels. That is, we don’t, with a very few and very specific exceptions. You cannot whip up a mob and sic them on someone (incitement to riot). You cannot cause panic for the fun of watching the chaos (“falsely shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater”). You are not permitted to make explicit death-threats against an individual while acting in such a way as to make the other person and the police suspect that you are ready, willing, and able to carry out your threats. You are not supposed to make threats against the President of the United States. Otherwise go for it, but be aware that you might get a fist in the nose for your efforts. Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Feasts and Seasons

John C. Wright The Book of Feasts and Seasons  Castalia House (2014) (Kindle Edition)

 

I wasn’t certain what to make of this collection at first. The premise intrigued me: a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories based on the major feasts of the Roman Catholic calendar. I read, and enjoyed, the essay collection Transhuman and Subhuman, and had read “Queen of the Tyrant Lizards” on Mr. Wright’s blog. Although his fiction writing style is not my usual cup of tea, decided to give the collection a try. Continue reading