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Hello! I don't post to LiveJournal very much as a rule, though I do use it to follow my friends, and writers I admire, and to comment on their posts and be an awkward pest.

To see my posts, please visit my personal website, where I talk the things that turn my crank, such as astronomy, classical piano, maps (I used to run a blog about maps, maproom), reptiles, and SF and fantasy. (I'm studying the role of maps in fantasy and SF: synergy!) I also run a website about garter snakes, because I like them. I'm on Flickr and Twitter. I'm all over the damn place. Just not so much here.

Update, January 8-21, 2011

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A good chunk of the past two weeks was spent (trying to/struggling with/getting frustrated with) writing, but the blogging came rocketing back during the second week, especially once I set aside the work in progress (to look at afresh later on).

The post that got the most attention was yesterday's post about four short stories about maps, which is part of my ongoing Maps in Science Fiction and Fantasy project. There will be more posts on the use of maps in fiction in the future.

In other map news, I pointed to an animated map from NASA showing the rise in global temperatures since 1885.

In other SF/fantasy news, here's the third installment of my short fiction reviews.

In local news, I wondered why the new sidewalks along the highway weren't being plowed; a week later we found out why: it's typical and silly.

On the reptile front, I noted the death of a rather well-known herpetologist and pointed to research showing that boa constrictors use their victims' pulse to determine how long and hard to constrict.

What else? I posted about the Finnish education system, pointless banter on news channels, and the decline in piano quality over the past century. The Bad Astronomer had a raptor encounter similar to ours.

Space pictures: a collection of photos from the Mercury and Gemini programs; the Eagle Nebula in infrared and X-ray; the Helix Nebula in infrared.

Books read:

  1. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Week in Review: January 1-7, 2012

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Very little online activity to report this week; in fact, very little activity at all to report: I’ve been mostly incapacitated by a bout of the flu since Monday evening. Since then I’ve been mostly horizontal and trying to stay hydrated while trying to recall fond memories of homeothermy. And I’ve read about three-quarters of The Lord of the Rings in what must be my 20th or 30th read-through.

Speaking of which, another thing I can do here is record books read (for the first time, that is).

  1. Bloom County: The Complete Library, Volume Four by Berkeley Breathed
  2. Beethoven’s Ninth: A Political History by Esteban Buch

Only four blog entries to report this week: a link to Adam Roberts’s discussion of The Hobbit; a link to a Maclean’s article on whether Wi-Fi is a health risk (short answer: almost certainly not); another fatal crash in our area — this time involving one of fritzkat’s former students. This week’s pretty space picture is a Hubble image of M82.

Two Weeks in Review

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Skipped a week there, on account of not posting much; not posting much, on account of the holidays -- which, all things considered, were pretty quiet -- and another flareup of the good ol' ankylosing spondylitis, which served -- and is serving -- to shut me up and slow me down some.

I talked a bit about a fatal crash on Route 148 and, more happily, the emergence of Comet Lovejoy (at least for those in the southern hemisphere). I posted the second installment of my reviews of science fiction and fantasy magazine fiction and listed all the books I read in 2011. Finally, earlier this week I was able to record a peregrine falcon take down a starling mere metres from our living room window (though some people think it was a merlin rather than a falcon; hard to be 100 percent sure).

Week in Review

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This week's excitement came courtesy of one of my garter snakes, who started barfing up his food; his cagemate and brother decided to up the ante in the grossness stakes. I suspect Barfing Snake may not long for this world and am keeping him separately for now.

I've had some vague thoughts about the Muppets and nostalgia for some time; to my great surprise, they ended up as a 1,000-word essay.

I posted another roundup of skiffy bits (i.e., SF/fantasy news).

On the science/controversy front, I noted a climate scientist who is also an evangelical Christian and linked to some critiques of the state of science journalism.

Pretty space pictures this week included a look at Cassini's recent fly-by of Dione and a round-up of awesome pictures of deep-sky objects (i.e., nebulae, galaxies, supernova remnants).

Week in Review

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Not as much to report on the blogging front this week; I spent much time at appointments, as well as thinking and plotting offline.

I saw my doctor about my blood pressure, and blogged, in French, about Quebec language politics.

I reported the news about the first confirmed exoplanet in its star's habitable zone; closer to home, I pointed to a neat video of Jupiter and a photo of a crater on Mercury.

On the map front, I reviewed Jill Berry's Personal Geographies, a book about mixed-media mapmaking. I meant to post more book reviews this week.

Finally, I'll bet you never wondered about what climate change will do to rattlesnakes.

Week in Review

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Not only is LiveJournal's Twitter import linguistically inconsistent, it also appears to be unreliable. (This is leaving aside LJ's unreliability in general of late. I will never complain about my hosting provider again.) So much for the idea of using Twitter imports as a way of keeping friends on LiveJournal up to date with my online activities elsewhere. Maybe I should simply post summaries of what I've been doing online.

Maps: I reviewed Derek Hayes's Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon.

Science fiction and fantasy: I noted some year-end summaries of the best short fiction and began a semi-regular series of posts reviewing SF and fantasy short stories as I read them. I also noted Adam Gopnik's New Yorker article on fantasy and some other interesting skiffy bits.

Other subjects: I summarized the month in ankylosing spondylitis news, marked the successful breeding of snot otters in captivity, and expressed my skepticism about a local development proposal.

Pretty space pictures: Cygnus X and an orthographic projection of Mercury.

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