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[links] Link salad hangs out (briefly) in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Baltimore’s ‘arabbers’ keep horse-cart vending alive — This is cool. (Via Lisa Costello.)

How the Rube Goldbergs of Credit Cards Fly First Class for Free — “Manufactured spending”? (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Can Genomics Blow Up the Clinical Trial? Genomic technology could accelerate patient trials of new cancer drugs that are targeted to a tumor’s individual molecular profile.

Oldest big cat fossil found in Tibet

Glorious Saturn. And You, Too.

Etsy’s Industrial Revolution

Police say bizarre British spy death likely accident

What If JFK Had Lived?

Poor countries want space programs more than rich ones doSpending on space exploration is booming—just not among traditional space powers.

The Re-Victimization of Homosexual Targets of the Nazi Regime

Rising seas threaten Florida’s future — A Miami Herald editorial. It’s less convenient to let your ideology blind you to reality when the reality is that your city will disappear under water during your lifetime. Though Rush Limbaugh and the GOP are free to hold their 2048 convention under the waves there.

Supertyphoons and Global Warming — Amazing, the liberals have even managed to create weather control as part of their climate change hoax.

?otD: Are you near the water today?


11/13/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking skills: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[travel|photos] Visiting Goddard Space Flight Center

On Monday, September 17th, prior to my second oncology consult at John Hopkins, I went to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center with Ace Jordyn and Lisa Costello. We were guests of EW, a friend of Lisa’s, who’d invited us over to show us a few things on the campus. We also had a generous invitation from a Goddard manager and blog reader, though time constraints kept us from also meeting up with her.

Thanks to a security snafu, Ace couldn’t come on the grounds with us, but after some discussion, Lisa and I proceeded with our host. We were tight for time, so only saw a fraction of what there would have been to see there. EW took us first to see the assembly room where the James Webb Space Telescope is being built, then the centrifuge where they test space-based components. We then drove over to his office, where I met fellow SF writer Alan Smale. We also discovered NASA’s secret stash of Doc Brown Delorean time machines while out there.

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EW and Lisa Costello, at the assembly facility

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Me and Alan Smale

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A mission logo

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The assembly building

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Yes, that really is the JWST down inside all that yellow scaffolding

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The spacecraft’s chassis

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An engineering model of one of the mirror segments

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The centrifuge, a real beast

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Access to the test chamber

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The test chamber from an exterior view

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A small, temporary clean room area within the centrifuge chamber

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NASA’s attic, stuff stored beneath the rotational path of the centrifuge — pretty sure the Lost Ark is in there somewhere

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EW and Lisa explore the secret Delorean stash

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One of the Deloreans close up

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos copy; 2012, Lisa Costello and Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Lisa Costello and Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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[travel|photos] Visiting the Space Telescope Science Institute

On Friday, September 14th, after my oncology consult at John Hopkins, I went to the Space Telescope Science Institute (also at Johns Hopkins) with Ace Jordyn and Lisa Costello. This is the organization that manages the Hubble Space Telescope as well as the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope, along with numerous other space science projects. My good friend astronomy professor and hard SF writer Dr. Michael S. Brotherton had arranged the tour with his friend and collaborator STSI program scientist Jerry Kriss.

Jerry met us outside the Bloomberg building. He took us through there, including views of some really cool historical astronomy artifacts, a number of spacecraft mockups, and a look at his own office. We then crossed the street to the STSI building, where we saw a lot of space art, more mockups and models, the control center from which Hubble was managed for a while, and where JWST will be managed, as well as lots of scientists, grad students and odd and interesting factoids. As Jerry had said when setting up the tour, “All the interesting stuff is in space, we’re just a bunch of people doing things with computers.”

Except they’re a bunch of people doing really cool things with computers. And Jerry’s passion for his work shone through like a bonfire. The man is in love with space, and he works there every day. I envy him his enthusiasm.

We got a lot of information about how JWST is being built, an overview of the history of space-based astronomy, and a look at some pretty neat stuff. My thanks to Jerry for hosting us, and to Mike for arranging it.

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The STSI logo

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A classic telescope from Johns Hopkins’ early days as an astronomy center of excellence

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Satellite mockup

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The main hall of the Bloomberg Physics and Astronomy building

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The Hubble Space Telescope model

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Jerry’s office sign

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The astronomer at his work

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Ace Jordyn

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Lisa Costello

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Me, and Hubble

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Jerry Kriss

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos copy; 2012, Lisa Costello, Ace Jordyn and Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Lisa Costello, Ace Jordyn and Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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[cancer|personal] The second Johns Hopkins consult, flying home now

Yesterday, I saw a surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In brief, they confirmed the treatment plan proposed by my doctors in Oregon. That is to say, chemotherapy now with surgery after six sessions, then six more sessions of chemo post-operatively.

I did learn a little more about next stage treatment options, and they recommended an MRI for my pre-surgery scan in order to better look inside the liver which will have grown more fatty on chemo. The surgical oncologist also concurred with the observation that this is likely to come back repeatedly, with the ultimate implications of that, while still pointing out that we should continue to look for cure as much as possible.

Which I will and I have. I do not give up.

More details to come in a day or two, once I unpack the notes and comments from Ace Jordyn and Lisa Costello. Flying home today in the company of Ace, very sadly leaving Lisa behind in Baltimore. I will spend this evening catching up with [info]the_child, who I have not seen in two weeks, and who has started high school while I was gone.

I have various medical appointments through this week, then the port implant surgery on Friday. Chemo begins on Friday, September 21st.

More details to come.

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[cancer|personal] Another busy day, more busy people

Back to real life today. Not much posting today, nor likely tomorrow, due to busy-ness. Shortly, Lisa Costello, Ace Jordyn and I are heading for Goddard Space Flight Center for a tour, including possibly of the test facilities, time permitting and our two contacts being able to integrate. Then we’ll be over to Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center for my surgical oncology consult, and possibly a meeting with an oncological nutritionist.

Tomorrow, Ace and I will fly to Portland. The week is filled with other appointments, including port implant surgery on Friday.

I may know today if we’re likely to change the treatment course from the current plan, but assuming nothing does change, I’ll start chemotherapy on September 21st. So, yeah, a lot to do.

More to come from me with details over the next few days as my time begins to be more flexible.

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[personal] Another dinner out

Last night, I went to dinner with Lisa Costello and a number of her closest friends. Which was pretty awesome to do. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the food, but the company was very enjoyable. It’s always odd, going to someone else’s party. Some of these people have known each other since college, which is to say, more than three decades now.

Lisa is relocating to Portland next month. She’s planning to share a house with Jersey Girl in Portland, conveniently close to Nuevo Rancho Lake. This means her lifelong friends are saying goodbye to her. And a good portion of this is probably my fault.

No rotten tomatoes were thrown, thankfully. I had worried a bit.

Sometimes there is great goodness, even in the middle of being inducted once more for my latest tour of duty in hell. This weekend will also be great goodness.

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[cancer] Slightly more information, possibly slightly less progress

Yesterday I emailed my surgical oncologist with a question about whether there was value in making my next liver resecting as radical as possible. This was in connection with the radiologist’s observation on the PET scan that two of the three tumors (Bush and Cheney, I believe) were right on the margins of the last resecting. My surgeon called me back in the late afternoon to discuss his thoughts. In short, here’s what our conversation uncovered:

Due to prior resections, my liver anatomy is compromised. This means they cannot do large scale resection at this point. He agrees we should be as aggressive as possible in resecting what can be resected, but feels the risk of primary liver failure due to excessive surgery is every bit as bad or possibly worse than the risk of recurring metastasis. He also recommended I see one of his surgical colleagues at Johns Hopkins while I am here in Baltimore, and is providing me with assistance in trying to jump the appointment schedule and get in while I’m here in Baltimore to see the medical oncologist.

He expressed a willingness to reverse the order of chemo and surgery, per my questioning of the treatment plan as currently contemplated, but explained that the reason I’m not getting satisfactory answers to my questions about that process is that they simply don’t know the answers at this point. There are no clinical standards for my pattern of disease progression. He felt that my medical oncologist would continue to argue strongly for systemic treatment (ie, chemo) first.

For whatever it’s worth, he also characterized the current tumors as likely being a mix of recurrence from leftover material (in the case of one of the tumors on the resection site) and novel tumors from the metastatic pathway.

We also tangentially discussed my risks of recurrence and mortality potential. He agreed with my expectation of multiple recurrences until it gets away from us.

What I derived from this conversation was two things. One, that there’s more likelihood than I had thought that we might change the order of treatment. Two, my mortality assessments are in the right ballpark, granting the overall uncertainty of any individual cancer patient’s disease progression.

I suspect I’ll be pounding the phones today trying to secure that additional appointment.

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[food|writing] Open dinner in Baltimore, plus a cool foreign rights sale

Last night’s open dinner here in Baltimore was great, good fun. There were fifteen of us, including me and Lisa Costello. @psursi took photos!

Good conversation, though as always with these things it’s a little hard to talk with an entire table at once. Good folks, a few old friends and a bunch of new ones. In more-or-less around the table order, we had John Zaharick, Karlo Yeager, Mark Siegal, [info]curiouseve and [info]duelce, Beth Tanner, Rip, Jeff Young, [info]cypherindigo, Lisa Nohealani Morton and Chris, @psursi and his wife Stephanie, and Deanna Hoak and her daughter. What a great crowd. We talked about some fun stuff, and some serious stuff, and enjoyed semi-Irish pub grub at Ryan’s Daughter.

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Photos © 2012 Peter Sursi and Jeff Young. Used with permission.


In other news, I am pleased to announce that via my agent Jennifer Jackson, Hayakawa Publishing has acquired Japanese magazine rights for my Mainspring novella “Chain of Stars,” which they intend to publish in the November 2012 issue of SF Magazine.

My thanks again to Subterranean Press for giving that story a market home in the first place.

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[repost|food] Open dinner in Baltimore, MD (last call)

I am now in Baltimore, MD for a second opinion cancer consultation at Johns Hopkins Friday, September 7th. I am declaring an Open Dinner here in Baltimore this evening, Tuesday, September 4th. We’ll meet at 7 pm at Ryan’s Daughter, an Irish pub on East Belvedere Avenue in north Baltimore.

This will be my last open dinner before at least May of next year.

Please let me know if you think you’ll be there.

Also, if you’ve already responded, I don’t need you to reply again. These reposts are because people always tell me later, “Oh, if I’d only known you were going to be there!”

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[repost|food] Open dinner in Baltimore, MD

I will be in Baltimore, MD after Worldcon, for a second opinion cancer consultation at Johns Hopkins Friday, September 7th. I am declaring an Open Dinner in Baltimore the evening of Tuesday, September 4th — the day after Labor Day. We’ll meet at 7 pm at Ryan’s Daughter, an Irish pub on East Belvedere Avenue in north Baltimore.

This will be my last open dinner before at least May of next year.

Please let me know if you think you’ll be there.

Also, if you’ve already responded, I don’t need you to reply again. These reposts are because people always tell me later, “Oh, if I’d only known you were going to be there!”

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