Sign up for my newsletter to be among the first to learn of upcoming titles!

[links] Link salad evolves, descending from the trees to gaze across the savanna

Someone has made fake London Underground signs, and whoever did it is a ruddy genius — (Via [info]garyomaha.)

Bionic hand feels real, says amputee

The Terraced Night — A wonderful APOD image of the night sky in China.

Questions of preservation after ancient village found in downtown Miami

Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell ShortThe sell-off of synthetic biology pioneer LS9 goes to show that making biofuels from genetically engineered microbes has yet to deliver economically.

Is there a way to exploit the metabolic quirk of cancer? — (Via Philip Brewer.)

Scientists have likely found Charlemagne’s skeleton

Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors — Speaking as an atheist, I wouldn’t describe the Bible as full of errors. It’s a faith text. The errors arise from trying to interpret a faith text as having empirical reality, taking it literally, but those are errors of interpretation, not of the book itself.

22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In EvolutionI asked 22 self-identifying creationists at the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate to write a message/question/note to the other side. Here’s what they wrote. Interesting piece, misleading headline. Evolution isn’t a “belief” in the sense that creationism is a “belief”. It exists, demonstrably and provably, independently of whatever your or I might understand or hold faith in. Believing in evolution is like believing in gravity or weather.

The Creation of DebateThe people who are attacking evolution are doing so because they think evolution is attacking their beliefs. But unless they are the narrowest of fundamentalists, this simply is not true. There is no greater proof of this than Pope John Paul II—who, one must admit, was a deeply religious man—saying that evolution was an established fact. Clearly, not all religion has a problem with evolution.

Google Earth Shows You a Warming PlanetThe facts are in, and the science is clear: The planet is getting hotter. The Google Earth app will help make that even more obvious. I urge folks to get it and play with it. Facts don’t speak for themselves, but this app helps give them a voice.

The Inefficiency of Long Hours — Having worked in fields heavily dependent on punishing amounts of white collar overtime (advertising, software consulting), I understand why individual managers and executives ask this of their teams, but I have never understood why the industries as a whole, not to mention their clients, tolerate the resulting errors and inefficiencies.

The day a Special Olympian stood up to Ann Coulter for calling Obama a “retard”

Vatican ‘Regrets’ Damning UN Report On Sex Abuse — Note that the Vatican does not regret the content of the report, only that it was issued. The games continue.

A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter – With Ties to Wall Street Investigations

‘America The Beautiful’ Author Is Rush Limbaugh’s Favorite Lesbian Socialist

Paul Ryan Fact-Checks Republicans On Obamacare Job ‘Costs’ — I never thought I’d say this about Paul Ryan, but good for him. Of course, the usual walkback from reality to conservative talking points will start in 3… 2… 1…

Why Jeb Bush Isn’t Going To Be the Next Republican Nominee — A conservative analysis of a question that hasn’t much yet vexed me.

?otD: Monkey around much?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[travel|cancer] Home, chemo, busy

Due to high winds in Orlando yesterday, the aircraft for my flight to Dallas was an hour late getting in. They boarded us, taxied out onto the runway for takeoff, then got caught in a 50+ mph squall that shook the plane hard where it sat on the ground and made the world outside about as visible as a murky aquarium. We sat on the runway almost another forty-five minutes. This caused me to miss my connecting flight from Dallas to Portland. This is turn caused me to take a flight four hours later, which was itself running late due to unusual jet stream activity.

Lisa Costello and [info]the_child met me at the airport. We didn’t get back to the house until almost 1 am. Today is a workday, which normally starts at 6 am for me. You do the math. Plus I have chemotherapy this afternoon.

I predict no writing will happen today, and I also observe I woke up exhausted, which will probably prove to have been my high point. I’d better be in shape tomorrow given that I’ve got the Writers Digest online course and the cancer lecture at Nerd Nite.

Meanwhile, Day Jobbery beckons.

[travel] Off to Orlando

Despite all the chest cold issues this week, I am off to Orlando this morning. I’ll be at ICFA through midday Sunday. I decided I’d regret not going even more than I’d regret the hassle of traveling while sick.

If you’re in that end of the Sunshine State, drop by and see me. If you’re already attending ICFA, all the more so.

Meanwhile, this will be a vacation for me. Reading, relaxing, the company of friends, and some writing.

[cancer] Field Notes from Cancerland, I habe a code in my node edition

Vectibix + Doxycycline

Have I mentioned how much this drug combination sucks? I’m already in full sun-aversion mode. My entire head itches as if it were one great, big pimple. My nose looks like a battlefield. To combat this, I am taking Claritin twice a day, and baking soda baths in the evening. A friend is even bringing baking soda to ICFA for me, as I don’t want to travel with boxes of white powder in my luggage, things being what they are in the security theater business these days. Oddly, when I wrote my doctor and asked for a note explaining that I needed to keep my face covered from sunlight for health reasons, I got a nurse reply that advised me to wear a hat and use sunscreen. Which is idiotic. We already know I am waaay out on the response bell curve when it comes to photosensitivity, and I have months of experience with this drug combination. Sunscreen plus a hat doesn’t even come close. And yes, I’m going to Orlando tomorrow. Because I am that kind of idiot.

Whole Genome Sequencing

Last week, Dad and I had a conference call with the chief scientist of the company handling the clinical analysis of my whole genome sequencing. It was an intermediate status update, with nothing actionable for us, but gave a lot of detail about how they processed the close to a full terabyte of raw sequencing data, and where they’re going with it. We’re looking at least a couple of more weeks down the road for a clinical report that might lead to some treatment changes. On the plus side, I learned that tumors have gender. My tumors have Y chromosomes, at any rate. Which makes perfect sense, but I’d never thought about it.

Talking About Whole Genome Sequencing

Yesterday I finished the first draft of the slideware for next week’s Nerd Nite presentation on whole genome sequencing. This is of course from the patient point of view, as I am neither a scientist nor a physician. It was interesting to frame just the basic inside a 25-minute talk time. I didn’t even touch on a lot of the weirder or more technical stuff. Presentation is off to the moderator for review and editorial input. Likewise, today I’ll be talking to Theral Timpson of Mendelspod about the patient experience, and I’m providing material for a forthcoming Japanese-language article about my sequencing and the outcomes it has and will generate.

The Manifest Injustice of Illness

On top of everything else, I’ve managed to come down with a dreadful chest cold. This just after getting over a lingering mild head cold. There’s a manifest injustice to being sick while you’re sick, but I don’t suppose there’s anything about cancer that confers immunity to passing infections. I slept through most of last Saturday’s dinner, missed the St. Patrick’s Day party completely, and am still waffling on going to Florida tomorrow, though at this point I believe I will make the trip. Still, I’m dealing with so much, and now this. Really, universe?


Continuing with the mortality fears and thoughts. Not overwhelming, not consistent, but fundamentally I’m still processing January’s news that I’m incurable. I did a graph for the whole genome sequencing presentation which pretty much tells the story:

incidence of tumors

The Y axis is number of tumors, the X axis is the time of recurrence. I entitled the slide, “Holy Shit, I’m Going to Die!” On account of cancer rarely trends in reverse.

So, yeah, mortality.

[personal] Still sick

This is as ugly a chest cold as I’ve had in years. I’m seriously wondering if I am going to make it to Florida on Wednesday. If I miss ICFA, another damned thing lost to my health from the increasingly shortly list of things I still get to do. The irony, of course, is that this has nothing directly to do with cancer. (I’m not immunocompromised or anything right now.) It’s just a freaking chest cold.

[personal] Sick

Somewhere between my adventures in Omaha and the last day or so, I have fallen quite ill with what may be the first portion of an epic cold. I slept through most of yesterday’s afternoon’s dinner, then left early, missing the St. Patrick’s Day party completely. You can imagine my frustration at this, given my feelings about how many compromises I already make to my social activities.

Meanwhile, I feel like hell. Supposed to go to Florida Wednesday, which will not be fun if I have to do it with this horrible cold hanging around.

On the plus side, my restless dreams last night included a visit to Australia to hang out with Cat Sparks. If only that were true.

[personal] Home, and an eventful, friend-filled weekend

I got home from Omaha last night, to be met at the airport by the delightful Lisa Costello. Gabrielle Harbowy and Fanny Darling arrived at almost the same time for a weekend visit, we did the lunch thing, then spent the afternoon at Nuevo Rancho Lake. There we were joined by [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom), the Niece and [info]the_child.

This morning, [info]the_child goes off for a weekend of lacrosse, while the rest of us head for Pine State Biscuits, along with Dad, for breakfast. The tribe is having a dinner this afternoon at the home of Lisa and Jersey Girl in Portland with Gabrielle, Fanny, [info]mlerules, and Team E—. We invited Debra Stover as well, but she could not make it. After that, most or all of us are off to a rocking St. Patrick’s Day party for the evening.

Also, today I plan to put the final edits on the submission draft of the nonfiction chapter on steampunk. Maybe some other revision tomorrow, maybe a day off, but I need to get on to assembling my slideware for the forthcoming Nerd Nite talk on genomics and cancer [ | LiveJournal ].

For those playing along with the home game version of “Where’s Jay”, I’m off to Orlando, FL on Wednesday to attend ICFA. Yes, Mr. Don’t-Go-Out-In-the-Sun is going to Florida for five days.

[travel|conventions] Forthcoming event and convention schedule

Due to the unexpected moderation in my chemo series this spring, I am once more able to travel and attend public functions. As a result, here is my forthcoming schedule of events, conventions and public appearances. As always, these dates are contingent on my ongoing health status. I hope to remain healthy through the summer, but except for Worldcon, I’m not planning anything past June at this point. Also note there will probably be an Open Dinner in Houston, TX in the next week or so.

[links] Link salad won’t do much this Sunday

Check all boxesLanguage Log rants (at length) about the that/which idiocy in US copy editing. Including identifying the original source of the problem. Ultimately, language is how you use it, not what some dead guy with an illogical grammar peeve said.

Gresham Gator Still At Large — Gresham is just a little east of here. I’ll have to watch for alligators in the sewers now.

Kinect Turns Any Surface Into a Touch ScreenResearchers combine a Kinect sensor with a pico projector to expand the possibilities for interactive screens. Headline is slightly misleading, but the story is still cool.

Science Fiction-Style Sabotage a Fear in New Hacks — Not sure it’s SFnal, but it’s relevant to the world we live in.

Happy 6015th Birthday to Earth! — (Greeting offer valid only to the wilfully ignorant.)

Is the US Declaration of Independence illegal? — Surely it was not legal, in the context of its moment?

Bill Maher Explains Why the GOP Fails to Understand OWS — This is worth it.

The GOP Wins by BruisingThe debates have been an unexpected success. The Wall Street Journal with a conservative analysis of the Republican primary debates. They focus on the candidates, not on the bizarre audience reactions.

Programmer under oath admits computers rig elections — A video of some congressional testimony that will have you thinking again about the 2000 and 2004 elections. This on top of the Brooks Brother Riot, the John Ellis call, the rigged Supreme Court “this is no precedent” vote in Bush v. Gore, the successful move to destroy the disputed Florida ballots so there will never, ever be a full hand count. History is going to judge the GOP very, very harshly. Unless they get to write it, of course. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

?otD: Is Sunday your day of rest?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 215.8
Currently (re)reading: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

[personal|conventions] My time at ICFA

Well, that was quite a weekend at ICFA in Orlando. Though it was a working trip — two interviews, a reading, book signings, networking, writing — I also took more down time and relaxation than I’ve had in a long time.

Part of that is because the last couple of years haven’t much lent themselves to relaxing, even when down time is available. Also, most of my trips, even nominal vacations, involve going to conventions or conferences, and doing a fair amount of work there in the form of programming, workshops, networking and so forth.

ICFA is an academic conference, and the writers are there to interact with the academics, but we don’t have to meet the same expectations of a classic style of SF convention. We’re exhibits, in a sense. The conference is very well-run, contained in a single venue, and filled with old friends and new that I’m very happy to spend a lot of time with.

But mostly, for me, I was feeling healthy, being warm in the Florida sunlight, and really enjoying the people. Everyone from dear friends like Deanna Hoak and Farah Mendlesohn to familiar faces like Peter Straub and Joe Haldeman to interesting new acquaintances such as Karen Lord and Cecelia Holland.

It was just fun. I really want to thank Sydney Duncan for going well out of her way to encourage me to be there and enable my presence. And everyone at ICFA for their generosity, good spirits and best of all, their company. If time, health and finances permit, I’ll definitely be back next year.