•15 March 2013 • Leave a Comment
I really like my tablet. I do. I have all my favourite newspapers’ apps in there, my magazines too, and a few subscriptions to some reviews as well. It’s great, knowing that they are all in there, ready to be read, just a few “taps” away.
Except that — let’s face it — I very rarely read the press on my tablet.
Okay, part of the reason is that I’m probably too old-fashioned already. I love newsprint and I take pride in my ability to fold a newspaper neatly, even in a moving tube train, with the tunnel wind against me (bowler hat and umbrella optional). I actually tend to subconsciously despise people who make a mess of their newspapers — at best, I think it shows clumsiness or goofiness. At worst, it suggests a disdain for the printed word — so much more visible with a newspaper because they are structurally more fragile than a bound book. Books can defend themselves. A bit.
I could resell my newspapers after reading them. Most people wouldn’t notice they’ve already been read.
Another reason for my preference for paper is — I tend to be paranoid. With websites and apps, I am never sure I have read all the articles in a newspaper, briefs and boxes included. Who knows what piece of news I could have missed — it could be important. Who knows (and that’s being even more paranoid) what article might have been retracted — or worse.
The last reason is crassly practical. I receive a newspaper, I put it on my desk, I know I must read it at some point during the day. Same with the reviews I’ve subscribed to: when the pile on my nightstand starts to lean vicariously above my pillow, I know things have gotten out of hand.
When I have the app, it gets continuously updated… And I never feel the necessity to devote time to read it. It just slips out of my mind. And that’s how I’m now six months late on one of my favourite magazines, and I’ve decided to move back my subscription to it to paper again.
Plus it’s such a rest for the eyes. You spend what, twelve, fourteen hours a day poring at a screen, you don’t want to read a tablet after that, especially not just before going to sleep (all that light and your circadian clock, etc.).
So I guess that makes me a dinosaur, in a way. Or does it?
•1 February 2013 • 2 Comments
Ravi d’annoncer qu’une de mes nouvelles, “Tout ce que vous cherchez”, paraît aujourd’hui sur le blog du magazine Bifrost.
Un extrait ?
La dalle LCD, noire, mate et inquiétante, ne ressemblait à rien d’autre qu’à un monolithe. Placée au centre du hall, à deux pas des hôtesses d’accueil, elle avait été installée pendant le week-end, lorsque personne n’était là pour l’observer. En ce lundi matin, néanmoins, elle causait un important attroupement de curieux.
Je venais de parcourir à vélo les six miles qui séparaient mon appartement à Palo Alto de nos bureaux à Mountain View, passant par Waverley et Middlefield, ces arrière-cours de Stanford. La lumière au-dehors était d’un bleu violent comme celle d’une diode, et le vent du nord donnait un goût de givre à l’air de la Baie. Les poumons en feu, je repliai mon vélo (un clone de Brompton en fibre de carbone, fabriqué sur commande et sur mesure par un artisan local, pour le prix d’une berline) et j’approchai pour voir de quoi il retournait.
Pour la suite, c’est ici : http://blog.belial.fr/post/2013/02/01/Tout-ce-que-vous-cherchez
Profitez-en, c’est gratuit !
•30 January 2013 • Leave a Comment
I was researching unrelated stuff the other day (ok, maybe not completely unrelated stuff: I wanted to know how to measure the efficiency of a nuclear power plant, for the novel I’m working on. I guess we all have our pet peeves) when I came across this:
Can a car run on nuclear power?
I had absolutely no idea there had actually been a concept car for this!
And by Ford to top it all — exactly as I imagined two years ago in Atomic Dreams.
Well, I guess that means I don’t research my stories half as well as I should…
And so, back to writing…
•6 January 2013 • Leave a Comment
1. Being both scenic and dangerous.
She told me the hike would be treacheresque. I nearly died on the way back.
2. Appropriate answer when replying to people you don’t like that much.
“How was the hike? We were thinking of doing it.”
“Oh, it’s absolutely treacheresque. You should totally do it.”
“Trea… you mean picturesque?”
“Yes, that. And so much more…”
•1 January 2013 • 1 Comment
Gerolamo Cardano, 1501-1576
Working on a novel, I have been extending some of the research I had done previously. As my story is rooted in probabilities, one name that often pops up on my screen is Gerolamo Cardano, a sixteenth-century mathematician.
Cardano was a big gambler, but one that was versed in mathematics. While looking for ways to “improve his chances” (ahem…), he formalized probability theory — and is now acknowledged as one of the founders of the field. And if you have studied quantum mechanics a little bit, you will probably know that probabilities are fundamental to them.
But this is not where the story ends. Because Cardano also published the solutions to the cubic and quartic equations, in his 1545 book Ars Magna. And in order to solve them, he had to use something called imaginary numbers, multiples of a number noted “i” so that i²=-1. He didn’t understand fully the properties of imaginary numbers at the time, which seemed completely alien, and they remained a mathematical curiosity for several centuries…
Until it was discovered that they are incredibly useful to describe electromagnetism. And once you start studying electromagnetism, you usually end up in…
Quantum theory again.
It’s a very odd coincidence — discovering that a single man was responsible for two of the mathematical bases of quantum mechanics.
And this, a century before Newton was even born.
•31 December 2012 • 1 Comment
Final post for the year… So in this tenth day after the end of the world (which didn’t happen), I wish to you all a great year 2013.
May you find who you really want to be, enjoy life, and make it better!
Happy new year!
•12 December 2012 • Leave a Comment
Where were you today at 12:12 (December 12, ’12 — the last “Great Conjunction” of this type until… 2101), and what were you doing?
Do you remember?
How long will you remember it?
Do you wish you had been some place else, doing something else? What? Could you pretend, to everyone and yourself, that this is actually what you did?
And in 12 years’ time, will you still remember? But which one will you remember, the true event, or the fake one?