Welcome to Green Comet

These free novels, Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequels Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more about the trilogy, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page. To download the books, visit the downloads page.

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter 44

ESA – CC-BY-SA


They pass the halfway point to L1 and begin decelerating. Tallgrass talks to his mom and gets news from home. They get a better view of the thing at L1, and it’s huge. Given what they see, they have to decide whether to continue the mission or turn around and go home.

Download chapter 44 at OliverOnline.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 42 & 43

ESA – CC-BY-SA


Tallgrass reflects on everything that has happened. Blunt plays a joke on Tallgrass. They prepare to reverse Emissary and begin decelerating. Blunt apologizes to Tallgrass.

Download at OliverOnline.

rjb

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Altruism’s Surprisingly Strong Health Impact

altruism-scientific-american-john-lund-getty-images

Credit John Lund – Getty Images

As covered in my earlier post on Green Comet, Pronoid, altruism is good for you. This article in Scientific American adds to the evidence. While pronoia promotes the survival of individuals, groups and species, this article concentrates on the health and longevity benefits of altruism.

The benefits of giving rather than receiving are more than just spiritual.

Most people still seem to be ignorant about the impact such other-oriented behavior can have on their own well-being. Fortunately, several researchers have already stepped in to investigate this important question …

A few weeks afterward the researchers measured the blood pressure of both groups. It turned out the blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) of those participants who had spent money on others had significantly decreased as compared with the subjects who spent the money on themselves. Moreover, the decrease in blood pressure was similar in size to the effect of starting high-frequency exercise or a healthier diet.

The article goes on to describe several studies and experiments that give results supporting the fact that helping others helps ourselves. However, it also cautions that it is not true in all cases.

Of course, even here too much of a good thing can be detrimental. If people only concentrate on the well-being of others, they can ignore their own needs.

“There’s a big difference between pleasing people and helping them.” One should choose when and how to help, instead of being pushed to assist whomever happens to ask.

So, if you are truly giving and not being coerced into it, altruism is good for you. It makes you feel better and it might even make you live longer. But if you are coerced, if you feel that you should do it or must do it, then it can be bad for you. Help whom you choose to help, not necessarily whom someone tells you you should, and you will be happier and healthier.

via Exercise, Eat Well, Help Others: Altruism’s Surprisingly Strong Health Impact – Scientific American Blog Network

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 40 & 41

ESA – CC-BY-SA


They give their vessel a name and set out for L1, and the mysterious object there. They lose contact with Mission Control, and Tallgrass fears for Seagrass’s safety again.

As always, visit OliverOnline for the download.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter 39

ESA – CC-BY-SA

The Plainsrunner – Chapter 39

Tallgrass and his crewmates are launched into orbit, where they dock with the space station. They observe the ongoing construction of the incomplete second vessel, then they get their first look at their vessel, complete and ready to go.

Download chapter 39 at OliverOnline.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 37 & 38

ESA – CC-BY-SA


Facts emerge after the devastating attack. They reply to the message from Sunward. Tallgrass visits Seagrass in hospital. A new member joins the team. They get their orders.

Download at OliverOnline.
rjb

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The Internet is making us stupid – TechnoLlama

Original unattributed on TechnoLlama

Andres at TechnoLlama has written a blog post that explains how the internet is making us stupid, and it’s not just because we spend too much time on it. I’ll put a few quotes from his article here, and then you can follow the link to read the whole thing.

The flat Earth phenomenon is just the tip of the iceberg. We seem to be regressing in almost all aspects of knowledge and public discourse, from political discourse to climate change, easily-accessible and authoritative information is swept away by a torrent of fake news and falsehoods.

… media platforms have been designed to cater to what they think we like …

… social media presence is confused with expertise.

… in the era of Brexit and Trump, all pretence that reporting truth is an achievable goal has disappeared.

In some debates, even a mention of any traditional media source will be met with derision and incredulity.

So, is the internet making us stupid, or is it merely exposing our propensity for stupidity?

via The Internet is making us stupid – TechnoLlama

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 35 & 36

ESA – CC-BY-SA


This is the beginning of Part Four – Space

They receive a message from space, proving the legends are true. Tallgrass suffers a great tragedy. The project is in danger.

Visit OliverOnline to download the chapters.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 33 & 34

Public Domain


Fanatics threaten the project. Sage worries about Tallgrass’s safety. Trueway makes Tallgrass and Seagrass an offer. Sage comes for a visit. Tallgrass has a decision to make.

This marks the end of Part Three – Tallgrass.

Download at OliverOnline.

rjb

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Alexandria Project in Audio


Review – The Alexandria Project Audiobook – Andrew Updegrove

Available at Amazon and Audible.

Announcement on author’s site.

I have three previous posts about Andrew Updegrove here on Green Comet. The first is about “egregious nonsense regarding ebook standards,” referencing his blog post on that topic where he explains why closed proprietary ebook formats are bad for readers and writers, and why they exist anyway. The second is about “open source pharma,” referencing his blog post about that and why it would be better for patients. The third one is a book review about his novel “The Lafayette Campaign,” where I give a mini review of the book, and also explain the experiment he is performing on “the evolving self-publishing labyrinth.”

Andrew has written three other thriller-style novels in the series, and the experiment continues. All of them have been self-published, and he has kept his readers informed about the many twists and turns he has encountered on the journey. Now he is taking another step that moves him into new territory. He has had one of the novels –The Alexandria Project — professionally recorded, with plans to record the rest in the near future. Here’s what his website says about the book:

“Thank you for your contribution to the Alexandria Project” is the message cyber attackers leave behind as they delete crucial data from computer networks across America. It’s not long before the nation is on the verge of collapse as unknown assailants take down Wall Street, the transportation system, government agencies, and the rest of the infrastructure upon which our internet-based economy depends.

As the public outcry builds, Frank Adversego, a brilliant but conflicted cyber security expert, finds himself under suspicion and trapped in a power play between the FBI and the CIA. Only by tracing the Alexandria Project back to the source can he clear himself.

What follows is a fast-paced, satirical tale of cyber sleuthing, international espionage, and nuclear brinksmanship that accurately portrays our increasing vulnerability to cyber attack. The shocking conclusion will leave you ready for the next Frank Adversego thriller – and concerned about where our headlong rush into the Internet Age is leading us.

That’s a pretty good synopsis of the book, so I don’t need to repeat it. I will say that I enjoyed it and found it to be a well-written thriller, with good characters in believable, if bizarre, situations. Updegrove also has a penchant for humor, and doesn’t miss the opportunity to drop a bit into the book.

All that being taken care of, this review is about the audio recording of the book. Andrew has chosen Tantor Media for the production, and the narrator is Roger Wayne, who has a solid and extensive track record. He has given the book its best chance by entrusting its recording to professionals.

I received a download code for a review copy and immediately went and got it. It consisted of a ZIP file of almost 400MB, which upon extraction revealed a single high quality cover image and thirty-two individual MP3 files — an introduction, thirty chapters and an epilogue. I couldn’t wait to get started listening to it.

I must admit that part of the reason I wanted to do this was so I could compare a professionally created audiobook with the ones I have made of the Green Comet trilogy. I wanted to see how mine hold up, and perhaps to pick up some pointers. I won’t bore you with the details, but mine turn out to hold up pretty well. And listening to a professional can’t help but make my own future readings better.

Roger Wayne reads The Alexandria Project in a straightforward manner, without sound effects, music or dramatic excess. He does use different voices for different characters, complete with some regional accents, and he does allow the inflection of his voice to communicate the drama of the moment, but he never goes overboard. I was impressed by how he kept the reader’s attention on the story, rather than the narrator.

I can comfortably recommend The Alexandria Project, both in book form and as an audiobook. It’s a good story, well written and well read.

rjb

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