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.  The novel The Plainsrunner is available for purchase at these outlets.

Looking for the crossword puzzle? Here’s the link.

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Crossword Puzzle Solved

Credit Suzie Hudon – CC0


Even though I have removed the crossword puzzle, you can still find it on its own site. There is also a link to it on the home page of this website, as well as in the Welcome to Green Comet post.

It was worth trying it out, but it feels better having a leaner and cleaner site.

rjb

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Crossword Puzzle Revisited

Credit Suzie Hudon – CC0


It’s been four months since I decided to let the crossword puzzle stay for awhile, and now I’ve decided that it has to go. It’s causing my already slow site — I’m on a cheap plan because nobody’s paying me to do this — to load even more slowly. I think first impressions for new visitors should take precedence over hosting a seldom-used game here.

For those of you who have become accustomed to doing the crossword puzzle, here is a link to it on its host site: Boatload Puzzles. The puzzle will be removed from Green Comet within the next few days.

rjb

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My Thanks to the Children

Credit Anders Hellberg – CC-BY-SA

I want to issue a public thank you to Greta Thunberg, and by proxy to all the other young people who are doing similar work. Your actions, and by their evidence the thoughts and feelings behind them, are giving me more hope for the future. Thank you.
rjb

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Climate Movement Girls Getting Attacked Online

BuzzFeed image

Greta Thunberg Is Leading A Youth Climate Movement Of Teen Girls Online — And They’re Getting Attacked For It

The trolls are out. As is typical for them, they’re anonymous, too cowardly to stand behind their words. Just as typically, they’re attacking the most vulnerable targets they can find.

They have faced a barrage of daily insults, seemingly coordinated attacks, creepy DMs, doxing, hacked accounts, and death threats. This is the new normal for young climate leaders online, according to BuzzFeed News interviews with nearly a dozen of the kids and their parents.

It can be hard to tell if these are all “regular” trolls, who just seem to make it their daily routine, or whether some of them are agents in a coordinated campaign by climate shirkers.

Personal attacks have always been a part of the climate denial playbook, even as fossil fuel companies secretly funded campaigns and researchers to question the scientific consensus on climate change.

The original BuzzFeed article is thorough, with many examples. Here is an example of the type of thing the girls are facing.

On the morning of August 25, 11-year-old Lilly Platt tweeted a video clip of a Brazilian Amazon tribe speaking out against deforestation. Awareness of the Amazon wildfires was already at a fever pitch, and the tweet exploded. Then, within an hour, a swarm of troll accounts started flooding her mentions with porn.

This post is just a heads up. I’m hoping you will go to the BuzzFeed article for the rest of the story.

Here’s a related story in the Irish Times that looks at the motivations of the people who attack these children. Why is Greta Thunberg so triggering for certain men?

rjb

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VocalID Certificate – 3500


I got another certificate! VocalID has sent me a certificate commemorating my reaching the lofty goal of 3500 phrases recorded for their Voicebank. VocalID is a company that is collecting voices that can be used to build personalized voices for people who need them. See my original post on VocalID.

edit: VocalID sent me an email congratulating me:

Wow, Jim

You have completed your Voicebank Contribution and earned the final Level 6 Contributor milestone.

I did it. I made it. I have completed the recordings of my voice necessary for it to be useful in their aim of providing individualized voices to those in need. Yay me!

rjb

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Drought Postponed

“Enchanted Light | New Mexico” by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Since last time, when the jet stream looped far up to the north of us and the drought level was set at 2, or dry, we have had a series of systems run through here bringing clouds and rain. The jet stream has waved back and forth over our area, channeling that series of storms, and now it has dropped down south of us. The upshot of all that is that we’ve had quite a bit of rain. We might end up recording more than the historical average for September by the time we’re done, although the temperature continues to trend above average. I think it’s safe to extrapolate the drought level, which was still at 2 a couple of weeks ago, to be 1, normal, now.

It’s a relief. Our lawn appreciates it, as do our trees and other plantings. Our forests surely appreciate it, as the wildfire danger rating falls. The fire east of town, as reported in the last drought report, is contained, though still smouldering. I think we can confidently say that the threat of a serious drought has been postponed. The experts still warn, though, that the land is still dry. This recent spate of rain hasn’t done much to change that. Still, the moisture feels good.

rjb

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The Prime – Proofreading Done


I’ve just done my last pass of the proofreading and editing of The Prime. The corrections were getting pretty trivial, so I decided it was time to move on. Now I’m going to try something new with this book. With my previous books I went on from final proofing to formatting the final presentation version of the ebook. Only after that did I record it for the audiobook. My reasoning was that it was a lot easier to make corrections to text than to audio, so don’t do the recording until you have the final text version complete. That is changing this time. I’m going to use the reading and recording as the final proofing. Reading it out loud can sometimes expose errors or awkwardness, so it will give me one last chance to improve it before releasing it into the wild. On the downside, it means a longer wait for publication. On the upside, it means a shorter wait for the audiobook after publication.

There’s something else I have to sort out. The Prime has been my working title, and I’ve begun to think of it as the real title, but I’m not sure about that. I’ve been trying to think of something to replace it with, but nothing is coming to me yet.

No problem, right? Lotsa time.

rjb

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Entropy


It seems you can’t talk about entropy without mentioning the second law of thermodynamics. That law states that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. This creates the asymmetry between the past and the future, the irreversibility of natural processes and the arrow of time. It is entropy that ensures that, on the macroscopic scale, time can only pass in one direction — from a state of lower entropy to one of higher entropy.

This is often simplified to define entropy as the increase in disorder with time. This is particularly favored by creationists who latch onto their own simplified version of the second law to convince themselves that evolution is impossible. Their version of the second law, usually stated something like, “Disorder increases over time,” assures them that a supernatural power is required to support life and evolution. Coupled with their mistaken belief that evolution is a force for directed improvement, this explains some of the crazy things they say.

Can you see where they went wrong in appealing to the second law? That’s right. They left out the part about where it applies to an isolated system. An open system, such as the Earth, can receive energy from an outside source, like the sun. Under those conditions the total entropy on Earth can certainly decrease, but only because the total entropy of the Earth-sun system is increasing as the sun dissipates its energy. Their other mistake is to misinterpret “can never decrease” as “always increases.” This whole process of misunderstanding and misinterpreting and misusing the second law is unironically a very good demonstration of entropy, which can never decrease in a closed mind.

The reason entropy is linked to thermodynamics is that it started out as a description of waste heat or energy loss in steam engines and other mechanical devices. Such things are never 100% efficient at turning energy into work, and the people working on the problem needed a term for their bookkeeping. It was only later as we understood more about the physics underlying thermodynamics that other definitions, such as “disorder,” evolved. It also applies to the dispersal of concentrated energy, and even the dispersal of particles.

Another way to define entropy is as the amount of energy (usually thermal energy) in a closed system that is unavailable to do work. You can have a lot of energy in a closed system — a boiler, for instance — but if the energy is evenly distributed throughout the system, then there’s no way you can get it to do work within the closed system. Therefore it has high entropy. The only way to get work out of it is to pair it up with an external system that is at a different energy level, and then tap into the energy that is transferred between them as they seek equilibrium.

Here is one more way to think of entropy. When a system is in a configuration that has few ways for its parts to be arranged, it has low entropy. A configuration that has many possible arrangements has high entropy. So a glass of water that has an ice cube in it has lower entropy than the glass of water after the ice cube has melted. In the first, all the coldest water is in the ice cube — fewer ways to do that, lower entropy. In the second, all the water is evenly distributed at the same temperature — more ways to do that, higher entropy.

So, entropy is inexorably increasing in the universe overall. It can decrease locally under the right conditions, but only at the expense of a greater increase elsewhere. It doesn’t prevent evolution, which actually depends on increasing entropy. It is entropy that tells us which way time flows — from low to high.

rjb

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Canadian Environment Minister Given Extra Security

Barbie-Maranhense-Arielma-Barbie-cc-by-sa-640

Arielma Barbie — CC-BY-SA

via Catherine McKenna: Canada environment minister given extra security – BBC News

barbie-Catherine-McKenna-320

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s environment minister, has been given extra security as she and her family endure threats against their safety. She has been accosted online and on the street, threatened with violence, including sexual violence, by people who think epithets like “Climate Barbie” are clever. Well, maybe they are. Maybe you had to be there?

Catherine McKenna said in one recent incident a man in a car pulled up alongside her and her children, swore and called her a “climate Barbie”.

She said she had received messages that included sexualised insults and threats against her family. In person she has been called an enemy, a traitor and a “communist piece of garbage”.

And it’s not just ordinary guys attacking her.

Two years ago Canadian Conservative MP Gerry Ritz apologised to Ms McKenna after calling her “climate Barbie”.

I wonder if the guy in the car voted for Mr Ritz.

Greta-Thunberg-imageBROKER⁄Christian Mang⁄Newscom

Ms McKenna is not the only person to be attacked by these people. As reported in this post, Greta Thunberg has been subjected to the same treatment. Ms Thunberg has become a symbolic leader for young people who are alarmed at the mess we’re leaving for them. She and others have received threats similar to those given to Minister McKenna. Ms Thunberg is setting an example for people her age. What kind of example are her abusers, and those abusing Ms McKenna, setting for children, and who’s example are they following?

Check out the BBC article for the rest of the story.

rjb

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Seasons #1

“as you like to say” by Bettina Güber, Jeff Reeve is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

A saucy glance over the shoulder, the last of summer.

rjb

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