The Plainsrunner – Chapter Three

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

At the end of chapter two Sage was coming to terms with her banishment, realizing that it had something to do with the artifact. In chapter three she tries to figure out what is so dangerous about the artifact, while preparing for her first night outside.

Visit OliverOnline to download chapter three.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Idioms

Credit Tjo3ya – CC-BY-SA

I wasn’t sure how to kick off this post, so I’ve been skirting the problem. Now I’ve decided to stop beating around the bush and take the bull by the horns. The objective is to get to the bottom of things without going over the top. I hope I don’t get run down trying to run down the rundown so I can run it up the flagpole and run it by you.

An idiom, according to my Concise Oxford Dictionary, Eighth edition 1990, is “a group of words established by usage and having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.” In other words, a phrase that doesn’t make sense in its current usage. Their examples are, “over the moon” and “see the light.” An idiom is also “a form of expression peculiar to a language, person or group of people.” So to speak in the idiom is to use forms of speech that are particular to the speaker’s in-group. Idioms are the bane of anyone trying to learn a language. Imagine trying to learn English and someone says, “Here, let me show you the ropes.” Yes, “idiom” does come from the same place as “idiot.”

I have to admit that would be a tough row to hoe. Maybe I should have left well enough alone, but the cat’s out of the bag now, so it’s a little late to close the barn door. The horses have flown the coop. Wait, is that a mixed idiom? Was I champing at the bit in my teeth, causing me to overshoot the mark? That can’t be helped, I’m afraid. Any attempt at tamping this down is a day late and a dollar short. We’ve rounded the last turn. We’re on the final stretch. There’s no turning back because we’re down to the short strokes. The die is cast and our fate has been cast to the wind. This post is done and it’s time to play the last post for it.

Catch you on the round-a-bout,

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Plainsrunner – Chapter Two

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

At the end of chapter one, we left Sage as she was being banished from her village. Join her now as she ventures alone into a dangerous world. She can never again find safety within the village walls, and must find a way to survive with no one to count on but herself.

Download at oliveronline.ca.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Plainsrunner Book Club

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

My friend Leza Macdonald has a website in my home town — oliveronline.ca — and we’ve decided to publish my current novel — The Plainsrunner — there in serialized form. I feel like letting them get involved closely in this one as it flows from my pen, so to speak. So, rather than my usual method of publishing extensions here, it’s going to show up there first. Oh boy, another experiment!

I’ll post here as each chapter shows up there. Leza is also thinking of letting a “book club” develop, so keep your eyes open for that.

Go there now for chapter one. Join the experiment. Partake in the discussion, if one forms in the book club. And I hope you enjoy The Plainsrunner.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Conspiracy Theories While You Wait

Lorie Shaull (Flickr) / Creative Commons

The website FactCheck.org has a look at the conspiracy theories that have arisen, and have been promulgated deliberately, after the mass murder and terrorization of school children in the United States on Valentine’s Day 2018. Initially the murderer was the focus of the rumors, but after the surviving children began calling for better gun controls, the conspiracy theories became about them. The gun proliferation advocates began to attack the credibility of the survivors who were speaking out.

The internet has been rife with rumors about the school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida on Feb. 14. We’ve debunked several of them.

Initially, the rumors focused on the alleged shooter himself, Nikolas Cruz. But, as students who survived the shooting started advocating stricter gun controls, new rumors focused on the most vocal among them. Those falsehoods grew into full-fledged conspiracy theories, one of which briefly topped the list of trending videos on YouTube.

Go to FactCheck.org for the rest of the story, and go to WNPR to hear an interview with with people covering this story. Here is a direct link to the interview. Total time: 49:23. This story starts at about the nineteen minute mark.

via School Shooting Spawns Conspiracy Theories – FactCheck.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dunyazad Digital Library

Robert Schaechter, the creator and curator of the Dunyazad Digital Library, has added the Green Comet trilogy to his stacks. Robert has created an omnibus containing all three novels in one PDF file. This isn’t just any ordinary PDF file, though. Robert is meticulous. All of the books in his collection have been polished to perfection, and Green Comet is no exception. Working together, we eliminated about two dozen errors that I had missed during my previous proofing. He also expanded the front matter and improved the formatting. The Dunyazad Library doesn’t have a lot of books, but the ones there have benefited from Robert’s attentions.

Here is a link to my author page at the library. I encourage you to go there and download Robert’s PDF of the Green Comet trilogy, to encourage him and reward him for his dedicated work. While there, you can browse the rest of the library, too. You never know. One of those polished jewels just might catch your eye.

The Green Comet universe keeps expanding, but I have another novel I’m working on. I hope to have it ready for publication this year, hopefully well before year end. So, you go to the Dunyazad Digital Library, and I’ll get back to The Plainsrunner.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Grateful Dead and Creative Commons

Image by: Lisa Padilla – CC BY-SA

Could the Grateful Dead have been using Creative Commons principles decades ahead of time? This Matthew Helmke article from opensource.com makes the connection.

Although many bands at the time allowed fans to record shows, the Grateful Dead took the idea a step further. Fans who purchased “tapers’ tickets” were given access to a special area located near the soundboard. The band even encouraged tapers to share their recordings, as long as no profits were made on the sale of their tapes.

Creative Commons took inspiration from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Their goal is to find ways to use private rights for public good and to set creative works free, but only for certain uses.

Creative Commons has come up with a set of licenses that keep the power over creative works in the hands of creators while also freeing the content to be used in ways that modern copyright law forbids, much like the Grateful Dead did with their creative ticketing and taping permissions.

In the end, we get a legal means of fulfilling the freedom that the Grateful Dead allowed its fans, without gray areas that could lead to problems such as those that the Internet Archive had with the soundboard recordings of Grateful Dead concerts. This legal murkiness blocked access to those recordings for some time, although they are now available.

So the Grateful Dead has maintained a long and successful career using principles of openness and freedom that didn’t get formalized until much later in the Creative Commons licenses. I think it’s safe to say that the band would have used a CC license if they had been available at the time.

via What the Grateful Dead have in common with the Creative Commons | Opensource.com

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wikipedia – The Free Online Encyclopedia

I have cited Wikipedia in many of my posts, and I’ve done it with no shame. Not everyone has shared my enthusiasm, though. Many people have used Wikipedia as an example of what is wrong with getting your information from the internet. They have disparaged its reliability, saying that anyone can contribute to it, so it can’t be a trusted authority. School teachers and college professors have even been known to ban and/or penalize its use, threatening to lower grades of offenders.

Teachers in middle school, high school and college drill it in to their students: Wikipedia is not a citable source. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and articles can change from day to day — sometimes by as little as a comma, other times being completely rewritten overnight. “[Wikipedia] has a reputation for being untrustworthy,” says Thomas Shafee, a biochemist at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

I remember trying to tell some of those people that they were being too negative about Wikipedia. That its accuracy rivaled that of traditional encyclopedias. Typically, I was rebuffed, sometimes angrily. Not even comparisons to the democratizing effect of the printing press could bring them around. I gave up trying to convince them, but I never gave up using Wikipedia. Now it looks as if those of us who support it will be vindicated.

With hundreds of thousands of scientific entries, Wikipedia offers a quick reference for the molecular formula of Zoloft, who the inventor of the 3-D printer is and the fact that the theory of plate tectonics is only about 100 years old. The website is a gold mine for science fans, science bloggers and scientists alike.

But even though scientists use Wikipedia, they don’t tend to admit it.

… the site’s unreliable reputation may be unwarranted. Wikipedia is not any less consistent than Encyclopedia Britannica, a 2005 Nature study showed (a conclusion that the encyclopedia itself vehemently objected to). Citing it as a source, however, is still a bridge too far.

Academic science may not respect Wikipedia, but Wikipedia certainly loves science. Of the roughly 5.5 million articles, half a million to a million of them touch on scientific topics. And constant additions from hundreds of thousands of editors mean that entries can be very up to date on the latest scientific literature.

The linked article describes studies that explore the influence science has on Wikipedia, and the influence Wikipedia has on science in return. There appear to be very good reasons why scientists and scholars and educators should try to get over their prejudice against the online encyclopedia.

It’s a good reason for scientists get in and edit entries within their expertise, Thompson notes. “This is a big resource for science and I think we need to recognize that,” Thompson says. “There’s value in making sure the science on Wikipedia is as good and complete as possible.” Good scientific entries might not just settle arguments. They might also help science advance. After all, scientists are watching, even if they won’t admit it.

via Wikipedia has become a science reference source even though scientists don’t cite it | Science News

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update – The Plainsrunner

Credit finetooth – CC-BY-SA


Update

I have finished proofing the first section of The Plainsrunner (working title for my current novel) and will be moving on to publishing it. I have to do conversions to the various formats — ePub, PDF and MOBI — and then I have to make them available on the downloads page. Should I bother with a cover? Should I add any front matter or back matter? Copyright notice? I’m not sure what I’m going to end up doing.

The story is coming along well. It is accepting the elements I need to have in there, and it’s coming back with some interesting developments. I like that part of making a story, even though it can sometimes be a bit of a grind. I look forward to having this more mechanical part of publishing it done so I can get back to finding out what’s happening.

This is going to be shorter than the books in the Green Comet trilogy, and the pace is a little faster, too. I’m enjoying the change, and I hope you do as well.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Never Aliens

UFO-self-made-Meersburg-Stefan-Xp-cc-by-sa-640

Credit Stefan Xp – CC-BY-SA – Self-made UFO over Meersburg

It was a good year for aliens. Whether it was the fluctuations in the brightness of Tabby’s star, the oddly shaped interstellar visitor that passed through the Solar System, or a spate of sightings of UFOs, aliens received a lot of nominations. As always with the advocates of alien visitations, they want us to prove that it isn’t aliens. They say, “How do you know it isn’t? Can you prove it isn’t?” They always get that backwards, don’t they?

From the Scientific American article:

What do a strangely fading faraway star, an oddly shaped interstellar interloper in the solar system and a curious spate of UFO sightings by members of the U.S. military all have in common?

Far from being close-minded killjoys, most scientists in the “never aliens” camp desperately want to be convinced otherwise. Their default skeptical stance is a prophylactic against the wiles of wishful thinking …

Finding aliens—or coming up empty in our searches—has profound implications for our own ultimate cosmic fate.

UFO detections have remained marginal for decades; they’ve just gone from being blurry shapes on film cameras to blurry shapes on the digital infrared sensors of fighter jet gun cameras. This, in spite of the fact that the world’s total imaging capacity has expanded by several orders of magnitude in the past 20 years.

Hypothetical aliens with advanced technology could do that, of course. But then you have to ask why they would choose to remain marginally undetectable rather than just being undetectable.

Read the original article at Scientific American.

via It’s Never Aliens–until It Is – Scientific American

It was a good year for alien hunters, but not good enough. They still haven’t come up with solid proof that their beliefs are true. I guess that’s why they keep asking us to prove that they aren’t, even though that’s the wrong way ’round.

rjb

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment