Various & Sundry 9/23/11
What’s up? Well:
* For those folks still interested in the follow-up to the Redshirts auction will be happy to know that I met with the library folks today and they are very happy about everything that’s happened, and that they are making plans on how to put that money to its best use for the library — i.e., they’re not going to go out and spend it on gum or anything. More details as they happen, but in general, everything’s groovy over here.
* People are asking me what I think of the suggestion of sub-atomic particles going faster than light. One, it would be really interesting if it were true, since it would basically upend our model of how the universe works; Two, I suspect strongly that it’s an error somewhere along the chain of observation and we’ll find that out sooner rather than later; Three, that if that’s not how it plays out, this particular observation will have to be replicated a few dozen times before people are comfortable throwing a century’s worth of physics into the “obsolete” bin. Even the people publishing it is all “please check this for us, will you?” Which is what scientists do.
If you want to take a look at the paper that describes all this itself, it’s here. I looked at it and was reminded that my ability to understand it was only slightly better than that of an average monkey, so I will rely on actual scientists to tell me if it holds up. If it does, well. Exciting times. Physicist Brian Cox talks about it here (this is an audio file).
* I’ve also been asked for comments about the Republican presidential candidate debates. The short answer here is that I don’t have many, since I haven’t been watching them, on account that I don’t really want a shoe in my TV. I’ve been reading transcripts and follow-up commentary, none of which convinces me that any of these fellows (and one lady) will be coming remotely close to getting my vote next year. I heard about the booing of the gay soldier from the floor at the debate, but there’s some question of whether it’s the work of more than a couple of idiots, so I’m choosing not to get too worked up about that.
All of it is a reminder that 2012 is likely to be an especially aggravating election year; I’m happy not to devote too much of my attention to the election just yet.
* What I am devoting my attention to: Checking the copy edit of Redshirts. I’m happy to say that generally speaking it’s been well done, and the copy editor in question here is making me look like I’m more grammatically ept than I actually am. Which is always a positive. The CE and I have a small difference in opinion about commas (not necessarily relating to the Oxford comma, incidentally), which I will win because I get to STET. But it really is a small difference of opinion and in the main this is a good copy edit, and I’m happy to have it. If you get a final copy of the book and there’s a screw-up, blame it on me, not the copy editor.
As a small aside to this, I will note that that I have to be careful when typing out the title of the new book, since the omission of a single letter changes it from “redshirts” to a vulgar term for “bloody stool.” And I’ve unintentionally omitted that letter a couple of times already. Diligence, always diligence.