A Slow Week In My Brain
Posted on April 13, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 35 Comments
I’m having one of those weeks (so far, anyway) when I sit down to write something here and all I come up with is… meeeeeeeh. Which is to say I don’t feel I have anything of particular interest to say on any particular subject, so I’m unmotivated to try to pretend that I do. Even that thing about Stephen Hawking and the Russian billionaire planning to send tiny robots to Alpha Centauri using lasers has me all “I’ll wait ’till they actually build something to get excited.”
This would have worried me more in the past, but these days I’m pretty sanguine about it. Have nothing to say? Cool, when I do have something to say I’ll post about it. In the meantime, I’ll post a cat or sunset pic, it’s all good.
On that note:
I’m not saying I got the Scamperbeasts so that I would have pictures to post when I couldn’t be bothered to think of things to write here. But I will admit they do come in handy.
Gosh, I do hate when that happens. I am a cat lover and have 3! So, I love the “kitty” photo XO … Just relax a little, the words will come :-)
Author, Catherine *Cat* Lyon :-)
Wow. I’m surprised. I’m in a lot of pain from a back issue and I’m still extremely excited about the Alpha Centauri news! That definitely woke me up!
Love the photo!
Alpha Centauri — I can’t help but think that are galactic neighbors are going to be less than thrilled that we’re throwing shrapnel at their planets at .2c velocities.
I spoke face-to-face with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, at a Feynman music/drama night at Caltech. As I’ve said, I was friends with Stephen and Jane Hawking in 1971-1972.
For ultralight spacecraft, see:
“Starflight without Warp Drive”
Forget SF’s magical warp drives. Can today’s science give us the stars for real?
14 May 1995
Conducted by Geoffrey A. Landis
participants: David Brin, Robert L. Forward, and Jonathan Vos Post
The Beasts are becoming Teenage Beasts! Look at those long legs!
It really has been an “Ehhhhh” week – hasn’t it?
haha i like the cat post more of those lol
Most of the last week seems to have been recycled from previous weeks’ baloney. Maybe that trend will change soon.
Happens to all of us sometimes. You’re smart to recognize it and give your brain the break it needs. You’re also fortunate to have the latitude to be able to take a brain break without also breaking the bank, but you knew that already.
Oh, and by the way? Cat photos are not only therapeutic for you when you need a break, they can also be lifesavers for some of us. So any time the story-writing part of the brain decides to walk off the job temporarily, just know that I at least will be delighted if the cat-photographer portion of your cerebellum picks up the slack.
Is the plan to have the scamperbeasts also be “working” cats?
Ben, you must not know any cats. Cats don’t work. They have personnel for that.
Hate it when my Muse runs off like that. When the search party found her last time, she was disoriented and wandering aimlessly through the back alleys of my mind . . .
There’s a correlation between vitamin D and writing. Less D = less desire to write. That’s why tropical vacations are seen as a useful therapy for writer’s block.
Funny, our full pedigree Maine Coone is more than happy to work for a living. Haven’t seen signs of a mouse ever since we got him.
Well, not quite, he did once presented me proudly with one of his kills, which he had deposited in his food bowl (which he also uses to put away his toys).
And a very competent job he’d done: a neatly killed mouse, broken neck and no further damage, no blood and guts all over the floor.
“See? I’m useful. Now pet me”
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
― Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Goddamn this dusty room
This hazy afternoon
I’m breathing in this silence
Like never before
~ Dave Grohl
Hope this isn’t the case for you, but I had that same feeling a couple weeks back and ended up with a nasty respiratory bug.
If you do come down with something, here is a useful tip: No matter how much you dilute your fire cider, your lips will be happier if you drink it through a straw, not straight from a glass.
Do you have any photos where cats and sunsets are combined in one? That would be nice and dramatic.
The Alpha Centauri initiative is technologically feasible (just barely) without as-yet-undeveloped engineering, which is more than you can say of any other interstellar proposal.
Its main benefits are that it is, in fact, one of the very cheapest ways to do “interstellar,” and the total mission time is plausibly short. The latter is important, because at this point we have experience with space missions that last for a few decades but nothing that lasts for centuries.
Its main disadvantages are:
1) Success is extremely uncertain. The interstellar medium is not well-characterized on the scale of particles that could damage or destroy spacecraft of this sort. Multiple spacecraft are better than one, but we have no idea what a sufficient number would be, or even if there is any plausible sufficient number.
2) Almost all the costs for this mission are not capital investment and infrastructure; they are “fuel.” Basically, how many cents you are paying per kilowatt for electricity. For any plausible price, most of the money is going to pay the power bill. That means that there’s no useful learning curve or economy of scale. See disadvantage #1.
SWAG Estimate: half a trillion to a trillion dollars. Yuri’s seed money is very nice, but to put it in perspective it’s like putting down a $50 or $100 deposit towards buying a house.
Still, it’s currently the only game in town, and relatively cheap compared to the alternatives.
pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
— Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
— Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
Kittens are adorable, but there’s something about that lanky teenage stage that just melts my heart.
Fun with Photoshop
Alpha Centauri – I wonder if they’ll find the Jupiter 8 and Dr. Smith there…….
Meh would be an improvement around here. I could do with a little meh. But, hey! Alpha Centauri! (What’s the cell coverage like, out that way?)
So, instead you link us to a cool news article, show us a beautiful picture, and provide us with something interesting to think about (what it’s like to have a sluggish feeling brain)?
I’ll take it.
My personal source for creative inspiration: http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/
I think this was one of the most creative commemorative projects I have ever seen. I see a creative idea like that and it makes me think about taking things that are simple and re imagining them.
John, you have a Brain Cloud. It is fatal. The only cure is to watch “Joe versus the Volcano.” Then you should thank Tom Hanks for saving your life with his powerful medical documentary.
Always remember what Raymond Chandler said about writing: “When you can’t think what happens next, just have a guy come through the door with a gun.” Now, I think he meant “just write‘then a guy came through the door with a gun'” but it’s also possible that Chandler’s agent and/or publisher actually sent round Moe (or possibly Louie) to Chandler’s house when he started falling behind on deadlines.
I did find it a bit amusing that the news about using a laser to propel a probe to Alpha Centauri came out right after I finished reading “Arkwright” by Alan Steele which is about using a laser to propel a ship to another solar system. Sci-fi writers, always ahead of the curve!
It was a great post. Thanks for sharing with us.
As a Humane Society volunteer, we foster kittens, getting them fattened up and ready for the operating table and then out the door to a loving home (no kill here in Naples, Florida, but not enough staff/volunteers to take care of the wee ones). We get a bunch of kittens four or five times a year. This time we got four- still inside mama! Now they are 4 weeks old and learning to pounce! It’s a joy to watch the grow.
Is there anything better than holding a mess of kittens?
– Is there anything better than holding a mess of kittens?
Holding a mess of kittens, and watching another mess of kittens.
Oh wow, I just realized why Animal Planet does the Kitten half-time show during the Puppy Bowl.
Because using adult cats would be “Oh look, they’re all asleep in the spotlight sun beams”
Juvenile scamperbeast! Seriously, I love cats when they’re that age where they’re all lanky and legs.
As you have outdoor scamperbeasts, may consider The Oatmeal’s kitty convict idea? http://www.explodingkittens.com/kittyconvict