Twilight of the Elites and the Rise of the Culture

In which I use my double license as a physicist and a science fiction fan to engage in some half-assed futurism spinning off Chris Hayes’s much-discussed book. ————- I don’t read a lot of political books, because I tend to find them frustrating. They’re usually surprisingly ephemeral, trying to spin Deep Meaning out of a […]

Gandalf Was Wrong: Spectroscopy and The Lord of the Rings

It’s a banner day for science explainer things I wrote, as a piece I wrote has just gone live at Why Gandalf Is Wrong Even as a kid, reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings at the golden age of twelve or so, Gandalf’s response to Saruman never sat well with […]

Genre Fiction and the Real Problem With Philosophy of Science

There’s been a bunch of discussion recently about philosophy of science and whether it adds anything to science. Most of this was prompted by Lawrence Krauss’s decision to become the Nth case study for “Why authors should never respond directly to bad reviews,” with some snide comments in an interview in response to a negative […]

Reflecting the Times?

I’m at Boskone this weekend, and this morning went to a fairly frustrating panel on “SF/F/H As a Mirror on Society,” described thusly: It’s simplistic to say genre fiction maps to current politics. Vampires are bankers, zombies are the revengeful victimized classes, and werewolves are the media in feeding frenzy? C’mon. But did we write […]

Upcoming Appearances: Boskone

I’ve been falling down a little in the area of shameless self-promotion, but I will be at Boskone this coming weekend, where I’ll be doing three program items: Reading: Chad Orzel (Reading), Fri 19:30 – 20:00 This will be a section from the forthcoming book, probably involving Emmy and particle physics. Or possibly William Butler […]

2011 Hugo Awards: Predictably Meh

As noted a while back, the Hugo Award nominations for this year were pretty uninspiring. The actual awards were handed out last night and, well, yeah. I wasn’t all that wild about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but it at least would’ve been an interesting choice. But giving it to Blackout/ All Clear, a pair of […]