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An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Archive for Outshine

The Week in Tweet, Week 47

But when the climate changed
They tried their best to stay
But @outshine blew them all away…

Monday November 16:

[Quote for the Monday] “Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.”

[Source] Plato (428? BC – 347? BC) / Greek philosopher.

Tuesday November 17:

Like a street-theatre play by a busload of post-hardcore kids and your uncle’s classic prog rock records. Music to smile (or maybe gurn) to.

[#SoundBytes] THE MYTH ABOUT REAL LIFE (EP) by Aficionado — http://www.myspace.com/aficionado (self-released).

Wednesday November 18:

Avatar children gliding like thistle in the electron sky. A garden replenished by their light hands.

[Bio] Deborah Walker thinks: least said, soonest mended.

Thursday November 19:

Lots of walking, more walking, unrelieved trudgery. Makes two hours feel as dreary as a weekend in post-apocalyptic Preoria, then it ends.

[#Spitballs] The Road / Directed by John Hillcoat /http://www.theroad-movie.com/.

Friday November 20:

[Quote for the Friday] “Human nature won’t flourish, any more than a potato, if planted and replanted, for too many generations, in the same worn-out soil.”

[Source, paraphrased] Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) / U.S. novelist & short-story writer / The Scarlet Letter, “The Custom House”.

Saturday November 21:

News from CERN: smallest subatomic particles found, massless, information only. + & –: binary code. Neat. I yawned, returned to my Sims game.

[Bio] William Clunie can be read at www.pemmicanpress.com.

Sunday November 22:

Novelist Huston’s attempt to reboot the rebel military cyborg returns to the future, but recasts it as a labored satire of corporate media.

[#ShineComics] DEATHLOK THE DEMOLISHER #1 (of 7) by Charlie Huston (script), Lan Medina (art); Marvel Knights, 2009, $3.99.

The Week in Tweet, Week 46

Stand inside the temple as @outshine is opening
The priestess stands before you, offering her handout, rising…

Monday November 9:

[Quote for the Monday] “Democracy is the superior form of government, because it is based on a respect for man as a reasonable being.”

[Source] John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963) / U.S. president / Why England Slept.

Tuesday November 10:

All the dumb excessive clichés of dope ‘n’ devil-worshippin’ thrash metal laid end to end without any dull bits in between. Simply glorious.

[#SoundBytes] ACCELERATED LIVING by Saviours —http://www.myspace.com/saviours666 / Kemado Records –http://www.kemado.com/.

Wednesday November 11:

She wakes to the gentle vibration of the roof changing angle to catch the sun, to the smell of hands-free cappuccino, to a doable Monday.

[Bio] Ben White edits @nanoism and writes @midnightstories.

Thursday November 12:

The James Michener of disaster flicks does a predictably banal apocalypse with an Arks-worth of characters and a cute dog.

[#Spitballs] 2012 / Directed by Roland Emmerich /http://www.whowillsurvive2012.com/.

Friday November 13:

[Quote for the Friday] “I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”

[Source] Mata Hari (1876 – 1917) / Dutch spy and dancer.

Saturday November 14:

I’d never felt so close to a pet, never felt the need to boast about a pet, and I’m not even fully dilated yet… can you see her head?

[Bio] Engineerish writer lost near Austin.

Sunday November 15:

Set a few years in the future, this inconsequential miniseries tosses aside Grant Morrison’s work with the character in favour of…nothing.

[#ShineComics] THE LAST DAYS OF ANIMAL MAN #1-#6 by Gerry Conway (script), Chris Batista (art); DC, 2009, $2.99 each.

The Week in Tweet, Week 45

Inside of me, is a man that I knew
Who could rattle these chains — who could shake these cages
Inside of you, is a dream that I see
And the echoes of @outshine are calling…

Monday November 2:

[Quote for the Monday] “If necessity is the mother of invention, then resourcefulness is the father.”

[Source] Beulah Louise Henry / U.S. inventor / Feminine Ingenuity (Anne L. MacDonald).

Tuesday November 3:

Third album from this Motor City two/three piece pushes post-metal to new limits of subtlety, depth and scale. Listen with the lights off.

[#SoundBytes] GENEVA by Russian Circles –http://www.russiancircles.net/ / Suicide Squeeze Records –http://www.suicidesqueeze.net/.

Wednesday November 4:

The immigrants come, weary, uncertain of their welcome
people make room for them
the immigrants’ culture infuses their own with new spice.

[Bio] Daniel Ausema’s a stay-at-home dad whose stories and poems have appeared in many places. Find him athttp://danielausema.blogspot.com/.

Thursday November 5:

Absolute truth or BS, you’ve got to wonder what kind of bet Milly Jovovich lost that made her accept the lead role in this godawful mess.

[#Spitballs] The Fourth Kind / Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi /http://www.thefourthkind.net/.

Friday November 6:

[Quote for the Friday] “A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him.”

[Source] Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008) / Russian novelist / Cancer Ward.

Saturday November 7:

It was spring and his basement was drying up. Last night, just two feet of water on the floor. A man can’t even stay wet in his own home…

[Bio] Marlo Dianne is a writer/artist of more than fifty published works. This wondergeek is found @http://www.forbiddendragon.blogspot.com.

Sunday November 8:

Fast, violent, and blessed with a great voice cast, this is still a rather rote SF take on movies about corrupt cops and the plucky rookie.

[#ShineComics Extra] GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT by Alan Burnett (script), Lauren Montgomery (dir.); Warner Premiere, 2009, $19.98/$24.98.

The Week in Tweet, Week 44

@outshine slowly rises in the night
The people softly lit by restless moonlight
And as the jackal preys upon the Netherworld
You can hear as she surprises and sings … RISE!

Monday October 26:

[Quote for the Monday] “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

[Source] Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) / British naturalist and writer.

Tuesday October 27:

Desert rock’s most reliable practitioners show no signs of weathering away. Fuzzy riffs, sleazy solos, weird lyrics – what more d’you want?

[#SoundBytes] SIGNS OF INFINITE POWER by Fu Manchu – http://www.fu-manchu.com/ / Century Media – http://www.centurymedia.com/.

Wednesday October 28:

dry earth holds wee tracks
lightly they imprint the earth
quail, raccoon, skunk, thrush

[Bio] Jodi: I don’t know who she is except lost in her thoughts and found in her writing.

Thursday October 29:

With its lovely camera work, misogyny, pretension and gruesome torture, this may be the first real horror film. But who wants to watch it?

[#Spitballs] Antichrist / Directed by Lars von Trier / http://bit.ly/kENGz.

Friday October 30:

[Quote for the Friday] “Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.”

[Source] Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) / German philosopher / Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Ethics.

Saturday October 31:

The climbing guide could tell Harper’s arm was flagging. The whisper at camp was: could he pull it off and grow a good one by morning?

[Bio] @jeremylewit enjoys the conceit that his focus problem is early-onset time travel. http://jeremylewit.blogspot.com/.

Sunday November 1:

David ties up the long-running story with as much tell as show, and a disappointing resolution for mysterious, fascinating Layla Miller.

[#ShineComics] X-FACTOR #50 by Peter David (script) and Valentine De Landro (art); Marvel, 2009, $3.99.

The Week in Tweet, Week 43

[Lyrics quote] @outshine

Monday October 19:

[Quote for the Monday] “Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country; their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.”

[Source] Nelson Mandela (1918 – ) / South African president and lawyer / The Struggle is My Life.

Tuesday October 20:

Hard rock funsters, still very Spinal Jap; but this crowd-funded new album has a more modern tone and (slightly) more serious demeanour.

[#SoundBytes] SUGOI INDEED by Electric Eel Shock — http://is.gd/4sSD2 / Double Peace Records (self-funded) — http://is.gd/4sSD2.

Wednesday October 21:

Trillions of nanoparticles cross the blood-brain barrier, each pairing off with a brain cell. They perform a truly modern dancescience.

[Bio] @MattAlbertson is a Seattle geek who enjoys splicing his fiction with cutting edge technology. http://MattAlbertson.com.

Thursday October 22:

Cameron Diaz delivers the worst Southern accent evuh in a dull, badly edited film that offers more evidence that Donnie Darko was a fluke.

[#Spitballs] The Box / Directed by Richard Kelly / http://thebox-movie.warnerbros.com/.

Friday October 23:

[Quote for the Friday, slightly paraphrased] “Instead of dirt & poison we’ve chosen to fill our hives w\honey & wax—thus furnishing mankind w\the two noblest of things: sweetness & light.”

[Source] Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745) / Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman / The Battle of the Books.

Saturday October 24:

It’s a strange week when you’re thinking, ‘trenchcoats or atomic insects? Wait, is that trenchcoats ON atomic insects?’ I love my job.

[Bio] Marlo Dianne is a writer/artist of more than fifty published works. This wondergeek is found @ http://www.forbiddendragon.blogspot.com.

Sunday October 25:

Fast, violent, and blessed with a great voice cast, this is still a rather rote SF take on movies about corrupt cops and the plucky rookie.

[#ShineComics Extra] GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT by Alan Burnett (script), Lauren Montgomery (dir.); Warner Premiere, 2009, $19.98/$24.98 ..

The Week in Tweet, Week 42

[Lyrics quote] @outshine

Monday October 12:

[Quote for the Monday] “Invention is the process by which a new idea is discovered or created. In contrast, innovation occurs when that new idea is adopted.”

[Source] Attributed to Everett Rogers (1931 – ) / U.S. sociologist.

Tuesday October 13:

It’s like someone cloned Page Hamilton — furious angular alt-metal-hardcore that drips with contempt for its fellow man. Angrily excellent.

[#SoundBytes] PIG CHARMER by Throttlerod – http://www.throttlerod.com/ / Small Stone Records – http://www.smallstone.com/ .

Wednesday October 14:

Optimized and burned clean,
our nightmares you learn.
Holograms able to love
are your successors.

~The Cosmist Worm.

[Bio] James Dye — @JamesJDye — is a writer and college student from Dubuque Iowa.

Thursday October 15:

A Halloween treat, this homage to 80s horror cinema—Satanists, spooky houses, pretty girls—is played straight to excellent creepy effect.

[#Spitballs] House of the Devil / Directed by Ti West / http://is.gd/4lhFn.

Friday October 16:

[Quote for the Friday] “That action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers.”

[Source] Francis Hutcheson (1694 – 1746) / Irish-born English philosopher / Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.

Saturday October 17:

Engine’s protesting, sir. Says it wants a pony. Shall I tell the passengers to wait, or…?

[Bio] Carolyn Elizabeth Lamb can fold into a portable cube, for your convenience.

Sunday October 18:

IDW gives Bloom County a gorgeous deluxe treatment in a book that includes strips not seen since their original appearances. A must-have.

[#ShineComics] BLOOM COUNTY COMPLETE LIBRARY VOLUME 1 by Berkeley Breathed; IDW, 2009, $39.95 (hardcover).

Good News from around the Globe, Local Version

Here are a few things that struck me in my own country (The Netherlands).

This so-called ‘Beer Boat’ is fully electrical driven (both the propeller and the crane) with green current and reduces the county’s CO2 emissions with 16.5 tonnes per year in comparison with trucks. It not only transports beer, but also clothing, books and construction materials.

Actually, it is the second one in Utrecht, a city that tries to limit truck driving in its inner city because the fragility of its ancinet bridges and wharves. The first one is a diesel boat, but it was so fully booked they needed a second one. A much better one (it’s almost completely silent), everyone agrees.

(Friday April 9 I am meeting my Dutch SF companions in Utrecht: the beer should taste extra good…;-)

  • In the recent DUS (FNV BondgenotenMagazine: the newspaper of the Union of which I am a member) there was an interview with Pieter Hilhorst, the Dutch national ombudsman: a self-procliamed ‘tireless softie’ who is against cynism.

To quote:

I hate cynicism, but I am not an old-fashioned leftie. The old-fashioned left still think a better society can be created through anonymous solidarity with rigid rules. But we get stuck in those rules. We should rebuild solidarity from the bottom up: help each other at the small scale level, using self-organising powers: not ‘save yourself’, but ‘save each other’.

We need more people like him.

  • Hyves for energy is the vision of the future (via de Volkskrant): experimental cogeneration (or Combined Heat and Power or CHP) plants are being installed in Dutch households. Experimental because of the scale: right now CHP plants are of industrial size, this is one of the first times where the principle is scaled down to that of a household central heating boiler. A so-called micro-cogenerator boiler (microwarmtekrachtketel’) that — according to KEMA, the manufacturer — increases the energy efficiency from 98 to 125% (this obviously hinges on how one defines ‘efficieincy’, but in other words, part of the boiler’s waste heat is transformed in electricity through a small Stirling engine).

Problem is that such installations are quite expensive, and their economic feasibility hinges on the electricity company’s willingness to pay for power delivered back into the net. Hence an experimental set-up, with some households using the micro-cogenerator boiler, some using a heat pump that extracts energy from the air, some have solar panels and all are connected to windmills through a smart grid. Also the use of ‘smart’ appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that will automatically switch on when the renewable energy is cheaper than that of the grid.

“There will be communities that share and exchange energy,” says Pier Nabuurs of KEMA, “a bit like Hyves for energy.” (NOTE: Hyves is the Dutch version of Facebook.)

  • Groenlinks, the Dutch green party, presented its programme for the June 9 national elections yesterday. I particularly like their slogan: ‘Zin in de toekomst’, or: ‘Looking forward to the future’.

Yes, I cannot empasise enough that there are a huge amount of people who are actively trying to build a better future, and are looking forward to it. SF community, take note.

  • Apropos biodiversity and its uses: let worms clean the sewage sludge. Scientist Tim Hendrickx of Wageningen University says the Lumbriculus variegatus can clean up to 70% of the Dutch sewage sludge. Biocrafted Ouroboros, anyone (hats off to Rajan Khanna)? [Rajan’s tweet was up on @outshine on June 10, and the worms article on June 13. Coincidence? I think not…;-)]
  • A company in Barneveld called Paperfoam is the only one in the world that fabricates packaging material fully from potato starch: ‘a real iPhone is packed in starch‘. 100% biodegradable, and the CO2 emission from manufacturing one paperfoam CD or DVD case is one tenth of that of a plastic one. While all the research is done in Holland, the company has license holders in Denmarl, Malaysia and the US.

So say goodbey to your plastic (one hopes, looking at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

That’s the second time that environmental awareness is combined with good drinks! Coincidence? I think not!

And thankfully innovation and forward thinking are alive and well, also in Holland.

UPDATE (hot off the press): Suriname, which used to be a Dutch colony, is doing very fine. An interview with Andre Telting, the director of Suriname’s central bank.

In the year 2000, as the country’s bank director, he inherited a total financial chaos. But he — and his fellow countrymen — turned it around.

Recently, at the IMF meeting in Istanbul, Suriname was receiving compliments. They were one of the very few nations that showed growth through the credit crisis. The country improved its debt position and strengthened its monetary reserves (reducing the country’s debt from over 500 million euors in 2000 to 210 million euros now).

On top of that, while he’s resigning (after ten intense years, and he’s 74 years old now) he’s optimistic that the Surinam people will not elect a corrupt government again. To quote:

“As regards criminality in this region we are an oasis of peace. Suriname is a safe country for foreigners. The average Surinamer is healthy and well-educated. Yes, I am positive about this country. But we have to prepare our people to several new developments, like the oil inning industry which can be a large source of income for Suriname.”

Which puts the cliché that ‘Third World’ countries can’t take care of themselves in a different perspective.