Everything Else

Mission Monday 1.0 – Discovering the Ideal Writing Location

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Before you say anything, yes I know last week’s Story Saturday never showed up… Unfortunately, not having a computer or a free second all weekend made things difficult, so that story will be used for this week instead! Lucky you! (This little ‘incident’ has also spawned what will be the topic of the next Whatever Wednesday… Deadlines!)

But today is Monday, not Wednesday and not Saturday. That means it’s time for Mission Monday!

There is something I feel I am missing that every writer really should have. If you are lucky, you can create it for yourself and design it to be exactly the way you want, but I feel like many people don’t have that luxury, including myself. Therefore, my mission for the next couple weeks is to find my ideal writing location.

Before we start, let’s analyze the current situation… Continue reading

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“Leverage, says you. I think I feel a change in the wind, says I.”

It’s true. Change is coming to this “blog!” Now that I have accomplished the daunting task of seeking employment, I can actually spend time on what really matters. Like being employed… And writing!

I enjoyed reading and reflecting on articles about new technology and interesting science. I also enjoyed writing stories that went with those articles. However, I think the format needs to change a little bit. That can’t stand alone as the sole purpose of this website. And let’s face it, the whole “Oh, I’ll just post whenever I get a chance/am in the mood” thing wasn’t really working out that well for anybody. I think we will start having specialized days of the week, which will make it easier for all your folks to follow and will hold me accountable if I fail. Always a good time.

Nothing is set in stone, but my vision is this…

Whatever Wednesday – This could be a review about tech/science, it could be just random ramblings. It will conclude with the prompt for Story Saturday.

Story Saturday – Story that goes with that week’s prompt.

Mission Monday – …Because it’s always nice to have a goal, I will post about whatever (writing-related?) mission I am currently trying to accomplish.

Revised theme, layout, About Me, and other things too. Hooray!

No one knows when these changes will actually become a reality–most likely within the next few weeks.

And yes, that is a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean.

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BioScience Update – Artificial Blood, Not Just for Vampires…

It seems that the world’s recent obsession with vampires has not gone unnoticed by the powers that be. In the coincidence of all coincidences, scientists in Transylvania are making progress on an artificial blood substitute. Apparently vampires decided that they don’t actually like having to bite people to get blood and would prefer to just make it themselves…

Back in real life, artificial blood is one of the holy grails of science. If it can be created with an unlimited expiration date with no possibility of rejection or immune response it would change the way emergency room surgery works today. The days of needing the Red Cross would be over, and serious cases of blood loss could be fixed almost instantaneously.

I imagine that creating a working substitute for blood will not be the end. Once we can create an equal to our natural nutrient and oxygen transportation system, we will look to improve it. Eventually, we will have artificial blood that is more efficient than our own blood. Potentially/theoretically, with more efficient blood the heart muscle may not need to work as hard, reducing fatal heart diseases. Along those same lines, if we can develop artificial blood that will only clot under certain circumstances than we could avoid blocking arteries altogether.

The potential here is enormous! Unfortunately, it’s still a ways away. Check it out here:  http://www.newser.com/story/177041/transylvania-scientist-ive-made-blood.html

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Protected: NYCM Flash Fiction Contest – 2013 Round 2

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Short Story – “The Weight of the Badge”

Here’s a little something I came up with based on my Tech Update on 3D printing metal. It was also supposed to double as NaNoWriMo practice, but ended up taking longer than I expected when I started to care about making it actually somewhat polished and well-written. All in all, it probably took about 3-4 hours to write and edit the 1000 words here. Hopefully I can improve on that rate for NaNo when I’ll try really really hard not to edit at all. And inevitably fail because I awkwardly enjoy editing…

The Weight of the Badge

Officer Karen Winters pointed her pistol at the rear exit and waited. She tried to steady her trembling hand and brushed a bead of nervous sweat from her forehead. It was her first case outside the office.

Around the front of the small condo she heard one of the other officers knock on the door. “Mr. Kane, please come out. We have a warrant to search the premises.”

Despite the current focus on this house, Karen kept her ears more focused behind her. She had heard the stories about this rundown neighborhood. Drugs, guns, poverty.

Suddenly, a large crash sounded from inside the house. Karen jumped and instinctively pulled the trigger, blasting a hole through the back door. Her partners came running, guns drawn and ready.

Continue reading

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Tech Update – 3D Printing Metal

At this point we’ve had 3D printing of plastic parts around for a while now. You can upload a file from a professional design software and watch a small plastic part get built up right before your eyes! These 3D plastic printers are starting to appear in homes and will probably eventually be as common as a microwave.

Now 3D printing is taking the next step. A consortium of companies called the AMAZE Project have started work on printing metal parts (http://www.gizmag.com/esa-amaze-project-3d-printer-iss/29447/). “Oh crap… I can’t find the screwdriver AGAIN! That’s okay, let me just print a new one…” That could be a future we are heading towards. Instead of buying things people will be buying raw materials and using 3D printers to build their own things. Customization and innovation will become accessible to the average person and instead of buying a product, you will buy the design file for a product online and then make it yourself. Everyone thinks that they can do things better and without the regulations and cost of typical companies, people will get a chance to see if that’s true. If you just can’t seem to find a pen that fits your hand right, then you could finally get a chance to make the personalized changes you want–you could design and print up a pen casing that is specific to you. There will be so much more individuality and creativity in the everyday things people use. And it will be AWESOME!

There are unlimited other industry applications for this kind of technology, but I will go with an example that is close to home. I have a little bit of experience in the plastics industry and injection molding. In this industry it literally costs pennies to make small plastic parts (depending on material and complexity). Unfortunately, because of this you can only sell the parts for so much. The biggest expense in creating plastic parts is making a metal mold that the plastic forms in and cools in. If 3D printing metal can make these molds cheaper to create then they could significantly cut the cost of injection molding and save it from its biggest competitor… Which, ironically, is 3D printed plastic parts.

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Tech Update – Living on the Water

Recently, during a healthy dose of internet browsing, I learned about a company based in the Netherlands that is designing floating apartment complexes in anticipation of melting ice caps and population growth. I wandered my way over to their website to learn more and was amazed by all the innovative projects they have in their pipeline regarding “water living.” Take a look for yourself:  http://www.waterstudio.nl/.

The idea of living in cities that float on the water (or under the water) really excites my inner engineer. Not only is it fascinating, but it is actually an entirely plausible future–although it is more likely to be a luxury than commonplace. I could see celebrity villages or vacation paradises constructed upon floating cities, secluded and private from the rest of society. It would be similar to how cruise ships are now, at least at first. Eventually, luxury will likely become necessity and many people will need to either move inland or move to floating cities.

It’s great to see a company that is innovating and improving technology ahead of the curve and preparing the world for things we will need in the future. (Unlike the space program, which we all know needs to start being awesome again soon!)

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Protected: Short Story – “Thank Goodness for Boston Minor”

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Tech Update – Self-Assembling Magnetic Blocks

This is very neat! (http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/cubic-robots-build-themselves-131004.htm#mkcpgn=twdsc1) These little “M-Blocks” are magnetic cubes that have flywheels inside, which allow them to roll and can be programmed to self-assemble into a nearly unlimited number of configurations. Then they can disassemble almost as easily.

Right now they may seem like nothing more than expensive adult lincoln logs… But the potential here is enormous!

Think about all the temporary structures that we use. We could have building scaffolds for construction that build up on their own and then come down on their own. We could have flood walls that form whenever there is a threat, but are hidden during good weather. We could have buildings that spring up over night! And if a building needs to be moved… Well, if it’s made of M-blocks it can just disassemble, be transported to a new location, and then reassemble. Obviously, the technology is not anywhere close to this right now, but the thought of a future with these possibilities sure is tantalizing!

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