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In November 1999, I was blogging about books, camomile tea and Skylon 4, the death of Star Trek, and the “active user paradox”

In November 1999, I was blogging about John’s Book Pages (by a CS grad student who had recently read Gene Wolfe and Anthony Bourdain, among many others) What camomile tea has in common with the attack squadron over Skylon 4 (rec.humor newsgroup reference to a disastrous “tandem story” assignment) “Nimoy is, to say the least, amused by the notion that ‘Star Trek’ is on its death bed.” The paradox of…

In praise of the sci-fi corridor

Corridors in science-fiction movies. I love them. I wasted too much of my childhood and youth imitating and developing the superb production sketches of Ron Cobb, Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie and many others. I walked round Elstree studios collecting precious vacuum-formed sections of cloud-city corridor from The Empire Strikes Back, some months after principal photography stopped. I had reams of sci-fi corridors worked out. Corridors make science-fiction believable, because they’re so utilitarian by…

The Internet Archive Is Digitizing & Preserving Over 100,000 Vinyl Records: Hear 750 Full Albums Now

These people do important, amazing work. While shiny, digitally mastered vinyl releases pop up in big box stores everywhere, the real musical wealth lies in the past—in thousands upon thousands of LPs, 45s, 78s—relics of “the only consumer playback format we have that’s fully analog and fully lossless,” says vinyl mastering engineer Adam Gonsalves. Few institutions can afford to store thousands of physical albums, and many rarities and oddities exist in…

Earth doesn’t need more ‘successful people’.

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage wiling to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.…

The Measure of a Man (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 9)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data’s autonomy is at stake in a taut, character-driven courtroom drama that resists pandering — no distracting fist-fights or space battles. This episode not only succeeds as a stand-alone meditation on the human condition, it meshes narratively with events from past shows and offers affordances for future story arcs at a time when most TV was purely episodic. “The Measure of a Man,” by…