Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

February 22nd, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • From Jim Strickland comes this report of a new coinage. How many seconds did it take for you to get the joke? Did you get it at all?
  • Alas, neither the Death Star Grill nor the Darth Vader gumball machine made it past the first cut. Dayum. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • This, on the other hand, is a real product. (Again from Pete. Don't miss the video.) On the other other hand, if you have to ask, well…
  • Here's an interesting discussion on the economics of rooftop PV solar power systems. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the pointer.) As with a lot of posts like this, the real action is in the comments. Had we stayed in Arizona—and possibly built a new custom house there, which we were considering—I would have installed a system like that. Note that batteries are not necessary unless you're completely off-grid. (A lot of people still don't understand this.) The power companies are basically paying you for adding peak power capacity to their grid by reducing your monthly bill. Doesn't work well everywhere, but where it does work well (basically the Southwest) it will become a great deal cheaper over the next fifteen or twenty years.
  • Sometimes I can spot a hoax. Sometimes I can't. And sometimes I just can't decide. (I know enough artistes to understand that anything's possible.) So you tell me.
  • It's hardly new news, but I don't generally walk in those precincts: Romances represent 21% of the $6.31B print book industry. SF/fantasy comes in at $495M and mysteries are at a surprisingly low $422M. (Those are print book sales only. Ebooks not included.)
  • Chris Gerrib called my attention to a great rant by John Scalzi on what's still wrong with SFWA, which I still haven't re-joined, and may not until I know that Andrew Burt has removed himself from their environs to, say, Uranus. And even with Burt out of the way, I'd like to know what the organization thinks that it is, because I myself have never been quite able to figure it out.
  • The generally clear skies in Colorado Springs failed us on Wednesday night for the eclipse, and while we could tell there was a moon up there (and could tell that it was partially occluded) details were utterly lacking.