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Odd Lots

  • Antique Electronic Supply in Tempe, Arizona, has created a new DBA for their tube audio amplifier business: Amplified Parts. The tube stuff still predominates but it’s hardly “antique” and has definitely gone upscale. They rate their power tubes like fine wine: “This Russian tube [6L6GC] has tight lows, straightforward body, and smooth highs. In overdrive, it offers a tight and frosted crunchy bite.”
  • My Taos Toolbox 2011 colleague Alan Smale just won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History at the 2011 Worldcon in Reno. We workshopped an expansion of the winning story, “A Clash of Eagles” and it was terrific. I’m guessing this will make it perhaps a little easier to sell the novel-length work. Bravo, Alan!
  • Even though HP announced yesterday that they were killing their cloud-centered TouchPad tablet, Carol and I saw an expensive commercial for the device on The Weather Channel this morning. Cloud? Did you guys say “cloud”? (No wonder they got the ad…)
  • If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely take a look at Stellarium, a free planetarium program available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s one of the best I’ve ever tried, more polished (if not as deep) as the venerable Cartes du Ciel, which is remarkable in part by being a Lazarus app.
  • David Stafford sends word that an elaborate steampunk loft apartment has gone up for sale in Manhattan. The price? A “mere” $1,750,000.
  • This is killer cool as binoculars go, but would they capture anything at night? (Somehow I doubt it.)
  • Bill Higgins writes to tell us that Catholic University has placed a scan of the 1964 Treasure Chest comics series “Pettigrew for President” online, for free download. I blogged about this years ago, but the comic was not available for download then.
  • Nick Kim does Cowboys and Heavy Metals. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • Fellow carnivore Jim Tubman and I share an appreciation for The Periodic Table of Meat. Most of it, anyway. (No thanks on Meat 75. Oh, and 95.)
  • Back from meat to metals again: Given that it’s the cornerstone material required to build the Hilbert Drive as used in many of my SF yarns, I was a little surprised that ytterbium is so cheap.
  • Did you ever wonder about the physics of coffee rings? Wonder no more.
  • From the Please-Give-Those-Guys-Something-To-Do Department: New taxpayer-funded NASA research tells us that unless we take prompt and serious action against global warming, aliens may invade and wipe us out. UPDATE: This turns out not to be entirely true: The chap who co-wrote the paper works for NASA but he did it on his own time and there was no public funding involved. The Guardian has corrected the piece.


  1. MGalloway says:

    By the way, did you see that someone is now taking orders to build customized steampunk laptops?

    The tech specs look pretty good and you can get the lid customized with working clockwork gears, maps, etc.

  2. Erbo says:

    Much as I’d like to snark against the whole global-warming thing, in this case, I’m gonna have to step up to debunk part of that story about the “taxpayer-funded study.” Apparently, a spokesperson for NASA has said that the study was not conducted by NASA. One of the authors is affiliated with NASA, but that’s it. They got no funding or support from NASA: “It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation.”

    1. Reports are now coming in from all sides: You’re right; at best, the chap affiliated with NASA was a post-doc screwing around on his own time. The Guardian has already corrected the story, though without much enthusiasm.

      This is all good; NASA doesn’t need this kind of idiocy hanging from its name, and even global warming–as a topic of ongoing research–deserves better.

  3. Andy Kowalczyk says:

    I soon as you mentioned Treasure Chest I thought of the Chuck White series on traveling to Alaska – the very same one you pointed to in the 2008 posting!

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