Searching for contentment


Living in the Rockies

One thing I love in the springtime is the graceful contrast between pale hues of the dried plant growth from the previous season, like this milkweed pod husk, and the freshly minted green of the newly emerging grasses.

Dried milkweed pod husk against a background of fresh spring grasses

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Reading: Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

Walkaway by Cory DoctorowExquisitely performed by Wil Wheaton, Amber Benson, Amanda Palmer, Mirron Willis, Gabrielle de Cuir, Lisa Renee Pitts and Justine Eyre.

When a science fiction novel is praised by William Gibson ("A wonderful novel"), Edward Snowden ("Walkaway reminds us that the world we choose to build is the one we'll inhabit"), Kim Stanley Robinson ("In a world full of easy dystopias, Cory Doctorow writes the hard utopia, and what do you know, his utopia is both more thought-provoking and more fun"), and Neal Stephenson ("a pretty damned tight techno-thriller"), you know you may be in for a good read. And Doctorow delivers.

Cory is someone I pay attention to. I search out and read his articles, I read his posts on BoingBoing, and I watch his talks (though sometimes they are a bit over my head). He is working at a frenetic pace fighting the good fight for our rights, and somehow he even finds time to write books. Wow!

The thing that amazes me most about Cory's outlook—as expressed both in his real-world work and his novels—is that in the face of seemingly overwhelming and often ominous challenges to our rights and the rights of the characters in his novels, he maintains a strong undercurrent of vibrant optimism. He sees a path to a brighter future, without whitewashing how challenging it will be to get there.

As Neal Stephenson also says in his blurb, Walkaway is "the Bhagavad Gita of hacker / maker / burner / open source / git / gnu / wiki / 99% / adjunct faculty / Anonymous / shareware / thingiverse / cypherpunk / LGTBQIA / squatter / upcycling culture." If you take the time to read those terms carefully, you get a good idea of the sweeping scope of this story.

At it roots, Walkaway is a story of people trying to create a better world—for themselves, their families, their friends, their lovers, their communities, and even strangers—by using forward thinking and cutting-edge technology in the face of fierce resistance and violent opposition from the entrenched establishment with its inflated sense of entitlement.

Walkaway very well could be a glimpse of our future.

DRM-free versions of Walkaway are available from Cory Doctorow's Craphound.
Printed Walkaway is available from many independent booksellers.
Paper and eBook: Tor Books, 2017
Audiobook: Cory Doctorow, 2017

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Contemplating: Cassini's Grand Finale

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked with filmmaker Erik Wernquist to create this stunningly beautiful animated film based on actual images of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Still shot from 'Cassini's Grand Finale: Cassini flying towards Saturn

The film captures key moments in the mission, from the launch on October 15, 1997 through the end of mission nearly 20 years later.

Here's an actual image the film is based upon, titled The Rite of Spring:

Image of Saturn taken by Cassini

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Woodworking: Windtraveler shoji lamp

My current project is in the shape of the Catalan deltoidal hexecontahedron, which is made up of 60 deltoid-shaped faces.

Thinking about my next lamp: a deltoidal hexecontahedron

I really love the deltoid shape. I like the way you can put three of these deltoids together to form a triangle, or five of them together to form a pentagon, or 60 to form a deltoidal hexecontahedron.

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CQ: Diving into D-Star

When I first dove into D-Star, I knew nearly nothing about digital voice and quickly found myself sinking in a big bowl of bewilderingly murky information soup. SOS!

So if it's that bewildering, why even bother? I'll jump a bit ahead here and share one tidbit: at one point early in my exploration of D-STAR, I linked to a reflector and heard a guy in San Diego, California chatting with a chap in Yorkshire, England. That was the moment I became hooked!

Diagram of DV HTs connecting via personal access points to reflectors
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