Sunday, September 25, 2016

Another Good Day

Yesterday was another good day for me in sports. First of all, the Seattle Mariners lost to the team with the worst record in Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Twins. This further diminishes the Mariners' hopes for a wildcard slot and their first visit to the post season since the Paleolithic Era. Okay, 2001.

Also yesterday the Nike Ducks (in uniforms to make them look like their duck mascot) lost to the Colorado Buffaloes. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffs have been the doormat of the conference. So them beating Oregon is especially sweet (although it does take some of the joy out of the Huskies beating Oregon, which I'm sure they will this year).

Washington State Cougars had a bye this week, so no news there.

Finally, the best news of the day, the University of Washington Huskies beat Arizona for the first time in six years. It was a hard fought game. Arizona had two amazing players: their quarterback and a running back. The quarterback could not only scramble, but could run. On one play he ran 79 yards to make a touch down, as if he were a running back himself. The running back that was so good was, unfortunate, injured and had to leave the game. They guy could squirt through holes and make yards.

This was the first away game for the Huskies and the first against a good opponent. While they struggled at times, they never gave up. They faced adversity and kept playing hard.

The game actually went into overtime, but the Huskies made a touchdown and then stopped Arizona from reciprocating, ending overtime (college football overtime rules are weird). Huskies won the game 35-28.

So where do we stand? The Huskies are now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference. That puts them in second place in the Pac-12 North Division after Stanford (who are 3-0 and 2-0 in conference). The Oregon Ducks are tied for last place in the North Division with the California Golden Bears at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference.

In the AP poll today, Stanford is still #7 (same place for three weeks) and the Huskies, perhaps due to the closeness of last night's game, dropped to #10 from #9 last week. But I saw a headline that they are 2.5 point favorites going into the Stanford game on Friday evening. That game is a home game for the Huskies so that will help.

The only other Pac-12 team in the top 25 AP poll are the Utah Utes (who lead the Pac-12 South Division) at #18.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Allie Potts

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Allie Potts.

Madaleine Holly-Rosing
Madeleine Holly-Rosing

A TV, feature film and comic book writer, Madeleine is the writer/creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic and has won the Sloan Fellowship  for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film. She also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. In addition, Madeleine teaches a Kickstarter class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and has published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY webcomic is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was also nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.

Madeleine's Books

Madeleine's Links:

Allie Potts
Allie Potts

Allie Potts, born in Rochester Minnesota was moved to North Carolina at a very early age by parents eager to escape to a more forgiving climate. She has since continued to call North Carolina home, settling in Raleigh, halfway between the mountains and the sea, in 1998.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day or chasing after children determined to turn her hair gray before its time, Allie enjoys stories of all kinds. Her favorites, whether they are novels, film, or simply shared aloud with friends, are usually accompanied with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand.

Allie's Books:

Allie's Links:

From Today's Show: Phobos Grooves Mystery Solved.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Out of Control

A lot of newer cars are adding an auto-braking system where if the car scenes an imminent collision, it automatically slams on the brakes. As noted in this NPR article, most cars sold in the U.S. are going to have this by 2022. And "experts" say it could prevent 20% of collisions.

But I'm worried about the loss of driver control these systems represent.

I was driving over Snoqualmie Pass last year to go to an in-law holiday celebration that has been dubbed "Thanksmas." Snoqualmie Pass is known for its bad winter weather with heavy snows and sometimes icy conditions. And, it seems, Thanksmas always happens on one of the worst days for weather on the pass. And this year was no exception.

I was driving along at maybe 50 mph on packed snow on the road. I was in the right lane of the two-lane interstate highway. My wife gasped as she saw the problem first (I was concentrating on the road). There were multiple overturned cars along the side of the road. And, I realized, there was a semi truck stopped in my lane directly ahead. I put the brakes on, not hard but hard enough to, I hoped, stop in time. The car kept going as the ice I didn't realize was there and was providing no traction. I knew if I simply kept my foot on the brake I'd slide into the back of the semi truck. I also knew that in a slide, turning the wheel to steer the car is useless because you have no traction.

I couldn't go into the left lane because there was a car there. I looked and saw that the right shoulder was empty except for a man standing near it talking on his cell phone. I calculated there was enough room between him and the truck for my car.

I took my foot of the brake, which restored enough traction I could turn the car toward the shoulder. Once I was aimed at the shoulder and not the truck, I applied the brakes again, hard. The rumble strip helped, and the car stopped before hitting the snowbank. I missed the man standing there by maybe a foot. Maybe less. But no one was hurt and no vehicles were damaged. When the truck started moving again, I pulled in behind it, this time being more careful as I now knew how slick the road actually was.

But, here's my concern. If my car had automatic braking, would the car have, thinking I was about to hit the truck, slammed on the brakes when I stopped braking, leaving me out of control and sliding into the truck? Would the automatic braking caused an accident I was able to avoid? Would the loss of driver control because the car wouldn't know the road was icy, slam me into the back of that truck?

It's this loss of control that automatic braking systems cause that worries me. Maybe for the driver who doesn't pay attention, automatic braking is a good thing. But for a driver who knows what they are doing, it could cause an accident where the driver could have prevented it.

And as cars grow more and more autonomous, will they be able to handle adverse conditions such as snow, ice, or heavy rain?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What I Wore Today

And it's time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in approximately 30 weeks. 

Today's prompt is "What you wore today." I don't change what I wear a lot. It's usually black pants (WalMart), polo shirts (J.C. Pennys), and running shoes (Asic Gels from Big 5 Sports). Since I work out of my home, I don't need to impress anyone. Some days I'll wear a T-shirt. But not every day.

I know, I'm boring. Even if I want to "dress up" I usually just put a sports jacket on over what I described above (yes, with running shoes; after I stopped working 8 - 6, I decided I was never wearing uncomfortable shoes again).

Oh, and sometimes I wear a hat, like in my profile picture. I own two hats (well, more than that if you count baseball caps): a brown felt fedora and a white straw fedora for summer.

What do you wear most of the time?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

UW Huskies Still Playing Great

The University of Washington Huskies are still playing very well. Yesterday they faced FCS team Portland State. Overall, the offense had a little trouble with Portland State, while the defense held the opponents to just three points. I wanted the Huskies to have a score over 40 to keep their high ranking in the AP College Football Poll. They went into the game at #8 in the nation. The poll released this morning has them #9. Probably not because we did worse, but because someone else (Michigan State) did better. But we are still a top-ten team.

One place the Huskies have not shone is the run game. They have some great running backs but they haven't be using them. Part of this is that sophomore quarterback Jake Browning is so good throwing the ball. But yesterday the Huskies did run the ball more and they looked good.

Unlike the Rutgers and Idaho blowouts, the second and third string players weren't on the field for most of the second half. They didn't come out until about halfway through the fourth quarter. But, even then, the Huskies managed a last minute touchdown. The final score was 3-41.

The Huskies are number two in the Pac-12 North after Stanford who is 2-0. But Stanford has a conference win (they beat USC yesterday) so that puts them over the 3-0 Huskies who have yet to play a conference game.

But next week, the Huskies start playing conference teams with a trip to Tuscon to play Arizona. The Huskies are favored to win that game, but it won't be a blow out. Then they play #7 Stanford (been #7 for three weeks now) on September 30th. That should be a good game, and they play at home so that helps, and I think the Huskies have a chance to win it. But just a chance if they don't make any huge mistakes.

And the Nike Ducks lost to Nebraska yesterday, putting them out of the top 25 AP poll. So that's good news. Right now there are three Pac-12 teams that are ranked: Stanford, the UW Huskies, and Utah at #24. I've read that the Utah Utes may be the sleeper team this year. We'll have to see.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spooktacular Authors Giveaway

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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Raymond Burke and Ira Nayman

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Raymond Burke and Ira Nayman.

Raymond Burke
Raymond Burke

My background includes an early life in Canada and the US, employment in the British Army as an aircraft technician, an MSc degree in Archaeology from University College London, and I'm also a member of The Mars Society. I wrote short-articles for (the now defunct) and have future aspirations to be a screen-writer.  I cunningly live without a fridge, satellite TV, iPod, and also can’t drive. I'm a self-confessed 21st century caveman . . . and love it!

Raymond's Book:

The Starguards – Of Humans, Heroes, and Demigods

Raymond's Links:


Ira Nayman
Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman is Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion. You know, the black sheep of the laws that the Newton family doesn’t like to talk about at get-togethers. The one who writes humourous science fiction in a serious science fiction world. The one whose fourth novel, It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should has just been published by Elsewhen Press. The one whose seventh self-published Alternate Reality News Service book (featuring the best in comedic science fiction in handy journalistic form) will be out late in 2016. The one who has a Web site of topical social and political satire, Les Pages aux Folles. The one who…doesn’t always know how to bring a comedy premise home and hopes nobody notices. Yeah, that Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion!

Ira's Book:

Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should

Ira's Links:


From Today's Program: Dark Matter May Feel a Dark Force.