The Amazing Labor Day $0.99 Book Sale

It’s the biggest and best book sale yet.

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend by topping off your library. Select from over eighty titles each priced at $0.99, including more than a dozen that are absolutely free.

The selection includes top science fiction, fantasy, and adventure authors like Deplora Boule, C.J. Carella, Paul Clayton, Travis Corcoran, Larry Correia,  David Drake, Eric Flint, Declan Finn, Sarah Hoyt, Tom Kratman, Robert Kroese, Jon Mollison, John Ringo, David Weber, David J. West, Michael Z. Williamson, and a wide range of other established and emerging talent.

Note that pricing is set by the authors or their publishers, so please confirm before you buy.

Updated to add For Steam and Country and The Steam Knight by Jon del Arroz, A Place Outside the Wild by Daniel Humphreys, and nonfiction works by science fiction grandmaster, John C. Wright.

Updated again to add Battle for the Wastelands by Matthew W. Quinn, Fireammer and Souls in Silicon by Jeff Duntemann, and Texas Otherworld by Denton Salle.

Updated to add Mikhail Voloshin’s cyber-crime thriller, Dopamine. 

Updated to add Jon Del Arroz’s The Stars Entwined.

Updated to add fLUX Runners by William Joseph Roberts.

Updated to add Honor at Stake.

Continue reading “The Amazing Labor Day $0.99 Book Sale”


Joseph Knight — A Black Life that Really Mattered

Joseph Knight, by James Robertson;  ISBN 0-00-715025-3  (2003)

Occasionally, one comes across a book so well written that the reader is left awestruck at the skill of the author.  This is such a book – a meticulously-researched fictionalized account of an historical event in 1700s Scotland.... [Read More]


Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson – Not Appropriate for Middle Schoolers

A young black girl, Jade, must overcome racism and her own self-destructive behavior to succeed in Renée Watson’s young adult novel, Piecing Me Together, recommended for grade levels 7-9. The author offers an honest appraisal of both petty racism and discrimination, along with self-destructive behaviors that reinforce a cycle of poverty and failure. Although Jade achieves a measure of success in the end, this success comes without her explicitly recognizing and remediating the negative character traits that tend to hold her back. While this book may be appropriate for discussion at the high school level, the ambiguous moral lessons and discussions of topics like sexuality and periods make Piecing Me Together inappropriate for preteens and middle-school-age children.

Spoilers follow.

Continue reading “Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson – Not Appropriate for Middle Schoolers”


Catching the Comet

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) from Fourmilab, Switzerland, 2020-07-18 21_15 UTC

Click to enlarge

Tonight, the evening of 2020-07-18, around 21:00 UTC, I finally got the chance to observe and photograph comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), the Great Comet of 2020, on the first night of (kinda) clear sky after the comet appeared in the evening sky.  Even though the sky was visibly milky, with thin haze reflecting distant lights, after becoming dark adapted, the comet was an easy naked-eye object near the northwestern horizon (which is elevated due to the Jura mountains in that direction).  Through binoculars (Canon 15×50mm image stabilised) the star-like nucleus and coma were well-defined, and the dust tail extended until it was lost in the murky sky.  I was unable to pick up the dimmer, straight, blue ion tail either with the unaided eye or binoculars. Continue reading “Catching the Comet”


Did the U.S. Supreme Court Just Return Part of Oklahoma to the Indians?

Oklahoma Indian reservationsIn a Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday, 2020-07-09, McGirt v. Oklahoma [PDF], the court ruled 5–4 in an opinion written by Neil Gorsuch, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, that an 1833 treaty between the United States and the Creek Nation granting the Indian nation a reservation “in perpetuity” remains in force.  Gorsuch wrote for the majority,

The federal government promised the Creek a reservation in perpetuity. Over time, Congress has diminished that reservation. It has sometimes restricted and other times expanded the Tribe’s authority. But Congress has never withdrawn the promised reservation.... [Read More]


Miss Carter – From the Confident 1950’s to the Incoherent 2020’s.

Introductory note: I wrote this homage to a beloved teacher, Miss Carter, some time ago and set it aside. I came across it yesterday and reread it. I found a burning need to reset its context in light of current events. It thus reaches an inflection point and takes a sharp, negative turn, like our failing nation. 

It was the era when erasers had to be clapped and blackboards washed. First thing every morning we recited the Lord’s Prayer and read a Psalm. It was the 1955-56 academic year at Alexander Hamilton Junior High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I was in 7th grade. We had a class quaintly called “unified studies.” All I remember, though, is that we learned English. Our teacher that year was Miss Carter. She had gray hair and was older than my parents, so she qualified in my book as old – probably mid 50’s. She was what we called an “old maid” and she lived with Miss Neff a fellow maiden teacher. We and the times were sufficiently innocent back then that I do not recall any speculation whatever as to their sexual orientation; in those days there were only two sexes. They were both respected, indeed beloved teachers; strict disciplinarians, to boot.... [Read More]


Public Health versus Individual Health

Over many years of intermittently reading various medical journals I began to notice that the arguments in favor of public health measures were often based solely on society-wide benefits. The effects are usually small on an individual basis and only matter when applied to a large population. As reported in the popular press, the recommendations are simplified to do this because it will make you live longer.

The arguments in the journals tend to go like this:... [Read More]


Turbo Digital in the Twenty-First Century

5GBioShield ScamIn the latter part of the 1980s, the preeminent buzzwords in marketing were “digital”, prompted in particular by the compact disc as a music format, and “turbo”, from the exhaust-powered gizmos auto manufacturers began to use to get more zip out of tiny (compared to V-8s of a few years before) engines.  This resulted in these adjectives being plastered on products which had nothing whatsoever to do with either digital technology or turbocharging.  In the software world Borland International had a whole line of products called “Turbo Pascal”, “Turbo C”, etc., and “digital” showed up on boxes containing things whose only connection with the word was that they could be operated by fingers.  I especially remember ridiculously overpriced “digital speaker cables” which claimed they could better cope with the sound of compact discs.

Well, not to be left behind, I created my own logo in PostScript and started putting it on all of my software projects.... [Read More]


The Great Memorial Day Weekend $0.99 Book Sale

Memorial Day Weekend – a time to honor and remember the troops, and take a break from the daily routine. And what better more cost-effective way to take a break than by diving into a great book for only $0.99!

This Memorial Day Weekend, check out these great books by indie and small-press authors – all priced at $0.99 or less.

Note that pricing is set by the authors, so please confirm before you buy.

Continue reading “The Great Memorial Day Weekend $0.99 Book Sale”


Looking over old files….

I don’t know about you, but there are some things that touched me in my life, some things in the digital world, some things that were shared or received in an email . Yep most were discarded with the logic that ten thousand angels on the head of a pin won’t help me if I don’t forward this to ten other people….

I’m a “visual” type of person, I can visualize results of a project before it’s even begun. A lot of the things I saved were images or clever sayings, but some were purely text…

Continue reading “Looking over old files….”



Yesterday I learned a new thing about sex: the ZW sex determination system. Everyone knows about the XY system: the girls have XX and the boys have XY chromosomes. In college we used James D. Watson’s Molecular Biology of the Gene (2nd ed.). The book is currently in its 7th edition. Early in the text, there’s a section entitled “Chromosomal Determination of Sex” from which I’ve reproduced (pun intended) the page below. Species as disparate as humans, fruit flies (Drosophila), and some plants use the XY system. I figured that’s all there was to it, aside from plants, since that’s all Mr. Watson had to say on the subject. If you already know all about the ZW system, accept my apologies, feel free to congratulate yourself on your erudition, and move on to a different post.

... [Read More]


The Leadership Needed Now

Before beginning, I want to recommend another excellent piece by VDH, whose title employs an apt medical metaphor and whose text describes the painful realities of our current status, while putting them in historical context.

Judging by some of my family members’ reactions to the latest massaged ‘news’ of Trump’s musings regarding disinfectants, I am fearing for the prospects of his reelection. Immersed as they are in 14.7 psi column of legacy propaganda molecules (like the atmosphere it pervades everything, it extends from the surface of the Earth to outer space) [actually, their frantic subterfuges render our environment more like a hyperbaric chamber of air-fluid venom aimed at infusing our very bones], my family are more negative than usual about Trump. Rather than debate them – politics, like religion, is generally not amenable to persuasion – I am focused on what Trump ought to be saying; I am asking what would a real leader say to the public? It is less my enthusiasm for him than my terror at the election of a Dem which is at work here.... [Read More]


Lessons of Emerging Clarity – The Power of Misdirection

All of us are focused on Covid-19, aka SARS – CoV2 and anxiously awaiting its complete characterization. As with prior diseases, giving it a name has always been important to its understanding and treatment. Nowadays, even this is made controversial, with a hidden purpose, as it turns out. Previously and uncontroversially, viral diseases were named for the region in which they first arose or were recognized. e.g. West Nile Virus, Ebola Virus, Zika, Spanish Flu, Coxsackie.

Now, however, rather than discussing what we do not know and what we urgently need to find out, we are regaled with lectures about the impropriety of unfairly stigmatizing China. That, we are told, is more important than learning facts about the illness or its spread (but not as important as criticizing Trump). In point of fact, it is very likely that the totalitarian Chinese government, as is the wont of dictatorships everywhere and at all times, has stigmatized itself through the propaganda and misinformation it continues to spread about the origin and dissemination of this disease. Were so-called ‘wet markets’ operant in the United States, the “media” horde would descend upon them (in hazmat suits) like flies on dung; the markets and bat smoothies would be outlawed by executive order. ‘No need to wait for legislation’, would spout the approving media. Any practice deemed ‘dangerous’ by them must be outlawed immediately!... [Read More]