In the good old days, I wrote humorous News of the Week offerings, which, incidentally, nobody read. I can’t explain it, but my usual friends tend to turn away in distaste from my sense of humor. Or maybe they just miss it altogether. It’s possible I’m not actually funny.
That was then. This is now. Today, after I’ve spent a year posting nothing but chapters of The Minäverse to keep my blog from dying, I’m going to write a different kind of News of the Week. It’s going to be serious. Very, very serious. If any absurdity creeps in, I’ll smack it right back out. Okay? Do we have a deal?
News About Me:
That’s right. I’m going to lead with my own news. Back in 2014, I wrote the first draft to The Minäverse. Issue in major life changes: being abducted by aliens and dropped down in Roswell, NM; trying to maintain a stressful “day” job, while keeping my freelance business going; still trying to chip away at a degree that might come in handy someday. That’s about it, to be honest. Still, that’s my excuse for taking so long to publish my book. But now it’s available as an ebook at the great price of $3.99 and as a paperback at the great price of $15.00.
News In the Sci Fi Industry:
Jon Del Arroz is using GoFundMe to raise money for a discrimination lawsuit against WorldCon. From what I’ve witnessed of Del Arroz, his detractors’ idea of abuse equals tagging people in social media who don’t want to be tagged by him, let alone associate with him, and calling on his followers to do the same. Supposedly, all of this was in response to these people gossiping about him. There was also talk of his having emailed the president of SFWA (maybe even more than once), but that isn’t necessarily abuse if he had a legitimate reason for doing so. After all, the president of SFWA is operating in the capacity of headship for the members of the organization. She isn’t a superstar out of reach of the unwashed plebes. Sometimes, when it comes to these he-said, she-said disputes, your perspective will largely depend on who you talk to, who you choose to depend on for truth, and your POV regarding politics. Ie, people who align themselves with progressive politics hate Jon Del Arroz. That is almost indisputable. So what is the truth in between all the holier-than-thou handwringing and gossip-mongering? Is Jon Del Arroz a bully who hides his abuse from the Twitter sphere, where I regularly see him interacting with others? God knows what infractions others consider to be abuse.
If my take sounds snarky, I apologize. The holier-than-thou handwringing and gossip-mongering accusation belongs to those who aren’t speaking the truth (or who are spreading falsehoods without knowing the full truth). That doesn’t mean I’m accusing you. Most people know by now that I’m more inclined to side with the person willing to keep things public despite violating social norms and niceties. I prefer being impolite to the behavior of nice, moral Wormtongues who like to whisper behind others’ backs. Wormtongues cannot be trusted. Ever. But that doesn’t mean I’m right.
As a last point of interest, there have been a few people who said they would report Del Arroz for violating the fund-raising site’s policy of not allowing the raising of legal funds. I don’t think that’s exactly GoFundMe’s current policy, which states that it doesn’t allow money on their site to be raised in defense of people who have been accused of crimes, harassment, discrimination, etc. Del Arroz isn’t raising money to defend himself. But GoFundMe can remove any campaign from their site if they decide it violates their policy, which is why I’m not linking to Del Arroz’s campaign. I’m not going to add fuel to the fire.
Artificial Intelligence and Alien News:
I waxed on and on in that last section, so I’ll be brief regarding this section. Let’s be honest. I have a daily stream of news coming in on the AI front. By comparison, I only rarely see news about aliens. That’s probably to be expected. So I’m going to focus on what fascinates me. Today, I found it on Science Daily. Click on it. I dare you.
Are you kidding me? Praying Mantises have a type of 3D vision not yet seen elsewhere in biology:
Humans are incredibly good at seeing 3D in still images. We do this by matching up the details of the picture seen in each eye. But mantises only attack moving prey so their 3D doesn’t need to work in still images. The team found mantises don’t bother about the details of the picture but just look for places where the picture is changing.
This makes mantis 3D vision very robust. Even if the scientists made the two eyes’ images completely different, mantises can still match up the places where things are changing. They did so even when humans couldn’t.
If I understand this correctly, they are using their vision to detect change over time. You know, what you did in a math class at one time…. This is relevant to AI because, you know, if the praying mantis can use this type of vision, why not robots? Now you can cue horrifying scenes of giant invading robot praying mantises. Wearing giant mantis glasses. Backing up a little bit — scientists discovered this unusual type of 3D vision because they made tiny insect glasses. That’s right, tiny glasses. That is clearly the most relevant part of this story. Honey, I just shrunk my head so I could wear tiny mantis glasses! I’ve always been fascinated by head trauma. Why not radically turn myself into an insect-head so I can experience math class in a whole new way?