Have you ever walked into a meeting, and found yourself extremely confused, firmly entrenched in the Mirror Universe? Yeah. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, hoo-boy. Thank Spock I already have facial hair…
I haven’t read nearly as much of her work as I’d have liked, and that’s something I look forward to rectifying soonly. I’ve never had the chance to meet her at a con, but very eloquent folks who knew her have said wonderful things in remembrance. Of particular note:
- John Scalzi’s remembrance in the LA Times
- China Miéville’s nearly over-the-top deconstruction of a headline, but making a fair and respectful point
- Matt Wallace’s words on grief, written at another time but just as powerful now
- Neil Gaiman’s eloquence at giving Ms. Le Guin a well-deserved “reward”:
It has been making the rounds that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been translated into Scots, but I feel compelled to share here as well given how excellent this development is. I mean, seriously, BEHOLD:
One could read it aloud in a think, Scottish brogue (as I have), or sit back with a dram and listen to the translator, Matthew Fitt, read a bit of it on NPR.
I had the pleasure of giving a Grand Rounds presentation to Sinai’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology yesterday on the Zika virus, focusing on what we’ve learned about it since it’s emergence in this hemisphere in 2016, things of importance that we haven’t figured out yet, and what lies ahead for Zika as a threat in 2018. A few particularly interesting points to me include:
- Zika was first characterized in Africa in 1947, and felt to not be that big of a deal; since then, it’s clear that Zika has mutated from it’s original African strain to subsequent Asian and American strains, the latter two of which appear to be more easily transmitted to humans and attain higher levels of virus in us
- the number of Zika cases has dramatically decreased in the Americas in 2017, likely as a result of acquired immunity to the circulating American strain, at the last area in the US of concern for local transmission in Brownsville, Texas, was declared Zika free in August 2017
- research has come up with some very solid theories about how Zika invades the placenta and the brain tissue of the fetus in a pregnant woman during infection, subverting the usual immune response and setting up continued reservoirs of infection in those tissues, leading in part to dreaded birth defects
- an association of Zika infection with an increase in the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome appears to be consistently true, although is still a rare event
- the CDC’s Zika testing algorithm (who to test, and how) is slightly confusing, but hinges both on how sick someone with suspect Zika is, where they’ve traveled to, and the timing
- travel counseling amounts to “if you are going to a place with known or recent Zika, be very careful about mosquitos and be sensible about sex especially if a pregnant woman or woman of reproductive age, since the virus can be sexually transmitted up to 2 months after infection in women and up to 6 months after infection in men”
- there are a number of promising vaccines in development but they aren’t out yet, and whether they see the light of day may depend on whether Zika dies out or returns
- there are a lot of unknowns at this point, but excellent questions include: will another Zika lineage arise and cause another massive wave of infections, or will it stay in the background at a very low level like West Nile? does being infected previously with another vector-borne virus like Dengue mean anything about how sick or not sick someone gets with Zika?
- the prime reason to remain concerned about Zika is the prevention of children from getting Congenital Zika Syndrome as a result of the infection, and the burden of care said children will require throughout their lives
At the end of the day, just don’t get bit by mosquitos, man.
So, there now exists a reasonably solid, if short, mobile 8-bit platformer app that is essentially an excuse to give your eyes and hands something to do while your ears bask in the audio glory of 13 of Amon Amarth‘s best songs converted to delicious chiptunes.
Brilliant. So good, you guys. So good.
The roll call of conferences and conventions I intend to attend in 2018, either whole or in part:
- New York Toy Fair ~ New York City ~ February 17-20
- GAMA Trade Show ~ Reno, NV ~ March 12-16
- Academic Internal Medicine Week ~ San Antonio, TX ~ March 18-21
- Origins Game Fair ~ Columbus, OH ~ June 13-17
- GenCon ~ Indianapolis, IN ~ August 2-5
- Worldcon 76 ~ San Jose, CA ~ August 16-20
- Pax Unplugged ~ Philadelphia, PA ~ November 17-19
If you are there, I shall see you, uh, there!
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.
Three terrible things happen in a single day.
Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.
She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
Flavor: Primal earth-mages grappling with service to a society that both needs and fears them, as well as freedom from the horrible chains that their guardians judge are needed to keep them in line.
Thoughts: I listened to the Audible version. It started out slow for me over the first couple of hours, but soon broke through into quite the interesting story that easily had me hooked. Jemisin’s voice is distinct and fresh. The world she builds is intriguingly different than most fantasy settings, with enough broad strokes to give a sense of scope and spikes of detail to inform the story, but leaving much more to be fleshed out in future tales. The characters are strong, evolving in real and complex ways. By the end, I felt like I had thoroughly lived a story to a satisfying end, but with a clear setup for the next book.
Verdict: Highly recommended. An excellent choice for fantasy enthusiasts looking for something different, and very well-done. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016, and certainly feels worthy of that honor. I’ll be prioritizing the next book in the Broken Earth series on my to-read list.
Last year, Laura and I joined as business partners in the Family Game Store, located in the Historic Savage Mill in Savage, MD! As board game enthusiasts, we have been shopping there for a number of years, and decided to take the plunge into the fascinating, and sometimes tumultuous, world of board-gaming small business.
It’s been, let’s say… educational. But also (and most importantly) fun! Please come by to check out some games, hang out at our weekly Saturday evening open gaming nights, or join in on specific gaming events. In addition to the calendar of events on our website, you can follow our news and happenings on the Twitter machine and the Facebookery and the Instagram. We hope to see you there soon!
In which I will continue to note all things “cmar”… the journal Cancer Management and Research describes itself thusly:
An international, peer reviewed, open access journal focusing on cancer research and the optimal use of preventative and integrated treatment interventions to achieve improved outcomes, enhanced survival and quality of life for the cancer patient.
While not a top journal in it’s field, it is named CMAR, and as such is worthy of note. More granular assessments of it’s quality are beyond my scope, and much more in Miloš‘ wheelhouse.
Listen here for opining on the relevance (or not) of the above.