Lost? Damned Right It Was.

You know what the creators of epic, multiyear-arc television shows need? They need a novelist or two on staff. Or a playwright. Somebody who understands that an epic tale needs to be planned in advance, that plot is not something you work out after you’ve already written 90% of the story, that you can’t just […]

Posted in: ink on art, rant by Peter Watts 77 Comments

The Revenge of the Lizard Queen

There are so many little things I could talk about: another doomed award nom, a couple of nifty academic analyses of Blindsight, even an intriguing new finding of a relationship between hand-washing and buyer’s remorse (no, really — it factors into everything from musical preferences to crucifixions). And I’ll post on at least some of […]

Posted in: ink on art, rant by Peter Watts 65 Comments

Prisoners of Gravity

Rick Green said it best, during an episode of the eponymous and innovative Canadian spec-fic documentary series.  And on this 40th anniversary, this celebration of the voyage of an ancient diving bell — amidst all the back-patting and self-congratulations (especially the CBC’s desperate Me Too! efforts to convince this nation of low-self-esteem self-professed underachievers that […]

Posted in: rant by Peter Watts 7 Comments

Not exactly SF, but pretty fucking Orwellian just the same.

I had dinner the other night with a friend of mine, a former investment banker and derivatives jock for the Toronto Dominion Bank. He grew sufficiently wealthy to retire years ago — while still in his thirties — and has since been managing hedge funds for widows and environmentalists to make up for his past life of […]

Posted in: economics, rant by Peter Watts 20 Comments

Quantum Economics

The past couple of weeks have not been pleasant ones.  I have been doing statistics (on the biogeography of waterfowl), and I have been reading about statistics (on the global economic meltdown).  I have been delving broadly, if not deeply:  postmortems in The Atlantic and Wired; an articulate if foamy rant in Rolling Stone; and […]

Will No One Rid Us of This Troublesome Priest?

I think I might want to be an American. I don’t say this easily. The acid shit-soup aftertaste of the Cheney administration still burbles at the backs of our throats; deregulated dominoes continue to topple the world over; Rush Limbaugh is yet taken seriously by an alarmingly large army of devotees. And yet, I can’t […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 18 Comments

Ogling Obama, Defending Dubya

It’s pretty hard to escape a feeling of pervasive optimism today. We have witnessed perhaps the first-ever presidential inaugural address to contain the phrase “data and statistics”. We heard Obama add “nonbelievers” to the usual Christian-Jew-Muslim litany trotted out in deference to the diversity of the melting pot. We heard the most powerful noncorporate person […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 19 Comments

This is the Way the Year Begins

…Not with a Bang but with a Rant. Christmastime in the Watts household has always been a time for impotent fury. It is a time to reconnect with old friends seen only during this special season, career biologists who stuck it out and stayed the course and got good steady jobs at universities and federal […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 17 Comments

For want of a nail.

For decades now, experts from all walks have provided sage wisdom about the need to save for my declining years. We no longer live in a word of services, they’ve told me. We live in a world of ownership. It is not enough to save. You must invest. And this can sometimes be hard to […]

Posted in: misc, rant by Peter Watts 6 Comments

Trudeau Was Wrong

The universe is not unfolding as it should. It is merely unfolding as it always has. It was a nice dream while it lasted: a grass-roots campaign, launched and promoted by the scientific community, supported by Nobel Laureates, endorsed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, pimped on science blogs far and wide: […]

Posted in: misc, rant by Peter Watts 14 Comments