HMS Galactica

Do not read this if you follow BSG, haven’t yet seen last night’s episode, and are averse to spoilers along the lines of “Oh, look, it got  even grimmer.  Who’da thunk?”  Because today’s post will carry such vague, thematic spoilers. Here we go. Oh look. It got even grimmer.  Who’da thunk? Way back in high […]

Posted in: ink on art by Peter Watts 19 Comments

Deep Sea = Deep Space

A few bits of personally-relevant science have slid down the pike the past few days:  yet another step along the road to functioning head cheeses, and a development in graphene tech that might — if you squint really hard and give me way more credit than I deserve — seem a bit reminiscent of Rorschach‘s computational […]

Posted in: biology, extraterrestrial life, marine by Peter Watts 6 Comments

Meet the New Crawl

Don’t mind the unpainted gyprock and the generic sidebar elements.  They’ll be deleted, tweaked, or replaced by more appropriate widgets over the next few days.  I just thought it’d be better to jump in with both feet than to dick around endlessly behind the scenes until things were perfect, you know?  The more visible the […]

Posted in: writing news by Peter Watts 15 Comments

Rip-Off Alert

Regular visitors to rifters.com know that most of the stuff I’ve ever published is freely available in a variety of e-formats on this site (and on some others). I’m a bit worried that this may not be a sustainable approach over the long haul (especially in times of global economic meltdown), but so far the […]

Posted in: misc, writing news by Peter Watts 28 Comments

And now for a word from our sponsor…

Anyone out there know someone in Toronto with a used treadmill (or elliptical trainer, I guess) to unload for a reasonable price? I can always go the Craigslist route, but I’d rather do business with someone one of you folks personally vouched for. It’s important to have someone other than me to blame, in the […]

Posted in: misc by Peter Watts 6 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

Consider Yourselves Lucky.

In this particular business, the standard components of a novel pitch are the first three chapters plus two, maybe three pages of synopsis for the rest of the story. The pitch I just sent to my agent— the latest iteration thereof, at least— contains 36 pages of prose; 27 pages of “synopsis”; a two-page bullet-pointed […]

Posted in: Dumbspeech, writing news by Peter Watts 64 Comments

I Hate the New Normal.

Tendonitis, they tell me: chronic, and calcified, and apparently dating from the time I dislocated my shoulder while surf-kayaking in 1991. Now, after almost two decades of peaceful dormancy the fucker decides to wake up and turn me into the One-Armed Wonder throughout the holidays— apparently provoked by too many lame-ass bench presses and one […]

Posted in: misc, whinge by Peter Watts 13 Comments

Iterating Towards Bethlehem

Most of you probably know about Turing machines: hypothetical gizmos built of paper punch-tape, read-write heads, and imagination, which can — step by laborious step — emulate the operation of any computer. And some of you may be old enough to remember the Sinclair ZX-80— a sad little personal computer so primitive that it couldn’t […]

Posted in: biology, neuro, sentience/cognition by Peter Watts 31 Comments

A Picture Worth 178 Words

Some of you may remember this scene at the very end of Starfish — the moment when the chrysalis splits open and Lenie Clarke Mk 2 emerges to wreak vengeance on the world: A slender, translucent tentacle wraps softly around her wrist. It fades away into a distance utterly black to most, slate gray to […]

Posted in: deep sea, rifters by Peter Watts 2 Comments