Saturday, October 02, 2010


I've just spent a couple of hours tidying up my website, which hasn't been touched since Gardens of the Sun was first published last year; it suffered from inattention after I started blogging, just as the blogging has suffered ever since I started tweeting. Haven't done anything fancy, just cleared out some crufty links and extraneous material. Still have to fix a few links here and there. What it really needs is a complete redesign. I set it up way, way back in 1995 (or was it 1994?) using basic HTML coding, and haven't really done anything to it since. Now it's really showing its age. Am wondering whether to find someone who can do a nice clean simple design, or leave it as a repository for stories and other stuff I've released into the wild. After the advent of social media, do people even look at author's websites any more?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Notes From The Anthropocene

As global warming melts the Siberian permafrost, mammoth ivory becomes increasingly fashionable:
With an estimated 150m corpses under the permafrost, stocks are unlikely to run out soon, and thanks to global warming (every cloud . . .) they are becoming increasingly easy to reach. Meanwhile, a report in the Pachyderm journal offers the ringing endorsement that mammoth ivory could "reduce demand for elephant ivory from Africa. Probably."
The old-school energy industry wants to capitalise on the opening of the Northwest Passage by building nuclear-powered icebreakers that could transport cargoes of liquified natural gas through Arctic ice. What could possibly go wrong?

Autopia experiences its hottest day on record.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muscle To The Monorail

At first glance, this Google-sponsored project to develop a muscle-powered monorail system, based on a New Zealand amusement-park ride, looks like a silly parody of the worst kind of kooky Kalifornian keep-fit utopianism. As an article in Wired points out, it doesn't seem to do anything that bicycles can't do better, and besides, ugh, public transport.

It's certainly not anything like the kind of futuristic transport systems we were promised back in the 1960s, when the last hurrah of Gernsbackian ideology promised all kinds of amazing machines powered by electricity too cheap to be worth metering. But the future isn't what it used to be - it's gnarlier, more diverse, extremely uneven. In the age of post-peak oil, this kind of low-impact technology is beginning to seem more plausible than, say, nuclear-powered supersonic stratosphere cruisers. And even if it doesn't find any application in the regreened cities of Earth, I reckon it would be ideal for tootling around the forest canopy of a domed moon colony - far better than the usual golf carts, although it would be a challenge to stage a pod-based chase scene.
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