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Steven Lyle Jordan

Bernal SphereAuthor of multiple award-winning science fiction novels, featuring realistic science, mature themes and incredible adventure!

Available in ebook formats at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

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Communication with alien species

Dolphin in poolThe 2011 Scientific American article A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain has a lot to consider when we contemplate the difficulty we’re likely to have in communicating with aliens… or, for that matter, with certain of our own terrestrial co-species.

Put simply (in deference to Kent), the article discusses how our thoughts are defined and guided by metaphors, many of which are dictated by physical experiences based around human physiology. Continue reading

Hitting them in their wallet

cyber stealingThe news today is full of the latest hacking caper, which has breached the US Internal Revenue Service and stolen the tax return information of more than 100,000 US citizens.  And the best part: It has been determined that the culprits are Russians, which means that even if they could be identified, they are beyond our government’s ability to exact any punishment or retribution.  Next year, thousands of people are likely to try to submit tax refund requests, only to find out their refunds have already been sent to a fake overseas account, never to be seen again.

The US is increasingly coming under cyber attack from foreign nationals, stealing our money and credit, and remaining outside of US law.  It’s a clear indication of our lax and outdated security systems, and how vulnerable we are to cyber theft.

Americans are notoriously slack when it comes to some things… but they usually play a different tune when you hit ’em in their wallets.  Which is why we might see some changes to security, and we may see them soon. Continue reading

The Book Industry’s Discrimination Problem

book industry discrimination problemBrooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and founder of Warner Coaching Inc.  In this article, she calls out the openly and blatantly discriminatory practices against independent publishers in the established book industry, and the disservice being done to all of us.

As a country, we grapple with more than our share of discrimination challenges–where people of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities (to call out only a few of the bigger groups) feel its blow every single day. And while it’s frustrating at best, and often devastating, at least there’s a dialogue about it, and at least you can find outrage if you’re looking for it.

In book publishing, however, there’s a sanctioned discrimination against authors who subsidize their own work, and if people even bother to acknowledge it, few seem to be outraged. It’s upsetting because publishing folks are generally pretty liberal people–not the kind to condone discrimination in any form. Discrimination, however, is at its worst and most insidious when it’s sanctioned–and exacerbated when the perpetrators are justifying it as okay, business as usual, and just the way things are.

Read more at the link.

Ya gotta play to win

Roulette wheelLast weekend I came across a series of blog posts by author Delilah S. Dawson about author self-promotion; and, as an author who has been trying to crack self-promotion for years, naturally I decided to read her posts.  I started with Please shut up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn’t work, and without recapping everything in there, I’ll just say my takeaway was that Delilah’s secret to writing success boils down to one thing.

Unfortunately, that thing is luck. Blind, steenkeeng luck. Continue reading

Bike commuting to ease stress? We wish.

bike commutingI mean, we really do.  But to a recent Treehugger article advocating commuting by bicycle as a form of stress-relieving exercise, many bike commuters (me included) responded with warnings about the seriously stressful rides they endure to get to work and back.

Though the responses at the Treehugger site were light, the responses on Treehugger’s Facebook page were more illuminating.  Riders complained about anti-bike car drivers, bad roads, lack of bike lanes or road-sharing arrangements, and lack of office clean-up facilities (or just plain hard weather) as highly-stressful biking realities.  Continue reading

A bolder prediction

Ginni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBMGinni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBM, spoke about the future of artificial intelligence at the World of Watson event, designed to showcase the “ecosystem” of innovation happening around Watson, IBM’s signature artificial-intelligence system.

“In the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson,” she said; “and our lives will be better for it.”

Business Insider calls it a “bold prediction.”  But I think we can go one better:

In the future, mankind’s most important decisions will be made by informed, cognitive systems like Watson, and our lives will be better for it. Continue reading

Radio Shack closes out the era of DIY electronics

Radio Shack storeFirst, the full disclosure: I was a Radio Shack aficionado.  I loved the place.  Growing up, I used to visit my local store in Wheaton, weekly at least, to buy self-assembly electronics kits, shop for electronics parts, buy books on electronics, buy radios, tape recorders, speakers, battery chargers, my first PDA (Radio Shack’s rebranded Casio Zoomer), and just check out the cool stuff everywhere.  I used to joke that any small town my family visited wasn’t civilized unless it had a Radio Shack in it.  (“Look, there’s the Radio Shack!  It’s a real town, all right!”)

My love of electronics and computers came from Radio Shack.  My serious consideration of getting an electrical engineering degree came from my association with the Shack (boy, how I wish I’d figured out how to follow that through!).

Now, I don’t visit Radio Shacks often… and neither does anyone else.  Which is why the original owners declared bankruptcy, the chain has just been sold in auction to another company, and its future as a store and chain is very much up in the air.

What is not up in the air is this: Radio Shack’s original purpose—as a place for America’s electronics enthusiasts and hobbyists to buy, build and learn about radios, electronics and other related gear—has effectively come to an end.  The American DIY electronics era, and its designated street-corner shrine, is done. Continue reading

Should I stay or should I go?

confused man

Insert white hair here.

I’m in a bit of a conundrum, here; so I thought I’d just write out what I’m conundrumming about, to see if it’ll help me un-conun… dr… um…

Basically, I’m trying to decide whether to attend the 1-day UpublishU conference at the BEA Book Expo at the end of May.  And right now, I’m having a very hard time justifying the trip. Continue reading

Our A.I. love/fright affair

UltronEver stop to think about humans’ state of affairs with artificial intelligence (A.I.)?  It’s a lot like a girl who’s fallen in love with a charming, attractive man who is also a serial killer: She is aware that he is dangerous, maybe even lethal; but she forces herself to love him anyway, trusting that her faith in his inner goodness will win out in the end and not leave her in a shallow grave in little, hacked-up pieces.

Or, rather, that’s how our relationship with A.I. could be; in actual fact, we stay with A.I. because we need its help, but we expect it’s going to turn and hack us up any second now. Continue reading