Monday, March 28, 2011

The Best Sci-Fi Books, Ever . . . So far, anyways.

Here is a list of the best Sci-Fi books I have read. Please add your own list (Maybe top 5 or 10). I'm interested in knowing what you like. I hope you enjoy these:

1. Hyperion Cantos (4 books)

2. Anathem

3. Slaughterhouse-Five

4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

5. Ilium & Olympos

6. Snow Crash

7. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

8. 2001: A Space Odyssey

9. His Dark Materials

10. Enders Game

These, I am sure, are bound to change, but as of now it's pretty good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Doppler Effect.

What is the doppler effect, you might ask... I'll give you a hint:

Wreeerrrrrrrr. (As I am sure you have guessed, that sound is that of a car traveling at high velocities passing you).

Wanting to be a astronomer when I grow up, the doppler effect is an important aspect of studying stars in our universe. (Not only stars but planets, galaxies, asteroids, etc.). The doppler effect is the change in the frequency of sound or light's wavelength moving from an object in motion towards the observer. Using this, one can determine the distance of objects in space and their rate of change in their positions.

A practical use of this would be to find other planets. For instance, our sun moves ever so slightly towards and away from the planets that surround it as our planets have mass and have a tiny pull on the sun. Likewise with other stars, if we see a star whose wavelength frequency changes routinely we can see that there is some other body in space pulling on the star.

I think this is fascinating. Because of something so simple as the doppler effect we are able to learn so much in regards to the makeup of our universe and how many aspects of gravity and revolution work, as well as many other things.

Yeah, this is the stuff I think is cool. Also, I'm wearing my doppler effect t-shirt today, it only seemed right to post something about it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trades versus Issues

There is something that should be said about having a complete story to read from beginning to end. When you have the complete story, you don't have to worry about the frustration that comes with only one issue a month.

When you have to wait (again, a whole month) for that next issue, you find yourself becoming obsessed with the story, obsessed with the not knowing. You are obsessed for that next issue to come out.

Then, on top of that, once you have the issue, you have to deal with all sorts of advertisements. Didn't you just pay $2.99-4.99 for your purchase? Now you have to be inundated with something you probably don't care about. But it's part of the book, so apparently you pay for that too.

Silence falls, as the darkness gathers. But lo and behold, a soft light in the far distance. What do your abused eyes behold? TRUTH! JUSTICE! HOPE! The trade paperback, collecting the story in its entirety. What this?!? You don't have to flip pages to get to the next part, the story continues on the back off the current page?!? What madness is this? No commercials?!? This isn't what I paid for (but it's secretly what I wanted)! Congratulations. You are complete. You have not just read a story, but experienced it fully. You didn't have to experience any distractions. You found the Pot o' Gold (I mean, come on, it's St. Patty's, let's celebrate) at the end of the rainbow. You've earned it.

You're welcome!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warp and Weave Winners!

A recent project of mine was to design (with the amazing help of Dane) a site for UVU's speculative fiction journal. Here are a list of those that were accepted for the spring edition of the journal. If you're interested in submitting your work please contact me at Or go to and click on Submission Details.

*Art by Shawn Lindow

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Brother's Space Ship in his Basment!

OK. So you want the ultimate nerdy and cool thing ever. How about a spaceship in your basement! Even better, how about a spaceship with a green screen to make some special effects! My brother Russell is making a movie called Flatulent Earth and needed to build a spaceship cockpit for the movie. He did a screen test the other day with the special effects from within the cockpit and You've gotta see it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Favorite SSH Command

One of the greater things about shadowing new hires at my last job, Verio was to have them type in the "yes" command. (I should mention that Verio is a web hosting company and deals a lot with shell commands). Anyway -- Like I was saying . . . the "yes" command. There is nothing greater, or more funny than this. Especially when done right.

I would have them do something only slightly complicated such as running a mysqlcheck. The lengthened command to run this check is: mysqlcheck -r --all-databases -p. That is exactly what you would type in. However, I would tell them to type in the following:

yes mysqlcheck -r '--all-databases' -p

The ''s around --all-databases indicates what they yes command will read. (Also I tell them some random stuff about how yes helps a process run smoother). They type it in and hit enter and their page begins to scroll:


This will continue until you hit Ctrl+V.

Boy, is their face priceless. Anyway, it runs the selected script/words at a rate that will fill a directory  up to 1G in about 3 seconds. That is a ton!!

I'm pretty sure Strudinox taught me this.

Tell your friends and confuse your coworkers.