The silliness of Star Wars’ single-climate planets

Single climate worlds are all through the Star Wars universe – worlds that, inexplicably, have a single ecosystem – ice, desert or forest, usually. Yet they’re all habitable by humans. I can see where the idea comes from. Here on Earth we often travel from one climate to another. Islands, particularly, often have a single… More The silliness of Star Wars’ single-climate planets

The obscure word of the week is tierced

There are over a million individual words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is tierced. It’s from from heraldry, meaning something divided into three equal parts with different colours (‘tinctures’), thought to be of eighteenth century origin. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two)… More The obscure word of the week is tierced

I figure that Larry Niven’s aliens weren’t alien enough

As a teenager I remember being wowed by Larry Niven’s ‘known space’ stories, including his Ringworld novels. Looking back, though, I’m not so sure about his aliens. He had two main ones – the Puppeteers and the Kzin. At the time they were pretty cool. Up until the mid-1960s, most (good) aliens basically looked human,… More I figure that Larry Niven’s aliens weren’t alien enough

How Wilhelm Reich showed that ‘psychology’ is scientific woo woo

I posted a while back on the fact that ‘psychology’ isn’t proper science, still less a valid way of understanding the human condition. To me, the problem is summed up by where ‘psychology’ was taken by one of its pioneers, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Reich, like his teacher Sigsmund Freud, thought everybody was psychologically defective – it was only a matter of degree… More How Wilhelm Reich showed that ‘psychology’ is scientific woo woo

Why Photoshop artistry makes boring book covers, even when they’re mine…

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking that book covers these days – the ones that appear on Amazon and elsewhere – are all rather homogenised. Literally, in a pixel sense – they all seem to use one or another Photoshop layer-and-blend technique to float words, ghost-like, amidst artwork which… More Why Photoshop artistry makes boring book covers, even when they’re mine…