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

Is Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy a sign that humanity’s already hit peak stupid?

When I was a teenager in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, I had some dealings – via friends of the family – with people who followed Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1860-1925). The Austrian cult leader was long dead by the 1970s, but his pseudo-religious dogma – ‘anthroposophy‘ – outlasted him. I never understood why; his stuff was a heavy-handed mashup of nineteenth century mitteleuropäische Christianity… More Is Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy a sign that humanity’s already hit peak stupid?

Hot news about the full release of ‘Endless Worlds’

Last year my sci-fi novella ‘Missionary’ was published in Endless Worlds Vol 1, part of an anthology of seven sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories. That Kindle-only issue was a pre-release ahead of the full publication, and it fielded some great reviews: “Endless possibilities. Dark natures and some dark solutions. Endless worlds gripped me from the… More Hot news about the full release of ‘Endless Worlds’

Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

Some of the ‘brain teaser’ puzzles doing the rounds at the moment annoy me. The problem is that if you don’t know the parameters on which the question is posed, you can’t get the ‘right’ answer. Take the one involving apples (10 points each), bananas and coconuts. Depending on how you read it, a banana… More Why I get annoyed with Facebook brain-teaser puzzles

What a real science lab actually looks like

Every so often I see an advertisement on TV for some product or other – usually toothpaste – that’s being demoed in a ‘science lab’. All these labs are the same: sparsely furnished, clean, white, sparkling benches; brilliant lighting; lots of Perspex; bits of immaculate lab gear and high-tech flat-screens with glamorous white-coated supplicants wandering… More What a real science lab actually looks like

Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens

It occurred to me the other day that one dandy way to clean a microwave oven is to chuck a cake of soap into it and blast it on ‘high’ for a few minutes. It was a better idea than my previous microwave-inspired trick which involved dismantling the rotating platter and using egg whites and… More Why I don’t do fun science tricks with microwave ovens