A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘ursula k le guin

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: The Wandering Earth, hard SF, Le Guin, Vonda N. McIntyre, globalization

  • Slate makes a case for the importance of the new Chinese science-fiction film The Wandering Earth. I think I, too, want to go see it in theatres.
  • James Nicoll highlights five often overlooked hard science-fiction novels. (I agree with him entirely about China Mountain Zhang, one of my favourites.)
  • Charlie Jane Anders writes at Tor about the complexity and brilliance of Ursula K Le Guin’s Hainish cycle of novels.
  • This news about Vonda N. McIntyre, most famous to me for her Star Trek novels and her Starfarer series, saddens me.
  • Ryan Porter writes at the Toronto Star about the growth of non-Western influences in contemporary science fiction and fantasy.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Centauri Dreams writes about the ferocious storms of Titan.
  • The Crux reports on the crisis of dark matter: What _is_ it, exactly?
  • D-Brief reports on the particular strangeness around nearby neutron star RX J0806.4–4123, an unusually hot star.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on a new search for signs of extraterrestrial civilizations using optical telescopes directed towards the Andromeda Galaxy.
  • Far Outliers describes the origins of the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
  • A Fistful of Euros considers the future of Angela Merkel in light of the election of Ralph Brinkhaus as joint parliamentary leader of the CDU and CSU in Germany.
  • Language Hat reports on an unexpected connection, dynastically and culturally, between the last of Anglo-Saxon England and very early Kiev.
  • Language Hat shares a sample of Vietnamese text written without diacritics.
  • The NYR Daily shares a first-hand experience of a patient with the famed Mayo Clinic.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on a meal of zaru soba in Tokyo.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers what the universe looks like when the second generation of stars began to form.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shares a canonical map of the planet of Gethen, from the Ursula LK. Le Guin classic The Left Hand of Darkness, made by Le Guin herself.
  • At Understanding Society, Daniel Little talks about the lessons that he has taken from his study of technological failures, tracing many back to theoretically chartable organizational deficiencies.
  • Window on Eurasia notes some late Stalinist deportations of Russians in districts bordering the Baltics, suggesting this may have been connected to the plans of Beria to establish the Baltics as satellite states separate from the USSR.
  • Arnold Zwicky links to a collection of papers examining imperfect rhymes.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers the concept of the “Clarke exobelt”, a hypothetical ring of space stations in synchronous orbit of a planet that might be detectable across interstellar distances.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the new American phenomenon of millennials moving back home with their parents.
  • Far Outliers shares the second part of an an article summary on African and Japanese interactions in early modern Asia.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at “precisionism”, an art movement in the early 20th century United States that looked to the machine for inspiration.
  • Language Hat shares a poem by the late great Ursula K Le Guin, “Dead Languages.”
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money, looking at the anti-Uighur police state that China has established in Xinjiang, points out that there are many ways in which American hegemony can be followed by something worse.
  • The LRB Blog looks at how many documents vital in understanding the history of Iraq have been removed from the country or destroyed altogether. How will Iraqis be able to understand their history without them?
  • The New APPS Blog takes a look at a newly released Foucault lecture from 1978, “Analytic Philosophy of Politics”.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports from Mars, enveloped by a planet-wide dust storm that might endanger the intrepid rovers.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at an exciting new film biography of Vivienne Westwood.
  • Strange Company tells a story of a 19th century insurance fraud rooted in murder.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shares an old tourist map of Maine noting how many placenames from around the world are in that state.
  • Towleroad shares a lovely ad from Ireland’s Dublin Bus company featuring fathers picking up their gay children to take them to Pride. Wow.

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: Annihilation, Blade Runner, The Telling, Sandman, Deep Space Nine

  • If Annihilation is the start of a wave of interesting new sci-fi films, looking at the genre from new angles, this is good. I just hope distribution can be solved. Rolling Stone has it.
  • This essay on the role of memory in the Blade Runner series, as a marker of identity and more, is superb.
  • The Telling, last of Le Guin’s Hainish novels, is set for a movie release. io9 reports.
  • That Neil Gaiman has authorized DC Comics to release four comics set in the Sandman part of their universe is amazing. io9 reports.
  • This extended take on how Deep Space Nine revolutionized the Trek format, looking at the universe from new and very creative angles, says what needs to be said. This is the reason it is my favourite Trek series. io9 has it.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Anand Pandian at anthro{dendum} considers Ursula K Le Guin from the perspective of an anthropology doing fieldwork in cultures very different from their own.
  • Anthropology.net notes the discovery, in India, of Levallois stone tools dating 385 thousand years, long before the entry of Homo sapiens into the area.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares video, assembled by an amateur astronomer, of the ongoing expansion of debris around the Crab Pulsar.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the discovery of organic molecules in the Magellanic Clouds.
  • D-Brief describes the orca Wikie, who learned six words, while Language Log is skeptical of the idea that Wikie’s ability demonstrates anything about the orca capacity for language.
  • Cody Delistraty links</a. to an essay of his considering the extent to which we can separate the works of artists from the artists themselves.
  • Drew Ex Machina describes the politics and technology that went into the launch of Explorer 1, the United States’ first satellite.
  • JSTOR Daily examines the question of why children and teens in the United States convicted of crimes can face such long periods of imprisonment in jail.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that, sometimes, dialogue is not enough to reach one’s opponents.
  • The LRB Blog considers the apocalyptic imagery tied up in the flooding of the Seine, in Paris.
  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrates the 14 years of operation of the Mars rover Opportunity, and the science that has come from it.
  • At Speed River Journal, Van Waffle celebrates the many things that we can learn from trees.
  • [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

    • Rex at Anthro{dendum} considers Ursula K Le Guin from as an anthropologist by background and interests, and as a denizen of a “Redwood Zone” of western North America with a particular climate.
    • Centauri Dreams notes the exceptional technical progress being made towards the next generation of space telescope technology.
    • Dangerous Minds shares photos of collaborations between Grace Jones and Keith Haring in 1984 and 1986, when Haring painted the star’s body.
    • Gizmodo at io9 shares stunningly detailed photographs of the giant Pi1 Gruis, some 530 light-years away.
    • Hornet Stories shares a letter from the mother of a girl ten years old who describes how this theatre fan was positively affected by the Manhattan production of Kinky Boots.
    • Language Hat shares a Quora answer talking about the way Azerbaijani sounds to speakers of the related Turkish. Much discussion ensues.
    • Lawyers, Guns and Money shares the disturbing report that moderate conservative Victor Cha has been rejected as a candidate for US ambassador to South Korea because he warns against war with the North.
    • The Map Room Blog shares disturbing maps showing the extent to which the water reservoirs of Cape Town have been depleted.
    • Non-binary writer Robin Dembroff argues at the NYR Daily that state recognition of non-binary gender identity, while well-meaning, is ultimately less good than the withdrawal of gender identity as a category of state concern.
    • The Planetary Science Blog wonders if space travel and space science, of the sort favoured by Society president Bill Nye, could become a bipartisan issue uniting Americans.
    • Seriously Science notes that at least some species of birds prefer to date before they pair-bond and have children.
    • Towleroad reports that The Gangway, oldest surviving gay bar in San Francisco, has shut down to make way for a new laundromat/movie theatre.
    • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little considers the factors that lead the people in charge of industries facing decline to ignore this. Could the education sector be one of these, too, depending on future change?

    [BLOG] Some Friday links

    • First, a new blog. The Buzz…About Books, official blog of the Toronto Public Library’s Book Buzz, has interesting book-related posts. I liked this one from last December, noting the most popular books in dozens of neighbourhoods according to TPL stats.
    • Centauri Dreams celebrates the life and achievements, as a writer and as a dreamer, of Ursula K Le Guin.
    • D-Brief notes that yesterday was NASA’s Day of Remembrance for lost astronauts, and takes a close look at the Columbia disaster 15 years ago.
    • Hornet Stories notes a recent interview with Tonya Harding, famous again thanks to I, Tonya, that takes a look at some of her more controversial opinions. (Is the pro-Trump enough to prevent her from being some sort of camp icon, I wonder?)
    • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining the import of artificial intelligence victories in board games, like Go, over human players. Of course simple iterations are able to overcome human-style intelligence, so long as you go through enough iterations at least.
    • Language Hat notes how many languages, and dialects of languages, can survive in far-removed immigrant enclaves. Greek in Ohio is used as one example.
    • Marginal Revolution imagines, through the person of an athlete, what it would be like for someone to know all the data that is to be known about them. (I think it could be empowering.)
    • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw shares his sad thoughts about how, in an age of instant and potentially overwhelming digital outrage in a polarizing era, he resorts to self-censorship.
    • The Planetary Society Blog explores the work of scientists who are assembling a guidebook indicating what the spectra of Earth-like worlds, at different stages of their history and orbiting different stars, will look like.
    • Drew Rowsome takes a look at how #metoo is revealing sexual harassment and assault everywhere, among gay and straight, in Ontario and abroad.
    • Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy demonstrates that the anti-immigration policies of Trump show the man is uninterested, as some would have it, in deregulation.
    • Understanding Society examines the question of how organizations can ensure that their members will act in compliance with stated organizational values.
    • Window on Eurasia s the ongoing emigration of ethnic Russians from the North Caucasus, a massive and–I suspect–irreversible migration.

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the long process of planning and work–almost two years!–going into the production of a trade non-fiction book.
    • Centauri Dreams touches upon the new European Southern Observatory ExTrA telescope that will study Earth-like planets of red dwarfs, and shares a new model indicating the likely watery nature of the outer planets of TRAPPIST-1.
    • D-Brief takes a look inside the unsettlingly thorough data-collection machineries of home assistants like Google Home and Alexa.
    • JSTOR Daily looks at a paper examining the long and complicated process by which, through trade and empire, the United Kingdom ended up embracing tea.
    • Lawyers, Guns and Money pays tribute to Ursula K Le Guin and Mark E. Smith of the Fall.
    • Marginal Revolution links to a source arguing that regulatory costs have played the biggest role in the sharp increase of housing prices in California (and elsewhere?).
    • The NYR Daily considers if Pope Francis’ shocking willingness to make excuses for the abetters of child abuse in Chile has anything to do with his relationship, as an Argentine, to his home country’s complicated past of church collaboration with the military regime of the dirty war.
    • Out There considers what, exactly, would happen to a person if they stood completely still in relation to the universe. Where would they go (or, more accurately, where would the universe go without them)?
    • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the preparations of the New Horizons probe for its encounter, at the very start of 2019, with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69.
    • Peter Rukavina shares beautiful posters he made out of last year’s map calendar.
    • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, although the multiverse is almost certainly real, its existence hardly solves the pressing problems of physics.
    • Towleroad describes Reverend Raymond Broshears, a gay preacher in San Francisco who, after one beating in 1973, organized the vigilante Lavender Panthers to defend the community and to fight back. Complicated man, he, with a complicated legacy.
    • Arnold Zwicky looks into the latest sociological and psychological research on the especially warm friendships that can exist between gay men and straight women. What factors are at work?

    [NEWS] Five links in memory of Ursula K. Le Guin

    What can be said of the passing of Ursula K. Le Guin yesterday but that it has left the world absent a literary voice it needs?

    • Cheryl Eddy at io9 pays tribute to Le Guin, noting her recent activism against “alternative facts.”
    • Crooked Timber pays tribute to Le Guin, noting a blog symposium there that had never quite come off.
    • JSTOR Daily notes Le Guin’s prescient criticism, in 1975 (!), of a science fiction that was much too retrograde, looking back to past empires and not forward. (That such could also be misogynistic was not a surprise.)
    • At Whatever, John Scalzi links to his Los Angeles Times tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin. Her influence is everywhere, he points out, in the rising generation of writers.
    • At Wired, Jason Kehe notes Ursula K Le Guin’s power to imagine alternative worlds, future difficult for others to imagine.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    January 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    [LINK] “Ursula K Le Guin calls on fantasy and sci fi writers to envision alternatives to capitalism”

    Open Democracy some time ago shared Araz Hachadourian’s report about Ursula K. Le Guin’s call for a new, imaginary science fiction.

    In November 2014 science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K Le Guin was awarded the National Book Foundation’s medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

    In her acceptance speech she called out publishers for turning literature into a commodity and charging libraries ridiculously high rates for books and e-books. Le Guin also explained how authors, especially fantasy writers, have a special opportunity to stand up to the corporate system because they can portray a world very different from the one we currently live in.

    “We live in capitalism,” said Le Guin, “Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.” It’s up to authors, she explains in the video below, to spark the imagination of their readers and to help them envision alternatives to how we live.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    February 20, 2016 at 11:30 pm