One day, maybe sooner than we think, a consideration of the ethics of the treatment of rational, sentient machines might turn out to be more than an abstract academic exercise.
From last June, but still a worthy topic for debate, particularly as the use of robots increases for retirement homes, nursery school programs, hotel reception lobbies… (also the topic of a short story I wrote in 2000 but still haven’t published outside of a grad student journal…)
I should be finishing the SF novel I’ve been working on (and off) for the better part of four years now. Instead, I’ve found myself obsessed with letters recently found in my dearly departed mother‘s possessions…letters written from my grandmother’s first husband, John Hart, while he was in the US Army in the 1940s.
He died. This ain’t no story of heroic sacrifice or rah-rah patriotism. This is reality. Continue Reading
Are you sitting down for this? Well, you’re not really. Your butt isn’t actually touching the chair you’re sitting on. Since the meat of your atoms is nestled away in nuclei, when you ‘touch’ someone (or something), you aren’t actually feeling their atoms.
Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I know it’s been about two months. Summer was filled with fun family activities in Montreal. September was filled with trips to libraries and feeling sorry for myself. Got into a bit of a funk.
Now I’m back in Japan, back to the daily grind, and trying to find time to sort out all the stuff I mailed back from Montreal.
Rest assured, there’s lots of stuff to write about. Some of it even makes sense.
I’ll be writing a few quick posts about various cool science and space things in the upcoming days. Then maybe a couple of longish ones about weird family history. And maybe even an update on my SF novel.
Yeah. I still didn’t finish the first draft. Stuck on 70,000 words. But the end is in sight!
As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.
Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”
Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.
Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.
Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).
NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.
I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.
But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.
Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)
Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.
Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.
Which means that, yes, I am preparing to (re)publish some of my work in ePub format. Hopefully, Adam’s Stepsons will be soon available for iBooks, Kobo, and some other apps/devices. Aiming at April 1st (since Adam’s Stepsons is currently enrolled in Amazon’s “KDP Select,” which prohibits me from distributing it as an ebook through other services until March 31st).
The Kindle (.mobi) price will be lowered to ONLY US $0.99 from Sunday! (I hope. Maybe Monday. Definitely by January 31st).
In the meantime, work proceeds apace on Bringer of Light! More coming soon. Very soon.
“To really think about ourselves as citizens of Earth is something that I think we’re still working toward,” Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, told Space.com. “[Seeing this image] may be enjoyable and fun and awe-inspiring, and you might think about it later that day, but I don’t think most people have a perception of ‘I’m a citizen of Earth’ when they’re driving to work.”
He’s curious how potential future space developments — establishing a human presence on Mars, or discoveringextraterrestrial intelligence, for example — might make that Earthling perspective easier to grasp by creating a group to contrast it against.
That’s us: the forever simian, defining ourselves in contrast to what we aren’t as opposed to what we could be.
So what would happen if some of us became Martians, Venusians, or Jovians? Hmmm…