Rocket Boy and the Geek Girls – affordable e-anthology from Book View Cafe

Paul Raven @ 04-11-2009

Regular readers will be aware of my interest in new and experimental publishing models for niche authors… and with that in mind I’m very pleased to be able to pass on news of a new digital-only anthology from the Book View Cafe collective. So, with no further ado, here’s the skinny:

Book View Café, the Internet’s only professional author cooperative, announces the creation of Book View Press. Book View Press will expand the Café authors’ mission of bringing the best online fiction to the readers by bringing new work ready-to-read on the most popular ebook devices, including the Amazon Kindle, the Sony eReader and a variety of cell phones.

This group of award-winning and best-selling authors is launching their new press with its first science fiction anthology: ROCKET BOY AND THE GEEK GIRLS, a collection of rare reprints, hard-to-find favorites and bold new tales by some of SF’s finest authors including Vonda N. McIntyre, Katharine Kerr, Judith Tarr, P.R. Frost, Pati Nagle, Amy Sterling Casil, and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.

Rocket Boy and the Geek Girls is available at  http://bit.ly/rgr4K for the Kindle version and http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/BVC-eBookstore/ for other formats including pdf, mobi, prc, lit, lrf, epub.

To celebrate the launch of Rocket Boy, BVC is holding a TwitterFic contest. For details visit the contest page: http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/News/BVC-Twitter-Fic-Contest-8-Celebrating-Book-View

For  more info contact: media.relations@bookviewcafe.com

“Fasten your seatbelts and brace your tentacles.  These all-star tales of epic wonder from the genre’s masters will sizzle through your mind like a spaceship on re-entry burn.”  –Dave Williams, author of The Burning Sky

Sounds like an interesting project, no? So go take a look, spread the word, maybe buy yourself a copy.


Medical insurers impressed by electronic smoker detector

Paul Raven @ 16-09-2009

cigarette buttsNot, that’s not a typo. A team of Australian scientists have built a device that can identify tobacco smokers without the need for bodily fluid samples:

[They] tweaked a commercially available e-nose so that it would detect the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath of a person who had smoked a cigarette.

The e-nose uses an array of 32 sensors whose electrical resistance changes as different VOCs are detected. The resultant “smellprint” correctly identified 37 out of 39 volunteers as either smokers or non-smokers.

Obviously the insurance companies are pretty interested in this little development – it would allow them to weed out those smokers who try to keep their premiums down by concealing their habit. There’s no news yet on devices that can detect the “pre-existing condition” of domestic abuse, though. [image by Saudi…]


Nanotechnologically self-repairing circuits

Tom James @ 11-09-2009

selfheal_x220Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a means by which nanotube-filled capsules could repair electronic circuits when they are damaged:

Capsules, filled with conductive nanotubes, that rip open under mechanical stress could be placed on circuit boards in failure-prone areas. When stress causes a crack in the circuit, some of the capsules would also rupture and release nanotubes to bridge the break.

“Many times when a device fails, it’s because a circuit or capacitor burns out,” says Bielawski. “This is critical in situations where you can’t repair it — in satellites or submarines.” To address the problem, engineers currently build redundancy into a system. Self-healing circuits could make devices for remote applications more lightweight, more efficient, and cheaper, says Bielawski.

Consumer electricals have become increasingly cheap and disposable over the past few years. If this technology is adopted widely and improved could it lead to electricals that continue to function well for many decades? It seems unlikely that companies would choose to lose built-in obsolesence as a marketing tool, but if technologies increase in durability and strictly hardware-based improvements tail off (i.e. it becomes more economical to achieve improvements in performance through software tweaks, instead of relying on Moore’s Law) could it be that we find ourselves with the same mobile-phone/$multi-purpose_personal_electronic_widget for many years, which continually repairs and rebuilds itself when damaged?

[from Technology Review][image from Technology Review]


I dance the body electric

Paul Raven @ 28-05-2009

Remember us mentioning that electrically-conductive body paint a little while ago? If so, you might remember thinking “well, OK, but what the hell would you actually use it for?” – I know I did.

Well, here’s your answer – or one of them, anyway. Take one large perspex box covered with hundreds of of little electrical nodes that are linked to some sort of synthesizer engine, and add one painted-up and limber dance-trained young lady with a willingness to experiment and make some noise; add them together, and you’ve got something you might have seen in Buck Rogers… if that series had been more prone to episodes set in strip clubs or techno-artist squat-communes. Observe:

[via PosthumanBlues; apologies to Walt Whitman for the headline]