Tag Archives: united states

A Metric United States?

A Metric United States?

When writing Coal Belly—still very much a work in progress—I decided to keep my weights, distances, and measures in US Customary Units. This was an intentional decision. I felt that our strange and often confusing system fits a weird-west setting a bit better than a metric one—even in a secondary world. Feet, acres, miles, hogsheads, tons, they all just feel old-west.

But there is a modern simplicity to the metric system. It is superior, if not as charming. But, in the United States, we’ve resisted making the switch. Why? Well, Verge Science put together a great explainer video that goes into details on why we’re still using our bastardized version of the Imperial System, where it matters in society, and how we have already secretly converted despite our resistance. Watch it below.

*Gasp!* 😱 A DEEP STATE SHADOW SYSTEM OF UNITS AND MEASUREMENTS! A vast conspiracy! Inches defined by millimeters. Pounds defined by kilograms! Gallons defined by liters! Human Sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

Or, it’s just good science and smart business. Take your pick. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Cyberpunk is Real

Cyberpunk is Reality

Yesterday, I came across a tweet from Carl Zha (okay, technically it’s from his auntie) that included a video clip of evening skyline above the city of Chongqing in southwestern China. There is a cyberpunk quality to the city that enthralled me. I felt as if Chongqing was plucked from the pages of William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Below the tweet, Zha also linked to the following video which goes even further, giving the viewer a close-up view of the city which only further cemented my opinion, check it out below.

The slick soundtrack and artistic jump-cuts only add a level of depth that expands the ultra-cool visuals of a city of the future. For a Westerner, it’s almost hard to imagine Chongquing as a real place. Our own cities are dull by comparison. This is the stuff of anime and Hollywood blockbusters, not reality.

It’s easy to become absorbed in the sleek aesthetic and forget that the cyberpunk genre was meant to serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unregulated capitalism, economic inequality, and the rampant abuse of technology. Warnings we’ve mostly ignored. I hesitate to prognosticate on the ramifications we’ll face. As Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

At least Chongquing looks cool.

Vote, America.

Vote 🗳

Today is November 6th, Election Day. If you’re a United States citizen, today is the day where we participate in our civic duty. For the last few decades, mid-term elections have been largely ignored by most of the population—turnout in 2014 midterm election was a pathetic 36.4%—and in recent years we’ve seen the results (or lack thereof) when people grow complacent and don’t engage in government. Every vote matters.

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Please make time to vote. Most states require employers to give you paid time off to head to the polls, and in states that don’t have specific laws, you’ll find that employers often give you time off. (You can check which states have voting laws at vote411.com.)

I tweet this out often, but it’s important to remember that anyone trying to prevent or making it difficult for citizens to vote are the bad guys. Here in Washington State, we do all our voting by mail. It’s fantastic, and it prevents villains doing scummy things like moving polling places outside of a city or purging voter rolls. On the positive side, we also tend to have above-average voter turnout. Today, I was able to track my ballot online, and I’m proud to say my vote has been counted. It’s a good feeling.

Finally, remember that as an American citizen, no one has the right to stop you from voting. Your voice deserves to be counted. If you’re in line to vote when the polls close they are legally required to allow you to vote. If you’re intimidated at polls or have problems voting, keep these numbers handy:

  • 866-Our-Vote (English)
  • 866-Ve-Y-Vota (Spanish)
  • 866-API-Vote (Asian Languages)

Find out more information at 866ourvote.org.

Go vote. Make your voice heard.

Register to Vote

My Fellow Americans, Register to Vote

Today is the fourth Tuesday in September, that means it’s National Voter Registration Day here in the USA. If you’re a US citizen and you haven’t registered, take some time and do it today. Registering to vote is super easy (usually only takes a few minutes) and it’s essential. Your voice is valid, and it matters now more than ever.

There are a few ways to register, but here are a few of my favorite resources:

  • Vote.org
    This is my favorite. Here you find tools to register, and you can check the status of your registration. Be sure to do the latter, some states (Ohio) are trying to purge voter rolls for inactivity.

  • How to register to vote #RegisterToVote
    Google has a handy tool to help you figure out how to register. Just simple search for that phrase (or click the link above) and all the information is at your fingertips.

  • Rock the Vote
    This nonprofit and nonpartisan organization focuses on increasing the turnout for younger Americans and has been around since 1990.

I’ve said this before, but today is an appropriate day to restate that anyone trying to prevent or making it difficult for citizens to vote are the bad guys. In an era of voter disenfranchisement, suppression, and gerrymandering, the people must step up and elect leaders that fight for the rights of the citizenry. Do your duty: register and vote.

Americans: Go Vote

Americans: Go Vote

It’s November 8th here in the United States. The day we cast our ballots for the next President of our country. While I have readers all over the world, I’m going to take a moment to talk to those who are American.

Go vote. Please vote. Please. Every race is important. From your school board to local offices to your state and city elections; not just our national election.

We do mail-in voting here in Washington, so I already voted weeks ago. I’m not going to tell you which way to vote. (Although, over the last few weeks I haven’t been exactly silent on my support.) What am I am going to do is encourage you to do it. It’s important.

For some places, casting your vote will be easy. In many others, thanks to voter suppression movements, it’ll be much more challenging. As I posted yesterday on Facebook as an American citizen, no one has the right to stop you from voting, if you’re in line to vote when the polls close THEY ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO ALLOW YOU TO VOTE. Remember that. Same goes for your employer with a few caveats depending on your state. [Details Here]

If you’re intimidated at polls or have problems voting, keep these numbers handy:

  • 866-Our-Vote (English)
  • 866-Ve-Y-Vota (Spanish)
  • 866-API-Vote (Asian Languages)

Find out more information at: 866ourvote.org

It’s a big day for our country. Go vote and let your voice be heard.

Friday Link Pack 04/17/2015

Friday Link Pack 04/17/15

BOOM! It’s Friday! That mean it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough chatter, let’s get to it…


How To Talk About Your Novel
I have been to a few conventions now and it surprises me how many authors aren’t able to talk about their books with readers and other authors. It’s important! Thankfully, author and editor J. W. Troemner has some great insight on how to solve some of the common pitfalls folks have when discussing their work.

Goodnight Dune
It’s no secret that Dune is amazing. If you appreciate Frank Herberts masterpiece like I do, then you’ll love the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon retold with an Arrakis theme. (If you’re more of a George R. R. Martin fan, Laughing Squid put together a Goodnight Westeros for you.)

One Indie Author’s Debut Year Income
We’ve seen authors talk about their year-to-date earnings, and it’s awesome to see folks so open about the money they’re making (or not making.) Romance Authors Jessi Gage opens up and compares her 2013 to her 2014.

Top 105 Blogs And Websites For Writers
It’s always good to have a stable of great sites to read. In the name of excess, e-booksindia had put together a list of one-hundred and five blogs and sites for you to browse. Here’s a handy list of some great resources for writers.

I’m Doing A Live Reading This Saturday, Here’s How You Can Tune In
If you missed my post from yesterday, I am doing a live reading using the new app Periscope and you can tune in. Hit the post for details. See you tomorrow!


Antigirl – A Love Story Documentary in the City of Angels
I love it when artists bear their souls. So often we feel like we’re alone in our journey of creativity, it’s encouraging to know others out there go through similar struggles. With that in mind I highly recommend you watch this rad documentary about the journey of Tiphanie Brooke and Mike Polson, two incredible LA-based artists.

The Art of Alyssa Winans
Beautiful artwork from illustrator and game artist Alyssa Winans. I really dig her See America series, but all her work is solid. I’m a fan.

Nicolas Martin, Paintings
If you have been following my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love atmosphere. You see why I dig French artist Nicholas Martin’s work. Moody and beautiful. See more on his website as well.


Professor Decodes 10 Words From Mysterious Voynich Manuscript
One of histories weirdest mysteries, the Voynich manuscript has remained untranslated since its discovery. Now Stephen Bax, a professor of applied linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire in England, has translated ten words in the strange codex. More info on his site.

Mapping Migration in the United States
I love maps. So when I saw this New York Times map showing the migration patterns within the United States I knew I’d be sharing it here. Interesting how so many folks in our melting pot of a nation don’t move too far from home. West stays to West, East to East, and South to South.

Arcology: Cutaways Of The Future City-Hives That Never Were
The futurist idea of arcologies is a mainstay of science fiction. I even play with the concept in the Bell Forging books. So when I saw this post from Cory Doctorow about Paolo Soleri’s 1969 book: Arcology: The City in the Image of Man. It was something I was very interested in. The book sounds fascinating, but the images… you need to see the images. [Thanks to Steve for sharing this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

Agloe, New York
Agloe is a fictional place in Delaware County, New York, that became an actual landmark. In the 1930s, General Drafting Company founder Otto G. Lindberg and an assistant, Ernest Alpers, assigned an anagram of their initials to a dirt-road intersection in the Catskill Mountains: NY 206 and Morton Hill Road, north of Roscoe, New York. The town was designed as a copyright trap.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Curse of Yig
Don’t mess with the snake god.

Gif of the Week:

They see me rollin'...