Contents copyright 1997 by Thomas G. Digby, with a liberal definition of "fair use". In other words, feel free to quote excerpts elsewhere (with proper attribution), post the entire zine (verbatim, including this notice) on other boards that don't charge specifically for reading the zine, link my Web page, and so on, but if something from here forms a substantial part of something you make money from, it's only fair that I get a cut of the profits.
For more background info, details of how the mailing list works, etc., look at issue #Zero.
If you email me a reply or comment, please make clear whether or not it's for publication.
Another science fiction thought: Suppose space warps, etc., can be created by more or less ordinary electrostatic fields, but only on kilometer scales and larger. You need a fairly homogeneous field several kilometers across, on a scale some unusual thunderclouds can create but which won't fit into the typical high-voltage laboratory. This has gone undiscovered until now because nobody has built a laboratory big enough to create the effect, but it happens in nature just often enough to give us ghost stories about time-warps, often associated with thunderstorms or other weird weather.
But once out in space, where you can build kilometer-scale structures free of the problems caused by gravity, you can have things like hyperdrive starships. But you can't have them small. The engines have to be tens of kilometers in their smallest dimension. What can you do with such a thing?
If you're writing science fiction, maybe have it discovered and developed by Asteroid Belt colonists who aren't eager to have Earthside governments in on the deal? And have interstellar commerce controlled by companies that can afford the huge ships required?
And here's Kittycat, in my lap again, getting in the way. If you find any typos or other things wrong with this, he's my Official Excuse.
Now he's settling down for a nap, maybe. Maybe.
Ever pondered the merits of Kittycat vs a Pet Rock? The Pet Rock wouldn't get in your way unless you put it there first. Nobody to blame but yourself. "I just put my Pet Rock on top of the printer, so now I can't print because my Pet Rock is sleeping on the printer and I'd rather not disturb it." Kind of weak as an excuse, if you ask me. But maybe, to some, better than none at all.
And ever notice how few Pet Rocks you see on the streets as roadkill? You do see wild rocks, yes. But not Pet Rocks.
Some of us were sitting around talking and the subject of sewer clogs came up. I mentioned an idea I had that eventually they may have some remote-controlled wormlike thing about as big as your arm that would "live" in the sewer system. If you had a stoppage you would call Sewer Central and they'd send the nearest unclogger to your place by way of the pipes. If they have individualized Custom Cable TV you might even be able to watch its progress as it works its way into your pipe from the main line and hunts for the problem.
There are a number of technology issues involved, having to do with power and communications (assuming it's not dragging a cable along behind), especially if video is desired. But those may be worked out in a decade or two.
Someone else proposed something you'd take home and send down your sink drain. That may be OK for sink drain clogs, but it would be limited to a much smaller size than the up-from-the-sewer unit because it would need to fit into smaller pipes.
It may be easier to work at clearing clogs from the upstream side because once you loosened the obstruction any water present would flush it away from you rather than toward you. On the other hand, if you were working from below you could just back away from the loosened obstruction, dragging it (or letting the water push it) along after you as you retreated back to the main pipe where you could dump it. And if the clog was a really massive tangle of roots or something, it may be better to work from below, digging part of it away and hauling it down the pipe for disposal, then returning to get more ...
And even if there is a disadvantage to coming in from below and working upstream, the ability to use larger, more powerful units that can travel to the customer under their own power without needing to make an appointment for someone to be home may outweigh that. And if the unit is largely automated and there are enough of them available to keep up with demand, the fact that the job takes minutes or even hours longer may not matter much except in the most extreme of emergencies.
And once the system got established emergencies would be pretty much a thing of the past. The homeowner would sign up for a preventive program where the unit would crawl up and inspect the pipe every few months without anybody in the house even noticing, much less having to make an appointment and put up with workers lugging machinery around, tracking up the carpets, and so on. Thus there would be little need for fast travel times and immediate response.
Does anybody remember if the Jetsons ever had to call a plumber?
If you are a rock star with more money than brains (or you used to have brains but you fried them on drugs), somebody may try to sell you an electric guitar supposedly built by Stradivarius, that famous dead guy who made violins back when he wasn't dead. They'll try to tell you that Stradivarius electric guitars are extremely valuable because he only made a few, then went back to acoustic fiddles because he couldn't get good pickups or amps. But, they'll say, nowadays you can have a new pickup put in and have a better guitar than Stradivarius ever dreamed of.
This is a scam! Don't buy it! At least not at any price higher than any ordinary electric guitar.
While it is true that you can have a better electric guitar than Stradivarius ever dreamed of, that's because he never dreamed of any electric guitars at all, as far as we know. Back when he was building stuff, electric guitars hadn't been invented yet. He would have never heard of them. Period.
Yes, that may make the statement that he couldn't get good pickups technically true, but that doesn't matter, since he would have never thought to even try to get any kind of electric guitar pickups at all.
They may try to tell you that Stradivarius heard about electric guitars from Nostradamus, but there's no real proof of that. And for an investment of that magnitude, you want real good proof before you hand over your money.
So, if someone tries to sell you a Stradivarius electric guitar, go tell a policeman. Even if you normally avoid cops, you should still go tell one to keep someone else who has even less brains than you from being swindled.
I recall once seeing someone mailing a package to someplace overseas in the Third World, like New Guinea or some such. It was marked:
"If Undeliverable, Abandon."
It gave me a mental image of the postman walking along a one-lane dirt road through a meadow. And when he gets to the address it's vacant or something, so he just leaves the package lying in the grass by the side of the road and walks on as a light rain begins to fall ...
A computer song I wrote back in 1966 is now thirty years old. I think that's a little unusual in that there weren't all that many songs about computers back then. I can't put music in the ASCII version of this zine, but I'll see what I can do about getting the music up on my Web page in some form or another in the next couple of weeks. Or ask in alt.music.filk and maybe somebody will point to a song book that has it.
Little Teeny Eyes 1. Oh we got a new computer but it's quite a disappointment 'Cause it always gave this same insane advice: "OH YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY EYES FOR READING LITTLE TEENY PRINT LIKE YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY HANDS FOR MILKING MICE." 2. So we re-read the instruction book that came with the computer But it kept on printing crazy stuff that reads Like: "YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY EYES FOR READING LITTLE TEENY PRINT LIKE YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY SHOES FOR CENTIPEDES." 3. So we got an expert genius and he rewrote all the programs But we always got results that looked like these: "OH YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY EYES FOR READING LITTLE TEENY PRINT LIKE YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY LICENSE PLATES FOR BEES." 4. Then we tested each resistor, every diode and transistor, But our EElectronic brain just raves and rants: "OH YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY EYES FOR READING LITTLE TEENY PRINT LIKE YOU NEED LITTLE BRANDING IRONS FOR BRANDING ANTS." 5. Now we're looking for a buyer for a crazy mad computer That will only give out crazy mad advice Like: "YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY EYES FOR READING LITTLE TEENY PRINT LIKE YOU NEED LITTLE TEENY HANDS FOR MILKING MICE." -- Tom Digby written 1/27/66 first publication APA-L #69 2/10/66 entered 22:12 Feb 14, 1996 -- END --
This page was created by Tom Digby and is copyrighted with a fairly liberal "fair use" policy.
Email = email@example.com
Home Page = http://www.well.com/user/bubbles/