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Maker Faire Roundup: I meant to do one of these last year but the news hook slipped away. Not this year! Check out some of the cool stuff I saw at Maker Faire. Some of it is stuff you can buy, but most is above your crass commercialism:

@everybrendan: As I recall, Brendan was sitting in my living room and he said "I want to do something that lets people change my Twitter name, but I don't want another @ReaIBrendan fiasco. Oh, how I regret the catastrophe that was @ReaIBrendan." That may not be exactly what he said--I don't think he pronounced the at-signs. Anyway, I said "To limit the possibilities for mischief, you should let people change your name to any anagram of your name." Instead of that sensible idea, he did this.

Here's my revenge: @everybrendan. Inspired by Adam Parrish's @everyword, I've crawled the English canon looking for one- and two-word combinations that meet Brendan's naming criteria. I've eliminated duplicates and also ones that are just kind of samey. For variety's sake I only crawled one book for each author, excepting Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, who have three or four each. Also excepting James Joyce, literature's greatest source of Brendan names ("brandylogged rudeman").

@everybrendan posts one name every half-hour. One-word names like the upcoming "brokenhanded" are sent @BrendanAdkins, so they'll actually become Brendan's Twitter name for a while. Should Brendan displease me for any reason, I will change the bot so that all names are sent @BrendanAdkins. There are currently about 2600 names in the queue. This will take us to the end of November, by which point we'll all be sick of this anyway.

Magazine P Earthrise: Several months ago, while looking through Great Images in NASA site for my #retrorocket project I found something very striking: a series of images taken by Michael Collins from lunar orbit at roughly even intervals during Apollo 11. A series that showed, among other things, an Earthrise. A series that could be turned into a movie...

The GRIN metadata on this series is really bad, and GRIN didn't have all the frames since I guess some were less Great than others. Fortunately, each photo taken by an Apollo crew has a unique ID and they've all been put online. Most of them are on the Internet Archive, but NASA's history department has them all, including the shots that didn't turn out. ("Completely dark frame.") The photos I saw are from Magazine P, and once I knew that, I discovered that someone else had created a video of the same photos and put it on Youtube a month ago.

There went any hope that I might be the first person to see this movie since Michael Collins saw it live, but oh well. There's still work to be done: that video goes by way too fast IMO, and since the images haven't been rotated the way the GRIN images were, the Earthrise isn't as striking to human eyes. So I downloaded the pictures and used PIL and mencoder to make my own movie. Here it is on the Internet Archive.

My animation uses frames AS11-41-5971 through AS11-41-6135. It goes into slow motion for a bit when Earth shows up, since Collins took extra shots right when the Earthrise started. (I fooled around with changing the frame durations around that point, but ultimately decided to leave it alone.) To the right you can see a smaller animated GIF of the Earthrise, but in the full video that's just the most spectacular moment among a series of navigational swerves which end with the Command Module disappearing into the lunar terminator.

Bonus: here's a second, shorter video I made from most of the rest of Magazine P: AS11-41-6109 to AS11-41-6135, the "orbital lunar horizon sequence west of Mare Tranquillitatis." Gets up close to some mountains.

GOTV Promo: A week from today, November 5, I've got a story going up on Strange Horizons, a genre-savvy space opera called "Four Kinds of Cargo." A week from tomorrow, November 6, is Election Day in the US, and because I like it when people vote in elections, I'm going to run a little promo for my story.

By the end of the day on the 6th, send me a picture of your "I Voted" sticker or equivalent, and on Wednesday morning I'll send you exclusive bonus content. Specifically, I'll send you the first chapter of my novel in progress. This is a direct sequel to "Four Kinds of Cargo" which picks up the action about twelve hours after the end of the story. So if you like "Cargo" on Monday, send in your proof of franchise on Tuesday and you'll get a little more of the story. You'll be getting a first draft, so if and when the novel is published, you'll be able to compare the published text against what I sent you, and see all the changes I had to make.

But wait! You say. What about all the people implicitly omitted from this promo? Those who are too young or otherwise ineligible to vote, those who vote early, those who are... I don't think there's any nicer way to put this... un-American? ["foreigners"? -ed.] Oh yeah, that's the word.

I'm announcing this promo a week early so that if you vote early or send an absentee ballot you can still get in on the promo. But if you can't vote in the upcoming election at all, you can also get the bonus material by engaging in any display of patriotism (as recognized by your native country) and sending me a picture. I realize how embarrassing displays of patriotism are for non-Americans, but them's the rules.

Email your stuff to leonardr@segfault.org. (It needs to be email because I'm going to email you the chapter, and I need a return address.) I will not be using your pictures or your email address for anything except verifying your eligibility and sending you the chapter. The only reason I'm doing this via email is to avoid concerns about having "previously published" this work once I finish it and try to sell it.

: And another social-good deal: for the rest of October, Sumana and I are matching donations to the Ada Initiative, up to $10,000. Here's how to donate.


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