Eyes and Ears

I'm not going to go blind after all.

Yes, today was my checkup at the eye clinic. Last year it was "You have a severe astigmatism that'll only get worse and probably cause glaucoma which'll likely blind you by the time you're fifty and there's no way to stop it."

Now it's "Your eyes are exactly the same as last year so there's no new degeneration so if you do develop glaucoma it'll start when you're eighty. So we don't need to see you again. Bye."

My right eye is still a bit rubbish, but (a) it hasn't got any more rubbish and (b) my left eye is wonderful! So that's nice.

New Scientist. A weekly magazine of popular science that I read avidly as a teenager. It introduced me to virology, set theory, chaos theory, and some really weird cool stuff about using quantum physics to make unbreakable cyphers.

Now I get to peruse it again, ever since Mother switched her subscription from Time Magazine - on the grounds that Time had become full of neocon cheerleading instead of actual news.

Unfortunately, New Scientist is also now full of drivel. Recently there was a front page article on why the human brain is the most complex thing in the universe - an intriguing notion, until you ask what it means. There is a pretty rigorous definition of complexity in biology, and another quite different one from information theory that could (perhaps, in principle) be applied to the universe. But probably not.

It's a little like saying "Chocolate cake is rich, and so is the Hilton Hotel, so the chocolatiest cake in the hotel is a multibillionaire".

This week, there's a brief article on why men with wide faces are violent. Read that again before going on, just to make sure you got it right.

Testosterone in puberty causes the facial bones to widen, and men to become aggressive - the more testosterone, the wider the face and the more aggression. Aggressive people are violent, so...yeah.

And the fact that the researchers saw some stocky teens "aggressively" playing video games confirms it. Yes, they said that.

They also say it applies to short and small men too - though presumably accept the line that testosterone increases height and muscle mass.

Still, nevermind. Testosterone also increases testicle size (except when it does the opposite, as a sports supplement), deepens the voice (though that's actually more a matter of cartilage structure in the neck), and increases sex drive, which is why men with squeaky voices don't commit adultery. So I've read.

Oh, small detail: If you're going to talk about aggression as a measurable trait in psychology, try not confusing it with the colloquial connotations of the word. That way, you might not talk complete gibberish.

I have now sat up for four nights in a row listening to science fiction podcasts. I've redescovered Ted Chiang (who writes excellent short stories once in a blue moon) and John Varley (who wrote one of the best and three of the worst novels of my childhood) on StarShipSofa. Plus Mike Resnick (who makes sensitive types cry) and Charles Finlay (who makes dumb types nod sagely) on Escape Pod.

I once read that there are now so many Star Trek episodes, films, books, and audios around that someone could literally spend their entire life watching, reading and hearing Star Trek. And given the uncounted thousands of fan-written stories on the net - divided into gen, het, slash, HC, PWP and other impenetrably named subgenres - there's enough for the afterlife too.

I'm not sure I could fill my whole life with the horror of Pseudopod, the various genres of Varient Frequencies or the complete books of Podiobooks...but I'm happy to have a rich supply of bedtime stories. Before I have breakfast and go to bed.

I'll start making tea tomorrow.


  1. So you're saying David Beckham's never strayed?

  2. Listening to horror is a sure way to keep yourself up all night. But hey, if that's your gig, I'm happy you've found our stuff to help!

    Thanks for spreading the Podiobooks.com word!


  3. MJ: Oh I rather suspect he hasn't. But that's got do with the scary spice making sure he can't.

    Evo: My computer reads me bedtime stories. That ought to be a little bit creepy.

    Odd to redescover the pleasure of a nightly book chapter before bed...after three decades.

  4. First of all, cut out all the non-canon crap and the amount of Star Trek stuff is manageable. You'd be done in less than a month. And if you'd cut out the canon stuff that is crap, you'd only need a day.