Category Archives: fantasy and science fiction

Chicon 8

Thursday

On Thursday, Sept. 1, Mia McDavid and I drove to Chicago for Chicon 8: The 80th World Science Fiction Convention at the Hyatt Regency Chicago . This was our 5th Chicon. Previously we had attended:

Despite some glitches, we really enjoyed the Con, and visiting downtown Chicago again.

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Capricon Notes

As I wrote previously , Mia (my wife) and I spent last weekend at Capricon, a Chicagoland science fiction convention. We went to most of the Capricons in the ’80’s and ’90’s, but in our first years in Minnesota the pressures of parenthood prevented us from going. Those have eased somewhat and we have been to most of the Capricons (and Windycons) since 2009. While most Capricons have been in the Chicago suburbs, this year the convention was downtown, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

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Chicago again

Mia (my wife) and I spent last weekend in Chicago for the Capricon, another science fiction convention that has been part of our life for decades. This year the convention was downtown, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Our room was on north side of the 28th floor and the view from our window was magnificent by night and day:

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Windycon 2021

My wife Mia and I spend the past weekend in Chicagoland. Friday and Saturday we were at Windycon, a science fiction convention that we have frequently attended since the 1970s. This was first SF con we have been to since the world shut down for Covid-19. There was no Windycon in 2020. Covid, of course, has not gone away, but this year Windycon was back, with changes. There were very strict and detailed Covid policies. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test were required for admission. Masks were required everywhere except “while … actively consuming food or drink in the consuite or green room” or for performers while performing and at least 6 feet from anyone else. Bill Roper has a positive con report, with which I completely agree.

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Rang Gaeilge, 29ú lá Mí na mí Mheiteamh 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Bhí tost sa seomra. Bhain an Duinníneach taitneamh, soicind,
    as éifeacht a scéil ar an gcomhluadar. An soicind ina
    dhiaidh sin, chúb sé roimh an mbéic a lig Woodley as.

    ‘Mo chuid sionnacht [var pl?]! Iad á ngoid ag mo thionóntaithe féin!’

    ‘Ach ni bhíonn tú ag seilg sionnach, a thaisce, agus tá’s agat
    go n-itheann siad na piasúin . . .’arsa a chéile.

    There was silence in the room. Dineen enjoyed, for a second, the effect of his story
    on the company. The second after that he cowered before the shout Woodley let out

    ‘My foxes! My own tenants are stealing them!’

    ‘But you don’t hunt foxes, my dear, and you know they eat the pheasants . . .’ said his wife.

    taitneamh Shine, brightness; Liking, enjoyment
    soicind second [of time] m
    éifeacht Force, significance; efficacy, effect; value, importance f
    comhluadar (Social) company m
    chúb bend, cower, shrink
    béic yell; shout f
    seilg hunt, chase f
    piasún pheasant m gs npl piasúin
  • Léigh tuilleadh

Rang Gaeilge, 25ú lá Mí na Bealtaine 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Tháinig Dínny amach ón gcuilinn agus a lámha san aer.

    ‘Tá drochbhail ar na créatúirí istigh ansin.’ ar seisean.

    ‘Ná bog,’ arsa Jeremiah leis agus, gan béal an ghunnáin a bhogadh, chúlaigh sé gur thug sé stracfhéachaint ar a raibh istigh i gcairt Dinny.

    ‘Boscaí folmha agus beart sac. Sin uile atá ann,’ arsa Dinny.

    Chinntigh Lowney nach raibh Dinny armtha.

    ‘Suigh id chairt go nglaofaidh mé ort ‘

    Chrom an tAthair P’ádraig athuair ar an mbeirt a bhí ceangailte a scaoileadh saor.

    ‘Bhí tú ag súil go mbeadh gunnaí sa chairt?’ ar seisean le Lowney.

    Dinny came out from the holly with his hands in the air.

    ‘The creatures in there are in bad shape.’ he said.

    ‘Don’t move,’ Jeremiah said to him and, without moving the mouth of the revolver, move back to take a cursory glance at everything that what was in Dinny’s cart.

    ‘Empty boxes and a bundle of sacks. That’s all there is,’ said Dinny.

    Lowney made sure Dinny was not armed.

    ‘Sit in your cart until I call you’

    Fr. Patrick bent over the two that were tied up to release them.

    ‘You were expecting guns in the cart?’ he said to Lowney

    cuileannhollym gs cuilinn
    drochbhailBad condition; bad circumstances
    cúlaighBack, move back; reverse, retreat
    strac- = srac- Cursory, sketchy, slight
    féachaintlook, glance; appearance; aspect; trial, test; taste, small portionf
    beartbundle,
    sacsackm
    CinntighMake certain; confirm, assure
    id = i do
    athuairAgain, a second time
    scaoilLoose(n), release, discharge; Undo, untie, unfasten

  • Léigh tuilleadh

Rang Gaeilge, 27ú lá Mí na mí Aibreáin 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh

Boladh … smell, scent; Boladh an scéil, hint of the story; Boladh na húire, the smell of earth, a smell presaging death (Ker.); Boladh an tsionnnaigh, “a fox smell,” a peculiar smell said to be hereditary in certain families …

  • Bhí an tAthair Pádraig ag obair ag a bhinse sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta nuair a thug sé foai ndeara go raibh lochán gréine ar an urlár. Ni scáil na gréine, go fírinneach, a dhúisigh óna néal é ach scáil phréacháin a dhubhaigh an ghile ar an urlár le rince beag earraigh a dhein se ar dhíon gloine na leabharlainne. ‘Badhbh!’ arsa an tAthair Pádraig. ‘Leid ón mBé.

    Father Patrick was working at his bench in the National Library when he noticed a pool of sunlight on the floor. It was not the image of the sun, in fact, that woke him from his nap, but the shadow of a crow that darkened the light on the floor with a little spring dance that he performed on the glass roof of the library. ‘War-goddess!’ said Fr. Patrick. ‘A sign from the woman/muse.’

    binsebenchm
    lochánsmall lake, pond
    scáilshadow, shade, darkness, reflection, image
    néalcloud, napm
    préacháncrow, rookm
    dubhaighblacken, darken
    gileWhiteness, brightnessf
    díonroof
    LeidHint, inkling; prompt; pointer, cluef
    Woman; maidenf

  • Léigh tuilleadh

Blinking Astronomical Photographs

Low-Cost Approach to Scanning Historic Glass Plates Yields an Astronomical Surprise. Technical details at Precise Photometric Measurements from a 1903 Photographic Plate Using a Commercial Scanner.

Professional astrophotography used to be done on emulsion-coasted glass places. That was how astromical discoveries were made for nearly a century.

More than an estimated 2.4 million glass plates are out there in collections in North America alone. These were taken starting in the 1890s right up until the 1970s, when CCD (Charged Couple Device) detectors started to come online for astronomy. Of these, only an estimated 400,000 plates have been digitized to research quality

The team in this article has found a much cheaper way to proceed with this process, using off-the-shelf hardware.

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The Eyes of Legolas

Tumblr User Explains Why Elves’ Eyes In Lord Of The Rings Shouldn’t Look The Way They Do, but in fact there is no problem.

In The Two Towers Legolas claims to clearly see the horsemen of Rohan at a distance of 5 leagues. How is this possible when you consider the curvature of the Earth? You can come up with some bizarre ideas about Elven anatomy which are not suggested in the books or seen in the movies. However, there is a an elegant answer based on the nature of Arda, Tolkien’s world. It was flat, not round, until the end of the second age. At that time the Valar made it round so that mortals could not access Valinor. But Elves could still go there. For them the Earth was still flat and they could sail the straight path to Valinor. Hence for Legolas the curvature of the Earth and the horizon did not exist and hence he could accurately see the horsemen 5 leagues away.