Blue Rabbit in Real Time

Steven Brust has high argumentative ambitions.

A “blue rabbit” is, simply, the term I use for an occasional random flash of insight. Specifically, it has to do with something already in your memory and knowledge base suddenly fitting together with a similar component, resulting in a brief, but usually useless flash of dialectic resolution.

The term comes from third grade; a girl complained about a boy coloring his rabbit blue. The teacher blithely mediated: “Well, I think there might have been blue rabbits, maybe. But there aren’t anymore.” Six years later, for absolutely no reason I could remember, it struck me over breakfast: There never were any blue rabbits.

It’s not like this was a particularly vexing question; I had long forgotten the episode until, suddenly, right: There never were any blue rabbits.

Thus prefaced, a note for Steven Brust, and several years later than … er … right. So, the only reason to even mention this is the fact that the pieces took years to correspond, join up, and click into place.

So, anyway: Ingenious use of the inclined plane?

Yeah. That one finally hit me. I’m accustomed to playing Where’s Devera? but I freely and even gladly admit that it never occurred to me to ask, “Where’s Eddi?”

And just like wrecking Buddy Ebsen’s credit record, Steve knows why. Well, most likely.

And maybe he’ll even tell us.

Anyway, yeah. Now it’s just a matter of digging up the text.


Image credit: via The Dream Café.

Good News, Everyone!

“Lady Teldra wakes up, realizes she’s just a collection of gender signifiers, and goes back to sleep. You’re welcome.”

Steven Brust

Never mind.

Coming October, 2014Anyway, Corwin says … er, at least we think it’s Corwin:

His next project as regards Vlad is Vallista, something he may or may not be working on at this very minute. Even though it’s Saturday afternoon. He says his boss is a dick, as though that were an excuse. I won’t say I interviewed him, but I did get permission to run this review and may have attempted to collect facts overtly. Stalkings by sexy fangirls never came up. He is clearly having no fun at all.

Oh, right. Cover art. Hawk.



No, really, do I need to disclaim that’s not a real spoiler? So help me ….

A Note for Steven Brust: Philosophy and Fish

It’s just one of those things; as long as I don’t do anything about it, the idea preys on my mind. Now, having actually scribbled it down, it seems kind of useless. Then again, it’s an exorcism, so ….

From Steven Brust’s Tiassa (p. 293):

“That is true, Brigadier. You have often said that when you assume, you are thinking like a fish.°”

• • •

° In the Northwestern language, the word “assume” consists of syllables that, when taken apart, are not dissimilar to the sound for “fish” followed by the symbols that form the word “thought.”

Meanwhile, from the anime FLCL, episode five (“Brittle Bullet”)—the English-language voiceover:

KITSURABAMI: [shooting an anti-tank rifle] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Cobalt blue! [fires] If Seven of Nine heaves a sigh, what do you have? Cyborg!

HARUKO: [swings bass guitar, slaps shot back] Cyborg, my butt!

KITSURABAMI: [gasps with alarm]

MAMIMI: [holding Takkun-cat] Actually, confusing cyborgs with robots is a common mistake.

And a more transliterated version in the English-language subtitles that accompany the Japanese dialogue:

KITSURABAMI: [shooting an anti-tank rifle] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Blue! [fires] Cobalt blue! [fires] If you write “fish” and “blue”, and it looks like … saba for mackerel!

HARUKO: [swings bass guitar, slaps shot back] Mackerel, my butt!

KITSURABAMI: [gasps with alarm]

MAMIMI: [holding Takkun-cat] Actually, writing fish with blue is a common mistake.

And thus having exorcised the blue cyborg mackerel demon, I’ll shut up, now.

Notes for Em

Time lapse of lightfoil in motion.I’m going to have to become some sort of physicist. Damn. I hate math.

No, actually, I don’t; I’m just a pathetic mathematician. Or, more accurately, not a mathematician at all. But that’s beside the point. Except, damn. I’m going to have to become some sort of physicist.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Some of the questions my brother and I asked thirty years ago probably astounded my father the way my daughter can absolutely befuddle me. “What,” she asked, not too long ago, “is a solar sail?”

Seven, by the way. Now eight.

Of course I told her about this far-flung idea of using a laser to push a spacecraft, and how the vessel could reach speeds near light. You know, stuff from fifteen years ago.

But I had no idea.

A BBC article brings me up to speed with lightfoil, which is a cool word despite the fact that no superhero will ever use it as a name:

Just as air causes lift on the wings of an aeroplane, light can do the same trick, researchers have said.

The effect, first shown in simulations, was proven by showing it in action on tiny glass rods.

Like the aerofoil concept of wings, the approach, published in Nature Photonics, works by making use of the radiation pressure of light.

The results are of interest for steering “solar sails”, a spacecraft propulsion based on the same force.

Each photon – or packet of light – carries its own momentum, and this “lightfoil” works by gathering the momentum of light as it passes through a material.

This radiation pressure has been considered as a fuel-free source of propulsion for long-distance space missions; a “solar sail” gathering up the momentum of the Sun’s rays can get a spacecraft up to a significant fraction of the speed of light.

But until now, no one thought to use the pressure in an analogue of an aerofoil, said Grover Swarzlander of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Continue reading

Brust on writing

Steven Brust notes,

You’ve lost the power of thought and speech
The iron ore is out of reach
The horses run at double time
Upgrade to muskets and you’ll be fine

You must save face
Don’t let the French be first in Space
Bed calls but its no use
Until you can make that bank produce

Whoa, you like to think that your will is completely free, oh yea.
And you’ll stop when you’ve built the Observatory, you know you’re
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to Civ.

Might as well face it you’re addicted to Civ ….