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A personal view of the state of NMR at the start of 2015

NMR blog - 2015, January 11 - 05:00

A somewhat worried blog entry.

Categories: Blogs

Profitable Urban Farming winter tour; Florida, California, Mexico, Washington, BC

Green City Acres - 2015, January 7 - 09:24

Hello friends, I’m heading out on the road again this January. This will be the first time I’ve ever visited Florida, and I’m super stoked to be connecting with some like minded people down there at the Orlando Easton Market, and the pedal powered urban farmers from Fleet Farming. I’ll be in Gainesville, Fl January 28-29th, giving a free lecture on Wednesday evening, and then a full day workshop the next day on Thursday. The, I’m giving a two day workshop in Orlando Jan 31-Feb 1st. The two day workshop goes into a little more depth then the one day, but both of them cover most aspects regarding production, marketing, and business management. 

 After Florida, I fly straight to California for a two day weekend workshop in Long Beach, CA, Feb 7-8th. This is being organized by Diego from Permaculture Voices, and I will be working with him again in March when I speak at PV2 in San Diego Mar 4-8. 

 Saturday, February 14, I will be giving a one day workshop in Seattle, WA, and the next weekend, I’ll be back in Langely, BC for another one day workshop February 21.

 Feb 28-Mar 1, I’ll be giving a two day workshop in Puerto Vallarta. The workshop is open to Spanish speakers too, as we will have real-time translation happening. 

 Straight after Mexico, I head back to San Diego for Permaculture Voices 2. So stoked for it this year as my good buddy Jean-Martin Fortier will be there and him and I will be giving a 2 hour workshop together. Come down! This year has got tons of wicked speakers. The focus is on bringing out people who are making positive change through their actions. 

 For more info click here.

Categories: Blogs

Magnetic Resonance on the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OEIS)

NMR blog - 2014, December 31 - 05:00

MR- and spin-related OEIS entries registered over the last 2 years.

Categories: Blogs

Interview with the RiYL podcast about personal politics and big-P politics

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 31 - 04:21


I sat down for an interview with the RiYL podcast (MP3) at NYCC last fall. We covered a lot of material that I don't get a lot of chances to talk about, particularly the relationship between personal politics and big-P politics. Listening to it again, I'm very satisfied with how it turned out.

Categories: Blogs

For The First Time In Forever (an ode to my antidepressant)

Fighting the Dragons - 2014, December 29 - 21:48


Christmas season is alive and well in our house. Last week the girls were waking up like clockwork at 5:55am. Kris would take them upstairs to let me sleep in a little bit. One morning I fell into a deep, Penny-less sleep (she is in our bed most every night. More on that later) and dreamt that it was Boxing Day and I had missed Christmas completely. Everyone was wearing tight white clothing and donning St. Patrick’s Day paraphernalia. I was more perplexed with the odd outfits and the eagerness to skip over Family Day and Valentine’s Day rather than the fact I missed Christmas. I woke up two hours later and old me would have been panicked and instantly stressed. I MISSED CHRISTMAS! OH MY GOD WHAT DAY IS IT AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND HOLIDAY CHEER MUST BE SPREAD!!! Instead, I stretched, relished the extra sleep and came upstairs (we sleep in the basement because that is how our house works). I thanked my slightly stressed out husband, who was quick to apologize for the abundance of glitter all over the house. Instead of the usual milk-banana-cartoons that 6am dictates, Eleanor pulled out the glitter and glue and decided to do arts and crafts. Bless Kris for even attempting to go along with it! He was clearly out of his element with Penny as she began flinging objects with glee. Or malice. Or just to fling them. It’s hard to tell sometimes! We had our tea and coffee while the girls did their milk-banana-cartoons and Kris and I chatted about what the day would bring.



I’m loving Christmas this year, and I have to say, what a difference a year makes. Last Christmas started the long descent into darkness. I did all the things they tell you not to and I obsessed over making our Christmas perfect. It started with Eleanor’s birthday and went right through Christmas Day. I drove myself crazy over creating memories. I felt the fleetingness of time and the thought “is this our last?” was never far from my head. Even though she is two years cancer-free. Even though her endocrine situation is under control. Even though she is THRIVING, the thought was always nagging me. I thought it would leave after Christmas last year; the stress would lift and the sadness would go with it. But it didn’t. It just sat with me. I threw myself into the process of buying our house. If we could get out of our rental, I could leave this feeling there with all the memories. We found our perfect-for-us house and closed on it in March. Our possession date wasn’t until the end of June (the price came down quite a bit for this concession!) so we waited. And waited. And Eleanor gave up her nap. And Penelope grew up fast. She got so strong and big and was on track to start walking around her first birthday, as normal babies do. It was so hard. It was crushingly hard. I didn’t know how to keep her safe. I didn’t know how to do anything around her nap schedule. I didn’t know. The difference between her and Eleanor was smacking me in the face every single time I looked at her. I found myself trapped. Trapped by Eleanor wanting to play with me all day. Trapped by Penny’s nap schedule. Trapped in our apartment. None of these things were that big, but I was seeing everything through this haze of anger and sadness. Kris and I began fighting more. All the negative feelings I would have been having during the day would boil over in the evening and he would be on the receiving end of it. I took some satisfaction in knowing I wasn’t taking it out on the girls.
We got the word in early May that we could move up our possession a full month. We jumped at the opportunity and immediately threw ourselves into packing and planning. It gave me purpose. It gave me hope. I made lists and filled boxes and labeled our belongings and brought old clothes to Big Brother. I looked around at my accomplishments and I had done virtually nothing. It was very frustrating. Kris took to saying, “Well once you’ve got your house, you will be alright.” He said it in a dismissive way, but I really hoped there was some truth in it. I have two distinct memories of the move. The first is a feeling of jubilation the day of the official move. Kris and I had hired movers and really didn’t have too much to do. We held hands and walked to Starbucks and sat in the sunshine. It felt like when we moved from Toronto a million (or three) years ago. We were just two stupid people in love. Well, two stupid people in love and looking after a neurotic dog! A few days later I went back to work on cleaning the place up for the next renters. The first time I walked into the girls room and saw it completely empty, something cracked inside of me. That room held so many memories for me. When we first moved in, it was our bedroom, and I slept in there with teeny tiny baby Eleanor. I remember crying one morning and being in so much pain from a bleb on my nipple. I was in tears as Kris left for work and I phoned the nurses’ hotline to find out if I had mastitis. The nurse on the end of phone asked who I was with and why they were having so much trouble breathing. I explained that it was my baby and she was a little stuffy. The nurse was skeptical with my answer. God, if she could have seen her. Her neck was so swollen from her Cushing’s Syndrome she could barely maintain an airway. Her heart was so enlarged it caused her pulse to race and further laboured her breathing. And we were just waiting. I told her we were waiting to hear about an appointment with a paediatrician. We had convinced ourselves that some pills would reverse the changes that had happened to our sweet girl.
That room also held all the memories of our first Christmas with our cancer baby. Kris had come home ahead of us and had cleaned the house and made the bed for us. Our bed felt like heaven after sharing a single bed with Eleanor in hospital! It was in that room that Eleanor fell sick with diarrhea a week before Christmas. She woke me up every few hours with a low moan and a full diaper. I was too tired to think much of it, but when Kris took her out early in the morning, he knew she was not okay and we rushed her to the hospital. We spent the next week in PICU and watched the soul leave a young man’s body. I can still his dad screaming as it happened. He called his near-adult son “sunshine”. I can still see his friends’ listless faces walking around the halls. Teenagers. Not quite children, not quite men. It was fucking awful. We got home for Christmas, but spent Christmas Eve back in the hospital because little Miss had pulled her NG tube out.
I looked at the small stains on the carpet from where formula had dripped out of the feeding pump. I looked in the bathroom where I had sobbed alone in the shower. I looked in the empty closets that had once been packed with medical supplies. I looked in every corner and my heart broke. Whatever I had been holding on to to get through my days slowly slipped away. I quit. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I had this gorgeous new house that was full of potential. I had a creative, talented, ambitious, supportive, handsome husband who worked his ASS off so I could stay home. I had a striking (and slightly unstable!) dog. I had two gorgeous, HEALTHY girls. I had it all. And I didn’t want it anymore. Kris and I were fighting all the time and I started confiding in my friends that I didn’t want to make it better. I didn’t care if we fell apart. I started avoiding social outings. I wouldn’t get out of my pyjamas. I couldn’t get to sleep at night and I couldn’t wake up in the morning. On the rare occasions that I went out for an activity and enjoyed myself I would chastise myself for later. I became my own worst enemy and fell down a slippery slope of depression. The thoughts that encircled my head became darker and more frightening. I convinced myself that everyone was better off without me, that I was the cancer now. I was toxic waste ruining my  daughters’ lives. I became intensely angry. Everything set me off. I would go from calm to WHITE HOT RAGE in seconds with no warning. I yelled at the girls. I was so scared of hurting them. We spent days driving in the car so I could keep them separated and keep them restrained and keep them away from me. Kris started taking the dog to work to alleviate some stress. He started coming home earlier. We would have long talks about what to do, how to fix it, and never find answers. For months these feelings plagued me. I just wanted to die and be done with it all. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I had down periods, sure, just the same as everyone else, but they never made me want to die. I had struggled with anxiety in university, but it wasn’t like this at all. This was nihilistic and morose and all-consuming and exhausting and DEPRESSING.
And that’s when I realized I was sick.
I booked an appointment to see my doctor. I was completely honest with him and it scared me shitless. Saying all those things aloud made them real and all the more terrifying. He was so compassionate and understanding. He explained that this was a major depressive episode and the best way to get through it was to start on antidepressants right away.  I could start counselling down the road, but the most important thing was to stop the feelings of harm right away. I completely agreed with him; I was a danger to my children, my husband and myself at this point. He spent well over an hour with me and gave me a prescription as well as a repertoire of tools to stop the cycle of negative thinking. I felt so empowered after months of feeling powerless. Kris took the next two weeks off work and we spent time together as a family. We went to lake and barbecued and took walks and watched movies. Kris took so much of the burden of the kids off of me and allowed me to recover. It was practically perfect. It was the first days of the rest of my life. It was the acknowledgement of everything that had happened and being able to move forward. It hasn’t been easy. I decided to give up nursing while I was taking these pills (Penny was 15 months at the time) and Penelope became intensely attached to me. We always marvelled at how independent she was and suddenly she became so sucky! We put her to bed in her crib every night but between 10 and 2 she wakes up crying for me. I take her into my bed so she doesn’t wake her sister, but it means that I don’t sleep very well and poor Kris moves to the couch. It’s one of those things I am hoping she will grow out of, but it’s just too stressful to change it now. I’m trying to keep my stress to a minimum as there were lots of moments during the fall that were particularly high stress and I found myself reverting back to my negative thinking. I journaled quite a bit (obviously writing is a huge outlet for me!) and I talked through these moments with Kris and my close friends. I keep practicing the tools I have been given and I have gotten a lot better at coping.
Which brings me to this Christmas. It has been incredible. I had no idea Christmas could be like this. Well, Christmas used to be like this before I had kids, but I thought that once you had kids it was just a crap-fest of stress and anxiety and sleepless nights and no fun. This year has been awesome! Sure, it’s stressful and expensive, but it’s also fun and magical and oh-so-rewarding. Hearing Penelope scream “OHMY! GOSH! CHRISTMAAAAAAS!!!” whenever she saw Christmas lights made me belly-laugh. Seeing Eleanor’s face when we talked about Santa coming was heart-meltingly adorable. Going to church and singing carols made my spirit soar. I had no idea it could be this good. I had no idea LIFE could be this good. So thank you antidepressants and thank you to my GP. I’m facing 2015 with an optimism I haven't felt in awhile because (for the first time in forever) I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of the darkness and the history that lurks there. I’m not afraid that this Christmas and birthday season will be Eleanor’s last. Sure, it could be, but probably not, and I’m not going to live anxiously anticipating the worst. Life is too goddamn short to be scared all the time. Life is too short to be SAD all the time! I feel incredibly liberated and incredibly lucky.
I’m not sure how to end this, so I will add some amazing pictures of my amazing family and say that I hope whatever you are facing in your life, that you have some amazing people to help you through it. I have these knuckleheads and some beautiful old friends and pills that have changed my life. I sincerely hope you do too.










xoxoxo 

Categories: Blogs

Lady Stutfield's Wilde Ride

Casey McKinnon - 2014, December 27 - 23:40


Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield) and Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield) and Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield) and Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield) and Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon as Lady Stutfield. Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon as Lady Stutfield. Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon as Lady Stutfield. Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby) and Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby) and Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Casey McKinnon as Lady Stutfield. Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby) and Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.


Dana DeRuyck (Mrs. Allonby) and Casey McKinnon (Lady Stutfield). Photo courtesy of director Armina LaManna.

On December 6th and 7th I had the pleasure of playing the role of Lady Stutfield in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance at Sacred Fools Theatre in Los Angeles. It was such a joy to step into the shoes of a proper lady, and slip into a British accent that I've been perfecting since childhood on those rainy days when I had no one to play with but the little girl in the mirror.

I was so happy to be cast in this production, especially after taking Geoffrey Wade's Shaw, Wilde & Coward class at Antaeus Theatre last Spring. I read a lot of Wilde plays at the time and A Woman of No Importance was my absolute favorite. I firmly believe that you can sit a chauvinist down in the theatre and he wouldn't notice it's a feminist play until the very end, when he's already on the female protagonist's side. If Geoffrey's class sounds interesting to you, he's offering it again in a couple of months. The class prepared me very thoroughly for late 19th century theatre, including dialect work, proper posture, interactions between upstairs masters and downstairs servants, and social dos and don'ts.

I had a great time preparing for the role as well. I did a lot of research on hair and makeup appropriate to the time period and ended up with a Gibson Girl updo, and wearing minimal makeup with a little, slightly period inauthentic eyeliner to make my eyes pop for the audience. I found this hair tutorial on YouTube to base my hairstyle:

Working with Sacred Fools Theatre was an excellent experience. I personally think that this theatre is one of the most cutting edge companies in Los Angeles and I admire their work immensely. In the past year, they have produced a stage adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a hilarious musical comedy about the life of behavioral scientist John Broadus Watson, and a cannibal play called Taste - based on real events - directed by horror master Stuart GordonA Woman of No Importance was their first Oscar Wilde production, and I felt very lucky to be involved in this lovely little anomaly. I met some wonderful people and I hope to work with them again and again, especially producer David Mayes and director Armina LaManna.

Special thanks to all my dear friends who came out to support me: Rudy, Barrett & Beth, Raya & Jenny, Priscilla & Thaine, Cameron & Arielle, Simone, Leslie, Crystal, Paul, Liz, Cerina, Paul 2.0, Yuri & Tara, and my "Canadian contingent" Teddy & Dave, and Diane & Bruce! Your applause were so loud at my curtain call and I was incredibly touched. You made this girl feel like she won the lottery. <3

Looking forward to doing more theatre in 2015. Happy new year, everyone!

Categories: Blogs

Lists of NMR and ESR/EPR monographs are back in shape

NMR blog - 2014, December 25 - 05:00

The two lists include all dedicated NMR and ESR books ever published.

Categories: Blogs

Podcast: Happy Xmas! (guest starring Poesy)

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 22 - 07:29

It's that time again! School is out, but I'm still working, so the kid came to the office with me, just in time to record a new podcast. This year, Poesy performs a stirring rendition of Jingle Bells, with dirty words!

MP3

Categories: Blogs

LISTEN: Wil Wheaton reads “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free”

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 19 - 07:18


I've posted the first chapter (MP3) of Wil Wheaton's reading of my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free (which sports introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer!), which is available as a $15 DRM-free audiobook, sweetened by samples from Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls' "Coin-Operated Boy."

In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

DRM-free audiobook

Categories: Blogs

Interview with Radio New Zealand’s This Way Up

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 18 - 23:10

Radio New Zealand National's This Way Up recorded this interview with me, which airs tomorrow (Saturday), about my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free (MP3).

Categories: Blogs

Interview with The Command Line podcast

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 14 - 00:54

I just appeared on the Command Line podcast (MP3) to talk about Information Doesn't Want to Be Free -- Thomas and I really had a wide-ranging and excellent conversation:

In this episode, I interview Cory Doctorow about his latest book, “Information Doesn’t Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age.” If you are interested in learning more about the topics we discuss and that that book covers, you can also check out books by the scholars we mention: Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle and William Patry. I compared Cory’s book to “The Indie Band Survival Guide” the authors of which are friends of the show whom I have also interviewed.

The audiobook version of the book is already available. Check Cory’s site, the free download and electronic editions should be available soon.

Categories: Blogs

A New Colormap for MATLAB – Part 4 – The Name

Matlab Image processing blog - 2014, December 10 - 16:06

In the summer of 2013 we were closing in a choice for the new MATLAB colormap. We were down to tweaking and fine-tuning.

But ... we needed a name!

For my many experiments, I had fallen back on an old graduate school habit of naming things after characters from Lord of the Rings. So I had filenames such as gandalf_20130623a.m and faramir_20130712b.m. (Faramir is my favorite LOTR minor character.) I certainly knew that wasn't going to work for the final name. How to choose one?

I looked over the names of the existing colormaps:

jet            hsv hot cool spring summer autumn winter gray bone copper pink lines colorcube prism flag

Well, we've got a few identifiable themes in there:

  • seasons (summer, autumn, winter, spring)
  • temperatures (cool, hot)
  • materials (bone, copper)
  • hues (pink, gray)
  • colorspaces (hsv, colorcube - sort of)

And there are some oddball names, such as jet, lines, prism, and flag. None of that seemed inspirational for naming a new colormap.

I decided to look for something descriptive. But descriptive of what?

To remind you, here's what the new colormap looks like:

showColormap(parula,'bar')

I picked the main colors (to my eye, these are blue, green, orange, and yellow) in the new colormap and started doing searches using these color names and different kinds of objects. Animals seemed obvious. I actually started with fish, but that got nowhere fast.

Then I tried birds, and up popped the tropical parula:

As Wikipedia describes it, the tropical parula "has mainly blue-grey upperparts, with a greenish back patch and two white wingbars. The underparts are yellow, becoming orange on the breast."

Perfect! I didn't really think the team would go for it, though. I sent around an email with the name parula and a picture of the bird to a small group of people working on the visual appearance changes for the new MATLAB graphics system. Somewhat to my surprise, everyone said they liked it. Later, a larger group of senior MATLAB designers reviewed it, and they also liked it. So the name stuck.

That left us with one big problem, however. How is parula pronounced?

I don't know. In trying to find a definitive answer, I have only managed to confuse myself. As a result, I don't even always pronounce it the same way myself. In looking at various references for pronunciation of bird names, I have seen all of these variations:

  • pah-ROO-lə
  • PAIR-yə-lə
  • PAIR-ə-lə
  • PAR-yə-lə

I know two amateur birders at MathWorkers who told me definitively how to pronounce it. Of course, they each gave me a different answer.

I guess that most American English speakers would choose the first variation, which has the accent on the second syllable. That has certainly been the case at MathWorks headquarters in Massachusetts.

So I'll tell you what I tell MathWorkers here: you can pronounce it however you like!

\n'); d.write(code_string); // Add copyright line at the bottom if specified. if (copyright.length > 0) { d.writeln(''); d.writeln('%%'); if (copyright.length > 0) { d.writeln('% _' + copyright + '_'); } } d.write('\n'); d.title = title + ' (MATLAB code)'; d.close(); } -->


Get the MATLAB code (requires JavaScript)

Published with MATLAB® R2014b

% % jet            % hsv % hot % cool % spring % summer % autumn % winter % gray % bone % copper % pink % lines % colorcube % prism % flag % % % % Well, we've got a few identifiable themes in there: % % * seasons (summer, autumn, winter, spring) % * temperatures (cool, hot) % * materials (bone, copper) % * hues (pink, gray) % * colorspaces (hsv, colorcube - sort of) % % And there are some oddball names, such as jet, lines, prism, and flag. None of % that seemed inspirational for naming a new colormap. % % I decided to look for something descriptive. But descriptive of what? % % To remind you, here's what the new colormap looks like: showColormap(parula,'bar') %% % % I picked the main colors (to my eye, these are blue, green, orange, and % yellow) in the new colormap and started doing searches using these color names % and different kinds of objects. Animals seemed obvious. I actually started % with fish, but that got nowhere fast. % % Then I tried birds, and up popped the *tropical parula*: % % % % % % As , the % tropical parula "has mainly blue-grey upperparts, with a greenish back patch % and two white wingbars. The underparts are yellow, becoming orange on the % breast." % % Perfect! I didn't really think the team would go for it, though. I sent around % an email with the name parula and a picture of the bird to a small group of % people working on the visual appearance changes for the new MATLAB graphics % system. Somewhat to my surprise, everyone said they liked it. Later, a larger % group of senior MATLAB designers reviewed it, and they also liked it. So the % name stuck. % % That left us with one big problem, however. How is parula pronounced? % % I don't know. In trying to find a definitive answer, I have only managed to % confuse myself. As a result, I don't even always pronounce it the same way % myself. In looking at various references for pronunciation of bird names, I % have seen all of these variations: % % * pah-ROO-lə % * PAIR-yə-lə % * PAIR-ə-lə % * PAR-yə-lə % % I know two amateur birders at MathWorkers who told me definitively how to % pronounce it. Of course, they each gave me a different answer. % % I guess that most American English speakers would choose the first variation, % which has the accent on the second syllable. That has certainly been the case % at MathWorks headquarters in Massachusetts. % % So I'll tell you what I tell MathWorkers here: you can pronounce it % however you like! ##### SOURCE END ##### 918d587a30a948349624180bd6775d3b -->

Categories: Blogs

Huge Announcement: I Wrote a Book!!

Flog - 2014, December 10 - 11:11

After a year of work, I can finally reveal this! GUYS THIS IS SO EXCITING! I’ve been working on a memoir, and it’s up for pre-order today at feliciadaybook.com!

The title is “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” and the announcement video is below:

I will be talking about the book a TON in the coming months, so I don’t wanna throw it all out there now, but suffice it to say it’s the most soul-baring thing I’ve ever written, with lots of video game and fart jokes thrown in between. There’s tons of stuff I’ve never told anyone about (hell, stuff I even forgot about until I started digging into diaries and stuff!) and I hope that, overall, it conveys the core of what I think my whole career has been about: Embrace yourself unapologetically, and never be scared of showing it to the world.

Your pre-orders do count a LOT in persuading booksellers to order copies of my book, so if you’re interested in picking it up, please do it early, at feliciadaybook.com. That way the book can get out there more! Because I’m sure some booksellers will be like, “Who the hell is this chick?” lol.

Oh and that cover is TOTALLY temporary, yes. The real one will be revealed in a few months. NO IM NOT KEEPING THAT DUDE ON THE COVER. Jeez.

OKAY THANK YOU!

Categories: Blogs

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: the audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton (if you were to share this, I’d consider it a personal favor!)

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 10 - 09:15


I've independently produced an audiobook edition of my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, paying Wil Wheaton to narrate it (he did such a great job on the Homeland audiobook, with a mixdown by the wonderful John Taylor Williams, and bed-music from Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.

Both Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman contributed forewords to this one, and Wil reads them, too (of course). I could not be happier with how it came out. My sincere thanks to Wil, the Skyboat Media people (Cassandra and Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki), John Taylor Williams, and to Amanda for the music.

The book is $15, is DRM free, and has no EULA -- you don't need to give up any of your rights to buy it. It should be available in Downpour and other DRM-free outlets soon, but, of course, it won't be in Itunes or Audible, because both companies insist that you use DRM with your works, and I don't use DRM (for reasons that this book goes to some length to explain).


Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, read by Wil Wheaton,
with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

Categories: Blogs

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free Audiobook

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 10 - 07:14

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, read by Wil Wheaton
With introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

 

Categories: Blogs

Eat kale straight from your garden all winter!!!

Green City Acres - 2014, December 2 - 18:33

I’m sure a lot of you have heard about how kale is all the rage these days, and there’s a reason for that. Because it is fucking awesome and is super good for you! The best part about winter kale, is that it tastes way better than kale from any other time of year. The reason for this, is much the same as winter carrots. Check my post about that here! After temperatures drop below freezing, starches turn into sugars. Anyways, I don’t need to tell you about how awesome kale is, you already know.

So, what you need to know, is how to do this right?

Ok, much like the carrots, you’ll need some season extension gear, like a small greenhouse, or poly low tunnel like I have. You can even get away with not covering the kale at all in the winter, but, it must be very mature before it gets cold. If you’re in a place like Alberta or anywhere that get’s -15c or lower for extended periods of time, it probably won’t work either. Sorry Albertans. 

Just like a lot of winter gardening techniques, you need to start preparing in the summer. In the case of kale, the best time to start it is around late July. Start some in some plug trays or small plots around the third week in July. Keep them in the shade, because if it’s too hot, your plugs will dry out, and you don’t want that. You can also put the seeds directly in the ground as well. I personally prefer plugs, because then you don’t have to compete with weeds, or worry about them as much at the beginning. 

You want to start enough kale plants to last you through the winter and into the early spring. One thing to remember is that plants don’t really grow in the winter. If they survive, they will stay alive, but in a kind of hibernation mode. That means you need to have enough that if you picked a few leaves every second day for 120 days, you would have enough to get you through the winter. It depends on how much kale you eat. I juice a lot, so I go through a lot of kale. If you were going to eat as much as I do, let’s say we will need 60 days of kale at 3 leaves for those days. That’s 180 kale leaves. An almost fully mature plant will have around 10 leave on it, so this means you’ll need around 18 kale plants fully mature by late October. Once you get into mid February, the plants will start to regenerate leaves you picked over the winter.

Plant your kale at 10″ spacing. I do everything in a 30″ wide bed, and so should you, even if you’re a gardener. In a 30″ bed, 18 plants would be about 5′ of bed. Make 3 rows in your bed, and space each plant 10″ apart. Plant the middle row, offset from the two outside rows. This way, you have perfect 10″ centres from each plant. 

Make sure you keep it well watered for the summer. You will probably be able to harvest a little bit before the fall, and this is a good thing. Always harvest the outer most leaves first. These are the ones at the bottom. Harvest those and this will train the plant upward, and by the time mid October rolls around, your plants will look like little palm tress. This is what you want. The bottom leaves should be about 6″ off the ground. If you’re not going to cover them with any greenhouse plastic, this is especially important because that will keep the plants above the snow and freezing ground. If the leaves touch the ground after freezing temperatures, those leaves will rot, and you should make sure to pull them off. 

If you’re going to cover it up, do this by October. Again, you don’t have to cover it up, but for areas where you get a lot of snow, I’d recommend it.

Once spring rolls around, your kale will be growing a lot of new leaves, but it will start to go to seed by May. Well before May, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a new kale crop started. I start my first kale transplants of the year in February, and they get transplanted into the ground in early April.

So, that’s basically it. Here’s a review of our steps.

 1. Start your kale the third week of July in pots.

2. Transplant it outside around the second week of August.

3. Keep it well watered for the summer.

4. Harvest the outer bottom leaves first. Make sure bottom leaves are 6″ off the ground by first freezing temperatures.

5. Cover it up before the snow.

6. Start new kale in February, and plant it out by April. 

Enjoy winter kale!

Curtis Stone.

Categories: Blogs

When Ed Snowden met Marcus Yallow

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 2 - 06:16


Here's a scene from Citizenfour, Laura Poitras's acclaimed documentary on Edward Snowden, showing Snowden packing his bags to leave Hong Kong, showing the book on his nightstand: my novel Homeland.

I literally could not be more proud than I am right now. Thanks to Poitras and her helper, Maria, for this clip.

Categories: Blogs

Why should we care about characters?

Cory Doctorow - 2014, December 1 - 03:21

I appear in the latest edition of the Writing Excuses podcast (MP3), recorded live at Westercon in Salt Lake City last summer, with Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler, talking about why we care about characters.

Categories: Blogs

Directory of MR-related Companies: a major UPDATE

NMR blog - 2014, November 30 - 05:00

This list should include all Companies related in any way to MR.

Categories: Blogs

Carrots from your garden all winter long!

Green City Acres - 2014, November 24 - 15:24

How would you like to pull fresh carrots from the ground all winter? Even if there is snow on the ground. 

The best thing about harvesting carrots in the winter, besides the fact that it’s totally bad ass, is that they taste absolutely fucking amazing! They are so much sweeter than carrots from any other time of the year, and part of that reason is that when temperatures drop to below freezing, a chemical reaction occurs in which starches turn to sugars. In fact, this also happens for spinach and kale as well. I’ll tell you about those another time.

There are two things you’re going to need if you want carrots all winter. 

The first is, some kind of cover over your garden bed, much like a mini greenhouse. I use a poly low tunnel that I have fashioned out of greenhouse plastic. The main purpose for this is to keep the fall and winter precipitation off the carrot bed. If your carrot bed gets too wet in the fall, by the time it freezes, your carrots will freeze, and then turn to mush as soon as it thaws, and you can forget about harvesting them. A lot of people say that you can do winter carrots with straw, and that may work if you don’t get below freezing temperatures. In my climate, we get down to -20c in the winter for some periods, and this still works even then.

The other thing you’ll need is a pitch fork to harvest your carrots with. Not much to explain here. Go get a pitch fork.

Ok, now tell me how I can do this!

If you want to have carrots ready for when the winter starts, that means they need to be fully mature before it gets cold. This is because nothing will grow when it’s cold. When the days are short and night time temperatures drop below freezing, nothing will grow. However, some things will stay alive! Carrots are one of those things. You need to look at how many days your average carrot needs to mature, take that number, and count days backwards from the first cold day. For my climate, it starts to get cold here by October 20. The average carrots matures in 70 days, so, I will count backwards from Oct 20 for 70 days or 10 weeks. This takes me all the way to Aug 11. So, that would be the latest I would plant. The first week of August is generally the best time, because once we pass the fall equinox, the days start to get exponentially shorter, and growth slows. So basically, pant your carrots on the first week of August. 

Make sure they stay well watered from this date until early October, and at this point, they should be mostly mature, and you need to stop watering them. Here is when you’re going to cover up your bed with some greenhouse poly. And, you’ll keep that poly cover on all winter.

Harvesting your carrots.

Choose a day that is really warm and sunny if possible. I’ve done this at -10c, but only when sunny. If it’s too cold, it’ll be hard to fork into the ground. So, you may want to look at your forecast for the next week or so, and pick a warm day. If you see a lot of cold days coming, you’ll want to get out there and harvest a bunch to tide you over until it’s warm enough again to harvest more. Once you’ve got a nice day to harvest, go ahead and open up your poly tunnel. Make sure to brush off any and all snow first, so that once you open the tunnel, it doesn’t fall into your bed. Now, you take your fork, and gently push it into the ground, about an inch or two from your first outer row. Loosen up a few feet of row, and then tease them out gently. The greens may break off, so if that happens, you’ll need to push your fork in the ground to open up a wider chasm along the carrot row, then use your hands to pull out the carrots. Grab as deep as you can, so they don’t break. Winter carrots have a tendency to be a bit more fragile. Once you’ve forked out the first outer row, work into the next one. The basic idea here is to start on the outer rows first, so that you don’t do any damage to the carrots on the inner rows as you leverage your fork to open up the ground. I usually just go out and harvest 5 feet of a row at a time. I prefer to keep them in the ground all winter, as it’s a better form of storage them bringing them inside, even if they’re in the fridge.

Once you’ve harvested, make sure to cover up your bed with your poly, and keep it down tight, so snow pack or wind doesn’t mess with it. 

So, that’s basically it. Now go and eat your carrots! I’m not going to bother and give you any recipes for carrots, because I’m a farmer not a chef, go search for that yourself!

Peace.

Curtis. 

Categories: Blogs