How Much SETI Has Been Done?

The completeness of the search for signs of extraterrestrial radio transmissions and other technosignatures to date is roughly equivalent to having searched a small swimming pool for evidence of fish in all of Earth’s oceans.

How Much SETI Has Been Done? Finding Needles in the n-dimensional Cosmic Haystack
Jason T. WrightShubham Kanodia, and Emily Lubar 
The Astronomical Journal
Volume 156Number 6

Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

In Defense of NaNoWriMo

In the last week of October, and the last week before this year’s NaNo, an episode of my favorite writing podcast was dedicated to the question of whether we, the listeners and aspiring writers, should do it or not. And the answer was a resounding NO. Tim Clare, the author of said podcast, brought forward an array of arguments to support his advice. Some of his thoughts made me look at NaNo from a new angle. NaNo has been a part of my life for nearly a decade now, so this fresh perspective is a valuable gift and I appreciate it.

At the same time, I was put off by the tremendous one-sidedness of these same arguments. It seemed that Tim was either unaware of, or intent on ignoring all potentially good things about NaNo. And if there were no good things about it, if all it ever did for anyone was make them miserable and prevent them from writing ever again (which is, basically, what Tim believes), it would have died off a long time ago. Instead, it gets bigger and more popular every year.

Tim isn’t necessarily wrong about its potential to harm, but this risk is limited to a small minority of participants: to people who, like himself, have a troubled relationship with writing. There have been other episodes of the podcast where it sounded like such people are the only audience Tim’s interested in speaking to. But this was the first time I felt there was literally nothing in it for the rest of us, not a single thought or word spared. This spurred me to write a response, even though I realize that NaNo has an army of voices speaking in its favor already and doesn’t particularly need me to defend it.

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The Honours

By Tim Clare

I got this book as a token of support for the author, whose wonderful writing podcast, Death Of 1000 Cuts, I’ve been listening to daily for a month now. I knew it’d be good. In his podcast, Tim explores pretty much every conceivable aspect of the writing craft from his own unique perspective. The episodes where he analyzes excerpts submitted by listeners offer an even deeper insight into what he considers good writing. And obviously I approve of his standards or I wouldn’t be listening to his show. THE HONOURS did not disappoint — but despite the positive prejudice, I ended up with mixed feelings about it.

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