HOME | CATALOG | DOWNLOADS | LINKS | EDITORIALS | DISCUSSION | CONTACT

SciFi.com Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Log Out | Edit Profile | Register
Night Shade Message Boards » Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction » General Magazines Discussion » SciFi.com « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 01:57 am:   

I don't understand SciFi.com. By this I mean I love the format of the site, and I've enjoyed most of the stories I've read that are put up onto the site, so would be interested in subscribing, however, there doesn't appear to be anything to subscribe to, either a paperback version of the 'magazine' or an e-magazine. Also, I can't purchase any type of e-magazine of that name at Fictionwise. Yet I know they pay for stories, so they must be making money.

Perhaps I'm just stupid :-) But what is the deal here?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ET
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 02:26 am:   

I think it's just the SciFi channel supporting fiction, and the magazine itself doesn't make money. But Ellen will probably be able to tell you.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick Samphire
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 06:52 am:   

SciFiction is entirely funded by the SciFi channel. You don't have to pay anything. Isn't it great? :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 08:40 am:   

Hi. ET and Patrick are correct. The whole site is funded by Universal (which is about to become NBC-Universal or some such). Most of the site is used to support the SCI FI Channel offerings--to boost ratings, which is does. Originally, the idea was to be an all purpose site--to provide lots of original material and be the science fiction site that everyone would go to.

Only the fiction, the event calendar, and SF Weekly and SF Wire provide original material any more.

Hopefully, we'll be around awhile--we don't provide money but we do provide prestige for a relatively small outlay of bucks. So far it's just about four years and counting.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 11:25 am:   

Oh. Thanks Ellen.

I certainly hope you can keep the stories going; as I said, they're always of high quality (plus having another professional market for writers can't hurt :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 11:54 am:   

There's an old tradition of companies supporting "prestige" publications and "loss leaders" for marketing reasons.

I always thought Omni was a great publication, but it was really a stab at respectability by the publisher of Penthouse, Bob Guccione.

But I used to read it assidously. I'll also read the Christian Science Monitor, even though I'm not a Christian Scientist.

SciFi.Com fiction is great for the image of the web site, and for some people, such as myself, it's what draws me there. And I do browse the other web pages once I arrive.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 05:06 pm:   

SciFi has a magazine on the newstands, available at Barnes & Noble.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 06:19 pm:   

That's not Sci-Fiction though. Personally I think everyone should just get in the habit of calling it Sci-Fiction, Sci-Fi.com is more like the host or backer. It's not the zine itself and using the terms interchangeably I think causes uneeded confusion.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 09:34 pm:   

Thomas R, I wholeheartedly agree. I always refer to it as Sci Fiction, and it always puzzles me when people call it SciFi.com since, SciFi.com is, as you say, more like the host. Basically, Sci Fiction is an e-zine published by the Sci-Fi Channel, and it is hosted on SciFi.com.

For me, the whole SciFi.com game plan doesn't really work. Sci Fiction does draw me to their site, but it's the only thing I ever look at. And I have a bookmark that's linked directly to the Sci Fiction homepage, so I never even see what else they're offering. I've never seen anything else interesting there, and I never find anything good to watch on the cable channel, so I figure I'm not missing anything.

But hey, as long as they keep Sci Fiction around, I'll be happy.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 11:39 pm:   

Sci Fiction does draw me to their site, but it's the only thing I ever look at. And I have a bookmark that's linked directly to the Sci Fiction homepage, so I never even see what else they're offering.

I do that, too. But, shhhh, don't tell the bigwigs at SciFi.com. I want them to keep Ellen Datlow & Sci Fiction in business, so don't give them any reasons to stop! :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 12:07 am:   

I used to go to Seeing Ear Theater. In fact for some reason I skipped The Death of Captain Future by Steele in the YBSF, so caught it at Seeing Ear first. However last time I checked they'd radically cut back on that service. Looking at their site this time I can't find it at all.

I also go to SFWeekly some. Used to get letters published there under various pseudonyms, until they got strict and demanded all letters be actual e-mails.

So it's not as good as it used to be, but it's the only thing redeeming about that cesspool of a channel. Oh how I loathe that channel, I keep hoping Discovery or the Learning Channel will put on like a "Science Fact and Science Fiction" channel to compete. Or just a low budget channel with old Sci-Fi shows, indie SF films, science shows, and discussions with whatever author they can afford.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ET
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 03:11 am:   

I used to read SF Weekly long ago, IIRC it was an independent site that later got under the SciFi channel umbrella. I happen to like the SciFi magazine, which gives me an idea about the programmes I'm missing.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Iron James
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 01:42 pm:   

Guess I'm the oddd one out. I like bunches of shows on the sci-fi channel, and watch it more than any other. I also pend a good deal of time on parts of the website other than sci-fiction.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ET
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 02:20 pm:   

I'd probably have seen a lot of stuff on the channel if I had access to it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Actually, it's SCIFICTION--all caps but no one ever remembers. :-)

Lou A: Yes, OMNI was a stab at respectability partially, but more, it was an investment in the future and in sf because both Kathy Keeton and Bob G believed very strongly in them. Before OMNI, Guccione published Viva for several years. During OMNI he published a gorgeous hi-tech aviation magazine which only lasted a handful of issues and had his editors start a health newsletter that became Longevity. All of which means the company was trying to diversify, a good thing, considering how the skin magazines have lost circ over the years as a result of video and the internet. Unfortunately, none of the magazines except Penthouse and its affiliates "printed" money as the mothership <g> did.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 04:30 pm:   

To clarify, Scott Edelman is the editor of SCIFI, available on news-stands, as well as being editor of SCI-FI WEEKLY.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Broke
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 12:09 am:   

Ellen: Sorry, but I know you're reading this thread so I'm naughtily going to slip something in here (and I know every American on the forum is bored to tears with this topic, so everybody else just switch off for this post :-)

I'm from New Zealand, and as such I note that to send a story to your site I have to send TWO international reply coupons, yet to F&SF and Asimov's I only need send one. Why is this? [I only ask because the damned things cost so much money].

(I've only sent one story out since starting to write again (after a 15 year break), but in the absence of electronic submissions, I suspect its going to cost me about US$2,000 in postage just to get one story in print, which makes me wonder why I should bother sending them out at all :-)

[Again a plea, and I've heard all the arguments, but I just don't agree with them, let overseas 'struggling' writers submit electronically. If you find any American writer has ursurped the system and submitted electronically, cluttering up the works, then all you need to do is execute them (making it impossible for them to do it again, plus sending the message to every other American not to muck you about :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Broke
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 12:10 am:   

Ellen: Sorry, but I know you're reading this thread so I'm naughtily going to slip something in here (and I know every American on the forum is bored to tears with this topic, so everybody else just switch off for this post :-)

I'm from New Zealand, and as such I note that to send a story to your site I have to send TWO international reply coupons, yet to F&SF and Asimov's I only need send one. Why is this? [I only ask because the damned things cost so much money].

(I've only sent one story out since starting to write again (after a 15 year break), but in the absence of electronic submissions, I suspect its going to cost me about US$2,000 in postage just to get one story in print, which makes me wonder why I should bother sending them out at all :-)

[Again a plea, and I've heard all the arguments, but I just don't agree with them, let overseas 'struggling' writers submit electronically. If you find any American writer has ursurped the system and submitted electronically, cluttering up the works, then all you need to do is execute them (making it impossible for them to do it again, plus sending the message to every other American not to muck you about :-)

Sorry if this comes thru' twice, but there was some sort of muck up when I pressed Post Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tribeless
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 12:31 am:   

[whipping up a storm in a teacup] ...

Hey, I'm with Broke ... wait a minute, I am Broke
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tribeless
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 12:33 am:   

... and I must get a life :-(

But the question was a serious one (just in case lost in the clutter):

I'm from New Zealand, and as such I note that to send a story to your site I have to send TWO international reply coupons, yet to F&SF and Asimov's I only need send one. Why is this? [I only ask because the damned things cost so much money].
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jetse
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 03:55 am:   

Tribeless, Ellen Datlow has an "Ask the editor" heading under her own (Datlow, Ellen) thread on this board (and on the TTA board as well, I might add), so I think that is the place where you should address this.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jetse
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 04:10 am:   

Come to think of it, you might consider buying stamps from the US Post online at www.usps.com , as is suggested in the F&SF submission guidelines.

I have done this (had to, because the national post agency in my country--The Netherlands--have outphased IRCs): you'd need to buy the 80 cents stamps (those of the special olympics). You buy them in packets of 20, costing you US$16.00 plus mailing costs (which were 3 or 4 dollars for 40 pieces to The Netherlands, IIRC).

You can use these stamps for your SASE (only for American markets, of course), and it is considerably cheaper than one IRC (especially with this exchange rate of the US dollar!), let alone two IRCs.

I've been doing this the last two years and it works like a charm.

Jetse
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 07:45 am:   

Hey Broke/Tribeless (if you're the same person) :-)
One irc is enough. It was two ircs when we returned mss overseas, which we never do any more.

Just never changed the guidelines. I need to ask my producer to do that.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ellen
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 08:16 am:   

Guidelines changed. Thanks for the prompt.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 11:40 am:   

Ellen -

Thanks for the info on those magazines, I didn't know.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tribeless
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 01:49 pm:   

Cheers Ellen :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 04:27 am:   

I think I could easily make an argument for the corporate backers that SCIFICTION is not justifying its costs. OMNI was evidently a different deal. Guccione wanted to make it work and in the ende, expected it to justify itself. Same with Longevity. Those were business ventures. SCIFICTION is dotcom silliness hanging out, hoping nobody notices them (in the exec suite). Maybe I should write a letter.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 09:06 am:   

notices it (self-nitpick)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

YEEE HAW!!!
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 11:22 am:   

Trollin - Trollin - Trollin
Keep them doggies Trollin
Rawhide!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 03:23 pm:   

I already heard that one on Poly.

But it isn't just a troll, its true. And Yertle and JJA would back me. (I think.) :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 04:23 pm:   

Hmmm. I think you are on to something. Come to think of it, None of Scifi.com generates revenue... I bet they are going to abandon the whole thing. It's just a matter of time. At least with the TV channel they get revenue from advertisers. Think of all that overhead wasted on IP addresses, IT administrators, Web Programmers... All not generating revenue.

You should include the whole site in your letter. Did you want to start a petition? If they spent less money on the website than they could pay for better special effects and writers for the revenue generating shows. Down with Dot Com Silliness!!!

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

chance
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 06:30 pm:   

Broke -

I think one of the things you need to think about for your rate of return is that it will probably increase over time. Right now you are priming the pump sending things out, getting noticed by editors, etc.

Of course you could wait until you have written the absolutely sellable story, but I think most writers don't have the knack to know initially.

Most businesses aren't profitable right away, so you shouldn't expect your business of writing to be either. This is the time for capital investment, if you will.

(no, not everyone will be successful or profitable, it is a risk you take. But writing is generally no more expensive than many hobbies, and certainly is better for you than drink ;) )

Last year I spend a couple grand on Clarion (I was laid off at the time, so in a way it didn't "cost" me the salary loss) -- definitely a pretty extravagent sum to spend. Do I think it was worth it? Absolutlely - my skill increased significantly during the period.

Can I say I have recouped my investment? Well, no. not in the strictly money sense -- but I have managed to make a pro sale, and get invited to a closed antho and get some notice from some editors and meet a whole bunch of pros, and most of all made some pretty great writer friends, so my life is a lot richer for it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 06:58 pm:   

With the coming technology, I think those who hang onto the dot-com market now will eventually get a pay-off. There are lots of people who read stuff on their palm-pilots during lunch, commutes, etc.
Ellen is so great, I hate to see her baby dissed.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 07:32 pm:   

Tough shit. From a bizness perspective I am right. And I bet lots of people in the publlishing industry would agree. JJA almost said as much. Basically, everyone is holding their breath to see how long Ellen can get away with it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 07:33 pm:   

Calling all Yertles, back me up, got incoming fire.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:12 pm:   

TCO
I must be nuts to get a kick out of you. Not always though. You remind me of a needy stray dog with bad manners that you can't help but...wait a minute, I'd better not finish that. You would sprint with it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:54 pm:   

Basically, no one is holding their breath, TCO, except you.

I'm busy buying and editing stories for the site, the contributors are busy writing them and selling them to me. I'm making a living, the authors are making relatively nice bucks, and some are winning awards and it's lasting longer than some print magazines already.

Yes, NBC, who now owns us, could pull the plug at any time. So can any print publisher-after all, they have many times over the years.

That's publishing. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:48 am:   

Why do you want her to fail TCO? What do you get out of it? Even if this were a waste of NBC/Universal's money, how is that your business? Do you own stock in that?

Besides do you think everything media companies fund is solely for profit. They do lots of things for PR, or vanity, or whatever. Maybe they are planning on drafting Michael Cassutt or Robert Reed to write the next season of Stargate SG-1:-) Who knows, who cares?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 04:44 am:   

Thomas R - Did your sister leave or have you just been skulking in the background ignoring your sister? When you said July, I assumed you meant the whole month :-)

TCO - Where is the link to the JJA quote you refer to? We already understand that you try to apply standard business models to arts and entertainment that just don't fit.

Explain why the Mona Lisa is worth more than other paintings. It shouldn't be worth more than the cost of the paint, canvas and maybe an hourly rate for the number of hours it took to paint. And maybe the money he had to pay for the model.

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

kjn
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:11 am:   

TCO why are you fucking with Ellen's job? Trolling is one thing, but when you fuck with someones job that's crossing the line. Someone needs to find out this guys IP and get his home address. He suffers from Internet bravery.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ET
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:23 am:   

kjn, I think he's just trolling. That is, he didn't mean to do what he said, just to get the kind of reactions he got.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:03 am:   

1. My home address is 2700A W Main ST Richmond, VA. Please make sure that the talcum powder gets to the right address. I have downstairs neighbors. If you want to give me a beatdown, lets meet at the bikerack.*

2. To those who stuck up for Ellen and don't want me to hurt her job, I appreciate your heartfelt defense of her. I am not going to send a letter. I guess that was a troll or was hypothetical...or...something.

3. Ellen, I totally disagree with your comment. Yes, a publisher can pull the plug at any time, but they are more likely to do it on a money-losing venture than a money-making one. That is business. Penthouse is going to keep getting published. If it gets sold, it will KEEP GETTING PUBLISHED. Even as a declining mag, it is a rich positive NPV set of cashflow streams going out into the future. Capiche? You have to justify your existence. And the eyeballs argument wears thin. What is the clickthrough rate? Do you really beleive in your heart, that funding your mag is a wise use of shareholder funds? Sure there is silliness and bad decisions and uncertainty in the media industry, but it is a business and that's what drives things. I read the Journal all the time about Time Warner, Pixair, etc. Plus I read Cyberbooks by Bova. (Getting silly, there...but still...)

4. (related to 3 for TR and PatM) The value of the Mona Lisa is determined by supply and demand. Demand is driven by the pleasure from the prestige associated with it as well as the experiential pleasureable sensation of looking at it (with Mona Lisa, much more from the prestige, with other works like magazines and normal novels, more by the direct experiential pleasure) it gives are what drives its value. A direct cost accounting treatment of the value would be an accounting fallacy--need to think economically not by cost accounting. (This may be over your head).


------------------

Really kids, I'm not stating anything controversial in saying that projects need to justify themselves. I am the one spouting the orthodox. You are the ones trying to cloud issues. (And note that I include things like advertising and cross-selling as legitimate business reasons. I just don't buy it for SCIFICOM or whatever it's called. Nobody has paraded out a good argument for the clickthrough rate and the conversion rate to sales or whatever. All I hear is a bunch of 1998 dribble or even worse, people saying that economics does not apply. Beleive me, people funding things do fucking care about economics. And if they don't they should. That is why Vivendi got a change of CEOs.)

Now Ellen is a smart cookie and good at her job, I'm sure. I give her props for all that she's learned over the years and for her intrinsic talents. But that doesn't change that the business smells shakey.


*That was figurative. Just ring the doorbell, if you want to come by.

----------------------

And I do think people in the know are holding their breath for Ellen. It's just not sustainable.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:38 am:   

As has been mentioned before SCIFI.COM is a promotional model--it pushes viewers to the SCI FI Channel shows--and that IS measurable. When SCIFI.COM has made a big push on a particular show the ratings have gone up.
The fiction is of course unnecessary and doens't make money. No one here including me is arguing with that. It'll last as long as it lasts.

I wasn't referring to PH but to SF Age actually, and the many incarnations of Amazing.

I didn't really think that TCO was going to contact the head of General Electric and ask why they're sponsoring us. And four years is a long time to hold one's breath.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

kjn
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:38 am:   

Please enjoy your new gay penpals from prison. All 5456 of them should be writing to you shortly.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:41 am:   

Pat M., I'm referring to the JJA comment in the thread.

J.P., I have a nasty streak at times...and yes...you are not pure if you enjoy my clowning.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

chuck h.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:42 am:   

This is why people advertise on the site, and is probably why the SCIFI channel keeps it running. We all know that raising consumer awareness is almost as important as actually generating revenues--it pays off in the end.

{http://www.scifi.com/mediakit/}

SCIFI.COM (www.scifi.com) is the official site of the SCI FI Channel and the No. 1 science-fiction destination on the Internet. Adding to in-depth information on Channel shows, the site covers the broad spectrum of SF, from daily news and reviews to award-winning online series and original stories by today's top authors. SCIFI.COM is a "People's Choice" Webby Award winner and a Flash Forward Award winner. Stories published on SCIFI.COM have also earned two Nebula Awards and a World Fantasy Award.

TRAFFIC1

* Unique Visitors: 1.9 million
* Visits: 4 million
* Page Views: 37 million

DEMOGRAPHICS2

* 62% Male, 38% Female
* 78% Age 18-49; 74% Age 25-54
* 55% HHI $50K+
* 45% are college grads+

PSYCHOGRAPHICS3

* Compared with other entertainment Web sites, SCIFI.COM has more:
DVD/video and book buyers
Gamers
Science-fiction/horror/action-adventure moviegoers
IT professionals
IT-purchasing decision makers
Online shoppers
* For more category-specific data, contact us.

Sources: 1. Webtrends server log files, Average Jan.-July, 2003; 2. @plan Summer 2003 Data 3. @plan Summer 2003 Data
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

Ellen, sure you've been around for a while. That's interesting. But you are as much as saying that the model is not sustainable. Your defense is of the general website, not of your part of it. Would you fund it if you were making the business decision?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:53 am:   

ChuckH,

Thanks for bringing some data in here. I'm not going to nitpick. I appreciate the contribution. So...take these as additional questions, not as kvetches, and not expecting you to know them all:

A. What is the clickthrough from the fiction site. To what degree does the fiction drive TV viewership? (Or convert to other areas of revenue?)

B. Just on the site itself, how much does it drive traffic to the channel? How much does it cost to operate? Could a cheaper version drive the same viewership?

C. How does the site viewership (page views and all that) correspond to other sites? For instance the Kraft Candyland site, which is tauted as one of the best corporate promotion sites (but of which I'm still skeptical). How about The Straight Dope or Apolyton? Just wondering how big the thing really is. Need a scale of reference. My experience is that the numbers can sound big, but not be significant. Let me look up Poly if I can.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ET
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

TCO, I agree with you to a large extent. Still, I can see a couple of reasons for SciFiction's continued existence. One of them is indeed prestige.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 09:01 am:   

Thanks man and good point.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 09:29 am:   

Just out of curiosity, you wouldn't hold this against me on a submission, Ellen? :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:02 am:   

Here is what I could Google for Apolyton (which is a hobbyist site).

http://apolyton.net/misc/column/212_468.shtml

If you read through, they say that they had 28 million people from mid2001-2002. That seems to compare to the traffic on SciFi and I don't really think of Poly as the big time. (It is hard to tell though, since the mediakit article doesn't really say if the Scifi numbers are monthly or cover the six month period (in footnote).

And of course, nukmbers from 2001 are not comparable to 2003, since the usage of the net grew over that period.


Hmmm...guess my basic point is that a little more analysis is needed, not just citing some numbers that look big.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:17 am:   

Also, I've always thought that the whole layout of the "SF portal" (gag...what a 1999 holdover) is very hard to understand. SCIFICTION, SCIFI.com, and SF WEEKLY are not well distinguished. Nor is it ovbious where fiction is as opposed to channel news as opposed to general SF news (for one new to the site). In fact, if you look at the mediakit page that was earlier linked, there are a set of buttons at the top to direct to various places, e.g. "shows", "movies", "scifi weekly". But there is no button for the SCIFICTION.

---------------

With all due respect, the thing smells like 1999 thinking that has not quite died since it is getting funded from deep pockets (as opposed to not died, since they have a good business model).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:34 am:   

I requested some help here, but so far it is just spam.

http://counterglow.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22155
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:46 am:   

TCO - It IS a good advertisement tool as long as Ellen keeps winning awards. As weird as this is, self advertising works. "Visit our award winning website which advertises the channel you are currently watching." The site is about raising the awareness and building a larger interest in Science Fiction as a whole, taking it away from stereotypical basement dwelling star trek fans. When you consider that they have done Children of Dune as a mini-series, cleary fiction writing is VERY important to the success of a pure science fiction channel.

I would think that you would support this endeavor based on past discussions. The whole reason behind the fiction is to win awards. As a result, they pay more. This should in turn pull the more talented writers to submit to the less traditional market. Also, from a cost analysis, how much does the site really cost? Not much compared to what Gordon has to pay. I would guess that the majority of Gordon's costs are printing and distribution. The majority of Ellen's costs are basically her lavish seven figure salary and a few measely bucks for the short stories.

In regards to JJA's comments, I would guess that he isn't much of a TV person anyway. It is unlikely that he is the average visitor to the site.

Ofcourse she won't hold it against your submission, just like no one would find it unprofessional of her to post your rejection along with amusingly bad excerps of your submission. :-)

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

You just keep digging your hole deeper, don't you, TCO?
They're easily distinguishable if you can read. And all the links to the fiction are easily found from the front page. All you have to do is look.
All I can think of is that you must be looking at a different portal than I and every other reader/viewer is looking at if you think the different sections aren't delineated well enough.

The site was redesigned about a year ago for easy maneuverability and linkage and I think it succeeds.

I guess it just doesn't pass your aesthetic or cutting edge criteria, whatever they are--luckily, for the millions of others who do like the site, the look and feel of the site does.



>>>Also, I've always thought that the whole layout of the "SF portal" (gag...what a 1999 holdover) is very hard to understand. SCIFICTION, SCIFI.com, and SF WEEKLY are not well distinguished. Nor is it ovbious where fiction is as opposed to channel news as opposed to general SF news (for one new to the site). In fact, if you look at the mediakit page that was earlier linked, there are a set of buttons at the top to direct to various places, e.g. "shows", "movies", "scifi weekly". But there is no button for the SCIFICTION.

---------------

With all due respect, the thing smells like 1999 thinking that has not quite died since it is getting funded from deep pockets (as opposed to not died, since they have a good business model).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:50 am:   

Cute thread. Almost like talking to yourself, isn't it?

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 11:57 am:   

Meant the Counter glow thread in that last post...

-pat
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 12:01 pm:   

Ellen, what hole. Yeah...you can find it on the front page (down in the right corner). But also:

1. It had poor manueverability for a long time (til last year).
2. You can't jump from the other pages (look at the one that I told you to. the media link that was posted here). Or even look at the SFWeekly page. The quick buttons on top are there on top, but there isn't one for SCIFICTION.
3. The names are confusing. As even said by the person starting this thread.

In all seriousness, I don't feel in a hole. You're a publishing business veteran. If you blow me away with insights or data, I will be the first to give you a bravo zulu. To give you credit for one-upping me. But so far, I'm just not seeing it.


------------------

Pat M., That would be cute, if she did that. Bet people would get jealous that I was getting help though. But I am too LAZY and UNIMAGINATIVE to come up with a story. I might write the Alaska story after my wing heals. I really should not be typing now...it's just so fucking fun.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

Vincent dislikes me. He thinks I am a jerk. That site is rather cliqueish. They used to be guys that beleived in breaking all the rules, but now they just want to hang with each other. They don't like it when someone new comes in and acts in a different way from the norm on their site. For instance, I like to have on topic conversations. they prefer a lot of punning.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 12:43 pm:   

Stunning that someone would think you a jerk. You always seem so uplifting and positive to me. I don't think I have been around long enough to be familiar with the "Alaska story"

I didn't think you were seriously considering submitting anyway.

Just noticed the over my head comment...

I'd be interested to understand how much knowledge you have of internet revenue streams and why you think Dot Coms failed and why the ones that survived did. Just wondering if this would be another case that you are trying to attach a classic model to that doesn't necessarily apply.

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

Yes, Pat, it was over your head. As evidenced by your reply. And no, this is not an angry reply. If you had come back with a facile discussion of NPV, we could have talked. And I would give you props in a heartbeat.

You still seek to argue in the vein of "bottom line profitability" versus long term results. If you even understood what NPV is, you would understand that you are attacking a straw man. I have no problem with investment in a business that will evenutally return results (such as a biotech). Nor do I have an issue with promotion or advertising (as many websites are and as I stated earlier).

What I have a problem with is the idea that economics has changed or that NPV is not what matters. Tell me. What is NPV? Why is it improtant? How does one calculate it?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 02:17 pm:   

Now lets try to keep this one on track, Pat. I don't need to give you more lessons. It's like arguing about quantum theory with someone who's never done the particle in a box derivation.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:20 pm:   

Hmmm... I feel like I am arguing with an analyst who is telling me I am wrong but has no practical experience or track record of doing it right.

I must say that NPV sounds like a TLA that I would learn in a beginning economics course and probably goes along with something like the internal rate of return. Just a wild stab in the dark. Did you want to say P/E ratio to sound educated as well?

My original post covers my basic statement. The whole site is advertising not just SCIFICTION. None of it is directly revenue generating. Anything that brings people to the site is good. Being that it is advertising how much does NPV and IRR apply?

My question is where is your practical experience in internet companies? non-internet companies with a web presence? in the arts and entertainment industries?

I ask because I have experience with all three.

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 07:07 pm:   

1. Background: No, Pat. I have done valuations for M and A. Have advised F100 companies on business strategy. Was trained by the best of the best. I'm not an analyst. I'm not a Ph.D. economist either. But I know the basics and it is frustrating trying to chat with you.

2. NPV: FYI, NPV is not a TLA to sound smart. It is a very important fundamental principle to guide how to think about true economics and how NOT to get trapped in accounting-based logic which leads to false savings and the like.

3. Industry experience: I did a short study for a cable company that was thinking about having a portal. I've also been involved with a couple dotcomish logistics efforts. Most of my emphasis was not in internet stuff because I correctly thought that that stuff was overhyped at the same time my Harvard Business School colleagues were jumping on this stuff. I thought my judgement better at the time and it has been confirmed by the events. If you are cagy and think about things from a skeptical standpoint, you are much more likely to get good insights and analysis. This does not mean that I am against all growth ventures or against risk or against spending money to make money. If you knew what NPV was, you would understand that. Also, I'm not claiming to know the details of industry issues such as distribution patterns, copyright law, taste, etc. These are things intrinsic to the business and are important for some types of business problems. However the basic laws of economics are not different selling books as opposed to selling noodles.

4. PE: P/E ratio is a very poor metric. I don't like it and I don't like how people think it means more than it does. I prefer an NPV (Net Present Value) based on DCF (Discounted Cash Flows) using a market-deterimined WACC (Wieghted Average Cost of Capital). Note that this is nothing fancy or TLAish. This is the orthodox religion. P/E ratio is bad because E (earnings) are subject to manipulation through accounting, because they don't represent cash flow (cash is king), and because they only capture immediate performance.

--------------

I can give you a reading list if you want to get smart. If you really want to think about things and be able to have discussions at a higher level. I would enjoy that actually. At the moment, it is like talking to someone who thinks its impossible for an electron to have wave properties. We're not even past the basics.

---------------

Now let's get back to Ellen and to SciFiction. My impression of her last message was that she does not even attempt to say that the fiction drives viewership. She claims that for the site. But not for her small part of it. I am still not seeing a good argument from her or from others to justify the venture.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:36 pm:   

I have no need to justify the venture. It's my job and I'm delighted to have it and provide a great venue for sf/f. I'm not sure what else you want to know TCO. What's your point?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:44 pm:   

Oooh, I love it when you talk financial. :-)

Valuations, Advised... Sounds like an analyst. Have you ever run anything? Lemonade stand?

Has it occurred to you that I annoy you because I can and that maybe this isn't the board to discuss NPV, EVA, DCF, ROI and IRR? Have I mentioned that CFOs make poor CEOs because of their dependancies on number crunching?

If SCIFICTION was viewed by the parent company as anything other than advertising, don't you think that there would be some plans/efforts to sell something? Take a stab in the dark for me. What costs more, a 30 second self promo or the monthly cost of the entire SCIFICTION site?

Are you saying that you don't see SCIFICTION as a promotion of SF in general? And if you do, Isn't that good for the Channel in a way that can't be measured by a CFO?

I would assume that after 4 years the 'venture' has justified itself by winning awards otherwise it would probably have gone by now.

What is an electron? I don't vote...

I wonder when Gordon last calculated his NPV?

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 06:48 am:   

Pat, advertising still has to justify itself. An advertisement (as any business action) is an investment. If you think the returns justify the expense, you make it. But you don't just spend anything on advertising, because it's advertising (as if that makes it magical). You spend on advertising that you think will help the business, more than the cost of the ad. Ellen has stated that the overall site draws viewership for the channel, but that the fiction DOES NOT. So what is the point? This isn't about the acronyms, its about priniciples.

Ellen, that's cool. I personally hate working on something that I think is not financially justified (am doing it now), but other people have a different take, and as long as you feel fulfilled by meeting the tasks at hand, that can be good.

I think it is reasonable, if we are going to discuss genres and markets and such to have some side discussion about the business aspects. So I will not refrain. I've basically laid out my point of view. I'm not your interrogator and you don't have to reply. But it is an interesting area of discussion (business aspects of e-zines).

Basically, I still feel that it is dotcomish and not justified. I'm open to changing that opinion, but so far nothing in the thread is taking me that way. It's not sustainable--it's the last excesses of 1999-2000 dotcom thinking, not quite flushed out. I remember having this argument with people in 1999. The conventional wisdom then was that "information wants to be free" (well, sure...but publishers want to be paid). Also that subscription models would never work on the net, cause people won't pay. Well guess what, more and more the trend is to subscription. Guess who's made money on the net since 1999 (in terms of content). Porn. And that is subscription (or pay per view). And the Wall Street Journal. WSJ was the first to buck the trend and not just put their content free on the web, like all the other papers did. Now, more and more, people are moving to subscription.

BTW: Have you read Burn Rate? It is dated, now. But it is a true story of content publishing on the web. When written, it was contrarian, but has now been vindicated. Check it out. It is by Micheal Wolfe who is a "media guy". He even talks about being part of the club. The New York influence and all that. Wolfe also has some interesting comments about the web and about content provision (outside the discussion of silliness and smoke and mirrors). For instance, he says that people don't read on the web, they CHAT.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bob Urell
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 08:33 am:   

Did it ever occur to you that the reason you're not being approached in the serious manner you so desperately crave is that you're nothing more than a crank? It's in the attitude of every poster who's responded to you in this thread, yet still you continue to pontificate in the most abstract manner possible. You spool out a string of jargon, mine it with officious acronyms and deride anyone who might possibly have the gall to challenge you or your knowledge and experience. And of course we'll all back down and accept whatever you say because here's a man who obviously knows from whence he speaks!
Huh. Why in the world would a Hugo, Sturgeon, World Fantasy, Sidewise and Nebula Award winning fiction site be a good draw for a channel whose content centers around science fiction and fantasy? Is it really possible that people who read SF might -- gasp -- watch it as well? Could that be? Is that really your question? Does anyone else feel like we should all stand in a circle around TCO and bask in the gentle brilliance that is the overpowering genius he so generously displays? This is a man whose empty, sordid little life is filled only through the strategic application of the phrase, "If only."
"If only I'd cashed in before the bottom went out."
"If only I looked good in a thong."
"If only there was some way I could make myself believe I was half as competent as I portray myself."
The fact that you're pathetic was never in question, TCO. It was a tautology the moment you chose to debate publishing modality with a Hugo Award winning editor. That was just stupid. No, you're exactly the pathetic little dweeb you appear to be, and now the only remaining question is evident: To what degree?
I imagine you won't keep us waiting long....
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 09:15 am:   

What have we learned from Reality TV lately?

An entrepreneur with Hootzpa Trumps a Harvard Boy everytime.

What he continues to show is that he doesn't have an original thought of his own. That he is a pessimist. He has little understanding of how things really work. He uses unrelated examples to validate his insistance on attacking people. Many examples several years old.

People CHAT. Yes, that was the case. That is the humble beginnings of the internet from Use Groups and File Sharing and Email. What we have now is different. More people get their headlines from Yahoo and MSN than TV. By the time TV gets to it, it is old news. Example: I first learned about 9/11 from an Email and basically went to CNN.com and MSNBC.com which both were flooded and unable to respond soon after. People definately read online. And think about the next generations that have always had intenet and cellphones, is it a great stretch that they read online? Kids don't pass notes in the hallways anymore. They text message. wireless is continuing to expand its coverage around the US and most phones now come with a browser.

Many sites offer both free and paid services. for Example: ESPN.COM, Itsyourturn.com, fool.com. Note that fool.com has frequently balked traditional thoughts and after gaining a reader rate that was acceptable, turned to a subscription based model. Bastards are charging me for what I once got for free...

ESPN being the better example though because it is a site promoting a TV station.

Now to take a look at a different entrepreneurial endeavor. Take www.deep-magic.net. One could look at this as gaining experience as editors. Creating market credibility for themselves, or when the subscription level gets high enough, start charging people. Kind of like how Microsoft became a giant. Sure they charged for DOS and Windows when first released but it was also the most pirated software on the planet. They waited until everyone was hooked. Drug Marketing if you ask me.

-Pat M.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

Bob, that is an argument of drawing viewers to the channel from the website. Ellen already made that argument for the overall channel but said that noone would dream of making it for the fiction.

Plus even if that is the argument, it has no depth to it. Any form of advertising (a cost) is designed to bring in revenue. The key is its effectiveness. What's the clickthrough?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:05 am:   

I can't find anywhere in this thread that I say the below. What I DID say is "we don't provide money." Neither does the whole website directly. The whole website is a marketing tool. Advertising and marketing are related but not the same.



<<<Bob, that is an argument of drawing viewers to the channel from the website. Ellen already made that argument for the overall channel but said that noone would dream of making it for the fiction.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:11 am:   

One of the many things I love about SCIFICTION is that it so bewilders small-minded business types like our little TCO. In an age where every fiction venue has to struggle, SCIFICTION flourishes.

Modern business models are shite -- they clearly do not work. I think even TCO knows this, and that's why he keeps hanging around.

I live in a Canadian province where we elected a business man to run things, and he's decided that health care is an expense we can no longer afford. This is daft. Yes, free health care costs great amounts of money, but how much greater will the productivity be from a happy, healthy population?

Come, join the dark side, TCO...

Alright, my mini-rant is over. I'm off to get a free check-up and then read some free fiction :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:43 am:   

I still don't see TCO's point. Print magazines with biz models failed because they didn't make their owners enough money--SF Age is my prime example and so is Twilight Zone. Interzone almost disappeared recently and only Andy Cox's willingness to take it over is keeping it alive. I have no idea if it's ever made money or will ever make money. Money isn't the only reason to publish a magazine or webzine.

SCIFICTION is a part of the marketing tool that is SCIFI.COM. It was not set up to be a money making tool. The continued existence of the website depends on how the owners see its value as a marketing tool. Branding is crucial to corporations. The SCIFI.COM and SCIFICTION brands are valuable. If they aren't valuable enough to GE then it's certainly possible the site would be shut down. But how is this worse than the print zines that rely on the just as nebulous profit motive? Non of the genre magazines make much money --at any time their owners could pull the plug.

Only Gordon, who now owns F&SF is secure in knowing that the magazine will continue to publish as long as he has the will and the money to do so.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:46 am:   

Ellen, it seemed that you were making a statement in apposition of the site as a whole versus the fiction. What did you mean when you said the fiction was unnescesary?

Do you think the magazine justifies itself? That having a free prestigious web magazine makes the channel make more money in some way? From driving viewership or from some other way (what)? Would you advocate a similar stand for other channels? Should the comedy channel have a national lampoon(for free)? etc.? Is this already happening and to what extent? Or has this been tried (especially with a "portal" and all) and what were the results?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:57 am:   

Do your own research. Think for yourself. There is no reason for Ellen to justify anything to you.

You already provided an Example. ComedyCentral.com Yes, they provide free original content. Hmmm. Why would these genre channels want to promote the genres in general? Think man. Because if they can increase the demand for SciFi, Comedy, Sports, whatever, than they can justify and support a second and third revenue generating Sci Fi channel.

We all understand you are winning your game of getting Ellen, Gordon and JJA to respond, that says something about their character and your lack of.

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:00 am:   

Sorry for the cross post.

1. The profit motive is not nebulous. That drives what companies do. If you lose money, eventually you get shut down.* That is ok, though. If there is an opportunity to make money, people will start a mag. Happens all the time. Look at some of the recent hits like Men's Journal. Or look at mags that died.

2. You are fighting a strawman if you want to say that I value only a stand-alone money-maker--I've already addressed that. How valuable is the brand? Sure, I don't have data to show it is a poor investment. Similarly, no data or extended argument has been given to show that it does drive viewership significantly or in some other way drop dollars into GE shareholders pockets. In the abscence of data, the thing smells like bubble-era dotcomish thinking. Is it so valuable that if GE decides they don't want it, someone else will? If GE excised it, what negatives would affect them? How much would viewership drop?

3. Pointing out the weakness of your competitors does not make you any more worthy as an investment, Ellen. Actually in a way, it makes you worse, if the overall market is shrinking. (but that is an aside, my main point is that FSF's dropping circulation, does not make you a good investment, if you weren't before.)


*Please don't rip that strawman of accounting apart. I have no problem with advertising (which is a cost). It's just that the cost, must justify itself. Capiche?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:04 am:   

my main point is that FSF's dropping circulation

Actually, I believe Gordon stated that 2003 was up from 2002.

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:05 am:   

"Why would these genre channels want to promote the genres in general? Think man. Because if they can increase the demand for SciFi, Comedy, Sports, whatever, than they can justify and support a second and third revenue generating Sci Fi channel."

I've already said several times that I understand the ideas in that argument. The question is not to describe that mechanism, but to debate the value provided.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:09 am:   

There is no reason to debate it. You don't get it. That much is clear. You are a number cruncher. That only works to an extent.

You haven't answered why a SciFi station wouldn't want to encourage\develop Short Fiction. Most scifi is inspired or directly based on writing. Have you heard of Blade Runner? Would the SciFi channel be interested in that?

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

chuck h.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

This discussion seems to be getting unneccessarily heated. TCO is not going to cost Ellen her job, no matter how many permutations of acronyms he trots across the screen. Neither will anyone save Ellen's job by trying to verbally skewer TCO. As has been said, Ellen doesn't have to justify her position at SCIFICTION, and no one has to defend her.

SCIFICTION may have been initiated for any number of reasons. The reasons for its initiation may differ from those for keeping it running. It would be bad publicity to shut down SCIFICTION, even though its profit value is dubious. SCIFI would end up pissing off a lot of its potential viewers. So they keep the site running, pay for good publicity, and avoid a major ratings plummet.

Meanwhile, we fans enjoy the free fiction.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:58 am:   

I've been wondering, is TCO just an acronym for Total Cost of Ownership? Or does it have some relevance to your actual name? You do realize how sad it would be if that is an acronym, right?

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

R.Wilder
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 01:25 pm:   

"The question is not to describe that mechanism, but to debate the value provided."

The value is in the fiction, TCO. Y'know, those SF stories that you don't bother to read. Like the ones that are in the print 'zines, that you also don't read.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jer
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 04:50 pm:   

"The question is not to describe that mechanism, but to debate the value provided."

I think you're wondering about what value SCIFICTION (which costs money while generating no monetary return) could possibly add to the SciFi channel (a business, which exists to collect $$money$$).

If so, then all I have to add to the discussion is this: there's no way that someone in accounting just forgot to remind management that there's this loss leader SCIFICTION thing that costs them thousands a week. One way or another, SCIFICTION is pulling its own weight, or it really wouldn't have lasted so long.

I think. So even if you don't know the exact answer, smile, nod, and continue to cheerfully not read it.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 09:52 pm:   

Thomas R - Did your sister leave or have you just been skulking in the background ignoring your sister? When you said July, I assumed you meant the whole month

TR: I've been online more than I intended. However I posted that after 2 AM and there's really not much to do here that late at night. Otherwise we've been watching movies, old sci-fi shows, playing poker, and starting this week things will really pick up. I just got finished watching Calendar Girls with her, that was fun, and we're going shopping this week. I'm hoping to go to a movie at the theater with her before she goes. She's also all excited to try Le Guin's Earthsea books and there's a place I know of to shop that might have the series. Still even if she's leaving in two weeks I kind of realized she doesn't want me with her every minute, that would be weird.

As for the thread itself

TCO:The value of the Mona Lisa is determined by supply and demand. Demand is driven by the pleasure from the prestige associated with it as well as the experiential pleasureable sensation of looking at it.

That is one of the funniest things I've ever read. It's like "Da Vinci of Borg" or something. You're such a little bean counter you.

Anywho if they are getting the Sci-Fi Channel awards and writers it seems useful to me. I mean that channel is adapting Le Guin, Asimov, etc. They do want to get the literary crowd some it seems, so it sounds like a sensible venture. Besides which this is a network that spent thousands or millions trying to declassify "secret UFO documents." Granted that got them publicity, but then again so does this. Except Sci-Fiction I think would be more likely though to get them people with better education and more spending money.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 04:08 am:   

Thomas R. - Just teasing you. I try and cut back too, I just don't announce it. I'll stop pointing it out from now on. :-)

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 06:06 pm:   

Some more feedback on the numbers that chuckH posted for web use (of the overall site, not the fiction):

http://www.counterglow.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&postid=563223#post563223
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

Interesting but still a very incomplete analysis that you are providing.

How does cost and measured effectiveness compare to other marketing campaigns by the channel?

How do the Web Stats compare to similar websites supporting targeted TV channels such as animal planet or discovery or the history channel? What are their website maintenence costs by comparison? Do those channels have websites?

Is click through the only measurable statistic to justify this site?

-Pat M.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 04:11 pm:   

I agree that the analysis is incomplete. Actually it was Chuck H.'s contribution. I'm just trying to make it relevant. But I agree we need more, before we can really use Chuck's numbers (which is what the site says about itself) to understand the situation.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 05:08 pm:   

Unfortunately the sites I mentioned don't appear to post their own stats but they also have quite an extensive site that may not justify their own costs.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

T.C.
Posted on Monday, July 19, 2004 - 09:05 am:   

Wow, TCO, I'd heard of the expression "bored to tears," but had never experienced the phenomena myself -- until now, that is. I'm actually weeping.

Jesus Christ in a frilly pinafore, what's up your butt, dude? A Volkswagon?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Monday, July 19, 2004 - 07:53 pm:   

I love you too, you rascal, you.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 05:53 pm:   

She's got the highway blues. Better look out that that Mona Lisa doesn't become Virtual Reality.

The Portal is a good site compared to Mstiegate. Just be glad if you can get there.

Nice to see some interpretive talk about the sites.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tony
Posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 06:41 am:   

Money has always been an abstract concept. Not the money itself of course, it can easily be spent or saved or simply squandered. But the concepts regarding economics have always been elusive to the masses. This is why so many people are troubled with money matters. And it is the principal reason there are so many poor people in the world. Just look at the famous examples. Without mentioning names I’m sure anyone can recall several examples where multi-millionaires went broke because they didn’t understand money. It doesn’t surprise me that bright and otherwise intelligent folks can be so clueless to the mechanics of economics. They relate the abstract economics of a business built on an ethereal foundation with their monthly grocery bill.

Obviously the SciFi channel and its parent company are benefiting from the science fiction stories published through their Sci Fiction department. I would personally never presume to know better than they what they need, or desire, to succeed. If they didn’t feel that continuing to publish new and original stories was worth the expense I am sure they would drop the project like a hot potato. There is an obvious method to their madness that has been alluded to but apparently not fully appreciated. By continuing to attract new and talented writers, they are simultaneously keeping the coffers of creativity full. And this is what feeds the entire industry.

It seems to me that there is an inherent advantage in fostering the art of science fiction writing, as has been previously stated, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that the practice has been allowed to continue. It would be greatly disappointing and surprising, at least to me, if this practice were to stop. So often the shortsighted among us are led astray by the promise of a quick buck. But it is the true entrepreneurial spirit, something that has lately been the exception rather than the rule, that provides long lasting wealth. When I see this spirit alive and well in SciFi.com it gives me hope, not only because I happen to be a fiction writer, but because I realize that human creativity is still of some value to the world. I for one say – Bravo Sci Fiction!!!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 10:23 am:   

Tony,
Bless you. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 08:04 am:   

Oh jeezuz, Ellen. At least Tony completes an argument (they are doing it, therefore it must be ebeneficial). You add nothing other than your touchy feely happiness at finding a "backer". Instead of doing that, try thinking...

Tone: It is not obvious that every thing a company does is beneficial. Companies make mistakes all the time. There is a lot of risk and uncertainty in this world. There is lots of inneficency (waste, cronyism) as well.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:16 am:   

Yes in general and in the long run, businesses move towards benefit and away from harm. But, often they make stupid decisions that are eventually changed. My thesis is that SCIFICTION is one such. Many things about it smell dotcommish.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 10:00 am:   

TCO, why should I bother arguing with you? There's nothing to argue about. I've already said that I'm delighted to be editing SCIFICTION, that it's irrelevant why it continues to be funded, that we've already been around 4 1/2 years and as many things end, so might this.

I get paid well, the authors get paid well, great fiction gets published, the field notices-- and hopefully we make a difference. That's good enough for me.

When the job ends (as all jobs do eventually--unless you own your own publishing house) I'll look for another job and try to continue to publish great fiction and pay my authors well.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

TCO your problems with Sci-Fiction is jerkish even for you. Unless you own stock in Universal why do you even care? Besides which companies for ages have given money to museums or symphonies or what have you. Companies that have lasted for generations, even centuries in some cases.

Besides which I don't see how this even a vanity project. It seems like this would bring good will to the kinds of people who write things like the Earthsea books, which Sci-Fi is turning into a miniseries. If they decide to do "Book of the New Sun" as a series the connection of Wolfe having already been published by Sci-Fiction I think would grease the wheels.

Again though why do you even care?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

R.Wilder
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   

Hey, TCO, get a job, will ya?!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 02:30 pm:   

Ellen, that's fine that you don't care if your job makes money for the company as long as you enjoy it and get paid. We've heard that before anyway. This is not about your motivation! It's about the viability of a business model. Get that straight, lady. Think.

RW, I'll make it up this weekend.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 02:32 pm:   

TR, I care because I'm interested in what works and doesn't work in terms of the economics of SF publishing. I don't have to have stock in Enron or JDS Uniphase, to be interested in the business issues. Plus, read the above post to Ellen. Then think.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

Why do you keep beating a dead horse, TCO? Nobody cares but you. Do you expect to produce answers out of thin air? You aren't going to learn anything more than what's already been said by me and others.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 05:23 pm:   

C'mon Ellen, Fess up...

You are secretly funded by a Government mind control program and you are sending out messages to pacify the people. Government doesn't have to justify costs...

Or are you funded by extremist cults?

Admit it there is no way you could exist based on Business priciples taught at Harvard. Advertising and publicity and marketing are different than monkeys coated in "I can't believe it's not butter" singing "I love Rock n Roll"

I believe Universal should stop publishing and resort to sending SPAM. :-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 05:52 pm:   

It's not about whether they care about me. Or that you are untroubled if not serving commercial purpose for the organization that pays your wages.

If you changed your sentence to "TCO don't you get it that noone cares to discuss the SF publishing business", that would be a relevant remark. Or you could say that my ad hominems distract from discussion of the points. Or that noone wants to discuss business WHEN the discussion hurts a prominent person's feelings. Or, but I wax Cyrano...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 05:54 pm:   

Pat M., Ellen has already said words to the effect that she does not care if she is delivering commercial value. Don't make me quote them. I'm too lazy. But you can extract them yourself and build an argument that I would make if less lazy...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:06 pm:   

And the only reason, I started wacking at the rotting corpse was cause someone else came in here...and someone not as annoying as Pat. Actually had a pretty decent post.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:18 pm:   

Hmmm... I suppose it was hard to read the sarcasm in that statement...

If you changed your sentence to "TCO don't you get it that noone cares to discuss the SF publishing business",

I don't think that is the case... She was quite clear with this question"Why do you keep beating a dead horse"

It's not like SCIFICTION is intending to go public like google...

www.noggin.com has all sorts of free games for kids. Should they stop doing that? Is that a bad business decision?

You aren't discussing SF publishing, you are attacking SCIFICTION as a concept without valid comparisons other than 6 years ago there was an absurd dot com bandwagon. Come up with relevant CURRENT comparisons to TV station websites, then we can talk.

But then again, you don't want intelligent conversation, you want to antagonize the celebrities of the board.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:23 pm:   

Yes, I blame TONY too, for re-igniting you. But me the annoying one? :-)

Tony had a decent post???

Here is Tony's statement
"It seems to me that there is an inherent advantage in fostering the art of science fiction writing, as has been previously stated"

Who previously stated that????? :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:42 pm:   

Nope, Tony is better. Sorry, follower.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:09 pm:   

TR, I care because I'm interested in what works and doesn't work in terms of the economics of SF publishing.

TR: With all due respect this is stupid and disingenuous. It's stupid because Sci-Fiction has lasted over four years, longer than some SF magazines. It's stupid because for NBC/Universal funding Sci-Fiction is likely a pittance, it couldn't possibly be warping their overall business. Plus the benefit to them has been asked answered, you just won't listen to any voice but your own.

The burden of evidence from here on should be on you. You prove any kind of case Sci-Fiction is bad for NBC/Universal in any way maybe I'll listen again. Mostly you just squawk and repeat tired old MBA phrases. You are a joke here, and no longer a funny one.

The disingenuousness comes in that you don't know or care what the business of SF publishing is, you never have. People who are in the business of SF publishing have told you why you are wrong and you just brush them off because you went to business school they didn't. You're real interest is that you like to provoke and inflame discussions. In this case though you've beaten the thing to death.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:12 am:   

TCO;

By virtue of your own reasoning, I respectfully suggest that you refrain from posting on this message board again until such time as you can prove that your unfortunate posts turn a profit.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 03:45 pm:   

TR,

A. Your second and third sentences are both reasonable arguments, but the fight each other. First, you say that the continued existence of the venture shows that it is useful. Than you say "it's not much money anyway".

B. As to your fourth, I agree that an argument has been made as to the benefit (driving people to the TV shows). It has not been made with any further explication. It is more of a rationale than an argument. It's the kind of thing you could say when starting the venture or could say when starting any such webzine. Surely not every imaginable publishing venture is a good investment. The key is does it really work?

C. Burden of evidence. I'm just advancing my honest opinion and explaining the reasons that I have for having it. If you think that I've claimed some greater "case", I'm sorry that you got that misimpression. Neither side has brought to bear a strong evidence based argument. We can still have discussions on the net in situations like that.* However, I have discussed what analyses would need to be done and what data needed to determine cost/benefit (to examine the "driving viewers" rationale).

D. I am really interested in discussing business problems. I have often worked on business problems. Is it surprising that I enjoy discussing (i.e. thinking) about them? Yes, I tend to troll and go after people and say things with "salt added". However, I really do believe that Ellen's venture is a dotcom holdover hanging out in a big company that for whatever reason (inefficiency, cronyism, inertia, false logic, inattention) has just not noticed that it needs to cut it.


* Half of my reason for having such a discussion is the hope that I will learn something (and evidence to the opposite of my point is fine).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   

Rob, I'm just here because I enjoy myself. Ellen has also stated that she does her job from enjoyment, (not to try to generate earnings for the shareholder). However, shareholders do want earnings.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 05:21 pm:   

TCO - I'm sorry but your measure of analysis is fairly invalid. I'm sure there is a bean counter like yourself employed who has the metrics to measure this. Maybe Scifi charges a ridiculous amount for the "JOEY" banner ad on the page. 3 Clicks and Eleen is paid for.

Our measure of success here on this board is that it continues to exist. This is the fact that we have available. Also, by comparison, several projects that WERE on SciFi.com are now no longer. This would indicate that SCIFICTION is meeting the internally prescribed success criteria. So for our Argument, given the facts we can get a hold of, SCIFICTION is a Successful venture. As you stated, you have yet to come up with any evidence that it isn't other than you don't understand why it is.

Please contact the appropriate bean counter at SciFi.com or parent company to pursue your silly vendetta/arguement/annoyance.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 06:07 pm:   

Pat, If you make a comment that is new AND intelligent, I will address it. The "it must be making money because it's still here" argument was already floated.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 06:37 pm:   

We'd all like to hear one from you that even meets the intelligent criteria. I believe I stated that it had VALUE that is why it is still here. Money is irrelevant to me. I'm not a bean counter.

Why are you so ornery this week. What was her name? Let's get drunk and plot revenge.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 06:40 pm:   

TCO - And you have never reponded to posts about other stations that produce expensive sites and don't show any form of income/profit. In fact all valid points are ignored by you. Does that make you ignorant?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 07:15 pm:   

On the other stations sites: will have to ask you to direct me to the argument or to restate it. What sites/stations would you mention? Are they just sites or are they expensive? In general, I find that stations just duplicate the content that they already have. Would you cite ESPN in your cause, that would be a semi-decent argument...

New point: I don't think there is that much crossover between Trekies and people reading new short fiction.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 07:38 pm:   

ESPN offers a Pay service for Insiders and they have taken a lot of their better content and put it in there and in their magazine. There is a profit model there. Different than SciFi.

Actually I pointed out www.noggin.com which is a childrens station, Comedy Central and I believe the Discovery channel which has a MASSIVE site if I recall correctly. All free to the public.

What is your new point? I believe it again lacks intelligence. SciFi doesn't play Star Trek. Lately they have been producing Mini-series based off of SF Novels and series. This would be one of the points that you previously failed to comment on.

Why don't you provide something useful like a review of the current original content on SCIFICTION. That is something that more people would be inclined to discuss and not feel that you are being hateful.

Let me save you some clicks.
http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/witcover/witcover1.h tml

My first thought: Didn't grab me. I think that means I read the first paragraph or two.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 07:44 pm:   

A: They don't fight each other. It seems to be servicing their interests as it relates to the purpose of their network, science fictional entertainment Still even if I'm wrong the loss to them is negligible. Likely less then what they spent lobbying Congress to release Roswell documents or what their parent corporation gives to the arts.

You honestly seem sincere in not understanding that businesses live in the world. They aren't mere mathematical abstractions existing in your books. I've recommended you learn about the actual history or reality of things before, but I think you are unwilling or maybe just unable to do that. However I'll say again, in real history of actual corporations the idea of giving to the arts didn't start with the dotcoms. Companies that have lasted decades or centuries have done it. Many American museums and symphonies exist because of major corporations. I guess you honestly didn't know this, but I can get you the citations on businesses that have supported museums for decades.

B: Does it really work? So far it seems to. Sci-Fiction has won Nebulas, and the editor a Hugo. It's stories have been reprinted in Year's Best volumes. Thus giving Sci-Fi Channel a foothold in the publishing world. Further the science fiction anthologies give the link to Sci-Fi.com site increasing exposure. This actually sounds like possibly more sucesss then other things their site hosted. Look at the site and check all it hosts. Tell me how almost any of that stuff is more useful for them.

C: The way you act all high and mighty about it kills the "hey this is just a friendly opinion" idea. In essence more disingenuousness on this.

D: Again you have no need to care or know if they "need to cut it." I don't even see why you think it should be a concern for them. You honestly think with all the cruddy low rating programs Sci-Fi has that their parent companies concern should be cutting Sci-Fiction? Why? I should remind you this is not some dotcom. Sci-Fi Channel is a subsidary, I'll say it again for you, of NBC Universal. You really think when it comes to cutting out the fat Sci-Fiction would be a remote concern? I mean these people kept The West Wing or Frasier on long after they sucked in the ratings, because they were prestige shows. I mean is there anything you do know about publishing or entertainment? In a year they probably spend less on Sci-Fiction then they do paying that blonde bimbo from the original Law & Order, and people hate her presence on the show.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 08:26 pm:   

A. "Still even if I'm wrong the loss to them is negligible." This undermines the point that the network would get rid of it if it didn't earn its keep and it hasn't been gotten rid of.

I'm well aware that corporations have given to the arts. They do so either because they ARE inneficient (are not looking out for their shareholders) or because it is goodwill advertising (like the stuff you see on TV for GE where no specific product is advertised). Did you really think I was unaware of this? TR, you are the one with the limited exposure to the world, not me. Why do you think they do it, TR? Think about it. And do you really think that you have more experience with business problems than I do? I have far more consulting experience than I do academic business experience. Reverse the argument and tell me that I haven't studied enough formally. That would have more traction.

B. When I ask has it worked, the question is to address if the "driving viewers" angle has worked. Saying how great the mag is in terms of getting Hugos is irrelevant since the question at hand is how well does the venture drive viewership. You need some market research to address that.

C. I'm well aware that my tone detracts from acceptance of my points. However it does not change wether they are right or wrong. And when I said that I honestly believed, based on the little I know about it and based on my (more extensive) business experience, that is what I honestly believe. I can't really argue it further (if I could tell me how). How can I convince you otherwise? You have a lie-dector? Swear it on my USNA ring? Come on! ;)

D. I have no need to know. I have an interest and enjoy discussing it. I don't know the specifics of the shows you mentioned, but I agree that NBC has bigger business decisions. That still does not mean that every smaller venture must be kept forever without examination or change or culling old ones, starting new ones.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

I hope you can see how your responce in point D conflicts with point A. You say they should be (and presumably are) much more concerned about decisions on which prime time shows to kill to worry about killing SciFiction. Ok, well if that is true, how can you say: [It's been around for 4 years. They would have killed it, if it wasn't worthwhile.]
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 09:49 pm:   

You got me, I guess. I don't see in A or D that I said they would've killed it if wasn't worthwhile. I've grown tired of this anyway, and there's no point in it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:19 pm:   

So what was your point when you mentioned how long the mag had been around? How related to the issue at hand? At least do you see that making an argument that the mag is "small pennies" lends support to the hypothesis that the company has just overlooked that the mag is not worthwhile? (You don't have to agree with that thesis, but can you at least follow the chain of thought? If not, how the hell did you get through difficult history classes like historiography?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:26 pm:   

You know if you just let things settle down and let Pat come by for a hug, I will simmer down. Ready to get off the rag.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:38 pm:   

They could overlook it because it's value neutral. It's not hurting anything financially, but generating goodwill in the SF world. If it's hurting them they might care, but if not they have bigger fish to fry. Besides you think any business is maximum in efficiency? Get real.

As for historiography I got an A in that. My first draft could've been as low as a C, but I improved it. I'm not putting months of work into an online post though. Why should I?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:41 pm:   

Sigh, I can see why you needed to do a makeup. You just aren't that quick on the draw. I like you anyhow.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 01:59 am:   

I qualify for MENSA, graduated magna cum laude, and was one of the top scorers in the nation for College Bowl. Whatever though, many people here think I'm an idiot. I don't really care, night.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bob Urell
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 03:29 am:   

Was there ever a point to this discussion?
TCO: Has it not yet become apparent to you that you know absolutely nothing about the disputed business model? You've pestered Ellen about it, and she's cheerfully referred the point to anyone who might have any knowledge of it. She isn't part of the financial machinery at Universal. She works on the creative end of things. She’s very, very good at what she does. If you'd care to debate her editorial decisions with her, I could see a point to all this. I'd also love to see it. You'd get your ass handed to you if you actually argued within a debate structured around something of substance. That's probably why you choose to pursue this. In fact, looking back on your arguments, they seem comprised mostly of ad populum buzzwords and ad hominem statements like "You just aren't that quick on the draw." If I were to winnow through the vast wasteland of bullshit that is the heart of your monologue, I'd probably come up with something like this, "I'm bored. I‘ve already jerked off to Mary-Kate and Ashley‘s newest flick, and there isn‘t a D&D game in town that‘ll have me anymore. I don‘t know any girls that like me, I think I have lice, and how the hell that cheese got there, I‘ll never know. Oh well. Think I'll go bait someone on the Night Shade boards."
Let me know if you want to play some more, TCO. I'm not a nice person, not like most of the people I've seen you beat up on. I actually enjoy shit like this and I'll be happy to trade insults with you anytime you wanna throw those Internet muscles around. Such as they are, that is.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 06:01 am:   

Thomas R. - I don't think you are an idiot. Even if TCO does like you. :-) He finds me annoying. :-) How goes the bombardment of JJA? Have you let up? Are you making progress?

TCO - you did it again, you skipped valid points so you could taunt someone else...For that, No Hug for you. Sorry. :-(
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 06:06 am:   

Bob - Down Boy! DOWN! :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 06:37 am:   

You know, 125 Million people qualify for MENSA. What I want to know is why you aren't paying you $40 annual membership fee? :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

Bob, you're a real tough guy. I better watch it.

BTW, you start by saying that I don't understand the business model. (When I've reiterated it.) It's not that I don't understand the concept, it's that I see no proof of its efficacy and have suspicions of why it is unwise. You can have a million "business models". The key is, why do they or don't they return money in a given situation.

Oh...and saying that Ellen is creative and doesn't understand business conflicts tends to conflict with her having any meaningful comments on the business issue.

Pat, I'm trying to play fair with you. When you or that other dude before you make a decent point, I acknowledge it as an argument. The bottom line is that the facts in this whole thing are kinda thin and so how can either side convincingly argue a case?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 12:31 pm:   

The bottom line is that the facts in this whole thing are kinda thin and so how can either side convincingly argue a case?

Correct, which lends itself to the "It's Still Here 4+ Years Later" theory and assumption that a bean counter like yourself is watching it and measuring it with statistics that we don't have and can't get. Maybe Ellen could get them if she wanted but it would probably be a pain in her ass and only satisfy your curiosity and no one else. So why beat the dead horse?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

EDatlow
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 02:27 pm:   

Bob U never said the following:

<<Oh...and saying that Ellen is creative and doesn't understand business conflicts tends to conflict with her having any meaningful comments on the business issue. <<


NBC Universal is the second large corporation I've worked for and I understand business issues very well but they are not a major concern insofar as they do not impinge on my job. As long as my employers leave me free to do my job well I'm happy. As long as they pay me and my authors and production people in a timely manner I'm happy.

My job is to publish fiction and stay within a budget. It's not my job to run the company or worry over whether the company will pull the plug on my section of the site. Why stress myself out about something over which I have no control?

Part of my boss's job is to protect me and the rest of the people who work under him on the website.

I believe I've said the above already in several different ways-there doesn't seem to be much more to add.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 02:56 pm:   

Ellen, I think TCO enjoys his obsession so much that he wants everyone to share it.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 04:22 pm:   

How goes the bombardment of JJA? Have you let up? Are you making progress?

TR: Alas I never even started it. I had a story all written up, gave it to a friend to critique, and planned to fix it. Thing is the flaws were rather deep. I took a test once that said my style was like Stapledon, I'd never even read any Stapledon at that point, and bizarrely that seems to be true. I only sometimes like writing stories about people and situations. What I really love writing is things that are basically fictitious essays or articles. Kind of like Le Guin's "Treatise found in the Acacia seeds", or whatever it was called, or Primary Education of the Camiroi by Lafferty. Weirdly I found this is something I like to write and read, when normally what I like to write isn't what I like to read. However I've also learned it's not anything anyone else wants to read. Or at the very least it's not something I write well enough to interest readers.

I'm leaning toward not caring though. I've avoided it, but maybe I'll send JJA stories that are fictitious essays or exchanges of letters or retellings of a vision anyway. If he rejects it I'm just out postage. No sweat.

The other problem though is the thesis and my primary career, which seems on the verge of starting, is keeping me too busy. I type so slow writing out papers for presentations and thesis takes up too much time. Still I might revise the "vision" story I gave up on and send it to him. Then do the other thing.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Rick Wash
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 08:23 pm:   

The Sci-fi channel makes its money because there is a large contigent of people who are interested in science fiction. There has been speculation that interest in science fiction is decreasing. This is obviously bad for the Sci-Fi channel. Anything they can do to increase interest in science fiction will likely cause them greater profits in the future. Maybe not on this balance sheet, but probably one five or ten years down the road, if not farther. Publishing high quality original science fiction for free is a great way encourage more people to get interested in SF. Therefore, SCIFICTION is likely to increase the Sci-Fi channel's profits in the long run.

Sure, this may sound dot-commish, but that's because you're missing why many dot-coms failed. Many failed because they looked to far in the future without having income at the present. Sci-fi channel has a steady income stream from its current activities, and is now using its extra money for more long-term growth potential, like SCIFICTION. This is great for them, and great for all of us because we get to benefit from this.

When I was younger I was a SF fan, but I got away from that. Recently I returned to SF, thanks in part to the great stories on SCIFICTION that hooked my interest. Now I can't get enough of it. Chances are sometime in the future I will end up watching the scifi channel now that I'm back really into SF. That is a great example of how SCIFICTION is ending up benefiting the Sci-Fi channel.

Also, the people who started and own the scifi channel obviously have other motives than just money. They probably really like science fiction too. Making more science fiction available to the masses (and to them) probably serves that goal as well as their financial goals. Not everything in life is money. Even economists are beginning to recognize that.

Ellen, thanks for doing a great job on SCIFICTION. Those stories are soooooo addictive, they got me more hooked on SF now than I ever was when I was younger.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:48 pm:   

Ellen, (that was a good post), I think that is fine if you don't worry about the big picture and just see your job as producing a product against a budget (which may as well come out of the air as far as you are concerned). That is just fine and it makes contributions. Some people would add onto that short list of concerns, worrying about what they generate for the corporation and some roles in companies require you to worry about whether your work and leadership is actually contributing to the goal of shareholder returns. But there are many people who still contribute with a less strategic mindset.

But regardless of whether you do or should look at the strategic picture and the contribution versus its cost, I do...and will discuss it. This is not an attack on you (yeah sure I like to tweak you...but that's cause of our personalities), its a discussion of the magazine and whether it is a shrewd investment. In other words that "budget" that comes down out of the sky. My interest is in thinking about whether it should. I'm looking at it from your boss's boss perspective.

Pat, it is interesting to discuss things that are not 1 plus 1 equals 2. I returned to the discussion to address new comments.

Rick, I'm getting tired of dealing with unsophisticated thinking so try to look at your post and pick it apart yourself.

1. By investing in the field as a whole, the channel is generating diffuse (look it up, in the context of economics) benefits. It's like me wanting to catch more fish (as an individual fisherman), so I invest in clean Oceans. While that may make sense for society, it does not for an individual. The benefits accrue to all, rather than to me. And I have to do an incredible amount to even move the dial. BTW, this is a common analytical error that I see people make. Read Adam Smith and the issue of the africultural commons. The argument that the channel is driving viewers has some benefit. The argument that they are saving the genre of whciht they are a tiny part and that will save them. That is nutty.

You have a bunch of other errors, but I'm too tired to school you and you'll likely not appreciate it and will lack the brains or openness to learn from a harsh opponent.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

R.Wilder
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:59 am:   

Hey, TCO, why don'tcha open a liquor store? You'll make a fortune, man!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:14 pm:   

I'm getting tired of this.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 06:25 pm:   

YOU are the tired one?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 06:50 am:   

TCO, you raise good points, but the truth is that hardly anyone here is at all interested in discussing them, and those who are interested in discussing them are not interested in discussing them with you.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 01:20 pm:   

Good point.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Pat M.
Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 06:21 pm:   

They aren't good points.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Chuck H
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:43 pm:   

Almost everyone on this thread has mentioned, during one month or another, the reason our epic debate has been dragged out so lengthily and so painfully: the lack of any concrete numbers. We can only deal in abstracts, like business models, and people of reasonable intelligence can hash it out over abstracts all day and all night without ever reaching a definitive conclusion. True, some stats are available from the SCIFICTION website, but they hardly paint a complete picture. It's little wonder, then, that this conversation has been interesting and infuriating, but hardly enlightening.

It may now be time for all parties to throw in the towel.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 02:53 pm:   

Personally, I'm just pleased that Ellen manages to secure for SCIFICTION stories which are better than the swill normally run on Sci-Fi Channel, often by orders of magnitude. So far, I don't think SCIFICTION has featured a single story which attempted to pass of a fairly large CGI snake/spider/fish as a compelling science fiction antagonist. Nor has Stargate once found its way into the content on SCIFICTION, so far as I am aware. Instead, the fiction Ellen publishes has consistently been some of the highest-quality fare available. Sci-Fi Channel could do a lot worse than dip into SCIFICTION for inspiration and material. In fact, they are already doing a lot worse.

So my advice to anyone who's agonizing over whether or not the folks at SCIFICTION think of themselves as properly integral cogs in the NBC/Universal corporate machinery is just this: relax and enjoy it while it lasts.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 06:28 pm:   

Concur.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick M.
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 07:41 pm:   

I'm sorry but you can't have the final word here.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 09:03 pm:   

You may. (Just post after me, and then I will shut up.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick M.
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:35 am:   

This thread is officially over. Please post no more comments. TCO has recognized that he is wrong and should never say anything about SCIFICTION again. :-)

Thanks for participating.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 08:51 am:   

You're right. People have started bickering too much as they discuss SciFi.com.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jer
Posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

No John, I'm sorry, but you're wrong.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:49 pm:   

Touch this topic only from time to time. Let it age and mellow here. It will acquire greater maturity than any other topic, and that may be as it should be.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Martin Finney
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 04:40 pm:   

I read a short story many years ago in a collection of scifi. The name of the story was "The Night of Hoagy Darn", about a three moon conjunction on a planet with a human colony and their children being captured by natives and kept with psychotic/psychedelic fungus in a forest for a possible food supply. Would like to know who the author is and if any other stories/books are in print.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   

"The Night of Hoggy Darn" is by the late Richard McKenna. I don't think much of his work is in print, but you should be able to find a used copy of his story collection CASEY AGONISTES pretty easily through an online search like addall.com or bookfinder.com.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 07:06 pm:   

McKenna's story "Casey Agonistes," I should mention, was reprinted by SciFi.com and is available here: http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/mckenna/mckenna1.html
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Gardner Dozois
Posted on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

I'm running a week-long teaching workshop on short-story writing with Hugo and Nebula-winner Kristine Kathryn Rusch next year, May 7-14th. There are still some slots available. For pricing and lots of further details (about accomidations, and so forth), go to www.oregoncoastwritersworkshops.com.

--Gardner Dozois
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Scott William Carter
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:45 am:   

And as someone who took that workshop a couple of years ago, let me just say it was well worth the money and time. Just for Gardner's crude jokes, it was worth it. :-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Gardner Dozois
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 06:39 pm:   

You should come over and post on the ASIMOV'S Forum, Scott. Perhaps that would help to placate TCO, who's bitching because he's never heard of Kris Rusch. (g)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 09:09 am:   

Wow!

After happily hermiting with the dark geniuses who wrote "Melmoth the Wanderer" and "Zoflova" I found TCO's churlish posts hideous. Like watching a bloated fly pinned to a board. I'd entirely forgotten that niggardly minds like his do indeed exist. Pity he's so enviously angry with SCIFICTION's four-year success. You'd think as an aspiring writer he'd be delighted. But then any aspiring writer who goads editors the way he does is perhaps beyond my non-Harvard-educated understanding.

Seems to me what matters most is that SCIFICTION does in fact continue to exist, creates new readers, furthers the genre and provides us all with great stories. As for not making money, so what? Seems like everyone's happy about that but TCO. Maybe that's because those people know that life's most beautiful treasures are ultimately priceless. Furthermore, when a huge corporation supports a non-moneymaker like SCIFICTION that's about as good as it gets. It doesn't matter why. Best to just enjoy it. Bean counters are in hell long before they die.

Bronwyn
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 07:51 pm:   

Thanks for the support Bronwyn. Although the subject had died down and this might bring it up again ;-)

We'll be five year's old in March.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 10:36 am:   

Hi Ellen,

I sincerely hope my comment doesn't start another tirade. That was not my intention. I'm afraid I got a little feisty. Not having much experience with discussion boards and having never read an entire thread before, I was rather shocked by the nasty barbs and it got the better me, I fear. Poor TCO is probably not feeling well . . . I should be more compassionate.

But, I'm afraid I'm rather protective toward SFIFICTION because it's such a great venue, and because some of my favorite writers are published there.

If you don't mind my asking, when exactly is SCIFICTION'S birthday? As a retired astrologer I collect the birth data of writers, editors and magazines, when books were concieved/written and published. I find this data rich in relevant literary info. May write a book about it someday. For instance, when I gathered Bram Stoker's birth data and the date on which he had the dream which inspired "Dracula", Stoker's horoscope was being influenced by the planet Pluto -- the god of the underworld, sex, death, rebirth and immortality. Same planet transit was happening for Ann Rice when she wrote "Interview with the Vampire". Pluto's darkly magnetic archetype rather fits vampire stories, I think.

Anyway, I wouldn't bore you with astro-babble. But I wouldn 't mind having SCIFICTION'S birth data if don't mind sharing it. Unfortunately, my celestial curiosity is voracious, as Lucius well knows. :-)

Thanks for doing such a great job, Ellen. Even harsh barbs from people you don't know doesn't rattle you. You've got class.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   

I was hired late 1999 and the first stories were posted May 19, 2000: Pat Cadigan and Chris Fowler's collaboration: "Freeing the Angels" and Robert A. Heinlein's classic "And He Built a Crooked House."

Hey, I love my job. How many other people can say that?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Thanks very much for the data, Ellen. And pardon my pedantic ways, but would you happen to know the time of day the site was launched on May 19? Was it launched from NYC?

Indeed, loving your work and getting paid decently for it is one of life's greatest pleasures. But I think you've got a much tougher job than writers -- we mostly deal with fictitious characters, who are difficult enough, never mind the real thing. Your patience and tolerance are commendable.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 08:14 pm:   

BE, I'm not an aspiring author and even if I were, it wouldn't change my point of view.

Ellen, that's really not a very good story. Why not post All You Zombies or They or Requiem or something like that. Even the old man did not think that much of the tesseract story.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 09:11 pm:   

Bronwyn, we generally post around 5-6:30 am but I don't know if that's what happened the first day. I just know it would have been early morning.

TCO, I very much wanted "All you Zombies", which is my favorite Heinlein story, but his widow would not give permission for that one.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick M.
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 05:56 am:   

TCO - you are such a closet wanna-be... Where's the Alaska story?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 06:38 am:   

Ellen, thanks for providing the time. It makes a huge difference in calculating a horoscope and the data is very difficult to obtain for publications. With the time your gave me, that puts Capricorn and Aquarius on the house cusps that coincide with publishing and public image/career. If your Sun sign is either Capricorn or Aquarius, then this chart would be accurately reflecting something about the identity of the editor. If not, oh well . . . astrology is not a exact science but an art. In any case, thanks a lot. The data is valuable.

TCO: I guess you were joking about sending Ellen submissions, then. Went right over my head -- been hermiting so much lately I guess I've grown a bit dense. My trip to LA next week ought to sharpen my wits.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

Bronwyn, I am a Capricorn...birthday coming up, in fact. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

Pat, it's almost ready, just need to print it...from my brain! :-)

Ellen, OK.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 10:14 am:   

Ellen,

Happy birthday! I'm also a Capricorn. Jan 11.

I really appreciate you confirming SCIFICTION's chart by sharing your Sun sign. That kind of data comparison between your Sun and SCIFICTION's chart is terrific for my files.

The cosmic archetypal ties that bind do seem to fit in this particular case. As a Capricorn person, you are "ruled" by the planet Saturn, the psychological daimon associated with hard work leading to lasting success, a solitary, idiosyncratic philosophy, gloomy and/or profound musings about time and death. Saturn and Pluto (the other dark lord in astrology) are probably quite strongly marked in your horoscope, given your affection for dark stories. Both of these archetypes are associated with literature about death, horror, and other stuff, like immortality, S&M for instance. The Grim Reaper (Saturn) and Hades (Pluto) dominate SCIFICTION's "editorial" sections of the chart -- those that describe something about the editor. (Which is not to imply you're either daimon in the flesh; rather, the planets archetyal themes strongly color your life, concerns, research, tastes. Interestingly, the planets associated with fantasy and sci-fi (Neptune and Uranus) are positioned at the chart's MC, or public image -- suggesting you've probably published more of those kinds of stories in SCIFICTION than horror.

Have a great birthday, Ellen! Thanks again for the fascinating data. It's so difficult to obtain.







Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 12:14 pm:   

Well, since we're on the subject, my birthday is Jan. 6.

It's also the birthday of E.L. Doctorow, Carl Sandburg, Tom Mix, Joan of Arc, Rowan Atkinson, Diane Keaton, Bonnie Franklin, Earl Scruggs, Loretta Young, Alan Watts, Khalil Gibran, Sherlock Holmes, Gustav Dore, Heinrich Schleimann, Charles Sumner and the Montgolfier Brothers.

Pro golfer Nancy Lopez and I have the exact same birthday - we were both born Jan. 6, 1957.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 12:39 pm:   

Thanks Bronwyn and happy birthday to all you other Capricorns out there ;-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 01:17 pm:   

Happy birthday to you, Lou. Usually us goat-fishes are odd creatures on some level -- comes from climbing the slippery peaks of all those submerged mountains. Nice to meet ya!

Are your stories also colored by the above mentioned Saturn themes? Just curious. Sad to say, I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading your stuff; mostly reading 18th and 19th century stories this past year. I love gothic romance, the darker and more profound the better. Just finished "The Monk" by Lewis, again. Can't seem to get enough of Melmoth the Wanderer by Maturin. Took me months to return it to the library, kept renewing and rereading it, and then totally forgot . . . my English prof actually begged his buddy the librarian to give me a break on the fines, which were insane. Musta shelved a 1000 books to pay it off. What fun it was being lost in the stacks at UBC. I loved it. Hope when I croak my ghost haunts some grand, high-ceilinged library.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 01:37 pm:   

Bron, you've got to be putting us on, no? You don't really believe that voodoo star stuff.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 02:50 pm:   

TCO

Do I believe in voodoo? No. Voodoo without puffer fish toxin only works if you believe. The power of suggestion and all that. Astrology? Not the in the cheesy newspaper stuff, if that's what you mean.

However, there is actually something to it, I believe. Dig into the meat of astrology, and you might actually find that some pretty cool minds have studied it very seriously: Johannes Kepler, Carl Jung, James Hillman, to name a few. Carl Jung commented to his daughter shortly before his death, quote, "Astrology works even after your dead!" Meaning, he could see archetypal themes contining to work in people's charts after they had died. Ergo: he noted how some people's work seems to increase in fame after they'd croaked, and that their horocopes reflected that (fame arriving with transits to the dead person's birth chart).

Personally, I like Kepler's famous line about how though a lot of astrology is bunk, it would be unwise to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Kepler was the last great astronomer-astrologer this world has seen, and he developed a particular branch called harmonics, in which you pare away the signs, houses, until all that's left are planets on the diurnal circle. Just by noting which planets were dominating the four angles of the diurnal circle, he was able to make key observations about the weather as well as about people's propensities. Or so the story goes.

Anyway, I'm not going to argue with you about astrology. My experience is that there is no winning such an argument; it's like me trying argue with you about whether or not God exists. Too time consuming. And if astrology does work then one thing is very clear: it's impossible to accurately predict a person's fate. Because if the planets affect us, why not every blasted rock in the universe? There's no way an astrologer can even begin to untangle that infinite cosmic knot. Wouldn't want to even if I could. I like, need mystery.

However, if you're really interested in hearing what a very respectiable scientist has to say about why he thinks some aspects of astrology may work (including info on Michel Gauquelin's planetary-hereditary studies, which have yet to be scientifically disproved), I refer you to my interview with Dr. Percy Seymour, a British astrophysicist, astronomer and expert on cosmic magnetism. (Seymour was also interviewed in Omni, Dec 1989, entitled, Dr. Zodiac) Google either Dr. Percy Seymour or my name, Bronwyn Elko, and it'll pop up: The Magus of Magnetism: An astronomer's magnetic theory of astrology and how planetary motion orchestrates solar activity and geomagnetism.

The article interview has been reprinted several times, including in an online encyclopedia under "physical sciences" sunspot cycles, solar storms. This is probably the first article written by and for astrologers that has wound up being published in an encyclopedia, which tickles me pink. :-)

Now, dare I ask what sign you are? Just kidding. I wouldn't want you to worry that I might hex you with some astro-voodoo. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 06:38 am:   

I'm a frigging SAGGITARIUS. My sign can take care of any other sign, including LEO, because we can put a three-foot arrow through him. Ooo-rah! Kick-ass sign.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 04:30 pm:   

I'm a Taurus. Not the astrological sign, but the Ford automobile:-)(I am a Taurus though, in astrology)

To be honest though I think astrology is, if not outright nonsense, an anachronism. It served it's purpose once and encouraged people to study the stars. Now we don't need it. We know proven things about the stars/planets effects on our lives now, like radiation or gravity, so I don't see the need for inventing supernatural aspects to perfectly natural events. That Jung believed in it is kind of just grounds for skepticism in and of itself. Jung had some fascinating ideas, but he also had many downright loopy beliefs. Sometimes his thinking was fascinating and loopy at the same time.

Still if it helps I was born on May 9, 1977. The longitude and lattitude of where I was born was about 35 degrees North and 94 degrees West. Elevation 449 feet. I'm the fifth child. The order goes: girl, boy, boy, girl, boy, girl. My mother was about 34.1 years old when I was born. My mother was born early April and my Father on December 16. My Dad's side of the family is British and my Mother's is Benelux. (Or the "Low Countries" as they were once called.)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 01:25 am:   

I have read that interview with Seymour a long time back, Bronwyn. That was you who interviewed him! Seymour is originally from South Africa, like myself btw. And I'm sure he still sees himself as being South African, not British. He was an astrophysicist at the University of Cape Town, before emigrating to the UK.

I am also aware of the work of Michel Gauquelin, and the whole Gauquelin-CSICOP-Mars effect fiasco back in the early 80s which saw CISCOP get a lot of egg on their faces. Several of their very prominent board members (all sceptical of astrology) to their credit did resign in disgust from CISCOP over their cover-up of the very surprising data that went against their expectations.

I'm a Taurus too, Thomas R. Incidentally Isaac Newton also took (some aspects of) astrology seriously as did Robert Boyle. Kary Mullis takes astrology seriously (he's one of the most famous microbiologists in the world, for inventing the PCR, won him a Nobel in chemistry - long story). To microbiologists and geneticists the guy is a living god, although he is very eccentric and holds way-out views on absolutely everything. He takes astral travel seriously too!

I myself just don't know re astrology. In the past I was highly dismissive of it, but I no longer am. I just don't know anymore. One should not give an opinion on a subject of which one knows nothing.

I mean I once read something by a famous astrologer about Sagittarians being the easiest sign to spot. They have zero tact and don't know it, will say the most cruel things to people without realising it at all or meaning to be cruel, while you just stare at them open mouthed and they look at you like what's up with you? Now this sums up my Sagittarian sister and a Sag girlfriend that I had so well, so accurately that I find it uncanny. And TCO too!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 08:03 am:   

Fair enough. But at least we are like Burt Reynolds in Deliverance. A bit of a redneck, who just isn't as sophisticated and PC as the other enui-ers. But when you get to fighting and need someone to put arrows in someone else, count on a Saggitarius.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

T Andrews
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 09:44 am:   

That's my saggitarius husband in a nutshell. I'm a Libran, so I can see both sides of this astrology thing. ;)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 10:16 am:   

Thanks for being open-minded, Lawrence. Puts you way above most people's knee-jerk reaction. It's wild that you've heard about Gauguelin -- many devoted astrology fans don't know about his fascinating work and the CISCOP debacle regarding the Mars effect, unfortunately. It took me four years to convince "The Mountain Astrologer" to agree to interview Seymour. In other words, there's prejudice on both sides, scientists against astrology; astrologers against scientists. That's why I wanted to write the article: astrology needs science, and science could perhaps benefit from a little celestial imagination.

It's funny, too, in that CISCOP's scientists simple single-link arguments and biased behavior regarding astrology helped spark Seymour's interest in it. He told me, "Having examined the arguments that supposedly disproved astrology, I came to the conclusion that they were totally unscientific -- a form of rationalized bigotry cloaked in academic language. That got me thinking." As the son of an interracial couple growing up in South Africa, it takes no leap of imagination to figure out why Seymour is rankled by prejudice of any kind. Still, Seymour's defense of astrology has gained him a lot of negative attention within the scientific community. Poor guy . . . I remember once, many years ago while sitting in a bar after the Writers of the Future Contest and Awards with a bunch of guys, mostly astrophysicists, astronomers. When I told them I was an astrologer one of them slammed his drink down on the table and told me to leave -- People like you make my job more diffiicult because instead of folks asking me sensible questions about the stars they ask about astrology, he said. It's weird how worked up some folks get about it. I even used to receive death threats in the mail, full-blown posters of the biblical lake of fire superimposed with little stick drawings bearing my name. (Hint to TCO that his stinging arrows may be called upon to defend me should we ever attend the same sci-fi conference. :-)

Thanks also for bringing up Newton, who's strange obessions also included alchemy. I think most us have these little eccentricities; certainly many men and women of genius possessed more than their share of odd ideas.

I haven't heard of Kary Mullis but will now have to check him out; I'm keenly interested in all aspects of biology, but especially in regards to how electromagnetic fields, in particular light (biophoton technology) affects living organisms. It's all grist for the novel I'm writing . . . about a 500-year-old Jesuit priest turned electromagnetic shaman. I hope I can do the ideas justice. I'm not an experienced writer. In any case, I'm having a blast, the time of my life, playing around this stuff. It's so much more fun than practicing astrology for the masses, most of whom think I'm a witch who will propitiate the planetary gods so they can become rich and famous. Boring. That's partly why I gave up doing astrology for a living. Another reason is that it's so very difficult listening to people express their pain.

Thanks for the data, Thomas. I need thousands of birth data for writers and editors if I'm ever going to write a book about it. Do you happen to know what time you born? That's what pins down the astral specifics to an individual's chart.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 11:34 am:   

+ ...Newton, who's strange obessions also included alchemy +

Alchemy was not a strange obsession when Newton studied and indeed mastered it; it was the centuries-old, recognized science of his age, based on principles developed before the fall of classical civilization ushered in the dark ages. The scientific method of experimentation and theorization based on observed data was the kooky minority view when Newton was starting his career. It was only when he changed his mind and became first an adherent then the leader of the new way of thinking that the scientific age began.

This is not, of course, an implied endorsement of astrology. As a Gemini, I am of two minds on the matter and would rather play tricks with logic, to keep the ball perpetually in the air, than arrive at some mundane conclusion of the game.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter & Other Stories (Night Shade, 2005)
Next story: "Inner Huff" F&SF, (Feb 2005)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 12:15 pm:   

Congratulations, Matt, on Black Brillion's great reviews! Pretty good for a Canuck. :-)

I also live in BC. Vancouver. Used to live on Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island. Mostly lived in the Yukon, before global warming messed it up. The climatic stuff going on up there is bizarre, so my friends tell me. Makes me wonder if my old cabin on the Ogilvie River, 80 miles south of the Arctic circle has sunk into the melting permafrost.

I'm American born, a landed immigrant here in Canada. It rather pains me to see how relations between the US and Canada has deteriorated since 9/11, so much so that myself and some other folks at UBC are presently entertaining the idea of creating a cross-border blog in which 30 Americans and Canadians will share their ideas once a month about how the interdependancy of our two countries impacts their everyday lives. We're going to call it "Axiblog: diablogs along the 49th parallel." Latin root, axi, means mother. So Axiblog kinda pokes fun at and plays into the monument that marks the US-Canadian border which reads, "Children of a common mother." Axiblog is still in the forming stages . . . we'll see how it goes. Until February I'm too busy to put much energy into it, but I like the idea very much.

As for being a dual-minded Gemini, they say it takes a great mind to entertain a thought without becoming it. Seems you've succeeded. Thanks for sharing your Sun sign. Your books on now on my must-read list!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 01:05 pm:   

Thank you, Bronwyn. Welcome to Canada. Good luck with the hands across the border.

The best place to get Black Brillion in Vancouver is White Dwarf Books, down the hill on West Tenth Avenue at Alma. It's owned by my friends Jill Sanagan and Walter (sometimes Bruce) Sinclair and they have signed copies left over from the official book launch in November.

I've applied to be a writer in residence at UBC's Green College in 2006. If I get the gig, come by for a visit.


Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter & Other Stories (Night Shade, 2005)
Next story: "Inner Huff" F&SF, (Feb 2005)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 01:56 pm:   

Do you happen to know what time you born?

TR: Not off the top of my head, but I can find out. I'm not much of a writer though not yet. Also the fact I see astrology as obsolete, at best, isn't going be a problem?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 02:16 pm:   

Matt,

Good luck with your application to Green College -- their interdisciplinary approach is exactly right, I think. Seymour's argument precisely is that many scientists use single-link theories to dispute astrology. Let me know if you get the Green College gig and I will drop by sometime.

I know White Dwarf. Not familar on a personal basis with Jill or Walter, though. Will mention that you brought them up next time I go.

Thomas R; no biggie. What you think is not my problem :-) I do disagree with you, however, that how the planets affect life on earth is obselete. The planets affect solar activity and geomagnetism, both of which affects our lives every day: through weather, satellite communications, the sea's tides, the migrations and life cycles of various creatures, to name a few. The way I view astrology is multi-layered, from a skeptical, scientitic viewpoint to one of symbolic, poetic imagination, thus always open to change. I love hearing what other people think even if I don't always agree with them.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Was it not an astronomer, Sir Arthur Eddington, who said, "not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine?"

Is it not possible that, in a quantum uiverse, astrology and alchemy may turn out to be useful ways of predicting events?

Of course, as a science fantasy writer, I get to have it both ways if I want it so.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter & Other Stories (Night Shade, 2005)
Next story: "Inner Huff" F&SF, (Feb 2005)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 05:41 pm:   

After studying how the ancient Chinese would plan their battles according to the astronomical signs in their quadrant of the skies, I've wondered if there is some science involved in their mythology. Today, I was wondering if the aligning of Mars, Venice and, hmm, was that Mercury?, had some pull on earth's magma and was one factor in the big quake. Probably not but being closed minded never taught anyone anything.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 05:55 pm:   

^I think the importance of canals to both Mars and Venice would greatly facilitate an alliance. I'm not sure about Mercury, however...

:-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 12:40 am:   

Was it not an astronomer, Sir Arthur Eddington, who said, "not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine?"

TR: JBS Haldane, biologist I think.

I don't find astrology all that strange though. If anything it might be the more natural way for humans to view the stars. And like many natural ways humans view the physical Universe it appears to be wrong. Or in least nothing credible has ever said otherwise. (Beliefs of people dead four centuries ago, or psychoanalysts, on the stars are not exactly credible)

However the belief in astrology was very significant. Hence the belief in astrology made studying the stars useful in battle or love. Indeed in some cultures the kings' child was disinherited for being born on "a bad moon" or something. Also what time in the woman's cycle she conceives effects some aspects of the baby I think. As astrology was occasionally used to figure when a polygamous man would have sex with what wife, it maybe did effect how the kid turned out.

However I've never seen anything real or solid to indicate the effect is anything except psychological or maybe physio-psychological in conception patterns. I'm willing to be open-minded but if I see no value in it, and little to no evidence supports it, I'm not.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 04:39 am:   

Matt, Yeah, I believe it was Eddington that said that. The stranger than we can imagine aspect of the universe is one of the things that utterly enchants me. As to it being possible that in a quantum universe astrology may help predict events . . . that's a huge question I don't feel qualified to answer, not being an expert on quantum mechanics. Was alchemy used to predict events? Don't know that much about it, except that it's a heck of a good model for certain psychological processes, i.e., the nigredo being an apt metaphor for depression, and so on. Course you're right that as a writer of science fantasy you get to have your alchemical cake and eat it too. :-)

J.P. I don't know much about Chinese astrology but it certainly doesn't surprise me -- astrology has been utlized for practically every aspect of human life at one time or another.

RE: earthquakes, you can bet lots of astrologers cast a chart for that one. We're maniacs about collecting data. I'm not an earthquake astrologer, if you'll pardon the phrase; that's a whole different branch of astrology. Like medical astrology, some people spend their whole lives studying that, never getting into the psychological aspects of the art. That's where my interest lies.

Thomas R, like Lawrence said earlier in this thread, there is some scientific evidence that supports astrology. Why else would CISCOP bother to fudge data that showed support for Gauquelin's Mars effect? And like Dr. Seymour said to me when I interviewed him, skeptics haven't even tried to refute the planetary-hereditary effect. Why? Because unlike the Mars effect, which correlated certain planetary positions with eminence in certain professions -- Mars on the angles for outstanding athletes, the Moon for writers, Jupiter for politicians, and so on -- the planetary-hereditary effect deletes the necessary difficulty of defining in objective terms what constitutes eminence. The planetary-hereditary effect is based solely on hard data: time and place of birth and the planetary positions for both parents and the child. As to seeing no value in it (astrology), I empathize with you. Sometimes I've felt that way also. But astrology for me is like a good alien drug: I get high off the symbolic beauty, it takes my imagination on extraordinary flights. I also find it heartening. The old maxim "As above, so below" of astrology captures the real spirit the art (for me) -- that indeed the whole universe and every creature in it is interconnected. That incomprehensible kind of beauty is where I get my juice. If astrology doesn't turn your crank you're certainly not alone. Different strokes and all that. Takes all kinds of flowers to make a gorgeous garden. :-)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 12:20 pm:   

When I took the class, it never occurred to me to be open minded. I thought the whole quadrant theory to be silly at best and still assume it is. But recently I have been doing some research into energy particles and am wondering if we have discovered everything there is to know about the basic components of the universe. Kind of doubt it. Perhaps there are energy currents in space we know nothing about yet and if that has any kind of effect on emotions, aggression, romance, whatever, there could be some kind of explanation. I hate to see entrenchment of thought. Imagine the intelligentia of a hundred years ago hearing hypotheses of micro computer chips, etc.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 01:41 pm:   

JP, it's great that you're receptive to new paradigms, even if they leave a strange taste in your mouth.

I agree, I think we're a long way yet from "discovering everything there is to know" about anything. Like the big pharmas idea that there's a pill for everything, and never mind if the side affects are worse than the condition that you're trying to alleviate. Then years later we hear, Oh yeah, this stuff may give you a stroke, btw. Thought that is entrenched in profit only sees dollar signs, only measures success by the number of case lots sold. This easily blinds us to the actual physical consequences. In the same way, Seymour's work on mapping the geometry of magnetic fields which permeate our universe may seem useless now, but who knows where it'll lead. One thing: our neural networks are nothing more than an EM resonating fields. These fields are highly sensitive to certain kinds of magnetic flucuations. For instance, Dr. Robin Baker of Manchester University placed people inside a darkened room and asked them to locate North. Most people got it right. Then he fitted these same people with little magnetic skullcaps and repeated the experiment. They lost their ability to find North. This strongly suggests the presence of an internal compass or biological clock.

So it seems our brains are extremely sensitive to EM fields. It makes sense; what are thoughts? Tiny electromagnetic firings. With MRI, Pet scans and all that stuff they can now apparently even get hints of certain kinds of brain activity. For example, when I partook in a study for smokers, they stuck me inside an MRI machine for almost an hour. When I came out, one of the technicians said, Did you fall asleep? We usually see these patterns when someone is dreaming. Nope, I said. I was watching one of my movies in my head. So right there is an interesting example of EM patterns which appear very similar: resonantly speaking, dreaming is equal to vivid daydreaming. It creates a similar resonance pattern in the brain. My experience in the north with wild animals makes me suspect that they can "read" our EM fields a lot better than we realize. Lucky for me I was in a magical head space at the time. Otherwise I'd probably be dead. Grizzlies and wolverines aren't usually very forgiving.

Bad as things presently are with astrology (from a respectable scientific point of view), I can't help but feel optimistic about its future. Call me a mad fool. There's worse things in life that being obsessed with the stars. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 12:05 am:   

For the record it was Haldane and not Eddington who said "the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine".

Now there's an eccentric character, Haldane that is. Apparently spent his last few years living the life of an ascetic in India. A brilliant polymath too.

Right on about the Pharmas Bronwyn. It's far far worse than even people such as yourself realise though. The corruption of medicine through special interests runs so deep and is so pervasive that I'd sooner trust a White House press release than trust anything on the safety and efficacy of medicinals spouted out by the NIH and FDA and their equivalents around the world. And the NIH has recently been embroiled in a scandal that saw fraud perpetrated at the highest level there. All over a deliberate cover-up of a trial drug that killed several patients. The NIH tried to get the drug passed by the FDA, knowing full well that several test victims/subjects (pregnant women) had died from the drugs. The FDA to their credit refused to give the go-ahead to the drug precisely because of what happened. Now because the victims of this iatrogenic (doctor prescribed) murder were in the third world, nobody really cares. In fact the third world is the "guinea pig" testing ground for all sorts of dubious drugs by western pharmas. These impoverished people don't know their rights, usually don't have any and won't sue or be able to sue the Pharmas in case anything goes wrong. And the Pharmas know this, to their delight.

Now this was a vey recent scandal, nobody at the NIH has lost their jobs over the cover-up and associated fraud, as far as I know and none of this was on CNN, BBC, NBC etc (what a non-surprise). I wonder if anybody here can find out what it is I'm referring to, if no answer in the next 24 hours I will spill the beans.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 12:44 am:   

Btw it was Eddington who said, "The stuff of the world is mind stuff." Perhaps this equally arresting paradigm-shattering remark to Haldane's is what caused the mix-up.

And getting back to astrology and the Pharmas - if only people were as skeptical of doctors and pharmaceutical drugs as they are of astrology, a lot of misery could be avoided.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 01:36 am:   

Hey Lawrence, I'm very curious about the NIH scandal -- haven't heard a thing here in Canada. What drug was involved, neviapine?

Last year I wrote Pulizter finalist, Robert Whitaker, re his terrific book, "Mad in America." It's about the Pharmas purposely zombifying the so-called mentally ill -- most of whom are experiencing depression and/or are "borderline" bi-polar. He emailed me, "If you aren't crazy before the pills, you certainly become so in short order." His book discusses the big pharmas evil agenda, their lobbying efforts -- they are exactly like the tobacco companies. Not interested in people's health, just the bucks. No surprise there. I heard somewhere a couple weeks ago that 1/4 of all Americans are on at least 3 doctor-prescribed medications. Truly we are becoming a medicated society. Scary. I recall the kids of two shrinks I met in LA: each kid downed more pills at breakfast than I take in months.

Funny about the "universe is stranger than we can imagine" quote being listed on the web as by both Eddington and Halbane. Weird. I also like this one attributed to Eddington, "We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong." Astrologers personally relate to that one. :-)

Ahh, misery. Goes with the territory of letting the greedy stupid people run everything. For some folks, the third world is just a pocket to pick. If people die, so what? Life is cheap when it comes to making a profit, sad to say.

As for stuff not being on CNN, etc., I had to tell my daughter in LA about the California state health officials study in which rocket-fuel contaminated milk was found in 28 (?) out of 30 Los Angeles stores. She'd heard nada. More lobbyists bullying their way at the expense of other people's well-being. Meanwhile it's the same old drill: shop till you drop and I promise you bliss.

And my friends wonder why I sometimes get sentimental about my days in the Yukon. Least there I shot and butchered what I ate, had a pretty good idea what the animal had eaten. Nowadays the southern Yukon's apparently full of two-headed frogs!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 03:08 am:   

yes Bronwyn well done. It was nevirapine. And the whole thing happened in Uganda.

You must follow all this Pharma iniquity very closely, otherwise how could you have possibly known off the bat what drug it was?

To everybody else, nevirapine is an antiretroviral, supposed to stop the spread of HIV from mother to child. And reduce HIV viral load in the patient. No evidence for any of this. Actually a case of AIDS by prescription. IF the HIV doesn't destroy your immune system and bodily organs, the drugs will do it for you. To paraphrase Whitaker, if you don't have AIDS before the pills, you certainly get AIDS in short order after taking the medication. To be killed by the so-called cure.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 10:05 am:   

Lawrence, It was an informed guess, which is not to say I'm terribly well-informed. Just terrfied enough to keep looking up from my work once in a while. When it gets too scary I do seem to write faster. Too bad it doesn't make me write better . . . must be a pill for that coming out soon, I'm sure.

Yeah, there's another book by a Harvard guy who's name I can't recall in which he claims AIDS was introduced to Africans via polio vaccinations. Because the spread of the disease, its various mutations, can be traced back to earlier strains, he says the mother strain can be traced back to a vaccine clinic just like you can trace the genetic evolution of other diseases. Don't know if that's true, but the book was pretty impressive, with lots of official documented proof. Thing is, the more your read about the Pharmas the more you're inclined to think it's true.

Whitaker's "Mad in America" really scraped my bones: my mom suffered sereral nervous breakdowns, was in and out hospitals, Mayo clinic, too. I recall her terrible stories of abuse at the hands of doctors and staff. No one believed her. I sorta did, but then my Protestant mother's whole family was like in awe of doctors, and they convinced me (I was a kid) that doctors knows best. I'll regret that till my daying day (that I didn't really believe her). She shot herself shortly after being put on the millionth medication, of which she complained bitterly was giving her out-of-body sensations and obessive thoughts of death. Haven't trusted the system since then. Down with the big Pharmas, especially those that push doctors to push drugs on their patients!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   

Lawrence and Thomas R

Here's a question whose answer leads directly to more scientific support for astrology: are there any studies you can think of which shows that flucuating variations in earth's magnetic field in respects to the full moon cycle shows increased casino payouts? Do gamblers experience better intuition on days when the GMF (geomagnetic field) is quiet and the Moon is full? Apparently in Las Vegas, this is so. Or, maybe the geometry of the field around Sin City is distorted by all those murdered folk buried in the sands, their gold fillings intact, radiating their avenging spirits from the grave. :-)

In any case, if you draw a blank, google "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" by Dean Radin. Chapter 11: PSI in the Casino. Radin's work is very inspiring in quantum/psychic potential. I'm using many of his ideas about EMI re teleportation, remote viewing, in my novel.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 03:34 pm:   

I use to have a friend who was the assistant police chief of San Francisco. He told me the whole department was aware that the crazies came out on full-moons and the dangerous came out on new-moons. He said statistics were overwhelming regarding that phenomena.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 07:31 pm:   

To be blunt Bronwyn the idea an educated rational person in this age could take astrology seriously never really occurred to me. Anymore than them taking Aristotelian physics or phlogiston seriously occurred to me. It's not something I've put much thought into then. Hence I doubt I have the ability or interest to refute it.

However I've never read any credible scientist of the last four centuries support it. The people you named I'd never heard of before. It also just doesn't make sense to me. In olden days the stars were seen as Gods or lights from Heaven or angels or crystal spheres or something. So yeah a supernatural force could do unexplainable thing. We now know though they're just balls of incandescent gas working as a nuclear furnace. Why would that have any impact on personality or probability? What's the mechanism behind it?

In the Vegas case it could be real, maybe, but if it is it's not astrology. There are some who indicated strong magnetic fields might have an effect on the human mind. This is highly questionable as a Swedish, or maybe Danish, team recently tried to reproduce the effect with no results. Still if it is a real effect, that's the Vegas thing. It has nothing to do with the Full Moon or powers or anything. The effect would be the same if you just made them wear well-tuned electromagnetic caps on any day. Most of the ideas on Full Moons are a mixture of Urban Legend and self-fulfilling prophecy. Although the greater amount of light at night might have given some advantage to ancient or rural criminals.

Further is the empirical data really that strong to support astrology? Because to me I really don't have to prove it's false. To me yours is the more unusual claim and one that would have to be proven true. I don't see how that's remotely likely to happen. Much of what you've stated is what most pseudo-science defenders state. That some group had to "fudge records" to keep your theory down.

I know most everyone here wants to be very tolerant and open-minded. So I'm being the spoiled sport, I know that. However many things just aren't true, or are in least most likely untrue. I'm willing tolerant. If this idea is helpful to you in some way that's good. I think astrology probably gives many poor or uneducated people in the world comfort in a confusing frightening world. It even gave many people a chance to use their mathematical or scientific skills in a respectable way. However if you expect me to take it seriously, that's probably not going to happen. It doesn't meet what I'd consider a valid scientific hypothesis or a useful theological construct. Sorry.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 01:29 am:   

Thomas, I don't expect you to take astrology seriously. I don't expect you to have read the books on astrology by the very educated, rational and still-very-much-alive Dr. Percy Seymour. Seymour has been called "the Einstein of the 21st century" by Colin Wilson and a few others I believe. Even if he's not, he is a world acclaimed expert on cosmic magnetism. Certainly the last time I checked, he's very sane and brilliant.

As for a mechanism: energized particles impacting magnetic fields, which in turn affects the neural network of the brain, is what Seymour and others think the most likely.

Ditto on most Full Moon data . . . but not all. The point of Radin's work is that casino's pay out more money very consistently on days when the geomagnetic field is quiet AND there's a Full Moon. If you don't think that supports the idea that astral influences -- in the this case the lunar daily magnetic variation -- has an influence on intuition, that's your choice. However, before making up your mind you might want to check out the data. Yes, there are different opinions about the impact of magnetic fields on human brains -- it's a raging controversy. Who are these Swedes or Danes you mention? Where did you read the report?

As to the CISCOP fiasco I think it's significant: you don't have an army of scientists spending years trying to refute an empirical result unless the data's extremely strong. They are still fighting about it. Makes me laugh. Perhaps reading some of the arguments might help? Course, if you're not interested . . . that's fine.

It's true that there isn't a lot of empirical evidence to support astrology -- but the little there is is strong. (Of course my experience with hundreds of thousands of clients isn't empirical, but it is my experience of astrology.) It hasn't been disproved, yet. And yes, many people, smart and dumb, turn to astrology for comforting answers. People turn to science and religion for the same reason. The comfort they receive from the kind of astrology I do (or did, I'm retired) is not theological but more poetic. I see nothing wrong with that. I don't claim to be able to read their futures or help them win the lottery. Neither do I give them false hopes nor encourage them to worship Mars.

It's not my job to convince you of anything, Thomas. I'm just having fun talking about something that interests me, is all. Sorry if you find the idea offensive. Perhaps a new subject is in order. Care to put something forward?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 02:08 am:   

Maybe I overreacted. I didn't want to dry up all conversation on it or seem so offended. I'll try to learn more about this Seymour person and please feel free to talk about it with the others who did seem interested. I'm sorry if I overreacted so.

However if we were to go to another topic maybe Scifi.com would be appropriate as that's what this thread is ostensibly about. I'm way behind on the stories there, but maybe people could talk about what they've liked this year in Sci-Fiction. Especially when it comes to shorter stories as I have trouble with reading longer works online.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

Thomas, no problem. It was only your first sentence that seemed to me a little over the top. No need to apologize -- you are gracious.

Sure, let's talk about Scifi stories. Before moving onto 2004 stories, however, I'd like to say that my favorites for 2003 were "Liar's House" by Lucius Shepard and "At the Mouth of the River of Bees" by Kij Johnson. Have you read those? What did you think?

Lucius is one of my favorite writers -- I love his dark brilliant wit, his wounded affection for us wounded human animals, his cynical profundity that always illuminates the wild beauty of the human heart.

Kij's story blew me away -- the voice was fantastic, her simple, highly provocative descriptions of humming bees flowed like honey. The gorgeous flux between perceiving the bees and the river was wonderful -- "She's close enough to see individual bees but only for an instant before they drop back into the texture of the river, Brownian motion: She can see the bee, but she cannot see the motion, or she sees the current but not the bees."

The particle versus the wave; an individual momentarily rises above the chaotic life stream and in that moment the maddening whirl of other beings disappears. The driving immensity of the current , its shimmering twists and turns, can only be perceived when the bee's minute intricacy is submerged within the larger flow and texture of the river. This moving story of the bee stung woman infected with a desire to seek the bee-river mouth (strange source of life's nourishment) was supreme, I thought.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:23 am:   

As I understand (and I'm using the word very loosely) the current thinking on the subatomic organization of Everything, one eventually reaches a nano-level at which it is impossible to make empirical measurements. Instead, one has to make inferences based on principles. At that point, we seem to have circled back to the realm of alchemy -- or perhaps a better analogy is that we have spiralled past that realm on our way to wherever we are going.

Newton's physics still work for planetary motion and battlefield ballistics, but have to be superseded once we arrive at the theshold of relativity. Perhaps something similar happens with empiricism: i.e., the scientific method is useful for explaining anything that can be explained by the scientific method; after that, we must reach for other tools.

As for astrology, we live at the bottom of gravity wells that are surrounded by other gravity wells. There is obviously interaction among all of these wells because they form definite patterns that remain cohesive over billions of years. If living in these patterns has effects on our temperaments or talents the only way to create a control group that would not be so affected would be to establish a human colony outside the known universe. At which point we cross the border into theology, a boundary where we also have to shed empiricism and again begin arguing inferences from assumed principles.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current Book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter and Other Stories (Night Shade, July)
Current Story: "Inner Huff" (F&SF, February)
Next Story: "The Devil You Don't" (Asimov's, March)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 02:31 pm:   

I really don't believe that the stars can affect anything in particular, but I think people's BELIEF in them can.

I mean, if enough people believe in the same thing, it may come true. Read "The Public Hating" by Steve Allen and "Advent on Channel 12" by C.M. Kornbluth.

I've written stories that are very dark and pessimistic, and I've written stories that are very funny and/or sarcastic. I think it depends more on whether I'm well fed at the time and well rested.

I believe more in Maxwell House (coffee) than Astrological Houses (stars) affecting my writing.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 03:10 pm:   

I can't quite believe that wackos and criminals believe that they are going to commit offenses on full and new moons and according to my friend, the evidence is overwhelming. I've never really believed in astrology, but we are learning so much about energy particles and magnetic influences and I can't help but believe that we've arrived to the point of knowing everything yet. It reminds me of the guy who was head of the patton department a century ago who said everything that could ever be invented had been. It's arrogance. Painting ourselves into an empiracal box can be limiting. Open minds are what pushes the envelope.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 03:24 pm:   

Thomas,

Although I do not believe in Astrology either, David Hume would have a field day with your post. For example:

"It doesn't meet what I'd consider a valid scientific hypothesis or a useful theological construct."

Astrology is not Science. If you want to try to use science to disprove it, then I should be alowed to use Astrology to disprove Science (which I am sure could be done quite easily).

Choosing one or the other is a matter of faith, pure and simple.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick M.
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 07:35 pm:   

"the idea an educated rational person in this age could take astrology seriously never really occurred to me." --- This made me laugh. hard....

Science, Astrology, and the Church are all religions and belief systems to varying degrees. Science can't prove God exists. Should a rational educated person take religion seriously?

"Choosing one or the other is a matter of faith, pure and simple." -- Why choose one or the other? Take what you need from both.

What about psychohistory? http://www.zompist.com/psihist.html
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 08:13 pm:   

Matt:Instead, one has to make inferences based on principles

TR: Inferences based on principles doesn't mean what I think you seem to think it means. Quantum Mechanics I think is made way more mystical than it needs to be. The principles are not that poorly understood, they're just harder to understand than relativity. True at a point below the Planck length things are uncertain, but the probabilities can be reasonably estimated. Many of our technologies depend on understanding that. If it was all just a hocus-pocus world where you infer based on ancient formulas or theoretical simulations it'd be hard for this to happen. I mean we're not talking string theory where the truth is based on "elegance", on computer simulations saying it could be real, and the intense need many scientists have to reconcile Quantum Mechanics with Relativity. (As well as to kill, as thoroughly as possible, the fact physics was indicating a creation event did happen. The idea of a "Creation event" truly is repellent to a small minority of scientists and for largely philosophical reasons) Perhaps astrology could be a theoretical study, I guess I don't know enough.

Patrick MAstrology, and the Church are all religions and belief systems to varying degrees. Science can't prove God exists. Should a rational educated person take religion seriously?

Well on that level I yield. If you believe in astrology in a spiritual or religious way, I may still not see the point of that, but that's different. In issues of meaning or purpose you generally look outside science. Or I'd think you'd have to as science doesn't appear to give either one. I know in Hinduism, and many other religions of India, astrology just naturally links to many of their beliefs. That's fine, I certainly have no problem with that. I don't see the value in it as a belief, but I'm sure many wouldn't see the value in my beliefs either.

I'd disagree on Science being a religion or belief system. Scientists can be proponents of a religion or belief system, but I don't think of science itself as a belief system. It doesn't say much of anything on how to live your life, on meaning, etc. It's just about how natural processes work. Problem is many scientists do act like armchair philosophers or theologians. So people may think the belief that science is the only road to "Truth", and that only provable things are real, is science. To me though that's not science. That's just scientism or the folly of naive science enthusiasts.

I'd make an exception for Sociology or Psychoanalysis, they're belief systems or serve many of the same functions, but to me those are barely sciences at all.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 09:20 pm:   

+ I mean we're not talking string theory where the truth is based on "elegance" +

Actually, elegance is one of the principles I had in mind.

I try not to use the word "science," preferring instead to refer to the "scientific method." The scientific method is essentially a standardized tool that we can use to measure things so that we can compare them to other things we've measured. Accurate measurements and comparisons lead to remarkable results, such as the modern world. But that's all it is really good for. When it comes to things that don't lend themselves to being measured or compared by the scientific method, we all -- including scientists -- fall back on philosophy, with or without religion.

We're all armchair philosophers, although the quality of the armchairs can vary widely, as indeed can what issues from them.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current Book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter and Other Stories (Night Shade, July)
Current Story: "Inner Huff" (F&SF, February)
Next Story: "The Devil You Don't" (Asimov's, March)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 10:32 pm:   

"Should a rational educated person take religion seriously?"

Well, yes if he or she has an open mind.

I guess you've never had a true religious experience. Of course, if you don't look, you'll never have one.

They are few and far between, but I've had three in my life. Pretty cool stuff, actually.

Just commenting.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Patrick M.
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

Lou - :-) Congrats, I am happy for you. My comment was more about Thomas R. who, I believe, is deeply religious dismissing astrology. I'm pretty open minded. I want to believe in a god or gods and I don't need scientific proof. My beef with the major religion tends to be centered around holy lands and outdated holy texts which are subject to massive interpretation just like our constitution which is also treated as a holy document at times.

And the scientific method will disprove any 'new' words of god other than heresay 'God spoke to me and said low-carb diets are a fad, get off your butt and move...'

I like Matt's comment on the scientific method. That is a better term than just saying Science as a whole.

When the Scientifc Method isn't conclusive, they call it 'Theory'. Sounds kinda like a philosophy to me. When arguing Nature v. Nuture, why can't you simply add position of the planets to the theory or at least investigate it? That sounds like a closed mind...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

"I'd disagree on Science being a religion or belief system."

Although not strictly speaking a religion, you still need to believe in the system to get anything out of it. The scientific method is wholly illogical (it makes the "common sense" assunptions that the future must resemble the past and that observed correlation is often, or even ever, causation, which have no basis at all in logic) so you have to believe in it in order to assume that it will tell you what will happen in the future.



"Why choose one or the other? Take what you need from both."

It was not my intent to force a False Dillemma.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

Science _is_ the scientific method. However, scientists sometimes refuse to recognize phenomena that fails to meet the empirical method standard. In other words, psi, astrology, remote viewing, religious experiences, do not exist in their books. Hence many scientists do hold the _belief_ that if you can't measure a mechanism at work that can explain the phenomena, it's not real. Think of all the men of medicine who once proclaimed that disease spread by tiny invisible germs was impossible. Voodoo thinking.

Faith and love cannot be measured using the scientific method, but we know they exist. Yet the placebo effect clearly shows that faith/belief does have a real physical effect on our bodies. The placebo effect is very interesting, I think, in that it provides some support for the physical "power" of belief.

Astrology is an art with some scientific proof. Namely the planetary-hereditary effect for thousands of parent birthcharts and the birthcharts of their children. Of course, it's extremely difficult to "measure" a person using only astrology. Absurdly wrong. Genetics and psychological inheritance, early environment are all-important. But I would humbly argue that you certainly don't have to believe in astrology in order to see it work: otherwise CISCOP would not even be able to _see_ the data results they are so fervently fighting.

Science, religion and astrology are all paradigms through which we view the world. Each paradigm provides a certain view of reality (whatever that is). Perhaps one day these paradigms will no longer conflict , but actually complement with each other. I think the only way that can happen is if we remain open-minded and skeptical. They are flip sides of the same coin. Both are necessary.

Blaine: I am curious, though, as to how you think astrology could possibly disprove science? Can't see it myself.

Matt: I really like your fluidity and generosity of thought. As for philosophy: could it be that being chained to one paradigm or another puts us right back inside Plato's cave? (Actually, I'm sure whether we ever escaped.)

Lastly, does anyone want to discuss the stories we've read on SCIFICTION? Time's running out for me, I'm getting busy, as I'm off to LA on Saturday and my kid doesn't have online access. Means going the library, which I probably won't do very often, given that my pregnant Leo daughter is about to give birth to a little Capricorn girl, Sabrina, and I shall be glued to her side all the way to the delivery room. (Hey nurse, get the hell outta the way so I can read the clock, get the exact time of birth.) ;-)

One thing: this thread shows how passionate we all are about the stars, nay or yeah. Lou still enjoys his cuppa of coffee, as do I. I just happen to drink celestial tea come evening.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:49 pm:   

"Blaine: I am curious, though, as to how you think astrology could possibly disprove science? Can't see it myself."

Well, I don't really know much about how Astrology works, to be quite honest. The example I've seen (for the "using a method to disprove other methos means it's only fair to let thos methods try to disprove yours") was a crystal ball: guy looks in and says "Yep, science doesn't work." I'm assuming that astrology can be used similarly, but I may well be wrong.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lou Antonelli
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:52 pm:   

I thought "House of the Future" by Richard Butner was a real good story. It was a kind of lyrical fantasy. I really don't know why I liked it - but I did.

"The Wolfman of Alcatraz" by Howard Waldrop was a fabulous combination of alternate history and fantasy. Also extremely well-written.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 03:23 pm:   

Ahh, yes. Blaine, I just vaguely recall one astrologer's argument that the scientists who'd re-tested the infamous Mars effect to their favor (disproving astrology) had probably executed the test when transiting Mars or Mercury were retrograde. According to astrological theory, retrograde planetary cycles supposedly distort data gathered from the chart, (the symbolic geometry of the EM field) thus skew the scientific results. Mercury retrograde is another one. Void-of-course Moon is another. Hence the astrology newspaper warnings about retrograde Mercury: avoid signing contracts, double-check the fine print, expect communications breakdown, during Mercury retrograde periods. All astrologers then advise their clients to re-think, re-organize, re-write -- positive use of retro-Mercury. Myself I don't find that my car, computer or phone breaks down any more frequently, no matter what planetary cycles are going on. As for writing . . . I'm always rewriting.

Lou:
"The Wolfman of Alcatraz" by Howard Waldrop was a fabulous combination of alternate history and fantasy. Also extremely well-written." Ditto. I love Howard's stuff. Haven't read "House of the Future."

Patrick M
When the Scientifc Method isn't conclusive, they call it 'Theory'. Sounds kinda like a philosophy to me. When arguing Nature v. Nuture, why can't you simply add position of the planets to the theory or at least investigate it? That sounds like a closed mind...

Far as I know a theory is only tentatively accepted as far as it keeps on working, till something better comes along -- you can only disprove a theory. I like the word investigate. That's pioneering. And as Seymour said to me, "From the viewpoint of the of the philosophy of science, any number of theories may be shown not to work, but to say it follows that no theory of astrology can work is just bad science." He's not claiming, btw, that his "magnetobiology" theory of astrology is right. He admits there's much more to know. "In trying to clarify basic principles to explain the salient features of Gauquelin's work and the solar cycle, we've developed the principles of resonate coupling between the tides of the planets and the evolving magnetic field of the sun. We're still working out details of a theory that may provide a fundemental underpinning for astrology. Meanwhile, I'm using the debate to highlight the very real for science students to be taught the philosophy of science."

* magnetobiology is a _huge- subject.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04:29 am:   

Patrick:My comment was more about Thomas R. who, I believe, is deeply religious dismissing astrology.

TR: I wish it was still as deeply as it was. I couldn't abandon it all together. I've thought about it and the idea is absurd. It's so much a part of me I'd just have to die for it to disappear altogether. Still the feeling I once had is greatly diminished. It turned off like a faucet or light switch. It's rekindled a bit, but largely my defense still exists because I have a good memory and I'm bad at self-delusion. When I was really devout I was happier, I was a better person, and I wasn't a disappointment to myself. Now I'm ruder, my dreams are largely dead, and my life is aimless.

But it's alright. I mean I have friends, books, hobbies, nephews, etc. All the stuff that never entirely satisfied me and still doesn't, but boo hoo. Lots of people are poor, friendless, and miserable. I've been in least two of those three myself and my life is way better than that. I really have nothing to complain about.

BT:Although not strictly speaking a religion, you still need to believe in the system to get anything out of it. The scientific method is wholly illogical

TR: You can think that, you just happen to be wrong. It's always testing and retesting itself. It's not just correlations like "cities that eat more ice cream are more murderous." Or even more malign idiocy like "the rate of female decision makers in a nation correlates to young male suicide, so it causes it."

You make a hypothesis, you test it, etc. If you wish to question the entire nature of reality than you can disbelieve it. Otherwise I think you're being absurd or ignorant of what science actually means.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 06:33 am:   

The scientific method is a reasonable way of approaching the real world. In fact our brains are geared to prediciton based logic. This is an evolutionarily created mechanism in the neocortex (so it "works") as determined by natural selection. Read ON INTELLIGENCE for more info.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

StephenB
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 08:27 am:   

It's important to remeber when comparing astrology to science: astrology is a primitive form of science that paved the way for modern science, specifically for astronomy. Just like alchemy lead into modern chemistry.

Today, things like astrology and alchemy, are more metaphorical and spiritual, instead of literal and scientific. It is important to remeber that there is two sides to being human (in many ways) which goes right into biology and psychology -- the left and right side of the brain. Some people are only in touch with one side. Some embrace both. We still no very little about the external universe and the internal psyche. Evolving new ways to look at the universe and the psyche, while remaining open to different possibilites, is ideal, I think, in the evolution and progression of human thought. Strong and rigid beliefs will only stagnate and limit the mind.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

TCO: "The scientific method is a reasonable way of approaching the real world."

Actually, it's not. It has no basis in logic, although it does have basis in common sense (common sense != Logic).


"In fact our brains are geared to prediciton based logic."

No, the human mind is incrediblly illogical. Most people don't consider the slippery slope or "domino" theory to be a fallacy, but lo and behold: it is.

The scientific method is logically fallacious. There is no logical reason for the future to resemble the past. And it's circular logic to claim that it's resembled it in the past and therefore will do do in the future. Read David Hume's "An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding" if you don't believe me (or Weley C. Salmon's "An Encounter with David Hume" for a much more readable version).


"This is an evolutionarily created mechanism in the neocortex (so it "works") as determined by natural selection."

There you go using science to try to prove science again. While of course all good methods of prediction should be self-afirming, saying that that makes them true is circular logic (which can be used to prove anything). This postulate of yours also requires a number of observed correlations to be causation when, in fact, there is no logical reason for them to be so.

I'm not trying to say that science is bad or wrong, merely that it requires just as much belief as astrology, religion, or anything else and that they are all equally valid ways of predicting the future.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 10:07 am:   

Thomas R, sounds like you miss being devout, believing in something larger than yourself, beyond the material world, which let's face it, is no rose garden. In psychology, the psyche is composed of an invisible unconscious which feverishly believes in its own immortality, ominpotence, magical powers. The psyche believes it can't and will not die. Perhaps that's why people who believe in something apparently live longer and happier lives. (They're in tune with their deeper urges/drives/unconscious beliefs.) So a recent study published in the Vancouver Sun says. I tend to think that might be true; in psychological terms, it's logical.

Also, many Holocaust survivors say that it was their beliefs that kept them alive: the believe that life was worth living, that they would survive to see a loved one, that the Nazi's must fall, that God would answer their prayers.

If experiencing belief is a universal need and/or component of psychological and physical health, it's logical to infer that that's why the terrorists relish the thought of dying for Allah, which not only fulfulls their immortal dreams but also eternally protects their cherished beliefs. Can't change a guy's mind once he's dead.

Myself, I need to believe that there is a mysterious living intelligent pattern at work, an evolving consciousness grappling with itself through myriad beings. I don't care why. I don't care who. I don't care even if it's true. It's the adventure and wonder that I crave. And so, I find meaning and beauty in seeing the universe as one sentient web of life. That's what I chose to believe because it gives me hope, beauty and happiness.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 10:27 am:   

Blaine, you didn't even think about what I wrote. The human neocortex has a mechanical method of functioning where it continually makes predictions at different levels of the heirarchy and checks them. This is an evelutionarily developed thing. Check out ON INTELLIGENCE for the neurobiology. (It is popular science, you can handle it.) Now if you want to talk about some of the tricks the brain can play that is fine, too. But you are so quick to jump to your comments that you don't get into this topic with any depth of thought.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Ditto, Patrick, on ancient texts, suppressed, altered or otherwise stated. Life's a great fiction we're all writing all the time.

I'm open to the idea of the possiblity of a cohesive omnipotence. But my Saturine nature forbids worshiping Yahweh, that old white vengeful SOB. Jesus and Buddha had the right idea, I believe. ;-) Like others, I tend to incorporate ideas of religions I find useful. Seems to me, Buddhism, Zen are generally more sane and useful than Christainity -- I'm tredding dangerous ground here -- but I really find the concept of threatening people with eternal hell, or even with glorious but (to me) stagnant heaven, distasteful. Life always changes, flucuates. Matter = energy always diversifies. I think that's life's juice. I'm enjoying the pulp but I love the nectar.

"PatrickM: I'm pretty open minded. I want to believe in a god or gods and I don't need scientific proof. My beef with the major religion tends to be centered around holy lands and outdated holy texts which are subject to massive interpretation just like our constitution which is also treated as a holy document at times. "

TR: I wish it was still as deeply as it was. I couldn't abandon it all together. I've thought about it and the idea is absurd. It's so much a part of me I'd just have to die for it to disappear altogether. Still the feeling I once had is greatly diminished. It turned off like a faucet or light switch. It's rekindled a bit, but largely my defense still exists because I have a good memory and I'm bad at self-delusion. When I was really devout I was happier, I was a better person, and I wasn't a disappointment to myself. Now I'm ruder, my dreams are largely dead, and my life is aimless. "

Did you say you're a Taurus? Were you born May 1 through the 7th by chance? Your word choices -- aimless, dead dreams, disappointment and dissatisfied, resonates with Neptune transits. Sorry for asking. It's an obsession. ;-) Just say no . . . .
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matthew
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 01:12 pm:   

Seems to me, Buddhism, Zen are generally more sane and useful than Christainity -- I'm tredding dangerous ground here -- but I really find the concept of threatening people with eternal hell, or even with glorious but (to me) stagnant heaven, distasteful. Life always changes, flucuates.---

Huh, to me the Christian heaven, is preferable to being dissolved into Nirvana. I prefer to keep my individuality.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 01:38 pm:   

TCO: "Blaine, you didn't even think about what I wrote."

On the contrary, I read it quite closely. It's pretty much the same stuff that came up in my Philosophy class.


"The human neocortex has a mechanical method of functioning where it continually makes predictions at different levels of the heirarchy and checks them. This is an evelutionarily developed thing."

Perhaps you missed it the first few times I've said it: this is using the scientific method to prove the scientific method. Circular logic.

I'm not saying that this isn't true, I'm only saying that you can't /know/ it to be true. You can only believe it.

Although just because this is the way the human mind supposedly functions doesn't mean that its the way the world works. That's another fallacy.


"(It is popular science, you can handle it.)"

Ah, the thinly veiled ad hominem attack. One of the more clear signs of a lack of substance in your argument.

I stopped subscribing to Popular Science a year or so ago. Scientific American is just so much better.


"But you are so quick to jump to your comments that you don't get into this topic with any depth of thought."

Look, all I'm saying is that Science requires just as much belief as astrology, that each is equally valid. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm shallow. Just because I can poke all kinds of holes into your side of the argument doesn't make me a simpleton.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 02:06 pm:   

Matt: "Huh, to me the Christian heaven, is preferable to being dissolved into Nirvana. I prefer to keep my individuality. "

Hey Matt, I totally agree. I wasn't actually thinking of that as the more "sane" aspect of Buddhism versus Christainity. I mean it's more sane-producing not to believe in heaven or hell's existence. Beliefs in black and white afterlifes tend produce extremism in this one. Or so it seems to me. Too much blood split in the name of the Lord, all that. An eye for eye makes all the world blind.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 03:11 pm:   

I wrote that post late at night. Even then I knew I was being a bit overly dramatic.

It wasn't entirely wrong, but the feeling is not as dead as it was for a time. The weird thing about the whole thing is I really never figured out why it died in the first place. It wasn't because of anything scientific, because my view/interest in science was basically the same when I was devout. It wasn't any disillusionment or disagreement with Church teachings. Catholicism still certainly makes way more sense to me than any other Christian faith, and somewhat more sense than most non-Christian faiths. It wasn't any scandal, because that stuff had been in the news since I was a kid. It just turned off.

It's not as off as it was, but it's not the same either.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04:16 pm:   

TR" Catholicism still certainly makes way more sense to me than any other Christian faith, and somewhat more sense than most non-Christian faiths. "

Why?

The questions I have about Catholocism and/or Christianity in general regard the definition, exact nature of an all-embracing, omnipotent intelligence. I guess I imagine an omniscient being is large enough to absorb various frail human perpectives and mistakes created by limited by ego-awareness -- without inflicting those isolated, terrified egos with damanation. Eternal separation from His bosom. Seems to me that Hell is an ignorant conception coming from the mind of Omnipotence. Hard for me to believe that He, She, It, whatever, would show the petty desire to eternally punish and exclude It's creations. No matter what they did.

My beliefs keep changing but the core remains the same: we're all interconnected. What you do unto others you've already done to yourself. You just don't know it yet. ;-)

I know what you mean, Thomas, about how some values just die of themselves. I recall looking up at the moon and feeling really sad because I no longer cared about such things. But now I think beliefs are like mushrooms -- they re-sprout where the old ones grew before them. I hope 2005 shines brighter for you.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04:30 pm:   

Thomas R (I'm responding to an earlier post that I missed): "You can think that, you just happen to be wrong."

Well I can't argue with that, now can I? :-D


"It's always testing and retesting itself."

Its primary tennent, that testing and retesting tell you anything, is still illogical.


"It's not just correlations like "cities that eat more ice cream are more murderous." Or even more malign idiocy like "the rate of female decision makers in a nation correlates to young male suicide, so it causes it." "

Actually, it's exactly like that (albeit our common sense allows us to label those two examples "correlation" more easily than, say, gravity). The only thing that is observed when I flip this light switch is a correlation between that action and the light snapping on. No matter how many times it happens, you are still only observing a correlation. You can /believe/ that there is causation, but you can't /know/ it.


"If you wish to question the entire nature of reality than you can disbelieve it."

Indeed, that is part of Hume's argument (although the question comes up as to whether we really know what reality is in the first place). There is no logical reason for mercury to expand at a constant rate, or even expand at all, when subjected to heat. It just /does/. And even if you want to dig deeper (ie the subatomic particles vibrate in bigger and bigger areas etc), it still comes down to "It just /does/." No logical reason for Mercury to not, say, contract (or turn into butterflies) instead.


"Otherwise I think you're being absurd or ignorant of what science actually means."

I'd like to see more actual refutation and fewer veiled ad hominems.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 05:40 pm:   

BEHard for me to believe that He, She, It, whatever, would show the petty desire to eternally punish and exclude It's creations. No matter what they did.

TR: I don't think Hell is really seen like that anymore. To be honest I rarely remember a priest, I'm talking my generation Catholics not as it was in 1960, mention Hell. It was discussed that if you died in a state of mortal sin you'd go to Hell, but even that had some provisos.

Basically your choice matters. If there is nothing good left in you, so you have no love for God and other people, you excluded/punished yourself. To me that's really what dying in a state of mortal sin would be, you don't love God or your neighbor anymore or you never did. Hence you are separated from both as you've separated yourself from both. Hell being more like a Godless friendless void than something from Dante. It's not some sadistic God laughing at people writhing in an eternity of agony. These people could not be with others or God anyway, unless you turned them into some completely other thing which might almost be crueler. If they have any potential to love God or others they'll go to Purgatory and be purified of what keeps them from doing so.

The Vatican indicated something like this, but people got confused and thought there was now no Hell at all in Catholicism. Which isn't what it meant.

BE:I hope 2005 shines brighter for you.

TR: I have a cold or something, I'm likely being darker than normal. Also this book I was reading kind of depressed me.

BT:Its primary tennent, that testing and retesting tell you anything, is still illogical.

TR: It's not illogical, but I realize your sense of logic is different than mine.

If everytime I electrolyze water I get Hydrogen and Oxygen, what is illogical about thinking water is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen? If every time calculating the length of the hypotenuse based on the square of the other two sides worked, what's illogical in thinking that will keep working? Even if it is, why must the Universe fit what you think is logical? Logical has nothing to do with reality. That's what I'm talking about. What physical reality actually is, in repeatable cases, not how closely it resembles some logician dream. For that you need science.

If you mean "the idea everything can be tested in a repeatable way" is illogical or naive I might agree.

Actually, it's exactly like that

TR: No it isn't. In your light switch example I can find the mechanisms in the switch that make the light go on. In physics I can find the mechanisms that make the atoms collide or whatever.

There are explanations in it. That they seem to be true is confirmed in that facts back them up. It's not simple correlation. The correlation between female decision makers and teenage male suicide could be because of many other factors. However in science factors can be isolated and studied. Even in psychology. Likewise the mechanism to explain them can be tested and shown true. If testing can not show anything to be true than there is no such thing as learning. After all our knowledge can not be applied ever again as you indicate the future will somehow not resemble anything before it. Which is patent nonsense.

No logical reason for Mercury to not, say, contract (or turn into butterflies) instead.

TR: Personally I'm not that impressed by Hume anyway. However if you mean "reason" in some larger sense than I'd agree science doesn't do that. That doesn't mean it's just a belief.

It does describe the physical reality. The computer your typing isn't a matter of belief or opinion. It's not going to turn into a butterfly because you want it to. People studied, tested, experimented, etc. It exists, its real. I'm sorry if that bugs you, but that's life.

BTI'd like to see more actual refutation and fewer veiled ad hominems.

TR: You are working on basically absurd premises that come from being into some kind of academic philosophy rather than anything like reality. I'm not sure you even believe in reality. Actual refutation is thus made difficult as you're impervious in your own unreality and the thinking of this Hume person. It'd be like refuting a Scientologist or Jehovah Witness, it's almost pointless.

You are also working on largely false premises as many scientists believe the Universe changes. The present does not resemble the distant past and even certain constants may have changed. David Hume lived in a world of deterministic physics that's now dead. However it seems patently illogical to me to think that if a result is confirmed thousands of times the future will magically change everything and a new result will occur.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 08:04 pm:   

Perhaps you missed it the first few times I've said it: this is using the scientific method to prove the scientific method. Circular logic.

You miss the very simple point that I made. I am not trying to prove the scientific method in any philosophical or logical sense (you battle a chimera). I make the point that an evolutionarily derived structure uses prediction and deviation from prediction to form patterns of the real world and the fact that this was produced by evolution shows a benefit to it to the organism. Read the book.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

BlaineTog
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 10:10 pm:   

"In your light switch example I can find the mechanisms in the switch that make the light go on. In physics I can find the mechanisms that make the atoms collide or whatever."

I already addressed this. It still comes down to correlation that you believe is causation.


"There are explanations in it. That they seem to be true is confirmed in that facts back them up. It's not simple correlation."

The operative word is "seem."


"After all our knowledge can not be applied ever again as you indicate the future will somehow not resemble anything before it. Which is patent nonsense."

Actually, it's exactly the point I'm making. Not that our knolwdge cannot be applied, but only that A) none of it is really knowldge and B) the application of it relies solely on belief. Sure, go ahead and use science. Just admit that it requires belief.


"Personally I'm not that impressed by Hume anyway."

Of course not. He's telling you that the statement "science is better than religion if you want knowldge" is pure elitist nonsense and untrue.


"It does describe the physical reality."

You believe it does. I do to, but that doesn't make it not belief.


"It's not going to turn into a butterfly because you want it to."

There's no logical reason for it to not.


"It exists, its real. I'm sorry if that bugs you, but that's life."

Ha! "Why is it like this?" "It just is." That is exactly what I've been talking about: at some point, you have to just say "this is how it is." There's no logical reason for it to not be otherwise. There's no logical reason for it to not be otherwise in the future. Therefore, you need to beleive that the future will resemble the past. And using "it has thus far" as proof is circular logic.


"You are working on basically absurd premises that come from being into some kind of academic philosophy rather than anything like reality."

Prove they are absurd. If they are, it should be quite easy.

I also find it interesting that the defender of science is attacking academia.


"I'm not sure you even believe in reality."

What the heck is /that/ supposed to mean? Oh, I see. /Another/ ad homimen fallacy.


"Actual refutation is thus made difficult as you're impervious in your own unreality and the thinking of this Hume person."

This is a logical argument. Therefore, it is vulnerable to logical attack, if it isn't perfect. I challenge you to find those flaws, should they exist, and and capitalize on them.


"It'd be like refuting a Scientologist or Jehovah Witness, it's almost pointless."

This is an improper analogy fallacy. Trying to refute them is trying to use your beliefs to refute theirs; it would be like trying to use the Koran to refute the New Testament (which clearly doesn't work). However, Hume's argument is pure logic.


"You are also working on largely false premises as many scientists believe the Universe changes."

I have a hunch that you didn't do this on purpose, but you just conceded the argument. "Scientists believe." My point.


"The present does not resemble the distant past and even certain constants may have changed."

And there's nothing logically wrong with that.


"However it seems patently illogical to me to think that if a result is confirmed thousands of times the future will magically change everything and a new result will occur."

Of course it /seems/ that way to you. You believe in the scientific method.

I believe in it too. I believe that even though there is no logical reason for positive to not suddenly attract positive, /it just doesn't/. I just happen to know that it is, in fact, belief.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matt Hughes
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 11:35 pm:   

There's always a certain degree of risk when interjecting oneself into someone else's argument, but...

I think we're seeing an apples and oranges argument here. As in, "Stop, you're both right."

Any good scientist will admit that the scientific method does not "prove" anything absolutely. It forecasts probabilities. It is possible that the next time the experiment is conducted a positive pole will attract another positive pole rather than repel it. It's just highly unlikely on the basis of all the experimentation done to date. The smart money will go with the probability that the future will be like the past, but there is no logical guarantee of that.

The syllogism: "all positive poles repel all other positive poles, therefore this positive pole will repel that one" is in fact false because not all positive poles that exist, have existed or ever will exist have been brought into contact with each other. Only a goodly sample have been, but not all, so it is an unsupported statement (an assumption based on faith, though with strong probability of accuracy) to make that "all positive poles" statement to begin with.

There are certain conditions pertaining as to how the universe is organized at the present (and for as far back as we can reliably project -- or should that be "retroject?") that make it safe to predict future events. But there's no absolute guarantee that those conditions will continue to pertain -- scientific "laws" are not laws at all; they are merely observed consistencies -- and we have no idea as to how those conditions came to be the norm in the first place.

Obviously, they were not always the norm, because there was a time when there was no universe -- or at least not this one -- and there may well have been a different universe where the norms were also different. And even after the universe came into existence the chances are overwhelming that during its early stages of development the prevailing conditions were radically different from what they are today.

So there is no "reason" or "law" that says mass must attract mass or bend space. All we know is that the universe is apparently set up that way. We can apply the scientific method to measure how that phenomenon occurs but we cannot "explain" it in any conclusive way.

At the heart of everything, therefore, is mystery. Some encounter the mystery and respond with a religious impulse. Others will have a mystic response. Others soon sense that the mystery can't be measured scientifically and conclude that it therefore lacks importance.

For myself, I can't ignore the fact that as a species we did not become self aware until fourteen and a half billion years after the show began and that we have had hands-on contact with only an infinitesimal portion of its expanse; so when we begin to pontificate about universal laws, there's just a slight possibility that we're edging over into hubris.

I take the same attitude as Chou En Lai when he was asked if the French Revolution was a good thing or bad. He thought for a moment then said, "It's too early to tell."

How about we give this whole question another couple of billion years of careful measurement and quiet contemplation before we try nailing down anything as permanent?

And in the meantime, Happy New Year.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

Current Book: Black Brillion (Tor)
Next Book: The Gist Hunter and Other Stories (Night Shade, July)
Current Story: "Inner Huff" (F&SF, February)
Next Story: "The Devil You Don't" (Asimov's, March)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 11:48 pm:   

BT:Not that our knolwdge cannot be applied, but only that A) none of it is really knowldge and B) the application of it relies solely on belief.

TR: I don't understand you. Are you just saying everything is belief and there is no reality? That maybe, but for the most part we have to assume there is a reality. I suppose that's a belief, but it doesn't make science a belief in any normal way.

"It's not going to turn into a butterfly because you want it to." There's no logical reason for it to not.

TR: Yes, but thankfully we're not living in a Universe ran by what you think is logic. Logic really has precious little to do with any kind of reality. The most logical people are often the most insane as logic doesn't need any pesky fact, correlation, etc. to intercede.

Of course not. He's telling you that the statement "science is better than religion if you want knowldge" is pure elitist nonsense and untrue.

TR: No that's not it. For one I doubt he ever felt that. Hume was pretty strongly critical of religion or metaphysics. He was himself an elitist in many respects judging from what I've read by him. His overly intense agnosticism and attitude just turned me off. Also his philosophy seems like a bunch of meaningless nonsense. I'd never have heard of him if secular humanists hadn't honored him so.

Also I didn't say science is better than religion for knowledge. I only said science is how you explain repeatable physical phenomena. That it is real, not a belief. Hence on any moral or spiritual basis it's inferior. Because belief is better for living your life. "Real" is just a bunch of facts like "I am very small" or "this marble is blue." That's why science is just a tool. I don't need to pretend I believe in a screwdrive anymore than I need to pretend I believe in science. They both just are, they exist. And they're both about as meaningful.

You believe it does. I do to, but that doesn't make it not belief.

TR: What makes it not a belief is we can study, separate factors, and show it does every time. "I'm typing on a keyboard" is not a belief, it's an observation. In a sense I suppose I can test that observation by looking at my hands. However at this point it's just what's actually real. Unless nothing is real in which case this is pointless. (Or more accurately, it's more pointless)

Prove they are absurd. If they are, it should be quite easy.

TR: I'm not a philosopher. I also, again, don't recognize that your idea of logic has any meaning. You think I'm trapped in circular logic, but I'd say your trapped in a circle of logic. Logic is just a tool. I think Chesterton once indicate how with logic alone you can easily end up in a mad house. Indeed logic devoid of any baring in reality is almost by definition madness. Hence there's nothing against logic in computers becoming butterflies to you. Reality is all just a belief, because reality is based on observation of what actually exists. It's not that that's ad hominen, or not just, it's what you seem to actually say.

I don't recognize your logic or need to deconstruct from within. It's meaningless because it has no baring on anything. It's just a centuries dead theory not creditable to most anyone I've ever heard of.

Now I can show it's wrong with reality. I gave the example of the keyboard. Science is proving or disproving a hypothesis. Let's say I hypothesize that iron has a higher melting point than ice. I put the ice in an iron kettle and I heat the kettle. Every time I do this the ice melts but the kettle doesn't. I can study that people have indeed done this millions of time throughout history. I can try to eliminate all extraneous factors to prove it. I can put the kettle in outer space in some kind of clean room. All kinds of things. Ice will still melt first. Now you can say "it's just correlation" but it is a correlation that recurs every time. Iron having a higher melting point than ice, or chocolate, certainly reaches the point of being real. As does the Pythagorean theorem and others. At the very least the greatest probability is they are real.

The minor improbability that we're all in the Matrix or magic elves taunt reality or whatever can generally be dismissed. In least by any rational person who exists in reality.

This has mostly taken up way more of my time than I wanted. You can believe whatever you like. The only problem is people like you, who just see science as another belief, allow for Fundamentalism and other bizarre things to teach people whatever they want. Science is something real and that has to be understood for the progress we need. You are therefore harmful, whereas astrology can be useful for some people, but thankfully you're so absurd it doesn't matter.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 11:56 pm:   

That was a bit ticked off. I just won't debate this anymore. I'm sure we'll both think we're right, and make no concession to the other, so there'd be no point anyway. Sorry for being too testy, have a nice life.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 06:54 am:   

Matt, I agree with your statement. And yes, we are arguing different things. Because meester philosophy major thinks I'm making a statement that I'm not making. If he read the book, he would see it dead-on with what you talk about. If he unhinged his mind, he could generalize my comments to one of saying that the method has practical utility (and demonstrates worth in this manner). But he wants to repeat an argument that he has had before and thinks he is so smart, that he doesn't need to think when the troll is in the conversation.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Matthew
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 10:44 am:   

It wasn't entirely wrong, but the feeling is not as dead as it was for a time. The weird thing about the whole thing is I really never figured out why it died in the first place. It wasn't because of anything scientific, because my view/interest in science was basically the same when I was devout. It wasn't any disillusionment or disagreement with Church teachings. Catholicism still certainly makes way more sense to me than any other Christian faith, and somewhat more sense than most non-Christian faiths. It wasn't any scandal, because that stuff had been in the news since I was a kid. It just turned off. --

Thomas every Christian goes through times like this. Emotion comes and goes, and while religious feeling is important what's more important is living the lifestyle of faith, then the emotion of faith.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 12:20 pm:   

Thanks. I think I was being too testy. I'm hopinh to try to cutback my online time some.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nicholas Liu
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 01:07 am:   

Thomas R, if you wish to drop out of an argument, it's considered good form not to fire one last salvo just before you do so. 'So there, and that's final; lalala I'm not listening' is a very annoying tactic.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 02:40 am:   

I did that more than a day ago. I didn't even think my attitude was "So there, that's final." I said I was sorry I made the "salvo" in the first place. Blaine's a very bright guy who has all kinds of logic and philosophy behind him. I am cool with him demolishing "the salvo" at any time or if he had. In fact if it didn't come through then than I'll say it now: I wanted to quit it because I was being a jackass.

That doesn't mean I think I was wrong, but it doesn't change that I was being a jerk. I had an attitude on this whole thread for awhile. People here just think in ways I've never experienced before and don't know how to deal with right. So I act like some obstinate nerdy jerk. Which is maybe what I am.

If this is still annoying, well that's life. I can be annoying sometimes. So can you or anyone. Usually I'm more boring than annoying, but either can happen.

(And yes I know where I am. Generally this attitude here has lead me to rounds of hearing "you're right you are a boring, annoying, sexually repressed nerd." However that may all be true and also I don't know if I care anymore.)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 10:39 am:   

He's apt to do that, Nicholas.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 11:54 am:   

Holy cow, here the guy steps back, takes a look at himself and does something very few people can do. He admits to behavior he feels needs adjustment, does it publicly and what does he get? More criticism.
Although I'm a bit more esoteric in my attitudes, Thomas, as Louis L'Amour would say, "you've got sand."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 12:19 pm:   

JP the only criticism I see is John. I've known him for awhile elsewhere. He may have been a bit hurt I wasn't more supportive of his magazine. Or he may not mean it like it sounds.

Even if it is as it sounds, I don't know. I've known him before I came here, maybe he's just being honest. Although I kind of thought we got along, so I'd admit I'm also a bit hurt if it means what it sounds like. (Moreso than if it were a regular from here) Being hurt though is not necessarily the right response though. I'll have to think back and see what I'm doing wrong.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

TCO
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   

bla bla
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 01:47 pm:   

What do you wish to talk about George?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thomas R
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 12:53 am:   

For Bronwyn


quote:

Former king Norodom Sihanouk says an astrologer warned him that an "ultra-catastrophic cataclysm" would strike, but that his country would be spared if proper rituals were conducted. "My wife and I decided to spend several thousand dollars to organize these ceremonies so our country and our people could be spared such a catastrophe," Sihanouk, who abdicated last year, wrote on his Web site. Cambodia was unscathed by the 10m tsunami waves generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake under the sea off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Dec.26. The waves rolled through the Indian Ocean, devastating coastal communities and killing roughly 127,000 people.




Note: I think it is worth mentioning, however, that Cambodia has no coastal land on the Indian Ocean.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 04:52 am:   

Thomas R that's what's called a straw-man argument.

Just to get back to some points made way further back on this thread and at the risk of being taken to task for flogging a dead horse, here I go...

JP is right about a full moon being associated with increasing craziness by 'border-line' personality types in prison and psychiatric inmates. It is well known by staffers at asylums that on average many of their patients will act "crazy" come full moon than at any other time of the month. This is where the very word 'lunacy' comes from, really. The connection between a full moon and increased levels of craziness has been known for ages, that it's in our very language.

And anybody remotely familiar with the mind/brain knows that strong magnetic fields have a marked effect on the brain. On everything from memory to sensory processing, to neuropathology. This is so well documented in the scientific literature.

And pseudoscience is not science outside the mainstream consensus, it is among other things, a holding dear to a personal philosophy and defending it with circular logic and appeal to ignorance, and calling it science.

Here's Bronwyn's interview with Seymour which nobody it seemed even bothered to check up on, even though she brought it to our attention
http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/percyseymour1.html

To Bronwyn, re the "contaminated monkey tissue cultured vaccine" theory leading to the introduction of SIV (and mutation into HIV) in the human populace.

I know this theory very well, having read the book by Edward Hooper, The River detailing the whole theory some years back. Here is a favourable Lancet review
http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/AIDS/River/Lancet.html

It seems very impressive if you don't know the criticisms leveled at it. I could harp on about problems with SIV itself, but I would have to write up a 30k piece and I don't have the time or inclination, nor is this the place. This theory falls apart like a house of cards under closer scrutiny. And it comes from one of the scientists, Paul Osterrieth, who Hooper holds responsible for the supposedly iatrogenic origins of HIV. See his testimony here
http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/AIDS/Osterrieth04.pdf

I think The River is about a man who saw what he wanted or expected to see in his so-called investigations, and ignored any contrary evidence. And had no problem launching terrible baseless slurs against Kaprowski, Ostterrieth and others based on second hand and third hand "testimony" (some 40 years later) from people who did not possess the technical knowledge re vaccines to comment competently on the subject. Hooper spins a tale that ought to be published in scifi.com, nowhere else. A big ego trip disguised as scientific investigation.

The River is to science and AIDS what the Da Vinci Code is to literature - hokum and house of cards baloney.

I know a little of Radin's work btw, Targ, Puthoff too. But in case you hadn't noticed this is not really the forum to bring all that up. A lot of knee-jerk reactions. As far as magnetobiology goes, a good book although written back in the late 70s that still remains an important introduction to the subject is Guy Playfair and Scott Hill's The Cycles of Heaven, although published long before Seymour published his work, still worth checking out.

Bronwyn you write to Thomas R:

"Did you say you're a Taurus? Were you born May 1 through the 7th by chance? Your word choices -- aimless, dead dreams, disappointment and dissatisfied, resonates with Neptune transits. Sorry for asking. It's an obsession. ;-) Just say no . . . ."

Now surely this sums up most everybody, whose life isn't aimless and littered with disappointments and broken dreams? I mean sooner or later. I mean it sums up my life in a nutshell.

Let's say for argument's sake you are right, wouldn't that imply in fact that there is no free will, that one's mistakes were inevitable and unavoidable, that man's fate is fixed ie he is doomed from the day he is born?

OK I was born May 6th. Seriously. I still say it sums up everybody's life, maybe not the aimless bit so much though.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:48 pm:   

Hi Lawrence,

Thanks for the pointing out The Cycles of Heaven. I'll check it out.

Actually, no, I don't think everyone feels that their life is aimless, full of disappointments. Of course, if you live long enough, chances are you will feel that way during _certain_ periods of your life, because everyone does indeed experience loss (death of a loved one), and of course, everyone does feel disappointment at some point, no matter how successful and lucky they've been. So you are right in one sense. But, my experience as an astrologer, is that, yes, _certain_ life periods are _generally_ more challenging than others, which does not necessarily mean a person's life is pre-destined. I don't believe our fate is "written in the stars." In fact, I loathe that phrase; I don't see any evidence for that. Fate is character, as Jung once said. I think there's a lot of truth in that; it's all about consciousness, all about how we _choose_ to respond. For instance, a loved one dies and some people find a "cause" in that experience; it prompts them to volunteer, find a cure for cancer, etc. Other people have a_ propensity_ to simply sink into depression. To fade into oblivion. One response or the other isn't "fated" -- I think it's an unconscious reflex. Once the person becomes aware, conscious, of their unthinking tendencies, the way it colors their perception, they can consciously begin to work with their own propensities, good and bad. (And not all people experience Neptune transits negatively; for some people it's a time of their dreams literally coming true.)

What I have seen is that, yes, certain _qualities_ do seem "written" into/onto our psyches. People with strong Neptune/Pisces may not all be alcoholics, fantasy writers or intensely religious or drugged-out space cadets -- but they will all share key Neptunian qualities of feeling -- most notably that life is not at all what it seems, that some invisible Other (call it God, magic or the unconscious) is at work in the universe. They don't need proof; they feel that life is essentially magical, mystical. Or, and this is also common, Neptunian folk have huge dreams of success, of being special, sometimes of having special powers.

Taurus, on the other hand, is a very sensual, down-to-earth sign; people who resonate strongly to earth have to see, touch, hear, taste, feel stuff before they believe it. (Hence Capricorn's famous association with scientists: Capricorn says Show me.) So, when Neptune transits Taurus people, it's usually pretty tough, because Neptune's key influence is to dissolve the experience of physical reality, make everything in that person's life feel uncertain, nebulous. Kinda like, Is this all there is? They sense/feel that something more exists but because they can't touch/see it, they doubt their own mystical experience. Or they may become cynical of their own material wealth, their own success. In any case, we are not doomed to enact mindless fates, I believe, unless we willfully refuse to know ourselves. Knowing ourselves is the biggest and hardest job of all, I believe.

Anyway, I wish I could type more on this subject but I'm at the Los Feliz library and they are kicking me off. Lawrence, I just want to say that you are very intelligent, open-minded and very kind to speak out about Seymour's work and my article. Not many people would do that. I appreciate your thoughts and ideas.

What year were you born, if I may ask?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 02:39 am:   

Bronwyn, I was born in 1970, Johannesburg South Africa.

Right about knowing ourselves, or not rather. I think people would rather risk an icy death climbing Everest, imprisonment in a Gulag or fight in a war, than know themselves. In fact the folly of human society and history can be summed up as, "whatever you do, do not know yourself".

Show me a man, a woman who knows himself or herself completely, and I will show you a unicorn. Not that I think it's impossible but... you know.

I'm having some problem with my PC my end, so just ignore the repititions.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 02:45 am:   

Uh OK it came through fine, ignore that last line of mine.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 07:30 am:   

Thomas, I was explaining your behavior (which isn't all as bad as Nicholas seems to think) to Nicholas based on that very same prior acquaintence. In essence I was saying "Thomas may sound a little out of tone to you, Nicholas, but I have known him from earlier times on other forums, and I can tell you that he has always sounded that way."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 01:47 pm:   

Lawrence,

You are right: no one knows themselves _completely_. I'm doubt that's even remotely possible; it's like being God or something . . . but if we did know ourselves even a little bit better than we do, I believe the world would be totally different than it is, i.e., we would not be destroying/commodifying every living creature, treating sentient life as-meat-for-profit. Why? Because we would realize that life's all interconnected; we'd know that there is no such thing as a "gated community" that can protect us from a entwined biological system gone toxic. Rather than know ourselves, like Narcissis, we seem to prefer to gaze spellbound into our mirrored images. This addiction to images over essence frightens me more than any grizzly bear ever did. More than nuclear warfare, etc. I think a lot about that line in the bible "thou shall not worship graven images", see it in a whole different light than I used to.

Christopher Lasch and Eric Fromm saw the rise of narcissism in our culture way back . . . Fromm in the 70s commented about how in modern life "even our smiles are for sale." Now we carve up our entire bodies via plastic surgery; we worship false breasts that produce no milk, artificial penises that produce no semen. To me that's insane.

So yeah, knowing ourselves is terrifying, but not knowing ourselves is scary, absolute ignorance which I think we endangers us all.

Thanks for sharing your birth data. Now, I'd be happy to write a little bit about your chart if you like . . . but I don't want to do that here. I don't think people here should be subjected to my astro-babble ;-), and, I wish to respect your privacy. Mind you, DO know that without your _exact_ birthtime, I'm interpretating somewhat blindly. My goal here is to perhaps give you a little info about your deeper self . . . what present planetary cycles may mean in terms of what you really need and want from life to feel fulfilled, which is not necessarily "happy". Happiness is a relative term, I find. Some of my old clients were insanely rich and successful and incredibly miserable . . . though you'd never guess that to look at them. Anyway, if you want me to write up a little something for you I will, but only to send to your private email. I will not post anything detailed here, clogging up SCIFI with more astro-stuff.

Btw, don't you think it's rather funny that even after I changed the topic from astrology to stories on SCIFICTION that some folks continued to argue and/or talk about the stars, fate, and all that? ;-) I've never participated in a discussion board before and find this rather strange . . . but fun.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 01:23 am:   

Bronwyn that's very kind of you, since I don't know how I could pay you back. I do know that you need the time of birth. Earth spinning on its axis, sure.

I do not know my exact time of birth, but it was between 10 pm and midnight, possibly close to 11 pm.

You can e-mail me at kitsuneraven@yahoo.co.uk

I can actually give you some obscure info on magnetobiology that you possibly don't know about, buried in the scientific literature; although carried out by a very prestigious scientist and his colleagues (but I likewise don't want to bring it all up here), and tragically largely neglected and unknown (although never refuted) by the scientific community as a whole.

If this scientist was on the right track, his work can definitely be tied into magneto-tidal resonance. I will gladly fill you in, just e-mail me; the least I can do to pay you back so to speak. There is also some other stuff I can tell you re magneto-tidal resonance that will leave you reeling wrt the uncanny synchronicity of you posting up on this when you did, that I did not reveal on this thread and forum. It is downright eerie in fact. I will fill you in, in an e-mail to you.

And to think that everybody's harping on about synchronicity (myself included) over at Jeff Ford's thread on this very forum.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 08:48 am:   

Lawrence,

Do you think you could throw up a few links on magnetobiology that might be enlightening? I would be fascinated to learn more. I feel that is one area of science that has a long way to go and will have a shocking impact when fully understood.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 05:11 am:   

JP offhand I cannot give you many (or any) good links. It's been years since I looked into this subject in a serious fashion, although my interest has recently been rekindled. I knew more about it years ago than I do now. Much of the stuff on the net that has been published in the scientific literature is written for a scientific audience, employing a lot of jargon and only available on registration or subscription and at cost. But if you have the time and inclination and are prepared to wade through a lot I'm sure you will find more than enough good info.

There are some good books on the subject, Playfair and Hill's is a good one, but published over a quarter of a century ago. Check up on the work of Percy Seymour. Also the book Electromagnetic Man by Cyril Smith and Simon Best. Also the overlooked Blueprint for Immortality by Harorld Saxton Burr. There is a lot that is buried in the scientific literature, much of it from decades ago, and you need the dedication of a Sherlock and more than a little luck to find the more obscure stuff. Much of it is not even on pubmedcentral (the big data base for the sciences) because it was published decades ago, in other words access to good university librairies is needed.

The thing about magnetobiology is that it encompasses so many scientific disciplines that it is impossible for one person to make sense of except in brief outline and even then it's easy to get caught up in complex details at the expense of the bigger picture. A lot of overspecialisation and boxed thinking in the sciences has prevented connections being made re the implications of electromagnetism. This is what I was hinting at to Bronwyn.

Astrophysicists don't know biophysics and medical science, these guys don't know geophysics, these people don't know particle physics who don't know meteorology and on and on. Even in medical science, there is so much overspecialisation because there is simply too much to know, and they mostly generally dismiss parapsychology on a priori grounds, to their cost in my mind.

A very good novel revealing the overspecialisation of science (and the bickering and politics that goes with inter-discipline envy and competitiveness), and the essential mystery of the universe, and how we are in the dark about absolutely everything is Stanislaw Lem's His Master's Voice. Lem has some very telling and profound things to say here about the world of science and the mysteries of the universe, how we are in the dark about most things and hide behind jargon and guess work in order to explain everything away.

Here is one good link at http://www.biomag.info/index.htm
Good links at above link, but mainly specialist not for the layman really.

I'm sure Bronwyn can give you beter info in this respect.

There have also been numerous errors and dead-end paths re electromagnetism and biology (inevitable in the nature of things), one of these is Kirlian 'auras' popularised in the new-age literature. Although potentially earth-shattering it has been recognised for decades now that the work of the Soviets here (making use of high energy electrical field photography) was essentially erroneous and a consequence of errors in experimental protocols, methodology and interpretation. This has been revealed not by staunch materialist types btw but scientists and engineers who are very much of the opposite persuasion, namely William Tiller, a Stanford physicist and Arthur Ellison, parapsychologist. But I must admit to knowing too little in this regard to comment competently on the subject. And I don't think we should make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater here, and neither Tiller nor Ellison have done that.

JP I think it more important to see the underlying patterns and giddy implications re for example the power of the human mind and its interactions with the physical environment, both the physical body and the external world; than the purely 'surface' material phenomena associated with it and the jargon heavy descriptions of these phenomena. In other words don't lose sight of the wood for the trees, which is very easy to do.

I'm trying to think of SF literature that involves magnetobiology, there has actually been a fair bit. I think Bronwyn may have published a story or two in this regard. No? I remember reading a very good award-winning Theodore Sturgeon story re magnetism and healing, can't remember the title. My memory is fudgy, I'm sure others here can think of a fair number of SF stories in this regard.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:50 am:   

Lawrence,

I wrote a long thank you with discussion but it disappeared. Too tired to write it all again, so I'll just skip to the thanks this time.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 12:56 pm:   

Lawrence,

Thanks for narrowing down your birth-time: in your particular case it makes even more of a difference because the Moon changes signs right around that time . . . interestingly, we share a very difficult, potentially very creative, planetary aspect: Moon (instinctual mind/ imagination) opposite Neptune (mysticism/poetry). Given that the rest of your chart is quite Capricorn/Taurus, this Neptune/Moon mix is very fascinating -- makes you an extremely complex character. ;-) Anyway, it's going to take me a couple days to write you something because I don't have all of my tools at here (in LA) and my very pregnant daughter is very understandably demanding of my time right now. In other words, she howled in protest when I told her I was going to the library again instead of going shopping (ugh!) with her. She simply doesn't understand her mother's crazy appetite for books, books, books!

I'm very glad to do this for you, Lawrence. Because you strike me as someone who will read it with an open mind without expecting astro-hocus-pocus. Also, I'm a sucker for anyone who's suffering existential pain; that tells me that you're smart _and_ sensitive. Not on some manical ego-trip, not after fame and fortune, not even after "true love," whatever that is. You really do want to experience the mysteries of the universe, which I think is grand. For me that's like finding a kindred spirit; seems lately I've been lucky in meeting several, which is so wonderful after all these years hermiting.

As for the magnetobiology stuff, I'm not spilling any more beans -- it's a major aspect of my novel, among other stuff, both scientific and metaphysical. I'm not allowed to discuss it (my daughter would kill me). I've had problems before sharing my ideas with others and I can't do it anymore -- my kid will disown me. ;-) I hope y'all understand if I don't point out material which I feel is fantastically inspirational. Maybe next year, after the novel's done.

On the other hand, if you're willing to share info on stuff I definitely feel that it's a fair trade. I don't have time to dig into piles of data; I'm on a very tight school and writing schedule, soon to become even more so as I'm taking an intense writing course at UBC when I get back to Vancouver. So, Lawrence, thank you for offering to share it.

Lastly, to all who read this post I have a question: Can you recommend excellent novels in which multiple timelines and points-of-view are seamlessly woven together? I've never written multiple narratives before, and that's not too bad, but I am worried about using just the plot-line to carry through a narrative line that crosses cultures and timelines. Any suggestions?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:02 pm:   

The thing about magnetobiology is that it encompasses so many scientific disciplines that it is impossible for one person to make sense of except in brief outline and even then it's easy to get caught up in complex details at the expense of the bigger picture. A lot of overspecialisation and boxed thinking in the sciences has prevented connections being made re the implications of electromagnetism. This is what I was hinting at to Bronwyn.

Hey Lawrence . . . I have been thinking this very thing for years and years. Implications, all that. It's frustrating because I'm not a scientist: I get visions, and these inspire my stories. But it's very difficult for me to articulate to others, I'm actually quite shy. But I have seen and experienced the boxed thinking thing, in myself and others. That's why I so admire the interdisciplinary approach. It's just so great you know that and see how vitally important it is. So few people do, it seems. So few geophyscists, for example, who know there is a daily lunar and solar variation, will even entertain the thought that these variations have an enormous impact on biological organisms. Something that totally shocked me because I'm bascially self-taught, ergo, have very little formal education and what I do have is very idiosyncratic.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J.P.
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:41 pm:   

Okay, gonna put back up a bit of what I wrote earlier since this fascinates me so much. Through the years in my studies I have boiled a lot of things down to order versus chaos. The second law of thermodynamics insists that everything is in a constant state of breaking down. Without something working against this, everything should eventually revert to a universal soup. I'm convinced that the organizing principle that keeps this from happening is magnetism. From the smallest components to the largest, in physics, and astronomy to governments and family, these principles apply and keep anarchy from ruling. I have studied a lot of physiology and done experiments and I have certain theories regarding magnetism and good health, both physically and mentally. I don't know much about astrology except what I've learned studying ancient civilizations which all believed in some form of it but I am going to keep my jury out and read the books Lawrence suggested to broaden my understanding. Thanks you two for the discussion.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 02:28 am:   

JP, strange that you mention some intelligent organising principle counteracting entropy, since I mention this briefly on Jeff Ford's 'synchronicity' thread over here just a few days ago, synchronicity indeed is indicative of an organising informational principle at work in the universe. I make mention of George Land's syntropy, a law of information which counteracts and compliments entropy in the way day and night, male and female etc compliment and complete one another. Here is the link again (actually mentioned on a link about Paul Kammerer's law of seriality which ties into all this)
http://futurepositive.synearth.net/2003/06/16

Land's work on a law of information has since been put forward independently by others, but because it is so controversial, it has largely been marginilised and ignored.

Also check out those other links I put up re Bohm, Peat etc on Jeff Ford's thread. It ties in to all this. I really recommend reading up on Bohm and Peat.

Bronwyn, I don't expect you to spill the beans re magnetobiology. Your daughter is right, it would be bad form at the very least, esp considering you are working on a novel revolving around this very topic.

Bronwyn and JP, being a layperson is actually an advantage when it comes to controversies in the sciences because one has not necessarily been conditioned into a certain narrow worldview as an undergrad and feels no pressure or need (both conscious and subconscious) to hold dearly to reductionist paradigms in order to please one's profs and peers. Also as a layperson reading more widely into different scientific disciplines even if very superficially, one is less likely to suffer from boxed thinking and tunnel vision, and thus more likely to make connections that whole teams of specialists will fail to see; inspite of the fact that the negative consequences of overspecialisation are well known and much talk is expended on this, nothing ever really changes.

In fact in that novel of Lem's I mention His Master's Voice, Lem points out that scientists seem positively proud of their ignorance of the sciences outside their field.

Bronwyn, I will more than gladly let you know what little I know re magnetobiology (for all I know you may be aware of this work but it is very obscure), as well as controversial and obscure science that falls outside the mainstream and does not feature in Scientific American, Science, Lancet and Nature. You may be aware of some of it, but certainly not all of it. It is the very least I can do. Just e-mail me anytime so I can send some stuff to you.

As far as novels dealing with multiple time-lines and different points of view/narrators go, I am sure I have read a few but my mind draws a blank. I can think of one though, Thomas Sanchez's masterpiece of American literature Rabbit Boss. About a few generations of California Washo Indians and the inexorable destruction they faced with the coming of the white man. It goes back and forth in time, and is told from the point of view of different narrators, the same narrator often having a different name. One has to concentrate hard when reading the novel because of this, it is not an easy read. Sanchez is obviously alluding to the nature of time and identity not necessarily being what we think it is, indeed it is a subtle allusion to the more flexible and magical Indian views of time and personal identity. Sanchez was only 20 I think when he wrote his debut novel which is quite incredible, it really is a masterpiece. And I am one who is very scant in his praise, I do not use the word masterpiece lightly. I really recommend it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 12:49 pm:   

Lawrence,

I must say you truly dazzle me with your vast array of insights and knowledge -- fits all the Gemini planets (Moon,Venus,Mars) in your chart, btw. Actually, are you sure you haven't already written my novel?? ;-) Perhaps your own masterpiece is tucked away in some drawer, awaiting the light of day? It's hard for me to believe (especially after seeing your chart) that you aren't a writer . . . writing, science and business "rule" major spheres of your horoscope.

I love Lem . . . and Sanchez sounds incredible. Oddly, my novel also explores Indian mythologies/viewpoints, and the same characters possessing different names in different times (karma-reincarnation). I've always been fascinated with native peoples -- that's also why I went to the Yukon. I greatly admire the Indian spiritual sensibility, their traditions re: communing with and respecting nature. In fact, I suspect someday I will return to the cabin way of life; I really miss the silence, the beauty, the sweeping power. Nature's the only place I've ever "found" God.

Bohm is one my most favorite scientists ever. Haven't read him in a long time. Too long.

I'm going to email you right now, even though I've only got a few minutes left at the library computers. We may have have to postpone much of your astro-reading until I get back to Vancouver. I'm just swamped here with social stuff and this damn library access is for the birds.

In any case, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, Lawrence. I wish I had more time right now to discuss some other stuff. You possess a really interesting mind.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 04:16 am:   

Bronwyn did you e-mail me? Never got anything. My mail address is not underlined btw.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:24 pm:   

Lawrence,

I've emailed you twice. The second was returned. The first I guess disappeared. Would you please post your address again?

I'm also having a little family crisis here and it's very difficult to book these computers. (library is closed on Sunday, booked up all day today; this computer gives you ten minutes online.) So, just so you know, I haven't forgotten you. And I will be sending you stuff about your chart, though it might take me a while. I really feel that a bit of celestial poetry just might be your ticket right about now. And I'm very happy to give what little I'm able to. You're open-mindedness is so refreshing. I'm charmed and grateful.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lawrence A
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 01:52 am:   

Strange, don't know why I didn't get it. Like you I do not always have access to a computer. So please no rush. The stuff I will send you will also take me time to write up, so it will be awhile before I send you what I intend to. There is a fair bit I have to write up, and I also have to rely on my fudgy memory, so it will take a bit of time. No rush Bronwyn.

Here is my address again
kitsuneraven@yahoo.co.uk (note it is not underlined at all, it just comes through like that)

I have quadruple checked that there is no error at all in the spelling. I have been getting other people's mails from all over the world - so I don't think there should be any problems. If you still don't get through then I really don't know. I think eventually it will get through, will let you know.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Sam Nolting
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 05:23 pm:   

A friend of mine once posited a law of forumgoing, that being "Everyone who posts on forums is wrong. It doesn't matter if their views are contradictory; the universe will bend and reshape itself in order to render every single poster precisely incorrect."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bronwyn
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 04:15 pm:   

I agree that the universe is fabulously reflective, Sam. Life and truth are always subject to change.

Course, if your friend is right than I must be wrong.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

wwwEPICSFFcom
Posted on Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 04:22 pm:   

I love battlestar gallactica!

-shane
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JJA
Posted on Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 04:47 pm:   

I don't love it, but for those of you who do... SCI FI Channel has apparently made the episode "33" available for download. You can get it here: http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/33_full_episode/
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 03:19 pm:   

It's interesting to go back and read this from the beginning since it's been up so long. Though I've always wondered what it's doing here instead of in general topics or as a topic of its own. This is the F&SF Magazine topic board. Anyway, SCIFICTION is no more as of lately; will this mean the end of this long-ruinning topic?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Thiel
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 03:21 pm:   

Of course, it's the Scifi.com topic, but SCIFICTION was what was getting all the most vivid comments.

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Log Out | Edit Profile | Register

| Moderators | Administrators