Monday, October 20, 2014

My Back Pages - Visual Basic

[FROM 2006] - I'd been in the hardware trade press for 10 years when my boss assigned me to cover a Microsoft product rollout in Atlanta. Call it a simple twist of fate. It was 1991. Of course I'd heard of Bill Gates, but he was in the software business, and of just about no interest to us.

If he'd been doing assembler, of course, that would have been of a whole lot of interest, but he was doing Basic, which "real men" didn't do, back in those hardware circles. But the company was on the rise, and the boss sent me. The product rolling out, in fact, was Visual Basic, which has just lately turned 15..... {There follow some botched predictions.}

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prince Valiant

Thinking all week of lithe Aleta in the deep
A bit like Jennifer Lawrence in toga
Salvaging the wreck
Holding her breath
Holding the line and
Heading up in the dark green current
Just a butt nip ahead of
Scylla the giant eel
With flashing sharp teeth, whoa!
Going down to Felix's bodega
To get this week's Herald
With Prince Valiant on the cliff above.
                                            -Jack Vaughan, 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

In another life in the matchbox factory

Working at Mahatma Match.
Punch the Simplex 7:30.
It says: that box of cash & tyranny the best friend
of your frozen destiny
Flying Horse of Dada please
vault the suggestion of clouds

Beaded maid with wavy stare
conjures a lemonade.
when the simplex box
says 5 o'clock
I'd like to ignite the factory
go home
to dream.

The jeweled maiden
squeezing on
the giant eagle.
registration, rendering
inked in rivers
rivers through my fingers.

Krishna, Krishna

Ever flouting

watery maidens saris hanging high in the trees bold 

as love. 

I shall run
with creamsicle
push home
Where the light
burns I hope. Jack Vaughan, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Moon is back, baby! - The Sat.Eve.Rvw.of The NYT

The biggest thing that ever happened on the Moon from my point of view happened some time ago – I was a lad – when Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and then others, walked upon it. Looking up at that thing in the sky – whew – made you forget the problems at your feet.

We as a culture aint goin back any time soon – unless the Chinese or Indians really surprise – and there is not much news about our nearby satellite of love.  So it is nice to pick up this week's Science Times, and find an nice little omnibus about recent Moon stuff.

Some of the science that is being done today around the moon is discussed. The story goes sideways at first with some guff about the Super Moo n-  rare instances when the orb appears 10 or so % larger (happened 3 times this year) – but then it gets to its work which is to show that lunar studies are really abuzz.

A lot of this is based on studies/research that considers the moon's origins. The consensus there is that these origins are cataclysmic. Ok, things one-third almost the size of the earth don't just happen.

We have data from the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Obiter which enforces the notion that the Moon is very hot and very cold. (Gratuitous sidenote 1: ever met a girl like that?)

This is something Neal Armstrong would have told you as well. He was there, dammit !

They get this notion cause recent measures taken in craters at the poles, ones that have not seen the solar light in billions of years, and which clock in at 30 degrees Celsius above Absolute Zero. (Gratuitous sidenote 2: Maybe you had a girl like that. I had one and she waited until it was 30 deg below Absolute Zero to breakup with  me .)

The theories are coalescing around the idea of a planet called Thea (in Greek mythology, the mother of the moon goddess) crashing into earth, bam, and then the residue thereof condensing into the Moon. It is called the impactor theory, and someone may chuckle many years hence reading this blog post and knowing better, but hello, future, this is-was the best we got going in 2014.

There is a lot more to be said, but I don’t get paid to write this stuff, and I think you would be very much more informed if you actually read the article…. The Moon Comes Around Again .. learn about the dark side, ionization estimates based on Apollo moon rocks (the size of aspirin) that seem to confirm the Impactor premise… the reason the moon is shaded so as to appear a face, and the gooey stuff that gives appearance to the moon's seas! – Jack Vaughan

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wait until the war is over - The Sat.Eve.Rvw.of The NYT

News has been called the first take of history. But what about when the first take does a double take? When the news guys regurgitate history? "A War Is Long Over But Many Still Seek To Learn Its Lessons" in Tuesday's Times (9-9-2014) does a bit of such regurgitation - discussing the 100th anniversary World War I and the general torpor that finds many thinking people today finding similarities between the global Risk game today and then.

Figuring in the story is Margaret MacMillan, author of "The War That Ended Peace". She comments that were now living in a much more complicated world than that of the predecessor Cold War period "with low-level conflicts that never seem to conclude and the sense of things ending somehow, of a great period of transition." Like Linus discussing the great pumpkin, this newsreader screams "THAT'S IT"

To me this feeling of conclusion, transition and sconflict is a big part of the essential concoction that  makes for news. McMillan says using history as a guide is not wise - but admits history is a sign. [?] There is a tendency to distort the past, she said. True but to me there is not much that comes closer to magical prediction round, then reading a few papers that directly preceded a seminal event. I know I've said before that part of the big Godsmack of 9/11 for me was the feeling that this horrific event neatly clarified many muddy threads of news stories that I read in the year, year or two, preceding.
The story ends with McMillan's prediction that we are in for troubled times. If I was a betting man… -Jack Vaughan

Note: One thing I was surprised to find out reading the story was that there was ''no consensus'' on the cause for World War I. [We do know that WWI was cause of World War II however. ]The story notes the popularity of the Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman And I  admit that my view of World War I cause is based on others' readings of the Guns of August.

Note: I remember years ago late night talk show host Jack Parr commenting in monologue on how his attention to the Times is often distracted by the brassiere ads that ran alongside the editorial copy. I recall as this fetching pic of actress of bra-clad Madeleine Bundy appears smoking adjacent to A War Is Long Over – a story about WWI and its meaning for contemporary global politics. . Adjacent to a crossword puzzle as well. Surrealism rains.