## Wednesday, December 26, 2012

### LA LAKERS VS. NY KNICKS

by Georgevine Moss

Learned some basics about basketball player evaluation methods recently and so ended up playing around with some stats...

First, I made up my own equations, one that evaluates a player based on points (pts evaluation) and one that evaluates the player based on other factors (game evaluation). And, finally, adding these two equations made up the complete evaluation (total evaluation).

Then I picked two teams: the LA LAKERS and the NY KNICKS. Why these two teams? Well, there is a very scientific and logical explanation for that...I saw some pictures of famous people on the court rooting for the KNICKS recently and that reminded me of some other person really liking the LAKERS. Follow the links if you're dying to know who they are. Also, there seems to be this debate, orange too bright?

The following step was to gather some stats for the players of these two teams. I found statistics (box scores) from 2010 and used those to do the evaluation. Now, since it is overall accepted that NBA players' paycheck is mainly based on how good a scorer the player is, I also tracked down some info about players' salaries from 2010 and 2012.

What did I come up with? Read on.

For 2010, the NY KNICKS was a worse team that the LA LAKERS.

Adding the performance of 20 players yielded a score of 2.52 for the KNICKS, while adding the performance of 16 players yielded a score of 2.92 for the LAKERS.

This was confirmed by looking at the 1/1/2010 - 4/14/2010 period results.

•1051 wins and 1826 losses for the NY KNICKS, a WIN/LOSS RATIO of 0.58
•2161 wins and 747 losses for the LA LAKERS, a WIN/LOSS RATIO of 2.89

So all of you who read this and actually follow these teams so far are thinking...duh! But hopefully the following unbiased and based solely on statistics info might offer something you've never thought about before...Here it goes.

For 2010:

•Best player for the LA LAKERS was Trey Johnson with a total evaluation score of 0.50 (he played for only one game, but the equations actually try to take into account both games and minutes played so this number should still be valid. So, based on this one game and the whole 13 minutes played he was the most efficient player. Agree, disagree?)

•Best player for the NY KNICKS was Raymond Felton with a total evaluation score of 0.26 (he played for 54 games and 2074 minutes, which was the 3rd position in terms of time played after Amare Stoudemire who played 2870 min (eval. score of 0.16) and Landry Fields who played 2541 min (eval. score of 0.14) Any objections?

For the NY KNICKS:

•Based on his total evaluation score (0.26), Raymond Felton with a 2012 salary of \$3,480,453 is underpaid compared to both Amare Stoudemire (eval. score: 0.16, 2010 salary: \$16,486,611, 2012: \$19,948,799) and Carmelo Anthony (eval. score: 0.17, 2010 salary: \$17,149,243, 2012: \$19,444,503)

For the LA LAKERS:

•Based on his total evaluation score (0.18), Kobe Bryant with a 2010 salary of \$ 24,806,250 and a 2012 salary of \$27,849,149 is overpaid compared to both Pau Gasol (eval. scor: 0.21, 2010 salary: \$ 17,823,000,2012: \$19,000,000) and Andrew Bynum (eval. scor: 0.21, 2010 salary: \$13,700,000).

2012-2013 STRATEGY

•For 2012-2013, based on the salaries list I found the NY KNICKS team has these 3 players who also played in 2010 (and therefore I have stats for): Raymond Felton (0.26), Carmelo Anthony (0.17), Amare Stoudemire (0.16).

In 2010, Raymond Felton played in 54 games for a total of 2074 minutes, while Carmelo Anthony played in 27 games and 977 min and Amare Stoudemire played in 78 games and 2870 minutes. Based on their evaluation scores Carmelo Anthony (points eval: 0.03, game eval: 0.14) should be playing more than Amare Stoodemire (points eval: 0.01, game eval: 0.15) especially for when points are needed. And Raymond Felton (points eval: 0.01, game eval: 0.25) should be playing more, as in all the games.

These 3 players make a combined total evaluation score of 0.59.

•For 2012-2013, based on the salaries list I found the LA LAKERS team has these 4 players who also played in 2010 (and therefore I have stats for): Kobe Bryant (0.18), Pau Gasol (0.21), Steve Blake (0.14), Devin Ebanks (0.15).

Devin Ebanks played in 20 games and 118 minutes total in 2010. Based on my performance equations his points evaluation was 0.03 and his game evaluation 0.12, while Steve Blake played in 79 games and 1581 minutes total and his points evaluation was 0.00 and his game evaluation 0.13. Based on their eval. scores Devin Ebanks should be playing more.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol both played in 82 games with Pau Gasol playing for more minutes. Based on their respective evaluation scores, things should be kept as is.

These 4 players make a combined total evaluation score of 0.68.

Here are 2 tables with all the players' stats:

Do you want to know the equations behind the evaluation scores? Do they appear to be any good? Please, chime in the comments.

Also, if you liked this blog post you might enjoy this:

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black, Are NBA Statistical Models More Irrational than "Irrational" Decision-Makers? by David Lewin and Dan T. Rosenbaum, Sept 2007

References

NEW YORK KNICKS PLAYER STATS:

GAME(WINS/LOSSES)STATS:

SALARY STATS 2012:
http://espn.go.com/nba/team/roster/_/name/ny/new-york-knicks

LOS ANGELES LAKERS PLAYER STATS:

GAME(WINS/LOSSES)STATS:

SALARY STATS 2012:
http://espn.go.com/nba/team/roster/_/name/lal/los-angeles-lakers

SUPER IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: All this is just for fun. Of course you can't evaluate teams like that.

## Friday, December 14, 2012

### NOVEL SAMPLE: DEMENTIA

In this genre-bending debut the supernatural world of Dark Heavens is forever connected with human life in Urban Falls through the Sisters, a group of Dark beings in charge of human emotions.

When a Sister abuses her power, the balance of human emotions is disturbed and action must be taken to prevent the human world from falling into chaos. The Sisters must be stripped of their powers and be replaced. But there are rules to be followed. The Sisters ask for time to restore the balance and time is granted to them. So begins the hunt for the person that can help the Sisters remain in power, and for all beings that want to see the Sisters gone, the race against time to prevent them from succeeding.

In these turbulent times, Sandrelle Anders (@sandrelle) has to take her own difficult journey through both worlds to discover who she is and what it means to be human.

Dementia is her story.

DETAILS

TITLE: DEMENTIA
TYPE OF WORK: NOVEL
WORD COUNT/A4 PAGES: 83.600 / 220
PRINT LENGTH (PAPERBACK FORMAT): 334 pages
AVAILABLE FORMATS: EBOOK
GENRE: CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

Dementia: Medicine a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from Latin, from demens, dement- 'out of one's mind'.

--Oxford Dictionary of English, Second Edition

CHAPTER ONE

Screams echoed down the halls of the Home after midnight. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, silence took over, save for the howling of the wind pounding on the tall laminated windows.

The Home, Urban Falls' oldest institution of the insane, stood hidden amidst a thick forest up on a hill and it had been Sandrelle’s living quarters since she could remember. Her room, located on the upper floor of the castle-like building, was void of any personality. There was a bed and a rocking chair, a bay window and a door that was mostly locked--from the outside--and nothing else.

That morning, a crow squawked so loud that the vines creeping high along the building quivered. The bird crushed full force on Sandrelle’s window, and the earth shook for a few long moments.

Sandrelle sat up on her bed and steadied her head against the wall. She lay like that for hours, until, without reason or cause, she slid down the bed and crawled to the rocking chair, dragging one of the sheets along with her.

She had just gotten in synch with the swinging pine trees outside, rocking in her chair, when she heard the heavy door grinding open behind her. A gust of air blasted her shoulders. She had been fed and medicated. What did they want now?
Dr. Fonder appeared in the doorway. A tall, lean man with hair as white as his doctor's coat. "Hello, Sandrelle," he said, stopping by her side. "How are you feeling today?"

"Sick."

"Again?"

"Nothing’s changed, why should I?"

He scribbled on his chart. "No, nothing has changed," he said. "What is bothering you today then?"

Sandrelle didn’t move or speak.

He squatted down next to her and rested his hand on her knee. "Maybe I can help," he said. "I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s bothering you."

Sandrelle grabbed his wrist and pulled him closer to her. She kept looking at him in silence, until her face began twitching. "You. This room. This bed and that damn door bother me." Her voice built up, her eyes brightened with tears and a flush of heat reddened her face. "But you know what’s really annoying?"

He stared, trying to read her face. "What is it?"

Dr. Fonder managed an awkward smile. "My voice? Well, I’ll see what I can do about that, but I’m afraid I can’t make any promises."

Sandrelle's eyes drifted away.

Dr. Fonder looked down. His hand had turned white. He tried to loosen her grip.
"Please, Sandrelle, I understand you’re upset but you need to relax," he said.

She squeezed even tighter. "Just tell me," she said, focusing back on him. "It’s the only thing I’ve ever asked. Twenty years now, I can’t remember. What are you waiting for?"

"You’re right," he said, peeling her fingers off his hand one by one. "But you have to promise me, if I tell you, you’ll stop this stubbornness and start taking your walks again."

"I’ll rest in peace."

Dr. Fonder stood up and turned to leave. Sandrelle jumped off the chair and grabbed his coat, pulling with all her weight. "Please, I promise," she said. "I promise. Just tell me."

"Your mother brought you. You were three. You needed care. There’s nothing more to it," he said, standing unhooked from her grasp and at a safe distance.

"Care? But there’s nothing wrong."

"Nothing?"

"Tell me, why are you not telling me?"

"Why don’t you think about that, and maybe we can talk about it next time," he said and clicked shut the door behind him.

Sandrelle was alone again. She normally liked the silence. But not when she could feel the buzzing in her head. Things just happened then. She paced from door to window, back and forth with increasing speed. Soon, the pacing turned into running, and Sandrelle threw herself with all her strength on the hard metal.

The common room was only a few feet away from Sandrelle’s door. At this hour it was full of patients; some of them stood by the windows staring out in silence, but others talked incessantly trying to anger the calmed ones. It was their voices that dampened every other sound in proximity.

Nurse Kensington had just entered the common room with Dr. Fonder when she caught a glimpse of Sandrelle’s head slamming against the small window on her door. She walked closer and stood outside Sandrelle’s room, peering through the window.

Dr. Fonder broke free of the patients that had managed to surround him and approached her. "Nurse Kensington, is anything wrong?" he said.

"I think she’s having another episode, doctor. Maybe you should have a look," she said, stepping away from the window. There was another thump as Sandrelle hit herself even harder against the door.

"Should I call the men?" Nurse Kensington said.

"No, no need." He paused and let his gaze wander past the nurse. "Yes. I think she’ll be fine for today," he said and turned back looking at her. "Andrew is peeing at the TV again, why don’t you go help him?"

Sandrelle stood in the middle of the room, pressing her palms hard against her ears. The whisperings were too fast, the woman talked too fast. It was almost like singing...

"Receive the glory of life, the glory of death. Child, rise, say farewell," she said.

Hearing those words over and over was like having a bee feeding off her brain. She screamed and cried, and banged at the window with her fists as if it was someone’s front door, and if she hit it long and hard enough, someone would open it. But nothing happened. Then her knees failed her, so she lay down and cried herself to sleep.

***

You can read a longer sample and buy the novel at Amazon:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Amazon FR, Amazon ES, Amazon IT, Amazon JAPAN, Amazon CANADA, and Amazon BRAZIL.

Also available at KOBO.

If you'd like a review e-copy of Dementia just send an e-mail at onewomanmedia {at} yahoo.com stating the file format of your choice (.mobi, EPUB, .PFD). A review would be appreciated, but one is not necessary. Thanks.

## Tuesday, October 30, 2012

### ONEWOMANMEDIA UPDATE

As of October 2012 the ONEWOMANMEDIA SAMPLES BLOG will be updated with samples of newly released books written by Georgevine Moss, as they become available.

There will still be the odd blog post in the form of a free short story, a discussion topic, a humor piece or anything else that might come up, but these will no longer appear as regular, once a month updates like before.

Coming Releases

A dark contemporary fantasy novel is currently scheduled to be released in December 2012.

## Sunday, September 30, 2012

### ATLAS SHRUGGED: 3 DISCUSSION POINTS

ATLAS SHRUGGED: 3 DISCUSSION POINTS
by Georgevine Moss

SMOKING

1. In the valley where the industrialists settle after they leave the world, there's--among other businesses--a BANK, a POWER PLANT and a TOBACCO COMPANY. And of course, no CHURCH.

Since God has no part in Rand's philosophy, the no church in the perfect new little world the industrialists build for themselves when they decide to go on strike makes sense.

The novel was published in 1957. Would the author have included such a company in the valley if she'd been writing the novel in 2012?

WORK

2. When that man on the train describes to Dagny how the new plan worked at the Twentieth Century Motor Company (p.608-618) among other things he says:

"...Overtime without pay--because you weren't paid by time and you weren't paid by work, only by need....We who had once been human...We began to hide whatever ability we had...What else could we do, when we knew that if we did our best for 'the family', it's not thanks or rewards that we'd get, but punishment?"

and:

"God help us, ma'am! Do you see what we saw? We saw that we'd been given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it--for observing it. The more you tried to live up to it, the more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger the reward you got."

Today, there are laws that protect the workers from being taken advantage of and there's also a system , by which the workers are--at least in theory--paid according to their abilities/contribution. But--in practice--the system can be gamed and the laws can be bend and when that happens, the worker feels cheated.

Someone perhaps would focus on the "paid by need" part of the story and argue about the benefits of today's government programs, but instead of doing that, why not focus on the fact that people need their work to be appreciated and that even that doesn't work if they feel cheated? How can the system and the laws be improved so that unfairness, which can cause serious disruptions in a micro and macro level in the long run, can be avoided?

PURPOSE OF MAN

3. On page 670 the author writes "...and had known that the work of achieving one's happiness was the purpose, the sanction and the meaning of life."

Many philosophers have tried to define what is the purpose of man. Rand's effort seems to be a good one.

In contrast, she offers this when she tries to describe through John Galt's words what the people in charge in her story propose as the purpose of man:

"This idol of your cult of zero-worship...is your image of man and your standard of value...where you seek to make the concept 'human' mean the weakling, the fool, the rotter, the liar, the failure, the coward, the fraud, and to exile from the human race the hero, the thinker, the producer, the inventor, the strong, the purposeful, the pure--as if to feel were human, but to think were not, as if to fail were human, but to succeed were not, as if corruption were human, but virtue were not--as if the premise of death were proper to man, but the premise of life were not."

## Friday, August 31, 2012

### ATLAS SHRUGGED REVIEW

ATLAS SHRUGGED REVIEW
by Georgevine Moss

I bought a copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in a bookstore in New York. I didn't know it then, but now I can say: how fitting. It was the 50th anniversary edition paperback with 1069 pages of story in it, all of it told in really small print. Due to its size and to the fact that the author was trying to present her philosophy in a dramatized way, in my experience, the book is not a fast read...at all.

The way I see it, there's a negative and a positive about the size of Atlas Shrugged.

The Negative

There were passages which, even though they'd probably wouldn't count as repetition, they could qualify as "overdoing it". The author had already expressed her ideas through multiple characters, and usually with very apt metaphors, so doing so again, using yet another example and another, seemed unnecessary and thus distracting.

The Positive

The fact that the purpose of the novel was to present a philosophy, a value system, I think should count as a positive regardless of the reader's opinion on the philosophy expressed in the book. There were a lot of times when I had to pose to ponder about what was being said, question its validity, determine whether I agreed or not and if I didn't, then question my own thoughts on the matter.

This process slows the reading down and, depending on the reader's mood, may not be what he's looking for in a novel, but no one can argue that such a process has no value.

On Language

The book was first published in 1957 so one could perhaps expect certain passages, at the very least, to read "funny", but that is not the case. Apart from the word "gay" instead of "happy" being used quite often, something that could perhaps amuse the modern reader, and the word "awesome", which was used a couple of times toward the end of the novel in sentences such as "...his awesome power..." (quoted from memory) and, to me, sounded out of place, there was nothing else regarding the usage of language that could ruin the reading experience.

On Characters

The book starts from the very beginning when it comes to its protagonists, especially Dagny Taggart and Francisco D'Anconia, both of which we get to see acting "right" (i.e. having brilliant minds and using them to study or/and work, a.k.a. producing) from childhood up to their approaching 40th birthday.

Dagny and Francisco aren't the only useful people in the Atlas Shrugged universe though. Plenty more are named in the story, all of them living according to the Rand Standards. There's no lack of antagonists either. The bad boys club, the government that more or less destroys humanity by the end of the novel, is comprised by many characters who share the same...immorality, if you will.

Though the same story could probably be told with fewer characters, all of them are put in there for a reason. Each one of them helps the author present her philosophy in full and show how it governs all aspects of life and used by all kinds of people.

For example, although Dagny and Francisco come from wealthy families and accomplished ancestors, Rearden is not. Regardless, he too managed to produce, succeed and prosper. As for John Galt, he is the golden-haired poster boy of the Rand Standards. Many things can be said about that character. In brief, if Ayn Rand was asked "Who is John Galt?" the only reason she wouldn't reply "God" would be because she didn't believe in the specific term.

Through bad boys club member James Taggart, the author gets to show to the reader how his kind thinks, and ultimately prove how such a person can have nothing but misery, both in his professional and his personal life. The same misery is proven using different points of view through characters such as Lillian and Philip, Rearden's wife and brother respectively.

And then there's Eddie Willers. The kid that wanted but couldn't. He really wants for that train to move forward, (in the voice of Hannibal Lecter talking to Clarice Starling through those bars in his cell) all the way to - New - York - City, but the engine is broken and no matter how hard he tries HE just can't fix it.

The story is simple. The destruction of the world as it is, bit by bit until there's nothing more to wreck and a new order is needed so that, the right people, can build it back from the ruins. But, due to its nature, the novel focuses mainly on its characters, so the plot is...

Well, plot points are splashed like rocks thrown into a river, from one point on to another hundreds of pages later, to form a sloppy path and get the story wherever it needs to be next.

That's how I would put it now that I'm trying to comment on it, because overall I didn't really think about the plot while I was reading the novel, except maybe when Dagny piloted her way through her mission when her train couldn't get her there, cause apparently, she knew how to fly an airplane too (p.634). Or rather, the way her flight was described, she didn't, but really how hard could it be for someone like her? It's not like she's Eddie Willers.

I mention this rather small indiscretion for two reasons. First, it was the only time up to that point that something didn't quite add up (as in having her take flying lessons at an earlier point), which is quite commendable considering the complexity of the Atlas Shrugged world. Second, because it was probably a patch. To elaborate, Dagny needed to find out what was really going on with all the missing industrialists. In the end, she found out about them and their Valley via an impromptu flight and crash, despite having this rather carefully crafted sub-plot thing going on with the dollar-signed cigarette.

I thought that the cigarette was an interesting plot moment. Dagny first encounters the weird tobacco specimen when some guy who is way too able to be just a cook in some diner smokes one in her presence. Dagny is curious and doesn't just throw the thing away when she's done with it. No, she gives it to that guy we've already been introduced to, the one who sells smokes at the Terminal and who is some expert on cigarette brands, in order to do some investigating. But that guy apparently isn't good enough to find out anything about that cigarette and thus lead Dagny to the missing industrialists. No, she does it all by herself, by accident, flying a small aircraft into the ground.

Another interesting moment was that point where you realize you only have about 300 pages left and you are introduced to the government-made sound wave weapon that can destroy everything within a certain mile radius. What I thought could happen was that, this was an important plot point, the weapon would be vital for the story's ending and so even though I had about a whole novel's length left to read it would be quite interesting. Not so.

The weapon, although it played a part in the story, it was not THE major plot point. You see, John Galt got captured by the government. The protagonists had to save that guy, cause he's really worthy of it.

Generally speaking, I don't think anyone can find any holes into the Atlas Shrugged story. Overall though, the most thought out part of the plot must have been the government's step-by-step plan to hand the world--yes even New York City--over into chaos.

NOTE

Atlas Shrugged offers a lot of material for discussion. Since this effort of a review is already long, I will write a September 2012 blog post where I will present various opinions and views that are expressed in the novel and comment on them. Or at least try to.

## Tuesday, July 31, 2012

### Creative Exercise: NY APARTMENT

Creative Exercise: NY APARTMENT
by Georgevine Moss

Just like when you take away everything from a drummer and leave him with just a snare drum, boot and hi-hat and he is forced to get creative, we are going to try to take away...space from an apartment and let our imagination loose.

The exercise: design an apartment of 28 square meters.

Step 1: Thinking of available options...

7*4 = 28 square meters

or

5*5 + 2*1.5

or

3*1 = 25 +3 = 28 square meters

The effort started with some experimentation and math (erased from the picture so as not cause any dizziness or laughter)...

But things weren't really working out because, on second thought, a main entrance door leading to the bathroom would probably not go well with some people anyone...or having no entrance at all, unless you go through someone else's apartment, for that matter. I guess that's what you call a design flaw...

Note: If you're wondering what the F is in the picture above, it's a funky-looking closet.

So, after some further sketching and with a final choice of 5*5 + 2*1.5 for apartment size (apartments 2 and 4) and 5*5 + 3*1 (apartments 1 and 3), we end up with a design such as Apartment 4 in the picture below and a floor as described at the end of the apartment description.

Apartment Description

Double Bed: 1.4*2 m
A: Shelves mounted on the wall
+ storage space under the bed for all linens
B: Bathroom
C: Kitchen (Bar -like):
- All around counter top
- Glasses hanging above
: Rotating Stools/ Seats with Adjustable Height, so that they can be lowered to the table's level or heightened to the kitchen's counter top
H: Sink
D: Couch 1.80 m * 0.90 m (71'' * 36'')
E: Table (Low): Entertainment / Work Area. That table, apart from its guest-entertaining use of holding plates and glasses on its surface and being your desk when you try to do some work on your laptop, could also be collapsible so that the person who'd choose to live in that space would also have room for DVD workouts, cause why not?
F: TV set (TV mounted on the wall)
G: 1.5m wide * o.5m deep : Desk
G: 1.52 m (5') * 0.76 m (36'') : Closet (inside mirrored doors)
I: External Glass Elevator

Corridor leads to two more apartments (4 apartments per floor)

Total of Two Apartments

10 m (apartments) = 12 m
10 m (apartments) + 1.5 m * 2(bathrooms) + 0.5 m (corridor) = 13.5 m
10 m* 13.5 m = 135 m2

Total of Floor: 270 m2

plus 2.5 m *2 m = 5 m2 (external glass elevator)

Then you get 275 m2 total.

Also, the 5 m or 8 m (if you stretch it along the bathroom length (ap. 3) by 0.5 m (the little extra space from the other apartment's bathroom (ap. 4)) space could be a very narrow but lengthy balcony, right? Maybe you could put some greenery over there or cultivate your own vegetables?

One last thought. With that kind of a design, specifically the external elevator with the long corridor to get to all four apartments, you could easily have a whole floor on the ground level instead of a building entrance, right? Just saying...

As for what prompted this little creative exercise, here's a link to satisfy your curiosity.

So, what do you think of my architectural effort?

## Saturday, June 30, 2012

### SUMMER ACTIVITIES: SWIMMING and BUILDING YOUR OWN SOLAR DESALINATOR

SUMMER ACTIVITIES: SWIMMING and BUILDING YOUR OWN SOLAR DESALINATOR

by Georgevine Moss

SWIMMING

You'll REALLY need:

1. Sea or a pool or a lake...or a river, all preferably clean

You'll need:

1. A swimsuit, unless it's one of those places...
2. Sunscreen, cause you know....
3. A towel, cause it's pretty useful overall

Optional:

1. A bottle of water

If you don't have one with you and you are dying of thirst so to speak, and for some inexplicable reason there's no potable water to be found anywhere, you could always try making your own solar desalinator...if:

1. you have sea water
2. sun
3. a few other items (e.g. a plastic bottle, a plastic cup, something to cut them with)
4. lots of patience

Note: Instructions and a picture can be found at the end of this post.

If you are planning to spend a lot of time at the beach or wherever and/or you have children you may also want to have a ball...to play with AND have fun.

A ball is a pretty good choice because:

a. you can use it to play a variety of games, like football (a.k.a. soccer), volleyball, water polo
b. can be used in the water and on land
c. one ball can entertain a whole lot of people
d. is a lot less likely to annoy the other people around you, if there are any

Unless of course you are a tennis fan, one that will not play any other sport unless it resembles your favorite one. You know what I'm talking about. In that case, a ball would be of absolute no use to you.

HOW TO BUILD A REALLY SIMPLE, POSSIBLY FUNCTIONAL SOLAR DESALINATOR WITH AS FEW MATERIALS AS POSSIBLE

INSTRUCTIONS

-Take a 0.5 L empty water bottle (clean) and cut the top (bottle neck)

-Take a plastic cup and cut it pretty low

-Then put the small cup you just made and insert it into the bottle you cut earlier.

-Pour a little bit of sea water into the cup, making sure you don't spill any inside the bottle. (That's actually not that hard to do since if you are using a 0.5 L bottle then the cup is going to take pretty much all the space leaving only a little bit of room all around.)

-Next, take the bottle neck you've cut from the bottle, turn it upside down (mouth looking down) and place it on top of the bottle. If you have a little bit of tape, or anything like it, so that you can connect the two pieces and seal any gap all the better.

-Finally, take the bottle (always being careful not to spill any sea water inside the bottle) and place it under the sun.

Note: In my little experiment I let the bottle out for two days and I got a nice little bit of water at the bottom of the bottle, plus lots of drops all around it.

Here's a picture:

More experiments to follow. If you have any engineering challenges for me I'd love to try them so leave them in the comments, though results are certainly NOT guaranteed.

## Thursday, May 31, 2012

### Discussion Topic: Financial and Political Turmoil in the Online Era...and Ayn Rand

Financial and Political Turmoil in the Online Era...and Ayn Rand

by Georgevine Moss

Reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand for the first time in 2012 is a little bit surreal. Like having just read the scene where the government presents to the public the new sound weapon that can destroy anything from a distance and then, putting the book down and going online and stumbling upon an article about the LARD sound cannon. But we aren't going to talk about the book in this post. We'll talk about today.

Because today, we live in interesting times...

It's easy to look at past events and analyze the reasons, causes and outcomes from the knowledgeable position of the future. And it is easy to judge. It's even easier to find fault with people's actions. To wonder how it all happened when it is so clear to you now that how they acted back then was the wrong thing to do. Was it lack of critical thinking? Lack of education? Shellfish blindness? Divine interference? What?

It's interesting studying the past and seeking answers to these questions. Actually LIVING during such a period of time that, at some point in the future, someone else will be asking those questions and passing judgment on YOUR actions is mind-blowing.

Seeing history unfolding before your eyes every time you wake up in the morning can also be confusing. Here you are, having opinions based on whatever knowledge and critical thinking you happen to possess and then...then an overwhelming amount of people, people from every background and position imaginable, offer matching opinions so different from yours that at some point you can't help it but sit down and stop and start questioning everything you know and believe in.

Who is right and who is wrong? What is the best answer to the questions that are all of a sudden thrown at you with the same force of a wronged man's demand for justice? This is no history test where someone will grade you with a pass or fail and life will move on as it is. There will be consequences, each one felt to the bone. What can you do to help yourself?

Knowledge helps. In the era of the Internet, access to knowledge is easier than in the past. But still one has to be careful. Are the sources trustworthy? Objective? Real? Blocked in your country?

The road to self-education is muddy. It eats up time, energy and spirit. And even if you manage to get to the end of the road you have to use whatever critical power you have to reach to an answer and then have the courage to trust in it and act based on it, even when everyone else around you disagrees with it.

It will be easy for those people in the future to ask the right questions and offer good answers. But we are here today. What are the questions we should be asking and what is the best answer?

## Friday, April 27, 2012

### Free Short Story: THE ROBOTS SHALL STRIKE IN APRIL

THE ROBOTS SHALL STRIKE IN APRIL

by Georgevine Moss

It was a hot summer day in April when the revolution erupted. Nature had gone mad. Confused flowers started blossoming before their time and the humans plunged in their closets unashamedly looking for pieces they could wear from last year's summer collection.

Everyone would have understood if the humans had stood up and yelled: enough is enough. But the robots? They weren't affected by climate. Why did they rise from their high-tech hideouts? We are not sure whether they can actually think for themselves at this early stage of the revolution, but something's definitely going on in their little chip brains.

Conspiracy theorists keep barking about a consortium of ex world leaders sitting in some bunker underground, fumbling with remote controls. If this is true, then there's no hope. Give me a thinking robot any day and I will fight to try to beat it. But a robot with an aging politician behind its artificial brain? I don't know....

How did it all begin? I know I'm the Historian and I'm supposed to tell you, but I can't. No one saw it coming and now everyone's too busy fighting to look for answers. I guess it was the economy. Stupid, I know, but no one actually expected a recovery, let alone an economic boom of gigantic proportions.

History has taught us a lot, but humans never seem to be prepared for anything. Unless of course you are a member of Generation S, in which case you never even got the chance to learn from history and you are forgiven for your ignorance. You were only given access to amended history books, so as not to upset you with offensive words or expose you to dangerous ideas that could drag the world centuries back to a dark future. Well, here we are anyway. Welcome. I have no advice to give you, but in case you don't know what the S stands for, I can tell you that at least. It stands for Screwed.

The blooming economy created a massive wave of advancement in robotics, but it doesn't explain why the robots decided to go to war against the humans. Sure they were human property, but if they can't think that couldn't have been the problem.

Everything was going great, but I guess it was inevitable. When two completely different species have to co-exist for so long something eventually will have to happen. No, no, the aliens never came to earth. Either they don't exist or they are really smart. I am not talking about the robots either. No, I'm talking about Men and Women. The blossoming economy may have brought the robots to a point where they could actually rebel, created the fuel if you will, but the spark that started the fire was sex, a big social issue ever since the sex robots went into mass production.

It's hard to provide a historian's objective view on this hotly debated subject. We are at a war with our smart, water-resistant mechanical properties and yet we sit around arguing if it was Men's fault this happened or if both genders must share the blame. Admittedly, the evidence is against the Men.

The creators of the sex robots were all Men. It seemed logical that the first few robots they'd make would be female. Especially after the scientists created life in the labs and the government decided it would be a good idea to have various official policies on the matter. After the scientists' baby-making services became available to the public those who decided to have sex for procreation instead of recreation were owed a visit by the mental health special unit of the health department for a free complimentary evaluation. It just didn't make sense, you know?

No one batted an eyelash when those sex robots were put to work. The robots kept coming but they were still all of them female. Things got extremely frustrating for some as you can imagine. There was an uprising. The Women far outnumbered the Men, but not all of them felt the frustration and joined the movement. Still, those who did, fought fiercely. No Man could walk safely in the streets alone.

The robots became judgmental and demanding after that. They either got fed up with human behavior and made themselves able to think or humans built programs that did that for them. Researchers are currently working on figuring that one out.

As it turned out, building only female sex robots wasn't the only mistake the humans made. When they didn't use the female body as an inspiration to create the robots, they used insects instead. So when we aren't fighting freaky versions of ourselves, we are left off fighting big, repulsing and now, pardon the made up word, un-squash-able versions of bugs that have been tormenting the humans since day one.

I don't need to go into detail here. I don't know how much time I have left. But please allow me to talk about one of those in case one of you dear readers can perhaps manage to give me an answer to the question, why? Why would anyone want to make a robot cockroach?

Not being able to exterminate for good the real thing wasn't enough? They needed a big, death-proof version of it roaming our streets? Sure you scoff, looking at that machine trying to move like a cockroach, but have you seen the new, improved versions? They gave them a body made out of real tissue. They worked hard for years so that you couldn't tell the robot from the insect. Why, dear reader, why would anyone do this? I ask you, but I actually stopped caring when they authorized the cockroach robots to go into mass production some five years ago. And that was before I found out that they had made them so that they could reproduce.

End of Report #1.

When he was six years old, the Historian moved into foster care after his mother--a human-- was incarcerated into a mental health facility, probably because she wanted to try for another child the old fashioned way. She never, ever warned the Historian about the Robot Revolution.

With the economy toiling in the bottom of a shitter and the humans fighting to alter or even erase history altogether, the Historian never learned anything except how to use a computer. He could somehow think, a common human genetic flaw, but was never quite sure what he was supposed to do, until the Robot Revolution happened and he found real purpose in his life. His mission is to report the historic events as they unroll before his very eyes.

Note from the Historian

Many who bump into me in the street ask me, why in April? Why did the Robots strike in April? Silly question, right? It was just time, I tell them. There was no special reason. But my research may prove me wrong one day. So far, all I can say is that in April 2012 a bunch of people decided to write about various robotic advancements (as seen on The List below). Was it just a coincidence?

The List

PETMAN Robot Climbs Stairs In New VIDEO From DARPA, Boston Dynamics

Sex machines: How robotic prostitutes could turn a crime-ridden industry into a respectable 'guilt free' business, By DANIEL BATES

Would you want to be saved by THIS? Video of the U.S. Navy's terrifying 'robot fireman', By ROB WAUGH

Mechanical monkey business: Meet the robo-bonobos that help our hairy cousins talk to us, By TED THORNHILL

NEED A ROBOT? PRINT ONE, Analysis by Jesse Emspak

A Researcher and a Robot Walk Into a Bar..., By RACHEL WOLFF

## Saturday, March 17, 2012

### Non-Fiction Article: St. Patrick's Day - March 17

St. Patrick's Day

by Georgevine Moss

The story goes that when he was 16 years of age, St. Patrick was captured from his wealthy home in England and was sent as a slave in Ireland, where he endured hunger and harsh conditions.

Then he escaped and went back home.

As the story is told, he managed to get through his years of captivity by praying. And so once again free and with a rooted belief in God and Christ, shaped and molded by his experience in Ireland, he set off to study until he became a bishop.

But his religious journey was far from over. According to his own testimony, God gave him a mission through a dream. That mission was to return to Ireland and to spread the teachings of Christianity to the not-already converted pagans.

Though his story of captivity is being questioned by historians and the success of his mission in Ireland is thought of as potentially greatly exaggerated, his fame today as the Patron Saint of Ireland is unquestionable.

St. Patrick's day is celebrated by many around the world bringing into the spotlight all things Irish. So, today, if you see a river turn green, don't be alarmed. Have a drink and jump in the fun.

REFERENCES

St. Patrick Biography: http://www.biography.com/people/st-patrick-9434729?page=1

St. Patrick: "http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1325

Saint Patrick: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-patrick/

Is legend of St Patrick just a bit of blarney? He was a runaway tax collector turned slave trader, says expert, by DAVID WILKES:

Check out this fun St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt!

## Sunday, February 26, 2012

### FREE SHORT STORY: OSCARS 2012

OSCARS 2012

by Georgevine Moss

Bill Forest, nicknamed the Gambler, was born on Oscar night. That year the movie that won best picture also got a Razzie in the same category. But that was a coincidence. Today, Oscar night 2012, Bill stands six feet tall and broke.

Sunday, Feb 26 2012, 15:00

Bill followed Iron Mike down the stairs. Iron Mike, a former bodybuilder still on steroids and loan shark Mickey D.'s little helper blocked Bill's entire view. Bill didn't want to think about Iron Mike. Like shitting, it was an involuntary but necessary body reaction. He thought Iron Mike could probably bend iron pipes with his bare hands. Not that he had to. He probably did that for fun. Working for Mickey D. he most likely had to break arms and the occasional leg, not pipes. Bill continued walking down the low-ceilinged corridor, hunched and scared. He had brittle bones.

Iron Mike knocked on the door and when he got the signal he grabbed Bill by the arm and threw him in the room. Mickey D's office was dimly lit. He sat behind a big desk, a bare light bulb hanging over his bald head and a cigar smoldering in an ashtray by his side.

"So you are the Gambler?" Mickey D. said. He sat back in his chair and let the smoke clear off his face before taking another drug from his cigar.

Bill stuttered. "Th-that's right, sir." He never stuttered. "I don't know what you might have heard about me, but I'm good for it."

"You mean, I don't have to worry about losing my money?"

""Th-that's right, sir." That damn stutter. "I'm good for it."

"How much?"

"Ten thousand. I got a sure thing for tonight."

"The Oscars?"

"Y-yes, sir. A sure thing."

"I love the Oscars. Did you know I used to do stand-up before I got into this business?"

Bill glanced at Iron Mike. If he was a cop this would have been a sure sign of a set up. But he wasn't a cop. Iron Mike flashed him a smile. Bill turned away and looked at Mickey D.

"No, sir," he said. No stuttering. Great.

"A good one too. Just no decent pay, that's why I walked. Now the Oscars. That's the real thing. I'd host that for free. Can you imagine me, dressed to the nine's doing a monologue?"

Bill didn't know where it came from. He saw Mickey D. in a wig and a fake thin moustache like that guy from The Artist but, you know, looking like Mickey D. He struggled not to laugh.

"I'd kill it." Mickey D. said. "Those monologues they do? They suck. Listen to this."

Mickey D. got up and walked in front of the desk. With cigar in one hand and the other aimlessly beating at the air he began "acting".

"In a business with very few standards," he said. "We can all attest to the fact that the best part of the Oscars is the after parties. So let's make this as quick as possible. OK, people? Think like a cat not a dog. No one works for free. Thanking anyone is like licking the hand that has already fed you. Ask yourself. Would a cat ever do that?"

Iron Mike burst laughing. Bill got the hint and laughed till he drooled.

"Funny shit, right?"

"Y-yes, sir."

"You know what? I like you. I'll give you the ten G's." Mickey D. opened a drawer, picked a wad of cash and started counting. "Ten. Here it is." He dropped the money on the desk and sat back in his chair.

Bill hesitated.

Mickey D. took another drug from his cigar and let the smoke loose. "It's all yours," he said. When the smoke cleared, a wide creepy smile appeared on Mickey D.'s face.

"Th-thank you, sir. You won't regret it," Bill said, pocketing the cash. " 'Undefeated' will win best documentary. It's a sure thing."

Mickey D.'s smile faded. Bill dashed for the door. Iron Mike was strong but apparently he was slower than a deadbeat horse.

Bill got away and placed his bet. What do you think? Will he get lucky or break a leg?

## Friday, January 27, 2012

### DISCUSSION TOPIC: MENTAL ILLNESS AND OTHER TRAITS

MENTAL ILLNESS AND OTHER TRAITS

by Georgevine Moss

Mental illness has many forms. It can be temporary or life-lasting. It can be mild or severe. It is divided into many categories, each one with many different symptoms and as many different causes. It is a condition of the mind, and as long as everyone agrees that each mind is unique, then no one condition can be the same.

These days, physiology and socio-environmental elements are both considered as contributing factors in the manifestation of mental illness. Here, strictly from a layman’s point of view, we will reference the phenomenon of the HIKIKOMORI to address the latter and use it to spark a debate about the need for social change. We will also refer to the SCHIZOTYPAL PERSONALITY as an example of the former, and try to make a connection between the two factors.

The Japanese term Hikikomori is used to describe the individuals, teenagers and young adults, who have chosen to live at home, in isolation, for a long period of time, shunning social interaction, due to various personal or social reasons.

Two reasons cited for the emergence of the Hikikomori in Japan are interrelated. One is the educational system and the other is the economy. Simply put, the educational system is very demanding from start to finish (school to university) and then there comes the point where a flat economy and a bad job market leave these individuals without a clear goal in sight, without purpose in life, and a feeling of disappointment.

One could argue that these conditions aren’t unique to Japan. Students today face tremendous pressure in order to have a chance at higher education, a chance they might not even get despite having worked hard. Global economic conditions aren’t exactly shining a bright light on the future for them either, cutting dreams and desires short with impersonal ease.

Two differences between Japan and other countries could be found in culture, as in cultural pressure to excel, and length of time, when talking about the pressure resulting from a bad economy. But can we not say that the possibilities are there for the Hikikomori to become a more widespread phenomenon?

On the other hand, what if the Hikikomori condition is more than an expression of social pressures on specific individuals, more than a form of mental illness? What if it is the breeding ground of a shift? A shift where one’s life goals and his very purpose of living as perceived by the previous generation change? A shift that once is in gear will affect everyone?

The possibility is plausible. Social standards, practices and expectations have changed to a high degree. One may only consider the advancement of technology and its integration into daily, personal and professional, life to see a great part of that change. As for education and work, society has moved from the need for basic education to the need for higher and higher forms, and from unskilled labor to skilled labor etc. All these changes seem like a logical progression, natural advancement. But at the level we find ourselves today what is the next logical step?

If we only consider the educational system and the dire economy as reasons for the existence of the Hikikomori we could make the possibility seem even stronger. First, let’s, very naively, try to bring down the educational system as a reason behind the Hikikomori phenomenon.

If you search for a person to tell you of a difficult experience he had to go through that made him better at dealing with similar situations in the future it is very likely that you will find one. Traumatic experiences make you tough. To some degree at least, you would agree that that is true.

By that logic, a high pressure educational system renders young adults more than capable of dealing with the pressures and responsibilities of the life after. In fact, life after school would be more likely to look better in terms of benefits and rewards, and thus less stressful. But then comes the life after, and there’s no future, no stepping stone you can use to move forward, to engage and become a part of society. Not only that, but personal goals seem to be amiss or non-existent. What’s next? What if a change is needed, a change in expectations of what the next step should be, or even a radical change that starts from the beginning of the natural line of progression (i.e. education)? What is the next step in this natural line of advancement? And is it something strictly personal or something so broad as to warrant a social change?

Lastly, what if the Hikikomori aren’t “weak” or impaired in some way due to their physiology, but instead are in some way more advanced because of it? What if those people are the ones who, before all others, are capable to understand that a different course is needed? An insight that gets them stuck?

A 2012 Scientific American article talks about the existence of a gene variation-based link between creativity and eccentricity. Due to this variation, high intelligent people with schizoid personality, for instance, process information differently which may lead them to incredible insight. So what if?

For more information on this last subject you can check a related article, titled The Link Between Creativity and Eccentricity.