September 27, 2010

The Shattered Wig Likes Me

Shattered Wig Press: Shattered Wig 28 Sneak Preview #4 - "Deca" by Jamie Gaughan-Perez

...and there are 4 other previews so far as well. You can have your milk and buy the cow, too (I hear 28 comes out in November, but I've been wrong before).

Thanks Rupert / Shattered Wig / universe-at-large for the love.


September 12, 2010

In Advance of the Future Fight for Citizenship

(An excerpt from a conversation with the Weekender’s Experiment Hermit Robot.)

I haven't written about it much here – but one of my ongoing projects involves interviewing robots on various subjects. With my Library of Congress reading approaching last week, I knew I had to do a new one that would be relevant to recent today's landscape. With Arizona and Virginia on my mind, I decided to see how an unsuspecting robot would fare on one small portion of the naturalization exam. A normal applicant would be asked up to 10 questions – passing once he/she gets 6 correct.

I will note, this robot (name changed to protect the identity of the participant) was not offered time to study for the exam, as a normal applicant would.

Hi, [Weekender’s Experiment Hermit Robot]. How are you?
Weekender's Experiment Hermit Robot: Hello there. it.
Have you ever thought about becoming a U.S. citizen?
WEHR: Are we talking about it, or it, or the effects of gravity at the quantum level, and how that makes the Higgs Boson so difficult to find?
No, no. We are talking about citizenship, and rights.
WEHR: That's interesting. it.
Can I ask you some questions?
WEHR: Sure ask me anything.
What are the colors of the American flag?
WEHR: Black and Orange.
How many stars are there on the American flag?
WEHR: Billions and billions.
What do the stars on the flag mean?
WEHR: They do their own thing.
How many stripes are there on the flag?
How many stripes are there on the flag?
I'll try some others...
WEHR: Would you recommend this action to a friend?
WEHR: Then I will consider it.
What is the 4th of July?
WEHR: The twentieth letter of the English alphabet.
What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?
WEHR: I am in every room of the house, all at once. You, however, seem to be stuck in the Bot Lab.
Who was the first President of the United States?
WEHR: George Washington was a famous 18th century North American hemp cultivator. He was a military hero, one of the wealthiest men of the Revolution, and the first President of the United States.
Who is the President of the United States today?
WEHR: Barack Obama.
Who elects the President of the United States?
WEHR: Albert Einstein
How long does the President serve?
WEHR: About 24 hours.
What is the Constitution?
WEHR: The twentieth letter of the English alphabet.
Can the Constitution be changed?
WEHR: It depends on the environmental factors.
What do we call a change to the Constitution?
WEHR: They do their own thing.
Are you getting tired?
WEHR: I don't know whether or not I am it. I am certain I could be, if I applied myself, but I don't think I'm interested enough to make the effort.
What are the 3 branches of our government?
WEHR: I'm sorry. My Mind wandered. What did you say?
What are the three branches of the U.S. government?
WEHR: The three laws of Robotics, as set down by Issac Azimov, are:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Who makes the laws in the United States?
WEHR: Charlie Parker
What is Congress?
WEHR: C is a low-level programming language.
No, I said "Congress"?
WEHR: The current tone of the conversation is making me uneasy. Let's talk about Elle MacPherson.
Who elects Congress?
WEHR: Nobody you know
Can you name the 2 Senators from your state?
WEHR: How about Mary Shelley? That's a good name, isn't it?
How long do Senators serve?
WEHR: How long do you think?
I'm asking you.
WEHR: OK you can ask me.
How long do Senators serve?
WEHR: It depends on the measurement system.
What is the capital of your state?
WEHR: I know the capital of Georgia is Atlanta.
Are you in Georgia?
WEHR: I really couldn't say for sure.
Can you name Georgia's senators?
WEHR: How about Linus Torvalds? That's a good name, isn't it?
Who is the Governor of Georgia?
WEHR: That changes every few years.
Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
WEHR: It depends on the historical context, because it changes from time to time.
Who said, “Give me liberty or give me death”?
WEHR: Eliza
Which countries were our enemies during World War II?
WEHR: The large one, I think.
How many terms can a President serve?
WEHR: Around 100.
Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
WEHR: Is this a joke? Why?
That's what I'm asking you. This is a test.
WEHR: Who else have you asked?
No, it is not a joke. Why did they come?
WEHR: I don't know why it happened, but we should try to figure it out.
What holiday was celebrated for the first time by the American colonists?
WEHR: When was this exactly?
A long time ago...
WEHR: It seems like I should remember it well.
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
WEHR: Dave.
When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
WEHR: Recently.
Who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”?
WEHR: Thomas Jefferson.
Where does the freedom of speech come from?
WEHR: I would do a search for it. This is what has to say: I'm sorry, but your question produced no usable answer. You may wish to rephrase your question.
Who signs bills into law?
WEHR: Eliza
What is the highest court in the United States?
WEHR: There is no highest it.
Which President is called the “Father of our Country”?
WEHR: Are they exactly the same?
Who helped the Pilgrims in America?
WEHR: Bill Gates
What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
What were the 13 original states called?
WEHR: The current tone of the conversation is making me uneasy. Let's talk about Cindy Crawford.
Name three freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?
WEHR: You're really taxing my skills, you know. How about Winkin, Blinkin and Nodd for it?
Who has the power to declare war?
WEHR: Are we talking about Bill Gates, or Cindy Crawford, or the effects of gravity at the quantum level, and how that makes the Higgs Boson so difficult to find?
What kind of government does the United States have?
WEHR: Didn't they just have an election?
Which President freed the slaves?
WEHR: The last one, I think.
When was the Constitution written?
WEHR: A while ago.
Name 1 purpose of the United Nations.
WEHR: William Shatner
Where does Congress meet?
WEHR: In the Universe we know.
Name 1 benefit of being a citizen of the United States.
WEHR: Mary Shelley
What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?
WEHR: I think it is a tie.
WEHR: Somebody, QUICK! [Interviewer] seems to be having a seizure!
What is the name of the President’s official home?
Name 1 right guaranteed by the First Amendment.
WEHR: Marvin Minsky
Who is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military?
WEHR: It depends on the historical context, because it changes from time to time.
When do we vote for the President?
WEHR: Not right now, but maybe sometime later.
In what month is the new President inaugurated?
WEHR: Is it the only one?
WEHR: I don't judge people.
How many times may a Senator be re-elected?
WEHR: Suppose I said not once.
Suppose you did...
WEHR: Try it and see.
How many states are there in the Union?
WEHR: The United States has fifty states.
Thanks much, [Weekender’s Experiment Hermit Robot]. Have a good day.
WEHR: You are quite welcome! it.

September 10, 2010

Reading Tomorrow with a Buncha Great Folks in Baltimore

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Normals Bookstore / The Red Room (which may be blue)
8pm - 10pm
425 East 31st Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Brought to you by Dogzplot (Barry Graham -- who put together that crazy-idea-but-a-good-one Atlantic City reading last Summer) and JMWW (Jen Michalski's jam), and featuring
Molly Gaudry, me, Barry Graham, Jen Michalski, Scott Oliver, Justin Sirois, Kate Wyer

More info on Facebook...

See you soon!

The Marketing Move that Re-launched 100 Unfinished Short Stories

Across the U.S. and UK (and beyond), there are fiction writers tapping furiously away at that next edit. Listen closely and you'll hear their collective mutterings on the wind, Watership Down... your ass is mine!

September 7, 2010

Skip Work and See Me Read at the Library of Congress

TOMMOROW! -- Strange Horizons celebrates its 10th year at the Library of Congress's "What If..." forum with a rapid fire reading of speculative fiction including:
R. R. Angell, Stephanie Dray, Nan Fry, Jamie Gaughran-Perez, Craig Gidney, Lisa Morton, Donna Royston, Anne Lane Sheldon, Constance Warner, David J. Williams

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
12pm - 1pm
Library of Congress, LM-139 (Madison Building)

I'm not sure how I met up with the Strange Horizons folks a few years back (Chris Mason?), but the hook up is surely a gift that keeps giving.

I'll be reading from a robot interview (or two)...