20 years ago today…

Where did the years go?
20 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. This means, now, that more of my life has been spent without the Berlin Wall than it was with that edifice in place.
The Berlin Wall fell as I was beginning college, and making my way in the world. It was an exciting time and I can’t imagine it wasn’t even more exciting, there. I have a friend who had been to East Germany before the Wall fell.
From his stories, its clear that the adage that “the past is a different country” is definitely true.
And I still need to see the classic movie about the fall of the wall, “Goodbye Lenin!”

Mid Ocean Ridge to be forming in Africa?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18114-giant-crack-in-africa-formed-in-just-days.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news
A crack in the Earth’s crust – which could be the forerunner to a new ocean – ripped open in just days in 2005, a new study suggests. The opening, located in the Afar region of Ethiopia, presents a unique opportunity for geologists to study how mid-ocean ridges form.
it’s possible that this crack will enlarge and grow over the next few million years, and be the basis for the formation of a new ocean someday. Or, the rift could fail, since there are plenty of failed rifts scattered across the world. The Mississippi river runs through such a rift. There is also one that forms the Lake Superior basin. And others.

Jo Walton on Kalvan

The indefatigable Jo Walton (herself an author of merit in her own right) has been blogging about favored novels on Tor.com (And really, you are missing out if you aren’t subscribed to the feed).
Anyway, today, she talks about one of my favorites, Piper’s Kalvan of Otherwhen. Pennsylvania Trooper Calvin Morrison gets accidentally shunted sidewise in time to another world where he really can be a hero thanks to his knowledge of gunpowder.
Walton makes excellent points about how a few things, culturally, don’t work in modern sensibilities, but the rollicking story, narrative and characters (including a princess who is no wilting flower–I just love Rylla too) make the story a classic.
And its still in print on Amazon, so you don’t even need to work that hard to find it.
The Complete Paratime (Ace Science Fiction)

Radar Reveals Dynamic World Under Antarctica’s Ice

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120087654
A NASA DC-8 plane equipped with lasers, ice-penetrating radar, and a gravity meter is revealing a dynamic and complex world beneath the massive ice sheet that covers Antarctica.
The plane is flying over Antarctica for six weeks as part of a mission to use airplanes to replace a dying NASA satellite that’s been monitoring polar ice.
But the stopgap measure is providing a major scientific bonus: The DC-8 flies just 1,500 feet above the ice and carries instruments that let scientists see right through the ice.

Listen or read the whole story. A look at the landscape underneath the ice sheets of Antarctica is too cool for words.
It looks like Slartibartfast had a hand in designing Antarctica prior to putting the ice sheet on it–there is evidence there are fjords underneath all that ice!

Best Genre Endings

http://www.graspingforthewind.com/2009/11/02/inside-the-blogosphere-best-book-endings-in-the-genre/
The Indefatiguable John Ottinger over on Grasping for the wind has compiled some opinions on favorite best book endings in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Recent tsuris in my life did not allow me to participate in this round, but go ahead and read what other F&SF bloggers have to say. A warning though, this sort of thing is necessarily spoiler-driven.

Unemployed and seeking new opportunities.

To Whom it may concern
In the modern workforce world, there are things that are central, that matter, that are true. These are the things that make a company succeed in a cutthroat state, regional, national and international environment.
Attention to the little and large details that make a difference in a company’s bottom line is essential. The necessity of Good Service: be it service to outside Customers, inside Customers, or even simply to other departments within an organization, cannot be overstated or underestimated. We all have to get along in this world to get along.
This world is also becoming ever more complex, and employees who can handle, or even relish tackling that complexity, even as it continually changes, is a must.
With my attention to detail, familiarity with complex and changing information, and strong customer service skills, I can help you succeed in that world. You can help me succeed in my career goals. Let’s work together.
Sincerely,
Paul Weimer