I picked up a refurbed Kindle Paperwhite recently, so I’m actually reading something, other than the articles in Playboy.  I took it with me on vacation and started “Leviathan Wakes”, by James S.A. Corey; book 1 of what “The Expanse” is based on.  I enjoyed the series greatly, so I thought it would be fun to see how much it differs from the book.  Short answer, if you go by the show’s seasons, quite a bit.  None of the gubmint characters who figured prominently in the show’s early episodes have been introduced as yet.  No Mars-Belt war in the show either.

But, it’s solidly enjoyable read and good for the show’s background material, as I like punishing myself with that kind of minutia.

Who knows, now that I have a Kindle just lying around, maybe I’ll finally start reading regularly again.  Maybe.


Finally finished The Last Policeman. It should’ve been an enjoyable procedural set just before the world ends, but I had too much going on to read it in a single siting and it suffered by being broken up into little bits and pieces. I’m currently working on Anne Corlett’s The Space Between the Stars because it was available in the local public library’s audiobook section and it had name recognition from io9’s review of it. It’s actually pretty enjoyable. A plague wipes out everyone but a handful of people were isolated for various reasons spread across Earth’s far-flung colonial system. The government is made up of assholes and the main character just wants to be left alone.

mexican sharpshooter

I ain’t got nothin…I’ll pick something up for next time around.


Most of my reading time has been with such fascinating places as LinkedIn and Monster. But I did pull down an old favorite off the shelf, Charles Coulson’s Valence. One of my long-time geekeries and the thing in college that sidetracked me from an original career aim of engineering to becoming a chemist was an inordinate fascination with what holds molecules together and why they have the shape they do. This book and Pauling’s Nature of the Chemical Bond were almost fetish objects to Young Man With Candy. Did I mention I was a geek? If you were always itching to have a really lucid comparison of the molecular orbital and valence bond approaches to understanding molecular structure and dynamics, you have found Nirvana. The math level is low enough that even old and rusty guys like me can deal with it- basic differential equations and linear algebra.

Side note: Coulson was also a religious author and coined the phrase “God of the Gaps.” He was the PhD adviser to Peter Higgs of the Higgs Boson fame, and an early advocate of using science to improve food production in the Third World- I would not be surprised to find that he was an inspiration for Norman Borlaug.



I’m rereading The Expanse series, including all the prequels and interstitial stories. It is some really solid science fiction, something rare these days. I hope Amazon doesn’t screw the pooch with the new season.

As a side note: Another Life, on Netflix, may be the worst science fiction television of the decade. The plot is derivative–a mash-up of a few other things and done poorly, relies on the “everyone’s an asshole!” model of character development to create drama, the science is laughably bad (why in the fuck would you need to do a gravity slingshot around a sun if you have FTL drive?) and it is seemingly produced and written by people who hate science fiction.

Brett L

I went and picked up one of The Expanse novellas, this one the back-story on Amos. Had I read it before the particular book that dealt with Amos’s return to Baltimore (still a shithole, OMWC!, even in 2250) I might have liked it more. It really didn’t add much. As an aside, I binge watched the first three seasons of The Expanse. Although the character playing Amos is too young and thin, the guy playing him does a great job of capturing Amos’s core character as a nice guy who thinks kids should be protected and all other human life is completely worthless. It is a strange, friendly, dead-eyed psychopathy that the actor pretty much nails.

I also read the first book of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series. I give it a solid B. It breaks no new ground, the characters are fine, and the story moves along. It does kind of feel like the Koch brothers funded vision of The Laundry Files.

For business, I picked up Effective Azure DevOps, because while I’m not drinking the devops Flavor-Aid, I did just lose a senior resource, and anything I can do to standardize and automate our build and deploy process will help me deliver a more consistent product and not have to do as much rework, which I no longer have the resources to indulge in where avoidable. Like any other set of IT practices, one should always be aware that your business is not necessarily the one the authors had when they created the process.