"john mcdaid"

That's Trump: a Pete Seegeresque anthem

Madeline Ashby (previously) writes, "This is a protest song in the vein of Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger, written by the wonderful John McDaid (previously, and it's great."

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Nostril-wedged maggots of Portsmouth: Otorhinolaryngologist's expert opinion explained

More on yesterday's story about a nasal-wedged maggot scare in Portsmouth, RI's middle school (refresher: the Portsmouth Middle School sent parents a terrifying letter warning of a student Smartie-snorting epidemic and predicting that children would end up with maggots in their noses that feasted upon the sugar residue).

John McDaid, the investigative blogger who broke the story, tracked down Dr. Oren Friedman, Associate Professor, Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania, who was quoted in the letter the school sent home as warning that "frequent snorting could even rarely lead to maggots feeding on the sugary dust wedged inside the nose." Read the rest

Portsmouth Middle School warns parents about Smartie-snorting epidemic and the risk of nasal maggots

Parents in Portsmouth, Rhode Island got a letter from the Portsmouth Middle School warning them that students may be snorting and smoking ground-up Smarties candies. The letter warns of risks of cuts, lung infections, nasal passage scarring, nose-wedged maggots (!), and future cigarette and drug use. John McDaid, a writer and local investigative blogger, got a comment from Portsmouth School Committee chair Dave Croston, who stated "I can say only that this behavior raises troubling issue of modeling." Read the rest

Checking the math in RI GOP Senate candidate Barry Hinckley's "economics for 5-year-olds" campaign spot

Citizen journalist John McDaid looks at RI Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley's campaign spot in which Hinckley's five-year-old son gives a lecture on economics and gas prices. The spot resulted in some pretty weird stuff (McDaid describes the "bizarre followup interview he and his son gave with Fox's Neil Cavuto, where Hinckley appeared to be lip-synching his son's responses like Fats in Magic"), but really takes issue with the frankly misleading gas-price chart shown in the ad.

I can understand that a five-year-old doesn't know enough to label both the axes, or make sure his line crosses the origin. And, granted, I'm a bit of a chart geek (after all, I slammed the chair of the Portsmouth School Committee for showing a chart with a distorted Y axis). But that's just not what the shape of the line looks like, either in outline or detail. Based on numbers from the US Energy Information Administration, it should look like this chart over here.

Economics for five-year-olds; data visualization for adults Read the rest

Hugo Nominees 2011

Congrats to the nominees for the 2011 Hugo Awards, to be presented at this year's World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, NV. I'll be there and rooting for my favorites!

Best Novel Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra) Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen) The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr) Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010) The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean) "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand (Stories: All New Tales, William Morrow) "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov's, September 2010) "Troika" by Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines, Science Fiction Book Club)

Best Novelette "Eight Miles" by Sean McMullen (Analog, September 2010) "The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele (Asimov's, June 2010) "The Jaguar House, in Shadow" by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov's, July 2010) "Plus or Minus" by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's, December 2010) "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone (Analog, September 2010)

Best Short Story "Amaryllis" by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June 2010) "For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's, September 2010) "Ponies" by Kij Johnson (Tor.com, November 17, 2010) "The Things" by Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, January 2010)

Here's a telling stat for you: "1006 valid nominating ballots were counted, 992 electronic and 14 paper."

The Hugo Awards

(via John McDaid) Read the rest

Bullshit about newspapers' future, dissected

Xark's Dan Conover, evidently a newspaperman, writes in "The newspaper suicide pact" about the mountain of bullshit that has entered the discussion about the future of newspaper business-models. This is some of the clearest, most interesting, best-referenced criticism of the newspaper industry's thrash-and-FUD I've read:

Newspapers that are turning to paywall plans today are gambling on a risky revenue stream that even the experts aren't predicting will provide a replacement to their lost advertising revenues (their biggest financial problem is the rapid decline in advertising rates, not the slow decline in print circulation). It's a "well, we've got to do SOMETHING" solution, not a logical, do-the-math solution. And since since most media companies are owned by shareholders, the resulting loss of confidence could be catastrophic.

What will these media executives do when that reality hits them? When these debt-burdened chains, stripped of journalistic talent by a decade of profiteering, their web traffic reduced by 60 percent by their paid-content follies, their pockets emptied by the cost of the proprietary paywall systems offered by Journalism Online LLC and other opportunistic vendors, what will they do?...

They don't get it. They don't want to get it. And in many cases, they're literally paid not to get it.

America's journalism infrastructure - from corporate giants to non-profit foundations like the American Press Institute and the Newspaper Association of America - is funded by dying companies. So when you hear about efforts to save newspapers (and, by extension, journalism), understand that answers that don't return the possibility of double-digit profits and perpetual top-down control aren't even considered answers.

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McDaid's amazing story "Keyboard Practice" as an MP3

John McDaid's amazing, Nebula-shortlisted science fiction story "Keyboard Practice" is now available as a free MP3.

Earlier this month, I blogged about how John had posted a free electronic edition of his groundbreaking story "Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals," which I had the good fortune to workshop with him some years ago. Keyboard Practice is a mind-bending, playful, hilarious story about artificial intelligence and the Goldberg Variations, and it has earned John a spot on the shortlist for the 2005 Nebula Awards.

I made the same list with my story Anda's Game, and I recently released an MP3 of game-blogger Alice Taylor reading it aloud in three parts (1, 2, 3). (Incidentally, Anda's Game was workshopped by John as well).

Now John has released his own reading of Keyboard Practice as a 60MB MP3. I can't wait to listen to this on the way to the office today. I wish every story on the Nebula shortlist was available this way!

60MB MP3 Link

(via John McDaid)

Update: Remmelt's posted a torrent of this file. BTW, I finished listening to it today and MAN is it ever good. Better than I remembered, even. Read the rest

John McDaid's brilliant sf story Keyboard Practice free online

One of my favorite sf stories of the past ten years has been shortlisted for this year's Nebula Award, and is being made available for free download during the final balloting season.

Last December, I blogged about John McDaid's "Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals," I story I workshopped with John in Toronto a few summers ago. John's an amazing, polymath of a writer, one of those short story writers like Ted Chiang whose all-to-infrequent work breaks new ground with each new installment.

Keyboard Practice is hard to summarize here: like much of John's work, it is stupendously weird and expansive. I am so mightily pleased that it is available online in full, at last -- not least because it spares me the near-impossible task of summing up a major work of fiction by John McDaid. Run, don't walk.

(I'd be remiss if I failed to point out that my story Anda's Game (originally published in Salon and reprinted in Michael Chabon's Best American Short Stories -- podcast reading by Alice from the Wonderland blog is here) is up against "Keyboard Practice" on the preliminary Nebula ballot -- whew, tough competition.)


I'm an unreliable narrator. Everything I know about classical piano could be stored handily, uncompressed, in the lobotomized set-top box of an antique cathode television. Still, it falls to me to transcribe the events surrounding the Van Meegeren Piano Competition of 2023 and the alleged visitation by the late Stefan Janacek.

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