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Programming, speculative fiction, science, technology
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conventions

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IMG_5906 Fannish Feud, the fan team

Fannish Feud, the fan team, left to right: Renee, Troyce Wilson, ArmadilloCon Fan Guest of Honor Michael Walsh, and Rhonda Eudaly, who, as she pointed out, could be on both pros and fans teams.

IMG_5906 Fannish Feud, the fan team

IMG_1467 Mathematics, magic, and mystery panel

K. G. (Kevin) Jewell, John Gibbons, Janet Kathleen Cheney, and Ted Chiang at the "Mathematics, magic, and mystery" panel. The panel started out with a discussion of a book by the same name that explored mathematical "paradoxes" (many of them pretty simple and not paradoxical at all). But the larger purpose of the panel was to explore how mathematics influences science fiction. Apparently, there isn't much science fiction -- at least not very well known -- where the central idea is mathematical. Our panelists mentioned these works:

IMG_1467 Mathematics, magic, and mystery panel

IMG_1472 K. G. (Kevin) Jewell shows math tricks

at the "Mathematics, magic, and mystery panel". The panel started out with a discussion of a book by the same name that explored mathematical "paradoxes". Many of them were pretty simple and not paradoxical at all -- for example, the trick where you divide a right triangle into squares, and reshuffle them to make an empty square, thus making a part of the triangle's area to "disappear".

IMG_1472 K. G. (Kevin) Jewell shows math tricks

IMG_1465 Remembering The Future panel

Sigrid Close (a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University and ArmadilloCon 2014 science Guest of Honor), Patrice Sarath (SF/F author), Ada Palmer (historian and SF/F author), and Ted Chiang (SF/F author) at the Remembering The Future panel panel. The panel explored the question, is time real or an illusion?

IMG_1465 Remembering The Future panel

IMG_1444 Mars team panel

Mars 1 Dream Team panel. Left to right: writers Bob Mahoney, William Ledbetter, Patrice Sarath, Alexis Glynn Latner, and aeronautics/astronautics professor Sigrid Close.

IMG_1444 Mars team panel

Larval Mode: a Linucon 2005 panel

The name Larval Mode comes from the Hacker's Dictionary where it means the state of being a novice programmer or techie. The panelists were Eric Raymond and "one of the unsung heroes of the internet" John Quarterman. They did this panel specifically for a group of high school students who travelled to Linucon.

Here are some topics they talked about.

I can't guarantee that I quoted Eric Raymond or John Quarterman correctly, but I tried to capture the essence of what they said.

How Friendly Were Frodo and Sam? An ApolloCon 2007 panel

CIMG6461Selina Rosen and Jess Nevins

Description in the program book: Was there a homoerotic subtext to Lord of the Rings? Is subtext in the eye of the beholder, or is Spec Fic friendlier to GLBT characters and readings than the mainstream? Panelists discuss the perception of alternative sexualities in SF/F.

Panelists: Alexis Glynn Latner (moderator), Lee Martindale, Jess Nevins, Selina Rosen, Mel. White

What was it really about:

The discussion didn't focus so much about a relationship between Frodo and Sam (though there was some speculation), or even whether SF is friendlier to gay / lesbian / bi /transsexual (GLBT) characters than mainstream literature. Mostly it revolved around fan fiction, especially slash fiction.

Pictures from ApolloCon 2007 are in my photo gallery.

Dating 101: Remedial Flirting: a Linucon 2004 panel

CIMG0930 Eric and Cathy Raymond

Official Synopsis: Cuddling with the computer too much? We've been there too. Ways to learn (or relearn) social skills.

Panelists Eric and Cathy Raymond discuss flirting tactics and first date ideas that work well for geeks.

Eric Raymond's speech: Linucon 2004

P0000554 Eric Raymond at Linucon 2004

At Linucon 2004 Eric Raymond gave a speech on the basic principles of the Unix philosophy. They are the same principles as described in the "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" chapter of Raymond's book "The Art of Unix Programming". Since the book is available online, I put a link to each rule so you could compare what's said in the book with what was said in the speech. He dwelled a little longer on each rule and gave more examples than he does in this chapter of the book. At the end of the speech he answered questions, some more, some less related to Unix philosophy. He also ranted on XML (after admitting not having an opinion about it) and expressed his opinion on Hurd.

Pictures from Linucon 2004 are in my photo gallery.

Pros and cons of the GNU General Public License: Linucon 2005

CIMG0927 Jay Maynard in his alternative Tron costume

Synopsis from Linucon program book: "The most popular open source license, the GPL, inspires controversy to this day. Eric Raymond recently expressed some ambivalence about it, so he and his lawyer wife Cathy are moderating this panel, with Jay Maynard, a.k.a. The Tron Guy speaking out against the GPL and Rob Landley defending it."

One of Rob Landley's pro-GPL arguments is that it can prevent a project from forking. Jay Maynard claims credit for coining the term General Public Virus. His objection to GPL lies in its ideological agenda. Rob says GPL keeps companies from taking open source code, incorporating it into their products and making money off of someone else's work without giving back to the community. Jay objects that even if companies did that, the good consequences of this action would outweigh the bad. Eric Raymond then inserts himself physically and ideologically between these two "nutcase friends" of his. His position is that GPL is slowing down the adoption of open source, because it is often incorrectly perceived that a company that uses open source software would be obligated to blow open their entire intellectual property. Furthermore, he says, GPL is based on the assumption that defecting from the open source community is attractive, whereas in reality it is its own punishment. Both sides use Linksys as an example to support their arguments. :-) They briefly debate whether the reason BSD did not become as popular as Linux was due to its license, or, as Eric Raymond argues, because they got their social machinery wrong.

Some pictures from this panel can be found in my Linucon 2005 photo gallery.

Read more about The Tron Guy in my blog.