Friday, March 09, 2007

All publicity is good

Nothing like 'losing' a manuscript to get a bit of publicity.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Poetry and an Eclipse

Watched the eclipse of the moon on Saturday night. Skies cleared over Suffolk and the shadow of the Earth moved slowly over the moon. Tried to get the kids interested - they did watch but it was only an excuse to stay up late! It only turned a bit red (perhaps I went to bed too early) and I had to explain the mechanism to my daughter. I should have pointed her here, as my attempts to explain about the refraction of light were confusing at the least.

On another note, have received the designs for the cover of my poetry book, Signs, from the publishers. This is a print on demand collaboration with a local firm, Arima. It will be out by the summer, if I can stop fiddling with the poems. I am very pleased with the cover, type design and hope I can match their quality with my marketing skills.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dark matter

It is a fascinating concept: a century old model of the universe and its origins is all in place, except that it requires something that doesn't exist - dark matter.
We all know that most of the universe is space. Atoms are full of it (or rather, empty of it) and since atoms compose everything, we are space. Held together with electromagnetic energy.

Yet something must give the universe most of its mass, in order to fulfil fundamental laws of physics. This is predicted to be dark matter, and in the 1960s a British physicist, Peter Higgs, predicted the existence of a particle thought to give all other particles their mass. The particle has one of those enigmatic, scientific names, the Higgs boson.

If the Higgs exists, it would fill a worrying gap in the standard model, the notional structure for describing the fundamental nature of matter. But if the Higgs doesn't exist...it will be back to the drawing board.

A recent article in New Scientist gives more information on current research, including a tantalising glimpse of the future as a result of recent experiments:

If the blips in the debris of the Tevatron particle smasher really are signs of the Higgs boson then it's not what we expected. It might mean that it's time to replace the standard model with a more complex picture of the universe.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Poetry Podcast the First

I have downloaded a podcast of a poetry reading by Lyn Hejinian, part of the Poem Present series at The University of Chicago.

Will let you know how it goes (on for 45 minutes).

Waterstones and New Technology

Book retailers must ready themselves for a similar digital revolution to that experienced by music retailers, said Waterstone’s managing director Gerry Johnson.

He told delegates at the Retail Week Conference that “People have strong perceptions of what a bookshop should look like. We have got slightly out of step with what consumers expect.”

He said that as consumers get used to books and content being delivered digitally, its stores must change in response. He believes that a tipping point will occur with the introduction of a multi-use digital device that drives the take up of digital books. “For anyone dealing with entertainment products, the pace of change is extraordinary. We have only got to refer to the music business to know that there will be a tipping point and [once it happens] the market will change beyond recognition within six months.