November 7th, 2006


The Tuesday Report


This is the "big" mid-term election in the U.S. The one which will establish the new balance of power in the Federal government, which will determine the fortunes of the current President. The one where a slight majority of the less than 45% of eligible voters who will actually vote will determine the fortunes of the rest of... Oh never mind.

I voted. I always vote. Mrs. Dr. Phil was something like the 86th voter in our Precinct -- I voted some eight hours later and was the 513th. That's still pretty big numbers for a small area. The place was packed. Our Precinct had six voting "booths"/"stands"/whatever you wanna call them and they were full when I arrived and still full when I left.

No nasty touchscreen or Diebold machines -- optical scan ballots. Actually, the older optical scan machines were "nicer" for user friendliness. They used a felt-tip pen which filled in the space with one line. The new one uses black ballpoint pens and you have to take the time to filled in the oval bubbles. Shades of the SAT... except a pencil would fill in bubbles easier than a pen on a rickety collapsible "table".

The Transit of Mercury

Hey, I hadn't realized this was coming, but tomorrow Wednesday 8 November 2006, the planet Mercury will cross in front of the Sun starting at 2:12 pm EST. The transit of Mercury will take about five hours -- here's a NASA webpage detailing all and a graphic.

A story on NPR noted that since this can only be seen with a telescope, there've only been observed transits of Mercury from the early 17th century. The next one won't be until 9 May 2016. Get the popcorn poppin' -- it's going to be exciting!

Actually, I guess it was the timing of transits of Venus and Mercury that allowed astronomers to determine their true distance.

Reports From The World Fantasy Con

2004 Clarionite John Schoffstall slithytove has two interesting reports from last week's WFC in Austin TX, here and here. Both of these have some nice things for writers to consider. More anon...

Oh, and John also pimps the Publisher's Weekly best of the year report, with 2004 Clarion instructor Jeff Ford 14theditch and 2004 Clarionite Marjorie M. Liu webpetals getting some nods. Yay!

It's dinnertime!

Dr. Phil
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