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Dan Thompson
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, TX
3,190 followers|658,154 views


Positive proof that the 3-body problem is unsolvable.  
(h/t to a private share)

#3bodyproblem   #goats  
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Looks like fun!
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There have been a lot of unicorns and unicorn-related posts in my stream lately, so I thought I’d share a darker unicorn moment for my #SaturdayScenes today. It’s from my unpublished Hell Bent, in my Tales of the Herald urban fantasy world where a young reporter writes for the newspaper in this cross-realm universe. A bit of backstory here is that Max is something of a mentor to her, and she once screwed him on a big story.


With that settled, I returned to the engagement story. I still had no contacts with the principals, and I had missed my shot at meeting the mayor. I looked at my email again but did not see Max’s recording of the hospital presentation with the mayor. It was already getting late, so I headed over to the east corner of the floor to find him typing away on his laptop.

“Just a minute,” he said without looking up.

I circled around and found him editing a paragraph in the final layout software. It was a piece on that club fire over in the strip district. The fire marshal was not yet ready to conclude arson, but Max evidently had a demon firefighter source who said he definitely smelled the diesel. Max got all the good stories.

His story on the unicorn trade had been a great one. If it had gotten more notice, I think it would have had a shot at an award – maybe not the Pulitzer, but something. You know all those great cancer treatments we started having back in the nineties? They were all derived from unicorn blood. Most of us have seen unicorns Earth-side, either in the circus or at the zoo, but the bulk of them are in four ranches down in Kentucky. The sisters of St. Claire, virgins all, managed to capture enough breeding stock thirty-five years ago that they raise them by the thousands now. They seem just as sentient over here as they do in Wizburgh, but they have no powers on this side. When the time comes to ship them home, they are bound in heavy mithril chains for the ride back to the slaughter.

Max had it all, from the bad conditions on the ranch, the rapid breeding cycle for the mares, even pictures from the slaughter-house back in Wizburgh. I never knew for sure what pressure the diocese brought to bear, but just as Max was about to file, I was assigned the other unicorn story. I did one of those human interest stories, focusing on probably the sweetest grandmother in the city. She had beaten stage four pancreatic cancer, and she had the largest collection of glass unicorns in the state. That was her way of honoring “the brave unicorns” who had saved her life. Both stories ran in the same Sunday edition. Mine was on the front page of the Lifestyle section, above the fold. Max’s ran on B7 next to an ad for a snow blower. There had been no follow-up stories, no letters to the editor, and no calls from animal rights groups. Nothing.

He never said anything to me about it, but I knew it had hurt him. As for me, it had been my first story to get one of those “what’s inside” blurbs on the front page. I remember Dad saying he had bought out the local newsstand in his Karthai neighborhood to show off his little girl’s big story.

Sometimes this job really sucks.

= = =

If you’re a writer and want to play along, post a scene from your own work and tag it with #SaturdayScenes . Read more about it in the Saturday Scenes community:
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Now this was a twisted story.  Good job
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Dan Thompson

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It's here!  

This was one of my favorite kickstarters to support.  If you missed it, here's your chance to pay retail:
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This guy gets it. I'll have more to say sometime in the future, but for now read what he has to say. (This kind of thing is why I make the distinction between real Christians and the folks who just go to church.)
Read what this pastor says to Christians who spread gay hate to children

What happened after Pastor John Pavlovitz told the world what he promised to do if his kids were gay

Love doesn’t always look like love.

When I published this blog a few weeks ago promising to love my kids if they were gay, I was fully prepared for waves of both support and hostility.

What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally, to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families.

Parents, children, siblings, and adults have confided in me (some for the first time anywhere), telling of the pain, and bullying, and shunning they’re received from churches, pastors, and church members – from professed followers of Jesus.

Scores of people from all over the world have shared with me their devastating stories of exclusion and isolation, of unanswered prayers to change, of destructive conversion therapies, of repeated suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith.

This is the reality of church theology on homosexuality.
What happened after Pastor John Pavlovitz told the world what he promised to do if his kids were gay
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Reminds me of my wife's stepfather, and my grandmother.  Those are/were two who "walked the walk" in my life.  Sadly, they are vastly outnumbered by those who don't.  I am not a christian, but I find it sad that a religion that seems to be based in love has so many members devoted to hate and judgement. 
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Because it’s been a rough week in physical therapy, today’s #SaturdayScenes  shows Michael Fletcher recuperating from an injury in Oaths of My Fathers.

 = = =

Michael squeezed the ball in his right hand as hard as he could.  He barely made a dimple.  “Fuck!”

Winner smirked.  “Getting tired, sir?”  They were alone in the ship’s gym.  At least his suffering was in relative privacy.

“Tired.  Frustrated.  I’m barely moving it.  How can this be so hard?”

“Actually, sir, you’re doing pretty well.”


“Well, you know, for a captain.”

He glared at her.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“A crewman would already be twice as far along.”


“Come on, sir.  Just one more set of five squeezes.”

“That’s what you said after the last set.”

“I know, but I was lying then.”

“And you’re telling the truth now?”

“I guess you’ll know after the next set.”

He growled but put the ball back into his right hand and began to squeeze.  “All right... just tell me this...”

“That’s one.”

“Back in that diner at Tsaigo... the guy with the gun... you were on him so fast...”

“That’s two.”

“I never even saw the gun... before you had him on the floor...”

“And three, that’s good.”

“How did you know... he had a gun?”

“He didn’t,” she said.  “And that one doesn’t count.”

“What the hell?  What do you mean he didn’t have a gun.”

“I planted the gun on him in the scuffle, got his prints on it and all that.”


“Come on sir, that’s only three.  You owe me two more.”

He strained to squeeze the ball again.  He was starting to strain in his biceps, but the sense of force simply did not carry through to his hand.  “Answer... my... question.”

“I remembered him from my days back in the ring.  All right, that’s four.  One more.”

“You knew him?”  He squeezed once again.

“Yeah... dirty fight runner, but well connected.  He might not have been about to shoot you, but he was about to tell the shooters were you were.  He probably had already.  Excellent, that’s five.”

Michael let the ball drop.  “So the gun, just a diversion?”

“Security folks don’t like slug-throwers on station.  Too many pipes, too many people, too much vacuum.  This way, I knew he wasn’t going anywhere for at least a few hours, long enough to get you back to the ship.”  She shook her head.  “For all the good that did.”

“So you lied.”

She grinned and scooped the ball back up off the floor.  “I’ve been known to do that from time to time.  Now, just one more set of five.”

He glared at her.  “You’re enjoying this entirely too much.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but I think I’m enjoying it precisely the right amount.”

= = =

If you’re a writer and want to play along, post a scene from your own work and tag it with #SaturdayScenes  .  Read more about it in the Saturday Scenes community:
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That was great! I couldn't help but laugh at the captain. Thanks for sharing. :)
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Why we don't know how many people are killed by police in the US

This is a surprisingly in-depth article on the problems the US faces in getting good data on what you would think is a critical public issue, i.e. how many civilians do our police kill each year?

It looks at a number of issues, from the desire of some local police departments to defensively obscure the information to the failure of our overlapping law enforcement organizations to properly coordinate on that data.  

I found that second issue to be particularly interesting.  While plenty of ink has been spilled covering some police departments that act to intentionally hide information from the public, very little has been written about how our uniquely American system of law enforcement drops the ball on reporting this data.

The article points out a few highlights of local police departments that go to great lengths to report not merely every death, but even every time a bullet is fired in the field.  It also highlights some efforts that have been made at state and federal levels to collect that data.

However, our patchwork system of federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations has left us with an impossibly varied landscape of record keeping.  For many police departments, that data exists, but it's on paper in a box in a warehouse.  For others, it's in a computer system, but it's organization is not compatible with pulling the statistic out, i.e. they might have a list of all use-of-force actions, but no way to flag only those that resulted in deaths, or they might have a list of all shooting deaths but not one of other in-custody deaths from tasers or other use of force.

While it seems like it should be a simple problem to solve, several efforts have failed, including one federal effort that was mothballed last year, and neither bottom-up nor top-down efforts seem to be well-suited to solving it.  

Kinda depressing, but hopefully folks smarter than me are working to solve it.
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I'd say we need to worry about all of them, because until we see the whole picture, I'm less inclined to blindly accept the police opinions as to which are justified and which aren't.
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I haven't checked all of these out, by any means, but hey free heroin Space Opera!
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I'm sorry, Governor Pence, but I'm exercising my religious freedom to not do business with bigots.

(Edited to add:  this post has the potential for some divisive commentary, which has thus far been respectful.  However, I'm going to be offline for the next several hours and won't have the ability to stay on top of it, so I'm closing comments for now.

For those inclined to make the religious argument that the Bible/Christ said that homosexuality is a sin, my counterarguments are made quite well in the book What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality.  )
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+Adventure.Cat I believe you will find that Christ was silent the matter, and the Old Testament (and even Paul's) commentary on it is open to interpretation.

I recommend the book: What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality

Dan Thompson

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Soooo cute
Best birthday surprise ever !
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Root and reinstall

So I finally got around to rooting that Kindle Fire HD I got over the summer. I found the Amazon android ecosystem to be pretty much useless, so I essentially had a brick. I eventually moved on to a native android Nexus 7, but I kept thinking of ways to use the old Kindle Fire.

So starting this afternoon I rooted of and installed CyanogenMod or whatever it's called. It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped (here's a script that does it all) but it also wasn't as hard as I feared (permanently bricking the device on step 17 of 237). The only hard part was that I had to do a factory reset on the device to get the Fire OS back to a version that was rootable.

So I am now up and running, and making this post from the Google+ app running on what no longer looks anything like a Kindle Fire. It's still a WiFi only device, so I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it. Still, once I pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard, hopefully it will make a decent mobile platform in settings like the office or hotel.

So this goes on the done pile with satisfaction.
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Bricking on step 17 of 237 is bad. Bricking on step 236 of 237 is even worse. :-)

Congratulations on the successful re-image. 
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+Dan Thompson +CK Wylde Neighbor lost 40 pounds?
Yeah, he was married...once. 
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In his circles
1,111 people
Have him in circles
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Michael Forman's profile photo
Charles Walbourn's profile photo
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BGFX BRIGHT's profile photo
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I write fiction. I used to program for a living, and I probably still could, but for now I write fiction.
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Austin, TX
Writer, programmer, artist, dude
Father of three, programmer, writer, etc.  I do weird stuff with my brain for fun and profit. :)

You can see my blog here:

And my books:

For my programming, I did 18 years working on Computer Aided Design programs, everything from add-ons to being on the core graphics team for AutoCAD.  These days I'm still doing a little consulting and some personal explorations with genetic algorithms.

I've been writing off and on since I was eleven, but I've been doing a lot more of it in the last 5 years.

I also have special needs kids, and I've spent a lot of my time on them for the last few years.
Bragging rights
Had a startup, sold it, written a few books, survived twins (so far), have done more strange things than most, but nearly as many as I'd like to.
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Computer Science
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