Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gerry Anderson, RIP

The Puppetmaster is dead; long live the puppetmaster.

More accurately, 83-year-old producer Gerry Anderson, who with his wife Sylvia was the power behind Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett and the Mysterions, and other puppet series (not to mention the live-action Space: 1999 in the mid-1970s), passed away earlier today.

End scene.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Little Page Design Moment

Just something I created for my Facebook page in an attempt to play with page spreads from the three issues of my Galaxis science/science fiction digital magazine (available free at

Saturday, December 8, 2012

1,000 Points of Sight: Galaxis Number 3

The third edition of my free digital science & science fiction magazine, Galaxis, has reached its first milestone in record time. Not even a full month since it was published on, Galaxis #3 has racked up 1,000 views. That is, I believe, faster than the previous two issues or any of my digital magazines has reached that milestone.

My thanks to everyone who has looked at the issue, read it, shared it with their blog/Facebook/Twitter followers, sent me feedback, or showered me with offers of glory. Granted, none of the last has happened, but one can hope.

On to 2,000!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Timothy Garton Ash Reminds Us Who We Are

And what we are.

In the Nov. 22, 2012, issue of The New York Review of Books, Timothy Garton Ash tackles the challenge that he says Western states are failing: How to adapt to increasingly multicultural populations without giving up the liberal ideals on which modern states are founded.

(He's not referring to our American political breakdown of "liberal" and "conservative" when he writes that, but rather to the classic and enduring ideals of liberal Western societies. You know, the ideals that made these countries the richest and most free and powerful nations in the world's history.)

He spends a fair amount of time dealing with how countries are doing exactly the wrong thing in dealing with disparate groups in society. Instead of teaching and enforcing the important overarching ideals (education, tolerance, human dignity), they are selling out those virtues and instead embedding in society the most illiberal aspects of some of these groups (such as "honor" killings and the suppression of free speech). Ash turns that on its head, and in so doing, returns to eternal liberal values that should inform our efforts to incorporate polycultural societies.

Read the article while it's still in front of the NYBooks paywall. Maybe you'll see why Timothy Garton Ash is one of my favorite writers and why The New York Review of Books is one of my favorite publications.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bay Area a Hotbed for Social Entrepreneurs

Also in the latest issue of the Marina Times, I speak with Ruth Shapiro, editor of the new book The Real Problem Solvers: Social Entrepreneurs in America.
Ruth Shapiro. Photo by Sonya Abrams
Bay Area a Hotbed for Social EntrepreneursBy John Zipperer
December 2012 
In 2012, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama visited Silicon Valley looking not for votes – everyone knows this is the bluest of blue areas – but for money. If they had spent more time on the ground here, in addition to cash they might have picked up some ideas for solving the country’s problems. The Bay Area excels at producing ideas and cash.  
A growing number of people looking to improve the world in various ways are incorporating wisdom and resources from businesses. It’s a rapidly maturing field, and Ruth Shapiro is doing everything she can to ...

The Golden Ticket

My latest opinion piece in the Marina Times, in which I probably anger some well-paid people and their enablers.

At least the original Robin Hood was
into forcible trickle-down economics. Photo: andscene
The Golden Ticket
City's reverse Robin Hood spending

By John Zipperer
December 2012
For years, there has been a movement to convince cable television providers to charge for their channels on an a la carte basis. You can select each of the channels you want and pay for only those.  
If we took that same approach to public budgets, what do you think would be the result? It’s not an entirely serious question; there are certain things that people don’t like but that need to be paid for

A Sky Full of Earths

From the current issue of the Marina Times, my Science article:
An artist’s conception of Kepler-22b, a planet in the
habitable zone of its star. It is the first planet that NASA’s
Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star’s
 habitable zone, but scientists are now finding potentially
 habitable planets by the dozens. photo: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
A Sky Full of Earths
By John Zipperer
December 2012
Stroll along Crissy Field at night and look up into the sky, and you will see lots of stars. But because of the interference of other lights in the metro area, you won’t see nearly as many stars as someone in the countryside would see.  
For scientists who have been studying stars for years – even decades – the analogous situation for finding planets around those stars is more dire. For millennia, there was widespread doubt ...