Driving to the beach, driving to the beach… that’s the driving to the beach song! I get so excited about driving to the beach, I can’t help bursting into song, and who can blame me? It’s not even about being at the beach – that’s nice and all, but it’s nothing compared to driving to the beach. Winding roads, panoramic views of sparkling sea, the thrill of hurtling along the edge of a coastal cliff, cute scruffy dogs sticking their heads out of car windows: driving to the beach has all this to offer, and then some. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m big into lengthy drives in scenic locations, with no distractions aside from the dulcet tones of a[…]

I’m not too sure about some of these old-time folks, particularly the ones from around the turn of the century, by which I mean the late 1800s. They’re close enough to modernity to have an inkling of what’s in store, but far enough away that they can’t see the potential pitfalls of the impending technological boom.  That’s why we started going back in time in the first place – to warn them of what would come to pass without the benefit of hindsight. We would effectively be delivering that benefit to them. Are they willing to listen? Yes and no. They’ll pay rapt attention to descriptions of life in the 21st century, particularly anything to do with cars: building cars,[…]

Just when you think you know something, new information comes to light that turns it on its head. Nowhere is this more true than in life’s most mundane arenas. I guess this is because it’s easier to get stuck in our ways there, or maybe it’s a matter of going on autopilot.  Let me give you an example. I always thought that setting up an office space required a huge amount of strategic thought, mapping out of workflows, weighing up technological factors and endless other nonsense. That’s what I was led to believe by, well… experience and common sense, those two trusty sidekicks I never thought would let me down. Then, up rocks this new office manager, Ted-Jason. First of[…]

I often find myself thinking about the day we almost changed the course of history. It was 1984, the third year of our Lunar Power mission. We’d spent the last few weeks setting up our solar panels, ready for harvesting that incredible energy from the suns. We built a giant ring of these panels around the moon, meaning that we were always getting energy. A lot of it came from the stars on the dark side of the moon. With a few more months of work, we’d be ready to send the energy back to Earth. It would change the world forever. But everything changed when the aliens attacked. I remember it clearly. I was connecting our commercial solar power[…]

We had extensive plans for the moon-house and everything. It was going to have an artificial gravity water slide, a stair balustrade for the gold-plated steps that we brought with us, an automatic food factory run by the newly designed robots. I would have been happy to stay there forever. So Billy Stronglegs just had to ruin the whole thing, didn’t he? Mission control had specifically told him not to bring the teddy bear he had been gifted by his Russian aunt, but he did so anyway. No surprise, the sneaky reds had snuck a camera into it so that they could determine the location of the moon-house. They always were jealous of our efforts in the Space Race. One[…]

Sigh. I’ve tried to get back into regular spooking, but after I had such a great time at Halloween, everything has seemed like it has a bit less of a sheen. People don’t scream and run away with the vigour like they used to, and I feel like my well of ideas is slowly running dry. Should I scare people…dressed as…a mummy? Ugh, see what I mean!? A spooky mummy is the opposite to a spooky skeleton! I’m in a post-Halloween funk, and I don’t know how I can break out of it. I could always go driving again, but while people are spooked enough to cause accidents, I don’t actually want anyone to get hurt. Besides, I think the[…]

If you ask me, there’s a serious shortage of creative magic systems in young adult novels as of late. I do like a story with an interesting magic system, but most of the ones hailed as ‘creative’ are just copies of each other.  It’s like ‘ooh, wow, they use stones to fight each other. And the stones have symbols on them. Wow!’ Or you’re reading a book and it’s all like ‘the main characters are angels, fighting tree people, and they use the power of singing to cast magic!’ And my response to that is… they’re still using magic. It’s just magic, except with voices instead of sticks. A half canopy! That’s what would make for a real magic system.[…]

You’d think being hired to speak to foreign shareholders in ten different languages would be the most stressful part of the job, and you’d be…barely right, but at a very close second is finding out what our company actually does. Everyone knows Lawrence Corp, of course. Everyone in Melbourne probably has a gimmicky-yet-useful L-Corp gadget somewhere in their home, and far beyond that of course. But they have so many business partners, and I have to get to grips with who I’m meeting, where they’re from, and what language they speak. I’m not going to screw up on my second day by greeting the Japanese delegation in Korean. Apparently there’s a big deal going on with a few stainless steel fabrication[…]

You know what I really love about dark science? The banter. We have some great times here in the lab as we break all laws of common decency and delve into the deeper depths of unethical behaviour. There sure are some comedians in this place, I’ll tell you that much. Baxter is a hoot when he’s not struggling with the approximately seventeen voices in his head! So anyway, we’re working on quite a specific project today, and that’s a way of matching a person up to a perfect home via a complex and invasive algorithm. The first challenge is that this would be the job of a property advocate. There are Melbourne companies that do property advocacy, from what I’ve[…]

I just saw an absolutely fascinating documentary last night. It was all about space travel; specifically, long-term space travel, and how we’ll eventually be exploring the universe. Science, as it currently stands, doesn’t believe faster-than-light travel is possible. If they turn out to be right about that, then we’ll just have to settle for travelling as close to the speed of light as possible. Which in universal terms, is still not going to get us very far, but we’ll do what we can to spread the empire of man across the cosmos. Scientists have come up with an incredible method of getting rid of our fuel problem as well. Right now, places that do commercial solar panels in Melbourne are[…]