Spring Things, Thought Provoking Mystery, and Opals
Spring Things Including Taxes
A week into April; it is still raining albeit scattered showers instead of torrential downpours. The sun breaks out long enough now to encourage Spring to push up through flooded fields and vineyards. Sonoma Valley sits above the marshland created from the intersection of the Sonoma and Petaluma Rivers with San Pedro Bay, the northern extension of San Francisco Bay. Both sides of Highway 37, which connects Vallejo to Interstate 101 are filled with marsh grasses, cattails, and red-wing blackbirds.
Yeah! My taxes were filed yesterday; I owe nothing to either government. The rest of the week has been filled with spring cleaning tasks. I am refreshing my bedroom with new navy-and-white striped sheets. I plan to paint my little desk white while my orange quilt, a cherished gift from a close friend, will be pulled off the bed and used as a wall hanging.
A Thought Provoking Mystery
The April read for the Mystery Book Club is “Halted State” by Charles Stross. It’s an unusual science fiction-based mystery. Even more unusual, it is written in the second person singular, which is both difficult to write and more difficult to read. It took me three chapters before I finally understood what was going on.
Charles Stross is a new writer for me, but among aficionados of true science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) he has a reputation for the accuracy of his speculations concerning the use of technology in daily life. This book revolves around a theft that occurs within one of the mass online games, that have thousands of players simultaneously online. The story raises some serious issues that are definitely food for thought. One issue raised is that the USA is falling behind in its technology infrastructure. Because it was one of the early technology adopters, its infrastructure is rapidly becoming outdated compared to the innovations occurring in the EU, China, and India.
Renovating technical infrastructure to bring it current up-to-date is very expensive, so the current government is ignoring the issue apparently feeling that spending billions on a wall will further our national interests more than leading-edge competitive technology. The second issue examined is that the current security systems used by the gaming platforms have the potential of becoming platforms that can be modified to launch sabotage attacks against the technology infrastructure of entire countries.
Images of Pretty Opals
On a completely different note, I was looking at the little opal ring my mother gave me for my 16th birthday. I got to wondering if there was any “spectacular” jewelry made from opal. Here are some pictures.