Survivorship Bias

– This is a mind-blowing and eye-opening post.

You Are Not So Smart

The Misconception: You should focus on the successful if you wish to become successful.

The Truth: When failure becomes invisible, the difference between failure and success may also become invisible.

In New York City, in an apartment a dozen blocks west of Harlem, above trees reaching out over sidewalks and dogs pulling at leashes and conversations cut short to avoid parking tickets, a group of professional thinkers once gathered and completed equations that would both snuff and spare several hundred thousand human lives.

People walking by the apartment at the time had no idea that four stories above them some of the most important work in applied mathematics was tilting the scales of a global conflict as secret agents of the United States armed forces, arithmetical soldiers, engaged in statistical combat. Nor could people today know as they open umbrellas and twist heels on cigarettes, that nearby, in an apartment overlooking Morningside…

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Links to Pages I Follow

Here are some links that I have been following. On Facebook, I have been following David Farland/Wolverton and he had this on his wall. Sharing it here: http://ffnp.blogspot.com/2013/05/worldbuilding-to-visually-reflect-story.html

Also I have been checking out David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants. Here is a link to what I am currently checking out: http://www.davidfarland.com/writing_tips/?a=215

Short post but with links to awesome stuff.

Flash Fiction Challenge

Here is my flash fiction piece. Word 2007 puts the word count at 792.  Way short of the 1000 word goal. I am new to flash fiction so be gentle.

This Flash Fiction Challenge was from http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/05/10/flash-fiction-challenge-smashing-sub-genres/

I rolled up the sub-genres of New Weird and Superhero. I know something about superheroes as I read comics growing up. The New Weird. Not sure about it. I did some research. Still fuzzy about what it is and what it is not.

Oh well. Here goes my attempt.

Construction Surprise

Jack held up the multi-ton girder in place, high above the city. Normals started welding the girder to the superstructure.
Humming to himself, Jack noticed a dark blob with a digital readout on the girder.
A bomb.
Jack wiggled the girder a bit. Annoyed looks from the workers went to horror as he pointed out the bomb.
They vacated the area.
Jack was left alone. His earpiece crackled with a voice, “What’s up Jack?”
“Hi boss. We have a bomb.”
“So I have heard. How big is it?”
“Big enough to bring the building down.”
“How long do we got?”
Jack peered at the readout, “Looks like we have less than five minutes.”
“Damn it!  Can you detach it and throw it into the ocean?”
“Negative. Looks like it has an anti-tampering mechanism to it.”
More cursing. The boss is not happy.
“Ok. Help is on the way.”
Great. Jack thought. Hope help is fast.
“Looks like you’re screwed.”
Jack turned his head, “Jill?”
“Obviously.” She held onto his belt as she climbed around him.
“Why did the boss send you? You are not a bomb specialist.”
She held up a camera, “The guy on the other end here is.” She pointed the camera to the bomb.
Moments passed. Jack was getting impatient, “Well?”
She held up a finger to her mouth, “Shhh.” She slowly panned the camera right to left and held it a few feet from the bomb.
Finally, she put the camera away as she mumbled confirmation in her earpiece.
“Well,” she said hands on hips, “It is a bomb and it has a motion sensor on it. Moving it more than a few feet per second it will blow. Also it has anti-tampering device on it.”
“Let me guess, you can’t disarm it.”
“So says the bomb specialist. Yes dummy, I can’t disarm it. Not in the time we have.”
“I thought you were super fast.”
She gave him a glare, “The bomb specialist could talk me through it, but the anti-tamper device is state-of-the-art design. Possibly alien. There is no way I am going to even attempt to try it with you here. I can outrun the explosion. You can’t.”
“So we just sit here and wait for it to go?”
Fuming, Jill’s blonde hair bobbed as she shook her head, “No. I am thinking.”
“How are the evacuations going boss?”
“Not fast enough. There will be people still in the neighboring buildings and we still have workers here.”
Jack sighed. Looking at the bomb and noted that they had a couple of minutes left.
“Jill, ask your bomb specialist what is the blast radius of the bomb.”
She relayed his request. “If it is C4 and looks to be about ten pounds of it. The primary blast is twenty meters. Secondary is twice that.”
Looking upwards at the sky, Jack smiled, “I think I have an idea.”
“What?”
“What if I climbed up to the top of the superstructure here and lift up the bomb as far as it can go?”
“Dumb idea Jack.”
A voice in his ear piped up, “Do it Jack.”
“On it, boss.” Jack slowly propped up the girder until it was nearly parallel to the wall. He started to climb up.
Jill watched as Jack picked up the huge girder and did the same on the next level.
“The explosion will just spread over a bigger area up there.” Jill said.
“Yeah, but less shrapnel and hopefully it won’t hurt the building as much.”
“What about you? What about the big girder? It will make tons of shrapnel. You are not invulnerable.”
“You better get out of here, looks like we have less than a minute left.”
Jill was not having it, “Jack..”
“Just go.” he smiled and winked at her.
Jill moved pretty fast. He didn’t see her leave.
At the very top, he brought up the girder. Positioning the bomb end towards the sky.
Looking into the sun, he noted how beautiful the day was.
Well, this is it.
What Jack didn’t see was the bomb opened up its green eyes and started to ooze towards him.

***

The building was magnificent Jill thought as she walked up to it. The sunlight reflected off of it like any other building, but this one was different. Looking up at the towering skyscraper, she took note of the name written across it. Jack Sterling Medical Center.
A gentleman was waiting for her, opening the door for her, “Hello Mrs. Sterling. You come up with a name for your baby yet?”
Rubbing her hands over her swollen belly, Jill smiled a little and said, “His name is Jack.”
The man smiled as she walked past, his eyes were strikingly green she thought.

Smashing Genres Challenge

I am part of the Sockmonkey Writing Group based in the Tacoma, Seattle region of Washington State. A few days ago, Cassandra posted a link to this site:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/05/10/flash-fiction-challenge-smashing-sub-genres/

Looking in it, the challenge is to write a 1000 word flash fiction piece using two, randomly generated sub-genres. By May 17th.

I rolled up New Weird and Superhero.

I like Superheroes. I grew up reading Superman and other comics. New Weird? That is something I am not really familiar with. I think of Lovecraft type stories. I think. Will have to do some quick research and see what I can come up with.

Should be fun.