Enjoying the Fall

Fall announces itself softly
with drifting leaves
in freshened breeze
before the rain

I’m enjoying this fall season more than any other I remember.  The contrasting foliage, quiet fog blankets, torrential rainstorms, and southbound vees of Canada geese seem new and wondrous to me.

I kinda missed the last two falls due to distractions.  Two years ago, I was dealing with the side effects of concurrent chemo-radiation therapy combined with news that I had progressed to metastatic lung cancer.  Last year, after another recurrence despite second line chemo and more radiation, I was scrambling to find a clinical trial.  Being focused on questions of life and death overshadowed little things like the changing of leaves.  It also fueled an awesome case of writer’s block.

I’m hoping to make good use of these cool gray days to rebuild my strength, read good books, declutter the house, and write.  A lot of writing.  I’m years behind on writing.

My productivity is boosted by using my lightbox to counter any drift towards Seasonal Affective Disorder, and nibbling dark chocolate now and then.  I’d love to include the Seattle addiction (coffee) in my regimen, but it disagrees with my cancer pills. I’ll trade being less alert for more alive any day.

Feline overlords Admiral and General are doing their part by keeping my feet warm.  Well, at least one foot.

Feline Foot Warmers

My Worldcon Schedule

Over Labor Day weekend, I’ll be a program participant at LoneStarCon 3, the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, Texas. I usually sit on hard science panels at conventions. Here’s my schedule for this Worldcon. Hope to see some of you there!

The Practice of Space Medicine
8/29 Thursday 15:00 – 16:00
Whether you’re suffering from a case of Andorian shingles or just a mild version of numb tongue, you can be sure that our panelists have a higher patient survival rate than Dr. McCoy. What really happens when you have the flu in space?

Scientific Literacy vs Human Knowledge
8/30 Friday 13:00 – 14:00
The entirety of human knowledge is growing constantly. How can we even decide what the baseline of scientific literacy should be? What’s the process by which the baseline changes?

The Future of Medicine
8/30 Friday 18:00 – 19:00
What ever happened to farmacology? Is the futue of medicine all about genetics? Our panelists will predict the future for you.

Can Machines be Conscious?
8/31 Saturday 13:00 – 14:00
Inventing a better Türing test: neuroscientists are coming up with new definitions of consciousness. They also seek to determine how to measure consciousness.

Using Philosophy to Analyse a National Health Service
8/31 Saturday 15:00 – 16:00
Health is important, but health systems are often criticized, sometimes with good reason. Perhaps philosophy is needed to make premises clearer? Who should be treated, how, and where? Is “more health for the money” valid, or should we consider quality? What are the technology challenges, like ICT? Can we treat more old people at home? Should the patient just be patient, or become a stakeholder?

Stroll with the Stars Sunday – Alamo edition
9/1 Sunday 09:00 – 10:00
The Sunday Stroll with the Stars will head towards the Alamo, a few short blocks away. It will be led by Alamo aficionado and LoneStarCon 3 Chair Randall Shepherd. Meet Randy in the lobby of the Marriott Rivercenter for his personal tour of this famous Texas garrison. Visiting the Alamo is free; note that you will not be able to take photos inside parts of the Alamo.

Cutting Edge Cancer Research
9/1 Sunday 13:00 – 14:00
A look at what is currently possible in the field in combating cancer.