Monday, March 26, 2018

Looking back

For today's post, some physics (including astrophysics) retrospectives ....

And ... it's beautiful
My first interest in any kind of science -- likely before I knew the word science -- was with astronomy. Who among us wasn't fascinated at a young age with the fascinating show that is the night sky? And so (with added interest because of the University of Chicago connection), I was sad to read that "Yerkes Observatory is closing its doors." Yerkes is historic both for the uniqueness of its primary instrument -- a 40-inch refracting telescope -- and the many prominent astronomers who at one time or another worked there. Edwin Hubble. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Gerard Kuiper. Carl Sagan.

Looking a lot further back, consider an inference drawn from orbital peculiarities of a set of Oort Cloud objects. To wit: "An alien star sideswiped our solar system and sent comets reeling, scientists say."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Of space ... and spaciness

Updated March 24, 2018 (at the end of this post)

The Moon remains the the high-water mark of in-person human exploration. (That may someday change -- thank you, Elon Musk -- but for now, it is what it is.)

Mmmm. Dough ... nut.
One of the things I find most fascinating about that too-long-since-visited neighbor is how little we know about it. The debate continues about how the Moon first came to be. While I find the prevailing Theia/Giant-Impact Hypothesis qualitatively plausible -- it's not like I've done the math -- that theory has its share of loose ends and doubters. So I was fascinated to read this recent speculation: "Freaky Theory Offers Totally New Explanation of the Moon’s Origin." (Perhaps it has something to do with my love of doughnuts. Really.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Not *exactly* random ...

While the writing biz has kept me unusually busy of late, a rather eclectic bunch of stuff  -- all somehow germane to SF and Nonsense -- has  been catching my eye. A few highlights from among those are the basis of today's post.

My writing appears often in Analog magazine: in fiction, science articles, and even guest editorials. Because my preferred sub-genre is (I hate the term, but love the concept) hard SF, Analog is my favorite among the zines. And so, I was happy to make this discovery -- Analog now has an active FB presence.

High-tech tulip bulbs?
Admittedly, the upcoming item wasn't an especially recent encounter -- but the topic remains as timely as when I bookmarked the related article in December.

As clever and useful as I find blockchain technology (in essence, a robust and distributed form of computerized record-keeping), I remain more than a little skeptical about using that tech to underpin a non-governmental currency. Bitcoin, of course, is the poster child for blockchain-based "currency" (aka, cryptocurrency). This three-month-old article remains one of the best pieces I've found on the topic: "Five myths about bitcoin: No, the currency isn’t beyond the reach of the law, and it won’t replace cash."

So what else is timely(er) and eclectic?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tiptoe, through the Trope-lets, ...

In my most recent post, "Trope-ing closer to release :-), I reported that I'd received -- and would disappear for awhile into a close reading of -- copy edits of Trope-ing the Light Fantastic (subtitled, The Science Behind the Fiction).

Inching closer :-)
I've reemerged -- after a weekend and a day of reading and commenting -- from that task. So exciting! Which is not to say you can yet rush out to order a copy. (I wish.) But we are closer. Yay, team!

Part of the time I was involved in that, my first and favorite reader, aka my wife, Ruth, was reading the completed first draft of my next novel: Deja Doomed. Ruth had, as always, many helpful suggestions. Soon I'll turn to incorporating those into an updated draft.

In other writing news, I learned that Analog is accepting Clockwork Cataclysm, my latest short story. No word yet as to its pub date.

Mine was the cover story
And speaking of appearances in Analog, in 2017 the 'zine published a novelette and two short stories of mine. I was tickled to learn that the novelette and one of the shorts are finalists in the zine's reader poll for last year. (Here's the announcement in Locus: "2017 Analog AnLab Awards Finalists.") On the Analog website, you can read many of the finalists, my stories included.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Trope-ing closer to release :-)

Woohoo! I just received copy edits for Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction.

The draft cover
Why the enthusiasm? (Hint: it's not because I enjoy proofreading.) Copy edits in hand means the book is that much closer to release :-)

But today's incoming also means that I've got ~100K words to give a close, final read-through -- ASAP. Hence: you've just seen about all I expect to get posted this week.

For the back story of Trope-ing, check out the ironically titled "From mighty oak trees, little acorns grow."