Thursday, May 24, 2018

Off to Balticon

Should be on site mid afternoon. My schedule is posted with one small addition - programming forgot to mention that I will be reading during the Broad Universe RFR during the second half (I'm on a panel during the first half).

I will also be spending some time at the Rantings of a Wandering Mind booth in the Dealer Room. Look for me in the mornings (my panel schedule this year is nicely clustered in the afternoon). This will also be when I will be available to sign books.

And yes, I am bringing a costume or two ;).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sun Protection

The other day somebody said in my presence that it's not the sun which causes skin cancer, it's sunscreen.

Fortunately, they got roasted for it, but apparently some companies are now making dietary supplements that claim they can protect you from the sun.


There are things you can eat/take which promote skin health. But none of them can protect you from the sun.

So, don't fall for it and use that sunscreen. If you're concerned about the effects on, say, coral reefs, use a mineral-based sunscreen that uses zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Oh, and wear a hat, it helps.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why, hello, Tess

TESS isn't in final orbit yet - its last burn is scheduled for May 30.

But its cameras have been tested and are working just fine.

Check that out. Just check that out. That makes me feel even smaller than looking up in the wilderness.

The universe is a huge, strange, and wonderful place. And we are unique but highly unlikely to be alone.

Full article here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Rogue Asteroid

It's been hanging out in the orbit of Jupiter for a very long time, but 2015 BZ209 has a small problem:

It's going the wrong way. And science declares that that means it didn't form with the rest of the solar system.

In other words, it came from somewhere else. And unlike our flyby visitor 'Oumuamua, it's sticking around in a stable configuration. We might even be able to go take a look one day.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Genre TV Lineup Changes

Just doing an overview:

Once Upon A Time - Canceled (I never got into it, but...)

Gotham - Renewed, but the next season will definitely be the last (which feels about right creatively. Gotham should end the first time Bruce Wayne puts on the full Batman outfit and he already has the Batmobile...)

CW DC shows: All renewed.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed but is moving to the summer.

Timeless, which I haven't got around to watching yet, is still unannounced.

The Expanse was canceled, but is owned by the production company. I predict it will end up on Amazon.

Lucifer and the X-Files are both canceled.

New this year?

A reboot of Charmed (Fans I've talked to are between iffy and Nope on this)

The InBetween, which appears to be another paranormal investigator/medium show.

Manifest, in which a plane falls through a five year hole in time.

The Passage, a bio-engineering thriller.

None of these really appeal to me, but YMMV.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Are Octopi Aliens? apparently 33 scientists signed off on a paper saying it's possible octopi, which are admittedly pretty dang weird (blue blood and all), arrived on Earth as frozen eggs on a comet.

They weren't being serious, just exploring the idea of panspermia (which I actually believe may have a grain of truth behind it), but it's an amusing conceit.

And here's the story seed: What if their relatives show up?

Oh, wait, that's the plot of Star Trek IV.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Carbon Nanotubes May Actually Become Useful

...and it's thanks to cresol, a chemical used in household cleaners. The chemical affects the carbon molecules in such a way that they can be worked with (kneaded like dough is the phrase used) the same as common plastics.

This could open the door to the ability to mass produce the tubes...and potentially to weave tubes together to form incredibly strong ropes. If so, that solves the largest engineering problem in the way of building a space elevator.