Friday, December 15, 2017

Used Rockets Work

Even NASA now agrees - SpaceX used a used rocket and Dragon capsule to resupply the ISS. The rocket successfully landed and will be ready for use again after normal turnover.

The development will greatly reduce surface to orbit costs, and puts SpaceX ahead until a replacement for rockets goes commercial. Blue Origin is also working on reusable rockets.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What a pain

Pain is essential to life. For sufferers of chronic pain, however, it can be destructive. Chronic pain is pain which continues after the injury has healed or pain from issues that cannot be healed.

Not being able to feel pain, though, is a problem. Marsili syndrome affects a single family in Italy. They simply cannot feel pain. They've identified the mutation.

Which might bring hope to that family - but it also may let us come up with new, non-opioid treatments for chronic pain. I have friends with FM and other such problems - they need this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rising Dawn Print Version Released

It's now available on Amazon here.

I will also have copies of all three books with me at Farpoint in February, if you want to avoid paying for shipping and get a bit of a discount.

And the first words of book four have been written. Assuming they don't go the way of the original opening of book three...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Supergirl - Doing Gay Breakups Right

So, I'm slightly behind on Supergirl, forgive me (I have a lot to watch and limited time).

The departure of Floriana Lima (Maggie Sawyer) from the show set us up for another 100 situation - the inability to think of any way to get rid of a romantic partner other than to kill them off. Given the history of the portrayal of same sex couples in television (dating back to when such relationships could only be portrayed negatively), it's even worse than doing it to a straight couple.

So, when rumors of Lima's departure circulated, I was worried. Although I was rather hoping the character would stay around in the background, the producer promised that whatever happened, Sawyer would not be killed off...

...and kept the promise. Part of the goal was to allow for Lima to return if she could be persuaded to do so.

But the way they did it was one of the best ways to handle an enforced romantic breakup I have ever seen in TV. Actors quit. It happens. Sometimes the show survives, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, the character was nowhere near important enough to tank the show, but she was important enough that she deserved a good write out.

For those who don't watch: They split because they couldn't agree on whether to have kids.

Reproductive incompatibility trashes thousands upon thousands of relationships a year. It's a real issue that affects real couples.

By doing it this way the writers emphasized two things:
1. Same sex couples have kids.
2. Same sex couples have all the same problems het couples do.

And, above all, they treated it the same as any other relationship. And avoided the stupid tropish breakup reasons (I need to protect you being top of the list).

It almost (almost, mind) makes up for the stupid Kara/James breakup so they could bring in Bland-El...uh, I mean Mon-El. (I won't say I anti-ship them because of the behavior of certain so-called fans, but...)

But I have to give them points for this one. I am, though, disappointed that we won't be seeing Alex and Maggie as a Battle Couple. Because I love Battle Couples and the writers actually said they wanted to keep both characters past the wedding. Maybe I'll get it with Barry and Iris instead? I hope... (No spoilers, please, I've heard enough already).

Monday, December 11, 2017

Watching ‘Oumuamua

Or rather...listening.

The cigar-shaped object has some very strange qualities. Apart from anything else, if it's an asteroid, it's spinning fast enough to fly apart. Unless...well, unless it's made of metal. Oh, and it's shaped almost perfectly to be a probe. Of course, it's also not showing any sign of being under power.

Which is why Breakthrough Listen, part of an organization that's looking for extraterrestrial life, will be watching it for ten full hours with the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia. Which can detect signals the strength of a cell phone.

If they find something...well...the world changes, doesn't it.

But they're realistic. It's more likely ‘Oumuamua is simply a strange astronomical object of a type we haven't managed to detect before. It's not spinning fast enough for artificial gravity.

Here's another possibility, though, one we might never be able to prove.

'Oumuamua may be a probe after all...a dead one. A derelict...drifting through the stars.

And that may be the most depressing possibility.

Friday, December 8, 2017


The earth is singing. Or, rather, humming. No, that's not the right word either.

The Earth is...ringing.

And we don't really know why. The Earth's hum, caused by oscillations and vibrations, is far too low a sound for us to hear and can only really be detected by instruments on the ocean floor. It's not a particularly pretty sound either.

It might be caused by the movement of the oceans themselves, but we aren't sure. Fortunately, it doesn't indicate anything wrong with our's quite natural and normal.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rising Dawn released!

Print will be a day or so yet - I'll put it on the website then, but the book is now available through Smashwords and Amazon (it should be on B&N and iTunes by Christmas).