Monday, February 8, 2016

Woof IQ

British scientists have devised an IQ test for dogs. At the serious level they're hoping it might help us better understand intelligence (as dogs don't have as many non-genetic variables affecting their intelligence).

But now everyone's going to want to run their pooch through it. (I had one once that I'm pretty sure would have somehow managed a negative score).

Friday, February 5, 2016

Work Continues on James Webb Space Telescope

A major milestone for the Hubble's successor was completed today - the telescope's mirror array. There's still a good bit of work to be done before the space telescope's scheduled launch in 2018, using the reliable Ariane system. (We don't want this one blowing up at launch...)

The telescope will be considerably more powerful than the aging Hubble and should teach us a lot more about the universe.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

More Fusion Progress...

...maybe. Developing fusion power is tricky. After all, nature needs an entire star to do it.

 The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Griefswald (A mouthful in English, let alone German) managed to successfully operate a stellarator and produce plasma for a fraction of a section. Doesn't sound like much, but it is.

A stellarator is similar to a tokamak, but where a tokamak uses electric current to contain the plasma, a stellarator uses a complex arrangement of magnets. It's argued that while harder to build, a stellarator will be easier to operate once built - important if you want to think long term.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Conspiracy of Ravens

Ravens and crows are probably the most intelligent birds. A new study shows that ravens are, indeed, capable of abstract thought.

Apparently, if you train a raven to watch you bury food through a peephole, then give them excess food on the other side of the peephole...they'll assume somebody's watching through the peephole and hide the excess food particularly carefully. Even though they can't see if anyone's on the other side.

Always knew they were rascals.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Get Up Early...

...and see all five of the "naked eye" planets at once. The best viewing time will be 60 to 30 minutes before sunrise for the next five days or so. (The conjunction lasts until February 20, but it's at its peak now).

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/look-now-to-see-five-planets-at-once-02022016/

Monday, February 1, 2016

Newsletter!

As you can see, I now have a newsletter signup. If you want to hear about new releases, what I'm up to, appearances, etc, in a more convenient form - please go ahead and sign up.

I'll be sending out a monthly newsletter with everything I have planned for the next month (and last month's releases) and occasionally release notifications (because publishers don't always tell me when something's coming out).

No spam, and I promise not to give your email address to the NRA or anyone else. (Long cosplay-related story there...)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Farpoint Schedule!

I have my schedule for Farpoint. Like all convention schedules it's subject to potential last minute alteration, but here it is as of right now.

Friday, 4pm: Writing The Other (Writing characters outside your experience, writing different gender, race, sexuality, culture, etc).
Friday, 6pm: Autograph session in the FARP-Books Lounge.

Saturday, 10am: Did The Force Awaken, or Just Hit The Snooze? (We'll be discussing the new movie and how it did).
Saturday, 11am: Reading with Peter David and Joseph Berenato
Saturday, 1pm: The isms in Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Saturday, 8pm: Writing Inclusively vs. Token Characters

Sunday, 10am: 50 Years Past & Future - talking about the last fifty years of science fiction and how it might change in the future.
Sunday, noon: Autograph session in the FARP-Books Lounge.

I will have a limited number of books available for sale at the convention. If you prefer ebooks, I will also be signing cover flats for both Transpecial and The Silent Years. There is no charge for autographs (unless you're buying a book, of course).

You should also be able to track me down at the opening night cocktail party, randomly around the hotel or at the Ten Forward Dance Party (although I plan on looking a little bit...different ;)).