Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday Updates

No actual news just yet, so I'm just going to toss up a reminder.

Books make great holiday gifts. I'm always open to giving recommendations if you give me a solid idea of what the person is looking for! 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Uh oh...

 ...the sun's popped a pimple. There's a huge sunspot on the sun right now.

Thankfully, it doesn't appear to be setting off a solar flare, which might disrupt everyone's Thanksgiving least those of the sane people who are doing it over the internet.

(Please, please celebrate at home. Please).

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

So, I Have To Wonder...

 ...why exactly it is that British tabloids are obsessed with Yellowstone exploding and killing us all.

Normally it's the Daily Mail saying we're all going to die, this time it's the Express. Sigh. In fact, the entire first page of Yellowstone supervolcano in a news search except for one article from the Columbus Dispatch (which informs us we are not all going to die) is the Daily Express telling us we're all going to die.

(The second page has an idiot who got arrested after trying to cook a chicken in the hot springs).

So, are we all going to die? In fact, the Yellowstone hotspot is what's dying; it's becoming less powerful and eruptions are becoming less common...and by less common we mean it's gone from about every 500,000 years to about every 1.5 million years.

By that measure the most likely time for the next eruption is, oh, about 900,000 years in the future.

So, tabloids, what is with the supervolcano obsession?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

It's Full of Stars!

 So, wildlife officers counting bighorn sheep found something they didn't expect.

A monolith.



A three meter tall, shiny metal monolith.

It's not actually full of stars, but nobody has any idea how it got there and nobody seems to be willing to admit to having put it there.

There are three likely theories:

1. Aliens. Which we all know it isn't.

2. It's art. Somebody thought it would be neat. If it is art, then it is similar to the work of an artist named John McCracken, who died in 2011. But he didn't live in Utah. A copycat?

3. Somebody was filming a movie without permission and could afford to get this massive prop out there...and then ran out of money and couldn't get it back. Movie makers are notorious for leaving unusual litter.

I like #3, think it's most likely #2, but... could be aliens.

(Note that the park service have asked people not to go hunting for it because they're worried people will, ya know, die).

Monday, November 23, 2020

Philcon Roundup

 So, I'd much rather have been in Cherry Hill, but Philcon still went very well.

The highlight was the Mars colonization panel, where the panelist played a colonization game. I'm now trying to work out whether it would be more effective to run a cable car up Olympus Mons in a tube or whether to pressurize individual cars.

Decisions, decisions.

Every panel I was on or attended went smoothly and unlike Capclave people were finding the con suite.

(Although MaltCon is no fun virtually. Let's hope for next year...)

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday Updates

 The Philcon discord is open! Go to and head over.

There's no overall registration for the con, but you do need to register for specific sections (for attendance tracking).

All sessions will be in Zoom except for the moderated media discussion, which will be on Discord. Like Balticon, Philcon is using Zoom webinar, so everything should be straightforward at this point.

I wish I was in Cherry Hill, but this will do as a substitute! Join me at 7pm tonight in the Discord for a moderated Star Wars discussion.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Arecibo to be Decommissioned and Demolished

 And in sad news, assessment of the damage to Arecibo has led to three independent firms recommending the demolition of the dish.

The structure has become so unstable that the risk to human life of trying to repair it is unacceptably high.

The rest of the observatory will stay in use, primarily for educational purposes.

This is very sad news, but not at all unexpected.