M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

Quasar winds with record energy levels were seen fleeing a distant galaxy

April 1, 2020
MThomas

“The most energetic outflow came from a quasar called SDSS J1042+1646 with 5×1030 gigawatts, or 5 million trillion trillion gigawatts. For perspective, a nuclear reactor puts out about one gigawatt of energy, while the total energy of all Milky Way stars is about 1028 gigawatts.”

Tired of corona-related news. Time to relax with a completely science-based, “you are somewhat insignificant in the greater scheme of things” post.

Enjoy.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/quasar-winds-record-energy-levels-seen-fleeing-distant-galaxy/amp?__twitter_impression=true

Authors Give Back Initiative = FREE ebooks for Self-Isolation

March 22, 2020
MThomas

Both my books on Smashwords (Adam’s Stepsons and Destiny in the Future – actually my mother’s book published posthumously as a tribute) are FREE downloads from now to April 20 as part of the Smashwords Authors Give Back initiative:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/931869

Formats include .ePub, .mobi, PDF, .txt, and online reader (browser-based).

Take it easy. Deep breaths. No panicking. Let’s get through this thing.

(See https://blog.smashwords.com/…/smashwords-launches-initiativ… for more information and links to other free ebooks as well.)

Pollen and COVID, 2020

March 21, 2020
MThomas

This time of year in Japan, the sugi (Japanese cedar) spew yellow pollen all over the balcony doors of our house.

All over the car and windows. All over any clothing hanging out to dry.

For some reason, my allergies stubbornly resisted this season. Until this past week. Then I enjoyed the new spring temperatures with two days of non-stop sneezing fits, followed by a day of throaty, mucusy coughs and stuffy nose honks.

Not ideal during a Coronavirus pandemic that has everyone in the world terrified of anybody within earshot. Even I, myself, couldn’t help a momentary feeling of panic. What if…I…??

But it’s just hay fever. Nothing more. But of course I can’t get a test. Not in Japan, where five-sixths of the test kits available simply aren’t used (for fear of driving up the number of the infected, thus dampening Tokyo Olympic chances and damaging the poor PM’s ego).

Should I self-isolate? What if I (and my wife, and kids, and all our friends, neighbors, and colleagues) already were infected and didn’t even know it? (Many people show mild or no symptoms, especially if they’ve been inoculated against seasonal flu already.)

What if it’s too late, we’ve already recovered, and the whole thing is just an overblown cold virus?

Or what if it’s just starting and the worst is yet to come?

With so many unknowns, it’s hard not to feel a real sense of fear, and dread. The world turned upside-down, our “leaders” selling us out while they run off to safe houses as the system they undermined collapses under its own weight.

Maybe it’s the beginning of a new Gilded Age. A new Roaring Twenties of wealth, prosperity, and debauchery.

Only we know what followed that.

It’s been three weeks since two doctors cut open my left shoulder and removed a 2cm-square benign tumor that looked like a tiny blancmonge. The same day my elementary-age daughters had to stay home because their school year abruptly came to an end, with little advance warning thanks to terrified, clueless politicians.

Were they all needless deaths after all?

In only three weeks, it has all been changed. From now and in times to be, wherever a mask is worn.

Changed, changed utterly.

A terrible beauty may have been born…

The Witcher, Wheel of Time, and Other Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows Halt Production Due to Coronavirus

March 16, 2020
MThomas

😱😱😱

Welp, guess it’s back to ST:TNG and Teen Titans: Go! for a while…

— Read on http://www.tor.com/2020/03/16/the-witcher-wheel-of-time-and-other-sci-fi-fantasy-shows-halt-production-due-to-coronavirus/

Just in time for COVID-19 self-isolation and quarantine: A whole lot of online books for (15th to 19th century) kids

March 15, 2020
MThomas

PickeNotteThyNose

Includes such favorites as “pyke notte thyne errys nothyr thy nostrellys” and “spette not ovyr thy tabylle.”

Oh, and there’s some stuff by Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, i.e., Alice in Wonderland) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), among many others.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/feb/21/pyke-notte-thy-nostrellys-15th-century-guide-on-childrens-manners-digitised-for-first-time

I Only Wanted to See You Under the Iron Rain…

March 14, 2020
MThomas

IronRain

Wasp-76b, as it’s known, orbits so close in to its host star, its dayside temperatures exceed 2,400C – hot enough to vaporise metals.

Hmm….this reminds me of…let me think for a minute…wait, I got it…

Anakin-TooHot

Yeah, that’s the one. I think.

(Seriously, check it out. Not even the Jedi could possibly handle an actual “inferno” planet.)

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