Barnard’s Star has a Hoth. No Tauntauns, though.

In their presentation, the researchers jokingly compared the planet to Hoth – the icy planet made famous in one of the “Star Wars” movies, when Luke Skywalker’s steed (a fictional lizard species called a Tauntaun) dies and he must stay warm by burrowing into its intestines.

Yay, science. And only six light years away!

Which, since Alpha Centauri at four light years away only takes 137,000 years to get to, would only take…er…just a few ten thousand more years…Hmm…

So when do we invent warp drives?

www.seeker.com/space/newly-found-planet-could-host-primitive-life-study-suggest

Icy Montreal sidewalks still a problem after recent winter storm, residents whinge

Residents across the island are complaining about the state of city sidewalks. They say they are dangerous and that the city is taking too long to clean them.

OK, the original article doesn’t say residents are whingeing.

But they are.

Wow. And here I thought this was an American thing.

As for me, I dealt with the recent rain/ice/snow/ice/more rain mess by wearing big boots outside when I had to, and mostly staying inside with hot chocolate and books.

No prob.

via Icy Montreal sidewalks still a problem after recent winter storm, residents say —

Why bother with geneaology? Here’s why

I blog a lot about space — asteroids, planets, the cosmos in general — but I also write about my ancestors. In fact, I think everyone should find out more about their past.

There are plenty of reasons why you should find out more of your family history.

One thing, though: the 23 and me type of DNA tests don’t really reveal much. Why? As the wonderful NY Times article linked above says:

“Culture does not come from DNA. It comes from lived experience, traditions and stories passed down, from actual people who shape our perceptions of the world.”

It’s all about stories. Humans are storytelling creatures. We shape our lives, as our life experiences shape us and those around us. Motivations, desires, hopes, beliefs, fears, dreams…

Look to the past to explain the present and predict the future. Past and future aren’t dichotomous; they’re merely points on a never-ending continuum.

 

Planet Nine may not be a planet? Um. Right.

A new paper suggests that the so-called “Planet Nine” – thought responsible for the screwy orbits of Trans-Neptune objects – might actually be a really big disc.

Um. Yeah. Okay.

How about we actually focus on technology that will allow us to construct spaceships so we can go out that far in person to find out? Theoretical astrophysics is all fine and dandy, but how does this help our species expand out into space?

link.medium.com/dzXxC7X8YT

My Amazingly Insightful Interview at Smashwords

Yes, I have finally gotten around to “being interviewed” (by, er, myself) at Smashwords. In which I lay bare my literary influences. Ah, and also revel in my geekdom. Yeah.

https://www.smashwords.com/interview/mapple

Which means that, yes, I am preparing to (re)publish some of my work in ePub format. Hopefully, Adam’s Stepsons will be soon available for iBooks, Kobo, and some other apps/devices. Aiming at April 1st (since Adam’s Stepsons is currently enrolled in Amazon’s “KDP Select,” which prohibits me from distributing it as an ebook through other services until March 31st).

The Kindle (.mobi) price will be lowered to ONLY US $0.99 from Sunday! (I hope. Maybe Monday. Definitely by January 31st).

In the meantime, work proceeds apace on Bringer of Light! More coming soon. Very soon.

The Stainless Steel Musk Strikes Again!

He described the concept as a “stainless-steel sandwich” that can “bleed water…fuel” through tiny holes on its surface to keep it cool as it enters the Martian atmosphere at breakneck speeds.

screen shot 2019-01-23 at 2.17.40 pm

Not sure, but I don’t think there are a lot of people who want to travel to Mars inside a sandwich…

www.inverse.com/article/52605-starship-spacex-elon-musk-stainless-steel

From dust to dust — asteroid, that is

517_bennubeautyshot_main

What came before the planets? What are the origins of life? And how much of a threat do asteroids pose to life on Earth today?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that asteroids have (or used to have) hydrocarbons. If they have amino acids and nucleic acids…

Hmm. Sounds like a science fiction story based on science…

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/asteroid-sample-missions-hayabusa2-ryugu-osiris-rex-bennu?tgt=nr