M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Meet Arisa, our local “inforobo”

July 16, 2020
MThomas

IMG_2770

This is Arisa, the “Information Robot.” It was recently installed at Yamato-Saidaiji, a Kintetsu Railway station in Nara City that I travel through to go to work.

Actually, today I went through the station on my way to renew my driver’s license. Interacting with the robot was much easier.

She (oops, I mean “it”?) can speak four languages (Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Korean) at the touch of a panel. But the functionality is still only limited to basic phrases about where to change trains and which platform to use. Still, it’s a first step (toward replacing human-controlled info booths, so get started learning programming, kiddos!).

One pill to block the emotions from bad memories…and another to…?

February 12, 2020
MThomas

We’ve seen this before. Tragic romance framed by sci-fi fantasies. But now it may be possible to block the emotions the amydala associated with painful memories. Continue Reading

All My Love, Johnny – a true WWII love triangle in my family’s history

February 4, 2020
MThomas

VMailJuly9?I should be finishing the SF novel I’ve been working on (and off) for the better part of four years now. Instead, I’ve found myself obsessed with letters recently found in my dearly departed mother‘s possessions…letters written from my grandmother’s first husband, John Hart, while he was in the US Army in the 1940s.

He died. This ain’t no story of heroic sacrifice or rah-rah patriotism. This is reality. Continue Reading

Super Bowl 2020: All the space-themed commercials

February 2, 2020
MThomas

“Being able to get humans on Mars and actually collecting one of these samples would be such an incredible moment, I would kind of hope it would almost bring us back to the moon days of everyone being glued to the TV.”

Um. Well. OK. TV is dead so we’ll all be watching it streamed on our smartphones, but the point is taken.

And how much did they pay for this? ๐Ÿ’ฐ ๐Ÿ‘ฝ ๐Ÿ“บ

โ€” Read on http://www.livescience.com/amp/super-bowl-space-commercials.html

Have some Proxima Centauri with ESPRESSO

January 20, 2020
MThomas

“Proxima is our closest neighbor in an immense universe. How could we not be charmed by it?

Well, the planet may or may not exist (the confirmation data won’t be publicly available for another couple years).

And it is most likely not inhabitable — despite being dubbed a “Super-Earth” (which really only refers to size and not whether it’s “Earth-like” or not).

Still, regardless of these facts, the most important part of this article in Scientific American is the science:

“We tried different tools to prove ourselves wrong, but we failed. However, we have to keep the doors open to all possible doubt and skepticism.

Yes, the astronomers tried to prove their own discovery was a mistake. That’s how it works, folks. Challenge your assumptions, not jump to conclusions. Continue Reading

‘PigeonBot’ Brings Robots Closer To Birdlike Flight

January 18, 2020
MThomas

True story: On the first day of our honeymoon, a pigeon shat on the top of my head as we were walking to the mountain hot spa.

I wonder what would come out of robot pigeons ๐Ÿค”

โ€” Read on http://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/796786350/pigeonbot-brings-robots-closer-to-bird-like-flight

99.9999999% of Your Body Is Empty Space

January 14, 2020
MThomas

atoms gif.gif

Are you sitting down for this? Well, youโ€™re not really. Your butt isnโ€™t actually touching the chair youโ€™re sitting on. Since the meat of your atoms is nestled away in nuclei, when you ‘touch’ someone (or something), you arenโ€™t actually feeling their atoms.

Nobody has ever really touched anything in their lives.

Sleep tight…

(Not exactly a new article, but still interesting; and, yes, I might be using this to justify an awful lot of my soon-to-be-beta-read new novel ๐Ÿ˜‰

No, it’s not actually an iPhone. Yes, please stop the sloppy reporting, thanks

January 9, 2020
MThomas

AncientIPhone

This is already a few months old, but I thought I’d finally get around to blogging about it: The “ancient iPhone” of “Russia’s Atlantis.”

Spoiler alert: it’s not one, and there was no such place. But that didn’t stop the “news” from spreading. Continue Reading

Itโ€™s life, Jim, but not as we know it. Maybe.

November 14, 2019
MThomas

The pattern remains a mystery, but researchers are beginning to narrow the possibilities.

While the changes are most likely…geological in nature, planetary scientists can’t completely rule out an explanation involving microbial life.

Just as the Viking landers claimed? Uh-oh.

Or is it just chemicals (perchlorate, bleach-like substances) in the soil, releasing oxygen and methane depending on the amount of sunlight/heat?

How would this affect humans who set up camps in the low-elevations areas, where they could be closer to water?

Hm…

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50419917

Here There Be Witches โ€” i.e., Strong Women

November 1, 2019
MThomas

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The Witching Hour and Hallowe’en have come and passed, but there’s still time to think about family history…since, of course, it does involve witches. And ghosts.

We have two witches and one ghost in the family tree, on my mother’s side (my father’s side has pirates, kidnapped settlers, and Captains who start intercontinental wars, but more on that in another post). The witches, of course, were caught up in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693. Otherwise known as the Salem Witch Paranoia. Victims of insecure white men. So what’s new? Continue Reading

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