M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

The Ultima Thule Awakens! (Well, OK, New Horizons Awakens, Fine…)

December 31, 2018
MThomas

It’s been a long 13 years.

Remember New Horizons? The Little Probe That Could?

No?

You know, the photos of Pluto, Formerly Known As the Ninth Planet?

Doesn’t ring a bell?

Hmpf. Go read about about it.

Anyway, by sheer chance, New Horizons happens to be close enough to grab some pictures of an object in the Kuiper Belt (which looks like KEW-per or KWEE-per but is actually pronounced KAI-per and is completely unrelated to former SF Giants player and current announcer Duane).

Ever wanted to see a peanut-shaped tiny rock (or rocks)

Only half a day left!

Read all about it, uh, pretty much anywhere online, really:

The Verge

Space.com

BBC

Globe and Mail

WIRED

Joseph Octave Lewis: Franco-American Trojan

November 30, 2018
MThomas

JLewis-1850s(?)A few weeks before my mother passed away, I finally had the chance to do what I had wanted to do for years: Visit the sites where my French-Canadian ancestor had been.

The problem was, I could only figure out one specific location, and that was only due to guessing based on an old photograph: a “cabinet card.”

My mother had insisted for decades that she had French-Canadian ancestry. Her grandmother Carrie Lewis Connally was French, she claimed. But I always wondered.

Lewis doesn’t sound terribly French.

Continue Reading

The predictive space powers of Linda A Langworthy

November 28, 2018
MThomas

Apollo-Soyuz_Test_Project_patch.svgI’ve made good progress on my mother’s high school manuscript — up to Chapter 9 (out of 15). Taking notes while I type, particularly about cultural references and language usage, I came across one interesting prediction:

“The space program of the two major nations [US and Russia] were joined after the moon project because it was cheaper to outfit; also, with the world’s greatest minds working together, better vehicles could be built.”

This was written a full 9 years before the joint Apollo-Soyuz (or Soyuz-Apollo) Test Project in 1975 that basically ended the “space race” started by the launch of Sputnik.

Written by a 17-year-old in 1968. The reality was more complicated, but still, heck of a prediction. Go, Mom!

Star trekking throughout the universe…

November 21, 2018
MThomas

img_3441-1
The holidays are coming up, which always reminds me of old Trek.

No, seriously. When I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents’ house for the holidays, my mom’s parents. And they had a color Zenith (we had a tiny black and white TV at the time).

The first time I saw Star Trek was in the “TV room” of my grandparents’ house in Troy. In brilliant red-blue-green color. It blew my seven year old mind. Continue Reading

What’s in a name? That which we call…

September 12, 2018
MThomas

rosebyanothernameOne thing I have struggled with while uncovering my family’s complicated past is the lack of consistency in naming conventions before the digital age.

In the Information Age, if you type in your name or ID with a single letter missing or out of place, your application gets rejected by whatever online program it is you’re trying to get access to. We all have numbers assigned to us—social security numbers, student numbers, worker numbers, case numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.

The past?

Thhppt. What’s a number? What’s a name? That which we would call a rose… Continue Reading

Four generations of strong women: The paternal-maternal side(s)

September 11, 2018
MThomas

It has been said that men write history but women live it.

In my family, it’s also been the women who were the keepers of family history, the tellers of tales and stories. The saver of old photographs and documents.

Which is why I have this photograph of four generations of women who brought four different families into our lineage. Thank you, Aunt Linda, for saving it. Since they are gone, I have an obligation to tell their stories. Who are they? Continue Reading

The Apple Falls Far from the Tree

September 3, 2018
MThomas

Apples groundMy family name is Apple, but I am not related to anyone by that name.

Well, legally, yes. And by marriage. But genealogically no. So the old adage is definitely NOT true. At least not genetically.** Continue Reading

Finding the Tree in the Family Forest

August 31, 2018
MThomas

IMG_2197While visiting Montreal and Upstate New York for summer vacation, my family were greeted by an unhappy surprise.

My mother has Stage 4 cancer.

I’ve been spending the past two to three years researching my ancestry (at, you guessed it, ancestry.com) and I had already hoped to talk with my mother about her memories of our Irish and French Canadian heritage.

I’d already managed to find quite bit online via various databases, both public and private. But there’s no substitute for family stories. And now I have a time limit.

Continue Reading

An ex-Domer Forever: What on Earthside was I thinking?

July 25, 2018
MThomas

It’s the end of the spring term (finally) at my university in Kyoto, which means I’ll be getting ready for my yearlong sabbatical in Montreal soon. From September I’ll be back at a North American university for the first time since 1997.

Ah, Notre Dame. Mixed lapsed Catholic-cum-agnostic memories. Continue Reading

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