M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Interstellar Travel Tech — oh, Really?

April 27, 2019
MThomas

Interstellar

“It is time to venture beyond the known planets, on toward the stars.”

Yes, I agree, but I don’t see how any of the ideas in this article will help us achieve that goal. I think the problem is the reliance on conventional means of propulsion. Clearly some sort of bending of space/time is needed to leave the solar system faster than, say, a decade, let alone reach other star systems.

Dawn already used an ion engine (way too slow). The solar gravitational lens is neat but it won’t take us there physically. The “space-based laser” idea is funky but impractical.

Getting off Earth should help (Moon Base, Mars, somewhere else like Triton). Escaping our own planet’s gravity well takes way too much effort. But after that, it’s time to forget about rockets and start thinking of truly “wacked out” ideas.

For starters, Discover, how about dumping your absolutely awful page design? Yeesh, this page is hard to read.

http://discovermagazine.com/2019/apr/new-technologies-could-let-us-explore-beyond-the-solar-system

Quantum downloading the brain

April 16, 2019
MThomas

scientists-quantum-material-download-brain-1200x630

The research is in early stages, but it invokes ideas like uploading brains to the cloud or hooking people up to a computer to track deep health metrics…

Hm. This sounds like an idea for a cool science fiction

Ah.

jwl8mezh-720

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-quantum-material-download-brain?fbclid=IwAR0gsFggMSQ6RF-poI8QV5rNGpko5HylTbuZyCOM_Uxh0LhV5hnFkUv2xgw

Customers who purchased digital books from the Microsoft store will soon be forced to return them.

Already widely reported.

Note that if you buy ebooks *directly from the author  – or *from Smashwords – then you get to keep them.

Yet another reason to cut out the middle man, especially if the middle man is a huge corporation that doesn’t care about its consumers.

via Microsoft’s ebook store closes, and will take all customers’ ebooks with it —

The Race for Your Face: Recognize this?

April 4, 2019
MThomas

Face

The Chinese government uses facial recognition for large-scale surveillance in public CCTV cameras, both to catch criminals and monitor the behavior of all individuals with the intent of turning the data into a score. Seemingly harmless offenses like buying too many video games or jaywalking can lower your score. China uses that score for a sort of “social credit” system that determines whether the individual should be allowed to get a loan, buy a house or even much simpler things like board a plane or access the internet.

Yeah. That’s a real advantage for human rights and democracy. And when the hackers get involved, it’ll lead to an entirely new definition of the term “face lift.”

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/facial-recognition-apple-amazon-google-and-the-race-for-your-face-facebook/?ftag=CAD-04-10aac3a&bhid=100000000000000000000000000831528

The Stainless Steel Musk Strikes Again!

January 23, 2019
MThomas

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

Earthrise: Fifty years and counting (Don’t count on it)

December 28, 2018
MThomas

“To really think about ourselves as citizens of Earth is something that I think we’re still working toward,” Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, told Space.com. “[Seeing this image] may be enjoyable and fun and awe-inspiring, and you might think about it later that day, but I don’t think most people have a perception of ‘I’m a citizen of Earth’ when they’re driving to work.”

He’s curious how potential future space developments — establishing a human presence on Mars, or discovering extraterrestrial intelligence, for example — might make that Earthling perspective easier to grasp by creating a group to contrast it against.

That’s us: the forever simian, defining ourselves in contrast to what we aren’t as opposed to what we could be.

So what would happen if some of us became Martians, Venusians, or Jovians? Hmmm…

www.space.com/42842-earthrise-apollo-8-photograph-50-years-later.html

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