M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Forget Mars, Head to Europa?

February 7, 2020
MThomas

960x0

“I think we’ve got a better chance of having slightly higher forms of life on Europa, perhaps similar to the intelligence of an octopus.”

Hmm. Maybe. It seems more like that any life would be of the microscopic or worm-like variety. But we still have to get out there first to find out…

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2020/02/06/alien-life-on-jupiter-moon-europa-a-sure-bet-space-scientist-says/?fbclid=IwAR0E86oW8Gi37WJluYC4O-DwjinzuNyuMZp96YYQY-eGfuapTZhyZYksxGU#250f65893cb3

Indie writers, Amazon is not your friend

June 26, 2019
MThomas

Amazon fakes

As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.

Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”

 

Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.

 

Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.

fake!!

Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).

AT-3rdparties.png

NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.

I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.

But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.

Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)

Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.

Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.

www.nytimes.com/2019/06/23/technology/amazon-domination-bookstore-books.html

The Moon is a Shining Ball of…uh…Nickel?

June 11, 2019
MThomas

deep-structure-mass-moon-crater-1200x630

“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground…”

Uh. OK. That’s a LOT of metal. Nickel and iron? Ancient asteroid impact? 300 kilometers deep?

Sounds like a “golden” mining opportunity…

…even enough to totally justify “the Moon is a part of Mars“?

https://futurism.com/the-byte/deep-structure-mass-moon-crater?fbclid=IwAR194QoShlhP8Cxo0bZZJOndG2ylWBHOQxcFA1AdzxtKfl6oxnU7RWZRIZQ

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

New Lifelike Biomaterial Self-Reproduces and Has a Metabolism

April 25, 2019
MThomas

Iron-Man-comics-Bleeding-Edge-armor

“Fundamentally, we may be able to change how we create and use the materials with lifelike characteristics. Typically materials and objects we create in general are basically static… one day, we may be able to ‘grow’ objects like houses and maintain their forms and functions autonomously.”

You mean like Iron Man from a decade ago (as seen in Infinity War)?

Or Venom back in 1984?

Honestly, scientists these days…can’t even keep up with comic books from the ’80s…

(That said, I’m not entirely thrilled with the idea of living in a living house that can maintain its own form and feed itself…on what?! you might ask…)

— Read on singularityhub.com/2019/04/24/new-lifelike-biomaterial-self-reproduces-and-has-a-metabolism/amp/

Bennu’s Intergalactical Glitterspray Show!

March 27, 2019
MThomas

asteroidmoons

OK, not actually glitterspray. Lots of tiny moons. Micromoons?

Exploding out of Bennu, which is an asteroid circling way out near Pluto right now, but will intersect Earth’s orbit in September 2060. And in 2135. And in 2175. And maybe soon again after that.

Doomsayers, prepare yourselves!

(Cumulative 1 in 2700 chance it’ll hit Earth by then. Too bad Bruce Willis won’t be around to save us.)

www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/03/nasa-bennu-osiris-rex-asteroid/585256/

Why bother looking for aliens? Because we’re probably not all that smart

March 5, 2019
MThomas

[A]n obvious obstacle to identifying our neighbors is the tendency to limit our imagination to what we already know. But this should not necessarily remain the case in the future.

Frankly, I think it’s high time that somebody invent the warp drive so that the Vulcans will finally notice us.

blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/are-we-really-the-smartest-kid-on-the-cosmic-block/

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