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

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/

Brand me? Brand *this*

April 22, 2018
MThomas

On a lark, I signed up for a “BrandYourself” account a few weeks ago.

I’d read about it via a Quartz link and was curious. I’ve been living outside the US Culture Bubble for about two decades now, so I’ve largely missed the “OMG my employer is checking my SNS posts” terror that (apparently) has been sweeping the nation.

My first BrandYourself warning: You have 738 Risk Factors!

OMG. What were they? Was I really putting myself at risk? Continue Reading

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