M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Just Because You’re Not Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Tracking You…

June 15, 2019
MThomas

Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the “beacosystem” tracks millions of people every day. Beacons are placed at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas and museums, and even on billboards.

Big Brother is Watching…and Sending You Ads. And Ads. And Ads…

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/

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

Amazon shoppers misled by ‘bundled’ star-ratings and reviews

April 5, 2019
MThomas

The combinations of formats and editions make it impossible for readers to pick between multiple versions of the same products, and allow those selling badly put together editions to piggyback on good reviews.

At this point, Amazon should just admit that its review policies are a complete shambolic mess. If they refuse to allow fellow indie authors from reviewing each other and even prevents their own friends and relatives from reviewing their work, how can Amazon justify trying to sell dreck this way?

Hypocrisy.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/05/amazon-shoppers-misled-by-bundled-product-reviews

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

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