M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Think small

December 3, 2022
MThomas

On Tuesday as I was walking back from work, much later than usual, my shoes were bothering me.

They felt stretched, loose, especially irritating on a rainy day.

I had spent too much time polishing them, I thought.

Too much effort making them “waterproof.”

Too much money on these damn useless things.

I resolved to throw them away and get a new pair.

But of course it would take time, and money, and effort to go get them.

Damn shoes. I would have to rearrange my entire week because of you.

The next morning, as I put my shoes on, I realized that the laces were loose.

So I re-tied them, and instantly they felt better.

Sometimes, when a small, insignificant problem arises, there is a simple fix.

Think small.

Volcanos, Venus, and Earth 🌋 Hellscape unveiled

November 25, 2022
MThomas

A new study shows that massive volcanic eruptions over an extended period of time may be responsible for changing the planet into what it is today. If there was simple life on ancient Venus, volcanism was its doom. The study also shows how powerful volcanic activity has played a role in shaping Earth’s habitability and how Earth only narrowly avoided the same fate as Venus.

https://www.universetoday.com/158696/volcanoes-are-the-worst-theyve-caused-extinctions-on-earth-and-probably-killed-venus/#more-158696

Venus is hot enough to melt lead, which is why no spaceship has ever survived to land on the surface.

And, no, there is nothing alive floating around in its toxic atmosphere.

But this is a neat article. Three future missions are planned for Venus (two by NASA – VERITAS and DAVINCI – and one by ESA – EnVision, which sounds more like a song and dance competition than a scientific probe).

Venus or bust!

Japan to continue on ISS until…

November 21, 2022
MThomas

Well, it’s official. Japan will remain a member of the International Space Station until 2030.

And of course, the next year it will fall to its death over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in “Point Nemo,” joining hundreds of other satellites at the bottom of the industrialized nations convenient sea junkyard.

Surely there is a better way to dispose of spacecraft that doesn’t involve polluting the ocean.

Well before then, Russia will no longer help out (obviously). And that’s problematic, since the propulsion part of the ISS is the Russian module.

Hmm. What to do, what to do…

How about we go to Mars instead?

Nah. Let’s have separate countries like India and China make their own space stations and then encourage private companies to make their own, too!

Um. What’s the point?

Ah. The “new space race.”

And don’t forget that Venus is “a Russian planet.” 🤦‍♂️

These moron politicians shouldn’t be in charge of humanity’s future. The Earth is a round planet the last time I checked, everybody sharing the same air and water.

For now.

Astronomers found a black hole in our cosmic backyard!

November 9, 2022
MThomas

Only 1600 light years away!

And it’s a binary system. Very odd.

It’s also “dormant.” Even stranger.

Ten times the size of our Sun, as far away from its companion star as the Earth is from the Sun.

Announced just in time for Halloween…

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/05/science/astronomy-black-hole.html

Another lost month…

November 8, 2022
MThomas

Sigh.

A whole month of no posts. Sorry, everyone.

Last weekend was partly fun (Halloween party with our kids, pre-teen and teen) and partly melancholic (4th year anniversary of my mother’s untimely death from cancer).

But even before then, I just wasn’t feeling all that great. Not sick. Just sort of…not with it. On autopilot, kind of.

Now that fall is well and truly here, the pollen is going away and the skies are clearing.

Hoping I’ll find my muse again.

And, no, I’m not going to write anything about Twitter, elections, or crazy beliefs in satanic rituals making a comeback among the bonkers-crazy folk of my home country. Way too easy.

Upcoming future events (according to a time traveler)

October 10, 2022
MThomas

Remember, it’s a video on TikTok, so it must be real. (link below to The Independent, a completely trustworthy sources of snarkiness).

https://www.indy100.com/viral/time-traveller-meteor-earth-tiktok-2658417934

Onward and upward, Excelsior!

September 19, 2022
MThomas

Just passed 200 followers on WordPress. Thank you, everyone!

I know I should be posting a whole lot more often than I have. There are LOADS of new science articles and events happening recently, so I’ll see if I can get caught up over the next couple of weeks.

Plus a new chapter of Bringer of Light by the end of the week! I promise!

(And it would be VERY helpful if WordPress didn’t “refresh” while I was adding tags and categories to posts, and then hiding those tags and categories afterward so that I couldn’t update them…Sigh…what was wrong with the older version that worked just fine?)

We could live together / crystals on the Moon…

September 18, 2022
MThomas

Half of a dilithium crystal? (It’s a new type of crystal called “Chang’esite” (after the ancient Chinese moon goddess).

I should be posting another chapter from Bringer of Light, but I don’t feel like writing that right now, what with a humongoid typhoon slowing churning its way here.

So here’s an article about what Chinese scientists found in Moon dirt.

Also H3. Yay. Let’s make fusion reactors and walk on the Moon together…

Now accepting…uh, what?

September 17, 2022
MThomas

This is how good our local hospital reception used to be.

(Pre-pandemic photo, 2015 or 2016. I think it’s been fixed since then. Shortly after I took this photo we started going to another hospital instead…)

Bringer of Light, Chapter 35: United Mars Colonies (pt 3)

August 13, 2022
MThomas

Previously, in Bringer of Light

The crew of the Artemis have admitted that the water brought from Ceres was contaminated. And yet they deny it was dangerous. Only different. And requiring training…that may stretch the rationality and scientific understanding of the current “United” Mars colonists…


“Delegates,” Martin began. 

No response.

“Delegates, we must accept the help of the Artemis crew. We have little alternative. We must face the facts. The UN, our home countries, our home planet has abandoned us.”

“How can we survive?” another delegate asked, voice quivering. “Captain, how can we feed ourselves? Maintain heat, power?”

“These are legitimate questions,” she replied. “Coop, a small demonstration?”

He nodded and looked back and forth. Spotting a cup on a small table to the side of the console desk, he raised it above his head.

“Empty now. See?”

He stooped and scooped up a handful of regolith from the chamber floor. Dropped it to the cup. In an instant, water appeared.

“Sorcery,” a delegate whispered.

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