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

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

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/

Who wants a hotel on Mars??

February 25, 2019
MThomas

Hotels near MarsSeek and ye shall find!

Ah, a place to crash on Mars.

No, not a lander. A hotel.

I won’t mention the web site where this automated (probably Google) ad popped up.

But they often have extreme -ly interesting tech -nology information.

Just in time for spring break, too!

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

Not anthropomorphic but anthropogenic climate change SF

December 24, 2018
MThomas

Yes, climate change is real.

Yes, some of these five classic SF novels from Tor are really about pollution and not climate change per se.

Yes, that doesn’t really matter.

The Sheep Look Up is still the best of the bunch. And (not surprisingly) somewhat prophetic.

Le plus chose change…

(P.S. Happy Yuletide. Bwah ha ha…)

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