Archive for April, 2010

My First Book!

Posted in Books, Writing on April 30, 2010 by oneoveralpha

Ooooh. Aaaaah.

Today I received the proof copy of my book, A Man of Few Words. I had realized I had left something out after I sent it in, but I had resigned myself to letting that go. Then, the day after I sent the file in, something outside my control changed making one of my stories no longer accurate. I figured I would write up a blog about it and leave it at that. Then I opened the proof. There were things I had looked at hundreds of times on my screen without seeing anything wrong. But as soon as I opened the book, I went, “Oh, that has to change.”

I’m going to spend tomorrow fixing the problems I know about, and look for others, and then resend it in. So, I should get my second proof in about a week, and my if everything looks good, it will be on sale. 😀

My take on Stephen Hawking and aliens

Posted in Astronomy, Humor, Science, Spaceflight on April 28, 2010 by The Prince of Pithy

Over the past few days I’ve heard a lot about Stephen Hawking’s comments about aliens in his show, Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking. I wanted to find a clip of the part, but the best I could find was this:

I have two points for Professor Hawking to consider. First, if these aliens are so advanced, wouldn’t you think they would have figured out how to recycle? Mining an occasional comet or asteroid for certain materials is understandable, but – bad scifi movies aside – why would they have an insatiable thirst for raw materials?

Second, in all of human history we have only landed twelve people on the moon, but every day untold millions of condoms are used. Isn’t it likely, that long before these aliens figured out how to warp time and space to travel interstellar distances, they would have figured out how to not have baby aliens? Wouldn’t their ships have stable populations, and with recycling (and an occasional comet or asteroid) wouldn’t they already have the materials they need? Or are you suggesting they don’t do family planning because of some Space Pope, so their population is exploding which is why they have to consume everything?

Rocket Scientist Correction

Posted in Humor, Science, Spaceflight on April 22, 2010 by The Prince of Pithy

When I tuned in to watch the launch of the X-37B, I noticed a grammatical error:

Which they later corrected.

What will it take for a better future?

Posted in Rant, Writing on April 20, 2010 by The Prince of Pithy

I’m writing a story where one of the characters is writing a book, Smacked Upside the Globe about getting humanity onto a better path. Here are the two little excerpts I’ve had to write for the story:

Before humanity can set aside our petty squabbles and unite for a wondrous future, we’ll need to get kicked in the ass. Only an extreme disaster – something that threatens everyone – will overrule self-interest.

It is my hope that someday soon, a small asteroid will be found on a collision course with Earth. Not because I’m a psychopath looking to get off on the fear and misery such an event will cause, but because the only way forward is for humanity to unite. And a common threat may be the only way to achieve that. Our future is among the stars and we need to stop looking inward and start looking outward.

While this works for the story I’m writing, I hate to admit there may be a lot of truth to it. Is there another way forward?

Singularity

Posted in Odds, Science on April 17, 2010 by The Prince of Pithy

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.

Is such progress avoidable? If not to be avoided, can events be guided so that we may survive? These questions are investigated. Some possible answers (and some further dangers) are presented.

This is the Abstract of a paper written by Vernor Vinge in 1993 talking about what is being called the Technological singularity. It’s an interesting read.

A personal achievement

Posted in Astronomy on April 7, 2010 by The Prince of Pithy

I have an interest in astronomy. Growing up in the country, with its dark skies, I have seen a lot. I’ve seen craters on the moon, the phases of Venus, the Galilean moons, asteroids, Neptune, star clusters both open and globular, meteors, even the ISS and shuttle flying in formation. But the one thing I don’t recall ever seeing was Mercury. Until tonight. I knew Mercury would be close to Venus, and since I was home last weekend I hoped to be able to see it, but it was either cloudy or I forgot about it. So when I drove back to King of Prussia – with all the Philadelphia light pollution – I figured I’d have to wait a few more years before I could see it.

But tonight as I was driving home from a writing group, I happened to look over and see a bright “star” above the sunset. I bet that’s Venus, I thought. I had to stop for some groceries, so I parked and stared in the area Mercury should be. It took about a minute for me to spot the speck of light. Yes! I hadn’t been sure I’d ever seen Mercury, but now – and since I don’t have a telescope big enough to see Pluto, which isn’t a planet anymore – I can say that I have seen every planet in the solar system.