- Flogging Babel: A Few Words For New Writers. “You may be a very dear friend, someone to whom I owe a lot and for whom I would walk a mile barefoot through the snow if need be, but I am not going to let you read my rough drafts.”
- 1958-01-25 Peter Watts
- 1918-01-26 Philip José Farmer
- 1943-01-26 Judy-Lynn del Rey
- 1756-01-27 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- 1832-01-27 Lewis Carroll
- 1955-01-27 Karl Bunker
- 1924-01-30 Lloyd Alexander
- 1941-01-30 Gregory Benford
- 1941-01-30 James Benford
- 1962-01-31 Will McIntosh
The data in this section is from the ISFDB. ISFDB entries usually have SFE and/or Wikipedia links for biographies. For free works of older authors online, try sites like FreeSFOnline, Archive.org, Gutenberg, or PoemHunter.com.
- SF and Nonsense: Counting on ten left thumbs? Compared to the oddly naive approach most current SF writers take to blockchain and related subjects, this is refreshingly contrarian.
- Four Climate-Influenced Disasters Cost the U.S. $53 Billion in 2018 – Scientific American. Get a load of the hoax these fuzzy-headed liberal insurance companies are trying to put over on us. (Seriously, if there’s any issue that should not be partisan, it’s this.)
- Sci-fi to reality: Superpowered salamander may hold the key to human regeneration. Of course, while it may be closer “to reality,” there’s still quite a way to go.
- Scientists tackle breeding challenges of land mine-finding rats. This relates to the factual elements in Eleanor Arnason’s “Mines” (Infinity Wars, 2017).
- The first tendril-like soft robot able to climb — ScienceDaily. “GrowBots”! You can find a lot of items about robots, including “soft” robots, in the archives of these “Links” posts and this is another excellent addition.
- Flood of complaints to EU countries since data law adopted. Go get ’em!
- IBM launches commercial quantum computing – we’re not ready for what comes next. This reads like an oddly threatening advertisement but it’s interesting.
When Worlds Collide; Moons and More
- How did Uranus end up on its side? We’ve been finding out. The basic hypothesis is nothing new, but the details and approach are interesting.
- Scientist sheds light on Titan’s mysterious atmosphere. Organic cookery.
- Planetary collision that formed the moon [may have] made life possible on Earth. Yet another thing which may indicate how many millions or billions of systems it could take to produce an Earth. Such collisions are not uncommon (see Uranus above) but just such a collision with just such objects with the few million other necessary characteristics… The universe does not seem to default to “life.” This is yet another reason (see 53 billion more above) why we shouldn’t take Earth’s continued habitability for granted.
- Where is Earth’s submoon? Ubi moont?
New Horizons/Ultima Thule
- What’s Next for New Horizons? Above and beyond! (Speaking of Ultima Thule, I know BB-8’s head is not as circular but I’m surprised I haven’t heard more BB-8 comparisons along with the snowman comparisons.)
- New Horizons’ latest images from Ultima Thule reveal new details | Astronomy.com. From just prior to this post.
- NASA’s storm-silenced rover marks 15th anniversary on Mars. Speaking of BB-8, Opportunity looks kind of like Wall-E. This is sad, but the rover did a fantastic job and it took a remarkably bad storm to kill it.
- NASA Has a New Plan to Revive the Mars Rover Opportunity, as Time Runs Short. Or perhaps it really is only sleeping. *fingers crossed*
Other Astronomical Fascinations
- No Planet Nine? Distant Objects’ Odd Orbits May Have Different Explanation. This seemed like an obvious possibility to me but this is more rigorous than WAG and it’s nice to have support. (Though I grant that a new planet would be more fun.)
- Astronomers spot the brightest quasar ever discovered in the early universe | Astronomy.com. Thirteen billion years old, burning as brightly as 600 trillion suns.
- How to escape a black hole: Simulations provide new clues about powerful plasma jets. The Blandford-Znajek-Penrose mechanism? A black hole diet: eat cosmic celery and do the magnetic twist.
- New explanation for Alexander the Great’s death — ScienceDaily. Heretic! (Seriously, most doctors won’t diagnose you through any means but an office visit and here one’s trying to diagnose a guy over thousands of miles and years. It seems like slim odds but also seems possible and is fascinating speculation.)
Inspired by that last Calvin…