Tag Archives: science

The Space Program and the Path that Might Have Been

I’m over at Turtleduck Press this week, talking about outer space (yeah, you knew I was a space cadet…or is that joke too dated now?):

Here’s something about me that you might not know: I used to be a Physics major. I started out my university career taking courses like astronomy and calculus, before I realized that a creative writing/English degree was a much better fit.

But those two areas are closer than you might think.

You see, I write science fiction. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that an awful lot of real scientists have a similar story. So I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, or at least a SETI scientist or an astrophysicist.

Read the rest here: Dreaming of the Stars

Life took me in a different direction, but I’ve always kept one eye on the path-that-might-have-been.

I was thrilled to pieces when we started landing robots on Mars (I still remember being awestruck by those first panoramic photos), horrified when the space shuttle Columbia came back to Earth in pieces (I was too young to remember Challenger very well), and brokenhearted when the shuttle program was retired altogether.

I’m not sure whether it’s optimism or cynicism — or simply too much Star Trek in my impressionable years — that makes me passionately believe that one day we’ll need a space program. We’ll want a way to get off this planet, if not out of our solar system. I don’t know whether it’ll be a need for expansion, or the discovery of alien life, or a disaster (possibly our fault) befalling our home planet, or simply the desire for exploration, but one way or another, the human race is going to reach for the stars.

I hope we make it.

Your turn! Are you a space-lover or amateur astronomer? Why are you drawn to it?

Knight Errant by KD SargeIf you liked this post, you might enjoy Turtleduck Press author KD Sarge’s novels about spaceships, ex-Marines, and young men facing down their fears. The first one is called Knight Errantclick the cover for more info!

WANA Friday: If You Could Travel Anywhere…

Here’s the next installment of WANA Friday, in which several writers post on a common topic. The posts are meant to be short and sweet, so you can go blog-hopping and read everyone’s takes on the subject.

This week’s subject:

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

As you may have noticed, I like travelling. I’ve just finished an amazing trip through Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Nepal. In previous years, I’ve travelled through Norway, Denmark, Ireland, England, France (briefly), and a good chunk of my own country, Canada.

So where do I still dream of going?

Continue reading

Friday Link: Habitable Planet Discovered At Last?

Happy Friday!

As a huge Star Trek fan, I got really excited when astronomers first started discovering planets outside our solar system. Then more and more planets were identified, and none of them were hospitable to (Earth) life, and we didn’t find any aliens, and the whole thing got kind of boring even for a space geek like me.

Here’s a reminder that finding new planets is still something worth celebrating.

From the Surprising Science blog:

The latest in a long string of recent exoplanet discoveries could be the most exciting one yet: A planet called HD 40307g, roughly 44 light years away, appears to be the most likely candidate to harbor life of any exoplanet we’ve discovered to date. Larger than Earth, but smaller than a gas giant, the planet seems to be in the “goldilocks” zone of its star system, the region with the right balance of heat and cold to potentially allow for liquid water.

Read the rest.

That’s all for this week. See you back here on Monday!

Weekly Link: Tiny Tardigrades Can Live Through Anything

It’s Friday! Here’s a shiny science article to get you through the end of the week.

Apparently there exist in the world these almost microscopic animals called tardigrades that can live in some crazy conditions…

Scientists have found the tiny creatures surviving in boiling hot springs and buried under layers of ice on Himalayan mountaintops. Experiments have shown that they can survive being frozen at -328 degrees Fahrenheit or heated to more than 300 degrees F, are capable of withstanding pressures as powerful as 6000 times that of the atmosphere and can survive radiation doses that are thousands of times stronger than what would be fatal for a human.

And as if that weren’t enough, they have also been known to survive in outer space. Yes, really. To read more and find out how, click through to Surprising Science, a blog on the Smithsonian Magazine website.

In housekeeping news, posting may be a little scarce for the next week or two. The blog schedule will return to normal on the week of October 8.

In the meantime, don’t forget to look for everyday enchantments…

Weekly Link: A Toothbrush Saves the International Space Station

My mother pointed me to this wonderful article about the International Space Station. It starts with a sentence I never thought I’d read:

Astronauts used a toothbrush to conduct repairs outside the International Space Station, ending a marathon 6.5 hour-long spacewalk Wednesday.

Yup. Read the rest at CBC News.

Next week I’ll be buckling down on some writing, so I’m taking an Internet hiatus. But I’ve got an exciting guest blogger lined up for you on Wednesday. You can still comment, too — I just won’t see it until I’m back online next Sunday. Enjoy your week!


Weekly Roundup

Happy Friday to the blogosphere! Here are the best links I found on the Interwebs this week, for your reading pleasure…

Book News

Have I geeked out at you yet about SF&F writer Elizabeth Bear? No? I’ll have to do that, because she’s awesome. In the meantime, she has a new book out this week, Range of Ghosts. It’s epic fantasy inspired by Genghis Khan, and you can read about it in a Big Idea piece on John Scalzi’s blog.

General Geekery and Science

Somebody has re-created what Shakespeare’s works sounded like in the original pronunciation.

Scientists have figured out how to make cyborg snails (aka the mollusc militia).

The New York Times interviews scientist Rachel Graham,  the Jane Goodall of sharks.


Offbeat Home finds a Belgian B&B that belongs in a fantasy novel.

For Writers (and Interested Third Parties)

If you’re writing fantasy or science fiction, Juliette Wade offers some ways to approach measurements in your worldbuilding.

Deborah Biancotti points out that we are all running our own race.

Hope to see you back here on Monday, when I’ll be talking about Queen’s Man, the new science fiction release from KD Sarge at Turtleduck Press. Until then, happy weekend!

Weekly Roundup

book news

The micropress I’m a part of, Turtleduck Press, is gearing up for a new novel release next month. You can get a sneak peak at the main character, Joss, in a free short story called Fanged Bunny Slippers and on the latest blog post by his author, KD Sarge. (Previously in Joss news on this blog: Queen’s Man cover art revealed.)

general geekery and science

Some gorgeous book art (via Jennifer Crusie).

Science! A graphic from the BBC shows just how deep the ocean is and what to expect at each level (also via Crusie, who is a font of cool stuff).

Good article from Nerd Caliber on racism and cosplayers of color.

Linguistic geekery: why African click languages sound so odd to English speakers even though we click too (via Juliette Wade).

inspiring: home edition

Elaine Smothers blogs about beautiful and eco-friendly cob homes.

Goddess Leonie blogs about letting go of the old to make space for the new.

A blog devoted to myth- and fairy tale-inspired homes answers the question: why decorate your home that way? Favourite bit:

And for those of us who have to hide our dreaming souls during the work day, having a place to come to that is all about art and creativity and storytelling and wonder and imagination and myth and fairy tales (I get excited just writing all those words in a row) is essential to our well being.

for writers (and interested third parties)

Writer Unboxed has a great post on social media and the personas we create (by Porter Anderson).

Megan Crewe talks about her long and bumpy journey from her debut novel to her second (published) novel.


That’s all for now. Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Weekly Roundup

Welcome to my first weekly roundup. This is where I share the neatest things that caught my eye recently, the things that made me smile or go “Wow” or made me think. Enjoy!

General Geekery and science

Doctor Who knitted gear: http://www.themarysue.com/sonic-screwdriver-scarves/

DIY polyhedra garlands: http://offbeathome.com/2012/02/make-math-geek-garlands-in-rainbow-colors

Scientists have regenerated a plant from a 30,000-year-old seed: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1134177–russians-regenerate-plant-from-30-000-year-old-frozen-burrow-of-ice-age-squirrel

Sleeping in two four-hour chunks may be proven by history to be more natural for humans: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783


Survivors of domestic abuse walk the runway (note: I’m not a big fan of high fashion and runway culture and all that, but this is pretty cool anyway): http://www.themarysue.com/survivors-walk-runway/

For the Writers (and interested third parties)

Jennifer Crusie on first person vs. third person (I know you’ve read a lot about point of view, but this one is really good): http://www.arghink.com/2012/02/19/lost-in-translation-first-to-third-and-back-again/

Justine Musk on how to find the big truth of your writing: http://justinemusk.com/2012/02/17/meaning-truth-novel-how-to-blog/

Kristen Lamb on when to write prologues (and when not to): http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-prologues/

Jody Hedlund on not succumbing to perfectionism: http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/2012/02/publication-perfection-not-required.html

Juliette Wade (and friends) on considerations for food, agriculture, and diet in your worldbuilding: http://talktoyouniverse.blogspot.com/2012/02/food-agriculture-and-diet-google.html

That’s all for this week, folks. I’ll see you back here on Monday!