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Showing posts from March, 2017

Why We Can't Have Nice Things...

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White House Budget Plan Would Slash Science

Why can't we have nice things? The article above references Trump's 2018 Budget proposal,

"Although details are skimpy, Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal, released March 16, would make national security the top priority."

National Security as the top priority? Imagine that... In a country that spends more on national
defense than any other country in the world.

We live in a country where our leaders are using the media to fuel people's fears, driving the country toward nationalism, populism, racism, and isolationism. So in order to do this, they remove the very underpinnings of what has made our country a world leader in the past...science. Instead of leading the industrialized world, we're taking steps toward the dark ages. We'll decrease funding to public schools, cut science programs, and keep the American people in the dark. Why? So they can make us more afraid. An uneducated person is easier to contro…

Review: The Hammer of God

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The Hammer of God by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Clarke's The Hammer of Godis a hard science fiction horror story wherein Clarke explores the familiar theme of a 'planet killer' asteroid on its way to destroy Earth. Prior to the events of The Hammer of God, Spaceguard has identified and tracked all the Near-Earth threats, but one was outside the range of their tracking methods. Spaceguard must use outdated and untested equipment in a race against time to alter the orbit of a planet-killer.
The Hammer of God is classic hard science fiction written with the style and class that only Arthur C. Clarke could accomplish. Highly recommended science fiction!

Royce Sears
www.roycesears.com

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Review: The Last Colony

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The Last Colony by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I made the mistake of reading Zoe's Tale before The Last Colony. My excuse for this is my discovery of Scalzi via Zoe's Tale. I enjoyed The Last Colony but it's the same basic tale, just told from another perspective, as Zoe's Tale. While I like the premise of getting the details of a story from multiple perspectives, I think reading the books in reverse order spoiled the fun of it for me. Great books from a fantastic author and I can only blame myself for reading them out of order. Highly Recommended!

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Review: Childhood's End

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Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the science fiction genre, there are few authors as well known or as celebrated as Arthur C. Clarke, and rightly so. Childhood's End is a rich and creative exploration into the fate of mankind. Clarke's unpacking of religious, scientific, and cultural elements within Childhood's End, elements important in the buildup and final destination of mankind's journey, make for a truly wonderful adventure into the mind and matter of the human condition.

Royce Sears
www.roycesears.com

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Review: Redshirts

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Redshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The relationship between 'real world' and the 'writer's world' gets warped and twisted in John Scalzi's Redshirts Scalzi's tale of a universe shaped by "The Narrative" wherein his characters find themselves behaving in unexplained ways while the Narrative takes hold of a situation is a fun read, especially from a writer's point of view. A science fiction television show, and a badly written one at that, is the focus of Andrew Dahl's adventure in Redshirts as he is assigned to the fleet's flagship and realizes that his life is no longer his own. His life, just like everyone else on the ship, is controlled by the Narrative.

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Review: The Forever War

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The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can only say I wish I'd read this book sooner. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman, is a profoundly deep view of military experience that has been extrapolated into what the future of interstellar warfare might look like. Haldeman's explorations of relativistic travel and their effect upon the human psyche become evident through the one man's adventures as he takes a long and ponderous path from a lowly Private to the rank of Major in a war stretching across space and time. Haldeman's masterful storytelling takes the reader into the mindset of military culture that is reminiscent of Robert Heinlein'sStarship Troopers A must read for any science fiction lover!

Royce Sears
www.roycesears.com

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Review: The Ghost Brigades

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The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an action-packed, fast-paced sequel to Old Man's War, Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades does not disappoint. We go deep inside the Special Forces of Scalzi's universe through the traitorous character of Charles Broutin to discover the many secrets of the Ghost Brigade and what makes these CDF soldiers even more deadly than 'realborn' soldiers. Scalzi's strong characters and well-developed universe make this novel a military science fiction lover's paradise.

Royce Sears
www.roycesears.com

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Hydrogen Volcanoes?

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In a thought provoking article found on Sciencenews.org, scientists have found evidence linking the existence of hydrogen belching volcanoes to the possibility of life supporting planets.

Atmospheric models suggest, according to the article, these volcanoes may extend a star's habitable
zone considerably. This is exciting news for the exoplanet hunting community that opens the potential for many more worlds which may harbor life. It's an exciting time in the world of exoplanet astronomy and for lovers of science, like myself. Now, we just need a means of propulsion that will get us to these far-flung worlds in a timely manner rather than say the 750,000 years it would take us to get to the Trappist-1 system currently.

Royce Sears
www.roycesears.com

Out of Place Artifacts

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So, maybe I'm not caught up on the terminology but while doing some research last night I discovered a new term (new to me at least). OOPA-- "Out of Place Artifacts"-- How cool is that? Very cool actually.

Now, many of these are explainable, either via natural phenomenon or some other human intervention, but there are a few that caught my eye.

1.) Mount Baigong Pipes
Mount Baigong is located in China. It is described as an environment that is not suited for human life. Interesting so far, right? There are pipes laid throughout the mountainside that lead to a nearby lake, Lake Tousu. If that weren't interesting enough, the pipes run in organized patterns along the shores of the lake, into the lake, and deep into the mountain--a mountain that has an arguably pyramidal shape to it with three distinct entrances. The largest of these pipes is 40cm in diameter. Samples were sent to a local smelter and determined to contain 30% ferric oxide and 30% silicon dioxide--a substan…