Archive for March 2015

Faster, Stronger, Better – Now!   Leave a comment


Credit: Nanotech Magazine, December 2 2014 issue

How can one humble carbon atom change the world?  This mighty element, the giver of life of all that inhabits the universe, never ceases to wonder those who study it, apply it and make good use of its properties.  It’s responsible for planets, stars, people, steel, lighting, pencils – if there’s something to use, then it’s a safe bet carbon might have had a hand in it.

But you don’t need a whole truckload of the stuff to create something wonderful.  All you need is the tiniest of dabs, smaller than a dot.  Graphene, a carbon-based material only one atom in thickness and arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is what Superman is to humans – nearly indestructible.  Yet, in its simplest of forms, it’s not visible.  Stack it, however, and you have a mighty material even the most powerful of action heroes would have a tough time dismantling.

Haydale, a Welsh firm that specializes in the use of graphene, entered the limitless future of working with this one-atom thick miracle of carbon.  One of their projects is partnering with four other European firms to create biosensors for use in the medical field.  These biosensors will be used to detect the presence of pesticides, airborne pathogens, drug residues and more.

Graphene isn’t new news to the nanotech world.  Neither are metamaterials.

Metamaterials are constructed with subcomponents that are smaller than the wavelength of the radiation they are designed to manipulate.  Additionally, they contain properties that bend light, radio, sound and seismic waves in ways that don’t naturally occur.  There’s also testing to see if their properties can enhance magnification, dampen earthquake tremors, block the sun from damaging skin, among other applications.

What’s trending, though, is the combination of the two tiny technologies to produce giant wonders.  Now, when the two are combined, near-miraculous innovations occur. Coatings that deflect lasers is one application. The imagination is limitless when it comes to others.

Imagine a sheet of paper electronically charged, composed entirely of graphene and metamaterials.  There’s something like that already in the works.  Cars become safer, MRIs, X-Rays, most medical equipment completely rethought and repurposed.  Even cloaking capabilities, a necessary requirement of every single mode of off-world transportation in science fiction can theoretically become fact.

Look at it this way: carbon is the giver of life, in all its useful purposes and applications.  It’s an immortal being, utterly without prejudice.  Give it a task, it’ll handle it with pride.

If only the other carbon construction – humans – were so flexible, imagine the kind of place our world would be today.



Tips from Nature   Leave a comment


Credit: NASA

There’s a whole lot going on in nature this week.  Take, for example, the March 20th total eclipse.  It’s the first total for a couple of years.  The others have been annular, or the kind where the moon doesn’t quite hide the sun and it peeks out like a ring.  And in case you didn’t know, eclipses come in pairs, two weeks apart: the sun hides its face, then the moon.  It’s just the way nature works.  Not everyone gets to see this spectacular event; those in the northern extremes of Europe (and polar regions) will see it just fine, but the rest of Europe will have to settle for a partial eclipse.  That’s fine by me, something is better than nothing.

Eclipses are weird.  I experienced a total eclipse when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  It was covered live on TV, when people still held wonderment and what nature could do.  I clearly remember it got dark, a fairly good representation of the stars came out, birds went silent and all became still.  Mom admonished me for looking up at the sky, yet both of us snuck a peek and I remember getting a chill.  It was so, so strange to see this blackness where the sun ought to be.  Lots of our neighbors came outside and pointed and laughed nervously.  We all knew better.  We knew that the sun’d pop back out again and the warmth would return, birds would wake up, a bit confused at the short night, perhaps, but ready to launch into song once more.  And sure enough, it did.  Everyone retreated to the inside of their houses, catching the few last bits of the broadcast describing the marvel we all experienced.

So what if the sun got stuck, though, behind the moon?  Suppose, just for an hour or two, the sun had had enough of working to warm the planet.  The moon, normally a celestial object waiting to dominate the evening sky, chose not to budge, either.  Let’s say they went to war.  A line was drawn in the sky, and neither of them were giving way until the other relented.  Imagine what people might say then?  Oh, they’d be all right with it for about the first five or ten minutes, but after that?  A nip in the air becomes a chill, then cold, then freeze.  Our balance turns wobbly, then a sickly feeling emerges from our insides.  Hair rises off of our heads as breezes end.  Building creak, water flows everywhere and electricity shorts out.  Planes can’t fly.  Our world ceases, but still exists.  The National Guard is called out, but is helpless against the force of nature.

Take that, Nature says, and keep on ruining the planet.  I’ll take care of matters for myself.  When all of you have had your fill of ignorance, I’ll imbue you with light.  Until then, may the best people evolve, while I clean house.

Ah, if only…

In the meantime, we’re still here, facing the Ides of March, Pi Day, and the inevitable East Coast first day of spring snowstorm from the relentless winter we’ve been experiencing.  Can’t wait to shovel that 3″ – 6″ in the driveway.

Lunar Properties – Yours for Cheap!   Leave a comment


Credit: Lunar Embassy

This sort of thing has been going on for seemingly ever – real estate for sale that’s basically unobtainable – but it’s never stopped anyone from trying and believe it or not, it’s a profit-making enterprise.

Take, for example,  Since 1980, they’ve been selling offworld prospectors lunar property one acre at a time.  And why not?  Just about everyone, and I mean everyone, has endorsed them.  A quick trip to their website tells you that over 250 celebrities have snapped up lucrative tracts of land, perhaps one day to start a development bearing their name.

It’s not like it’s a great wad of dough you have to shell out, either.  For $29.95, you too can lay claim to a spot of your own, and it comes complete with all the documentation you’ll need.  So if some pesky astro-, cosmo- or taikonaut trudges through the breccia on your spot, you have every right to give them the boot or charge rent.

So how is this possible?  Well, in 1967 a treaty stated that governments can’t own lunar land, but there’s nothing to stop corporations and private individuals from doing so.  All property sales are registered with the US Office of Claims Registries, the same office that’s responsible for any land claims.  Any government in the world is free to challenge this, but so far, none has.

But is it realistic?  Can you really hop in your own rocket, blast off and set up housekeeping/shop in a barren world with little means to support yourself in any way, shape or form?

Ah, that challenge was faced by those intrepid souls who once trod the lands of this country back in time, not knowing what they’d find or if they’d survive the experience.  But somehow life carried on, the land was settled and people prospered.  Houses were built, highways grew and shopping malls sprang up like crocuses in spring.

So, what are you waiting for!  Grab your lunar acreage while the opportunity’s still fresh!

Writing Workshop: Pacing Your Story!   Leave a comment

I just happen to think this is a great article for anyone to read who’s been working on a story, book, blog, or anything involving nouns, verbs, gerunds, parts of speech and their eventual formation of fabulousness.

One Lazy Robot

A lot goes into writing a good story, unless somehow you’ve made BFF’s with a Muse. If that’s the case you don’t need me, and you should go frolicking through fields of daisies, jerk. For the rest of us, there are a lot of aspects of good storytelling that require conscious attention.

These range from having good mechanics (ie: knowing how to put together a sentence that sounds good, or atleast intelligible), to a strong plot (ie: interesting shit keeps happening!), to correct pacing (ie: your character doesn’t spend the first three quarters of the book splayed out on his back whilst sexy servants feed him grapes, and the last quarter of the book blowing up the moon.)


Today, we’re gonna chat about pacing, because it’s one of those elements of storytelling that is a slippery bastard to nail down. As the writer, pacing can be one of the hardest things to keep…

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Posted March 8, 2015 by seleneymoon in Uncategorized

Einstein’s Cross   Leave a comment


Multiple images of the Supernova Refsdal, appearing over time.  Credit: NASA and European Space Agency 

There’s a sight to behold in the universe, located in the constellation Pegasus.  It’s known as the Einstein Cross, a singular supernova that is seen four times.  It’s an example of the forces of time and gravity meeting in space, and what can happen when they dance together.

Simply put, the Einstein Cross is the result of gravitational lensing.  That means there’s something in the way that’s spreading the view.  Take, for example, one exploding star.  Place in front of it a collection of galaxies.  The gravitational force is such that the rays of light are spread in several different directions, and in this case, four.  So while it’s rare enough to catch a star exploding, it’s even more magnificent to watch it four times.

The New York Times has a great article and a very cool video regarding this unique occurrence in the universe.  You can read it here.

Posted March 6, 2015 by seleneymoon in Nature, Sci-Fi, The Universe

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Free Sci-Fi Reads   Leave a comment


In case any of you are wondering where you could get yourself some new, cheap and quick sci-fi reads to load on that new iPad or tablet you got for Christmas, your birthday or just for fun, have I got a link for you!

Check out Wattpad, a site dedicated to new, established and undiscovered writers of all genres, but also for science fiction.  There are literally hundreds of books to choose from, on a wide range of topics.  If you’re searching for the latest in alien lit, or want to bone up on mysterious plagues or merciless wars, here’s your chance to follow serialized books.  What’s also great about this site is it offers writers, both established and new, the opportunity to create and share their work.

By the way, it’s not just for sci-fi fans – it’s for everyone.  If you want to sink into a romance or inform yourself on a particular topic, even catch the latest on werewolves and vampires, it’s all there.

But that’s not all, folks…there’s more!

Thinking of a good story and searching for a place to put it down into words?  This site also allows you to create.  There’s no demands on writers who wish to launch their careers, nothing to sign, no rights to control, no promises to turn over your firstborn.  It’s a direct connection to 30 million readers worldwide who might just sink their teeth into your mysterious fantasy and become an ardent fan.  It’s better than a blog, it’s your work!

If nothing else, this is a good site for those who might need a bit of encouragement to start placing their thoughts into a real work.  Someone’s bound to trip over what you’ve written, and you’ll get a real chance to have others examine your work.  Sure, it might be scary, but it’s also helpful.  Think of it as a growing process, and you’ll be on your way publishing that great story you’ve been dragging around in your head.

So what are you waiting for – get writing!




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