Aurora Rising - No, Not That One

When Random House released a YA sci-fi book titled "Aurora Rising" a few months ago to great fanfare and many press releases, I didn't make a big deal about it - I don't think I even mentioned it on social media. Titles are not copyrightable, so there was zero I could have done about it from a legal or public relations perspective. It wasn't even the first book titled "Aurora Rising" to come out in sci-fi since I completed the trilogy (that honor goes, I believe, to the renaming of Alastair Reynolds' "The Prefect" to "Aurora Rising" about 2 years ago).

I received the 1-star review posted on below on Vertigo a few days ago (just saw it this morning): https://www.amazon.com/…/R2IVQJYX…/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl…. Now, authors are NOT supposed to publicly respond to reviews, negative or otherwise (as a matter of custom and propriety - there's no Amazon rule against it). But I did it anyway.

I Just. Couldn't. Help. Myself.

73533172_2485582565054229_5047971330385772544_o.jpg

Note: since posting this on Facebook, the outpouring of support has been tremendous. In addition to people commenting on the review chiding the poster, readers have reported it for abuse dozens of times. I don’t know if Amazon will eventually will remove it, but the support everyone has shown has been worth so much more.

The Size of Space

Take 30 seconds and right-click until you feel suitably insignificant and overawed: https://neal.fun/size-of-space/

"A new website called “The Size of Space” illustrates how incomprehensibly vast the cosmos are.

As you scroll to the side, the site takes you on a journey from the size of an astronaut all the way up to the entire observable universe. As the scale ramps up, from spacecraft to moons to planets and onward, the smaller objects become tiny dots before vanishing altogether." Via Futurism.

safe_image.png

Originally posted on Facebook.

Artemis Update

NASA shares details of lunar surface missions—and they’re pretty cool: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/10/nasa-shares-details-of-lunar-surface-missions-and-theyre-pretty-cool/

Artemis may or may not succeed in getting boots on the lunar soil by 2024, but at this point there’s little question that we are going back, and going back for good.

artemis-16-1440x784.jpg

Originally posted on Twitter.

Quantum Supremacy

The beginning of the quantum era at last? Maybe.

This story initially broke almost a month ago, but Google stayed mum on the report, so I didn't share it at the time. Now, though, they've confirmed it and are sharing the paper detailing their results with the public.

So what is 'quantum supremacy'? It's not QUITE as dramatic as it sounds: it simply means that a quantum computer has performed a task that a standard computer is unable to complete. In this instance, Google says that its 54-qubit Sycamore processor was able to perform a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years. That would mean the calculation, which involved generated random numbers, is essentially impossible on a traditional, non-quantum computer.

This particular calculation has no practical uses, and IBM (also a major player in the nascent quantum computing space) takes issue with the assertion that it would take 10K years. But there's no question that qubit by qubit, researchers are finally beginning to make quantum computers actually work. Legitimately.

We might look back on this moment in a decade or so and point to it as the start of a new technological era. That would be pretty awesome.🤗

"Google confirms ‘quantum supremacy’ breakthrough": https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/23/20928294/google-quantum-supremacy-sycamore-computer-qubit-milestone

*Great conversation on Facebook on this piece.

Sycamore_Rainbow_cropped.max_1000x1000.0.jpg

Originally posted on Facebook.

Burning a Hole Through Reality

I'll be honest - the odds of this concept appearing in some form in one of my books are unreasonably high.🤗 It's got everything--science, lasers, weapons, drama, tears (both kinds), reality-breaking physics, hidden dimensions...all my favorite things.💫

More details also here: https://arstechnica.com/…/trampoline-mirror-may-push-laser…/

"New Lasers May Be Powerful Enough to Drill a Hole in Reality": https://futurism.com/the-byte/lasers-drill-hole-reality

safe_image.jpg

Originally posted on Facebook.

Moons of Saturn

On July 29, 2011 the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera took this snapshot and captured 5 of Saturn's moons, from just above the ringplane. Left to right are small moons Janus and Pandora respectively 179 and 81 kilometers across, shiny 504 kilometer diameter Enceladus, and Mimas, 396 kilometers across, seen just next to Rhea.

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191017.html

PIA12797-full.jpg

Originally posted on Twitter.

Brand New Again

I'm finally getting to updating the paperbacks with the Amaranthe rebranding (albeit slowly, because Continuum). I was working on Transcendence today, and since there were a few minor interior updates, I was flipping through the PDF proof to make sure everything looked good.

I accidentally started reading at the point where Matei Uttara attacks Caleb. Two hours later I'm still reading, utterly transfixed. And I might have teared up twice.

I know every "thing" that happens in this book like the back of my hand, but 4.5 years later, the words are brand new all over again.🥰

Oh, how I adore these guys.

Oh, how I adore these guys.

Originally posted on Facebook.

Arcalasers On The Way?

“Bendy laser beams fired through the air”: https://www.nature.com/news/2009/090409/full/news.2009.360.html

Yet another example of technology in one highly specific area progressing FAR faster than I had anticipated. We're barely starting to get laser weapons, and already we're bending them!

Though 'arcalaser' is a much cooler name than 'Airy beam,' IMHO....

Granted, the article closes with the following: "Bendy laser beams that can pass through obstacles might, at first sight, also seem ideal for military applications, but that's unlikely, says Kasparian. That's because only beams with small diameters — carrying relatively little energy — can be manipulated to curve significantly. "You are not going to be able to shoot people behind walls with this," says Kasparian."

Well, not YET.😎

news.2009.360.jpg

Originally posted on Facebook.

Revisiting A Big Decision

Wow. It's been 2 years since I made STARSHINE free for everyone. I'm thrilled (and more than a little relieved) to be able to look back at this blog post, all full of hope and belief and dice rolls and a twinge of fear as it was, and be able to say that I was right about it all.😎

Making Starshine free was the best thing I've ever done in this career (other than writing 11 more books to follow it, obviously). It's brought tens of thousands of readers to Aurora Rhapsody, many of whom might never have found or taken a chance on it. Readers who are now invested in this amazing journey through Amaranthe as we head into Riven Worlds. I am so glad all of you are here.✨

“Starshine Is Free & Other Outlandish Notions” (10/9/17): https://www.gsjennsen.com/news/2017/10/9/starshine-is-free-other-outlandish-notions

Originally posted on Facebook.

Starship

Say what you will, but the man has panache, and a keen sense of the moment. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1178014342031298561

This is the just-assembled Starship Mk1 Prototype, which will make its first test flight (to 20 km) next month. It's intended to be a reusable spacecraft that will go to the moon and Mars.

2019-09-28 13_38_35-Window.jpg

Posted on Facebook and Twitter.

The Path to a Warp Drive

A thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic - and not overly technical - overview of the possibility of one day creating an Alcubierre drive (sLume, anyone?).

"The only foreseeable way to do this is through further advances in quantum physics, quantum mechanics and metamaterials, says Agnew. As for the technical side of things, further progress will need to be made in the creation of superconductors, interferometers, and magnetic generators." - Okay, let's do that!

https://www.universetoday.com/143422/just-how-feasible-is-a-warp-drive/

mark-rademaker-1600blue.jpg

Originally posted on Facebook.

The Most Habitable (But Probably Not) Exoplanet Yet

Two teams of astronomers independently reported water vapor around K2-18b, an exoplanet 100 light years away. It's the first time water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of an exoplanet that is not a gas giant: https://www.wired.com/story/scientists-find-water-vapor-on-the-most-habitable-exoplanet-yet/

“The planet, known by the catchy name K2-18b, is 110 light years away and orbits a red dwarf star about half the size of the sun. The planet is twice the size of Earth, eight times as massive, and orbits its host star once every 33 days.

“This is the only planet outside the solar system that has the correct temperature to support water and has an atmosphere that has water in it, making this planet the best candidate for habitability that we know right now,” says Angelos Tsiaras, an astronomer at University College London and the lead author of the study published today in Nature Astronomy.”

RJABRT.jpg

Originally posted on Twitter.