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Release of God’s Assassin Delayed May 3, 2017

Posted by Al Philipson in Uncategorized.
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Amazon is having a problem converting em-dashes (—) properly, so God’s Assassin will be delayed until they can work this out. Computer programming can be a frustrating activity and I sympathize with their IT staff. I’m confident they will figure it out eventually. In the meantime, their marvelous customer service representative is keeping me in the loop.

While this is going on, I’ve started the next story in the Holy Christian Empire series under the working title of Princess Barbara (not the real title, but I’m keeping that a secret because I’ve had titles stolen from me before — including God’s Assassin, and Children of Destruction was stolen for a game). It’s the story of how Queen Barbara II came to power (the first Queen Barbara was Eric’s wife from Last Train from Earth). The story is set between Last Train from Earth and God’s Assassin, and starts in EY 2405, before the Empire got an official name (that’s another story).

Writing a new story can be a problem. I know how it starts and I kinda know how it will end, but the story between those two events isn’t cooperating. My muse needs to get her caboose in gear.

New Sources of Compact Power October 16, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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Concept of what an E-Cat would look like if manufactured

Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers, seems to have 1 million times the energy density of gasoline

“Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy – has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or ‘far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume’.”

The researchers couched their announcement and analysis with a lot of “weasel words”, probably bearing in mind the debunking of a previous “cold fusion” claim a few years ago.

However, at least one outfit involved is dumping all their petroleum holdings.

Click for full articleLockheed says it’ll make a truck-sized fusion reactor within 10 years

“Lockheed Martin, the US government’s largest contractor, says it has made a technological breakthrough in nuclear fusion power. The breakthrough will apparently allow Lockheed to build a 100-megawatt “compact fusion reactor” (CFR) that can fit on the back of a truck within 10 years. The reduced size — just 10 feet by 7 feet — will allow Lockheed to “design, build, and test the CFR in less than a year.” Clean, limitless power –  from a compact generator, no less! – could give us airplanes that can stay in the air forever, reliable power for developing nations, fresh water through cheap desalination, and much, much more. If Lockheed really has cracked fusion power generation, then almost every aspect of modern life could be in for a revolution.”

Details are sketchy from the Lockheed “Skunk Works”. There is a feeling that the announcement was hurried because of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat announcement (above). Lockheed never comes out and says this device is a certainty, just that they have “promising” breakthroughs.

If either announcement bears fruit, the future of the energy world could be both chaotic and promising.

Growing Crops in Martian or Lunar Soil September 18, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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Mars_GreenhouseCrops Grow On Fake Moon And Mars Soil

 

That means future space colonizers may be able to farm their own food using local dirt. No hydroponics necessary.

If humans ever set up permanent bases on the Moon or Mars, we’ll need to be able to grow our own food there. To find out whether that’s actually possible, a team of scientists in the Netherlands planted 14 plant species in soils that simulate the Martian and lunar regolith. It turned out that the Martian soil simulant was better than some Earth soils for growing plant life, which is good news for astronauts and colonists.

Real Moon and Mars soils appear to contain the essential ingredients that plants need, except for reactive nitrogen (and an abundant water supply). Though the simulant soils closely match the composition and grain size of the real stuff, they also contain trace amounts of the nitrates and ammonium—the nitrogen-based compounds that plants love. So the simulant soil isn’t a perfect model.

The complete article. Sarah Fecht

NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever August 1, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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Until recently, every physicist was laughing at this engine and its inventor, Roger Shawyer. It’s called the EmDrive and everyone said it was impossible because it goes against classical mechanics. But the fact is that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works and scientists can’t explain why.

NASA: New "impossible" engine works, could change space travel foreverShawyer’s engine is extremely light and simple. It provides a thrust by “bouncing microwaves around in a closed container.” The microwaves are generated using electricity that can be provided by solar energy. No propellant is necessary, which means that this thrusters can work forever unless a hardware failure occurs. If real, this would be a major breakthrough in space propulsion technology.

The entire idea that we have found something that seems to go against the the principle of conservation of momentum just seems crazy …. But the fact that it has worked for two independent parties can’t be denied.

For the complete story, go here.