October 19, 2012
Scientists have finally confirmed what we Science Fiction fans have known all along: Alpha Centauri has a planet!
Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to our own, a mere 4.3 light years away. The starship Enterprise could get there in like ten minutes. The Alpha Centauri system is a little different from what we’re used to. It has a total of three stars. Two that are about the same size as our own sun orbit each other. They’re called Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. A red dwarf star called Proxima Centauri orbits them both.
The newly discovered planet orbits Alpha Centauri B. By the rules of our current planet naming conventions that means it has the rather embarrassing name of Alpha Cantauri Bb. According to scientists, it is Earth-sized, but its orbit is closer to its parent star than Mercury is to our Sun. There’s a good chance the surface is molten lava and almost no chance it could support life. Of course that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that there’s a freaking planet in Alpha Centauri!
The discovery of Alpha Centauri Bb is only the beginning. Come check out today’s post on Tomorrow News Network where I predict what else we’ll find in the Alpha Centauri system (click here).
“Discovery! Earth-Size Alien Planet Alpha Centauri Bb Is Closest Ever Seen” from Space.com.
“First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System” from the Planetary Society.
“Next Door Neighbors? Earth-Sized Planet Discovered in Nearest Star System to Us” from Universe Today.
October 9, 2012
Leo Tolstoy once said, “All great literature is one of two stories: a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” In the latest edition of Tomorrow News Network, we have a story that is a little of both.
Charlotte is a young girl who wants to be a journalist when she grows up. Unfortunately, she lives in a small town in the Wild West of the 19th Century, a place and time when women didn’t have so many career opportunities. All that changes when a stranger comes to town, a woman from the future named Talie Tappler. Charlotte will then have to go on a journey to find out the truth about the town she lives in. It’ll be the biggest news story of her life.
Click here to start reading “A Stranger Comes to Town.”
August 31, 2012
Mr. Cognis may be a cyborg and he may not have any emotions (except the ones he downloads), but he is also one of the Tomorrow News Network’s hardest working employees. He deserves a vacation.
Cognis and his cyborg girlfriend have chosen to travel to the planet Bliss, a popular vacation resort in the Triangulum Galaxy. Unfortunately, Bliss has a dangerous secret… a secret which could threaten the entire universe.
Click here to read the latest adventure in the Tomorrow News Network series, “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation.”
August 6, 2012
I’ve enjoyed writing this blog. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of cool people. I am sorry to bring this to an end, but the reality is I have too muck work to do for the Tomorrow News Network series and I just don’t have the time to keep up with both projects.
At the beginning of this year, I promised to write ten short stories featuring time traveling journalist Talie Tappler. The first seven are complete, and you can read them for free at the Tomorrow News Network website (click here).
The final three will bring this year’s series to an epic conclusion, and one of Talie’s most closely guarded secrets will be revealed. They will also set the stage for another set of stories next year.
In addition to that, content for the Tomorrow News Network website is expanding. I’ll be writing a lot more posts profiling aliens, technology, and time travel. And yes, I’ll still write about the science behind science fiction–just on the TNN site rather than this one.
So I hope you’ll join me for Talie’s next time travel adventure. If nothing else, it’s bound to be sciency.
Update: This blog will remain active after all. I just won’t be updating it as regularly.
July 12, 2012
If you’ve been wondering why the universe is restricted to only three dimensions, then I have news for you. It’s not. I’ve just finished reading a book called Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott, originally published in 1880. It’s a story set in a world of two-dimensional people who find it completely impossible to imagine a third dimension.
The first half of the book is incredibly boring. It details at length the two-dimensional world and its population of geometric shapes. But the second half of the book will blow your mind. The main character, a square, encounters a being he cannot comprehend: a circle that, in his limited field of vision, appears to change his size. In other words, he meets a sphere.
What follows is an almost messianic revelation: there is a third dimension. Reading this story of a square struggling to understand a world beyond his everyday existence and then struggling to explain to his fellow polygonal shapes what he’s learned, I am forced to wonder what it would be like to meet a four-dimensional being and how pathetic would I look to him struggling to understand something that is, to him, so simple.
If only the author could have gotten to the point a bit sooner, I wouldn’t have spent the first half of this book being so bored. However, it is important to set the stage, to make the two-dimensional point of view as clear as possible, before getting into the real story of our multidimensional universe. Also, since the book is so short (in printed form it’s less than 100 pages) you can get through that part fairly quickly. Best of all, the ebook version is free on Amazon.
This book is an example of what great science fiction can do. I sat through some lectures on multidimensional physics once hoping to learn something useful for my writing, but there was way too much complex math and I came away disappointed. This book makes its points clearly. You don’t have to know any math except how to count. It works because the science is presented as a story, something anyone can understand.
July 5, 2012
Yesterday, July 4th, scientists at CERN announced they had discovered the Higgs boson. This boson, sometimes referred to as the “God Particle” or the “God Damn Particle” because it was so damn hard to find, was pure theory until yesterday. The standard model of quantum physics predicted it would exist, but many were skeptical about it. Even the esteemed Stephen Hawking once offered a bet that it would never be found.
The Higgs boson is part of a larger energy field called the Higgs field, which gives mass to all matter in the universe. The Higgs field surrounds us and penetrates us… it binds the galaxy together… in other words, scientists have discovered the Force. Now we just have to learn how to manipulate it with our minds.
Since July 4th is Independence Day here in the United States, I was too busy celebrating America to also celebrate the new particle, so I’ll celebrate today instead. I’ve gone so far as to buy the Higgs boson a cake. It seems appropriate. Since cake is known to add lots of mass to people, surely it contains a great many Higgs bosons.
How are you celebrating the Higgs boson discovery?
July 3, 2012
Who would win: dinosaurs or astronauts? On July 23rd, we’ll find out in a new Tomorrow News Network story entitled, “Dinosaurs vs. Astronauts.”