Saturday, March 24, 2018

Stephen Hawking: There are no black holes

Stephen Hawking recently passed away. I’ll repeat below my post from 2014, then add a comment.

Stephen Hawking is one of the creators of black hole theory using relativistic physics. (Actually, it would have been possible to come up with a black hole theory using the old Newtonian physics, but nobody ever bothered to.) Hawking has actually become quite the celebrity from his work, and he even appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s one of the most easily recognized scientists in the world.

photo by Doug Wheller

Now Hawking has rethought it and declared black holes do not exist. A standard feature of science fiction has vanished, as if it had fallen into . . . well, we’ll think of something. Easy for Hawking to say—sorry I was wrong about what’s made me famous over the past few decades, next I’ll invent some other impossible things for you yokels to believe in.


Telling some people who are really into black hole cosmology that black holes do not exist is like telling a child that Santa Claus does not exist. Or like having the projector fail during a Star Wars premier before an audience full of geeks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Apocalypse Now?

First, Elon Musk came up with easy-to-use flamethrowers.


photo by Nike Scream 

Okay, she doesn’t work for Elon Musk, but just look up “Mary Elizabeth Winstead,” “flamethrower,” and “images” and have a blast. 

Then Costco came up with food kits for emergencies or natural disasters that can feed a family of four for a whole year right here, that will have a shelf life of twenty-five years. Delivery time varies.

photo by Nandaro

And now it turns out that certain towns in Georgia require gun ownership. That’s right—they don’t ban gun ownership, they require it.

Here and here.

So, what do they know that we don’t, huh? Is something approaching? If you don’t like guns, look up one of those flamethrowers on eBay.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Young Adult and AR-15

I don’t normally make it all the way though a YA novel. Partly it’s because of the lack of detail in the scene descriptions compared to a novel for adults. But mainly it’s because I never felt the same angst when I was a teen that the main characters feel all the time. It’s portrayed as normal, and it just reads as foreign to me. But I did read three all the way through.

Alive by Scott Sigler was fascinating. A teenager is horrified to wake up and find herself in what seems to be a coffin. She has no idea how she ended up there. She struggles free of the bonds keeping her in place, pushes open the lid, and climbs out. She’s dressed nicely, including a tie, which doesn’t make sense.

Then she sees she’s in a room filled with similar coffins, which are actually metal containers. She helps other teens get out of theirs. Learning that her first initial is M., she goes by the name Em for much of the story. A number of these teenagers band together and try to find their parents. But the long corridor they walk in keeps going up and up for what seems to be an impossible length. Are they underground? What is this place?

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey features an unusual attack sequence by aliens. Instead of destroying humanity all at once, they use wave attacks composed of an electromagnetic pulse, an earthquake, and a plague. Perhaps they don’t want to damage the Earth too much before taking it over? Cassie, a teenage girl who is one of the survivors, doesn’t know.

Cassie is on the run from beings who look human, but who are picking off the last survivors. Wounded, she meets a young man who helps her recover, but can she trust him?

When the movie came out, I was surprised that the critics panned it, because the trailer looked so great. I recently saw it on TV, and I was shocked at how closely it followed the book. I think I know why the critics didn’t like it: The young people in it become comfortable using guns, which gave the critics an eek reaction.

If you don’t want to see Cassie with an AR-15, don’t watch this trailer. But realistically, what else is she supposed to do?

I also read all the way through The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I already reviewed the movie version here. Both are interesting, with the movie making the actions scenes much bigger.


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