Category Archives: Fascinating Future

A Habitat at Ceres Could be the Gateway to the Outer Solar System — Universe Today

A new proposal from the inventor of the E-sail shows how we could create an Earth-like space habitat around Ceres, which could be a gateway to the rest of the Solar System The post A Habitat at Ceres Could be the Gateway to the Outer Solar System appeared first on Universe Today.

A Habitat at Ceres Could be the Gateway to the Outer Solar System — Universe Today

Quick update

I wanted to let you know, I am still around. However, I am quite busy, with my business and in my spare time I still write. Meanwhile I am considering my post-WordPress future.

At the moment posting new content on this site, has a low priority. I will, whenever I see fit, publish new posts but I will not promise anything. For now I wish you all a happy new year!

Fusion Power is Always 30 Years Away – Could That Be 5 years? #fusion #energy

The prospect of viable Fusion Power is an important topic for any writer of mundane science fiction. Isaac Asimov described it as “energy without geopolitics”, as the required fuel is to be found anywhere on Earth. If this would become real, the political and societal implication will be substantial.

Kate's Science - Real and Fantastic

Sun viewed in X-rays The Sun: our only reliable source of fusion power

The joke is older than I am! Fusion power is 30 years away and always will be.

The joke works because, after almost a century and billions spent on government-backed megaprojects, we’ve failed. Huge, doughnut-shaped magnetic tokamaks or enormously powerful lasers suck up vast amounts of electricity to produce… no net gain.

Fusion needs a new approach, and today there’s more than one. At MIT, Oxford, and in southern California, researchers promise big things. Neutral hydrogen fuel, superconductors, and inertial-confinement, along with the latest artificial intelligence, could make a difference.

I’m jaded enough to ignore the latest claims if it weren’t for one thing:

If just one succeeds in building a reactor capable of producing electricity economically, it could fundamentally transform the course of human civilization. In a fusion reaction, a single gram of the hydrogen…

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FASTER THAN LIGHT TRAVEL

Grady Brown rightly points to the implausibility of FTL. As a writer of mostly mundane science fiction I set the over all majority of my own stories in our own Solar System, just because there’s simply no feasible method for fast interstellar travel.

Grady P Brown - Author

700px-Alcubierre

Faster than light space travel has been a common concept in science fiction. However, I do not think hyperspace from Star Wars or warping from Star Trek are scientifically plausible. The reason for this is because one cannot move faster than light and even if you could it would take years to reach your destination. With this in mind, I prefer the concept of folding space, which is the idea of crafts teleporting from one section of space to another without moving. To make the concept better, reaching your destination would be instantaneous. I will therefore incorporate it into my space opera story.

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Robot brains?

I have to admit I am rather skeptical about the prospects of AI, in particular of strong AI. Though I believe that AI will continue to improve, I don’t expect any computer even coming close to the capabilities of the human brain within the next few centuries. Automation and machine learning will become increasingly important but robots that can replace humans on a one-to-one base, I consider that to be unlikely. Continue reading →

Essay: Harry Potter Theory: What Was Dumbledore’s Actual Plan?

Interesting and excellent analysis here by Alex R. Howe. When I first read Deadly Hallows, I felt it a bit anti-climatic. Also I believed (and still) that Rowling rushed to finish to series and making a range of mistakes doing so. Nevertheless I still enjoy all the Harry Potter books very much.

Science Meets Fiction

https://images.ctfassets.net/bxd3o8b291gf/1dmmUJzpRcWaUmMOCu8QwO/b9107c76889806699334ed54588e9ee2/AlbusDumbledore_WB_F6_DumbledoreSittingInChair_Promo_080615_Port.jpg?w=1200

The Harry Potter series is one of the most beloved stories of this generation, but it’s not without its flaws. J. K. Rowling is a very good storyteller, but not a very good world-builder, and the closer you look at her stories, the more plot holes you see, and the end of Deathly Hallows has always been especially difficult for me to understand. For one, it’s not entirely clear what actually happened—why, exactly, Harry survived and how he later won—but there’s a deeper problem. I have a hard time understanding what Albus Dumbledore was thinking, because Harry’s victory, which Dumbledore ostensibly prepared him for, seemed to leave far, far too much to chance to ever work.

Dumbledore gets a lot of criticism for his actions over the course of the series. Many fans even go so far as to suggest (as Snape did) that he was acting maliciously in…

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Story update

I have added a new chapter to my story The Governess. Click on the link to read it!

Credit: photo by Vincent Anderson on Unsplash, edited with GIMP

Ocean thermal energy conversion for Japan?

Though this an old post by me, I think it still relevant.

Lagrangian Republican Association

Introduction

On march 11, 2011, Japan was hit by an earth quake and a tsunami which resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Consequently the public opinion in Japan turned 180 degrees against nuclear power. Even their government began to consider a nuclear free future. But Japan is so heavily dependent on nuclear power, that last summer two nuclear power plants had to be restarted in the face of massive public opposition. The question of this post is what are the alternatives for Japan? I will discuss solar power, wind power and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). [However, both wind power and OTEC are in fact indirect forms of solar energy since both winds and the oceans are powered by the Sun.]

Wind and Solar power

These are the “classical” kinds of alternative energy sources. Both options require a lot of space, and the intensity of solar radiation…

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Is the singularity right around the corner?

This excellent post illustrates why I don’t talk about “technological singularity” in any of my SF stories.

SelfAwarePatterns

Schematic Timeline of Information and Replicators in the Biosphere: major evolutionary transitions in information processing. Image credit: Myworkforwiki via Wikipedia

You’ve probably heard the narrative before.  At some point, we will invent an artificial intelligence that is more intelligent than we are.  The superhuman intelligence will then have the capability to either build an improved version of itself, or engineer upgrades that improve its own intelligence.  This will set off a process where the system upgrades itself, with its greater intelligence come up with new ways to enhance itself, and then upgrade itself again, looping in a rapid runaway process, producing an intelligence explosion.

Given that we only have human level intelligence, we have no ability to predict what happens next.  Which is why Vernor Vinge coined the phrase “the technological singularity” in 1993.  The “singularity” part of the label refers to singularities that exist in math and science, points at which existing theories or frameworks break down.  Vinge predicted that this would happen “within…

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Satelliteland law reform

After gaining independence in 2147 the government of the new nation started a project to replace the Elysian legal codes with new ones. Several law reform commissions were created and were populated by supporters of the president. However, this legal reform project proved be much harder than previously estimated. Continue reading →