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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-12-21 05:15
Subject: [links] Link salad couldn't see the moon for the clouds
Security: Public
Tags:books, cancer, china, cool, culture, green, health, healthcare, links, personal, photos, politics, process, publishing, science, writing
Apparently in the French edition, my novel Green is Jade

Yesterday's post on the worst writing advice I ever got has generated some interesting comments: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal | Facebook ] — As is so often the case, the ones disagreeing with me are especially intriguing. If you're interested in the topic, all three threads are worth the read. (And in the next day or two, I'll make a parallel post about the best writing advice I ever got.)

My new, post-cancer hair: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] — Someday it shall be long again.

The ghost towns of China: Amazing satellite images show cities meant to be home to millions lying deserted — I've actually passed through one of these cities by train, Erenhot in Inner Mongolia.

Breakthrough in TB DiagnosticsA rapid genetic test for tuberculosis could have a huge impact on global health. Speaking as someone who once had tuberculosis (at age 16, detected by chest x-ray before it had fully expressed) this is good.

The Problem with SpeedCentauri Dreams on interstellar mission profiles. In space, no one can hear you airbrake.

Progress — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the causes of Confederate secession. Ah, the glorious revisionism of Southern conservatives.

?otD: Ever seen a lunar eclipse? How about a solar eclipse?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (revisions, WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.5 hours (interrupted, couldn't see the eclipse)
Weight: n/a (forgot)
Currently reading: Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

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User: anton_p_nym
Date: 2010-12-21 15:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
?otD: Ever seen a lunar eclipse? How about a solar eclipse?

Both. The earlier lunar eclipse, last year I think, was the most recent... I'm just too tired this year to camp out for a 3am occlusion, and a neighboring apartment tower blocks my view from indoors or my balcony.

I distinctly remember doing the pinhole-camera trick to watch a solar eclipse as a kid, and I think it was during the holiday season, but for the life of me I can't remember the date.

-- Steve does remember the bitter disappointment of missing his first opportunity to watch a total solar eclipse, back in grade school, due to a solid overcast. We had to catch that one on the TV news.
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User: jordan179
Date: 2010-12-21 18:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm very much a techno-optimist, but if you asked me when we'd launch our first interstellar probes, I would guess "no sooner than 2100, and probably a century or more later." Barring FTL, which will probably if possible be more expensive than we hope, it will simply take that long to grow the economy and build the space infrastructure to the point of bringing the cost down to something which will be more attractive than remote viewing.

And manned interstellar flight? At the most optimistic, the first interstellar probes might be crewed by sapient software; otherwise, I'd give it +50 to +200 years from the point at which we start building unmanned probes. I expect advances in bio and cybertechnology to make a big diference -- by (say) 2250 we might be able to keep a man comfortable, healthy and happy in something the size of a very small room, a feat impossible today. Nanotech for extraction and fabrication will also help, since it would enable the mission to construct much of what it needed at the destination after reaching the target system, rather than having to lug it along as part of the payload.

So, say 2100-2300 for the first unmanned and 2100-2500 for the first manned interstellar flight, assuming no serious civilizational collapse in the interim. What do you think of that prediction?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-12-21 20:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What your model assumes is no transformative changes in technology (or basic theory) that would significantly alter the mass/energy requirements of interstellar travel. (Which makes for good long range planning in real life, but less exciting science fiction.) Given current conditions projected non-asymptotically, yes, I like your prediction.
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