Going Faster Than Light

August 31st, 2016

 

I’m working on a new novel, a science fiction story about the discovery of faster than light travel. I understand that there have been a few methods described to circumvent the spend of light travel in other novels. These include the famous warp drive in Star Trek, using worm holes to jump across space and the ever popular hyperspace to move across the universe. However, I decided to try a new approach to break the light speed barrier.

The basic problem, as everyone knows, is that no physical objects can exceed the speed of light, ~ 3 x 108 metres/second.

Abstract background, Beautiful rays of light.

But what if it wasn’t as simple as that? An object falling from an airplane of Earth doesn’t just accelerate until it hits the ground. Rather it reaches a limiting velocity due to air pressure. Good thing, otherwise a simple rainfall could have deadly consequences.

Perhaps the restriction 3 x 108 metres/second comes not from light, but rather something in the universe that prevents even light from exceeding that ultimate speed. That would imply that there is something in the empty space that restricts light and all objects from going too fast. Maybe the fabric of space has some meaning here. Now, how does hekosmicheskie-fotografii-Navid-Baraty_2lp us?

In my novel, which has a working title A Hole In The Universe, a field is developed that suppresses whatever is in the universe that prevents higher than speed of light travel. A bubble is created that isolates the spaceship from the rest of the universe, and can go as fast as its engines can drive it.

This is part of the background of the story I’m writing. There are other implications when establishing a field that isolates a spaceship from our universe, but that’s topic for another day.

Single Malt Whisky in Canada

August 17th, 2016

DSC01292

The adventure on Cape Briton Island continues as we meet more interesting people. They all speak with that maritime accent and seem to always talking about the last party or planning a new one.

I’ve picked up some new material for story writing. Hanging around with a few fishermen gave me an insight on how life on the high seas can be, and some details I can use to make my stories more interesting. I’ve also learned a new skills, such as drinking beer without spilling a drop while the boat is riding waves.

The people living in Cape Briton are a musical bunch. There are lots of amateur singers and musical instrument players. We listened to one jam session where a group of a dozen players formed a circle and just made music. There were several guitar players, a couple of flutes, a piano, plus spoons, drums and I’m not sure one another device was. DSC01313I was surprised there wasn’t a bagpipe player. Cape Briton Island is part of Nova Scotia, which you can guess has deep Scottish  roots. In fact we visited a single malt whiskey distillery on Cape Briton. They do make a very nice whisky- legally they cannot call it Scotch- and I purchased a bottle of their fourteen year old single malt.

Our time in Nova Scotia ended too soon, and we hope to return again. Maybe with a bit less drinking involved, as my liver has filed an official protest.IMG_20160803_103213


Boating adventure

August 10th, 2016

DSC01075 DSC01072 DSC01154It has been a while since we’ve had a vacation, so when our friends Marina and Ralph invited us to visit them in Nova Scotia, Lorrie and I decided to take them on it. The plane flight took twenty-one hours- delays at the Halifax airport- but our hosts waited for us over six hours until we arrived.

Ralph owns a good sized boat and the next day took us on a lovely tour of the nearby islands, stopping at various towns along the way. We traveled for several days, during which I learned to drink beer without spilling a drop regardless on how rough the water was. The weather cooperated and we’re saw some beautiful scenery, met great people and drank too much beer.

My writing is going along fine. I finished an edit on Witches and Warriors, which will put me back in the good books at Melange Books, and started on a couple on new stories. It was difficult to write at times on the boat. The ladies in their bathing suits are a distraction, and the motion of the boat on rough waters makes typing an adventure. I’m not sure if the beer and rum help or hinder the creative process. The experiment of drinking and writing will continue.

I’ll have more to tell at a later blog. Apparently we’re going to a pub tonight that has an open jam session. Ralph is warning me sometimes it takes a few rounds of beer before they sound good. Pizza, beer, music and new friends to be introduced to. Sounds good to me.  

Murder Mystery

September 12th, 2015

Grim-reaper-shadowMurder is fun. Obviously I don’t mean that literally. But I did enjoy writing my first murder mystery. I entered a realm I had previously only been a spectator; a reader and watcher of TV shows.

It was at first difficult to write. Most of the novels I write I give full disclosure of the characters as much as possible. In a murder mystery some information is held back until the clever detective discovers the clues. So I had to adjust my writing to bring out the information at the right time. As with most murder mysteries the detective has to have unique qualities.

I decided to make my lead detective, Moss Stone, a believer in letting the universe lead him to clues. His partner is more down to earth, but has a past with him. That leads to interesting exchanges as she hasn’t quite gotten over him.

The murder mystery also occurs at a convention centre, and thus I have a lot of potential suspects and interesting characters to choose from.

So I set the ground work for my first murder mystery. It’s due to be published by Melange Books sometime next fall. By that time I hope to have another murder mystery written with the same detectives. I have the plot roughly figured out, such as the location and the people involved. Now comes the hard part, actually writing it.

 

The Great Walker Wall

September 2nd, 2015

I noticed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has suggested building a wall between The United States and Canada. I have to admit it caught me by surprise, as I had no idea he believed Americans should not be allowed to escape to Canada.

Walker's Wall?
Walker’s Wall?

Besides that, costs of building a wall and then maintaining it would certainly put a crimp on the monthly budget. I thought replacing windows was expensive, but a 8,891 kilometre wall would certainly top that.

Because I like math and was curious on the cost, I discovered the US Corps of Engineers had calculated the average cost per mile of a wall if it was built along the Mexican border. That turned out to be $2.8 million per mile, or $1.75 million per kilometre. So 8,891 x $1.75 = 15,559.25 million or more than $15 Billion.

But it doesn’t end there. A wall without guards is useless. Some ambitious person could use a long ladder to get over the top. So let’s position a guard every 100 metres. We would need to have 3 persons per twenty-four hours. So that means we would need 266,730 soldiers. Plus support personnel. That’s a small city, and by coincidence about the same as the population as Madison, the capital. So maybe that was Walker’s plan all along, to provide employment for every man, woman and child in Madison. We’re on to him now!

All in all I’m now rather embarrassed by my own simple fence I have around my yard. Cheap to make and there aren’t any guards to protect the property. As a matter of fact my neighbours feel free to come over anytime for a drink. I guess it depends on one’s philosophy. Do I spend the money on a bigger fence or should I put that toward beer for when friends come over? I have a feeling Mr. Walker doesn’t spend much on beer.

Edmonton Journal Whack-A-Mole ads

March 14th, 2015

It was with a bit of reluctance I decided to subscribe to the Edmonton Journal digital edition. True I could get the same news by just Goggling news, and if I wanted to read gossip, I could venture into what Yahoo! calls news.

I stopped buying the paper some years ago because of all the additional flyers the paper stuck inside. More ads than news. Trees are now much safer since I cancelled the paper.

It turns out the Edmonton Journal hasn’t changed their way of presenting the news. The electronic edition makes reading the news an adventure. No matter where you move your mouse an ad pops up. Sometimes a video. You close one ad and other suddenly reappears. It is like a game of whack-a-mole.

The Journal has sections, such as business, sports and entertainment. Every time one goes to a new section, one loses all the whack-a-mole points and the same ads reappear. I took a screen copy of the paper a few days ago. Can you find the news article? Its tough- I think it covers only about 10 % of the screen. Of course I read the Journal only on large computer monitor. To try and read it on a tablet or a phone would be an exercise in futility.

So my plea to the Edmonton Journal, please remember why I’m purchasing your paper. It is to read the news, not to be blasted by ads for stores that I will not shop at. Otherwise I be forced to use Yahoo! as a source of news. Please, I beg you- don’t make me go there.

Un-Favourite Commercials

January 26th, 2015

I enjoy playoff time in sports. Teams prepare for and play each game with intensity. The past few weeks I have been watching NFL football, and though my favourite teams didn’t make the playoffs (next year!), I still take in as many games as possible.

This also means I get to watch a lot of commercials. I understand the commercials pay for the broadcast, but do the advertisers have to show the same ads over and over again? I have divided the commercials into three categories; tolerable, awful and why are they punishing the viewers this way? The last category wins my Unfavourite Commercial Award. 

This season’s run-away winner is a truck ad. It starts with rather creepy music, a sort of a vibrating sound. A picture of some guy standing by a truck on a stage. Then we hear a deep, monologue voice informing us of … Well, I don’t know what he is saying because I’ve hit the mute button.

I hope Ford makes better trucks than commercials.

Do you have an Unfavourite commercial? The kind that you’re tempted to switch channels just to get away from? Maybe we should take a poll for the worse of the worse ads.

My writing has slowed down the past few weeks. It seems all the food and drink I’ve had around Christmas time has an adverse effect on my time and energy to write. However, after February 1st (Super Bowl), I should have more time to write. At least I won’t have to put with Unfavourite commercials.

The Greening of Mars

December 20th, 2014

I added a free read to my website a few weeks back titled “The Wizard of Mars”. This is actually a Christmas story that occurs on Mars. Naturally this is also a science fiction story and happens during a period of Mars being terra-formed.

Since this is a short story the main focus are on two characters, Ellie and Ryan, and how they interact. So I had to add my science of Mars being changed into a habitable planet carefully.

There are a few problems trying to make Mars sustainable to life. One, its damn cold. Another is it has just a fraction of an atmosphere. And one more problem is Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field and is susceptible to the sun’s solar wind and ultraviolet radiation.

In “The Wizard of Mars” I sought to explain how these obstacles had been overcome and Mars was slowly becoming a world where people could live on, with suitable protection of course. Similar to Earth’s ecology where one event can have effects on another, I used a slow increase in atmosphere to help increase the warming (greenhouse effect) of Mars, which in turn helped to further increase the atmosphere and the thawing of the frozen water underneath the surface. Eventually the combination of water vapour, increased atmospheric pressure helped make living on Mars less reliant on protective suits and enclosed cities.

Please give the story a read if you want to know more about the science I used and what Christmas on Mars might be like.  

By the way, Merry Christmas and warm wishes for the New Year.

Wine and murder

December 6th, 2014

There’s always a great feeling when one finishes writing a story. “The End” has finally been reached. I plan to have a glass of wine to celebrate the occasion.

However, instead that glow of a job well done, sometimes there is nagging thought that pushes out. Maybe I missed something.

 The truth is a story can always be spruced up a bit- one can do almost endless edits. Switch a word or a phrase here and there. Not a major change and maybe the edits don’t really help the story at all. But then again maybe a minor change will work wonders.

I’ve finished a murder mystery, a murder that takes place during a wine festival. I’m happy with my characters and my belief the murderer’s identity isn’t easy to spot. Yet there maybe something wrong that hides from that first glance, the quick read. Like a body on the coroner’s table where the cause of death at first seems obvious, perhaps a closer examination will reveal something else.

So I picked up a copy of Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden, almost 300 pages of how to make a story better. It’s actually longer than my own book, so there should be ample information on how to improve my own murder mystery- assuming it can be improved.

There’s still the outside chance its great just as it is and I don’t need to change a thing. Maybe that’s just the wine talking.   

   

Parks, bicycles and common sense

October 10th, 2014

Note to reader. This is one of my rants- sorry in advance for getting serious.

I don’t know if there is a word better than “Park” to envision thoughts of a family gathering together outdoors to play outdoors. Obviously I’m describing the kind of park of green grass, trees, benches and annoying mosquitoes. Not the asphalt kind where vehicles are placed, although one does effect the other as I’ll explain.

I live in Edmonton, sometimes described as a winter city. We’re about the same latitude as Moscow and I suppose roughly the same climate as the Russian city- five months of winter and a short but lovely summer. If you think of Moscow I doubt you have visions of bicycle riders enjoying a ride along the streets. That didn’t stop Edmonton city council to decide we need bicycle paths everywhere.

Our neighbourhood has several bike paths that are marked on the streets. They are well use; last August I saw three bicycles. For the whole month. That number went down in September to one. I suspect when we have our five months of winter that number may go down even lower.

In our area we have a lovely park that has deep slopes (part of a city project to divert storm water). Last year it was used during the winter by dozens of kids to toboggan and sled. They had a great time. Parents drove up with kids and toboggans and waited in their parked vehicles as the kids raced down the snowy slopes.

But no more. The four lane avenue that went by the park is now two lanes with the extra lanes converted for bicycles only. “No Parking” signs were erected on all surrounding streets to ensure no one can use park again. The park sits empty. They might as well put up a “No Trespassing” sign.

I phoned the city. The gentlemen from the transportation department was sympathetic, but told me the bicycle committee makes the decision where bicycle routes go. Apparently the routes don’t go through common sense. I would have thought our children should have priority over a ill planned bicycle route. Wishful thinking.