Writing Update

Today is the last day of November. I hope everyone out there who participated in NaNoWriMo met their goals. I don’t think I’ll ever do it. I honestly don’t think I’d have time. And I like to be productive in a small but steady stream. I get burnt out easily. For example two years ago I carved a very fancy pumpkin for a contest that took me like 6 hours straight of carving (and I did not win). Ever since I have not been very inspired to carve anything other than a happy face on a pumpkin since, and I do that reluctantly.

I also like to run outside, but when I start running almost every day in preparation for a race (which I also lose because I am very slow), I tend to have a huge fitness backslide afterwards.

I don’t want to have a huge backslide from writing, so I write a little before work if I get there early enough and through my lunch hour, and sometimes for a moment or two on the weekends, and until I get farther in my career and have deadlines looming over me, that is how I will continue to write because it works for me.

I actually really feel like I’m zooming through my current book. I’ve finished my first notebook already, and I feel like I’ve just started working on it. (I hand write everything first so I couldn’t begin to tell you how many words). It’s looking like it will be a longer book, and I’ll have a lot of rewriting to do once I finish the first draft. But right now I’m reveling in the joy of just writing my story.

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Physics of the Future: Wrap-up/Feeling Smart

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

I have finished the book. And I only had to renew it once from the library. I really, really enjoyed reading it and learning. It made me want to read more about space and physics and the future. And I know I learned so much. Since I started it I’ve read three sci-fi books, and I can see where the authors have done their research. I have said to myself, yes, this might happen in the future, instead of just assuming they made it up.

And I’ve seen a few places where they fudged the facts. I love being able to notice those things. I love feeling that I’ve learned something. I don’t even care that the books may not have followed the laws of science. Sometimes you just need to make stuff up–it’s fiction. But I like knowing some of the science behind the story–and I like knowing some of the science behind our real lives too.

I guess I’d better get busy finding a new book to read.

Physics of the Future: Aliens

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

This was probably my favorite part of the book:

“it is safe to say that within this century it would be strange if we did not detect signals from another civilization in space.”

That’s right. There are aliens and they are trying to contact us–or at least they’re shooting signals out like we are, hoping to make contact with something.

But there won’t be an invasion–probably. Any aliens would be hundreds of years away to visit, so we’d have tons of time to prepare and observe them with our increasingly powerful telescopes.

And knowing about aliens might just be the kick we need to invest more in exploring space. If it’s become boring to compete against ourselves, now we’ll have a whole new civilization to compete against. Who will visit whom first?

Another interesting fact: if there is another alien race that is more advanced and has come up with some self-replicating nanobots, there is a chance that those bots have been spreading across the galaxy and may even be among us and we don’t even know it! They could be sending information about us back to their home planet. Creepy. But cool. And this also would make a great story.

 

Physics of the Future: Really, Really Future Energy

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

There is a theory of a form of energy that is really, really powerful called planck energy. I’m sure I will be totally getting this concept wrong because I just looked it up on Wikipedia and understood none of the descriptions. But from what I understood from my reading, planck energy is equivalent of 10 to the 19th power billion electron volts, which is powerful enough to rip time/space and make things like black holes and worm holes and time traveling and stuff.

It sounds fun to me. And dangerous. And it would make a good story.

Physics of the Future: Future Energy Production

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

One note I had from my reading was on energy use, which is becoming more and more critical to us today. In the very distant future, like if you read my last post, if we every became a full type 1 civilization, going toward a type 2–we could build what is called a Dyson sphere around the whole planet that could absorb and use all the energy coming from the sun (most sun energy is lost in the atmosphere, which is good because otherwise we would fry).

As we develop new, more powerful sources of energy, we have to be careful, though. There is always a possibility that we will completely destroy all the life on our planet. According to the laws of physics, creating a lot of energy gives off a lot of heat (equal and opposite reaction). We thought global warming was bad now? If we become mega energy producers and don’t find a way to deal with the heat we would completely burn ourselves up.

As scientists look for life on other planets they actually look for planets that give off heat as a sign that something there has reached a high level of energy production. So far they haven’t found any.

I have hope for us. I think we’ll figure something out. And if we don’t…well, I’ll be dead anyway.

Physics of the Future: How to Classify a Civilization

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

One way civilizations can be classified is to base them on the amount of energy they produce and use.

  1. Using all the energy that reaches the planet
  2. Using all the energy of a star
  3. Using all the energy of a galaxy

Since we only know of one civilization at the moment, our own, where do you thing we lie?

So, number three is just crazy. Kaku said this would be a Star Wars type civilization, going faster than light speed and colonizing all kinds of planets. Number two would be using the whole solar system as a playground–we could go anywhere we want there. So that puts us at number 1…or does it?

No.

We don’t make use of all of our energy. Apparently we are a .7 . You’d think they would have had more stages, so we could at least be on the chart. But cheer up. We could make it to a 1 by the end of this century. We’d just have to become a world based civilization instead of one made of many nations.

 

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 304-310

I used to like the war sections of this book, but now it’s just dragging on. I guess that’s a little like real war. Most people are all excited to get into it and the soldiers all want to see some action, but after a while it just gets old and we just want our soldiers to come home. In this book, though, I don’t care if the soldiers come home or not. I would just like to hear about some characters, soldiers or otherwise, that I’ve been following for the first 300 chapters. This book has a ton of characters. How hard is it to tell a story about one of them?

The only regulars who even make an appearance in this section are Denisov and Dolokhov, who are leading their individual battalions to attack the retreating French. The French, like me, have had enough of this war and are trying to high-tail it home. The Russians are excited about their victory, and instead of letting them just run, they are taking down as many as they can on the way, even though it means more fighting and dying on their part as well.

The only good I see that could come of this is that Denisov might save Pierre, who, as a prisoner, is being hauled along with these retreating French. If Dolokhov finds him, though, he may take the opportunity to kill him to get back at him for that duel. But maybe I’m just adding in drama to make it more interesting for myself.

Please, please, please let these next chapters be about some of the book’s actual characters! (Oh, and I may not get a post up on Saturday because I am taking the holiday break off from all work, but I will do the reading and if I get time may schedule a post, so you’ll just have to wait and see.)