The Moon, Europa

The Moon, Europa

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas List

It's a little late in the season for me to be compiling a Christmas wish list, but hey, it's a WISH list. Besides, for the benefit of all the other guys out there who like to be prepared for anything, and who may have trouble putting their hearts desire into words, here are some helpful suggestions to pass on to your significant other; or if all else fails Santa:

1. Stargate SG1 fans, and anyone else with a penchant for great firearms, will love the FN P90 Rifle.

2. You will be ready for the zombie apocalypse, alien invasion or chaos in general with the Gerber Apocalypse Kit and Benelli M2 Shotgun.
3. In the event all of our wonderful technology is wiped out by an EMP attack and we are sent back to the iron age I recommend a purchase from Albion Swords...Just in case you run out of ammo for your P90. I recommend a curved blade if lopping off zombie heads is what the situation requires.
4. The LifeStraw can filter just about anything out of up to 1,000 liters of nasty amoebic dysentery filled water; making it a necessary addition to any survival kit.
5. There are several choices for emergency rations from MREs to freeze dried hiking fare but for the minimalist don't forget Mainstay or (the tastiest) Datrex bar.
6. Until then the Razer Blade gaming laptop: 6.6lbs, 17" monitor, 8GB DDR3 Ram, Nvidia GEForce GPU and 'Switchblade UI' (an on board auxiliary display and touch screen interface) from Razer Gaming Gear should keep you adequately entertained.

Merry Christmas To All


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eye Tracking

     The Swedish tech firm Tobii appears to have a new spin on the use of eye tracking to interact with the PC. 
"An eye tracker estimates the point of gaze with extreme accuracy using image sensor technology that finds the user’s eyes and calculates the point of gaze with mathematical algorithms. In other words, the eye tracker works much like you would if you face another person and estimate at what they are looking just by observing their eyes." 
     Eye tracking has been around for awhile, but it has yet to gain widespread popularity; possibly due to its inaccuracy. Most systems use either the 'bright pupil' or 'dark pupil' method of the tracking the eye and both have minor flaws such as not working outdoors or not tracking well with certain eye colors. This new system uses both tracking methods in an attempt to eliminate some of the bugs and eliminates some the accessory problems, like the need to wear a headset. The Tobii eye tracking system is in its infancy so whether or not it proves a viable option for the disabled, and a nice performance enhancement for those who are not, remains to be seen. 

Tobii Website
Fox News Story - Eye tracking useful to wounded warriors

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recent Inactivity

Posts have been rather scant lately and will probably remain so until after December. I am currently studying a dizzying array of procedural manuals for a test at work and, although they are extremely dull and I would much rather be writing here or working on my books, their analysis is consuming most of my free time. I will finish editing my second book after the test is over (I was nearly finished when I had to drop it for studying) and begin seeking publishing options sometime in the spring.

For now I thought I would plug They produce one t-shirt per day and you can get it for $10: 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rocket Video

Hey everyone! Here's a great video of a recent rocket launch from Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It reached an altitude of 121,000 feet (22.9 miles)!
If you are prone to motion sickness I would advise against watching the descent.
Rocket Video
Below is the link to the Derek Deville's website, the rocket's designer, which has some great pictures and schematics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lasers and Orora...Aroruh...The Northern Lights

NASA is gearing up to test their new laser communications system. The test will last for several years and will, hopefully, lead to the implementation of a system that will enable the transmission of a much larger data stream between mission control and mission locations. It will be a complicated process with a lot of links in the technical chain that will have an opportunity to fail. The test platform will contain "telescopes, lasers, mirrors, detectors, a pointing and tracking system, control electronics, and two different types of modems." What does all this mean? It will give them much faster data downloads from probes and rovers: "It currently takes 90 minutes to transmit high-resolution images from Mars, but NASA would like to dramatically reduce that time to just minutes.It  Read the complete article at the NASA website: laser-comm

Also, here are a couple of nifty videos featuring the Aurora Borealis:
As seen from the ISS: Northern Lights from the ISS
Aurora explained: Earth's Aurora

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicago Comic Con Pictures

It's a little late for a review of Chicago Comic Con. It was a lot of fun and I met some great folks. My only regret is that I did not take more pictures...

That's what I said!

The space probe that NASA launched recently has sparked some interesting comments.  And I'm not saying I always knew that but srsly, I always knew that.  See also, "Europa" by J.A. Sanderlin.

I tweeted this one when I got it the first time but I think it bears re-blogging the tweet.  This is just cool stuff and I'm putting it out there so maybe one more person can take a peek.  

The Kennebec Journal printed an opinion post about that which I have been raving about for some time now.  And since I agree with it, I'm posting the link here so you can read and agree as well.  And let me just say once more AMEN.

Another upside to brown outs (can't remember what any of the other positives might be just now) is that you can see the night sky better.  

I wonder if they'll ask me what I think?  Doubt it.  But hopefully it will bring more press to the book & to space exploration in general.

Live pictures of Europa you say?  Got em right here!  You have to look pretty hard though but beggars ... etc.

Happy News Day folks!  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time is Relative whom, I don't know. But it has gotten away from me this past month. I have been furiously working on a new project that I hope everyone will enjoy and as usual I'm only going to drop a tiny hint of what it is about: concept art. Okay that was a big hint. I'm looking forward to getting some visual references out there for people and heck myself too! Hope to have this project wrapped up by the end of the year.
If there are any artists out there who are interested, send me a Europa concept sketch or other work and I will certainly consider you for the project.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Bears

I thought this 'mini-Jawa track looking vehicle' camera with Preditor'esque mirror camouflage was pretty awesome. It is similar in concept to the passive black-mirrored camouflage on the Venutian Witch in Europa ...The bears are just a bonus.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Europa Mission: Check.

I have tried not to hope.  I have been critical of NASA.  I have acted as though I really didn't care.  But srsly, I really did care.  I'm going to catch you up on the news but basically the bottom line is ... NASA can't take it back now.  Also, I think it's appropriate that they bring it along in case they find somewhere to put it.

Jupiter, as you can imagine, has been the news a lot lately.  Couple of things:  you can see Jupiter without a telescope?  Am I reading that right?  Well, that's great news!  Also, here's a couple of reasons why we're going, and for that matter, why you should look up once in awhile.

And this is just a really cool map, a compilation if you will, of where all the water is in the solar system.  You know, in case you've already built a space ship and you are interested in exploring.  Or in case we run out of water and it's really efficient to go get some from some of these places.  Or, better yet, we hit those places first as alternate living sites.  Logic.  What will they think of next?

It's a new era.  It's a jump-started old era.  Pota(y)to, pota(h)to.

Wouldn't you love to go to CU?  I know I would.

Later this week:  a review and some pics of the Chicago ComicCon.  I know San Diego is the bees-knees of cons but Chicago was the biggest one I've been to.  Wicked cool.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicago Comic Con

Chicago Comic Con is next week and I will be there signing books! I still have some 'BeAMantaFan' t-shirts left and I decided to give one to everyone who buys a book...until they are gone. So drop by and say hi, hallo, hej, hola or ko ni chi wa!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Earth has a Trojan...asteroid that is. Trojans are asteroids that reside in the Lagrangian points of a planet's gravitational field. A Lagrange point is a point around a planet where the gravitational pull of the planet and the Sun allow an object to stay in a fixed position; a bit like geosynchronous orbit. There are six Lagrange points around a planet, L1-L6, and Earth's Trojan is located at the Lagrange point forward of her orbit known as the L4. I was very excited when I found this because I studied Trojans over a year ago and have been wondering ever since whether Earth had any. If you notice the illustration (on the link below) of the object's orbit it is obvious why it was difficult to spot the 1,000' wide object 50 million miles away...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie Review: Captain America

I don't have much time today but I wanted to at least drop a note about the Captain America movie. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that had any semblance of patriotism and this one gave me a good dose. It has WWII Nazi's bent on world domination working for an arch villain, played by 'Agent Smith', who also wants to rule the world. The story line leaves few noticeable gaps, does a good job building Captain America's character and explaining the origins of his, over the top, outfit. Captain America is a good movie; I give an 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apocalyptic News - House Fortress

I saw this a few weeks ago and thought it was pretty cool; one might even go so far as to say it's nifty. A great house for the inevitable zombie apocalypse:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Reasons I Write

     It can take many years of hard work to become a 'successful' writer and there is still no guarantee that all that labor will lead to success. I am a year into the post publishing process and it has grown increasingly apparent that I still have a lot of work to do. 
     I originally started writing because of an interesting dream my sister had when we were kids. My imagination kicked into high gear as she related the dream to me and I started forming a story in my mind. I managed to write part of it down on notebook paper when I was about thirteen. When I was sixteen, I typed the first ten pages of that story on a rusty, manual typewriter before I was hampered further by my first experience with writers block. Years later college level English dropped me into the deep end of the creative writing pool when I barely knew how to dog paddle. Though it was difficult, and sometimes frustrating, I re-discovered that I actually liked writing. 
     I graduated from college and started jotting down the occasional story idea but had trouble moving beyond the idea phase. Sometimes they weren't original; others just fizzled; and some just wouldn't blossom beyond the note writing stage. I knew I was interested in writing a book but every time I tried to start a story I could not seem to get beyond ... just starting. At that time, it didn't occur to me that some of those ideas were better short stories. After reading some material about Jupiter's moon Europa the idea of setting a story there intrigued me. I believed I finally had a story idea with which I could go the distance.
     I had a rough time completing "Europa"; it took seven years from start to finish. Then there was the additional two years it took to find a publisher.  After I signed with the publisher, the editors said I had to do a rewrite that forced me to cut 150 pages from the original story; the process took another four months. The story and grammar edits were eight months in the making before the first copy was even printed and yet another three months before the book was actually released. 
     I have seen only modest sales of my book and I consider each sale a small victory.  As I have marketed myself and the book over the past year or so, I've had to learn how to talk to new people better and for much longer periods of time. That has been tough for an introvert like myself. It is difficult to put yourself out there and sell something you spent so much time creating (a low estimate of the time I spent on Europa is 1500 hours). I have also, reluctantly, given up the dream of getting ahead financially through book sales. However, in doing so I was reminded money and fame were never factors that motivated me to start writing. 
     "Why bother with all this?" you might ask. I've asked myself the same question for the last eleven years. I write because I consider it a calling of sorts.  I enjoy having a creative outlet and conjuring images with words. The world is in desperate need of good books. I want to produce excellent, well-written stories that depict the protagonists acting justly, in spite of the occasional flaw. I want, through my stories, to encourage people young and old to stand their ground even in the moral relevance philosophy of this current culture. To quote C.S. Lewis, I want to write "the right kinds of books." 
     I am not entirely sure where writing will lead me. I don't know if I will change genres, writing styles or how many books I will write. I will continue to grow and improve as a writer and for now I am going to keep working on The Black Chronicles. Whatever may come, I have no intention of quitting. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I think the pro-Saturn people are getting pushy

These days, no scientist can talk about viable (future) human environments throughout our solar system without mentioning a couple of Jupiter's moons (Europa!) but now those pro-Saturn people are getting in the mix.  Seriously, what's with all the talk about "plumes"?  In all seriousness, I am a big advocate for anywhere but status quo in our "space exploration".  I understand we currently all those satellites orbiting the Earth but if we don't actually go anywhere, shouldn't NASA just change their name to "Manning Cell Phone Satellites for Huge Conglomerates?"  (Would that be MCPSHC?)

I'm happy that Cassini is getting good press.  It looks like scientists believe that it may be a similar environment to Europa.  And here's some specs and a cool pic of Cassini taken in 2009.

Go! Go! Go!  I love America but SOMEONE has got to get there.  (Um, yeah, let's make the first shuttle unmanned please.  Even I'm not that impatient.  See comments)  The answer to this question is a resounding "NO" unless we can unite and explore.

Cool vid on the universe to scale.  Check it out.

Thanks and see ya later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Best Price

If you want to purchase my book online the best place to buy has changed: 
     I recommend using the Hasitings link for the best price at the moment $15.99. I'm not sure how shipping factors into the total, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble raised their price to $19.99. Unfortunately the suggested retail price of my book is set by the publisher and the final price is decided upon by the seller. I have no control over pricing with the exception of the ones I sell at events ($15). 
     My event price (at Comic Con's etc) is set so that I, hopefully, make enough money to pay for my next event. So far, because I have mostly stayed within my region, I have been able to pay for 50% of my event expenses. and the rest comes out of pocket. Contrary to popular belief very few writers actually make a living just writing. It can take many years of hard work to become 'successful' and there is still not a guarantee of success. I will follow up this post with: The Reason I Write 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Lantern

I watched Green Lantern this past weekend and enjoyed it. I thought the story was good, although a bit lacking in surprises. The CG effects were great and finally brought the Green Lantern characters to life in way I would not have thought possible a few years ago. Although I was a sceptical at first Ryan Reynolds was a good fit for the role of Hal Jordan and Mark Strong is the perfect Sinestro.  The movie has a good ending (very important to me) and provides the possibility of a sequel. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see a lot more action involving the Green Lantern's powers. The Green Lantern is fun, entertaining and certainly worth the price of a ticket. I give it a solid 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anti-Missile Lasers

They're not as great as sharks with laser beams on their heads, but much more useful... 

I found the sixth paragraph particularly interesting, "...missiles with electronics-disabling capabilities, rather than just explosives..." Sounds like a deployable explosive EMP device. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

More cool science news

I saw "Green Lantern" over the weekend.  More on that in a subsequent post.

Otherwise, we got a lot going on over the last week or so.  And of course, your bi-monthly dose of Europa news (did you think I'd forget?).

The reason this piece of news is here, on this blog, is because I'm trying to be a one-man lobby group for NASA (or ESA) to go to Europa, or ANY place within driving distance that might possibly be habitable (or better yet, already be inhabited). One of the many conditions for life?  Geomagnetism.  Oh yes, folks, it's complicated.  But this blog/website does a pretty good job of laying out the basics.

Among other things discussed, someone asked a question about life on Europa.  Given the potentially very thick layer of ice, the scientist answering the question is ... shall we say cautiously hopeful?

Speaking of hopeful, I want you guys to know that ... NASA NEEDS TO GET THEIR BUTTS OUT THERE because as Marc Kaufman states, if you're looking for it, you might find it.  But here's the kicker ... you actually have to go look for it.  The likelihood of all of it coming to us is small.

I tweeted this earlier but it bears repeating.  8 wonders of the solar system.

In just a few minutes, Enceladus may be the new Europa.  For more info on that issue, see also this post.  

And I'm done (for now).  Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Movie Review: Journey to Promethea

I started watching this movie on Netflix the other day and found it very interesting. Not in a good way. I think I remember seeing a movie that was worse than this one time, but I purged the memory from my brain with a regimen meditation, beer and pounding my head on a door jam. The introduction of the film was predictably B-grade (at best), but seemed to degrade to what can only be described to D-level. In one of the opening scenes there is a character who cannot be older than 20 wearing a fake beard attempting for portray two other characters, of the same ages, father. When I realized my mouth was open and I was staring with shock at the horror of it all I began to laugh uncontrollably. I fast forwarded to several other places of the film to see if there was any hope of it improving, but, alas, there was not. The only reason I can think of that Billy Zane decided to appear in this film is that he was doing some pro bono work for some college students or something...At least that would be my story. 
I would not recommend this movie to anyone unless they want a good laugh (if the creators intended it to be funny you may add three or four points to the review number).  Although not the worst ever, this was certainly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I give it a solid 2 out of 10. 

Remembering the fake bearded guy again...very funny.

X-Men: First Class

I watched the latest X-Men film this weekend and must say I was impressed. particularly enjoyed the portrayals of Professor X by James McAvoy and Magneto by Michael Fassbender. I felt engaged by the characters from the beginning and did not lose the sense of caring what happened to them through the end. There were a few cameo appearances, my favorite was Wolverine's, which were amusing. Warning to parents: Wolverine's appearance contains the only serious language incident in the film (F bomb). There are a few implied adult situations and the rest of the language is minor. I Liked the storyline and thought it contained enough surprises to keep even the most 'that was totally predictable' guy entertained. 
I usually prefer to keep my higher ratings for movies that really impress me to the core, but I liked X-Men: First Class a lot and recommend it to people of all ages and interests.  I give it an 8 out of 10. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

White Holes and other interesting tidbits

Up to this point, white holes have only existed in a sort of yin-yang, physics law, theory world and, of course, in the hearts of many a fellow nerd out there in cyber-space.  Well, look-out universe, sometimes nerds can be right!  [A lot of the times we're right but only sometimes are we given any credit.]

Jupiter is responsible for protecting Earth, and Mars, and tiny little Mercury (etc) from numerous objects that we really don't want hitting our atmosphere, oceans, land ... but it turns out that Jupiter may have also prevented Mars from getting bigger.  Well, I say, you take the good with the bad.

And because I just couldn't resist, here's a pretty picture or two (just follow the link for more pictures) of Europa and a couple of other of Jupiter's moons.  The post reports that ESA and NASA are currently planning a trip to Jupiter.  And while I would argue that anything has been decided (thank you, economy and short-sighted budget planners), I applaud the optimism.

Thank you and have a good night,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas

First of all, let me say a big "THANK YOU!!" to all the folks who stopped by and also those who bought a book.  I really, really appreciate your support.  For those who bought, or will buy later on Kindle or Nook, please let me know what you think!

Second, the review and the photos (what you've all been waiting for, really):

I really enjoyed the con.  I wasn't crazy about the layout; there were a lot of zigs and zags which "forced" people to create their own shortcuts.  Don't get me wrong, I like that people were paraded by me.  But the layout was confusing and I can imagine that it was frustrating for con-goers.  Other than that, the traffic was amazing.  H-town brings it when it comes to cons so if I have anything to do with it, and sometimes I do, I will be back again.

Here are a few of my favorite costumes and exhibits:

Also, can anyone tell me why the Ghostbuster genre is still popular?  I loved the movies ... and I know there were comic books and a cartoon series but some of these folks weren't alive when the movies came out so ... I'm just wondering.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thor - Movie Review

I watched Thor yesterday. I had to pay extra to see it in 3D, because that was the only time it would fit into my schedule, and I would not recommend bothering with the upgrade. I expected an entertaining film with some nifty special effects and a storyline that merely gave the producers a chance to show off all the cool stuff they dreamed up. I admit my expectations going in were fairly low, but other than the 3D version not enhancing the experience much I was pleasantly surprised. The effects were well done and I was very impressed by the landscape, weapon and armor designs. What impressed me most was that it told a good story. I'm sure many will say it was a bit predictable in places but, unless it is pathetically so and this was not, I do not necessarily see that as a fault. The characters pull you in and have you cheering, silently in my case, for them from the beginning. Chis Hemsworth did a good job of portraying Thor as a likable, but reckless, character in the beginning and carried his ongoing, albeit quick, character transformation well. I would not classify the end of the film as 'happy', ie. everyone gets what they want, but it was a good ending in that it finished the story while leaving it open for a sequel.
Thor is a fun movie and I will recommend it to my friends. I give it a 7 out of a possible 10.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tonight, Europa becomes the subject of speculation ... again.

Question:  Why is it that we're still talking about something that "happened" over 30 years ago?  Answer:  because NASA hasn't done much since.  And to that end, I'm about to pitch myself on the floor and throw a real tantrum.  "Is our space vision shortsighted?"  Is the sky blue? Is the grass green?

One more reason to head out WAY out there ... one of Saturn's moons, Titan, may also have something close to water beneath a formidable shell.

Are we alone in the universe?  Better question, are we alone in our own solar system?  And lookie here!  The New York Times wants to know too.  And so does the University of Central Florida.

Thank you for tuning in to tonight's news about EUROPA.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Festivals and Fairs

I'm not sure how other small-time authors feel about book festivals but I don't like 'em.  I'm sure the bigger ones have better traffic but since I haven't been to those, I don't know for sure.  The book festival that I went to recently (look, there I am) had MAYBE 20 people walk through the doors as paying customers ALL DAY. 

From what I understand, the registration fee pays for some of the general expenses.  In my humble opinion, a large part of the fee should go to advertising.  Now, they have a website so I know there was some advertisement. Or maybe they made just enough to pay for the space but then why would you go through all that trouble of organizing and planning for what amounted to 20 people?  I don't know.  I had a similar experience with a book fair in Georgetown last year.  Very little traffic.  I appreciate the goal of a book festival/fair but if you truly want your message to get out there (and presumably that is that books = good and these authors = good), you need to advertise in the right places (schools? book stores? a visible sign on the building?). 

The bottom line:  please don't have a book festival/fair just to say you are having one.  I think potentially you could be burning bridges with authors and they may start telling their author friends and publishers and then no one will participate in your festival or fair in the future.  Quality over quantity.  That's my opinion.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wow - It's been a few weeks, hasn't it?

It's your (bi-monthly) linkspam update.  First, the bad news:  SETI is (temporarily?) shutting down the use of their Alien Array Telescopes.  The reason:  budget.  I'm not sure if it has more to do with the budget of the Hat Creek Observatory or SETI but the project has been shut down for now. 

The good news is tangential.  I think the exploration of hostile places on Earth coupled with the interest to parlay that into space exploration is always good news.  Practice here so we can go to Europa.  Most importantly, any serious interest in Europa (and space exploration) makes NASA or ESA (hopefully) make space exploration generally and a trip to Europa specifically that much more possible.

And speaking of interest in space exploration and Europa, did you know that there is still a space camp?  Well, there is.  And they like Europa too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Comic Palooza


I will be attending Comic Palooza in Houston on May 27th and 28th (Friday and Saturday only). I have not made it down to the southern half of Texas since Austin Comic Con...I'm looking forward to visiting Houston!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The latest and not so great news about the Europa Mission

It looks like NASA has presented the budget, and potential mission costs, in such a way as to send most of the board of decision makers into "sticker shock." This means that while they have listed the Europa Mission as PRIORITY #2, the cost is so high as to be prohibitive of approval.  In these uncertain economic times, I am not - let me be clear - trying to advocate a bigger national debt in order to foot the bill for these missions.  However, I have the distinct impression that the lack of budget will result in NASA just maintaining what they've got going on (which is??) and "maintenance" never got us very far. 

And while the missions above are unmanned, I would make the case that eventually (and preferably sooner) we're going to have to send actual humans.  There is no substitution.  "We should not abandon the achievements and technology of manned space exploration, accumulated over the past 50 years. We should build on them, and this will require that we keep planning and carrying out manned flights."

And this is why we need to get our collective butts into space.  Not only life but also a place to LIVE.  

As a reminder, I will be in Denton, Texas on April 16th for a book fair. Come one, come all!

North Texas Book Fair
Center for Visual Arts
400 E. Hickory

From 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Black Chronicles II: Lagrange points

I have nearly completed my first draft of Book Two. At the beginning I mention Lagrange points and give a brief description how they work. Below is a nice visual explanation of how they work...Just eliminate any confusion 'Lagrange points' is not the title of book II  ; )

Lagrange points using gravity well example
Courtesy: Ken's Lunar Library

VIrgin Oceanic

Sir Richard Branson is moving on to his next amazing project with the latest successful swim test of his new deep water submarine on March 28, 2011. He plans to take the boat to the five deepest ocean trenches in the world. The body style is an excellent design that seems to be gaining popularity (looks a bit like a 'Shark' in my book ; ) such as the Super Falcon 2 by Deep Flight. The video is well done and the music is great...If anyone happens to learn the name of the song a comment indicating the performer and title would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hundred Year Old Twinkies

It has long been rumored that Twinkies last a really long time. However, I have personally conducted longevity experiments to determine their life span and have been sorely disappointed. Although it may be years before it is implemented on a large scale: there is hope for us all...Nano-structured Snack packaging is here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just a few science updates

Last week, I wrote to you about the Europa Mission and how, due to budget cuts, it may not happen this year if at all.  Well, at the time, the ESA was going to foot half the bill for the mission to make it BIGGER and BETTER.  Now that NASA has made their short-sighted budgetary announcement/decision, ESA may not even be orbiting Ganymede which would have brought us closer, if not to, a possible alternative living sight.  This is sad, sad news.  I weep for our future in space exploration.  However, if Mars is still on the table after this budgetary cycle, at least we'll have that to look forward to.  But I'm not holding my breath.

To take your mind off all this depressing news, please go look at this awesome picture.  (Pictures that we will not be seeing up close anytime soon, but I digress.)

And also, if you would like to live in a fantasy world and pretend NASA still has foresight, check out this review of an iPhone App about the Europa Mission.  And if you haven't checked out the game, download! I will let you know what I think but I already see a few similarities to my book.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

North Texas Book Festival

I will be signing books at the North Texas Book Festival on April 16, 2011. It is my first time attending this event and I am looking forward to fielding questions and speaking with fellow bibliophiles.

Book Festival website:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Europa Mission ... In Jeopardy?

You may have realized by the many posts I have done advocating a "field trip" to Jupiter's moon, Europa, that I am an advocate of space exploration.  Since NASA has pretty much phoned it in since the Moon landing, I am very excited about the possibility of either Mars or Europa visits by actual humans - and not robots - even if it doesn't happen in my lifetime.  Well, we've fallen on hard times (or perhaps hard times have fallen on us) ... the whole world has ... but that seems to me to be an argument for GOING and SEEING instead of cutting the trips that could possibly provide another home for humans.  Europa and Mars are relatively close to Earth ... and while traveling at the speed of light would definitely help other places to be more doable, I don't see that happening any time soon.  So, with no further ado, please see below linkspam for all the latest, if not greatest, news about the Europa mission.

Budget cuts may mean Europa mission gets cut too.  See also this story about the budget cuts.  And another story about the budget cuts and a short overview of the potential mission.

But then, here's what the smart people say and here's a short video of them saying it.

And here is WHY they're saying it. 

And now you have the rest of the story.  Stay tuned for further information.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interview with SciFiFX

My interview with has been posted. It starts at: 1:27:01

J.A.Sanderlin Interview

If anyone has any additional questions feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stanley Demolition Robot

Although the remote controlled Stanley F-16 Demolition 'robot' is not a robot in the strictest sense (i.e. autonomous) I thought it was worth mentioning. I love building stuff. But in construction work often you have to destroy something before building something new (most people call this 'the fun part'). I can think of no better way to wreak destructive havoc than with a robot on treads acting as an extension of my will. Mooah Ha Ha!

Demolition Robot (Popular Science)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Europa may have just gotten a promotion ...


Don't take it from me, read the article for better links and the horses mouth type stuff.  Essentially though, scientists (the proverbial "they") think perhaps that MAYBE Europa could have been a rogue planet that got flung out of some other solar system and snatched up by Jupiter.  Hey, it could be a planet considering all the elements for life which might exist (cross your fingers) on this [for now] moon.  But on the other hand, why do we automatically "promote" a moon just because it has some of the elements necessary for life?  Something to think about anyway.

Also, by way of an update and to give special props to Europa, here's an article to follow up the "where in the universe is Jupiter's belt" mystery that was a news story (for us nerds) last year.  Apparently, to quote the article, "Europa became the "guide star" for the adaptive optics to sense atmospheric distortions."  Way to go Europa!  

I will be skiing this weekend so look for pictures on Twitter @authorjas!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Should I Read Europa?

Why you should enjoy reading Europa: Book One of The Black Chronicles:
     Europa is an epic adventure story that contains: action, suspense, betrayal, love, gunfighting, rebellion, tragedy, hope, chases, submarine battle, space battle, strange creatures, murder and mystery.
     Europa was written to be a book I would want to read. I am quick to admit that I am not an exceptionally fast reader and used to be a very slow one. I have read a lot of different kinds of books and realize that for many people, myself included, investing ones time in reading a book is a serious commitment. I wrote Europa to be as original as possible. I do not like wasting my time on a boring book or one that, if it is exciting, becomes too obscene for me to continue to enjoy reading. Realism can be achieved without the use of vulgar additives. Jack London, Louis L'Amour, Dickens, Blackmore, Lewis and Tolkien accomplished this beautifully. It seems sometimes that there is not a story that has not 'already been done' and I made every effort possible to make Europa different.

Target Audience?
     Marketing types always ask what my intended target audience was when I wrote Europa. I did not even know there was such a thing when I wrote it. I know it's cliche', and it is breaking a cardinal rule of marketing, but my answer is still an emphatic "everyone!"

Will There Be More?
     Yes. I am nearly finished with book two and already looking forward to starting number three.


Science Fiction is Too Weird For Me...

Not sure if you want to take the plunge into Science Fiction? Try reading Europa. 
     People who are apprehensive about science fiction need not worry that the content is too 'out there' and difficult to understand or will degrade into a second rate tale of horror set in space. The technology in Europa is explained so that even people who have never read a science fiction novel can understand, but it is detailed enough that veteran geeks, like myself, can enjoy it. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Europa in the news

I don't think I do this often enough but here's some linkspam about Europa, not the book, the moon.

Sky and Telescope did another story regarding Europa's visibility at the end of last month.  I also did a blog post on January 23rd which explained the time you could actually see Europa, if you owned a telescope.  This website goes into more detail about what you could have seen.

I think this picture is awesome.  It shows Europa in what they call the Gibbous phase.  You can see a lot of detail in the picture; more than most pictures of this moon.

And finally, a really cool news story about an Antarctic lake which mimics the conditions scientists believe exist on Europa.  Practice, practice, practice!

That's all for now.  Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NOLA ComiCon Recap

I really had so much fun at this Wizard World ComiCon.  I didn't have high expectations because this is the first year that Wizard World held a con there.  The traffic was good and I enjoyed meeting a lot of people.  My next door neighbor at the con, John Holland, did a review on his blog too, so check it out if you get the chance.  Also, I really enjoyed meeting Stefanie and Corey (just to name a few).  I didn't get any pictures but Keisha Tillis was nice enough to stop by (she's in a show called "The Walking Dead"on AMC).  And now for the good stuff ... the pictures!

Final Fantasy anyone?

This Navi girl's paint job was authentic.  Must have taken HOURS.

Definitely my favorite costume (from Mass Effect).  This costume was authentic and the guy could move easily in it.  I hope he won a prize because it was AWESOME.

Thanks to everyone who bought books and asked questions.  Please shoot me an email anytime if you have any questions.  In the meantime, just visit this blog for frequent-ish updates.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Calling all telescopes!

I don't have a telescope so if you do, and you see this event, send pictures! has a terrific review of a Jupiter event occurring tomorrow night-ish, depending on where you are in the U.S. or abroad.  Come to think of it, you may not be able to see it everywhere on Earth.  Anyway, the play-by-play, as quoted from, is as follows:

  • 6:51 p.m. EST/3:51 p.m. PST Io will begin a transit in front of Jupiter’s disk
  • 7:04 p.m. EST/4:04 p.m. PST Ganymede will also begin a transit of Jupiter
  • 7:58 p.m. EST/4:58 p.m. PST Io's shadow will begin to cross Jupiter’s face
  • 9:05 p.m. EST/6:05 p.m. PST Io will end its transit
  • 10:07 p.m. EST/7:07 p.m. PST Ganymede will complete its transit
  • 10:10 p.m. EST/7:10 p.m. PST Io's shadow will end its transit
  • 11:45 p.m. EST/8:45 p.m. PST Ganymede's shadow will begin to transit Jupiter

You may notice that the above really only has to do with 2 of Jupiter's moons and none of those are Europa.  That's because this blog is equal opportunity Jupiter news.  

Much more information can be found at this link.

Also, I will be at the NOLA ComicCon this Saturday, as tweeted and blogged about.  SATURDAY only because it's a long drive.  If you will be there, stop by and say "hi!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Love Google...

...Even though I am part of a small group that believes they are secretly trying to take over the world. They provide some great services, extremely innovative software and occasionally provide for our personal amusement. My wife received the following voice to text message from her mother on Google phone this week:

     Hey daughter the back. date because. Hello. Please. He, the, hey Tiffany blue and orangepackage. That's number 1. Number Do you or bye bye talk to you can say do popcorn more.Chiropractic pop point in the Clinton all kinds of way very soon, which will be cut. The at HI hasenjoyed very much. Because, something different paper, do. think of2001. And the Canadian production very good and I'm really happy petting peacetime to book it though,okay drive talk call call bye love you And number forwarded replicate there. Okay bye.

I have often used the text translator successfully and have heard great things about the live version of language translator, however, this makes me wonder what the odds are of sparking an international incident...