The Moon, Europa

The Moon, 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.