Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Next 500 Years #4

Chromatin is a hybrid structure of DNA and protein that manages the complex problem of packaging 3 billion bases of DNA into a small bundle in the cell that is only a few micrometers in size. This is no small feat. The length of DNA from one cell would measure two meters in length if you stretched it out in front of you. This long DNA not only (obviously) fits inside each cell, but further, it somehow simultaneously has enough room for molecules to access and read it when necessary. This is the equivalent of taking a string that is then length of the world's tallest building (the Burj Khalifa, at 828 meters) and compacting it so that it could fit in the palm of your hand.

pg. 82

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Gravitational Waves

Besides the technical reason for preferring that binary stars should not decay in their orbits, one might speculate that another motive encouraging belief in the existence of a static two-body solution was the same as that for Einstein's instinctive  choice of a static cosmology. There is an ancient prejudice that the universe in general is static

Friday, July 5, 2024

Warp Drive Space Race

In March, for my next series of novels I decided to write about the development of a warp drive. I didn't realize at the time how much work was being done on the concept. I ran across this in the online site The Debrief.
An international team of physicists behind several revolutionary warp drive concepts, including the first to require no exotic matter, says that recent unprecedented breakthroughs in physics and propulsion have launched the world powers into a Cold War-style, 21st-century space race to build the world’s first working warp drive.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

AW #4

The ability to foresee tomorrow's crises, to dramatize their human implications and consequences (and uniquely its unanticipated consequences), and to sample alternatives is one of science fiction's major values. Its more celebrated ability to predict fades to insignificance beside its ability to dramatize.

James Gunn - Alternate Worlds

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Null Infinity - Chapter 8

 Previous chapters can be found under the Forgotten Earth tab above.

Chapter 8

The departmental budget would let them get started on the experiment but eventually they would have to find a backer with more money. Lauren found a couple of used mobile field offices that could be shipped to the site. These would serve as shelter and maybe an overnight room if needed. She and Harry and anyone else they could find in support of the experiment would be staying at the Lacey Motel in Lacey, Georgia. Lauren had booked a block of rooms at a good price, apparently the city of Lacey wasn't much of a tourist destination. Harry and Lauren could see why when they made their first visit.

That part of the state of Georgia was once known as the wiregrass region and extended across approximately the bottom third. It was known for its longleaf pine trees and the eponymous wiregrass. The flat leaves of the grass appear cylindrical because they curl inward at the edges, like wires. The perennial grows in clumps to a length of about a twenty inches. It provides a carpet for the forest floor and an extensive open range for wild game. The region is probably still the most undeveloped of the state.

Harry and Lauren could be expected to share their research area with deer and gophers, bears and rattlesnakes, wolves and wild hogs. They would also share the area with harvester ants which have a stinger that could produce a rather painful sting. Harry and Lauren were suburban kids, so this was a new experience (after New Mexico) for them.

They arrived in Lacey late in the afternoon having started their drive before dawn from Atlanta. Lacey had a small downtown of about a dozen buildings on one side of main street and a railroad line on the other. Two restaurants including a pizza place were present, Harry especially noticed the pizza place.