Archive for March, 2013

We Didn’t Own An IPad

Posted: March 18, 2013 in General
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A nostalgic look back for those of who who lived in the 70s and 80s.

From my earliest days, I have always been fascinated with exploration.  While that does include physical exploration, it is not the whole of it.  I am as much intrigued by the concept of it, the history of it, the future of it.

Lets put this in perspective.  There has been talk about the prospects of a manned trip to or colony on Mars.  For the later, it is pretty much a one way trip.  Chances are you will be there for a minimum of many years.  If asked I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes – though my fiancée may have words to me about that.

The prospect of being the first to step anywhere that no one has been before, to boldly go, to explore new worlds and lands, that appeals to me.  Whether it be the sailing the seas during the Age of Exploration, or colonising an alien planet, I would have loved to have been there and done it.  Sadly it seems I live in a period of time where there isn’t much left to explore – yet.  We’ve explored most of Earth and haven’t quite managed to make it to the next step.

It does also influence my gaming choices – I prefer games where exploration and building are at the heart of it, going out into new lands, finding new things nad places.  Games like Civisilation, Master of Orion, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect (mostly the first one though), Age of Empires, Total War and ones of a similar ilk.

And it does heavily influence my writing as well.  That is largely why I write – so that I can explore strange new worlds, to go places that haven’t been visited before, except in my mind, and to share them with other people.  That is what exploration is all about, going new places and sharing what you have discovered.  And fantasy and sci-fi are two of the best genres to do that in.

And maybe, someday when I’m old and they have found a way to visit alien planets, I may even get to step foot on somewhere new and see sights no one has seen before me.

Year of the Comet

Posted: March 15, 2013 in Space
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When I was in grade six, one of the themes for the year was space. It was a big year for it, as the Voyager probes were off doing fun stuff, with Voyager 2 doing a flyby of Uranus, there was the Challenger disaster, and then of course there was Halley’s Comet.

This was going to be the highlight of the year, with a trip very early one morning to go and see it out away from all the bright lights. I admit to being a bit of a space nerd at the time, with sapce ships and space travel and all that fun stuff a big influence on me. And after hearing all the talk of previous appearances of Halley’s Comet, when it covered half the sky and was visible even in the daytime, I was looking forward to it.

Except it turned out to be a bit of a dud. At best it was a barely visible smudge to the naked eye and only through a telescope could you see it properly. I was rather crushed, given that chances were I wouldn’t be ariund to see its return. Still, I held out hope that one day I would see a spectacular comet blaze across the skies.

It turns out that it may be this year, in what some are dubbing the Year of the Comet. Already we have had two small comets, Lemmon and Pan-STARRS, which were actually both visible together in the southern hemisphere for a short while.

But the big treat is a comet that should make an appearance later in the year, comet ISON.  It is a sungrazer, which means that it will fly very close to the sun, but if it survives that, predeictions are that it could be the most spectacular comet to appear in anyoen’s memory, perhaps even to the level of the Great Comet of 1680.  We shall once it makes it flyby around the sun, and puts in its expected appearance in in late October or early Novemeber, all the wya through to mid January, 2014.  I am remaining cautiously optomistic.

The Great Comet of 1680

And there is talk of another major comet making an appearnace in 2014, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Springs).  It could be another really visual one to see, like ISON, but what makes this one so interesting is that there is a possibilty, small though it is, that it may collide with Mars.