Perhaps you've heard an inkling of all the hullabaloo on the Internet about something weird happening with the moon this Wednesday (something like that, right?).
What is it, why should you care, and where can you see it? I'm breaking this once-in-a-lifetime occurence down into easily digestible form today just for you!
1) Why you should care
This particular moon has been dubbed a super blue blood moon due to the fact that it is a super moon, blue moon, and blood moon all wrapped in one. Aside from the fact that it just has a really cool name, you might be interested to know that this triple lunar event has not occurred since 1886. That's 132 years ago! This means that this specific moon will probably never be seen again in your lifetime. Blood moons, blue moons, and super moons are not all that uncommon, but together, they make a very rare sight.
That brings me to the next question--what is a super moon, blue moon, and blood moon?
2) What is a super moon?
To understand the concept of a super moon, you have to understand how the moon's orbit works. The lunar orbit isn't a perfect circle--like the revolution of most planets, it's shaped like an ellipse. As such, it has a period of maximum distance from the earth and minimum distance to the earth, as illustrated by the *not to-scale* graph below:
As you can see, the farthest point of the moon's orbit is known as the apogee, while the closest point is the perigee. When the moon reaches its perigee, as it will on Wednesday, it is known as a super moon. At this stage in the moon's orbit, it appears marginally larger and brighter to observers on earth (but it's only about a 14 and 30 percent difference, respectively).
A barren forest lies still before me, not so much as a whisper of wind to be spoken of. I almost feel myself holding my breath, as if I feel the forest doing the same.
Suddenly, a commotion in the fallen carpet of leaves sends a blur whistling down from the treetops. It swoops in and clutches an unsuspecting squirrel in its fearsome talons. As it alights upon a secluded branch to feast on its catch, I shift to catch a glimpse of this monstrous predator.
I find that it is only a small hawk. His brown feathers are lightly brushed with a hypnotizing pattern of white and black, as if he were picked up, painted, and released by a Master Artist.
I suppose my movement alerted him, for his little head spun around rapidly as I gaped at him. His piercing eyes meet mine for just a passing moment before he soars off again, uncomfortable with my watching him, I guess. I wonder how long he had waited for that prized feast he snatched from the ground, how long he had perched on that branch in anticipation of a meal. He was silent as the still air, never making so much as a call or a song or a wail.
His keen eyes seem to me as wise as the owl. How patient the simple hawk was! He never griped or screeched as if to say, "How sore might my misfortune become as I sit here in this lonely tree?" I think we might do well to learn from such a little creature in such a large world. Who are we to say that brighter days are not ahead, sitting here in the lonely present?
If we only shall wait in quiet trust of the Providential Hand, we ourselves might see a scurry of hope in the deadness of the forest.
You know you've always fancifully imagined having the Force--especially when you get comfortable on the couch and the remote is sitting on the other side of the room. Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of the Force in our galaxy, but a new "electronic skin" gets us pretty close.
Granted, this second skin, as it were, won't let you Force the remote to yourself (I know, I know...but I'm still dreaming), but it will still let you interact with things in the physical and virtual world without even having to touch them. The best part? It's insanely thin and moves with your skin. Take a look at this video to help you understand it a little better:
Using a little magnetic sensor to create voltage when in close proximity with a magnet, the "e-skin" will let us manipulate things in the virtual world much easier than we can now. Throw away those bulky Xbox/Playstation controllers, because your hands will be the controllers of the future. Obviously, this is much more natural and manageable than the way we interact with VR presently.
The primary application for this technology is virtual reality, but as a Star Wars fan, I find real-world applications much more exciting. How about turning on the lights or the oven by just pointing at it? Or actually being able to open the elevator doors with a wave of your hand? (Don't deny you've done it). I mean, better VR controls are nice and all, but seriously--give us the Force.
In any case, this new tech looks set to open up a whole new world of possibilities in VR and in robotics. Leave a comment: what applications do you see for the e-skin?
What can compare to the otherworldly beauty of snow on the ground? Fall has melted away, and in its place, the frost crystallizes on the ground and on the naked arms of the trees. Some may call the cold bitter, but I call it sweet like sugar dusted across the earth.
In many ways, I feel a certain harmony with nature when the snow flutters down from the heavens. When we shiver, the trees, too, quiver in the sharp wind, for they have no covering for their bareness. When we "freeze," we watch as the delicate frost creeps up our windows, or as the murmuring creeks go silent as their current falls still. When the snowflakes, each peculiar and none the same, cling to the ground to form one blanket, we are reminded that we are each uniquely created--and that we are all part of something more than just ourselves.
To many the snow is a nuisance, and that brilliant, shimmering glow of the snowflakes in the sunlight has become repulsive. Perhaps, when it is not rare, it is so; but is it not with all things? We, like the snow melting under the heat of spring, have lost our wonder. It clings to us in childhood, and we throw it off when we must "mature."
So, you see, the snow is not so simple as a smattering of white basted carelessly across the ground. I think it much more than that--a reminder of the wonder of our Creator, and an admonishment that we not forget that carefree joy of youth. Perhaps we do not need great minds to change the world. We may only need a snowball fight when the earth turns white to spark a smile on someone's face.
A common theme in science-fiction and dystopian novels is that robots will eventually grow intelligent enough to displace human labor--and, indeed, a large swath of the population believes this to be so. With cars well on their way to autonomy and increasingly better artificial intelligence, it certainly seems to be reality.
But what if the future really is that humans and robots work together?
For some manufacturers, this is the real future. Denmark-based Universal Robots' president Jürgen von Hollen, whose company has special focus in "collaborating robots" (i.e., robots that work with humans rather than independently, was quoted as saying last year, "The robotics market is growing unchanged 10 to 15 percent year on year, and the niche area of collaborating robots is even growing a whopping 70 percent."
Right now, von Hollen's assessment of the robotics market seems right on point. Take, for instance, Savioke's Dash, who acts almost as a robotic servant at various hotels across the world. You can see Dash in action in the video below:
I watch as greedy clouds sneak in from the north, so innocent until their color turns grey. Like a covetous dragon consumed with concealing his beloved gold, they hide the beauty of the blue sky from us that they may hoard the pure sunlight to themselves. Sprinkles of rain roll down my window, clouding my view of the already dull woods before me. Even their fallen leaves seem to long for sunlight, having massed into one endless carpet of brown on the forest floor. The sharp cold seems to have no rival--it pierces my windows, my skin, and even my bones.
Yet even as I yearn for the light of the sun to fall upon the earth again, I wonder if I might be missing the beauty hidden in this gloom.
I reflect on the things I have done during these grey days, and I find that there is indeed joy in the dreary day. It's in the rain that patters on my window and lulls me to sleep; it's in the fallen leaves that expose the peculiar grace of barren trees; it's in the hot cup of tea that I sip while I sit with my family to escape the cold. The mist that snakes through the labyrinth of the forest, the hush of the breeze caressing the trees, the warmth of a thick blanket--that is the joy in the dreary day.
Indeed will I long for the soothing touch of the sunlight, but until then, may I never take the beauty of a dreary day for granted.
Rumors are swirling now about a potential Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, especially after Ewan McGregor expressed his support for such a film in a Golden Globes interview last night.
Of course, the prospect of this is nothing short of exciting. But before we get swept up in the euphoria of the notion, let's consider...what would an Obi-Wan movie even be about?
Firstly (and perhaps most obviously), it could explore Obi-Wan's time in hiding on Tatooine. One of Lucasfilm's obsessions of late is filling in that mysterious gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, whether it's the hit film Rogue One or through the soon-to-be-finished TV series Star Wars Rebels.
Let's just imagine for a moment that this is the route Lucasfilm goes. Wouldn't it just be a 2-hour movie watching an old man stalk young Luke Skywalker? Maybe not.
Obi-Wan goes into hiding in a remote planet, but not without Imperial presence. We know from A New Hope that the Empire has, at the very least, a small presence in Mos Eisley. I wouldn't doubt that infrequent Imperial patrols of areas around Tatooine occur, and, seeing as that's exactly who Obi-Wan is seeking to protect Luke from, there might be some interesting dynamics with Obi-Wan trying to discreetly hide Luke from an intrusive Empire.
If you aren't subscribed to my email list (which you can do here), I announced the release of the sequel to my four-part spy thriller "Kill Code" a couple of months ago, and I cannot be more excited about it's release tomorrow. I have to say (without tooting my own horn) that this is my favorite story I've written so far. It's packed with action and twists at every turn, and the characters may go in directions you don't expect...
"Helper: Part I" will pick up where Kill Code left off--a couple of years afterward, in fact.
Darci Mendelssohn's life has completely turned upside down since she crippled the secret anarchist group Arachne two years ago, but nothing could prepare her for what's to come. When the Cellar unearths a mysterious new mineral with strange powers, a nefarious extraterrestrial empire takes notice--and help from one of their own may be her only hope to save Earth from literal collapse.
“What a shame, Darci,” came his groggy voice, a glint passing briefly over his gaze. “It slipped right under your nose.”
His voice echoed ever louder in her mind until she awoke, gasping for air and sweating profusely. The fact that she was often in perilous situations frequently gave her nightmares, but this one seemed different. It was so real, so vivid, so imminent.
You'll be able to catch Helper: Part I on Wattpad or my blog. And, new parts will be coming out every two weeks until the exciting conclusion of Part VII. Stay tuned to my social media so you never miss a bit of the excitement!
If you need a refresher on "Kill Code," you can read all four parts here on my blog or on Wattpad!
Happy New Year, everyone!
First, I'd like to say that my prayer for this year is that you are showered with blessings, joy, and peace. I expect 2018 shall be at least twice as good as 2017!
I want to get into what you can expect in 2018 from my blog, but first, I think it's fitting to announce the winner of Who Would Win in a Fight: Star Wars Edition. The competition raged from November all the way to the end of December, but with the finals coming to a close, one Star Wars character has finally prevailed over the others. With a staggering 100% of the vote...
...Luke Skywalker is the WWWF: Star Wars Edition Champion! He joins his old master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Who Would Win in a Fight Hall of Champions.
Ah, it's so bittersweet that it's finally come to an end! I thoroughly enjoyed this Who Would Win in a Fight competition...watching the way you guys voted was nothing short of exciting!
And speaking of exciting, let's get into what you can expect from my blog in 2018.
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!