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Dan Thompson
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, TX
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Dan Thompson

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Thanks, I needed that. (I cut three fingers) I'll get a chocolate.
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I seem to remember them announcing the origin of the new female Thor recently...

#GingerThursday   #Thorsday  
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Yes and it was fantastic, didn't see it coming at all.
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Artificial Wombs

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately because the population growth I need to fill my space opera universe requires a fertility rate of about 3-4, compared to the rate of 1.5-2 in most technological nations.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate) For reference, the TFR in the US 1950s was 3.3-3.7, which corresponds to the Baby Boom generation being born.  

But I need this high TFR not for a decade but for centuries, and I given that women's rights have moved hand in hand with a lowering TFR -- while understanding that correlation does not imply causation -- I don't like the idea of what a return to high TFR might mean to my space opera's society and women's roles in it.  Thus, I've often thought about artificial womb's as a possible solution since it could significantly decouple women from their biological roles in childbearing.  (And thus, possibly keeping their childrearing roles a matter for society, not the biological imperative assumed by history.)

But I've never thought thought the readers would buy it, at least not at large scale.  Thus, I'm planning on mostly skirting the issue of how my population grew so much over a thousand years.  But maybe I'm selling my readers short.

Anyway, here's a brief article (and 13-minute podcast) on the subject of artificial wombs and what they might mean for us. 
Well hello there, and welcome to our very first episode of a brand new podcast called Meanwhile in the Future! I’m Rose, and I’ll be your host for this set of forays into the future.
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I would have wanted a window as I always prefer a womb with a view.
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Black Widow Movie?

Black Widow has been getting dissed by Marvel marketers and merchandisers, and the question I keep seeing is "When are we going to get a Black Widow movie?"

Well, here's SNL take on it, but while funny, this is very much not the Black Widow movie I want to see.
(h/t to a private share)
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EEk. 
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Dan Thompson

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Great One-Liners

A fair number of last-words and military-boasts in here, so dive in or avoid if that's a thing for you, but by-and-large a fun list.
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Maybe, +Paul Bucalo​, maybe not. I guess many chuckled. 
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So cute!!!
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Venn diagram for the win!

It's nice to see the overlap as well as what you miss out on if you only do one.
 
Copyediting or Proofreading? Do you need both? (hint: YES!)
Copyediting or Proofreading? Getting the Most for Your Editing Dollar by Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas explains the difference between copyediting and proofreading and why most manuscripts and the differences will save you money and grief in the long run.
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More planetary formation fun for your SF novels
Brian Koberlein originally shared to Our Universe:
 
She's So Unusual

Our solar system follows a clear pattern. Small, rocky planets close to the Sun, large gas planets farther out, and a belt of astroids between them. On a broad level that would seem to make sense. As the Sun formed, the intense energy of its newfound solar wind would tend to push lighter elements such as hydrogen and helium toward the outer solar system, leaving only rocky material behind. It’s tempting then to imagine that most solar systems would follow a similar pattern of close rocky planets and more distant gas giants. But as we’ve discovered more exoplanetary systems, we find that isn’t the case. In fact it increasingly looks like our solar system might be the exception rather than the norm.

When we look at other star systems, we find that a gas planet far from its star is rather unusual. One way to categorize planets is by the energy they receive from their star. Hot planets, such as Mercury and Venus in our solar system, warm (possibly habitable) planets such as Earth and Mars, and cold planets such as Jupiter and beyond. The cut-offs for a particular system depend upon the energy produced by a particular star, but it gives a good idea of near, mid-range and distant planets. In our own solar system, all the gas planets are “cold” planets. But among all confirmed exoplanets, less than 20% of gas planets are cold. The most common type of gas planets are “hot jovians.” These are large, Jupiter-mass planets close to their star.

To be fair, the methods we use to detect exoplanets, such as watching a star dim when a planet passes in front of it (transit method) or measuring the oscillation of a star due to the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet (Doppler method) make it inherently easier to discover large, close planets. But even when this bias is taken into account, it appears that hot jovians are more common than cold ones.

Through computer simulations, we have some ideas as to why that is. In a young system, planets form within a protoplanetary disk, which is basically a fluid of gas and dust. The gas is typically at least partially ionized, so it interacts with the magnetic field of the central star. Because of the dust collisions and clumping, there is also turbulence within the disk. In physics, such a system can be described by magnetohydrodynamics. The equations for such a system are extremely difficult to analyze, but with modern supercomputers we have been able to discover some general trends.

Low mass planets (less than 10 Earth masses) don’t strongly disturb the overall structure of the protoplanetary disk. Their interactions with the disk induce what is known as a spiral density wave within the disk. One wave spirals inward in the leading direction of the planet’s motion, while another wave spirals outward on the trailing edge. Since the drag from the outer spiral is typically larger than the drag from the inner spiral, the planet will tend to move closer to the star fairly quickly. This is known as Type I migration.

For high mass planets (greater than 10 Earth masses, or just below the mass of Uranus and Neptune) not only is a density wave induced, but the planet creates a gap in the protoplanetary disk. You can see this in the right figure above. This means that while there is still a net inward drag, it’s substantially smaller. So the planet would gradually move inward during its formation. This is known as Type II migration. The net effect of both of these dynamics is that planets formed in the disk will tend to move toward the star, and thus close, hot, planets are common.

So why did Jupiter form so far away from the Sun? Trick question: it didn’t.

According to the Grand Tack model, Jupiter likely started to form at about the current distance of Mars. Due to the drag forces of the early solar system it migrated toward the Sun, perhaps as close as the modern orbit of Venus. It was on track to becoming a hot jovian planet were it not for the gravitational interactions of Saturn. The two planets entered a gravitational resonance, where Jupiter would make 3 orbits for every 2 of Saturn. This 2:3 resonance gradually drove the planets outward. Subsequent interactions with Uranus and Neptune drove those planets outward as well.

Jupiter’s journey through the inner solar system explains why our solar system has no hot jovian worlds. It also explains why we have no “super-earths,” when such large worlds — with rocky cores like Earth but much smaller hydrogen-helium envelopes than Neptune — are much more common in other planetary systems. Jupiter’s migratory journey would have cleared any young super-earths from the inner solar system. The rocky worlds we see today began forming afterwards, and were thus much smaller than expected.

The simple division of our solar system into rocky and gassy worlds is the result of a complex planetary dance that in many ways defies the odds, and lies on the outskirts of what’s “normal” or, at least, average. But the galaxy is a very large place, with somewhere around 300 billion stars, and therefore, 300 billion chances at life, and of having rocky, Earth-like planets in their habitable zones. While there are likely many other planetary systems similar to ours, the vast majority will be devoid of anything like our home world. As we seek out new worlds with life — and potentially, new civilizations — on them, our best chance for an Earth-like planet might not be a planet like ours, but rather on a world that’s right out of Star Trek: the twin moons Remus and Romulus, orbiting a gas giant which in turn orbits its parent star.
We’ve now discovered thousands of stars with planets. Is ours really unique?
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For my Netflix queue...

I loved this show.  My college roommate +Dan Higdon and I made it a regular deal to watch before racing off for our Tuesday night attempt at racquetball.  This great review reminded me that I never got to see the end of this, so this one is going into my Netflix queue.

(h/t +Keith Wilson)
 
On this day:
At 12th May of 1993, the final episode of "The Wonder Years" aired on ABC.

'The Wonder Years' pilot episode aired immediately after the Super Bowl on January 31, 1988 and ran for six seasons on ABC - six wonderful seasons. Created by Carol Black and Neal Marlens, the show would go on to capture the hearts, minds, and memories of the majority of age groups. The show is a fascinating journey back in time exploring those ties which we as adults have forgotten by now. Armed with a simple but innocent script it is by far one of the best shows on television.

Fred Savage (winner of the Q Award - Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series 1989) plays Kevin Arnold, who resides in an average American suburb. The time setting of Wonder Years is 1968 – 1973 and features Kevin's life from the age of 12 to 17. Kevin's dad Jack Arnold (Dan Lauria) is a defence contractor and his mom Norma Arnold (Alley Mills) is a homemaker.

The story also features Kevin's on and off girlfriend Winnie (Danica McKellar). Their on and off relationship portrays relationships in reality in the dating world with different relationships in the mix. The story line is about Kevin's journey from adolescence to adulthood with his friend Paul (Josh Saviano). Kevin has an older brother and sister: Wayne (Jason Hervey) and Karen (Olivia d'Abo). The story is narrated in Kevin's adult voice by Daniel Stearn.

The show is one of the earliest half-hour sitcoms done in single camera format and without a laugh track, being a precursor to the shows that are considered to launch the format such as 'Spaced' and 'Malcolm in the Middle.' It wasn't afraid of addressing touchy subjects and was often frank about things that happen when growing up. One episode dealt with Kevin getting to touch a girl's breast for the first time.

The show is unique in the way it is made so that you can hear a monologue or voice-over of what is going on inside Kevin's head, what he is thinking and what he feels as a child as he matures. You see everything from his point of view. You see typical 1960's family life, dominant father figure and a semi submissive yet respectable mother. Each character has been written well, written as well as every story, meaningful and realistic. 

This show also gives an important lesson: that things don't always go out like you want them to in life. Winnie was the soul-mate of Kevin, grew up next to him, knew him intimately, yet they couldn't have a future with one another because sometimes life works out like that. Kevin had a family and a new wife.

However, he maintained an excellent relationship with Winnie even after his marriage; as he learned valuable lessons of life from her and their relationship. Another valuable lesson from 'The Wonder Years' is that you make very few friends in life, and the really close ones come from your childhood. 

"The Wonder Years" won one Golden Globe and several awards. TV Guide named the show one of the 20 best of the 1980s. After only six episodes aired, "The Wonder Years" won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1988. In addition, at age 13, Fred Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated as Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series.

All in all, 'The Wonder Years' cant be simply explained in words but it is all those memories we cherish all our lives and look back in wonder. Like Kevin said in the last episode: "Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like a lot of other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder."

#TheWonderYears  #TVShow
#TVShows  #Drama
#TVSeries  #ComedyDrama
#Onthisday  #ComedySeries
#TV  #Sitcom
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I write fiction. I used to program for a living, and I probably still could, but for now I write fiction.
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Austin, TX
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Writer, programmer, artist, dude
Introduction
Father of three, programmer, writer, etc.  I do weird stuff with my brain for fun and profit. :)

You can see my blog here: DanThompsonWrites.com

And my books: DanThompsonWrites.com/Books

For my programming, I did 18 years working on Computer Aided Design programs, everything from add-ons to being on the core graphics team for AutoCAD.  These days I'm still doing a little consulting and some personal explorations with genetic algorithms.

I've been writing off and on since I was eleven, but I've been doing a lot more of it in the last 5 years.

I also have special needs kids, and I've spent a lot of my time on them for the last few years.
Bragging rights
Had a startup, sold it, written a few books, survived twins (so far), have done more strange things than most, but nearly as many as I'd like to.
Education
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Computer Science
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