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Mike Reeves-McMillan
Novelist, short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, nonfiction author
Novelist, short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, nonfiction author

Mike's posts

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Hey, +Lisa Cohen! 

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With what we know about behavioural reinforcement, I can see this.

After all, we're already used to following our machines' cues and reminders. 
"AI is emotionless but it’s not inherently neutral, fair or unbiased."
We train AI with our biases. Knowing this, we can train AI to promote better behavior to counter those biases.

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If you want a change, make a change. 
"'Frustration is fuel that can lead to the development of an innovative and useful idea,' she said, noting that only after she conducted some research did she realize just how few books had black girls or girls of color as their lead character, and how she might not be the only person frustrated by the lack of representation in children's books."

I've fallen down on the job of celebrating this amazing young woman and her quest to improve the representation of black girls in children's books. Here's a reminder of exactly how fantastic and brilliant she is!

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This interests me primarily because the primitive steampunk not-yet-computers in the Gryphon Clerks series use fiber optics. (When I researched it, I was surprised and pleased to discover that glass fiber was invented in the early 19th century. Not that it would have stopped me if it hadn't been, but it's nice to know that that technology level is capable of producing optical fiber. And, unlike the early Victorians, my engineers have the ability to produce a reliable, maybe even coherent, light source.)
Deep Learning at the Speed of Light on Nanophotonic Chips

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It's cold. 

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You know how, in fiction, often there's a cure possible so the infected character (who we don't want to die) can be saved at the last minute, and possibly so that the cure can be a McGuffin for the characters to go after?

Here's a way to justify that in your near-future pandemic technothriller. 
Designing Antiviral Proteins via Computer Could Help Halt the Next Pandemic

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On the upside, research isn't that hard. 
Oh, look what I just found!

⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️

It's actually pretty easy to navigate. I suggest ordering the rows by Update Date or by Planet Radius. Earth-like planets will have a mass of around .0031*[Jupiter Mass] and/or a radius of .089*[Jupiter Radius].

Most analysis that I've seen is by radius, so I suggest sorting by Planet Radius and looking at the exoplanets with values in that column between .045 and .15. Planets with values above or below those are not going to be earth like, though if we can find a planet around .15*[Jupiter Radius] that's as rocky as Earth that would be really cool. Happy hunting!

Cool planets to check out: Kepler-442b, Kepler-62f, Kepler-186f, Kepler-452b, Kepler-438b, GJ 273b, Kapteyn B, Trappist-1e, Proxima Centauri B, and GJ 667 Cc

And yes, exoplanet #9 is called 24 Sex C.
Planet sexy, ladies and gentlemen.

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On the downside, serious SF writers can no longer just make up planets of nearby stars to suit their stories. 
The conference just ended!
Hundreds of new planet candidates (219 to be exact) and 10 new potentially habitable worlds, bringing that total up to 49.

They also confirmed for us what we all learned in elementary school: there are two classes of planets: rocky ones 75% bigger in radius than Earth or smaller, and gaseous giants around Neptune's size. Relatively few planets exist between those classes.

They showed a plot during the conference of the new exoplanets, which I'll put in the comments. One data point was ~1.2 times the radius of Earth with an orbital period about the same as Mercury's. I don't know the size of its star yet, but that could be unpleasantly hot. Another world looked to be ~1.5 times the radius of Earth with an orbital period of ~300 days. Lastly, one was .5 times the radius of Earth with the same 300-day orbital period.

Exciting times.

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Sending tiny probes to the stars isn't inherently impossible, we just can't do it yet. 
11 key Starshot technologies and how they are expected to advance exponentially over the next two decades

Passed 60k on Illustrated Gnome News today, and it feels like I'm breaking into the third act. So roughly three-quarters done on the draft, probably. It's still likely to be around 90k after revision, because I always bulk up. 
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