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Thomas Mays
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Family Man, Naval Officer, and SF Author
Family Man, Naval Officer, and SF Author

152 followers
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This is disgusting.

14 year old (who should get an MIT scholarship) made an electronic digital clock (like most of us geeks do, me for instance) and took it to school to show the teachers. He had been in the robotics club in his prior school, and was trying to connect with a similar peer group in his new school.

Unfortunately the school was in Texas in a town with a mayor elected after a outspokenly anti-Islamic campaign and the student's name is Ahmed Mohamed.

Boy was arrested and taken out in handcuffs, and the principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t make a written statement that included the word "bomb". He didn't, so he has been suspended for three days, and the police investigation is ongoing.

And he is wearing a NASA t-shirt.

Unsurprisingly the Irving High School Principal Daniel Cummings sent an unrepentant letter to parents yesterday, urging parents to tell their children to immediately report "suspicious items."

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/northwest-dallas-county/headlines/20150915-irving-ninth-grader-arrested-after-taking-homemade-clock-to-school.ece

Commentary by +Andy Ihnatko 
http://ihnatko.com/2015/09/16/im-achmed-except-im-not-brown/
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Kids, don't try this at home: it's almost certainly not a good idea. But for those of you who are interested in physics, note several important points:

(1) The rocket fires under water: that works because it's a true rocket, carrying both fuel and oxidizer on board and not using air at all. The shape of the nozzle is also important, since water has an amazing ability to absorb heat and thus quench combustion; a caul around the nozzle keeps the water from getting at the ignition point from the sides.

(2) The primary explosion creates a roughly circular set of cracks. Those lead to "big" cracks opening up in the ice, as existing seams and weaknesses get expanded. 

(3) Note that the circular cracks become hexagonal (matching the big cracks) as you move outwards. What's happening is that the inner cracks happen first, and then those start the big cracks, which actually spread faster than the round ones, basically moving at the speed of sound in ice. By the time the last round cracks are forming, they're forming in ice that already has hexagonal cracks in it.

(4) Water is an incompressible fluid, which means that the shock waves are going to hit things under water very, very hard. This is likely to be lethal to anything underwater and nearby, and is how dynamite fishing works. The reasons why that's a terrible idea (and is therefore illegal nearly everywhere) are hopefully obvious.

(5) That said, watching things explode underwater is pretty cool.

h/t +Kee Hinckley 
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Boy, oh boy, Chris Gerrib does seem to love his review of A Sword Into Darkness. He keeps on putting it up everywhere he can.
PSA: Thomas Mays is not James May -- "One of the gentlemen on the other side, I discovered, had penned an SF novel entitled A Sword Into Darkness. The ebook price was right, so I bought it and read it. Overall, it's a pretty good book - I'd give it three stars. The action is engaging, the science is solid, and his invading aliens have unique motivations and modes of travel."
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I ran into +Thomas Mays at Madicon, read his book, and then interviewed the guy. Check it out!
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Getting ready to face down Writers Arena veteran Danny "The Pop-Culture King" Brophy, we appeared before the media for a pre-fight interview . . . . (note, NOT my real voice) #shortstory   #interview   #scifi  
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Let the crass awards campaigning begin!  Helloooooo Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, and many many others! http://improbableauthor.com/2015/01/01/for-your-consideration/ #ScienceFiction   #awards  
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Got a GREAT review from Markus Christopher below on my novel A SWORD INTO DARKNESS. Check it out!
[My apologies if this is a repeat post for some; I don't know how much crossover there is between the various science fiction groups on G+. This version is slightly edited and expanded from my original version.]

I just finished reading the book, A Sword Into Darkness, a near-future hard SF story about our first contact (as you can tell by the cover, parts of it may not have been so friendly). 

It's a relatively short (<300 pages) novel, full of physics goodness as we see a possible alien something approaching us, and we have scant decades to prepare. We invent new materials and rocket engines, build probes and a ship, and head to out meet them. 

I liked the book quickly when in the first chapter or two, the author name dropped Niven and Pournelle, as well as A Mote In God's Eye (though seeing what this story is about, Footfall would have been as applicable), followed up by a discussion as to just why aliens would so obviously send a ship to Earth (remember, this is hard SF; no FTL drives or communications) - we saw it as it flipped over and started decelerating - rather than radio or else send kinetic-kill vehicles that have no need to slow down and reveal themselves.

Armed with the knowledge that the author enjoys the same writers I do and that he tackles questions too often left unanswered - or worse, answered badly in too many books and films - I devoured the story in a few days.

It didn't disappoint. From the first sighting of the alien craft up to the final page, I found it engrossing; one of those books that I just couldn't put down.

Sure, some of the dialog was there to help the reader understand both the tech and also the whys of how the tech was being used, industrially, tactically, and so on, but that hardly detracted from the story. I had one minor niggle about why the characters followed a certain course, story-wise (it was clear from an author/reader perspective, but I'd spoil if I gave the details away), but +Thomas Mays explained the in-story reasoning when I brought it up to him later, and those reasons make perfect sense. 

All in all, I'd recommend this to any military and/or hard SF fan. Short, engaging, and tons of fun, I had trouble putting it down.
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