This Week 18–24 December 2022

Short science fiction by Torn MacAlester


In sci­ence fic­tion, there has been a dis­cus­sion as to what con­sti­tutes sci­ence fic­tion.  In mod­ern terms, the thoughts are that mod­ern sci­ence has to be a part of it.  How­ev­er, this is not a uni­ver­sal opin­ion.  Many works in mod­ern times are not even close to being  sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accu­rate. What about works from the past where the sci­ence was valid then but lat­er has found to be flawed?

In Kepler’s Dream (Som­ni­um), we find one of the ear­li­est works of sci­ence fic­tion.  It is filled with the spec­u­la­tion of trav­el to anoth­er world.

One that would not be real­ized until the 20th cen­tu­ry that used the sci­ence that Kepler him­self had laid the foun­da­tion. Kepler, using obser­va­tion­al data col­lect­ed by Tycho Bra­he, devel­oped a set of three laws that gov­ern plan­e­tary motion.’s%20Laws%20of%20Planetary%20Motion&text=They%20describe%20how%20(1)%20planets,its%20semi%2Dmajor%20axis).


This week’s discord chat

Week of Dec 18 2022 [18th at 1 PM EDT (6 PM GMT), 21st at 9 PM EDT (22nd 2AM GMT)]

  • Kepler’s Dream (the first work of Sci­ence Fiction)

Fusion breakthrough

Though not a pow­er­plant, NIF man­ages to show through exper­i­ment that we aren’t wast­ing our time look­ing for the panacea of nuclear fusion. In my opin­ion, this is a break­through moment such as the Apol­lo 11 land­ing on the Moon.  There are things that human­i­ty learns to do that ensures the sur­vival of our­selves and the rest of the plan­et. Fusion is one of them.

In my arti­cle about the Kar­da­shev scale, I dis­cuss the lev­el of civ­i­liza­tion estab­lished by the amount of pow­er avail­able. With the devel­op­ment of nuclear fusion, our Earth­’s civ­i­liza­tion will reach the lev­el of Class 1.  This brings ben­e­fits almost beyond belief:

In a recent dis­cus­sion on Star Talk, Neil deGrasse Tyson dis­cuss­es the impli­ca­tions of the suc­cess­ful exper­i­ment at Lawrence Liv­er­more Nation­al Lab’s Nation­al Igni­tion Facil­i­ty. Check out the video below.

Thunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlester available on


This Week’s Short Fiction by Torn MacAlester

This week I rec­om­mend  Stranger a vignette fea­tur­ing char­ac­ters from Thun­der Moon Tus­sle by Torn MacAlester. Enjoy!

Big News in Science

Astronomers have a list of things that we assume will be found on exo­plan­ets. In the video below, Dr. Becky reviews JWST’s life detec­tion capabilities.

These capa­bil­i­ties have an impact on the para­me­ters in the Drake Equa­tion. Specif­i­cal­ly, the frac­tion of plan­ets that sup­port life, f_l, can now be con­strained by obser­va­tion. Using the data  col­lect­ed from JWST over the next few years, we’ll have some idea val­ue of this parameter.

Here is anoth­er arti­cle about plan­e­tary atmos­phere spec­tra as it applies to habitability:

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