Thursday, February 25, 2021


I have weird dreams sometimes.

Like recently I dreamed I was in a movie with a young Elizabeth Taylor and a youngish Glenn Ford. And there was a war on and I was trying to do guerilla action against an occupying army. One image that stuck with me was burning trucks full of supplies. Oh, and this was a Star Trek movie. Probably because the day before I watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. But another image that sticks with me is a Star Trek-like spaceship. You know, saucer shaped with warp nacelles. Like the USS Reliant in Star Trek II.

What does it all mean? Probably nothing. Just brain debugging itself, I assume. But lately I've been having vivid dreams and I don't know why. 

And sometimes, and this is really weird, I'm a woman in dreams. For example, in the "movie" described above, I spent time as Elizabeth Tylor as she (I) was horseback riding. This is before the war part of the movie. She (I) was riding on Glenn Ford's, her (my) father, estate. Isn't that weird.

Another dream I was Bill Crystal and hosting the Oscars. I was floating over the audience on some sort of platform and making jokes. Then I came to James Earl Jones and I stopped and shook his hand and said I was very honored to meet him.

One time in a dream I was looking for a new house. And in the house I was looking at, there was a flat-screen TV high on the wall. And I said to the house's owner, "I'm going to need a new TV." And he said "Don't forget about the TV tax." And I knew (as you  sometimes know in dreams) that there was a tax on TVs to discourage people from buying them because they use a lot of electricity. Who else dreams government policy?

Are you ever the opposite sex in a dream? What do you dream about? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Movie Review: Greenland


Last week I watched the movie Greenland

In the movie, a comet named "Clarke" is heading for Earth and is calculated to crash into the planet. Some folks, including the movie's heroes, are selected to be taken to a shelter in Greenland where they should be safe. But things don't go as planned and the movie is exciting and well made. I literally jumped with surprise at one point. The movie tugs at your heartstrings and keeps the tension high. It was a pretty good film.

Except the science of it stinks. 

**Spoilers Ahead**

Clarke is supposed to be in fragments, which is certainly plausible. The first fragment hits Tampa in the afternoon of the first day. As the movie progresses through the next night, the next day, through that night, more fragments hit. And a "planet killer" sized chunk is supposed to hit on the morning of the third day. I estimate it's about 40 hours from the first fragment hitting until the planet killer hits.

Now the Earth spins around its axis so more fragments hit in various parts of the world. But, Earth also orbits the sun, as does the comet (in a parabolic orbit, based on the movie's descriptions of it coming from "another solar system"). In 40 hours from the first hit to the last, Earth would have moved 2.68 million miles in its orbit. The comet would be in its orbit which might move slightly toward the Earth due to Earth's gravity, but likely not over two million miles. In reality, the "planet killer" and most of the other fragments would have simply flown by the Earth in their orbit.

What about Earth's gravity? Well, asteroids pass by the Earth much closer then 2 million miles and a lot slower than a comet, and they don't get sucked into Earth gravity. They likely change course but they don't hit the planet.

The movie is still worth watching. It's not at bad as Armageddon for science errors. But then again, I don't think anything could be.

Did you watch Greenland? What did you think. Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

5G Update

 A while back I tested Verizon 5G speeds and was surprised how fast they were.

Come to find out, I was wrong.

I was in Spokane for a doctor's appointment a few days ago and when I got there, my phone said "NO SERVICE." I thought that was weird. Luckily, my car's WiFi still worked, so I was able to locate a Verizon store just a few blocks from my doctor's office. The nice woman put in a new SIM card and the phone worked. And when it came up, it said "5G."

And I was like, "Cool." Then, later, I looked the Verizon website and found a map of Verizon 5G ultra-wideband. And where I was at the Verizon store, I should have gotten ultra-wideband. But I didn't. So I contacted Verizon. Turns out the plan I'm on (2GB a month) doesn't include ultra-wideband. In fact, it's doesn't even include 5G, my phone just says that. 

So, why when I tested my phone, did it say 5G was faster than LTE? I don't know.

I have to buy at least 5GB per month to get 5G, according to the Verizon agent I talked to. But I barely use my 2GBs. So it's not worth the money and 5G Ultra Wideband isn't available where I live. And neither is 5G (fake 5G). 

So, I guess we'll wait until later to explore 5G Ultra-Wideband.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Progress 2

Hunting Mastodons
 I've written about progress before. But that was from the 1970s to now.

But think about the past 100 years, progress since 1920. Or from 1820. My grandmother's grandfather (my great-great grandfather) was born in 1835 and died in 1905. His name was Martin Luther Parks. 

It's likely he never saw a car nor had electricity. He probably never heard the word "computer" and if you said "smart phone" to him, he'd likely give you a blank look (the phone was invented in 1876). In fact, he had more in common with Julius Cesar than he does with me. And Cesar died about 1,900 years before Martin was born.

Humans (homo sapiens) came around about 100,000 years ago. For half that time (around 50,000 years) they were hunter/gathers who lived in caves or rudimentary shelters. Then they invented agriculture and that allowed there to be excess food which allowed cities to form and people to not spend their entire existence search for food. Writing was invented. Math was invented. Government was, unfortunately, invented.

But for half of human existence we were fighting for survival with animals. Humans in 90,000 BC were just as smart as today, but they didn't know anything.

Still, after civilization arose 50,000 years ago, it took until, really, the industrial revolution in the late 1700s before people's lives improved much more.

At the rate of scientific progress today, in 100 years humans may be unrecognizable. We might live as computer programs or in robot bodies. I don't know. But as a science fiction writer, I should have some ideas. And I do.

Where do you think humans will be in 100 years? What's your vision of the future? Let me know in the comments below.