I Win!

Well, against all odds, I’ve finished my novel for NaNoWriMo 2008. I may or may not decide to post The Girl from Alpheratz on the site, but be looking out for it.

Sorry once again about the lack of posts, but right on the heels of the novel came a paper in my philosophy class.

Pictures of Other Planets

While injecting my daily dose of Internet news, I learned something incredible: we now have what looks like direct photographic evidence of planets orbiting other stars! I found it pretty hard to believe, but there it is, in black and white (or rather, purple and white).

One of the planets was found orbiting the star Fomalhaut, around 25 light-years from Earth.

Photo courtesy of Discovermagazine.com’s Bad Astronomy Blog.

This is a true “Holy shit!” moment. So far, the only planets we’ve found by direct imaging have either been too large to be properly classified as planets, or they haven’t been orbiting actual stars. In short, this is monumental.

It gets better. Much better. The Keck/Gemini observatory gives us this image of the star HR 8799.

Your eyes do not decieve. What you are looking at is two (TWO!!!) planets orbiting HR 8799. Apparently, they saw a third one, too, but I’m too busy picking my jaw up off the floor to go hunting for images.

I am actually too shocked and giddy to write anything useful. Sometimes, the universe sees fit to remind me why I became a science nerd in the first place.

You can read more about both planetary systems here and get the juicy details about the one orbiting HR 8799 here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wipe the drool off my face. And pick my jaw up off the floor.

(NOTE: This seems to me like a pretty good reason to either maintain or replace Hubble. That, and the mystery object it found a couple of months ago)

Another New Short Story: “The Boat”

As I walked home from class today, I was in the mood for some symbolism. I started thinking about my life, and about the way society sort of “threw me out of the boat” when I was younger. Then, this story wrote itself. Of course, with any allegory, there’s the risk that people aren’t going to be able to figure out what is a symbol for what, or worse, that you’ll seem pretentious, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Here’s how I summarized it on the Writings page:

A short and semi-autobiographical allegory about society, survival, religion, life, being an outcast, and our incredibly mysterious ability to hold ourselves up, even when nobody else will.

You can read The Boat here.

An Absurd Riddle

I was attempting to be productive, but instead, I came up with the following riddle. If you think you know the answer, leave a comment. (Note: I make no promises that any normal human being can solve it. Hell, I wouldn’t know the answer if I hadn’t written the thing). Here it is:

OVA. A is O or OAAAA. What time is it?

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New “Story”: “Let Alone”

I put “story” in quotation marks in the title because I don’t really know how to classify this…whatever it is. It was originally going to be a science-fiction story, but within a paragraph or two, it had mutated into a sort of story-poem-thing about modern life and loneliness. I’d say this is just about the weirdes thing I’ve ever written, but I kind of like the imagery and the general flow of the language, so I thought I’d share it. Read it here.