Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First Past The Goldilocks Test?

The lightest exoplanet yet has been discovered around the red dwarf star Gliese 581 - and even better, refined measurements suggest that the orbit of one of its companions, Gliese 581 d, is within the habitable zone. Although, at around the size of Neptune, Gliese 581 d is too large to be a rocky planet like Earth, it may well be an ice giant that wandered inwards, and could be covered with a deep ocean - 'the first serious "water world" candidate.' What days!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

'Humanity Would Largely Look Like A Forest Of Quiet Semiconductor Trees.'

Anders Sandberg examines the energetic costs of the ultimate in sustainable living.

(Via Oliver Morton's Heliophage.)

(Hmm, kind of reminds me of William Hjortsberg's Grey Matters.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

J.G. Ballard

Just learned that J.G. Ballard has died. It isn't unexpected, because he has been ill for some years, but it's still a major shock and a major loss. According to the BBC news, he was a 'cult' author - whatever that means. He was one of the few people to fully understand the second half of the twentieth century, and how it continues to shape the future.

UPDATE: obituaries by David Pringle in the Guardian, Christopher Priest in the Financial Times; others in the Telegraph, and the Times. Tributes and links collected at Ballardian.com.

ALSO: Clute on Ballard.
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