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Bright, Tiny, Powerful...


The fin LED pixel design includes the glowing zinc oxide fin (purple), isolating dielectric material (green), and metal contact (yellow atop green). The microscopic fins, which the research team arranged into comb-like arrays, show an increase in brightness of 100 to 1,000 times over conventional submicron-sized LED designs.

Credit: B. Nikoobakht, N. Hanacek/NIST

Topics: Light-Emitting Diode, Nanotechnology, Solid-State Physics

A new design for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) developed by a team including scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may hold the key to overcoming a long-standing limitation in the light sources’ efficiency. The concept, demonstrated with microscopic LEDs in the lab, achieves a dramatic increase in brightness as well as the ability to create laser light — all characteristics that could make it valuable in a range of large-scale and miniaturized applications.

The team, which also includes scientists from the University of Maryland, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, detailed its work in a paper published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. Their device shows an increase in brightness of 100 to 1,000 times over conventional tiny, submicron-sized LED designs.

A Light Bright and Tiny: NIST Scientists Build a Better Nanoscale LED

B. Nikoobakht, R.P. Hansen, Y. Zong, A. Agrawal, M. Shur and J. Tersoff. High-brightness lasing at submicrometer enabled by droop-free fin light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Science Advances. August 14, 2020. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba4346

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Neutrons Eye COVID...


An eye for structure The LADI instrument at the ILL, a quasi-Laue neutron diffractometer used for single-crystal studies of biological macromolecules at high resolution. Neutron Laue diffraction patterns are recorded on a cylindrical detector, allowing the determination of protein structures including the locations of hydrogen/deuterium atoms. Credit: R Cubitt

Topics: COVID-19, High Energy Physics, Neutrons, Particle Physics

Advanced neutron facilities such as the Institut Laue-Langevin are gearing up to enable a deeper understanding of the structural workings of SARS-CoV-2.

The global scientific community has mobilized at an unprecedented rate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, beyond just pharmaceutical and medical researchers. The world’s most powerful analytical tools, including neutron sources, harbor the unique ability to reveal the invisible, structural workings of the virus – which will be essential to developing effective treatments. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, researchers worldwide have been using large-scale research infrastructures such as synchrotron X-ray radiation sources (CERN Courier May/June 2020 p29), as well as cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facilities, to determine the 3D structures of proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which can lead to COVID-19 respiratory disease, and to identify potential drugs that can bind to these proteins in order to disable the viral machinery. This effort has already delivered a large number of structures and increased our understanding of what potential drug candidates might look like in a remarkably short amount of time, with the number increasing each week.

Neutron sources join the fight against COVID-19Matthew Blakeley, and Helmut Schober Institut Laue-Langevin.

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Lissa's Choice (New Release!)

Hello, everyone!

I've published a new short story set in my worlds of T'vanna. They can be found in the Tales of T'vanna series on Amazon.

Everything within me is a storyteller. I've been creating worlds since I was 7 years old, complete with their cultures, languages, foods, and religions. My goal is to bring people together in a unified concept of "human" and what it means. We all deal with a great many trials, and aren't exactly handed individual manuals for how to process what we'll experience. So the best we can do is offer stories. Engaging in others' stories allows us to better ourselves by gaining new perspectives and expanding our horizons. I hold great storytellers in very high esteem... and I desire to one day be counted among them.
As a person of color, I agree that we absolutely need more depictions of more colorful races and backgrounds. Coming up, I will be publishing tales about Airi, Mikal, Kina, Pikoul, Elu - and Mur and Docus, who are red-skinned and blue-skinned respectively - to name-drop just a few. But I also write about those with Asian looks, red-heads, blonds, etc - like Lissa in my latest publication.
(Image above is of Filin, Lissa, Meidalai (the "fish"), and Lydi. Art is by Alba Lugo, an artist from Mexico, who can be found on Instagram @Gelbekunst ^_^ We anticipate working together on MANY more projects to come!)
Here are short descriptions of my current publications!
Each short story I write is uniquely designed with its own voice and intended impact, but all are crafted to expand vocabulary and comprehension skills.
** If you want a warmhearted kid's book with pictures, loving siblings, and fuzzy characters, check out "Miki's Dream." This story is about being allowed to develop at one's own pace, and the beauty of being different. I recommend reading this story to 6-10-year-olds.
** For fantasy children's literature that deals with deeper thought-topics - like life, death, healing, and empathy - "Desmond Deathflores" is an incredible fable about overcoming the boxes and stereotypes we are born into. Reading-comprehension level for this story is higher, recommending 8-12.
** And my latest book, "Lissa's Choice," is a short story about a very unlikely friendship, and discovering (and creating) one's own inner happiness. This book is also recommended for ages 8-12.
As I *am* a New Author, please remember to leave a review on Amazon if you check out any of my books. Even one review greatly increases the chances of my books being seen by others.
Thank you for supporting me! And please look forward to more tales to come.
Stay gorgeous, people. 💗 
(visit to support my vision of having my own animation studio)
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Family Portrait


Beloved daughter dear of mine
Chosen by the Three Divine
Precious being at your birth
Will you ever know your worth...?

They tell me to let you go,
That you were born for such, and so
All onlookers say to me:
"What a blessing this child be!"

One day, just as is foretold,
I won't have your hand to hold.
You will go to Far Away
And I will ever mourn that day.

Ages pass before you'll see
How much you had meant to me.
But until then, with tears to trace,
I'll keep you in my embrace

And try to stave the hands of time,

Most beloved dear of mine.


(A poem from the heart of Kina's mother, in my coming "A Mikal's Child" series.)


If you gave birth to a child who you *knew* would randomly leave home on their own before they were five years old based on a prophecy, would you fight against that prophecy or agree with others in society to simply accept what will happen?


Exclusive art downloads from new releases, peeks at coming titles, and insight into no less than 5 parallel realities are being woven together in my new Patreon Page.

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Strange Metals...


A diagram showing different states of matter as a function of temperature, T, and interaction strength, U (normalized to the amplitude, t, of electrons hopping between sites). Strange metals emerge in a regime separating a metallic spin glass and a Fermi liquid. P. Cha et al./Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2020

Topics: Black Holes, Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Superconductors, Theoretical Physics

Even by the standards of quantum physicists, strange metals are just plain odd. The materials are related to high-temperature superconductors and have surprising connections to the properties of black holes. Electrons in strange metals dissipate energy as fast as they’re allowed to under the laws of quantum mechanics, and the electrical resistivity of a strange metal, unlike that of ordinary metals, is proportional to the temperature.

Generating a theoretical understanding of strange metals is one of the biggest challenges in condensed matter physics. Now, using cutting-edge computational techniques, researchers from the Flatiron Institute in New York City and Cornell University have solved the first robust theoretical model of strange metals. The work reveals that strange metals are a new state of matter, the researchers report July 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The fact that we call them strange metals should tell you how well we understand them,” says study co-author Olivier Parcollet, a senior research scientist at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Quantum Physics (CCQ). “Strange metals share remarkable properties with black holes, opening exciting new directions for theoretical physics.”

Quantum Physicists Crack Mystery of ‘Strange Metals,’ a New State of Matter, Thomas Sumner, Simon Foundation

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Pig Slop...

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A fan-made cover for George Orwell's novel. "Animal Farm" is one of Orwell's most well-known works and gained unlikely popularity with Ukrainian refugees. (Photo from Flickr user Ben Templesmith.)

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Farmers feed their pigs slop, a messy, wet mix of various leftovers—and when they do, they can say they slop the pigs. A derogatory way to talk about food that doesn't look very tasty is to call it to slop. And you can call sticky, overly sentimental music, writing, or film slop as well. Source:

When President Obama used an executive order for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), that was considered constitutional overreach and tyranny from the executive branch. That was likely the executive at the time and the children in question are both brown. This was due to the GOP-dominated Congress not passing a DREAMS Act for those same children's path to citizenship. Immigration reform used to be a thing with republicans: Saint Ronald Reagan made a whole bunch of illegal immigrants citizens, and that might have contributed to the high numbers his republican successor, George W. Bush enjoyed for his 2004 reelection. That compassionate conservatism advantage has been dwindling ever since, at least until our current moment of discontent.

Ben Sasse called Orange Satan's executive orders unconstitutional slop, which it is. His clap back to the middle school mean-girl tweetstorm from Mango Mussolini is an admittance: "I don't need you to get reelected, you need me." He like a lot of other Republican senators had their constitutional duty to remove a criminal from office. They are the beneficiaries of Jim Crow, the Southern Strategy, Voter Purging, and Suppression. They shirked it because they are criminals themselves. Conditional integrity is still cowardice.

HuffPost senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked the president during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing if, after 3½ years, “do you regret at all the lying you’ve done to the American people? All the dishonesties?”

“That who has done?” Trump replied. 

“You have done,” said Dáte, who wrote at length about Trump’s “Ministry of Untruth” earlier this year. 

Trump paused and then moved on to the next question.

In his report, Dáte noted that Trump’s stream of falsehoods across nearly every topic and in any setting is corroding America’s democracy as it normalizes lies coming from the nation’s highest office.

Trump's Response When Asked If He Regrets All The Lies He's Told America: None, Josephine Harvey, HuffPost

We have a view of history that fascism doesn't need competency. Hitler was quite literally a shit show, and the mythology of Nazi efficiency is...just that.

It's poignant that Senator Kamala Harris is African Diaspora through her Jamaican father and Indian Diaspora through her mother - both immigrants who met in Oakland, California where she and her sister were born as American citizens. Both marched and shouted for Civil Rights for all its citizens, especially their daughters, as civil rights have never had a hue, simply for and of humans. America, India, Germany have had and have caste systems that assign portions of humanity to either the apex of the pyramid where all riches are siphoned to or the base where all the weight of society crushes pariahs beneath it. She's a woman that self-identifies with black culture through her HBCU - Howard University and her Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She married another human that happens to be of European descent. She is above all, an earthling, and Oakland isn't a crater on Mars. Her fraternity brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr - found himself in an inflection of revelation.

Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabelle Wilkerson

In 1935, Nazi Germany passed two radically discriminatory pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. Together, these were known as the Nuremberg Laws, and they laid the legal groundwork for the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust and World War II.

When the Nazis set out to legally disenfranchise and discriminate against Jewish citizens, they weren’t just coming up with ideas out of thin air. They closely studied the laws of another country. According to James Q. Whitman, author of Hitler’s American Model, that country was the United States.

“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” says Whitman, who is a professor at Yale Law School. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”

In particular, Nazis admired the Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against black Americans and segregated them from white Americans, and they debated whether to introduce similar segregation in Germany.

Yet they ultimately decided that it wouldn’t go far enough.

How the Nazis Were Inspired by Jim Crow, Becky Little,

Fascism, like its cousin racism, doesn't need rationality over "us" and "them." It allows one group to dominate another without guilt, or blame for the consequences. It allows you to long for mythological glory times where Germany and America were "great again."

Fascism in Germany or America just needed enablers, and frankly, intellectuals that underestimate how a cornered animal - hog, rodent or narcissist - is its most dangerous and cunning when it figures it's going to die in prison and has nothing - other than its freedom - to lose.

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Occator Crater and Ahuna Mons appear together in this view of the dwarf planet Ceres obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on February 11, 2017. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Handout via REUTERS.

Topics: Asteroids, Exoplanets, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

"Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, and the love a mother bears for her child. She was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, the sister of Jupiter, and the mother of Proserpine. Ceres was a kind and benevolent goddess to the Romans and they had a common expression, "fit for Ceres," which meant splendid." Source:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is an “ocean world” with a big reservoir of salty water under its frigid surface, scientists said in findings that raise interest in this dwarf planet as a possible outpost for life.

Research published on Monday based on data obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which flew as close as 22 miles (35 km) from the surface in 2018, provides a new understanding of Ceres, including evidence indicating it remains geologically active with cryovolcanism - volcanoes oozing icy material.

The findings confirm the presence of a subsurface reservoir of brine - salt-enriched water - remnants of a vast subsurface ocean that has been gradually freezing.

“This elevates Ceres to ‘ocean world’ status, noting that this category does not require the ocean to be global,” said planetary scientist and Dawn principal investigator Carol Raymond. “In the case of Ceres, we know the liquid reservoir is regional scale but we cannot tell for sure that it is global. However, what matters most is that there is liquid on a large scale.”

Dwarf planet Ceres is 'ocean world' with salty water deep underground, Will Dunham, Reuters Science

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CdTe and IoT...


The thin-film materials being tested during development. Courtesy: I Mathews

Topics: Alternate Energy, Internet of Things, Materials Science, Solar Power

Photovoltaic cells made from cadmium telluride (CdTe) – already widely used in solar energy generation – also excel at harvesting ambient light indoors, making them an excellent energy source for the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT). This is the finding of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and the Tyndall National Institute at the University of Cork, Ireland, who fabricated low-cost CdTe cells and measured their photovoltaic response when exposed to light from various sources, including LED bulbs.

At present, indoor IoT devices such as wireless sensors are typically powered by batteries.  However, study lead author Ian Mathews says that photovoltaic cells would be better because of they require less maintenance and are cheaper and easier to make. In his view, these characteristics present a “significant market opportunity” for CdTe cells in particular, yet researchers have rarely tested their effectiveness at converting ambient light (from incandescent, compact fluorescence, or LED bulbs, for example) into electrical energy. Instead, previous studies of indoor-light energy generation have mainly focused on rival photovoltaic technologies, such as silicon, III-V semiconductors, organic PV devices, and perovskite materials.

Thin-film solar cells make champion harvesters of ambient lightIsabelle Dumé, Physics World

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Submitted for the approval of the Black Science Fiction Society:
  It was there. The portal was real. After all the years spent searching the vast Milky Way, Jazor had found it. He chuckled to himself from behind his faceplate when he thought of the secret to eternal life nestled on a nothing moon on the ass end of the Milky Way, but here is was, spinning its never ending spiral of golden light and offering those who are brave enough the chance at eternal youth.
  It gave him comfort to know that all whom he had killed and cheated to find his treasure did not suffer in vain. His hover chair moved his frail skeletal form closer to the glowing circle of energy till he was a foot away from it. He reached his gloved hand into the void and a charred hand snapped out from the other side and yanked him closer. Jazor's hoverchair moved helplessly to the circles edge. The hand belonged to his friend Milo, whom he left to die on an exploding cruiser after getting the information he needed. Jazor screamed as Milo smiled at his friend with a charred mouth and blackened teeth. As Jazor peered to the circle, he saw more familiar faces. He saw Janicek whom he had poisoned, pointing to him and laughing with red bile dripping from her mouth. He saw suffering and torment all around. His victims' eyes burned  with bloodlust as they reached for him and moaned with desire. Milo grabbed Jazor's helmet and pulled him close so that he and Jazor were inches away from one another. Somehow, Jazor could smell charing flesh through his helmet. The putrid aroma caused Jazor to let panic overtake him completely. He pulled and punched at he charred pair of arms that held him in place with all the might his withered body could muster, but eventually succumbed to the wave of exaustion that had overtaken him. The thing that used to be Milo laughed as Jazor's energy slowly faded. It seemed to delight in the suffering that was taking place, and was savoring the misery of the moment like a fine aged wine. As Jazor felt a single tear flow down his wrinked cheek, Milo had but one simple statement to offer. 
"Enjoy your eternity. You've earned it friend." With that he gave one last yank, and Jazor was never heard from again. 
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Quantum Hush...


Party line: the new protocol allows 10 parties to share information securely. (Courtesy: University of Witwatersrand)

Topics: Cryptography, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics

A “quantum secret sharing” scheme that allows 10 parties to share information securely – the highest number so far – has been developed and demonstrated by researchers in South Africa. The protocol involves each party performing quantum operations on the photon without measuring its state and the team says it could help increase both the rate at which data is shared on secure quantum networks and how many parties can be involved in the sharing.

In the original quantum key distribution (QKD) protocol, two parties, known as Alice and Bob, communicate by exchanging photons polarized in one of two possible bases over an untrusted link, each varying the polarization basis of his or her transmitter or receiver randomly. At the end of the transmission, Alice and Bob reveal to each other which basis they used to measure the photons sent and received, but not the result of the measurements.  Alice and Bob then announce their results for a sample of the photons in which they measured in the same polarization basis, to check that the emitted polarization always agrees with the received one. If it does, they can use the remaining photons that they measured in the same basis to form a secure cryptography key that allows them to communicate securely using conventional telecoms technology. A third party that intercepts the photons inevitably disturbs their state, so some of Alice and Bob’s measurements disagree and they know the line is bugged.

‘Quantum secret sharing’ scheme allows 10 parties to communicate securely, Physics World

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Holographic Microscopy...


FIG. 1. (a) Schematic of an inline digital holographic microscope. In a typical setup, a collimated laser (light red) illuminates a sample, which scatters light (dark red wavefronts). The transmitted and scattered light passes through an objective and tube lens, which focuses the light onto a digital camera. (b) A hologram of a polystyrene particle obtained from an inline holographic microscope.

Topics: Holography, Optical Physics, Microscopy, Modern Physics

In the past few years, the venerable field of holographic microscopy has been revitalized by computational data analysis. It is now possible to fit a generative (forward) model of scattering directly to experimentally obtained holograms of complex microscopic objects. This approach enables precision measurements: it allows the motion of colloidal particles and biological organisms to be tracked with nanometer-scale precision and their optical properties to be inferred particle by particle. In this Perspective, we discuss how the model-based inference approach to holographic microscopy has opened up new applications. We also discuss how it must evolve to meet the needs of emerging applications that demand lower systematic uncertainties and higher precision. In this context, we present some new results on how modeling the optical train of the microscope can enable better measurements of the positions of spherical and nonspherical colloidal particles. Finally, we discuss how machine learning might play a role in future advances. Though we do not exhaustively catalog all the developments in this field, we show a few examples and some new results that spotlight open questions and opportunities.


Precise measurements in digital holographic microscopy by modeling the optical train, Ronald Alexander, Brian Leahy, Vinothan N. Manoharan, Journal of Applied Physics

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StarJacker's Pride by Gerrence George

Submitted for the approval of the Black Science Fiction Society:



  I take a shot of cheap bourbon and push the ships accelerator lever forward, causing my Class 1 Freighter "Francine" to moan and rattle in protest. The ships know it all AI shines a bright red holographic "WARNING" light across my face, sending a hot flash of pain through my head. Friend of mine used to say that buying cheap liquor was a waste of time cuz you still end up paying for it the morning after anyway. I pour myself another glass out of spite, even though I know the dead bastard is right. He was right up to the point where he caught a laser blast to the chest for drawing down on a faster gun who had insulted his ship. Can’t say I blame his reaction. Some things you just don’t say to a man who’s partial to his spacecraft. The searing red blinking light gets to be too much so I swipe the warning halo message away a little too fast and drop my glass on the hard metal floor of the cockpit, sending it into a thousand pieces. I string together a series of curse words then decide to chug straight from the damn bottle instead. Who’s got time for class anyway?

  As if the strain on the accelerator drive wasn't enough, bright flashes of orange light pepper the edges of my view screen, and the cockpit shakes more violently than before. I clench my jaw to keep my teeth from rattlin out of my head. Laser blasts bounce off my weakened shields from behind. Damn! They caught up to me! Just what I need, Pirates trying to cut me down. They got the nerve to be pissed at me for stealing the minerals they stole in the first place!? Name of the game I say. The next series of blasts that smash against my hull tell me they might not share that opinion. Doesn't matter. Their ships are quick but my babygirl Francine bigger and tougher. Her guns went dry a standard half hour ago, but that's okay too. Dumb ass'd pirates messed up when they let me get too close to the jump gate. A fresh round of flashes and shakes knocks me off my seat in front of the control console. I hit the floor hard and my knees and back burn with a hot flood of agony. Shards from the broken glass slice into my right hand and arm as I land. I yell out with a big grin on my grizzled face as I think back to another saying my brother had.

  "A good jolt of pain'll do ya better than whole damn pot of coffee!" I say it out loud to no one in particular, then steady myself on the edge of the control console.

  "Shields at thirty two percent. Hey could be worse. They could be at thirty one!" The ship AI says in a soothing, chipper female voice.

   "I thought I turned the damn personality settings off." I mumble and try to ignore my aching bones as I climb my old worn out body back into the seat. Just gotta make it to the gate. Don't even bother trying to maneuver. These damn cheap ass after market replacement bio-arms aren't as quick as they need to be on the controls, no matter how hard I will em to be so. Hell, they're even two shades lighter then the rest of me! The cut from the glass has my right had bleeding all over the place. Silver-blue colored liquid seeps from my bio-arm and finds it’s way between the crevices of the main consoles rusted metal. None of that matters though. Just need to keep burning the thrusters. The shields will hold.

  After a few seconds I see a tiny ring in the distance that don't look big enough to fit on my pinky. Hard to believe it’sas big around as all of Old Earth. I press the ship harder. Every warning indicator she has, and one Ididn't even know she had, flashes to life. The engine is overheating, along with central computer. It's working too hard. Doesn't matter. I got the gate in my sights. On the other side is my employer and adozen warships that'll make these pirates piss their pants just before they tuck tail and turn back for the shithole asteroid cluster they came from. In the meantime though, Francine keeps takin a pummeling.

  "I know it hurts baby, but get us through that gate and Daddy's gonna give you a complete systemoverhaul. Promise, just you wait and see." I say to the center console. Starting to get messages about fires starting up in the lower decks and the decreasing of the shields. No problem. She's taken worse punishment and the ore shipment is in a secure nuclear grade container. All that matters is the gate is minutes away. I tip the burbon back and drain the bottle as a fresh round of lasers hits my baby from the left side. Red smoke, colored by the warning lights, begins to seep into the cockpit. I smash the bottle off the side wall and laugh my ass off until the smoke cuts off the laughter and replaces it with a cough.

  "Guess what?! We're four minutes from the jump gate! Wanna know the actual odds of us making it there alive, or would you prefer an optimistic lie?!” The ships AI blared me through the ships speakers.

  "Personality settings off!" I yell out, as I reach under the console and yank out a cluster of wires. As the happy voice fades I look up out the main view window, and see it. From my perspective the gate looks to be a bit bigger around, but its still just a small circle engulfed in a sea of stars. Be there in less than two minutes, tops. As strap into my chairs over the shoulder safely harnesses and grab the controls with both hands I notice that they're trembling. No drug in the Galaxy better than this. The gate grows bigger as it approaches. The pirates have time for one more volley of fire. If it doesn't end me, I'm home free, if not, I'm even more free. HA! This is it baby! The life of a Jacker. Nuthin better. Fortune and glory behind one door and certain death behind the other. Which ever happens might as well be decided by the flip of a coin. Not the life to live if you've got to an ounce of sense in your brain,and I wouldn't have it any other way!

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Dave's Special

Flash Fiction by Thaddeus Howze
500 Words
"Are you going to eat that? I'm starving." The voice, like caged thunder, rumbled as Harold held his head in his hands.
"Knock yourself out."
A pair of twisted tentacles composed of degenerate exotic matter reached across the dimensional divide and hefted the Dave's Special. Surprised by the effort necessary, one tentacle removed the lumpy Kaiser roll to peer into the confines within; heaped with fixings, sporting an array of meats, sauces, twisted slab bacon, with tiny poppy seeds scattered across the top.
Amen-mat, with his one enormous eye, grew dizzy staring at the huge sandwich. It took several tugs to drag it across the dimensional boundary into his four-dimensional space. Between bouts of enthusiastic chewing, Amen asked "What's wrong, old man?"
Harold sat up. "I can't pay the rent." The corner he was looking into was filled with newspapers. Harold was a hoarder. No, not the kind that lives with fifty cats. He was worse than that. Harold was the neat and reasonable kind. Piles, organized with tabs, dates, and locations; a clean and functional chaos. Yet it still disturbed people when they came to see him. After a while they just stopped.
It left more time for him to focus on his conflict with Amen-mat, inter-dimensional invader and game aficionado. The two moved through the apartment engaged in multiple forms of warfare across the centuries; chess, Go, Parcheesi, backgammon and Mastermind. No game was too small or strange. Alone for decades, a shut-in, Harold played chess alone until Amen-mat, during an invasion to subjugate the Earth, manifested in his loft to play chess.
"We talked about this a few years ago," Amen offered.
"No. I am not coming to live with you."
"Why not? You'd have an entire dimension to yourself."
"Because I know what you are."
"A soul-devouring monster feasting on Human greed and suffering."
"Yes. There's that."
"That's not the deal-breaker?"
"No. People who make deals with monsters get what they deserve."
"Then, what's the problem?"
"What about my stuff? What about Dave's? You don't have a Dave's there, do you?"
"No. And after eating that last one, I understand why you would be slow to leave. But I have an idea. Let's start moving your stuff." Harold twitched involuntarily as multiple tentacles appeared all over the room and began to size up the task.
"Don't worry, I won't change a thing. I promise." By the end of the day, the house was empty, walls scrubbed sporting a light lavender scent; security deposit reclaimed, Harold Turner moved out of his flat an into an entire dimension of his own, separate from Amen-Mat's.
Meanwhile, at Dave's, a corner light blows and can't be repaired. Sandwiches disappear. Minutes later, money appears to pay for the purloined hoagie. A pragmatic man, Dave never questions. The tentacle was, for all of its strangeness, a generous tipper.
On rainy evenings when business is slow, he occasionally hears the word 'checkmate', followed by free-rolling thunder which sounds suspiciously like laughter between old friends.
Your story must include a sandwich.
Your story cannot be longer than 500 words
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Occam's Razor and Scorched Earth...


Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

As Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder was a strong advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project, which aims to supply Russian gas directly to Germany, thereby bypassing transit countries.

At the time of the German parliamentary election, according to Rick Noak of The Washington Post:

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Schroeder hastily signed the deal just as he was departing the office from which he had been voted out days earlier. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.

Wikipedia: Gerhard_Schröder-Relationship_with_Gazprom_and_Rosneft

Occam’s razor, also spelled Ockham’s razor, also called law of economy or law of parsimony, principle stated by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed as “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” Source: Britannica online

Occam's razor: Orange Satan spoke two consecutive days to Grand Pooh-Bah Putin; 16 or more private conversations last year (in the current Coronavirus apocalypse, we'll refer to that as the "before times"). He's managed to without fail insult every [former] ally we've had since the end of the Second World War, but not even a nickname for Vlad the Impaler of democracies. What he says in those conversations that like his salary, we're paying is apparently none of our business. We can't see his grades, SAT scores, or his taxes. Al Capone wasn't too keen about the idea of revealing his taxes either, and that ultimately is what landed him in prison. A guy who had "Joey No Socks" at his New Year's bash after Pooh-Bah gifted him the 2016 election and planet is probably a crook. The producers and showrunners of "The Apprentice" was in on the joke, as well as most residents of New York City. He's not a businessman, except of the Keystone Cop variety, every decision is a pratfall and every pronouncement word salad. Case-in-point: you're reading this during a pandemic. His lack of talent in his 74 years of wasting oxygen and producing flatulence at wee tweet hours has been covered by white male privilege, his father, the Mafia, Russian money laundering, and republicans that never once believed their own shtick. Enter Bizarro Capone with a dead Propecia ferret on his head yelling manically "he can fix it."

The "empty vessel" model was introduced by Reagan: as he deteriorated, others like William Barr worked the marionette strings from the shadows as Ronnie "aw shucks" himself into B-movie legend. Mind you, "nature abhors a vacuum," but Donnie just "isn't there." He doesn't say "aw shucks": he might say "oh, fuck," or "oh, I'M fucked."

Nixon - Roger "rat fuck" Stone's back tattoo totem - was unscrupulous, but he was competent: Affirmative Action and the Environmental Protection Agency just two of his accomplishments, other than the whole Watergate Plumber's thing. Simultaneously insulting a landmark and a culture by saying "yo-Semite" ("yo-sim-e-T," idiot!) isn't the "stable genius" his twisted mind and cognitively dissonant followers believes himself to be.

EIGHT republican "patriot" senators were in Moscow on July 4, 2018, months before the midterms. That's strange for patriots (Tom Clancy is confused in the hereafter), especially on the nation's birthday. Probably totally innocent. Good luck with the 2nd Amendment, over there: it doesn't exist.

The Republican Party is shrinking. The Southern Strategy was great for Nixon in 1968, and cool for Reagan in the 80's nostalgic "Back to the Future" decade, when Lee Atwater resurrected the ghoulish grog in "welfare queens", "young bucks", and Willie Horton when Pappy ran in '88, which actually means something to white supremacists. 52 years into the future, any milk left on the shelf that long would be rancid, if not mummified.

So, what do you do when your shtick is shit, your base is melting by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and you just can't win legitimate elections anymore? Domestically, that takes the form of a faux war on faux voter fraud, voter purges and voter suppression of the groups that probably won't vote for endless tax cuts for the 1%, genteel racism and not-so-subtle sexism and homophobia. Internationally, you might "get a little help" from your Russian friends, and make sure they can still help.

Jill Stein, Gary "Aleppo" Johnson, and for God's sake, red hat KANYE are not going to BE president!

And, what if you lose and you don't accept it? A lunatic currently has the nuclear codes and twitchy Twitter fingers.

It's 87 days to the election (yesterday was 88).

It's 165 days to the inauguration of the NEXT president.

Tomorrow is after that.

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Quantum Dots and Diffusion...

QD tracking

Topics: Biology, Diffusion, Quantum Dots, Quantum Mechanics

Quantum dots diffuse within living cells in a nearly two-dimensional fashion. This result, which was obtained using a new 3D microscopy technique that can track single particles, sheds fresh light on intracellular diffusion – a process that is critical for moving molecules around the cell and for mediating other important activities. According to study leader Hui Li, a biophysicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Beijing Normal University, the 2D motion he and his colleagues observed is robust and stems from the complex architectures of the flat “adherent” biological cells they studied.

Quantum dots make ideal probes for studying intracellular diffusion in living cells. They are similar in size to intracellular macromolecules and can be made to mimic biological materials relatively easily, by coating their surfaces with organic molecules. Previous studies, however, relied mainly on two-dimensional measurements of their movement, with the assumption that three-dimensional diffusion is an extension of 2D diffusion and is isotropic.</em>

Quantum dots track two-dimensional diffusion in cellsIsabelle Dumé, Physics World

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Blind Mice Seeing...


Topics: Bioengineering, Optical Physics, Nanorods, Nanotechnology

Even in the dark, rattlesnakes and their fellow pit vipers can strike accurately at small warm-blooded prey from a meter away. Those snakes, and a few others, can see in the IR—but not with their eyes. Rather, they have a pair of specialized sensory organs, called pit organs, located between their eyes and their nostrils and lined with nerve cells rich in temperature-sensitive proteins that cause the neurons to fire when heated.1 The pits work like pinhole cameras to focus incoming thermal radiation onto their heat-sensitive back walls; the thermal images are then superimposed with visual images in the snake’s brain.

Heat-responsive neurons are not unique to snakes. We have them over every inch of our skin, to feel objects warm to the touch, and on our tongues, to taste spicy food. But the snakes’ ability to resolve the source of radiated heat at a distance is unusual.

Inspired by the snakes, Dasha Nelidova and her colleagues at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology in Basel, Switzerland, are developing a new treatment for forms of blindness caused by the degeneration of retinal photoreceptors.2 Using gene therapy, they endow remaining retinal cells with thermoresponsive proteins, thereby compensating for their lost light sensitivity with heat sensitivity. The proteins by themselves aren’t sensitive enough to rival normal vision, so the researchers tether them to gold nanorods, as shown in figure 1. The 80-nm-long nanorods strongly absorb near-IR light at 915 nm and convey the concentrated heat to the attached proteins.

Near-IR nanosensors help blind mice see, Johanna L. Miller, Physics Today

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