My son and I stayed in Buda, Texas during our college tour road trip and found a hill with nice dark skies west of town. We were able to find Comet PanSTARRS, but it was a real challenge, even with very dark skies. As you can see, it’s already dimmer (although in darker skies) than it was a few days ago.
Comet PanSTARRs is visible from the Northern Hemisphere (Pearland, Texas – just south of Houston)! It is not yet bright enough to be visible to the naked eye, but it is obviously a comet through binoculars or a 200 mm lens.
I am very pleased that Interstellar Fiction has published a story of mine called “Stupid Manuscripts”. You can find it here:
The idea behind “Stupid Manuscripts” – that a computer could generate random scientific articles, one of which might be close enough to right that a scientist could use it – is one that I had in my files for years and years before I found a fun way to write it.
The ability of a million monkeys to randomly type out Hamlet (or any other work of Shakespeare) sooner that the heat death of the universe has been proven to be almost impossible.
However, computers have been used to generate text a word at a time a number of times.
In fact, a computer wrote a book in 1984:
And computers have written fake science articles to test how well science journals and conferences screen their papers:
And a computer was used to generate a chapter of the “world’s worst novel” which was written to show that Publish America will accept anything:
Unfortunately for my character Hugh, in reality all of these generated works are nonsense.
The likelyhood of a computer generating a close-to-right scientific article (particularly one with equations, where you’d go back to the case of the infinite monkeys typing a character at a time with an even bigger alphabet of symbols) is still highly improbable. So Hugh really had a lot of work to do …
And I had a lot of fun playing with acronyms.
I hope you enjoyed the story.