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Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life

Heard of the Goldilocks zone?

It’s the idea that an area of space around a star will be at the right temperature for life to exist. Not too hot, not too cold, hence Goldilocks.

It’s a bit like standing around a campfire on a very cold night. Stand too far away and you freeze, stand too close and you catch on fire and burn to death.

It’s the same with planets orbiting stars too, if they’re too far away then water freezes and life can’t emerge, and if they orbit too close the planet is roasting hot and nothing can live.

It gets a bit more complex than this though, but complex in a fun way. Oh and its also got some pretty big implications for the search for extraterrestrial life…

Continue reading ‘Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life’

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In defense of ‘Abrams Trek’


A lot of people don’t like the 2009 Star Trek re-boot directed by J.J. Abrams. A lot of these people are Star Trek fans.

I think they’re insane though. It’s a great film and a great way to revitalise a frankly tired franchise.

There’s a lot to like about Star Trek, but Abrams realised what its best asset was, and consequently hit the nail square on the head when he made his film…

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First Contact Scenarios – Indifference

I’m planning on writing a series of posts on different scenarios for first contact with intelligent alien life. I’ve been inspired by some insightful comments from this post and have taken lots of my ideas from those who commented there. Thanks everyone who commented.

It’s feels as though this topic has been treated as a fanciful distraction by much of the serious scientific community until quite recently, and has very much been delegated to science fiction authors, fringe scientists and assorted lunatics. But as of late some big-name scientists have joined in the fun, and this topic is gaining an air of credibility. This isn’t to say that science fiction hasn’t made contributions to this field; I think Sci-Fi has provided some intelligent and very creative first contact scenarios and much of what I’ll be writing has been inspired or explored by Sci-Fi.

So lets assume that intelligent alien life exists, that its discovered humanity, and that it has the technology to communicate with us, either face-to-face or using an alternative method.

The first of my proposed scenarios is that the aliens will be totally indifferent.

Continue reading ‘First Contact Scenarios – Indifference’

Some BIG Implications of Evolution

In a previous post I described how evolution works.

Lots of people have some vague ideas about evolution, but don’t really know how it actually happens. Don’t worry if this is you, most people are like this, even some scientists! (Mostly physicists)

You can read the post here if you want; I tried to make it as simple but as accurate as possible.

And once you begin to understand evolution, you realise there are some pretty huge implications…

Continue reading ‘Some BIG Implications of Evolution’

Life in our Solar System – Mars

In this series of posts I’ve looked at planetary bodies in our Solar System that could support life, from the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, to the cloud layers of Jupiter itself, to the ephemeral-once-jungles of Venus, I’ve even looked at Earth itself.

Now one of my favourites, Mars, the Red Planet.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Mars’

How does evolution work?

Most people have some pretty vague ideas about what evolution is, but most of us don’t really know how evolution actually happens.

(Some people even claim evolution isn’t real, but that’s about as sane as saying the Earth is flat, or that the Phantom Menace is better than the Empire Strikes Back).

In this post I’ll try and explain how evolution happens as simply as possible, and tell you why in the future human’s won’t evolve six fingers, wings, or two heads.

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Star Wars: The true meaning of Christmas

This is a piece I’ve written for SciFi Now, a brilliant British magazine dedicated to, you guessed it, SciFi. But also horror, fantasy, games and stuff. Go to their website right now.

They’ve asked for people to submit their own stories about their Star Wars memories and love of the franchise.  Mine’s about my earliest experience with Star Wars and it’s deep Christmas meaning. I’m not sure if they’ll use it, but fingers crossed.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars: The true meaning of Christmas’


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