Some Activity in August.

Here is a bit about my activity in August.

I finished watching season 1 of “The Man in the High Castle”

This did not catch on strongly with me, but I may still do some more, but it is not high priority.

Rating 6/10.

On the recommendation from a participant of the Fantasticon this year, and another friend I watched season 1 (until now) of “Station Eleven”

While it was interesting enough to finish the season, it did not catch me as much as I have the impression from the recommendations. There was a lot of time jumping (not time travel), and it took some time to get used to.

Rating 7/10

Having liked “Game of Thrones” very well, I started watching the spin-off “House of Dragons”. The first two episodes aired in August, and I like it enough to continue watching. A rating will have to wait until the season is done.


Then there is “The Sandman” (season 1) on Netflix. This is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic/graphic novel of the same name.

I have not read the source material, but I have read some Neil Gaiman stuff (and liked it), and seen some TV with him involved in the writing, and I always liked it.

First of all, from the very beginning this feels very much like Neil’s writing. I love the acting and cinematography of this. Episode 6 is a solid highlight of the season.

I am definitely hoping for a continuation, but hopes are moderate, given the tendency of Netflix to cancel shows after a season or two.

Having said that, this first season stands very well on its own.

Rating 10/10

I finished re-listening to the audio book “Moreta, Dragon Lady of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey. I enjoyed it very well as late evening listening, as well as listening to it while driving.

Rating 8/10.

The progress in reading The Expanse novels is slow, as there are some other summer activities going on.

Non scifi activities:

Due to the heat wave I have not done a massive lot, but now it seems to cool down, and I should continue building my system for partial coverage of my electricity needs with solar power. More about this in another post.

RIP Mars Phoenix Lander.

NASA has finished listening for the Phoenix Mars Lander, reports Spaceflight Now in *this article*.

It comes due to the Martian Winter fast approaching, the solar panels are unable to keep the batteries charge…. and it is a little tricky to send someone to run a generator or change the batteries. 😉

In a sense it is sad to lose a spacecraft, but Phoenix had done what it was supposed to do, and was operational for 2 months longer than its original 3 months mission. Not bad at all. The Odyssey orbiter appears to continue functioning, so not all is over yet, even if we are unlikely to hear it for some time while Mars passes behind the Sun (from our perspective).

Some Thoughts on Solar Energy

In the light of the previous post : “Breakthrough in Solar Energy ?” I would like to express some thought about generating and using energy.

I have, for some time, been thinking of how we could make better, more efficient use of the energy we have, one point being that distribution of energy over large distances is rather inefficient, and the energy should be harnessed more locally. For example, combine the energy generation for every house with regionally a generated reserve.

First of all, building the infrastructure, power lines, gas pipes, is expensive and energy consuming in itself.

Further, reliability. Local energy generation would make society less vulnerable to failures of the energy infrastructure (for any reason whatsoever).

Personally I would like to be at least partly self-sufficient when it comes to generating energy. and solar is the only viable energy form in that respect.

OK, we have to look into the energy efficiency of using solar cells, since the production of those use up a lot of energy.

I would think that a combination of solar cells and wind turbines would be the best for local energy generation.

More about this later ….

Breakthrough in Solar Energy ?

It looks like we have come one step closer to harnessing solar energy more efficiently. The article :

‘Major discovery’ from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution

caught my attention today. It concerns a new catalytic material making the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen in a very efficient way, storing the solar energy collected during the day, for use at night.

The process mimics photosynthesis, the way plants store energy from the sunlight.

According to the article the technology is so simple that it could be implemented within 10 years, imagine every house generating solar electric power during the day and using the stored surplus energy duing the night.