Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 09-2019

Somehow last week I managed to catch up with my blogs and get out a few posts… Impressed aren’t you eh? Ok… I’ll try and do better. ;-P

I’ll go through the posts in a minute… How have you guys been? The weather here has been really warming up – it’s already like spring here and it’s weird to think that in some parts of the northern hemisphere it’s still like -30. I can’t even imagine how cold that is!!! Wherever you are on this planet I hope you’re making most most of your weather (unless it’s -30 of course but if you can big respect!).


Unless you have the attention of a hibernating hedgehog you guys should know the bloggers bash is coming in June and the ticket’s are on sale for this event and that also means the Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have you got a favourite blog you think has caught your eye, someone with the posting skills of a blogging genius – Then why not nominate them?

Whos’ coming this year? What are you looking forward to and who has already been nominated?


So what happened last week? Well first off there was my 6 year bloggiversary Which is always cause for a celebration.

Then there were my thought on how Andy Weir had made a pretty damn good fun social science lesson out of writing Artemis and is perhaps a vision of the future. I say more about it in the post so have a read!

Then there was one of my great thinking posts on why it is humans have deceived themselves into control in this vast and unimaginable cosmos. This https://sfarnell.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/the-awesome-universe-and-human-imagination-of-control/
To me this has had me thinking for ages and It’s finally come out as words and with my first quote!


All this fevered activity has been exciting for me, I’m hoping that there’s going to be more great and exciting stuff for you and the general interweb to find and enjoy soon… I just need a lil more time!

What about you bloggies – what have you been up to?I hope you guys all have a great week! Keep writing and smiling!


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The Human Delusion of Control in an Immense Cosmos

We see it all the time, slogans that tell us we can get control of our lives, get control of our money, control of our love life… I could go on. Control is sold as a tangible thing, becasue when we believe we have control we feel comfortable. But what do we have control of?

I want to consider for a moment what we as humans really have control of.

Here we are on a ball of rock, spinning and orbiting and charging through the cosmos, something we can never have control of. Yet it’s an everyday fact that our existence is at the mercy of the universe.

We breathe air that we need to live, we have no control of it and don’t want to even try and control how we pollute it.

We don’t choose family or who we love.

We can’t control the amount of money that appears in our bank accounts.

We can’t control how we behave in reality, especially when we’ve had a sherbert or two.

We can’t control how others feel or think about us, or get them to obey us.

Governments can’t control how people think or vote.

We are delusional to think we have control of anything when we consider our place and significance in the cosmos.

– Me

Just as much as the rest of life on this Earth we are passengers through life, time and space. Any thoughts that we have control are merely a delusion of the human mind.

This isn’t something to fear… take comfort.


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6 Year Bloggiversary!

Hi there bloggies, I got a little notification through the other day – this tiny little spot in the blogosphere has been running now for 6 years!!!

6 Years!!!!

That’s 6 years of blogging crap, pictures, music scifi and all kinds of stuff. Planet Simon had been born and changed beyond what I ever expected and you guys have made it all worthwhile!

Thanks bloggies!


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Artemis – where Sci-Fi becomes a vision of the future.

Story Basis

Andy Weir’s latest novel Artemis looks at first to be a step back from his first novel The Martian. Set on the Moon rather than Mars, inside a moon base (Artemis) with the protagonist being a young woman who is trouble and doesn’t really amount to much in life on Artemis.

When I initially looked at this I was left wondering where this could go. For those of you that have not yet read the book I will leave out as many spoilers as I can but I am going to have to tell you something becasue otherwise what’s the point of this post?


The World of Artemis

The first thing about this book is that the clever bit is not about fancy new technology or how the humans are fighting off Moon aliens that the conspiracy theorists knew were there all along, this is mainly about how and why humans would colonise the moon. For this Andy Weir had to create a new world, society, economics and the people that would live there and why.

The first thing to note is that this human colony exists for one reason alone – tourism. Everyone that lives on the Moon is there to support an industry of people that can buy a trip to the Moon for about $70K and depending on how rich you are stay in one of the hotels in one of five habitation domes.

Along with the workers there’s the odd ultra rich billionaire that’s bought half a dome and lives a pretty decent existence… and causes a bit of trouble, Because let’s face it you don’t get billions by playing nice. In with this is Jasmine Bashara who is known as Jazz who was brought to the Moon by her father and has lived there since a child, very intelligent but good at making bad choices she runs a smuggling operation to get by. On Artemis you work for Slugs – this stands for Soft Landed Grams (SLG), one slug is the cost of getting one gram of goods from the Earth to the Moon.

Jazz wants to live a much better life and her billionaire friend makes her an offer she can’t refuse. So begins a the story of mystery and in some parts utter chaos caused by what happens next. For that I’ll let you read the book.


Symbiosis

What’s intriguing about this is that Weir has worked out that in the process of Aluminium smelting the oxygen created could supply the colony with breathable air for the human population. So the ‘local’ smelter that processes Aluminium to sell also supply’s the colony’s oxygen in return for power for their smelter. It’s an interesting symbiosis and it reflects the fact that once we colonise space or even travel into space, partnership will be far ore important than money, money will essentially become not only redundant, but in fact a nuisance (it is anyway I think).


Society on Artemis

The final aspect of Artemis I found insightful was the society of Artemis, the person who ran it fully accepted than in any society as criminal element needs to exist for it to run. Law enforcement was far more direct and brutal and a more basic moral core existed.

Artemis to a greater degree was a free society, with few rules and part of the story hinges on how the mob took advantage of this in order to run it’s businesses and make money, this is also key to the troubles that occur in the story. There was a strong parallel to this and how mobs took over cities in the past on Earth. The society of Artemis was soon found to be threatened by similar issues and raised the question of how free a society can be without it being taken advantage of by those that are more unscrupulous.

Finally there was the Jazz – the smuggler, seen as a petty criminal and the law wanted her out of the way. But as she pointed out, the only reason there were no drug or weapons on Artemis was becasue she as the resident smuggler didn’t allow it. The power gap left if she was removed would open the door to someone else with less morals to allow anything in.

This single person, right on the bottom of the pecking order, operating outside of society had a huge influence on how the bigger society ran. That is the power of the single person and I thought it was a powerful message.


Easter Egg

The last thing about Artemis is the possibility of an easter egg in the story – A reference to the Martian which could be there. I never found it… but if you read it and did find it, please give us a clue!


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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 08-2019

Ghaaa!!!! When will things ease up?!? Hello there bloggies! Once again I’ve only cranked out one post this week… but what a post it was! I am Bionic was my February blog battle story and I have to say I was quite pleased with it… there may be more from this story – if I can write it 😀

I have been catching up with all you great bloggies though – if anyone has been feeling left out make sure you let me know 🙂


Unless you have the attention of a hibernating hedgehog you guys should know the bloggers bash is coming in June and the ticket’s are on sale for this event and that also means the Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have you got a favourite blog you think has caught your eye, someone with the posting skills of a blogging genius – Then why not nominate them?

Whos’ coming this year? What are you looking forward to and who has already been nominated?


With all these different things I want to get out this year it makes me wonder what new ideas you’ve all got and how you’re getting on with cranking them out in 2019 – what are you doing to help you achieve them all?


I hope you guys all have a great week! Keep writing and smiling!


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I am Bionic

This is my entry for February’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.


All Calli could do was watch, tears streaming down here face as a flurry of people in white hurried around the broken body of the person she cherished most in the the world. No, hang on, that’s not right – the universe. Living on Earth was dangerous enough yet despite all the technology and safeguards living outside the relative safety of Earth was riddled with danger and freak accidents like this happened.

“She wouldn’t have even seen it coming” Calli thought to herself. “There’s no sound in the vacuum, that rover just rolled right over her…” Callie stopped her thoughts there. It was too painful, she slumped onto the chair opposite the observation window, not able to see now but she could see a med tech squeezing fluids and someone shouting “Her blood pressure is falling!”

Having lost her father only a few years back Calli was no stranger to loss but this hurt way more than that. Despite all that was going on, twenty four hours without sleep took its toll and her eyes closed.


Calli woke to a man she didn’t recognise, in a white gown shaking her awake. He was older, she guessed in his fifties.

“Miss wake up” he kept saying.

“I’m awake, I’m awake what is it? Is Dom ok?” Calli looked up bleary eyed, her face still red.

“That’s what we need to discuss.”

Suddenly Callie was wide awake, Dominique was still alive? “What is it?”

“Come with me please.” The man, Callie assumed to be a doctor led her away. As she stood she glanced in the window to see a person with bandages and tubes all over her. In moments they were at another room, the doctor showed her in, at the end of a table was a man a little younger than the doctor and looked like he came from somewhere like indi. He wore an expensive suit and a serious look, but he got up, smiled and welcomed Callie warmly.

“Hello, I’m doctor Patel. We don’t have much time so let’s get down to the matter in hand. Your partner Dominique is in a very serious condition, she’s stable for now but if her injuries are not treated soon she will die.”

Callie felt a lump in her throat, it took all her will to keep her tears back. The older doctor started to talk.

“You see the thing is that with normal medical science there isn’t anything else we can do, which is why Dr Patel want so thelp, he has a suggestion, but it would need your permission.”

“What is this suggestion?”

“Well…” Dr Patel composed himself for a moment. “I’m advancing bionics in medical science and I have come out here to Callisto in order to expand this science. I won’t bore you with the reasons why Callisto is favourable but what I’m suggesting is that we use bionics to help Dominique and give her back her life again. This work is experimental though I must warn you.”

“What are her chances without it?” Callie asked nervously.

“Almost non-existent.” The old doctor announced grimly.

Dr Patel added more “Every person out here is very valuable, in terms of life, skills and resources. That’s why we are doing this.”

“So on Earth we’re more expendable?” Callie shot back.

“You know what I mean.” Dr Patel retorted a little aggressively. “At the end of the day, you either agree to let us try or watch her die.”

Dr Patel said nothing more, he slid the pad with the permission agreement towards Callie waiting for her to authorise. Callie curled up on the chair, weeping realised she had no choice. Without looking she reached over and thumb printed her permission.

Dr Patel got up and left.


Callie hadn’t realised what it was going to take, but Dom’s operation took days, round the clock Patel’s doctors, nurses and technicians came in, did their job, rested, went back in. She had no idea what was going on and her mind was fearful of what was happening and what would result. Eventually Patel led his team out. Exhausted he came to Callie who never left the seat outside the theatre the whole time.

“We have completed the procedures, we are very pleased with the result and hopeful for her recovery.”

“What did you do?” callie asked nervously.

“Her brain and body was damaged, there was a lot of…”

“What did you do?” Callie reiterated.

” We had to recover some of her memories and functions, her brain is now augmented. Her shattered arms and legs have had to be replaced as well as a partial face reconstruction.

” I want to see her!”

“Not now, you can’t…”

Callie got up and pushed past Patel, looking down on the body of her friend, her love she sawy robotic limbs, beautiful engineering but together with a human body looked alien. Her face was half masked by a robotic face, her eyes were closed.

Patel walked up behind her “There’s every chance she will be fine, she will rest for some time so her body can adapt and heal and then she will need to learn to adjust. But inside she’s still the same.”

With tears rolling down her face Callie was horrified, angry, so many mixed emotions “What have I done?” She trembled. “What have you done? How can this be a life for anyone let alone the one I love?”



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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 07-2019

Hello there bloggies! I feel I’m making too much of a habit of this, I manage to crank out the weekly orbit and one other post and that’s it… I really need to get something done about this… I have so many ideas and none of them are getting out.

Do any of you have this kind of problem too?


Unless you have the attention of a hibernating hedgehog you guys should know the bloggers bash is coming in June and the ticket’s are on sale for this event and that also means the Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have you got a favourite blog you think has caught your eye, someone with the posting skills of a blogging genius – Then why not nominate them?

By the way… who among you is coming?


I’ve got so many new ideas to try this year and so little time it’s not funny – I have the science snippets, I have quotes, new ideas and all of this I hope will come soon. I just need the universe to gimme a break. But this means there’s still lots to look forward to… So keep watching!


Since the Gutenberg editor came out late last year there’s been a lot of upheaval about it and some of it is change but one aspect I hadn’t reckoned on was how the change affects the visually impaired. While I don’t have the skill to help people with those needs I have helped to address anyone else struggling with it with my only other post last week Gutenberg in 10 Steps. If you missed it have a look… I hope it’s helpful.


I hope you guys all have a great week, I’m still catching up, hopefully soon I’ll be back!

Keep writing and smiling!


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The Geeky Guide to WordPress – Gutenberg in 10 Steps

As I’ve been doing this blogging thing a little while now and it seemed a good idea to pass on a few of the things that I’ve learned over the five years that I’ve been doing this. In easy and often geeky steps you’ll be taken through the steps and point out the pitfalls of taking your blog seed and growing it into something really amazing.


The Gutenberg post editor has arrived and as with all change there’s something else to learn and a few ruffled feathers. I’m just coming to grips with it myself so I thought I would be helpful and give you my bloggies a few pointers.

1. Blocks

The first thing you need to know is the Gutenberg editor is built around blocks. For those of you that don’t know Gutenberg was the father of modern printing – he transformed the world with his innovative use of blocked letters to produce pages of print that took books to the masses.

This gives a clue on the thinking with this Gutenberg editor. Everything on your posts and pages is now a block.

So, if you want some text in your post – it’s a block, picture, a block, a seperator even… is a block.

2. Adding Blocks

This is where I found I got a little unstuck at first, I think it’s improved over the last couple of months.

As you’re creating your page or post the block is highlighted in blue. When this is visible a + is seen at the top or at the bottom of the block, prompting to add a block either above or below the block you’re in.

Another way to add a block is to use the + button at the top left of the screen!

3. Changing a Block

Editing a block or deleting it is also pretty straight forward. Look for the button with three vertical dots, click on it and some options come up, from here the block can be justified, or deleted.

Also look to the left, the up down arrows change the block order or click the dots in the middle and drag the block to where you want it.

4. Block Colours

This is one of the coolest new features the Gutenberg gives the post and page maker – text and background colours. As you’re writing in the block on the right are block settings, in there is the colour settings, drop the arrow down and…

Within the block the background and text colours can be changed… just like in this block.

5. Gutenberg Tool Bar

As said before on the top left is a + to add a post but there’s more there too.

So the + in a circle is add block (important that) as we know.
There’s the arrows for undo and redo.
The little i in a circle give you this kind of information:

With the button on the right is a drop down for post navigation.

6. Post Copy

This annoyed me at first – there was not copy option for posts, it now exists, in My Blogs, go to blog posts. Find the post you want to copy, click the three dots on the right and hey presto! There’s your copy post option.

7. Text on Image

This is another cute feature I hope they’re going to do more with… Go to Add > Common Blocks > Cover.
Add the image you want.
Write in text.
I can’t yet see a way to increase the text size… that’s why I hope they’re going to work on this tool.

Aston Martin

8. The Read More Block

It may shock you to know that the read more text is now… a block! So add a block go to layout elements click on More.
Done. Simples.

9. The Drop Cap

I can make the first letter in a block big in the block settings (on the right). Click the drop cap button and Ping!

10. Reusable Blocks

This is almost the coolest part, great for making a post / site header or footer template. Create the whatever you want to create, with words pictures etc. Select it all and on your three vertical lines add it to re-usable blocks.

Give it a name

It will now appear at the bottom on your block lists. The best part about this, is if you change a reusable block, it will change it on whatever posts or pages it’s been used!

Ultimate and easy updating!


Now you know 10 things about the Gutenberg post editor, will you give it a go?
What else have you found that’s given you trouble? I know the learning curve on this is quite steep and daunting – but I can see the benefits and how this can really make your work stand out.

If you haven’t already… give it a go!


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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 06-2019

Hello there bloggies! So once again the week got the better of me and I didn’t manage to get much out… this is what happens when you’ve not got much to work with at home.

But my entry for January’s blog battle entry hit the timelines just in time. If you missed it, look up Fields of Paper Flowers.


As some of many of you know the bloggers bash is coming and that means the Bloggers Bash awards – If you don’t know what this is all about look at Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have a look and see what’s going on and if you have a blog that has really inspired you over the year make sure you do them a favour and nominate them! It’s the least you can do…

I’ve been having a bit of a think about these little science snippets I discussed last week – I’ve got a little list but I thought I would throw it out to you all – is there something that weirds you out or would like to know more about? Let me know. I’ll be creating my list to wade through and see what fun stuff I can come up with over the coming few months.


As I’m finding out the Gutenberg editor is evolving pretty rapidly, things are changing and I’m not going to be able to keep you all up with it but I’m hoping this week I can give you all an updated useful Gutenberg post.

Speaking of which – how are you guys finding it? What issues or headaches are you finding?


I hope you guys all have a great week, I’m going to try and catch up a bit this week. I know I keep saying that…

Keep writing and smiling!


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