Saturday, 26 January 2019

Research: Handheld DNA Sequencing

In my science research, I’m looking at the book A Brief History of the Future, and seeing what the author predicts to be developed first. By 2046 he predicts there will be handheld devices for DNA sequencing.

So I Googled it, and just like last week, found technology had already caught up with it.

It’s called a MinION, which reminds me of the little yellow creatures in the Despicable Me films, but maybe it’s pronounced differently. The device, made by Oxford Nanopore, is a little bigger than a mobile phone and can sequence much longer strands of DNA.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Building a Castle: The Master Mason

The man in charge of the work of building a castle was the master mason. He would design the castle and liaise with the future owner. Sometimes he would build a small 3D wooden model to show the lord what was possible. Then he was in charge of the building project itself.
Modern model of Dynefwr Castle

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Research: Augmented Reality Glasses

I don’t know if you saw the Hulu and Channel 4 TV series The First, about the team of astronauts who were going to be the first humans on Mars. In that, they used special glasses to watch videos and make video calls.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been reading the book A Brief History of the Future. One of the early developments suggested in there is augmented reality glasses. This is what it says:

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Building a Castle

The most obvious legacy of the Medieval period in the UK and France is the castle. They are everywhere, mostly in varying states of ruin. I have written previously about why you should visit castles and how to go about it. I also did a series on my local castles (Gower has a lot of castles), including Why visit a castle? and How to visit a castle. But I recently bought the Haynes manual of the castle, which looks at the construction and use of the castle, and I thought it would be fun to do a series on that.

The Medieval Castle Haynes manual

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Research: Neural Implants

A Brief History of the Future

One of the books I’m reading for my science fiction research has the huge title of A Brief History of the Future, the Third Millennium and Human Colonization of the Solar System: The Terraforming of Mars and Venus (HHcSS Book 1). The first innovation he suggests is mobile phone technology implanted in the brain. People will be able to make calls and send messages directly from one brain to another. It sounds like a good idea, so I Googled it to find out how feasible it is today.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Apologies and News


As you can see, I haven't been keeping up my usual blogging programme. In November I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the first draft of the next Kestrel novel. Lots of things fell by the wayside in order to get that done, so December was spent catching up.

2018-11-14 15.24.52

On top of that my husband and I, who are both disabled, both had health issues (which are still going on). There were some family issues to deal with too, not all bad: our daughter had her third son in November and now has three children under four. We try to help out where we can. She lives less than half an hour away and we have the two older boys on separate afternoons each week. They are a delight but very tiring, as you can imagine.

So rather than scrape up any old blog post I waited until I could write something worthwhile. It's taken longer than I expected, as I had end-of-year and New Year stuff to do, but here I am. For my history fans I am writing a series on the construction of a castle, and for my science fiction fans I will be continuing with the series about my science research.

There will also be news of my books:

Conquest cover 3

  • There is now a permafree history book The Conquest of Wales, which is free on all retailers including Amazon.

  • I am planning some research on possible topics for my next history book.

  • I am going to see if Kindle Print will produce my print history books, which will greatly simplify sales, but as the books don't have a spine it may not be possible.

  • My latest science fiction novel (produced in NaNoWriMo) is with two readers who are going to critique it and think about how to expand it to novel length, as the first draft is too short.

Stowaway cover

  • I'm still working on short stories about the back story of some of the Kestrel crew. There are three at the moment but only one is available: Stowaway is permafree on all retailers.

  • I've signed up for a marketing course which I also have to find time for. Time to study and time to implement what I learn.

  • And I haven't done anything with my poetry for ages.

So as you can see, I'm going to be busy. I hope you will stay with me, enjoy my blog posts, and watch out for news. You can even sign up for my mailing list and get free books and advance news.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at