One Thousand NASA Spinoffs

Everyone knows that materials and devices created for the space race have found their way into everyday life–things like memory foam, freeze-dried food and “space” blankets (not, contrary to urban mythology, Tang, Velcro or Teflon). But what many don’t know is that NASA’s mission actually includes a mandate to share its developments with mankind and its markets. This mandate has been an unprecedented boon for countless industries since at least the 1960’s.

Many of the inventions are of very specialized interest, others have almost universal application. The online Spinoff Database allows public searches for abstracts or articles on spinoff technology in the following categories:

  • Environmental and Resource Management
  • Health and Medicine
  • Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology
  • Computer technology
  • Consumer/Home/Recreation
  • Public Safety
  • Transportation
NASA Spinoff 2007 cover

NASA Spinoff 2007 cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The database also permits searches within specific issue years, the NASA Center from which the innovation sprang, as well as specific manufacturers or the by State listing spinoffs utilized by companies in any of the 50 States.

The site includes an informative FAQ, contact information to request a free copy of this year’s Spinoff publication, and links to NASA Spinoff on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+.


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A Close Look at the 2014 Hugo Winners

hugo_smWith the close of Loncon 3 today, we now know the winners of the coveted 2014 Hugo Awards for best works in science fiction and fantasy published in 2013.

Here is a rundown of the works in the fiction writing categories–each of which should be on your “to read” list, if it is not already on your “read it” list:


Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. — Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. — Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

Ancillary Justice also won the Nebula Award, British Science Fiction Award, Locus Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award–an amazing sweep!

Ann Leckie has published short stories in Subterranean MagazineStrange Horizons, and Realms of Fantasy. Her story “Hesperia and Glory” was reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition edited by Rich Horton. Ann has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, children, and cats. You can contact her at her website.

Ancillary Justice is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats.


“Equoid” by Charles Stross (, 09-2013)

The “Laundry” is Britain’s super-secret agency devoted to protecting the realm from the supernatural horrors that menace it. Now Bob Howard, Laundry agent, must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They’re also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime…

Charles Stross, 49, is a full-time science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of six Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005 and 2010 Hugo awards for best novella, Stross’s works have been translated into over twelve languages. Like many writers, Stross has had a variety of careers, occupations, and job-shaped-catastrophes in the past, from pharmacist (he quit after the second police stake-out) to first code monkey on the team of a successful dot-com startup (with brilliant timing he tried to change employer just as the bubble burst). You can learn more about Charles at his website.

“Equoid” is available without DRM in Kindle format at Amazon.


The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal ( /, 09-2013)

Thirty years ago, Elma York led the expedition that paved the way to life on Mars. For years she’s been longing to go back up there, to once more explore the stars. But there are few opportunities for an aging astronaut, even the famous Lady Astronaut of Mars. When her chance finally comes, it may be too late. Elma must decide whether to stay with her sickening husband in what will surely be the final years of his life, or to have her final adventure and plunge deeper into the well of space.

Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer. Her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010) was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, while three of her short fiction works have been nominated for the Hugo Award: “Evil Robot Monkey” in 2009 and “For Want of a Nail” in 2011, which won the Hugo for short story that year. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press.

Kowal is also an award-winning puppeteer. With over twenty years of experience, she has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. You can learn more about Mary at her website.

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” is available in Kindle format at Amazon without DRM.


The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (, 02-2013)

In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to “come out” to his traditional Chinese parents.

John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer by night. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at Boston Review, Bloody Fabulous, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine and

Most of John Chu’s fiction is available on the internet. See his bibliography for details. You can learn more about John at his website.

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” is available without DRM in Kindle format from Amazon.

There are many other categories of Hugo Awards. A list of today’s winners can be found at the Hugo Site. We will also discuss some others here at a later date. In the meantime, congratulations to each of the winners for their wonderful stories and the terrific honor of attaining this recognition for their work.

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Loncon 3 Update

Loncon 3 is well underway and is rich in music… enthusiastic attendees… Wonderful exhibits… Panel discussions…     Art… Daleks… Books and other purchasables… Looking forward to the Awards… Related articles ISBW LonCon meetup – UPDATE ( LonCon (and London) … Continue reading

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The Print Edition of Hearts in Ruin is Now Available

Available now on Amazon is the print edition of HEARTS IN RUIN. Lyn Taylor, the cover artist for the eBook edition, also completed the beautiful artwork for this print paperback. It is available in a nice 6×9 trade paperback format … Continue reading

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Loncon 3 Gearing Up!

Science Fiction and Fantasy invades London this week with the World Science Fiction Conference — LonCon3. There is something for everyone at this 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Literature: The space where readers and writers get together to share their love … Continue reading

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Hugo Awards Voting Blasts Past Previous Record

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From THE HUGO AWARDS, the official site of the Hugo Awards. This year’s Worldcon, Loncon 3, has announced that participation in the Hugo Awards is now officially at an all-time high. Loncon 3 received 3,587 valid Hugo Award final ballots … Continue reading

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Mystery Writer’s Event in Irvine: Asian Themes in Crime Fiction, August 24, 2014

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On Sunday, August 24, the OC Sisters in Crime and SoCal Mystery Writers of America will present WOK ON THE WILD SIDE: Asian Themes in Crime Fiction, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The event includes an Asian Buffet Luncheon inspired by an Asian-themed panel: Lisa Brackmann Steph Cha … Continue reading

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Worlds Less Traveled New Link

As of August 1, 2014, “Worlds Less Traveled,” my short story about an Earth attorney struggling with psychosis and a mysterious alien at an off-world deposition, has ended its month as the featured story at Comets and Criminals. The story, … Continue reading

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Conquest of the Moon

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CONQUEST OF THE MOON is an inspired and inspiring non-fiction book by Wernher von Braun, Willey Ley, Fred Whipple. Edited by Cornelius Ryan, published in 1953, describing in detail the authors’ vision of a 50-person lunar mission based on upon then-existing … Continue reading

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Rosetta Closes In on Comet 67P

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HEARTS IN RUIN begins with a paleolithic couple facing uncertainty at the approach of the “Fire Star.” Later, they experience first hand the effects of its impact with Earth. Today, we have a much safer way to setup first-hand experience … Continue reading

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