Ukraine versus “The Ukraine”

I enjoy writing, especially science fiction, but I don’t always know the answer to every grammatical question that comes up.  If you’ve ever wondered why some countries are referred to as “[country]” versus “the [country]”, such as “Ukraine” versus “The Ukraine”, you might enjoy this article from Grammar Girl.  Or should I say “the Grammar Girl”?

So what’s the answer?  Grammar Girl suggests you use “Ukraine” when referring to the country.  Another example is that you don’t say “the France”.  You just say “France.”  But you do say “the Netherlands”.  So it may be best to do a little research before you decide to use “the” before a country name.

Accidentally dismissed Microsoft Edge tab

Sometimes I’m in a hurry, and if I click once too many times on the browser tab to close it, I’ll close the one next to it as well by accident.  Although there may be various ways of recovering the lost tab in your browser, most browsers support Control (Ctrl) + Shift + T — or on a Mac, Command + Shift + T.

So when I recently accidentally closed my Microsoft Edge tab, I just pressed Ctrl + Shift + T and it reopened immediately!


Landing on Mars is really difficult

The ExoMars lander recently re-confirmed what those of us on Earth already know.  Landing on Mars is really difficult.

We don’t know yet whether the ExoMars lander is still capable of communicating, but it doesn’t look good.  Scientists are busy piecing together the data to determine exactly what happened on the way down.

Someday living on Mars will be as easy as landing on Mars, which is not to say it will be all that easy.  But until then, you have plenty of science fiction stories and novels to read that take place on and around Mars.  You’ll find some of these stories in my anthologies, such as “The Time of your Life” in “Science Fiction: Time Travel and Robots 2”.


NBA and VR

I’m all for trying new things with technology, but I think I’ll pass on this one.  My vision for VR (Virtual Reality) is more in line with the “Star Trek” Holodeck like experience, where I’m in VR but my body experiences it essentially the same way I experience reality.

But sports has often led the introduction of new technology, such as 3D TV, computer game consoles, and other devices.   In the new NBA Digital/NextVR teaming up, you can watch an NBA game with a VR headset.  An NBA game is 2 hours long.  But how long can one comfortably wear a VR headset?  I guess some will find out when the NBA season starts next week.

Goggles Guy clip art