So there's been an enormous gamma ray explosion on the other side of the galazy, of unprecedented destructive power ... thanks to Duncan Lunan for notifying me of this one. As he notes, not unlike certain events in a certain book of mine.
From the BBC: "We figure that it's probably the biggest explosion observed by humans within our galaxy since Johannes Kepler saw his supernova in 1604," Dr Rob Fender, of Southampton University, UK, told the BBC News website.
One calculation has the giant flare on SGR 1806-20 unleashing about 10,000 trillion trillion trillion watts.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. We have observed an object only 20km across, on the other side of our galaxy, releasing more energy in a 10th of a second than the Sun emits in 100,000 years," said Dr Fender.
The word for today is prescient (heh).
But what's also ridiculously cool is they've found an underground sea - on Mars (Mars pictures reveal frozen sea). I'm not nearly enough of an expert to say how important this will turn out to be off the top of my head - in terms of not only, say, future human exploration or even colonisation - but it's certainly and more directly a source of information that could be really, really useful to anyone wanting to set a book on Mars.
Not that I said I was going to, mind ...
(by the way - I didn't realise until earlier today that the link for the Glasgow SF Writer's Circle hadn't been updated to the new address, which is a screw-up on my part, even though I remember doing it - but probably it was one of those situations where either you go offline or your computer crashes at the wrong moment. Whatever. If you were trying to get through to us, you'll find the correct - functioning - link down there on the right, working properly, just below the reviews.)