Friday, December 29, 2006

DR Who's Tennant is leaving series

SFSignals is reporting that the second actor to play Doctor Who in the new series, David Tennant, will be following in the footsteps of the former Doctor and will be leaving the show. Apparently Tennant has been bombarded with film offers after appearing in the last Harry Potter movie and will be leaving Doctor Who in the middle of season 3 of the new series.

Cloneburger with cheese, please

Need some Moon Dirt?

NASA planing an asteroid mission

Progress is being made on defining a human mission to an asteroid. A feasibility study to stage a human mission to an asteroid is underway, said Carlton Allen, Astromaterials Curator and Manager of the Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). “It would involve flying people to one of the NEOs and, among other things, collect samples and bring them back,”

Edward Lu, veteran shuttle and International Space Station astronaut, is a member of the JSC study team. They are looking into use of Orion technology earlier than 2020, as well as utilizing Delta or Atlas Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles.

“There are many asteroids that have very low relative velocities with respect to Earth,” Lu observed. Identifying an “ideal” NEO is one that’s both slow moving and comes close to Earth – sort of a match made in heaven. “Those are easy targets, they wouldn’t require a lot of rocket oomph to rendezvous with," he said.

Lu also said that the question now is 'How can already existing or currently planned Constellation hardware be used or minimally changed to permit other exploration agendas?'

Constellation boosters and spacecraft hardware are now geared to support NASA’s return to the Moon and onward to Mars plans.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the Waseda Eye an truly amazing anthropomorphic Robot

Hey does anyone remember the anthropomorphic robot head called Kismet a few years back? Well Kismet was an experiment in robot, computer and software combinations to explore human and robot interaction. Kismet was controlled by a network of 15 computers and was mechanical head and neck on a platform. It was designed and programmed in such a fashion to interact on a basic emotional and physical level with humans. For it's time it was eerie to see this robot head for all the world act and interact very much like a human infant. Well things have progressed some on the other side of the big puddle. I just saw a video for the Waseda Eye No.4 Refined II robot. This unit is one of the most interactive robots I have seen in quite a while. No this is not a furby type of fake interaction with set responses. Watch the video and see! Click the title to go to the video location.

New Star Trek: New Voyages movie is in pre-production.

David Gerrold’s “Blood and Fire” New Star Trek: New Voyages movie is in pre-production.

Bobby Rice joins the New Voyages crew as Ensign Peter Kirk, nephew of Captain James Kirk.

Also joining the New Voyages team is Nick Cook, of Star Trek: Intrepid, a Star Trek: TNG era production due out in early 2007.

Star Trek: New Voyages (formerly known as simply New Voyages) is a fan-created science fiction series set in the Star Trek universe. The series was created by Jack Marshall and James Cawley in April of 2003. The series, released exclusively via the Internet, is designed as a continuation of the original Star Trek, beginning in the fourth year of the Starship Enterprise's "five year mission." The first episode of the series was released in January of 2004.

“Blood and Fire” was originally pitched for consideration as a Star Trek: The Next Generation script by Gerrold in the 1980’s, but was rejected for what was then considered too controversial of a storyline, because it dealt with sensitive social issues.

Written by David Gerrold, with teleplay by New Voyages team member and producer, Carlos Pedraza, “Blood and Fire” is scheduled for a June 2007 shoot.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Is the new "leaning" for tv towards the Super Hero?

It's an interesting question. I first heard this idea put forth by Karen, BMU's hunter of oddball news items that often tweek the interest if not a complete suspension of credulity. It seems Karen found a story in the local press that posited the notion that television was programming and considering more and more story lines that contain a protagonist with an unusual power. Some are obvious - Heroes for example but consider staple shows like Medium, Ghost Whisperer or even Num3ers. All the major networks and many cable channels have one or two shows in the lineup that have the main character having an unusual ability. However - is this a "trend"? Well reading Julia Huston's sci-fi/fantasy blog this morning, I see: ABC has ordered a pilot for Pushing Daisies about a man who can revive dead people, TNT has decided to go with Fox Television Studios' project, Grace, in which police officer Holly Hunter talks with an angel, who presumably helps her solve crimes, just to name a couple. Plus Heroes has been renewed even if DayBreak has passed into the darkness - Smallville and Supernatural seem to have a great deal of "legs". As unusual as it sounds, there just may be a trend of a sorts. I would hope for more "super hero" types though and less of the "I can see angels, ghosts and people that arn't there" type.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Belkin's Pitstop charging table

Belkin's Pitstop charging table lets you ditch those cables. By simply placing your rechargeable item on the table top, your electronic do dad gets a much needed top off - sans wires and wall warts. How is this black magic accomplished you ask? Well by simple induction I respond, knowingly. And there is the 10 thousand dollar word - induction. Anyone familiar with electronics (ahem, like yours truly) knows that if you cause current to flow through a conductor, you can start another current flowing in any conductor that lies near the original conductor. Now to totally confuse, you don't need an original conductor or original can use say a - magnet. That's how electric motors and generators do their trick. But...back to the Pitstop - Think of how radio works - you have someone playing music at a station, someone takes that sound and with the help of wires and magnets, puts that signal on the station's long wire...better known as an antenna. Now in your car, you have another long wire, (the car antenna) and through it you receive the signal. Now what really happens is that the station induces a current on the car antenna that the radio uses to make audio signals. So how does this apply to your current starved mp3 player? well, say it has a very long wire wrapped up inside the case instead of a charger? You lay it on the Pitstop's table top that is acting something like a radio station. By being close by, your player can pick up the signal that the Pitstop is putting out. Your player turns that signal into simple current that can recharge the batteries in the player. This technology is far from new. Ever since there has been a transformer (wall wart or like that big round thing hanging off the telephone pole that has wires running from it to your house) there has been induction. This is just a very clever utilization. No wires to chafe, no transformer to heat up or short out and no plugs to wear out.

Terabyte Storage Capacity Comming To CD-Size Optical Disks?

Researchers have demonstrated a simple new way to focus laser beams to a much tighter spot than is possible with conventional lenses and mirrors, making it possible to store up to 3T (terabytes) of data on a CD-sized optical disk. Just by way of comparison, the new high-definition DVDs including Blue-Ray only store about 25G per side.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Inkjet printing with live stem cells: "bio-inks"

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully directed adult stem cells from mice to develop into bone and muscle cells with the aid of a custom-designed ink-jet printer and the use of "bio-inks." These inks consist of anything from proteins to individual cells printed in microscopic patterns. By printing layer upon layer of cell patterns, scientists may one day be able to "print" whole tissues or organs for replacement therapies.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Top 10 Most Obvious Signs Santa is a Klingon

From Julia Huston's Sci-Fi Blog

10. Huge red hat hides bumpy forehead.

9. Button eyes on dolls a choking hazard because "the weak have no place in 'playing house.'"

8. Inescapable playing of carols for one month actually a little-known torture technique from the Klingon Rite of Ascension.

7. Jack boots.

6. Nintendo II just a high-tech kiddie simulation of famous battles where the Empire reined triumphant.

5. Donner is a targ in drag.

4. Hey, he chooses to rough it out at the North Pole.

3. Penchant for whipping the reindeer even when they're already flying fast enough to reach every household in the world in just one night.

2. Climbing down through the chimney an infamous Klingon infiltration strategy.

1. 41,879,324 lumps of coal.

Daybreak has been Canceled!

From the About Sci-fi/Fantasy blog hosted by Julia Houston, Sorry to any fans of Daybreak out there, but I have to say I'm happy to announce that the poorly made show has been canceled. The Lost-holding time slot will go to repeats of George Lopez and According to Jim until January 3, when we'll get the premieres of Knights of Prosperity and In Case of Emergency. Lost finally comes back February 7th at 10pm.

Nanotech Risks and Challenges

Berkeley, California becomes the first municipality in the country to regulate nanomaterials. Sci-fri podcast talks about what is known about the potential risks of nanotechnology.

Click the title link to go to the original audio recording of the Sci-Fri podcast.

Note: there will also be an excerpt from this Sci-Fri podcast on the 12/23/06 show.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Proof that God exsists? I don't know..

Well for sure he has a good sense of humor. This is the blurb that the article writer put up...

This picture of the Carina Nebula was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999. Its unexpected shape is now being touted as proof that God exists due to the simple message it conveys to us Earthlings.

oooooooook... click the title link to go to the pic and whole story

oh and remember...there are days when I just can't help myself... you have been warned.

Retirement Home for Super Heroes

here is a totally irreverent look at how a normal day at the "home" would look like if it were populated with superheroes. By way of Artist Martin Margulies (click photo or article title to enlarge picture)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Third Stargate series in development

From the GateWorld Blog:

A third television series in the hit Stargate franchise is now in development. A production source has said that the new series is in the concept phase, and is being actively worked on by the Vancouver creatives behind Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. No concept for the show has yet been revealed. The third TV series is also not likely to be rushed into production for a 2007 premiere in order to replace SG-1, which takes its final bow with 10 new episodes this spring. Instead, a premiere in 2008 or later is more likely at this point.

The 34 Writers on Gutenberg's Science Fiction Bookshelf

I have been seeing new authors added to Project Gutenberg almost every day. I just found out that there are now 34 authors of science fiction available there. It seems that, Project Gutenberg has set up a special "science fiction book shelf" area. Check it out. Some really good stuff available.

  1. Edwin Abbott
  2. John Jacob Astor
  3. Edward Bellamy
  4. Jesse F. Bone (Jesse Franklin)
  5. Marion Zimmer Bradley
  6. Edgar Rice Burroughs
  7. John W. Campbell
  8. Terry Carr
  9. Michael D. Cooper [pseudonym]
  10. Ray Cummings
  11. Lester Del Rey
  12. Cory Doctorow
  13. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  14. Charles Dye
  15. E. Everett Evans (Edward Everett)
  16. Homer Eon Flint
  17. Harold Leland Goodwin
  18. Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne
  19. Murray Leinster (William Fitzgerald Jenkins)
  20. David Lindsay
  21. A.E. Merritt
  22. Meyer Moldeven
  23. John Munro
  24. Andre Norton
  25. Alan E. Nourse
  26. H. Beam Piper
  27. Rick Raphael
  28. Carey Rockwell
  29. Garrett P. Serviss (Garrett Putman)
  30. Robert Sheckley
  31. E. E. Smith (Edward Elmer)
  32. George Oliver Smith
  33. Jules Verne
  34. H. G. Wells

Remote-controlled sharks

From Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing Blog:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Computers Could Store Entire Life by 2026

A device the size of a sugar cube will be able to record and store high resolution video footage of every second of a human life within two decades.

Prof Nigel Shadbolt, president of the British Computer Society and professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Southampton, said: "In 20 years' time it will be possible to record high quality digital video of an entire lifetime of human memories. It's not a question of whether it will happen; it's already happening."

Some fear that the advent of "human black boxes" combined with the extension of medical, financial and other digital records will lead to loss of privacy and a dramatic expansion of the nanny state.

Others highlight positive advances in medicine, education, crime prevention and the way history will be recorded.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Full Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes on Google video

Well score one for Google Video! Seemed one enterprising soul decided to search for episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and hit pay dirt. Google Video reports about 27 some odd full episodes of the odd, ofttimes quirky Sci-Fi channel's science fiction movie send-up. For those of you that don't recall, mst3k was comprised of two wisecracking swapshop assemblages - robots and one very reluctant human, who are all marooned on an ancient space ship, by an evil mistress, and forced to watch the most awful assembly of cinematic trash. But our terrible threesome is not completely powerless. All through the movie we are inundated with rude thoughts, insane voice overs and observations often bordering on the obscene. The movies were often beyond terrible but the outrageous comments from the front row were often side splittingly funny. Check them out before they go away....


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Peter Watt's Blindsight - breakout novel under CC

Peter Watts has just put his breakout novel Blindsight under a Creative Commons license and put it online, partly because the book is selling so fast that readers are having a hard time laying their hands on copies.

Cory Doctorow writes : Peter writes the angriest, darkest sf I've ever read, heart-rending stuff that makes you glad you're alive if only because you're better off than his characters. He's also a wild talent when it comes to the intersection of biology and tech (he's got a Ph.D. in Marine Biology)

Undead detectives and timetravelers ontap for FOX

From Julia Houston, Your Guide to Sci-Fi / Fantasy.

  • Fox has ordered a pilot from Regency TV and Scarlet Fire Films for a show about a NYC detective who's hundreds of years old entitled New Amsterdam. Could be good, if it's not some sort of Highlander rip-off in disguise.
  • Fox has also okayed a 20th Century Fox TV and Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks TV time-travel show about two '40s scientists trying to aid America's WWII war effort who end up screwing up time. No word on whether The Doctor wll show up to call them knee-biters.

Tesseracts 10 - the best of Canadian sf

From Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing Blog:

Volume ten of Tesseracts (the stupendous Canadian sf anthology series) is out, this time edited by Robert Charles Wilson (whose novel Spin won this year's Best Novel Hugo) and Edo van Belkom. The book features stories by many of Canada's great and up-and-coming authors, continuing in the tradition set by Judith Merril when she edited the first of these volumes, decades ago. ($15.29 in Canada, $14.25 in the US)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Battlestar Galactica invades Dilbert

From the blog TV-SQUAD:
Everyone's favorite swear words get the sci-fi treatment on television so they can sidestep around the censors. On Farscape we had "frell," Battlestar Galactica has "frack," and Firefly gave us a whole slew of Chinese swear words like "tzae gao" and "ta ma de." Bilngual swearing, FTW! You know a sci-fi swearism has reached the mainstream when it's being used by a character in Scott Adams' "Dilbert" strip.

(click used to see the Dilbert strip.....pac..)

the SFBC's best sf books of 2006

From the SF-Signals blog:
The Science Fiction Book Club has finally caved and declared 2006 to be over. Their Science Fiction book of the year is Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. Runners-up are Glasshouse by Charles Stross and Farthing by Jo Walton.

(FYI the 23rd edition of The Year's Best Science Fiction by Gardner Dozois is also available. pc)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Spaceport to Launch First Satellites

A rocket carrying satellites for the Air Force and NASA is set to blast off Monday from the Virginia shore in the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's commercial spaceport.

The site is one of only six federally licensed launch centers in the nation.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has three more launches scheduled for 2007 and eventually could send supplies to the international space station or even tourists into space, said director Billie Reed.

Space tourism to be fashion's final frontier

You've booked your seat on the spaceship and passed the medical -- but what to wear for that flight into the final frontier?.

Orbital Outfitters has the answer. The new Los Angeles-based companyy promises to dress the first space tourists and crew members in style.

"When someone puts on an IS3 (sub-orbital space suit), they will be protected by the best technology we cam muster, yet they will look like they've stepped off the set of a science fiction movie," said Orbital Outfitters president Rick Tumlinson.

"With billionaires funding the new space companies and passengers paying up to $200,000 for a ride, safety is important. We intend to also make it chic," Tumlinson said.

Pohl filling in for retired Arthur C. Clarke

According to David Langford's blog Ansible:

Arthur C. Clarke is no longer writing, and has asked dynamic young author Frederik Pohl (born two years after ACC) to finish his new novel. `Talked to Pohl recently, and he was doing it,' confirms Charles N. Brown. It is rumoured that this came as a surprise to Greg Benford, who had rather expected to be called on for the task.

Firefly Reborn as Online Universe

Mark Wallace of the Wired blog reports:

The short-lived but much beloved sci-fi series Firefly will soon make an unexpected return, not as a TV show, but as a massively multiplayer online game.

Now that's shiny.

Multiverse, maker of a free MMO-creation platform, announced that it's struck a deal with Fox Licensing to turn the show into an MMORPG in the fashion of Star Wars Galaxies or Eve Online.

A Dog's Breakfast??

From the Hailing Frequencies blog we hear:
  • Did you know that members of the cast and crew of the Stargates got together under David Hewlett's (plays McKay on Stargate: Atlantis) direction to make a dark comedy called A Dog's Breakfast? Well, they did, and MGM has just picked up its worldwide television and home-video rights, according to Variety. Score!
Yep, you just read that right....

Does water STILL flow on Mars?

Striking new images of the Red Planet have raised hopes life could be found on Mars after all.

Scientists say they have photographic evidence that suggests liquid water may have been on the planet as little as five years ago.

Experts say Mars now appears more active than previously thought and the latest study shows why it is vital to continue to search for life on our planetary neighbour.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stargate, Atlantins, Painkiller Jane coming in April

TV- Squad blog reports that the Sci-Fi channel's Sci Fi Friday's will return in April with the final ten episodes of Stargate, the continuation of the current season of Atlantis, and the new show Painkiller Jane

As it was previously noted, Battlestar is moving to Sundays on January 21st. It will be joined by the highly anticipated new series The Dresden Files.

NASA plans permanent international moon base by 2024

Moonbase Alpha?

NASA announced yesterday that plans to return to the moon by 2020 also include a major surprise - a permanent settlement designed to support people full time by 2024. While initially they will have to ferry supplies (like air, water, that sort of thing) using the new Orion spacecraft, eventually they hope to take advantage of the moon's natural resources and being processing the hydrogen, oxygen, and other resources. Hoping for an international effort, they even feel that eventually the base could be run by a commercial entity

Daybreak review for show airing 11/29/06

After a major brain cramp last week, I finally remembered that you can catch missing episodes of Daybreak from the website. Unfortunately ABC has gone the cryptic route so the show is a bit hard to find for the streaming content. Here is the url From there you can select the show you want to watch. As you know now, Daybreak is a mid season fill in for Lost in the Wednesday 9pm eastern time slot. After it's first episode Daybreak has continued to lose ground. I suspect that its not because Daybreak is not entertaining, but if others are anything like me, the time slot that Daybreak has been saddled with is its biggest problem. Which is odd, because I find and remember the other network sci fi offerings. I have a feeling that like a lot of other people, I am not used to tuning into ABC on Wednesdays (no I didn't mean that no one tunes in. Lost is wildly popular, but those fans are not taking to Daybreak and the show doesn't seem to be attracting any new viewers) I had a bad feeling about this weeks show. It appeared that once again we were going to be ground hogged to death. Oh don't get me wrong, Harper continues to find small clues every “day” but the bulk of the show is either running from the bad guys, getting beat up by the bad guys or shooting the bad guys. This weeks clues do seem to be leading towards some grand plan revelation. He discovers that the egg timer that he has been receiving in the mail has a fingerprint on it. And a second package sent to his sister has a picture showing an old murder. But the big surprise this week was that Harper's unchanging days...are not so unchangeable. After many repetitions of his partner calling him for help, Harper finally breaks over and spends a day trying to prevent his partners lover and one time colleague from suicide. Inexplicably, the next day, she calls him in the morning (when he never gets a call) and tells Harper that she is going to take her lover to rehab. I think we see the light at the end of one tunnel at least here. Eventually Harper will get enough clues together to start explaining things. Then his days will start slowly changing. But there are still many mysteries and many many days it would seem.

Heroes review for 12/04/06

This review is for Heroes that aired 12/04/06

I pity the fan that missed this season ender. As you know, Heroes is taking a break until the end
of January. This week's show was loaded up with weirdness. Some things just don't make sense.
The first thing that didn't make a whole lot of sense was this Sylar character. Claire's father, it would seem, has him well under wraps, in a glass and concrete bunker. It would appear escape proof. As you know, Sylar is the ultimate copy cat. Able to absorb anyones ability and make it his own. He is brought low by Eden and the brain drainer and shuffled of to his present abode. He is informed by Claire's father that “we're going to take you apart”. That was rather creepy. Shortly there after Eden shows back up at the “bunker” with a gun. Eden uses her “voice” to tell Syler that he is going to take this gun and shoot himself in the head. Where upon Syler shatters the glass or whatever it is and manages to get Eden in a strangle hold....The confusing part? Well, how did they manage to catch this guy if she had no effect on him in the first place? This Syler doesn't impress me as having any umm “long range plans” if you catch my drift. He seems more the maniacal hell bent on destruction type to me. Then we have Claire wandering through a world that doesn't seem to remember that she has the ability to heal. Seems the brain drainer has been going around making everyone forget anything they knew about Claire. But when he finally get to Claire, he seems on the verge of telling her something very important....Which again doesn't make any sense, because up to this point, he has been more of an appendage of Claire's father. More of a tool than now all of a sudden he has an agenda? Woven through all these snippets is Isaac who now with the help of Hiro can draw without umm using rocket fuel....Jessica turns herself in to the police after shooting DL, Parkman kind of fumbles around trying to figure out his own powers and unravel how Claire's father and Syler are connected, Mohinder is told by Eden that she is not all she has purported herself and he is even more determined to contact the rest of the people on the list and Peter who if we are to believe the last few minutes has a very “explosive” personality. Oh and Hiro's ending comment...”I really need to find that sword!” ok...I laughed...I admit it....

Look for Heroes to return January 22nd 2007

Monday, December 04, 2006

Starship Troopers 3 a possibility?

Joe Crowe, of RevolutionSF fame reports that the nasty rumors of a straight to DVD production of Starship Troopers #3 are more than just rumors....There seems to be some evidence that the rumor mill in fact has been churning out fact! Writer/director Ed Neumeirer said it could start filming in 2007, he told It'll be straight to DVD, like the previous sequel, Starship Troopers: Hero of the Federation. Casper Van Dien, who played Johnny Rico in the first one, will return.

Software To Predict Who's Likely To Be A Murderer

Since the movie Minority Report we've seen a number of technology advances. However, much more interesting was the central tenet of the story, about police being able to predict crimes. Now, we've got a story saying that a researcher at UPenn is developing software for the city of Philadelphia that will try to forecast who is likely to become a murderer out of criminals already in the probation department's computers. Obviously, the idea isn't to lock these people up for a crime they haven't committed but to put extra emphasis on working with those individuals to try to keep them from fulfilling the prediction.

Did the Martian rover photograph a humanoid skull?

From the Spirit Sol 513 data we have these curious images. If you look at the black arrow you can see what appears to be a dog swimming with its head out of the soil. Even more curious is the "skull" show by the far left blue arrow. If you click the entry title you will go to the complete story and you can click this NASA LINK for the original photo.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jericho season ending episode

Well Jericho fans, I guess you all know now that the show is going on hiatus until early next year. As you would think, popular shows like Jericho going on such a hiatus would end the season with a cliff hanger worthy of keeping your interest until new shows arrive. So what is the cliff hanger for Jericho? Oh it's got to be more info on why it would seem China is dropping food to Jericho or the bad boy militia men back for more....or....nope...literally an email from some mystery men saying “See You Soon!” Yeah it was a bit creepy but all I did was laugh. Yeah it was that lame. Roger and a group of refugees come walking back into town.....That could have been climatic, but it was like an afterthought. Hawkins still getting messages from his mystery people is strange enough but for the rest of the season ender we could have been watching an episode of Gunsmoke....Grey's wanna be mayor antics lead me to think we were going to see a lynching. And that foolishness of Bonnie seeking out the bad boy element... give me a break. The only surprise from this one hour snooze was Dale walking out of the light to shoot Mitchell for stabbing Gracie....Didn't make up for this episode being a real ho hum snoozer. I will be real surprised if Jericho gets back half of its audience in February.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Heroes coming to BBC Two next year

From the TVSQUAD blog: You know that a series has become a hit in America when British TV starts clamoring for it. But its especially interesting when the stuffy, government-run BBC picks up a show. So, to US fans, the news that Heroes will start airing on BBC Two in 2007 is a bit of a surprise; this seemed like a show that was more suitable for one of the independent channels over there, like ITV.

Top Ten Lies Robot Builders Tell Themselves.

From the Suicide Bots blog.... its about Robot building, but any of us that have done electronics know these ! lol

10) I won’t need any spares.
9) The voltage difference shouldn’t cause any problems.
8) This is gonna be easy!
7) It will work fine the first time.
6) I don’t need to wear gloves.
5) Buying this new tool will SAVE me money
4) It will hold fine as it is.
3) I should do this the right way, but I can save five minutes if I…
2) I don’t need to test it before the show.

and the number one lie that robot builders tell themselves:

1) It’ll only take 15 minutes!

Heroes review for episode 11/27/06

You know this episode could have been run as the”answer” episode. There were many more answers this week than last. Though if your like me, there were fleeting impressions of the first Star Trek episodes mix up with Heroes this week. Ok, before you glaze over, let me explain myself. The first “true” episode of Star Trek didn't get air time until well into mid season. Reason? It was too long and confusing or so thought the powers that be. Oh and Tab Hunter had the bad timing to kick off.....So Roddenbery recut the original into the 2 part “the Cage”. Well how does this apply to Heroes? Well just look at what we learn and tell me that this show should have been the original first episode? Am I right? So lets take a closer look. Heroes this week was a “prequel” or maybe a sideways episode. The premise is the Hiro jumps back to save the waitress but jumps too far, 6 months too far to be exact, right to when people's “powers” really began to manifest. We find Mohinder's father not only working but finding and contacting a perspective. Unfortunately he contacts the soon to be Syler (the name of a watch we find out) who it seems can do what Peter can do and that's to “copy” a person's ability but Syler takes it a gruesome step further and kills off the competition. Definitely a “there can be only one” mentality here. We see Nathan fly out of a car just before an accident. ( one it seems that paralyzed his wife) Matt, starting to hear voices in his head ( though, if you ask me those clips were the most confusing because the writers never made it clear if that was what was happening or was he having relationship angst, and and excuse me... the doughnut thing with him and Eden....excuse me?) Claire cutting her hand rather badly and discovering it healed shortly there after and in the middle of this we have hapless Hiro desperately trying to save the waitress only to accidentally jumping out at the critical moment and shows up back in present day at the chafe with the chilling realization that time isn't as easy to manage as once thought. Claire's father is still an enigma. It seems even at this early date, he was well aware of people with abilities and has openly recruited the “brain drainer” and works to have Eden come on as well. One more curious note...when Eden tries to use her “voice” on him he retorts, “ You have never come across someone that could say NO to you before Eden, now you have.” Does he have “abilities”? Can you see how this would have been a great first episode? Yeah maybe it tells too much. Oh one thing that was made eminently clear this week was the fact that next weeks episode is the last until some time in January....supposed to be a good one...but then, NBC has made that promise in the past...

Monday, November 27, 2006

NASA Pessimistic About Finding Mars Space Probe

NASA's best efforts to find a missing Mars space probe have failed, scientists said as they began to lose hope for the 10-year-old planet-mapping workhorse. After more than two weeks of silence from the Mars Global Surveyor, NASA will make other tries to locate it, but scientists were pessimistic. The $154 million surveyor, which was supposed to last only two years but continued sending data for almost a decade, is the oldest of six different active space probes on or circling the red planet. Now NASA will try an even less likely search effort. Engineers will send a signal to the silent spacecraft, asking it to turn on a beacon on one of the two Mars rovers below. If the rover beacon turns on, NASA could figure out where the lost Mars Surveyor is.

Mass Extinction Changed Ecology of Earth's Oceans

The earth experienced its biggest mass extinction about 250 million years ago, an event that wiped out an estimated 95% of marine species and 70% of land species. New research shows that this mass extinction did more than eliminate species: it fundamentally changed the basic ecology of the world's oceans. Ecologically simple marine communities were largely displaced by complex communities - higher-metabolism, mobile organisms (such as snails, clams and crabs) that actually go out and find their own food and the decreased diversity of older groups of low-metabolism, stationary organisms (such as lamp shells and sea lilies) that filter nutrients from the water.

Do humans explode in the vacuum of space?

From the Damn Interesting blog we read : In scores of science fiction stories, hapless adventurers find themselves introduced to the vacuum of space without proper protection. There is often screams and gasps as the increasingly bloated humans writhe and spasm. Their exposed veins and eyeballs soon bulge. The ill-fated adventurers rapidly swell like over-inflated balloons, ultimately bursting in a gruesome spray of blood. As is true with many subjects, this representation in popular culture does not reflect the reality of exposure to outer space.

Click the title for a more realistic discussion of the effects of exposure to space vacuum.

Why we're probably living in The Matrix

The simulation argument puts forward the view that we are almost definitely living in a computer simulation. By looking at the origins of life, the pace of evolution of technology and various thought experiments, this article argues that we're not real and that we're living inside The Matrix.

Click the title for this mind bending argument!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Teen creates nuclear fusion reactor in parents' basement

Thiago Olson, a 17-year-old from outside Detroit, went and built himself a nuclear fusion reactor in his parents' basement. It took him over 1,000 hours. The setup involves a vacuum chamber that gets filled with deuterium gas which then gets zapped with 40,000 volts of electricity. What results is a small amount of nuclear fusion.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Daybreak 11-22-06

Ok, I thought last week's Daybreak was confusing? Wow by comparison, last week was a Dick and Jane book. I started watching Daybreak right from the first shot and never, and I mean never got my feet under me again for the whole hour. You have to give the writers credit. That many twists and turns in a show with that few cast members. One thing that I am getting annoyed with real quick is Diggs' character always saying tomorrow. I will see your tomorrow, I will do it tomorrow. Yeah we get it, you mean today but its your tomorrow...sheeeeesh. This week we find that the IAD dirt bag is somehow involved with some of the lowlifes, but curiously when Harper confronts them on two different “days” they don't seem to be aware of the time loop. Curiously neither did the shadow man in the gravel pit. So this mystery is adding levels upon levels. There are more than just one shadowy organization bent on Harper's demise. I said last week that I didn't think that Daybreak could keep up the frenetic pace but it certainly did a good job this week. Though I am seeing a tenancy to rerun the same scene over and over with only slight changes. I KNOW! Its a show about a day in a time loop so things are happening over and over again...I know!!! But last week we knew something about what happened before and the slight changes that Harper did, drastically changed the outcome. His week its a different word or a different movement and oh horrors one time Harper's girlfriend's x doesn't stay over and the next he does. But you know, even if it was mostly chaotic and confusing the one hint that I wanted Harper to get to was the package in his mail and he did. He doesn't understand but at least we know what is in the mysterious package. Oh and I did like the way he blew off the downstairs neighbor with the leak... so, ok, they threw a lot at us this week, lets hope they can tie a few of these different “events” together so we can start making sense out of whats going on.

Jericho for 11-22-06

This episode of Jericho was something akin to waiting in the dentist's office and hearing the drill do it's worst in the next room. I knew something was going to happen, the wait was killing me and in the end what finally happened was well, confusing. This week Russian Migs and bombers fly over Jericho and drop...ummm food and fliers from China!? What's the first thing that happens? Well yeah after the almost riots and fights the mayor puts all the food off limits because it might be contaminated. The rational used? Well you remember the indians and how they were wiped out with infected blankets?...oh no wait, I have just started with we get the prerequisite amounts or arguments and fights ending with the food being off limits for fear of poison or worse. Then they discover that the parachutes have RFID chips and are American in design. Am I the only one to see Rube Goldberg in this? There were fighters and bombers people! Why do through all the trouble of poison when you had a bomber right there to do the job for you! No the food appears to be some part of an elaborate misdirection. So that was the high points. The rest of the show was 90210 mixed with Days of our lives. The pregnant wife that is jilted for a barmaid but won't tell she is pregnant because she doesn't want him back just for the baby. The son who won't be coming home for the holidays because he is keeping time with another woman. The bickering couple brought together by life's harshness find themselves inexplicably in I have to go on? I know CBS is trying to cater to a wide audience but this schizophrenic plot is going to alienate more people than it attracts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Heroes 11-20-06

Well this this episode of Heroes, we were enticed with the possibilities of answers. Did we get any? Nope – nada, if anything I am a bit more confused. Hiro is still missing, except for the enigmatic Polaroid on the bulletin board. Claire's father continues to be a difficult person to figure out. He continues to strong arm the painter Isaac into painting. The sole motivation seems to be to save Claire from being brutalized by the same shadowy killer that took the back of the waitress' head off. We are privy however to a little break in the ranks when one of Claire's father's “toys” Eden openly revolts when ordered to drug Isaac again to get him to paint. But practically the next scene we have her and the “mind wiper” playing well together to take down the “shadow man”. You know, that bothers me too. Here we have been set up to think that there is a true and present danger to Claire at the very least and here we are show Eden saying when the killer show up in the woods....”sleep” and as he wobbles the “wiper” puts some sort of Vulcan nerve pinch on him and he is out like a light. Sheeeeeeeesh! The writers and special effects people at NBC/Heroes need to watch a couple of episodes of Fox's Mutant X. As campy as that show was, when it came time to “git bizzy” you could just about hear “Lets get ready to rumble!” This was lame. Ok, Heroes is suppose to be more thoughtful and noir, but it came across as an after thought. Yeah we see Claire get seriously pummeled and some shelves flung about, but I thought this was just a warm up....nope. “Shadow Man” looks to have ALL the powers and I was thinking there is going to be some whoopin goin on, next week I think. Though for teasers, we see Hiro pop into the diner in the past and blithely say “I am here to save your life” I don't think he has ANY idea just how far back he went. The Heroes site on NBC says 6 months – before their powers were known..- uh...wrong.... Mohinder's father was doing research and “found” them long before. But it should be interesting how this plays out. Also “dark Niki” has bought an ubber rifle and “goes hunting” and we are left with DL in the cross hairs.... Peter is arrested despite his brother's best efforts to keep him out of trouble. Ok, Nathan cares about his brother. So he doesn't want him hurt. Does he have to be so slimy about it?! Yeah I get the idea, Nathan is interested in Nathan and getting what Nathan wants, but this scene came across as more Snidely Whiplash than a self serving politician. But if the writers intentions were to dislike Nathan Pertrelli and question his motives no matter what he does, well then they have succeeded at least in that. I think Matt is a much more interesting part of the show, lol put him on more would be my suggestion. Anyway, this episode was more about misdirection than clearing up loose ends. We will be waiting at the very least until next week to find out if this “save” was the one to save the world.

Boston Legal's Star Trek connections

TvSqaud blog has assembled a rather odd collection of facts. In this installment they unearth some interesting connections between the star trek universe and Boston Legal, here are a few hints -
Captain Kirk - well uh duh but there is more....

Odo the rubbery faced shapeshifter from DS9
Quark the Ferengi bar owner on DS9
Neelix on Star Trek: Voyage the Talaxian and starship's cook
Seven of Nine On Star Trek: Voyager part-Borg crewmate

Click the title link to read more

Battlestar Galactia Moves To Sundays

SCIFIWIRE reports that: SCI FI Channel's award-winning series Battlestar Galactica will move to a new timeslot starting Jan. 21, 2007: Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, following the premiere of the new original series The Dresden Files at 9 p.m. .

Battlestar Galactica: Character Profiles

From Julia Houston,
Your Guide to Sci-Fi / Fantasy.

Here are the major plot and background points for the main characters of the best show currently on TV, Battlestar Galactica, airing Friday nights on the Sci-Fi Channel. If you aren't watching, this should help you get started.

words from Kathryn Gossow

In show # 26 we were extremely honored to run a short story from author Kathryn Gossow called the Applicant. The story is quick and very Twilight Zone in feel. I recorded her story with my own equipment and used my voice with filters. Even - Well anyway- what a treat to have her write back! This was the email I just received from her. Thank you so much Kathryn! I hope we can work together again in the future.

I know it seems like ancient history, but thank you for reading my story on your show. You did a good job. It is weird to hear it in your accents, as I only hear it in my head!
Thanks again

. Her website is <> and blog at <> This author resides in the Antipodes

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Zachary Quinto signs on with the Heroes cast

From this week's Entertainment Weekly: Zachary Quinto has been cast as the mysterious Sylar who will show his face and speak a line on the November 27th episode.

Sylar up until this point has been a mysterious shadowy person who is being tracked by the FBI for a string of very grisly murders. In the last Heroes episode we see that the murders are not as random as the FBI would have us think. Sylar is methodically eliminating anyone that has any special abilities in a manner that may be efficient but also extremely gruesome. Also there are subtle hints that Sylar himself may have the very same "abilities" that he is eliminating, leading one to suppose that he may not be a rogue but more an assassin.

FilmCritics's list of the top 10 sf movie Spaceships

From the blog SF Signals we have: FilmCritic's Top 10 Movie Spaceships

FilmCritic lists The Top 10 Movie Spaceships

  1. Millennium Falcon (Star Wars series)
  2. U.S.S. Enterprise (various versions) (Star Trek series)
  3. Nostromo (Alien)
  4. Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
  5. Apollo 13 (Apollo 13)
  6. Discovery One (2001: A Space Odyssey)
  7. Klingon Bird of Prey (Star Trek series)
  8. Mothership (Independence Day)
  9. Gunstar (The Last Starfighter)
  10. The Thunder Road (Explorers)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

George Takei joins cast of Heroes

George Takei, Star Trek's Captain Sulu, will be playing Hiro Nakamura's father on NBC's Heroes. You can expect Hiro's father to be showing up stateside to bring his super son back to Japan. If you've been watching the series, you know that won't go over too well considering that Hiro is on a mission to save New York City from imploding in five weeks.

Look for George to show in episodes in January.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Drug Doubles Endurance, Study Says

A report today in a leading journal about a drug that doubles the physical endurance of mice running on treadmills. An ordinary lab mouse will run about one kilometer — five-eights of a mile — on a treadmill before collapsing from exhaustion. But mice given resveratrol, a minor component of red wine and other foods, run twice as far. Resveratrol has also been reported to extend the lifespan of mice.

They also have a reduced heart rate and energy-charged muscles, just as trained athletes do, according to an article published online in Cell by Johan Auwerx and his colleagues at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France.

He and his colleagues said the same mechanism seems likely to operate in humans, based on their analysis, in a group of Finnish subjects, of the gene that is influenced by the drug.

“Resveratrol makes you look like a trained athlete without the training,” Dr. Auwerx (pronounced OH-wer-ix”) said in an interview.

Chandra Discovers source of Cosmic Rays

New clues about the origins of cosmic rays, mysterious high-energy particles that bombard the Earth, have been revealed using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. An extraordinarily detailed image of the remains of an exploded star provides crucial insight into the generation of cosmic rays.

For the first time, astronomers have recorded the acceleration of cosmic ray electrons in a supernova remnant that shows that the electrons are being accelerated at close to the theoretically maximum rate. This provides compelling evidence that supernova remnants are key sites for producing cosmic ray particles.

The findings were created from an image of Cassiopeia A, a 325-year-old remnant produced by the explosive death of a massive star.

The Thing remake

SF SIGNALS reports: Strike Entertainment and Universal Pictures will remake John Carpenter's SF horror movie The Thing, with Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore writing the script, Variety reported. The 1982 original dealt with a shapeshifting creature from outer space that terrorizes researchers at an Antarctic station. That film in turn was a remake of the 1951 classic SF movie The Thing From Another World, which was adapted from the 1938 short story "Who Goes There?" by legendary SF author John W. Campbell Jr.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day Break ABC's midseason LOST replacement

First off is Day Break science fiction? hummmm Time is screwed up and now police officer Harper is caught in an apparent time loop. Sounds like good sci-fi to me! Wow, when I first heard about Day break .from an ABC blurb that said Day Break was ground hog day with a bit of die hard mixed in. I thought “ Oh yeah fat chance!” But by the third time Harper wakes up into the same day, I was seriously hook. And talk about bringing out the big guns! - car chases, fights, falls, beatings, interrogations, car crashes, thugs, hoodlums, murders, shootouts you name it.. And just who isn't involved!! ABC aims to keep you interested enough to tune in again next week. Can they keep this pell-mell pace up? I doubt it, but I sure will watch next week. click the title to go straight to this weeks episode player online. Some of the notables in the cast are Tayne Diggs plays Harper on the run - wanted for murder that he is being framed for. Diggs as you remember played in Basic, opposite Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. Adam Baldwin plays Chad Shelten an IAD officer hell bent on getting Harper and may or may not be involved with the shadowy group that is framing Harper. Baldwin has appeared in projects that include HBO's acclaimed miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and is known to the sci-fi world audiences for his starring role on Firefly, recurring roles on The X-Files, Angel and The Visitor, and guest starring roles on Stargate SG-1 and the new The Outer Limits. He followed up his Firefly character once again in Joss Whedon's motion picture, Serenity. Victoria Pratt plays Harper's police partner Andrea Battle. You might remember Pratt from her stint on Fox networks Mutant X where she played Shalimar Fox.

Awesome Robot Music Video

'Cos I'm a Robot. . .
Scent of a Robot!

This delightful thing is the work of rapper Pete Miser and the video was produced by UV Phactory. Really well done, and they don’t even seem to be a huge multimedia conglomerate. W00t.

James Patrick Kelly Returns to Podcasting

The Blog SFSIGNALS reports : James Patrick Kelly is back from a summer vacation and has started podcasting again. A new feature of his Free Reads podcast is to read his On The Net columns from Asimov's Science Fiction starting with On The Net: FTL.

Miller Talks Sin City 2

Frank Miller, who wrote and co-directed Sin City based on his graphic novels of the same name, told SCI FI Wire that he plans to co-direct the upcoming sequel, Sin City 2, with Robert Rodriguez, despite rumors to the contrary.

"There are a number of short stories and a brand-new story that I'm just developing right now featuring Nancy Callahan [Jessica Alba] and her reaction to the death of John Hartigan [played in the first film by Bruce Willis, who likely won't appear in the sequel]," Miller added. Sin City 2 is tentatively slated for production and release in 2007.

Jericho 11/16/06

Well shut my mouth for calling Jericho a soap opera with bombs. Last two shows have put a stop to that sentiment. This Wednesday’s offering was one of the best shows to date. Last week as you know the brothers went off to get meds for their dad the mayor. Well this week the Mercs follow them to Jericho for a standoff on the connecting bridge. Jake has gone against his brother’s and father’s wishes and has rigged the bridge with explosives ala the federal building blast of a few years back. (what’s the deal with red necks and fuel oil bombs? Is this something they practice at?) Anyway the climax of this weeks show was the stand off on the bridge. Jake has a laser dot on his chest and a mysterious dot appears on the chest of the head merc. When the camera spins around whom do we see? Yep you guessed it. Jake and Hawkins have some history with this bandit/merc it would seem. Lets see, they both can make bombs on the fly, have access and are familiar with high powered firearms in a sniper capacity and have dealt with mercenaries in the past….You can tell CBS is loading up for a season ender the 29. They certainly have my interest now. Don’t get me wrong.. the majority of the show is still a soap with candles, but the action sequences are more than making up for the snooze elements.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Baen Books Free to Disabled Readers

Baen Books (, a publisher of science fiction, will provide its books to fans who are blind, paralysed, or dyslexic, or are amputees, in electronic form free of charge, effective immediately.

Baen Books is making this offer in recognition of Veterans Day, and all our disabled military veterans. Many Baen authors are veterans themselves, using a military setting as the setting of their tales. Right now convalescing vets might welcome an exciting, fast-action tale to pass the time.

Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books, who passed on June 28, 2006, decided to "provide each challenged reader with a permanent pass" to the regular e-publication of Baen’s new books. His successor, publisher Toni Weisskopf, is implementing his idea with this program.

For more information, click the story title link.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales begins production

TV Squad blog reports: Warner Home Video officially announced the start of production on the new straight to DVD Babylon 5 movie. Originally it was reported to include three new stories written by B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. In this post at jmsnews he mentions three half hour stories plus bonus material for the new DVD. Now that production has begun, it appears that one of the three stories will be cut. Cinema Blend has a rundown of Straczynski's latest postings on the subject. Apparently the Garibaldi story was the most complicated one to make, so it has been postponed for a possible later release.

Dolphins taught to sing Batman theme

Cory Doctorow writes in his Boing Boing blog: Scientists at the Living Seas in Walt Disney World's Epcot Center have taught dolphins to sing the theme from the original Batman show. No word on whether Warners will sue for copyright or trademark infringement

Click the title hot-link to go to the complete story

Monday, November 13, 2006

Heroes for 11/13/06

Wow what's the deal with Claire's father? Up until now he has been some kind of black ops government scary kind of guy and then this week he is begging Isaac to help him save his daughter from being killed...(yeah I know, she is supposed to be unkillable) Well seems that there is this killer with “powers” that is killing people with abilities. We have only seen this mystery killer in shadows, but his methods sure aren't. Let me back up a bit...Remember that I have said before, I don't think the “heroes” are alone. Last week we find out that there is a “firestarter”. This week an unassuming roadside waitress has gained the ability to remember anything she sees or hears. She doesn't get to enjoy it though...Shadowman takes the back of her head off. Hiro is sure he can save her by going back a day to keep her from coming to work....He says he will be back by the count of 5 but by the end of the show he hadn't show up...well an old photo is now on the bulletin board of him and the waitress at a birthday is missing, radioactive man escapes but not before he and Matt find out that they both have had some sort of procedure done on them, Mohinder had a “special” sister years before who died mysteriously – confused? Don't feel like your all alone, Heroes writers opened the taps this week after last weeks snooze and we wound up with more plot loose strings than ever. But hey, I am jazzed again with what happened this week. Yeah, Heroes got legs again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

RIP: Jack Williamson

SF Grand Master Jack Williamson, born 1908, died Friday 11/10/06 at his home in Portales, New Mexico, at the age of 98. His first published story was "The Metal Man" in Amazing Stories in 1928, the beginning of a writing career that spanned nine decades. His work ranged from early space opera series The Legion of Space (beginning 1934), werewolf SF/fantasy Darker Than You Think (1940), thoughtful SF classic The Humanoids (1948), Golden Age antimatter tale Seetee Ship (1951 as by Will Stewart), and time travel series Legion of Time (1952). Later works included Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella "The Ultimate Earth" (2000) and its novel expansion Terraforming Earth (2001), winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

Jericho episode review for 11/8/06

Jerico review

This Wednesday we picked up at where Jake and Eric are on their way to a nearby hospital to retrieve medicine for Jake's father. When they arrive at their destination, no one is to be found on the streets, or in the parking lot of the hospital. When all of a sudden, gunfire explodes from the building and the two men run. Jake suggests that the gunfire is from the top floor. They enter the building where they hear a man, from the top floor, asking them to put down their weapons or else. Once they gain the mans trust they meet the only doctor alive in the facility, and the shooter, who was an assassin in the war in Iraq. The shooter is protecting the building from other government troops trying to take over the building. Jake and Eric retrieve the medicine, and return to Jericho, where they administer it to mr. Green and the episode ends there.

posted by Courtney Cole

20 Craziest Scientific researches

From the web blog To Much Spare Time comes a list of 20 unusual research papers.... here is a sample - click the title for more....

Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis
Fragmentation of Rods by Cascading Cracks: Why Spaghetti Does Not Break in Half
Impact of Wet Underwear on Thermoregulatory Responses
Rectal Foreign Bodies
The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jericho will take ten-week hiatus after November 29

In an effort to ward off possible ratings downturn, CBS has plans to institute a radical plan to foster viewer interest. According to the blog "TV Squad" CBS knows what it has with Jericho; a hit drama . But it also knows the risks having such a hit show brings with it; it's not a very rerunable show, and airing too many repeats in a row might kill the show's momentum. So CBS has decided to go the route that ABC did with Lost (and NBC wanted to do with ER until the show's ratings went up) and will put the show on a ten-week hiatus after it's "fall season" finale on November 29. New episodes will come back in February.

The Door Through Space now on Gutenburg

The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley is now available at Gutenburg. Here is a short blurb of the book.

Wolf: a deadly world under a cold red sun, old when Terrans were learning to walk upright. Only one Terran agent knew Wolf well enough to pass undetected; but he had ruined his usefulness long ago. And yet only this scarred and bitter man could discover the secret of The Door Through Space...

Jim Baen's Top 10 Sci-Fi books

As we all know by now, Jim Baen inovative publisher of Baen Books died June 11th of this year. Shortly before his death he spoke with author David Drake about a project that Amazon asked him to do, which was to create a list of his top 10 science fiction books. Here is Jim's list, click the title link to go to the full article:

  1. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  3. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
  4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  5. Dune by Frank Herbert
  6. Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague deCamp
  7. Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
  9. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

possible show -The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Julia Houston, at the About Sci-Fi / Fantasy blog reports

  • no airtime dates yet, but Fox has cast Lena Headey as Sarah Connor in the pilot project from Warner Bros, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. As the title suggests, it's the continuing adventures of Sarah and John in LA's present-day.
Yeah that's the Terminator Sarah Connor if you were wondering......

Hunters of Dune -review- by Syldra LaPorte

“Hunters of Dune”

I just concluded reading “Hunters of Dune” by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. This has been tooted as the final book in the series…. It is not. It ends on a cliff high up. In other words a cliff-Hanger. On the cover of the book it states “The Grand Climax to Brian Herbert’s Dune Saga begins” yes it begins but does not finish. That comes in a book, unpublished as yet, titled “Sandworms of Dune”. Another book titled, “Paul of Dune” is said to follow. I am truly looking forward to them.

Every book of this series I have read has been good reading. I have read the entire series from “House Atreide’s ” to this latest one “Hunters of Dune”. This one, “Hunters of Dune” is different than all the others I have read. The pace appears to change from place to place in the book. This is probably because Brian Herbert was working
from material his father had secreted in two bank vaults that no one had known existed. When Brian opened them he found two computer discs containing the notes and other material Frank Herbert had prepared for the writing of this book. That is perhaps the reason the pace changes in places as I find that Frank Herbert’s original books… starting with “Dune” are all slower paced than Brian’s Books. I think there is a greater depth to Frank Herbert’s books than there is to Brian Herbert’s books. Any way… I have enjoyed all…. 11 (I think… off the top of my head) of them.

“Hunter’s of Dune” starts where “Charterhouse: Dune” left off. “Hunter’s…..” does bring all the major people in the entire series together. It helps to have read the entire series to understand Who the Oracle Of Time really is…. And other comments made and other parts of the book. We have a rebirth of Paul Atreides, Jessica, Leto II, and the evil Baron Harkonnen, just to name a few. Even Serena Butler is mentioned. Other major evil beings reappear
also. But I won’t mention who in case someone intends to read the book. It is well worth reading. After reading all the books, it is like revisiting old friends. Only I wish that my favorite Vorian Atreides had been mentioned….. Perhaps he will be a future book.

Brian has stated that these three books I have mentioned are not the last of the Dune books . “Hunters…. And Sandworms “ are only the climax to the series.

It states on the books cover…..and I Quote “ ’Hunters of Dune’ and the concluding volume, ’ Sandworms of Dune”, bring together the great story lines and beloved Characters in Frank Herbert’s classic Dune universe, ranging from the time of the Butlerian Jihad to the original Dune series and beyond. Based directly on Frank Herbert’s final outline, which lay hidden in safe-deposit boxes for a decade, these two volumes will finally answer the urgent questions Dune fans’ have been debating for two decades.

Syldra M. Diehl LaPorte

Polaris by Jack McDevitt -review-

Polaris by Jack McDevitt

hardcover 370 pp ACE

The Polaris, on a scientific observation mission, fails to return after informing control that it was preparing to return. Rescue vessels discover the Polaris adrift in space without a crew and no clues as to what happened. Sixty years later, the mystery is still unsolved. Artifacts recovered from the ship are starting to attract interest not only from antiquities dealers and collectors, but mysterious individuals that seem to have no past and no records. As investigators get closer, someone or something is bent on stopping them – at any cost. McDevitt packs a huge amount of plot and character development into a scant 370 pages. He gives us history of his universe, the science that drives it and does it in an interesting and personal manner. Plus characters that you soon learn to identify with even if they are flawed and human. Polaris hooks you quickly with a closed door mystery and then lights the rockets for a pell mell ride to the very last page. Jack McDevitt has given us a true science fiction version of the Flying Dutchman. A true page turner sf/mystery that even Asimov would have enjoyed. Bravo – very strong read recommendation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Heroes episode 7 for 11/6/06

You have got to hand it to the writers of Heroes. They have played some of their plot cards very close to their chests. That’s got to be hard. The “awesome!” or “oh wow” factor is fading fast as we become more in tune with the major players in the show. However they continue to dole out enough new twists that we still have a very “neat!” thing going on. For example…Micah, Niki’s child seems to be able to control machinery. There may have been earlier instances but the first overt manifestation is when he “calls” home to his mother. Somehow he manipulated the pay phone allowing him to make calls without entering any information…Micah’s father who put the squeeze on Niki last week demonstrates his ability to put his body out of phase with the material world by reaching through a glass window to unlock a car door to rescue a crash victim.

Niki it seems has strong recuperative powers and is back but it seems that her alter is not just “dark Niki” no, much much darker indeed. Stranger still is it seems her son is fully aware that there is “mom” and someone else. The strangest line in the show this week is when Micah calls his mom and gets “dark Niki” and he says “Put Mom on the phone.” Very weird.

Matt Parkman is back to aid the FBI in capturing a “firestarter” and winds up reading the last thoughts of a dying woman. The real card played this week was the dying woman’s husband who it seems can start fires with his mind. I know, hardly original but the big hint here is that the original characters at the start of the show are not the only one with ”powers”.

Micah’s dad is not an anomaly but a hint to even something stranger going on. Instead of being a quirk in biology we seem to have an epidemic of “super powers”. Just how many of them are there out there?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Space Sunshade Might Be Feasible In Global Warming Emergency

For the past year, Roger Angel, a University of Arizona Regents' Professor and one of the world's foremost minds in modern optics, has been looking at ways to cool the Earth in an emergency. He's been studying the practicality of deploying a space sunshade in a global warming crisis, a crisis where it becomes clear that Earth is unmistakably headed for disastrous climate change within a decade or two. The plan would be to launch a constellation of trillions of small free-flying spacecraft a million miles above Earth into an orbit aligned with the sun, called the L-1 orbit. The spacecraft would form a long, cylindrical cloud with a diameter about half that of Earth, and about 10 times longer. About 10 percent of the sunlight passing through the 60,000-mile length of the cloud, pointing lengthwise between the Earth and the sun, would be diverted away from our planet. The effect would be to uniformly reduce sunlight by about 2 percent over the entire planet, enough to balance the heating of a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.

The Lagrange Points mark positions where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses provides precisely the centripetal force required to rotate with them. They are analogous to geosynchronous orbits in that they allow an object to be in a "fixed" position in space rather than an orbit in which its relative position changes continuously.

Suzuki unveil fuel cell-powered wheelchair

Suzuki has unveiled a wheelchair powered by fuel cell technology that uses methanol as a fuel source.

Designed to be swift on its wheels, the wheelchair is fairly compact at 1200mm long, 650mm wide, and 1000mm tall. Its tank holds about 4 litres of fuel, which gives it a 25 mile range. Should you run out of methanol while you’re out, a backup battery will give you a little extra boost until you can refuel.

'Silent jet' could ease airport noise

A radically redesigned passenger jet could alleviate a major complaint of people who live near major airports--the deafening sound of planes taking off and landing.

The "silent jet," which from outside an airport would sound about as noisy as a washing machine or other household appliance, would carry 215 passengers and could be in the air by 2030.

Instead of the tube-and-wing model common today, the Silent Jet is a flying wing, evoking current "stealth" military aircraft. It lacks the central vertical stabilizer common at the tail of current passenger jets, instead using a pair of stabilisers at the wingtips.

The design allows the plane to remain in the air at slower speeds, which would allow it to cruise in for a landing more quietly. The plane does not use wing flaps, which are common on today's passenger jets and create much of the landing noise.

Wired's Top 20 Sci-Fi Flicks

Wired offers their Top 20 Sci-Fi Flicks ranked using three factors: "a film's power to enthrall and excite (Adrenaline), how well it presents a scenario for the future (Vision), and whether the science behind the fiction holds up (Precision)".
  1. Blade Runner
  2. Gattaca
  3. The Matrix
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  5. Brazil
  6. A Clockwork Orange
  7. Alien
  8. The Boys From Brazil
  9. Jurassic Park
  10. Star Wars
  11. The Road Warrior
  12. Tron
  13. The Terminator
  14. Sleeper
  15. Soylent Green
  16. RoboCop
  17. Planet Of The Apes
  18. The Day The Earth Stood Still
  19. Akira
  20. Barbarella
(wow, Gattaca ahead of 2001 and soylent green? I dont know....pac)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jericho episode 7

Jericho continues to plod along and this week’s offering was no exception.

The writers have set a deterministic path that doesn’t deviate from any of the tried and true post atomic apocalypse predecessors. The argument could be made that Jericho is about Jericho but after 6 going on 7 weeks now, we know almost exactly what we knew in the first episode about what has really happened, pressingly little (pardon the pun)

The plot is more driven now by character development than the theme of the show. All the main characters are becoming very well rounded, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However at what point do we say that, who had a boyfriend -before, who was married to whom - before, who had a mysterious or criminal past – before….etc. There were several instances in this week’s show where information about this or that person “before” seemed almost silly and certainly didn’t add an iota positive or negative to what is currently the situation in Jericho. I suspect that instead of a mushroom cloud you could have had a class 5 twister touch down and had very much the same show.

The previews of next week however have Jake and his brother off getting medication for their critically ill father in another town that isn’t faring anywhere near as well as Jericho.

I don’t know about you but I am more than ready to see what’s happened to the outside world. Jericho is getting thick at the top with well rounded characters and thin at the bottom with plot development. Time to even the load or Jericho will crash and burn.