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.