Saturday, December 29, 2007

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Monitoring Employees' Brains

Hey Shaun, check this out!!!!!! I just found it on TechDirt, looks like FabCola is just another way of saying Microsoft!

A just-published Microsoft patent application for Monitoring Group Activities describes how a company or the government can determine if employees are not meeting their project deadlines through the use of detection components comprised of 'one or more physiological or environmental sensors to detect at least one of heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement, facial movements, facial expressions, and blood pressure.

Asteroid Impact on Mars: Collision Probability Increased

The chance that asteroid 2007 WD5 will impact Mars on January 30th has increased from 1.3 percent to 3.9 percent. That’s the new estimation from the Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The impact probability resulting from recent orbital refinement that have increased the chances to a surprising 3.9 percent.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Two Sci-Fi Classics Picked for Preservation

FromMark's Sci-Fi / Fantasy Blog

Two classic sci-fi films, Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977), are among the 25 films selected this year to be preserved by the Library of Congress National Film Registry, with the intent that they are available for future generations to enjoy. The announcement by the Librarian of Congress notes that "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant films from many eras and genres are selected in the annual effort to choose specific films to be guarded against deterioration. Up to half the films produced in this country before 1950, and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920, are lost forever. Early film stock was recycled for the silver nitrate content, and any film will break down in mere decades. Previous genre selections include 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982 [but which version?]), Cat People (1942), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Flash Gordon serial (1936), Frankenstein (1931), Groundhog Day (1993), Invasion of the Body-Snatchers (1951), Planet of the Apes (1968), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Star Wars (1977), The Thing from Another World (1951), and The Wizard of Oz (1939).

“Love + Sex With Robots”

Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing pointed me towards this interesting, unsettling and I must admit at times, horrifying interview with author David Levy in the blog "I am not even trying" - concerning the psychological, economic and the social implications of using robots as sexual partners, better known as sexbots. Some of the questions addressed are:

What essentially human traits do you envision future sexbots changing forever?

Obviously, not everyone will be able to afford robots for sex straight away and top-of-the-line ones will undoubtedly command top dollar. Do you think there is room for the poor in this vision?

Do you foresee much of a secondhand/refurbished market for sexbots?

Is it ethical for an adult to have sex with a sexbot designed to look like a child but programmed to “perform” like an experienced adult?

Would you personally use one of these robots? Would your wife? Would she mind if you used one?

Check out the complete interview by clicking the article title or clicking here

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Modern Beetles Predate Dinosaurs

From AOL News online

New research hints that modern-day versions of the insects are far older than any tyrannosaur that trod the Earth. The vast amount of beetle species were thought to have arisen 140 million years ago, during the rise of flowering plants. But the new study of beetle DNA and fossils, published in the journal Science, pushes their appearance back to 300 million years ago. To date: 350,000 species of beetles have been cataloged around the world, and millions more are estimated to exist but haven't been discovered — which means they make up more than one-fourth of all known species of life forms. The reason for this tremendous diversity has been debated by scientists for many years but never resolved. However given the new "age" of the species and geological evidence of constantly changing environments, scientists now consider the large number of beetle species existing today could very well be a direct result of early evolutionary success.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

XKCD spoofs Blade Runner.

This is funny....but come to think of it....I know people like this!
click on the cartoon graphic to see the larger graphic or
here, to go to the cartoon

FBI aims for world's largest biometrics database

Dave T. sends in this tidbit. Shaun Saunders has been warning about this from day one with MallCity and look at Cory Doctorow's Scroogled, both tell tales of one government entity or another amassing personal data to the extreme. Check this out:

The Washington Post reports that: The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world's largest computer database of biometrics to give the government more ways to identify people at home and abroad. The agency expects to award a 10-year contract to expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives. The system, called Next Generation Identification, will collect the biometric information. This will be added to the digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns, the FBI already has amassed in its system.

(editor note: I plan on reading Cory's story Scroogled on this week's program. That will be #85)

Astronomers discovered the largest diamond of all times in space.

I found this article an interesting intellectual exercise. Why? Well, anyone that has studied even basic astronomy has heard about white dwarf stars and how they are formed, and what their makeup is like in latter stages of their life. Basically what I found interesting is that I understood the sequences of a star like our own or slightly larger going off main sequence. Going through it red giant stage and collapsing back to a white or brown dwarf. The cause is mostly running out of hydrogen and burning helium into carbon. (gross oversimplification, I know. ) Intellectually you know that this carbon has to be under extreme compression....but I just never went to the next logical step. What exactly is this compressed carbon....well in Pravda online (I know.... first time I ever ran across a straight science article never knows) I saw a title that I just had to read. Astronomers discover largest diamond in space! Here are some excerpts, click on the article title to read complete story.

Astronomers discovered the largest diamond of all times in space. The weight is estimated at ten billion trillion trillion carats or five million trillion trillion pounds). The space diamond is virtually an enormous chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 kilometers in diameter. The stone is located at a distance of 50 light years from Earth, in the Constellation Centaurus. The "diamond" also known as BPM 37093, is actually a crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Documentary: The Order Electrus

In the weird and oddly disturbing department I give you this... A short film from the warped minds over at Microbia. Called - Documentary: The Order Electrus, it's wonderfully brilliant and twisted all at the same time. Thanks to the folks over at Suicide Bots for the post

The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz: Identify sounds from science fiction movies and TV.

I was going to say this is a bit lame, but you know, I laughed my way through this, and thought it wildly funny at the results I received. So, even though it's goofy, it's also great fun. See how many of the sci-fi movie sounds you can identify!

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 79 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz canon s5 is

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peter Berg to Direct "Dune" Remake

Hey, did you know there was a remake of Frank Herbert's Dune being bandied about in the blogosphere? No? Well neither did I! Talk of knocking me over with a feather. Here is the info as I read it from SciFi Scanner:

David Lynch's Dune has its goofy charm, but in retrospect, he was clearly the wrong man to direct the big screen adapation of Frank Herbert's novel. Over 20 years later, we still don't have a big budget and truly faithful adaptation of Herbert's book. Hope isn't dead yet. Director Peter Berg—whose impressive resume includes Bad Things, The Rundown, Friday Night Fights, and The Kingdom—has apparently been signed to film a big-screen adaptation.

You know, I really didn't mind the scifi channel's adaptation. I thought it was pretty good matter of fact. But there is no question that it was made on a very limited budget. I am not going to totally bust on Lynch's version. That would mean that I would have to back track and do a Mexican hat dance on Blade Runner. Why, well lets just say that my favorite saying about a science fiction movie is, 'if you need a narrator to tell the audience what the movie is about, while they are watching the move, and if people in the audience are STILL telling their neighbors what the movie is really all about, your in serious trouble". That describes Blade Runner to a t and even more so, Lynch's Dune. I saw more people lean over and explain what the narrator just said while watching the movie. I had to do the same thing in Blade Runner. Most just didn't "get it" and I know, its annoying as all hell having someone explain a movie to you while your watching it, but I really got...."I have no clue what's going on" during both movies. And I loved Blade Runner! So, lets hope they don't find a need for another narrator for Dune.

Ben Rosenbaum announces The Ant King and Other Stories out in August 2008

Benjamin Rosenbaum just sent me a note to let us know that his book of short stories will be out next year. Here is a piece of what he sent:

The big news (if I haven't told you already) is that my first full-length collection of short stories -- "The Ant King and Other Stories" -- is going to be published by Small Beer Press, best small
press EVAR, in August 2008.

I will let you know more as soon as I get anything new.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Go off the grid with a personal nuclear reactor! REALLY!

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor is only 20 feet by 6 feet and is designed to supply 200 kw for 5 cents per kh. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years. Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.

Wow, all I need now is a flux capacitor.......

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Active glacier found' on Mars

Shaun Saunders send in this article from BBC News online.

We have seen evidence that water in liquid form was once common on Mar's surface. Today, evidence shows that a significant amount of the Martian polar regions are composed of water ice. However up to this point this was considered ancient ice, many millions of years old. Recent overflights of the Deuteronilus Mensae region between Mars' rugged southern highlands and the flat northern lowlands by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft have shown an icy feature may only be several thousand years old. This could be significant in not only finding active water underground on Mars but also these areas might be uniquely positive sites for discovering microbial life on the red planet. The reasoning being that as the water peculates to the surface it would carry along any microbes living in the or around the liquid.

For the complete article, click here or the article title

How to talk to aliens or mom Herb just made a bad smell at me!

Over at the SciFi Scanner blog, John Brownlee posted an interesting article that has facinated and bothered me equally for years. Science fiction tv shows and movies have, to varying degrees, show that aliens may well not look like us, but for the most part, they all seem to sound like us. In John's words:

The problem of communicating with extraterrestrials has been a fascinating intellectual exercise for scientists and philosophers for most of the 20th century. Although Star Trek and Star Wars are rather optimistic that aliens will speak English with a perfectly recognizable American accent, it's possible that they will, in fact, communicate in an unintelligible cacophony of blurps and farting noises.

And there's the rub: We may communicate visually and aurally, but what if aliens communicate chemically? How do you convince them you are an intelligent life form when your body can only squirt out the smell of methane from time to time?

With that in mind, I might come across as verbose and loud.....but that's another subject....

Well, John came across a really fascinating article in the December 1947 Popular Mechanix which he calls clear and charming, Called "How will we talk to Martians, dealing with just such a problem. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Review of A War Of Gifts - An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card

Anyone that has listened to me long enough will know that I am a proponent of audio book, hell audio anything. Beam Me Up has from the start supported the audio format. I really believe that some stories just seem to come alive with someone else reading them to you. Not always...but sometimes. I think I have found just such an example. A few weeks ago Ron and I tag team slammed OSC's newest Ender book. For me at least the story was clumsy and felt like another pen was being used. Ron was no less gentle. Now however Jesse Willis at SFFAudio has come across the audio recording of Scott's "A War of Gifts' and has given it a good review. In Jesse's words

A War Of Gifts will not set a new high standard for Card or for Science Fiction, but it wasn’t intended to either. It is a modest story, well written and like all of the recent “Ender tales” about the Ender’s Game primarily about the minor characters. What card does is take a complex person and decode them into psychologically understandability. He does it with a humane and unjaded eye. If you come at it without a lot of preconceptions I think you can quite enjoy it - as I most certainly did.

So that being said...the audio version may very well have more legs than the printed. Jesse has a great deal more to say on the subject, points that I can not disagree with. Its well worth taking a trip over to SFFAudio and reading Jesse's review.

Review: Wastelands, Stories of the Apocalypse

Title: Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
Editor: John Joseph Adams
Trade Paperback
ISBN : 1-59780-105-4
Pages: 350 Price: $15.95
Publisher: Night Shade Books

I know if your like me you view "theme" books with a bit of skepticism. Assembling a collection of any size with only one "type" of story can be daunting. I have often found many of these types of books containing one or a few really top notch stories and the rest relegated to filler. Collections like Ellison's Dangerous Visions is a shining example of how to do it right. Is Wastelands in that league? Not quite, but DAMN close. The stories are not as "dangerous" as DV and it's no where near the size of DVs. However, don't take me wrong, the tales in Wastelands are the crème de la crème of this genre and for that matter science fiction as a whole. Often the editors choice of covers is their attempt to put their best foot forward, so by looking at just the cover of Wastelands, one might suspect that the author is attempting to snare you on name recognition alone. Believe me, this is not the case. Yes, notable names all, however the tales between those names are every bit as strong. A good example is one of my favorites in this book and appearances elsewhere - The People of Sand and Slag, by Paolo Bacigalupi, or better called a boy and his dog and an appetizer. An absolutely stunning story of the far future and an equal to any of the "names" on the front. The whole book is like this. One retina blasting mind numbing yarn after another. King's story alone is worth the price of the book. (a kind of sideways retelling of Flowers for Algernon) The only suggestion is that you read each story straight through and put the book down and walk away for a time. Each story deserves to be considered on it's own merit. The subject matter and the tales themselves are often so strong and different that you very well could miss the high point of one while recovering from the blast received from the previous reading. Wastelands is well worth the cost. The author has done his job in exemplary manner. Wastelands would make an excellent gift for the jaded science fiction fan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shatner meets Miss Piggy on a plane...

Ok, so maybe I am clipin in too many videos....but this clip was funny and it has special meaning to me. Do you remember Terror at 20 thousand feet, no not that one, the REAL one, black and white Twilight Zone episode with Bill Shatner over acting right out of his ever lovin mind? Yeah that one. I saw it when I was like 7 and it scared the bejesus out of me. Couldn't look through windows with curtains on them for years...jesus who am I kidding, still gives me the willies to pull a shade up to look out! Well I was scanning down through SF Signal's blog and what do I come across? None other than William S. himself and Miss Piggy of Muppet fame lampooning this very special moment in tv history...for me at least.... Oh and it funny only in a way that Frank Oz can do it! Enjoy!

Real Life Cylon Raiders closer than we think!

Over at the SciFi scanner blog I found a story concerning advancements in cybernetic that are enough to raise goosebumps. Any fan of the new BSG knows of the Cylon Raiders. Espcially when we saw Starbuck slide inside one and began pulling and pushing on the bio gunk inside. We are made very aware that inside the shinny exterior is a living thing. All in all a pretty disturbing image.

From the SciFi Scanner article: It's far-fetched sci-fi at its finest. But is it really so far-fetched? Scientists at the University of Florida have grown a brain in a petri dish and taught it to pilot an F-22 jet simulator; a task that the non-sentient dollop of cerebral goo accomplished quite ably, even keeping the F-22 on its flight path in a virtual hurricane.

I can see that the pundits of science fiction are right, but only so far. Up to this point it was easy to tell the players. Robotic, robots, androids, cyborgs, human. The truth is that the future may well be a blending of all of the above.

Black Hole Fires At Neighboring Galaxy

Remember Shaun Saunders short story Last Light (episode 39 of BMU) which told the tale of a dying civilization's last gasp effort for immortality? I won't ruin the ending for you, but it is one of my favorite short stories hands down. Well here is an article from science daily about the very same cosmic event that was highlighted in Saunders' story. As frightening as the event was to read in a story, imagine knowing that not only could it happen, but scienctists have found evidence that it HAS happened!

Click the article title or here for more

Last light can be found in the Beam Me Up archive at

This composite image shows the jet from a black hole at the center of a galaxy striking the edge of another galaxy, the first time such an interaction has been found. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans

Intergalactic Explosion Shocks Astronomers

Astronomers have discovered a cosmic explosion that seems to have come from the middle of nowhere -- thousands of light-years from the nearest galaxy-sized collection of stars, gas, and dust. This "shot in the dark" is surprising because the type of explosion, a long-duration gamma-ray burst, is thought to be powered by the death of a massive star.

Complete article

(hummmmm so it was an explosion big enough to indicate a supermassive star but there never was any star there.... I hear the trekkies now.... the antimatter containment field collapsed in one of the nacelles of a FTL cruiser. hey, works for me!)

in the photo A recent galaxy collision produced the long tail in the Tadpole Galaxy. If GRB 070125 exploded in a similar tail, only Hubble could detect the tail. (Credit: Credit: NASA)

Monday, December 17, 2007

New billboard puts voices in your head

Well we have read about billboard that can track you, computer programs that can tell who you are even if you have a disguise on and we all know how insidious online marketing is in targeting specific product to you. Shaun has shown us a world where all this is just around the corner with his mallcity and infoscreens. Well as scary as that sounds, advertisers have stepped up and gone one better. There's a new add in Soho in Manhattan that uses a speaker beaming down an "audio spotlight" that only you can hear, making it sound like it's coming from inside your own head.
So it is now possible to not only aim an exact product at you, but as you move, it moves with you and now they can target sound for such an ad, just for you, beamed right AT you.

complete article

10 Sad DIY Geek Gifts You Should Never Buy

Ok, so I was reading through the SciFi Dvice blog and came across this. Is it cutting edge science? nope, is it material for the podcast? NOOOOOOOOPE. Then WTF!? exactly! It was funny, it was geekie, it has some sci fi stuff and its seasonal! Here is the copy from Dvice:

Etsy is an amazingly useful site that gives people a chance to sell DIY crafts that you often can't find anywhere. There are some truly great things to buy on Etsy, but you won't find any of them on this list — because sometimes when people are allowed to make and sell whatever they want, things go bad. Very bad. Click Continue to see just how ugly it can get.

Oh and be forewarned.....its very ugly....funny and ugly

Issue 115 of AntipodeanSF is now available

Hi all,

Just a short note to wish you all the top o' the season, and to remind you that Issue 115 of AntipodeanSF is now available for your enjoyment on the web. You'll find us at our usual address with our usual mix of flash fiction and reviews:

This month's flash stories are:

"The 32 Paths" by Nathan Burrage

"Close Encounter" by Richard Pitaniello

"Just Your Type" by Joan Malpass

"The Favour" by Lynton Haggett

"CRT" by Shaun A. Saunders

"The Barbeque Stopper" by Simon P. King

"Entropy" by David Kernot

"The Boardriders and Windsurfers" by Des Rogers

"Good Home Wanted" by Matthew Wallace

"Back Memory" by Theutes

Meanwhile, in "E-Scapes" Sue Clennell joins Liz Williams in "Bloodmind" and ponders the difference between good killers and bad killers, while in "Vide" Nuke undergoes a shocking experience with Charlaine Harris in "Grave Surprise", and lets Adam Roberts parody the good Doctor in "Dr Whom".

Finally, if you ever wanted to get involved in SETI, visit Ionospherics to find out how...

Ooroo for now,

Nuke (editor).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Antarctic sub to test waters for Jupiter moon mission

A robotic submarine named Endurance, is set to survey Antarctica's West Lake Bonney in October 2008. Test runs like these are designed to test proof of concept for a version of Endurance to explore the oceans thought to lie beneath the icy crust on Jupiter's moon Europa. Parts to be tested on the sub will be it's ability to operate up to 8 hours unattended which is a must because radio signals take too long to reach the moon for a controller to react in time. Earlier probs to the Jupiter system have reported some very interesting findings. Data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft has revealed hints of carbon – a building block of life – in the moon's purported seas. Both carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, a potential signal of volcanism, are leaking from discrete areas on the moon's surface. It will be some time before the Endurance mission can take place though. Future preliminary mission need to take place, plus At present, Endurance is too massive to send on interplanetary travel. Scientists must also devise a means to drill through Europa's icy crust and lower the sub safely through the ice. And because radio waves travel poorly through water, a docking station anchored in or around the ice will need to relay data from the submersible to Earth.

(Illustration: Michael Carroll/NASA/JPL

Friday, December 14, 2007

Get Terminated!!!!

To promote their only original sci-fi series, Fox has put up a nifty little site based on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - premiering on Sunday, January 13th at 9 p.m.

The site allows you to upload an image that will then be turned into a Terminator robot and inserted in some of the show's action scenes.

Very cool....

here is the site

(hint, make your photo a head shot, no background, no white either, dpi of 72 and 3x5 inches will make integrating the picture much easier. )

I know...its horrible....but I just had to do it! lmfao!

In Sci-fi news.....

Some interesting and disturbing news I came across while pursing the SciFi Scanner Blog

Our favorite Bajoran is set to do a recurring role on BSG when it resumes in 08 or gasp 09, Nana Visitor or better known to DS9 fans as Major Kira Nerys will play a fellow cancer patient. Now unless you have been in a coma TRUE fans of Nana know where here digs have been lately. She has been doing equally heavy spy duty on CBS' NCIS. Here is a link to the article

In the really distressing news department: Terry Pratchett (the beloved fantasy and sci-fi author behind the Discworld series) has written an open letter to his fans, and it's pretty awful stuff: Pratchett has Alzheimer's. Click here for Pratchett's comments and more of the article

Sad news for Journeyman fans: It looks like the time-traveling adventures of Kevin McKidd, the San Francisco journalist sliding madly through time, have been put on permanent hiatus by NBC. No big surprise, I have been hearing this stuff for a couple of weeks....was hoping that more would warm to the show....not the case I suspect. Complete article

'Twilight zones' on scorched planets could support life

Shaun sends this in from NewScientist

How many times have we all read the stories about the tidal locked planet that is broiling hot on bright side and arctic cold on the dark side? But in between the hot and cold, the dark and the light exists a "twilight zone" area where the conditions are just right to maintain life. I know I have lost count of the times I have seen this plot device used. Well it seems that some of the newest planets discovered might fit into this niche. Not only do they inhabit the "life zone" but may also possess the very perturbations that would allow life to exist.

Here is the compete story or click the article title

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Dragonriders of Pern is going to the movies

Slice of SciFi has some interesting Pern news:

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern novels have been optioned by Steve Hoban of the Oscar winning Canadian film production company Copperheart Entertainment. Mz. McCaffrey said “I decided that Pern had to be done right and I wouldn’t let it go to someone unless I was certain that they were committed to excellence,” says Anne McCaffrey. “Steve brings not only his proven talent but his very great enthusiasm to the endeavor. I’m thrilled to be working with an Academy Award® winning Producer. Pern is in excellent hands!”

This being said....not everyone is all grins and excitement. The folks over at SciFi Scanner feel that Anne has let things run on a bit. The only saving grace in their minds was that she hadn't sold out...and now.... click here for their thoughts

Humans Evolving Faster, Becoming More Different.

Researchers discovered genetic evidence that human evolution is speeding up – and has not halted or proceeded at a constant rate, as had been thought – indicating that humans on different continents are becoming increasingly different.

“We used a new genomic technology to show that humans are evolving rapidly, and that the pace of change has accelerated a lot in the last 40,000 years, especially since the end of the Ice Age roughly 10,000 years ago,” says research team leader Henry Harpending, a distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

The study was published online Monday, Dec. 10 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We aren’t the same as people even 1,000 or 2,000 years ago,” Harpending says, which may explain, for example, part of the difference between Viking invaders and their peaceful Swedish descendants. “The dogma has been these are cultural fluctuations, but almost any temperament trait you look at is under strong genetic influence.”

“Human races are evolving away from each other,” he says. “Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity.” (Full story)

Mars rover finds signs of microbial life

Shaun Saunders send in this article from the UK Telegraph:

Nasa says its Mars rover Spirit has discovered "the best evidence yet" of a past habitable environment on the planet's surface. Spirit has been exploring a plateau called Home Plate, where it discovered silica-rich soil in May. Researchers are now trying to determine what produced the patch of nearly pure silica - the main ingredient of window glass. They believe the deposits came from an ancient hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic steam rises through cracks. On Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. Whichever of those conditions produced it, this concentration of silica is probably the most significant discovery by Spirit for revealing a habitable niche that existed on Mars in the past.

click for complete article

Mammoths were blasted from outer space

Evidence has been found which shows mammoth and other great beasts from the last ice age were blasted with material that came from space. Tusks dating to some 35,000 years ago all show signs of having being peppered with meteorite fragments. The ancient remains come from Alaska and Siberian bison skull with the same pockmarks. The evidence suggests hat there was probably an impact which exploded in the air that sent these particles flying into the animals some of which show evidence of surviving the incident, possibly blinding or severely injuring the animals. The discovery follows previous research which claimed a more recent space collision - some 13,000 years ago. Researchers reported the discovery of sediment at more than 20 sites across North America that contained exotic materials: tiny spheres of glass and carbon, ultra-small specks of diamond and amounts of the rare element iridium that were too high to be terrestrial.

Complete article here

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Space tug offered for NASA’s orbital use

In this artist's conception, the LEO Express is the white-and-gold craft that is docked to the international space station with a Russian Progress cargo craft hooked beneath it.

Space Systems/Loral, a major manufacturer of large, commercial communications satellites, hopes to convince NASA to take a chance on its novel idea for delivering cargo to the international space station. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company was one of at least seven companies to submit proposals Nov. 21 for $175 million in Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration money that is back up for grabs, following NASA's decision to withdraw support from Rocketplane Kistler's stalled K-1 reusable launcher program.

complete article here

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy 90th, Arthur C Clarke!

Sixty-two years ago Arthur C. Clarke sent a letter to the editor titled - Peacetime Uses for V2 - which was published in the 1945 February issue of the Wireless World magazine suggesting the use of Geostationary Satellites for the instant global communications. Quoting,

“I would like to close by mentioning a possibility of the more remote future--perhaps half a century ahead. An ``artificial satellite'' at the correct distance from the earth would make one revolution every 24 hours; i.e., it would remain stationary above the same spot and would be within optical range of nearly half the earth's surface. Three repeater stations, 120 degrees apart in the correct orbit, could give television and microwave coverage to the entire planet.”

Today, the Clarke Orbit has over 330 satellites. And even more amazing is that envisioned geo-sync, 2001, Rendezvous with Rama, Childhood's End and more, celebrates his 90th birthday 12/16/07. A fellow fan has put together a blog that allows fans like ourselves to log in and leave a birthday greeting for Sir Arthur. If you would like to, click on the link below or the article title, to be taken to the site.

Sir Arthur C Clarke’s 90th birthday wish blog

picture credit- Shahidul Alam

The Running Man Goes Reality

From SciFi Scanner I read about one of the more unusual fallouts from the WGA strike. As a sci-fi fan, you might think that you, at least, will be spared from the monotony of reality shows.
Well you might have thought that, but it seems that you very well might be wrong! Not knowing how much longer the strike might go on and a real need to fill programming slots, has led the sci-fi channel to consider the inconceivable - a reality show. Matter of fact the world's first sci-fi themed reality show: Run For The Money. Yep, it's The Running Man, without all those inconvenient fatalities. Here are the detail:

Based on a successful Japanese format from Fuji Television, the action takes place over 60 minutes of real time in various landmark locations. As the clock winds down, the competition gets harder as more hunters appear on the streets, the game perimeter gets smaller, and tasks are assigned that test fraying nerves. Contestants earn money for every second they 'stay alive' and may opt out at their choosing. If they keep playing and are overrun by a hunter, they lose everything. The last person standing takes the prize.

Well, lets see - I thought "the Running Man, was a cartoonish joke......I can't say a spin off reality show does much for me.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Should there be a lifetime chievement Hugo award

We have read recently of concerns about the plethora in recent world cons of Hugo awards. With some of these awards going to non science fiction categories. There has been strong arguments made to reduce the amount of awards and award categories. So it comes with a bit of a surprise that the editors over at Science Fiction Awards Watch are making a point for expanding the award categories, and in a very important area. That of "Lifetime Achievement Award". Which I have to admit I find decidedly odd. There are awards for excellence in non science fictional fields but no lifetime achievement? What's even odder is that comments on their article some would not care to add the category at all! Stranger still. The editors at SFAW make a good argument. If your interested in reading their ideas - select the article title or click here to be taken to the article

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Zahn's Third Lynx doesn't pussyfoot around

Timothy Zahn's The Third Lynx
published by Tim Doherty Associates

Another rollicking space detective story by Timothy Zahn. Here, private eye Frank Compton and sidekick Bayta make their way through the crowded universe recently visited in Zahn's Night Train to Rigel.

Once again... all abooooaard!

The Quadrail Express is on the move, and in first class compartmented splendor, Zahn's sleuth Frank Compton, a banished government intelligence agent turned freelance gumshoe, hired by the secretive owners of the Express and its farflung stations to aid them in their struggle with the Modrhi, an aggressive colonial alien species that threatens to homogenize the presently very heterogenous mix of Galactic cultures, is settling down to "a sizzling plate of artistically arranged Shorshic pili tentacles", when....

And that when is the moment in all good detective tales, nay in ALL good tales, when the Hero is hurled from mundane toil into a new all engulfing, world-changing Task, and must use his/her/its wits, vigor and savoir-faire to save a largely indifferent universe.

Here in that when moment, private eye Compton crossly lowers his forkfull of tentacles to his plate and, bidding his lovely company-supplied girl friday Bayta follow in his wake, leads us from the dining car on a romp though the busy Galactic railway bazaar (so does Paul Thoreau term in his travelogues the heady, ever changing combinations of commerce, culture, and class distinction yet democracy, aboard the isolated, confined yet motile spaces of a long distance passenger train) in quest of purloined treasure.

A few dying-words-from-a-bit-part-player later, and we are elbowing our way through the teeming scaled, furred and feathered multitudes that inhabit Zahn Space in splendid Dickensian variety, all solemnly minding their own business enroute to their destinations among the bustling twelve galactic empires serviced by the Quadrail Express in tightly controlled neutrality. Gunslinger aliens, for example, must check their weapons into the cargo holds for the journey, but the culture-respecting train authorities, for appearances sake, allow them to pack nonfunctional plastic replica pistols in their holsters while aboard, to let them maintain their internal class distinctions.

Not one, not two but TWELVE empires rub shoulders in Zahn's galaxy. Most writers, one would think, would despair of keeping the characters from more than two empires straight enough to maintain coherence in their tale, let alone we hapless readers, who must consult lengthy, absurd Dramatis Personae to keep track of precisely who Lord Haw-haw or the Baroness Trotter is. Come now, Zahn! Twelve? How dare you?

But he succeeds! Civilization after civilization rises before our eyes and, in the span of a few words dashed upon the page, unfolds resplendent, absurd, colorful, then vanishes into the background roar while another hoves into view. Bellidosh in their well-armed rodentian earnestness. Lumbering Halkavisti, dolphin-snouted Shorshins and hawk-beaked Juriani. Fibibibs and Cimmaheem, too, rise to the fore, then subside into the general din. Homshil, Nemuti and goose-feathered Pirks, too, are among the galaxy's citizens in lawful transit aboard the Express.

Then there are the villains, for what detective tale would dare lack them? Zahn lavishes but a few on us, but they are suitably dreadful: the terrible yet vanquished Shonkla-raa, whose fell creation, the Modrhi, an intelligent, telepathic and aggressively invasive colonial coral-being, lives on, burrowing like malevolent Babel Fish into the brains or alien-correlates-thereof of unsuspecting galactic citizens, turning them into puppets, obedient-on-demand to the central Modrhi consciousness, yet otherwise going about their lives, unaware of the bit of alien protoplasm embedded in their brains guiding their decisions at need.

For various reasons, the Modrhi have issues with the proprietors of the Express, who have created their own cyborgs, the nonviolent, ego-free Spiders, to carry out maintenance and servicing and other necessary railroad tasks. Their creators, the Chahwyn, who have hired Detective Compton to suss out their schemes, are a shy species that prefers being the invisible hand of the galactic marketplace. Not a timid one, for they were instrumental in the overthrow of the Shankla Ra from galactic hegemony, but not eager for the limelight either.

Thus the Chahwyn have put Frank Compton on their payroll. He's been recently fired from service in the intelligence service of the Western Alliance, aka the 'Human Empire' or as Campton calls it "Earth and four pathetic little colony systems"; a reasonable statement when that "empire" is contrasted, for example, with the thousands of planets under "Shorshonian" sway. The universe is a busy place, and Earth is quite insignificant in the shuffling, flapping, skittering crowd of Big Empires: the Nemuti FarReach, the Greesovra System, the Filiaelian Territory, the Ghonsilya system.

Zahn bids us peep into the lives of these civilized peoples, all linked by the Express. It is in these voyeuristic snapshots of them, these miniatures, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes clear as cut crystal, always interesting, that Zahn's book charms.

Will Compton save the day? Will he get the girl? Will he ever get to finish a plateful of Shorshic pili tentacles? Of course he will and can, the devil. How could he not, for he of such heroic (even if pleasantly flawed) parts that even the galaxy-engulfing Modrhi must treat him with grudging but unbreakable honor? And yet.....

There is something absurd even while enobling, about joining Compton's tete a tetes with shoulder-holstered chipmunks, in sharing his first class dining car with "goose-feathered Pirks" noshing on "the horrible things they liked to eat"; in watching him exchange bows and blows, salutations and insults with the great galactic bestiary.

In all of these acts, these beings, we see the same mixture of cupidity, joy, fear, pleasure, suspicion, trust, dogmatism, tolerance and finally common sense we look for and find in each other and must admit to of ourselves.

In Zahn's created universe, unlike some, one can actually love one's enemy. Even when kicking its alien hindquarters across the dining car. In our time, with fundamentalism-fired hate setting mercy on the backburner, he has a message for us, if we will listen.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Exercise pill hope for depression

One of Beam Me Up's cadre, Dave, sent in a very interesting article from BBC World New online. He also added an interesting comment on the subject as well: Hi Paul, I found an article that may be interest for Beam Me Up. "The natural "high" produced by exercise could one day be available in a pill that targets a gene in our brains." It seems to me that something like this, contentment in a pill, could easily be abused in a near future dystopia setting - not only is life bad but here's the medicine to make you happy with your bad life.

Exercise pill hope for depression E he natural "high" produced by exercise could one day be available in a pill that targets a gene in our brains. The Yale University experts say that experiments on mice could show why regular exercise can help people suffering from depression. Mental Health charities in the UK already back exercise programmes as a way of lifting depression. While the link between exercise and improved mood is well known, the reasons behind it are not fully understood. The latest research focuses on an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is already established as a target for antidepressant drugs. The team developed a test to see which genes in this region were made more active during exercise, and highlighted one called VGF. This gene is linked to a "growth factor" chemical involved in the development of nerve cells. This fitted with their theory that, for depression to lift, changes in the actual structure and links between brain cells are needed, not just changes in the chemicals surrounding the cells. The next step was to make a version of that chemical, and to test it on mice, where it showed an effect on their behaviour that roughly equated to antidepressant effects in humans. The researchers believe that a drug based on VGF could offer "possibly even superior efficacy" to current antidepressants.

Click here for more

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Much of universe may be made up of 'Turkish Taffy'

Alberta Physicists Report Major Breakthrough in Understanding New State of Matter:
The Supersolid
Helium, like all other matter, exists in one of several states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, depending on the circumstances and the element . Physicists at the University of Alberta however, have confirmed a fifth state of matter.

It is only a matter of time before this state of matter finds its way into speculative/science fiction. Or has it already?

What one might usefully call the Turkish Taffy State, for Super Solids are solids with fluid properties. Matter that flows yet may be torn, sheared, snapped.

Silliness aside, we can thank Quantum fluids and solids researcher, Prof. John Beamish, chair of the UA's Department of Physics, and PhD student James Day, for reporting their findings in a paper published in the science journal Nature on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2007.

They cooled helium to a solid state and then manipulated the material by shearing it elastically. In doing so, they found that the solid unexpectedly became much stiffer at the lowest temperatures.

Like...turkish taffy?

Their work follows on the heels of a 2004 discovery by Penn State University team led by Dr. Moses Chan, which electrified the physics world when it announced that it discovered that when they cooled solid helium to an extremely low temperature, and oscillated the material at different speeds, the particles behaved in a way not seen before, suggesting the “perpetual flow” seen in superfluids like liquid helium.

Leave a bar of taffy on your dashboard in the summer, however, and that perpetual flow kicks right in.

What Professor Beamish and his student James Day found was that the shear modulus of solid helium increases by 20% when it is cooled below 0.25K. Shear modulus is the quantification of a solid material's response to "shearing strains", i.e. being cut or torn; as contrasted with "bulk modulus": a solid material's response to uniform pressure.

Chan of Penn State praised their efforts as significantly adding to the body of knowledge about the fundamental states of matter allowed by nature. “This is an important breakthrough since the original discovery,” he said.

What may come as science fiction writers adopt this state of matter into their stories?

Someday sci-fi historians may someday point to Douglas Adams' "intelligent paint' in Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy' as an early harbinger of this new found state of matter.

Image from film Raggedy Anne and Andy 1977

? kind of geek R U

Scott Johnson of the Webcomic Extra Life has created this poster depicting 56 distinct species of geek, allowing you to quickly identify which best describes you by process of visual association. I have at times fallen into several categories, including:

Photo geek, Bargin Bin Geek, Trek Geek, Portable Geek, Robot Geek, Rock Geek, Podcast Geek, Fitness Geek, Gadget Geek, Book Geek, Electronics Geek, Anime Geek, Ham Radio Geek, Tv Geek

And most of the time I am an a amalgam of several at the same that makes me either a Geek Geek or a Super Geek? but I am not a geek about super....soooooo....

lol ok...see which one you are!

click on graphic for larger viewing

IBM researchers build supercomputer-on-a-chip

From Infoworld online:

I know that most of you are familiar with Moore's Law which concerns the size of computer chips or tech in general. To simplify it : Moore basically said that every 2 years the amount of transistors that can be placed on a chip will double and do it for half the cost. Now with the research going on at IBM that very formula could happen to super computer tech.

The technology, called silicon nanophotonics, replaces some of the wires on a chip with pulses of light on tiny optical fibers for quicker and more power-efficient data transfers between cores on a chip. The technology, which can transfers data up to a distance of a few centimeters, is about 100 times faster than wires and consumes one-tenth as much power. The improved data bandwidth and power efficiency of silicon nanophotonics will bring massive computing power to desks. We'll be able to have hundreds or thousands of cores on a chip.

Now this tech is designed to bring down the total amount of "wire" inside a chip. Each chip contains millions and in the near future, billions of transistors. Now to function, each transistor needs some wire to allow it to function. So in the short term, wire will not be completely replaced. On the horizon though is a transistor or light valve if you would that will store digital information as light instead of electrical energy. This may further shrink the size of a super computer to the size of today's cell phone.

Nanophotonics is still a decade away and storing data as light is only theory and even further in the future. However it is conceivable that within a lifetime it may be possible to carry the computing power now reserved governments and thousands of square feet of space, in one's pocket. Does that sound familiar or what?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NCC-1701 for ST - XI

Wow, check out the NCC - 1701 that is purported to be in J.J. Abram's ST-XI

There were rumors that some "detail" work would be done on the old work horse, but by the look of things to come, the embellishments have be very well restrained. I like what I see.

Astronomers find evidence of another Universe....

Nelson sends in this startling article from New Scientist Space online -

IN AUGUST, radio astronomers announced that they had found an enormous hole in the universe. Nearly a billion light years across. The void has far fewer stars, gas and galaxies than usual. It is bigger than anyone imagined possible and is beyond the present understanding of cosmology. Physicists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have a breathtaking explanation: "It is the unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own!" It is a staggering claim. If right, the giant void is the first experimental evidence for another universe.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mike Resnick on the Hugo Awards in Baen's Universe

Is Mike Resnick mad? No..... but is he bemused and concerned? Oh most certainly. Over what you might ask. Well in his how words:

.....1957,.... only three Hugos were handed out.....You know how many Hugos were awarded this year? Fourteen. And of those fourteen, you know how many were given out for written science fiction, which is the basis for this entire field? Four. That’s right. Less than 30% of the Hugos now go to written works of science fiction.

In the newest issue of Jim Baen's Universe, Mike goes on to describe the relative dysfunction that has come to embody the Hugo categories. I really have to agree that there is something amiss about an awards system that give an award to the best non-fiction book......That's right, in 1980 they gave a science fiction award to a book about well certainly not science fiction.... Isn't that like getting a Nobel for painting a house? Very off center for sure.

Click here for the newest issue of Jim Baen's Universe

or click the article title to go to Mike's article.

Katee Sarkoff walks away from Bionic Woman

Oh the rumor mill is off and running with the goings on with the cast of NBC's The Bionic Woman.

Seems the bad bionic bitch Katee Sarkoff had a meeting with the producers and rumor has it that she will not be returning to the set when the writer's strike ends. Now I know, she was never meant to be a steady on the show, but truth be told, I think Katee really brought the show up! Now considering the dismal ratings that TBW has been netting, I can understand Sarkoff's concern. But I have to say that Sarkoff may be the only saving grace that TBW really can field. The rest of the cast really is plain vanilla, Sarkoff's character at least had some depth. Wonder how long it will take the other rats to scurry off......

China says moon pictures not faked from NASA

Wow, you got to love this! As most of you know, China launched its first lunar probe, the Chang'e 1, in October. After a sucessful launch, the Chinese space agency released a photo featuring a patch of grey moon surface with the requisite amount of craters.....or so it would seem. Astute Chinese internet users soon cried foul though. It seems the photo that was released is almost a carbon copy of a photo released by NASA years ago! What makes this even weirder is that the Chinese photo has what appears to be photoshopped craters added in. (no I am not making this up! LOL)
The Chinese scientist insist that the photo is genuine and that the reason that the photos are alike is that the probe's camera was pointed in the same area on the Moon. As for the extra crater well, China says that The American photo was not of significant resolution to resolve the smaller structures.

Youngest Solar Systems Detected by Astronomers

Astronomers at the University of Michigan have found what are believed to be some of the youngest solar systems yet detected.

The systems are around the young stars UX Tau A and LkCa 15, located in the Taurus star formation region just 450 light years away. Using a telescope that measures levels of infrared radiation, the researchers noticed gaps in the protoplanetary disks of gas and dust surrounding these stars. They say those gaps are most likely caused by infant planets sweeping those areas clear of debris.

A paper on the findings by astronomy doctoral student Catherine Espaillat, professor Nuria Calvet, and their colleagues is published in the Dec. 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Intelligent Software Helps Build Perfect Robotic Hand

Another step closer to when robotic equipment will be able to do anything a human can in manufacture and service. From Science Daily online:

Scientists in Portsmouth and Shanghai are working on intelligent software that will take them a step closer to building the perfect robotic hand. Using artificial intelligence, they are creating software which will learn and copy human hand movements. They hope to replicate this in a robotic device which will be able to perform the dexterous actions only capable today by the human hand.

Picture is
The 'cyberglove' used to capture data about how the human hand moves. (Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Portsmouth)

The Death Star help desk

Ahhhhhh yes, what would a week be without a funny vid or 2 huh? Ok, well..... anyway, this one is a hoot. Its what life must be like to be on:

Indian science fiction -- past and present

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 4, Issue 47, Dated Dec 08 , 2007 Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing is a link to a facinating article about the roots of Science fiction writing science fiction writing in Indian languages.

From the article:

DNA-ALTERING experiments, moody robots, strange mutations from failed cloning projects, wonder machines and nano-gadgetry, and, of course, aliens playing peek-a-boo with humans — science fiction writing in Indian languages has this all and more.

Click here for the complete article

Friday, November 30, 2007

Card: dealing from the bottom of the deck.

A War of Gifts. By Orson Scott Card.
Reviewed by Ron Huber & Paul Cole.

There are some novels so good, so well written, by such universal acclaim, that the authors should be barred from publishing sequels. Just as with great lithographic etchings, the stone is broken after but a few uses, lest increasingly blurred and imperfect additional versions arise, so it should be with great works of literature.

Such a murky scan is A War of Gifts. This brief tale by Orson Scott Card is set somewhat precariously in the early stages of his magnificent novel Ender's Game, and deals with the warping, then rewarping of protagonist child soldier/refusnik Zeck Morgan's mind, which, having first been twisted into alienated pacifism by the sermonizing and physical abuse (called 'purifying') wrought by his father, a self-ordained fundamentalist preacher, is then reshaped by Ender-to-be Andrew Wiggin who, in several several cameo appearances, overpowers Zeck with superior logic and Christ-like verve, lancing his boil of pacifist righteousness and bringing Zeck into the killing fold.

There are internal perturbations within this short (126 half-sized pages) text, that will disturb Card-ophiles, that suggest A War of Gifts may have started life as a stillborn sequence of Ender's Game, one that, for any of a number of reasons, has resurrected from the cutting room floor 22 years later.

There are anachronisms. Andrew Wiggin didn't receive his nom de guerre Ender until rather later in Ender's Game than the time period described in AWOG. Would his mum really have called him Ender and not Andrew or, dare we say, Andy, during the rather testy exchange between she and her co-wiz kid son Peter that takes place once Andrew is aboard the Battle School? What prescience! She wouldn't hear from him for years; how'd she get his jeesh tag? The otherwise unmemorable sequence does its duty, however, as a let's-fill-in-the-blanks vehicle for AWOG readers unfamilar with Ender's Game.

Certainly by the Battle School standards of Ender's Game, Zeck's utter refusal to cooperate with his military trainers, coupled with his willingness to 'rat out' his fellow students, should have speedily had him washed out and planetside a third of the way through AWOG.

Despite these whoopsies, and the brevity of the book, and the annoying one dimensionality of most of A War of Gifts' characters, and the feel of it being a thrown-together-for-Christmas product, that combined make AWOG a sort of throw-away book, it is nevertheless charming to revisit Ender, Peter, Valentine, Ma and Pa Wiggin, the imperturbable Colonel Graff and the gang aboard the good ship Battle School, to get an exposition on the Dutch origins of Santa Claus, and to read Card's depiction of the repressed rage and sexuality of neo-primitivist Christianity, of a form found in the Carolina mountains.

Spiced with a dash of militarism-uber-alles preachery to make the book attractive to that vast readership of American enlisted men and women who voraciously consume sci-fi during the interminable waits in the hurry-up-and-wait life of active duty personnell, or while recuperating in veterans' hospitals,

It is interesting that for all the warring and wargamery of their books, Orson Scott Card, like Robert A. Heinlein, never served upon a battlefield. Card sensibly refrains from detailed war scenes; he is less cautious, though, with penning pro-miltarist rhetoric. Perhaps he should heed trench poet Wilfred Owen's warning to non-combatant warfare-fiction writers, that if they had actually taken part in combat:

"..... you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori."

Overall A War of Gifts is a charming but forgettable story that will add little to the Ender Series Canon, nor, likely, to its author's bank account.

What will happen in the next 100 years!

From the Ladies Home Journal December 1900, Shaun Saunders sends us a a fascinating look into the future past, which prognosticates what life will be like in the next century (for them) . Shaun Says

This is fascinating, both for where it is wrong (but shouldn't be) and where it is right....especially the section on coal burning, and walking 10 miles a day....and food animsls bred exsclusively for consumption - battery farming, in essence. And a free university education for every person...what a world, I wish it were here (except for battery farming)

Article link

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nasa outlines manned Mars vision

Nasa has released details of its strategy for sending a human crew to Mars within the next few decades. The plan is to send a "minimal" crew on a 30-month round trip to the Red Planet. The "Mars ship" would be assembled in low-Earth orbit using three to four Ares V rockets. The mission's journey from Earth to Mars would take six to seven months in a spacecraft powered by an advanced cryogenic fuel propulsion system. The cargo lander and surface habitat would be sent to Mars separately, launched before the crew. Once there, astronauts could spend up to 16 months on the Martian surface, and would use nuclear energy to power their habitat. Nasa has said that they plan on using future Moon missions to test out some of the hardware that that would have to be developed for the extended Mars mission.

Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post

pictures from bbc news article

Sci-fi Meets Reality: Taser Firing Flying Saucers Now in Production

Shaun A. Saunders spotted t his article in The Third Eye Concept online magazine. Shaun's comments were particullarly telling: "Here we go - a blend of Mallcity 14, 1984, and Dark Angel..."

Which is very apt, when you come to consider the simularities. The meat of the article is that a French businessman has revealed that his company is working on putting TASER stun guns on a flying saucer that could zap protesters, and anyone else that authorities target. Antoine di Zazzo is a high ranking rep for the company TAZER. He revealed that his company is developing a small airborne drone version of a weapon that can administer electrical jolts of 50,000 volts. The mini-flying saucer like drone will fire Taser stun rounds on criminal suspects or rioting crowds. He expects it to be launched next year and to be sold internationally by Taser.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Town recalls heyday of UFO sightings

Nelson was listening to show 80 and it seems it rang a bell for him. This is what he wrote

" “Dave” mentioned Gulf Breeze. I happened to read this a couple days ago. Read a book on it, even. That town has quite a history."

and he sent me this link

this is the story blurb

Two decades ago, the area around the Florida Panhandle town of Gulf Breeze was the center of sightings of unidentified flying objects.

Quite a history indeed! Adds a bit more punch to Dave's mutterings .... yes it does. lol

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Super' scanner shows key detail

from BBC News

Shaun Saunders makes a great point many sci-fi movies does this technology relate too? Total Recall; Star Trek...........

and the list goes on.....

A new scanner has been unveiled which can produce 3D body images of unprecedented clarity while reducing radiation by as much as 80%.

Mars orbiter spots rover on weird plateau

Shaun Saunders sends in this cool article and photo of one of the Martian rovers as photographed by the Mars Orbiter. His comments are just as interesting though. Shaun wrote "The above link is interesting for me in that it raises a new line of inquiry: have lunar orbiters imaged & photographed apollo landing sites and the mission hardware left behind?"

Here is part of the article copy from MSNBC

NASA's sharpest-eyed orbiter at Mars has spotted the Spirit rover far below, sitting on an enigmatic rock formation nicknamed "Home Plate."

and I am thinking.....damn, I would really like to see some of the Luna landing sites.....where are those pics anyway?

pic NASA / JPL / Univ. of Ariz

The Philip K. Dick android

Oh and you want something that will really creep you out? Check out the Philip K. Dick android.

This is so very wrong...I watched it for about 30 seconds while it tried to look people in the eye and I ran screaming from the room.

NBC's Journey Man on the bubble 2 week notice!

Ouch! from AMC sci-fi scanner JourneyMan is in big trouble. 2 Weeks People! Get you **** together!

Bad news, Journeyman fans! Though NBC's quirky quasi-update of Quantum Leap has become the surprise sci-fi hit of the season, the current rumor is that bad ratings areas about to kill the show off.

According to Zap2It: the Nielsen numbers for Journeyman for the episodes airing on November 19th and 26th are critical. If the numbers don't improve substantially, the network will yank the show. Even more astonishingly, the source claims NBC won't even air the remaining episodes!

Now I know I busted on this show for just that....being a Quantum Leap rip off....but to kill it and not show the remaining episodes!!! come ON! what has...NBC got trickle down mentality from the Sci-fi morons of scheduling? Yeah, I will fess up, I am watching the show and it's not bad, just compare it to that piece of crap the sci-fi channel brought in (yep talking about Flash again) as a season replacement. That's supposed to be acceptable sci-fi for the masses and Journey Man is not? I am breaking out my darts again.