Friday, June 29, 2007

Military Running a Parallel Earth Simulator

I was looking through Slashdot blog and came across this jem That appeared in The Register. So weird!

The US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality. Putting supercomputers to an innovative use, the military is simulating our planet in an effort to predict the outcome of different scenarios. They might run tests to see how long 'you' can go without food or water, or how 'you' will respond to televised propaganda. The system is now capable of running real time simulation for up to 62 nations including Iraq, Afghanistan, and China. The simulations gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary information such as military intelligence."

Can anyone say "do you want to play a game?"

Slashdot link

Thursday, June 28, 2007

'Hot cloud' theory of Moon formation gets boost

Most astronomers believe that the Moon formed when a Mars-sized object struck Earth. If this is the case, the Moon should contain mainly rock from the impacting body. However, Alex Halliday of the University of Oxford and his colleagues have evidence suggesting that this isn't so. The team studied the ratios of light to heavy isotopes of various elements in rock from the Earth, Moon and meteorites. The Moon's isotopic make-up was identical to Earth's, with no trace of an impacting object. Halliday thinks that the results support a modified giant impact theory. They suggested that the impact of a Mars-sized body first created a hot cloud of rock vapour. This mixed together as it cooled - obliterating any unique isotopic signatures of the impacting body - before forming the Moon.

Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post

Second inflatable spacecraft launched

Bigelow Aerospace has launched its second inflatable space module, Genesis 2. The Genesis 2 module launched from Russia's Yasny Cosmodrome atop a Dnepr launch rocket. Genesis 2 is about 2.5 metres wide and uses essentially the same physical design as its predecessor, Genesis 1, which launched into space on 12 July 2006 and is still in orbit. But Genesis 2 includes extra instruments that will monitor the craft's vital signs and 22 cameras – nine more than flew on Genesis 1. Some of the cameras will take pictures of photographs and other items people paid to send into space aboard the module in a programme called "Fly Your Stuff". The craft also holds a box of animals including cockroaches and scorpions and a machine that will select balls for Bingo games to be webcast on All of this activity and testing is leading up to a module called Sundancer, to launch in 2010, which would be three times the diameter of the Genesis modules and is designed to be able to support a crew of three. In 2012, it hopes to launch a module called the BA 330 that would dock with Sundancer.

Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post

Huge Dust Storm Breaks Out on Mars

A major dust storm has developed on the red planet, blocking sunlight and prompting Mars mission managers to keep a close eye on it. It is not known how large the storm might grow, but already it is thousands of miles across. If it balloons, as dust storms have done in the past, it could hamper operations of NASA's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. For now, officials don't think the storm will threaten rover operations, however. In fact, the windy conditions on the planet have blown off large amounts of dust from the rovers' solar arrays, giving them more power.

thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post

First artificial life 'within months'

Scientists could create the first new form of artificial life within months after a landmark breakthrough in which they took the whole genetic makeup - or genome - of a bacterial cell and transplanted it into a closely related species. The team that carried out the first “species transplant” says it plans within months to do the same thing with a synthetic genome made from scratch in the laboratory. There are many possible uses for custom engineered bacteria. Their hope is to engineer a lifeform that would be able to produce bio-fuels. “We would hope to have the first fuel from synthetic organisms certainly within the decade, possibly within half that time.” said Dr Craig Venter the team's leader.

Firefly & Serenity in space

Hey this is neat! I was reading though the TVSquad blog entries and came across an article that was describing some of the things that astronaut Steven R. Swanson delivered to the ISS on his last shuttle mission. Among other essentials were copies of Firefly and Serenity DVDs!!! Seems Swanson is a die hard fan and just had to have the movies with him. A fan blog reporst that Steven also won over the rest of his shuttle flight astronauts during their 5 hour quarantine before the shuttle Atlantis launched earlier this month.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Diving from space at 2500 mph

Wow, I found this on! This is about as far fetched as you can go! damn!!!

This is about the most extreme sport anyone's ever dreamed up: space diving. A group of space scientists who aren't actually insane aim to give it a try by 2009, jumping from 120,000 feet in a specially designed space suit that looks like a buggy-rollin' getup, but without those silly roller skates. The daredevils hope to develop the technique not only as a sport, but also as a possible escape route for astronauts in low Earth orbit.

click here for complete story

Monday, June 25, 2007

Greg Bear on the Daily Show

Greg Bear, author of one of my favorite science fiction novels, Blood Music, and Darwin's Radio was interviewed on The Daily Show about his new book, Quantico. I have watched the video and it's really very interesting. (fyi I have Quantico in the pile and I will try and get a review to you asap pac)

Click the title to go to the video or click here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

When Computers Attack

Barry just sent this this article by JOHN SCHWARTZ in the New York Times. Its a well thought out piece concerning the looming threat of CbyerWar.

Here is an excerpt, if you would like to read the full article, click the title When Computers Attack

ANYONE who follows technology or military affairs has heard the predictions for more than a decade. Cyberwar is coming. Although the long-announced, long-awaited computer-based conflict has yet to occur, the forecast grows more ominous with every telling: an onslaught is brought by a warring nation, backed by its brains and computing resources; banks and other businesses in the enemy states are destroyed; governments grind to a halt; telephones disconnect.......

A Brave New World for TV? Virtually

From the New York Times

Vincent Tibbett is precisely the sort of well-connected cultural liaison any emerging filmmaker should want to know. But if Mr. Tibbett seems a bit harder to pin down, that’s because he doesn’t exist on our plane of reality. He is an electronic avatar found only in Second Life, the popular online virtual community. Just six months old, Mr. Tibbett is one experiment in the Sundance Channel’s larger exploration of Internet-based virtual reality, And he is not alone. In the last year broadcast networks, cable channels and television content providers have all set up camp in virtual communities, where they hope that viewers who have forsaken television for computer screens might rediscover their programming online.

Thanks to Barry Pretzel for the post

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Pioneer anomaly

Here is something I didn't know....hell didn't even suspect!
Launched in the early 1970s, NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft are drifting out of the solar system in opposite directions, gradually slowing down as the Sun's gravity pulls back on them.

Ok, that is clear enough. Though to be honest, I was under the impression that they were safely on a track and trajectory that would eject them from the Solar System and onward to the great beyond! Common sense now tells me that ummm duh gravity will slow them down some. Well that being said, the spacecraft are indeed slowing down, but the really spooky thing is that they are not slowing down as expected, or for that matter traveling in exactly the direction that was plotted. Something is causing the Pioneer space probes, both of them, to slow in odd and unexpected ways. Very strange. Click the article title for more or

click here for more

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for disrupting my day!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Volunteers sought for Mars test

On the heals of the proposed NASA, Mars simulation in the Artic comes this:
The European Space Agency (Esa) is seeking volunteers for a simulated human trip to Mars, in which six crew spend 17 months in an isolation tank. They will live and work in a series of interlocked modules at a research institute in Moscow. Once the hatches are closed, the crew's only contact with the outside world is a radio link to "Earth" with a realistic delay of many minutes. The goal is to gain insight into human behaviour and group dynamics under the kinds of conditions astronauts would experience on a journey to Mars.

click the title or here for more

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for the post

Identity thieves might just be clueless!

Ahhhh I know, not quite science fiction but it is so weird that I just had to mention it.

Seem some very mischievous person posted some very personal information about a very famous tv star, on a web page that is purported to be run by identity thieves. This information was the person's date of birth and his address. The web page now, as it was reported to me, offers to sell this information along with a social security number and credit card number to the highest bidder.

This information?
birth date 1964
residence 1313 Mocking Bird Lane

and the person's name? Why Herman Munster for sure!

Ah you have got to love the fact that so many of these nefarious folk miss completely our mania for old campy television shows. But hey, I think a MasterCard with Herman's face on it would be cool!

Sci-fi may pull the plug on Dresden Files

According to MICHAEL HINMAN over at Sci-Fi Portal :

The chronicles of Harry Dresden may last just a single season on SciFi Channel.The network was supposed to decide last week whether or not to give "The Dresden Files" a second season. While other show's on SciFi Channel's lineup already have received green lights or not, "Dresden Files" has remained in limbo while the network decides whether its ratings are enough to justify a second season.

(damn....I was wondering what happened to this show...leave it to Sci-fi to kill another show that has some modicum of interest. **pac**)

Antipodean SF's June-July 2007 issue is out!

This month's issue, as usual, is crammed with fantastic flash science fiction, fantasy and horror (spec-fic). You'll find the following ten stories, along with a single fifty-worder by Shaun A. Saunders:

"Barrett And Quinlan In The Woods" by Melanie Atkinson
"The Elder" by Simon Petrie
"Dread Seasons Quartet: Pallid Wisps Of Snow (Winter)" by Shane
Jiraiya Cummings
"On The Edge" by Bill West
"Equal Opportunity" by Shaun A. Saunders
"Chicken Soup" by David Kernot
"The Rape Of Io" by Susan Partridge
"Disintegration" by Tony Williams
"Really Nothing" by Owen Godfrey
"Tagged" by David Such

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Charles Stross: Space Colonization, highly unlikely

Charles Stross, in a resent post in his Charlie's Diary, posits that due to time, distance and energy requirements, humans are at the very least, unlikely to colonize even the local neighborhood, let alone nearby star systems.

Whether you agree or disagree, Charles has some very inventive and interesting thought experiments that really bring the distances and the times it takes to travel even to say Jupiter.

It's well worth the read just for putting the effort into perspective.

Click the article title or here to go to the post

Friday, June 15, 2007

Link to Shaun Saunders new story Equal Opportunity

As you all know, writer Shaun A. Saunders has been with Beam Me Up almost from its' inception. I really enjoy his fiction and feel that we will be seeing great things from him in the very near future. He is a frequent submitter to Antipodean, a blog / magazine centered around "flash" fiction. His recent submission to is now available - I read it, and it's good. Have a look

(ed note Shaun's upcoming anthology is "Navigating the New World" due out shortly......pac)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How do you like your Robot Chicken?

Sunday night (6/17/07) On Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (I know, Turner Broadcasting says its a different network....hummm, well I can sign up for the Cartoon Network but I can't sign up for Adult Swim on my cable...its on the same time, same channel, far as I am concerned, same damn thing! so sue me) we will all be treated to a unique Father's Day special. Thanks to Seth Green and crew of Robot Chicken we will be blasted by all things Star Wars. As all of you know that follow Robot Chicken, Star Wars is a particular favorite whipping horse for the Robot Chicken crew. It all comes to a head starting at 10pm Sunday when at the top of ever hour until 6am the following day, when the new Robot Chicken -Star Wars special will air and at the bottom of each hour, Green and co-producer Senreich will air their favorite episodes. The Star Wars episode is an all new production that will have Mark "Luke Skywalker" and George Lucas playing parts.

New hero next season for Heros

From the SFsignal's blog

is set to gain a new hero next season. Mohinder's sister, complete with an unannounced power. You may remember that Mohinder's mother told him his sister, Shanti, was dead. Did she really die or does death have something to do with the nature of her power, sort of a reverse of Claire's power? The character of Shanti will appear in 8 episodes next season.

Click article title or here for more

New 'space jet' proposed for suborbital jaunts

The European company EADS Astrium said on Wednesday it plans to have a space tourist plane in operation by 2012. The vessel, which EADS plans to start developing in 2008, would provide tourists with a 90-minute suborbital flight, including three minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of more than 100 kilometres, says Francois Auque, president of EADS Astrium. The fare could be "around €150,000 to 200,000 ($199,000-265,000) (Illustration: Marc Newson Ltd/NASA)

Full story link

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for the post

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don Herbert, aka Mr. Wizard, dead at 89

Are you old enough to remember Mr. Wizard on TV? Don Herbert better known as Mr. Wizard taught science on television to kids on the 1951-1964 series Watch Mr. Wizard. I am certain that Mr. Herbert was instrumental in lighting the fire of my imagination that has never gone out. I can remember setting in front of our old Philco Ford 10 inch television monstrosity that my mother would beat into submission frequently and watch Mr. Wizard do amazing things with ordinary every day objects! I would be dishonest if I said that I could remember exact episodes, but I can remember the absolute amazement at his antics. I can say with absolute certainty that my fascination with how things work can be traced right back to those flickering b&w images. Thank you Mr. Wizard.

Don Herbert died of bone cancer Tuesday June 11th 2007 to drop fiction archive

I found this note on Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing blog. Here is a section of the quote:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Public donates to UW scientist to fund backward-in-time research

John Cramer - A University of Washington is studying quantum retrocausality or more precisely the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. It is well known that Einstein did not like quantum theory. He considered it too much "spooky action at a distance". Cramer is looking into a part of the paradox called "entanglement" and "non-local communication. Einstein was uncomfortable with this particular portion of quantum theory because it seemed to break the speed of light law. Cramer suggests that this might not be the case, but instead the particles may travel backwards in time. This is the area of his research that he is asking the public to fund, which, surprisingly, they are!

Click here for the complete story

Monday, June 11, 2007

Battlestar movie hinges on original creator

Whilst perusing the TVSquad Blog I came across some interesting BSG news:

According to the film site, IESB, the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica would really like to do a movie. Only, it's not up to them. It's not even up to NBC/Universal. The permission for doing a movie must first come from the original series creator, Glen Larson. IESB says Larson hasn't been thrilled with the current adaptation of Battlestar Galactica, so getting his permission to make a movie might be really, really difficult. Apparently he has already made things slightly difficult for the current run of BSG. BSG producer David Eick mentions that he has "extended an olive branch" to Larson.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface

A new analysis of pictures taken by the exploration rover Opportunity reveals what appear to be small ponds of liquid water on the surface of Mars. The report identifies specific spots that appear to have contained liquid water two years ago, when Opportunity was exploring a crater called Endurance. If confirmed, the existence of such ponds would significantly boost the odds that living organisms could survive on or near the surface of Mars. The imaging shows that the areas occupy the lowest parts of the terrain. They also appear transparent: some features, which Levin says may be submerged rocks or pebbles, can be seen below the plane of the smooth surface.

image by Ron Levin

Friday, June 08, 2007

Its Official - Jericho gets a reprieve from CBS

According to ETonline:

NINA TASSLER, President of CBS Entertainment, has issued the following statement to fans of "Jericho": "Over the past few weeks, you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a primetime television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard. As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of 'Jericho' for mid-season next year."

Photo: Cliff Lipson/ CBS

Edward James Olmos: "Blade Runner Failed Because of Harrison Ford"

Wow, I was reading through SFSignal's blog when I came across a link to this bomb shell.

Kevin Kelly writes in Cinematical:

"I had the lucky fortune to attend a Battlestar Galactica event in Los Angeles tonight, but the one explosive shell to come out of it was Edward James Olmos really putting the screws to Harrison Ford over Blade Runner. According to Olmos 'Blade Runner was supposed to have sequels.' Olmos tossed down the gauntlet and then did the fandango on top of it by telling us all, 'Blade Runner failed because of Harrison Ford.' He went on to explain that since Harrison's fans had seen him in the Star Wars movies, and as Indiana Jones, they'd come to expect a certain type of performance from him. When they saw him in Blade Runner in a role that 'required him to think a lot, his fans threw up all over it.' "

click here to go to the Cinematical link

Great OP-ED Philip K. Dick piece in the NYT

I won't copy over the text from the NYT, but if you would really like to read a well written op/ed write up on Philip K. Dick, click over to the site on the New York Times and check out this little jem. I really enjoyed it. (pac)

Thanks to Nelson Cole for the Post

click here for the op/ed piece

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Battlefield 'Bear' robot to rescue fallen soldiers

A remote-controlled robot that will rescue injured or abducted soldiers, without putting the lives of their comrades at risk, is being developed for the US army. The 1.8-metre-tall Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (Bear) will be able to travel over bumpy terrain and squeeze through doorways while carrying an injured soldier in its arms. The prototype Bear torso can lift more than 135 kilograms with one arm, and its developer, Vecna Technologies of College Park, Maryland, is now focusing on improving its two-legged lower body. The robot recently showed how it can climb up and down stairs with a human-size dummy in its arms.

Click here for complete story
Thanks to Shaun Saunders for the post

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Jericho may get a repeal from CBS!!!

From the SyFy Blog:

TV Guide columnist and chief scooper Michael Ausiello is reporting that CBS is close to announcing that the recently-cancelled television show "Jericho" is going to get an eight-episode renewal.

"Multiple sources are telling me that CBS is this close to sealing a deal to bring 'Jericho' back for at least eight episodes, possibly at mid-season," Ausiello said.

Click here or the article title for more

Slingatron shoots stuff into space on the cheap

From the Sci Fi Tech blog:

The problem with putting stuff in space is that it's just so damn expensive; otherwise everybody would be doing it (apart from just governments and eccentric billionaires). Sending a mere pound of material into space these days costs over $10,000 using conventional rockets. Thinking unconventionally, Derek Tidman, president of Advanced Launch Corporation, came up with the Slingatron: a launcher that shoots projectiles into space by spinning them faster and faster until they reach escape velocity and then firing them up into the final frontier.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Robot Scans Ancient Manuscript in 3-D

After a thousand years stuck on a dusty library shelf, the oldest copy of Homer's Iliad is about to go into digital circulation. A team of scholars traveled to a medieval library in Venice to create an ultra-precise 3-D copy of the ancient manuscript -- complete with every wrinkle, rip and imperfection -- using a laser scanner mounted on a robot arm. A high-resolution, 3-D copy of the entire 645-page parchment book, plus a searchable transcription, will be made available online under a Creative Commons license.

click here for complete story

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for post

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Jericho may have a second life?

From the SyFy Portal blog:

Although rumors are persisting that CBS has no intention of bringing back its cancelled post-apocalytic series "Jericho," the series' former showrunner Carol Barbee assured fans late Thursday night that there might be a future for the show elsewhere. "We heard there were some rumors, that some of the [network] affiliates had been talking in Las Vegas," said Barbee.

click here for complete story

Battlestar Galactica's fourth season to be its last!

thanks to SFSignals for the heads up!

According to the LATimes: Battlestar Galactica" will end its run next year after its fourth and final season. According to a high level source at Sci Fi Channel parent company NBC Universal, the show will end after its next 22-episode season, slated to kick off in early 2008. Rumors began circulating this month when two "Battlestar Galactica" stars, Edward James Olmos and Katee Sackhoff, referred to the next season as the show's swan song.

SCI-Fi channel is also now confirming the story.