Monday, July 30, 2007
Plausibility (meaning how likely it would be that, with advances on currently existing technology, such a device could be built)
Coolness (just how well designed, shiny or generally well-appointed the robot appeared to be)
Dangerousness (scoring not only on built-in weaponry, but the robot's eagerness to use it)
Here is some of the more interesting items I pulled from reading the article
Andrew Martin (Bicentennial Man) Andrew's model number is NDR-114. This is thought to be a tribute to Stanley Kubrick, who used the lucky number in several of his films for example A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove.
Preston (A Close Shave) The evil robotic dog is named for director Nick Park's home town
C3-PO (Star Wars ) gets his name from the map grid reference of George Lucas' local Post Office.
Ash (Alien) Ash's 'blood' is mixed water and food colouring. Milk could not used in large quantities as it would have soured under the hot studio lights, although a small amount is used for close-ups of his inner workings - together with a mixture of pasta and marbles.
Robbie the Robot (Forbidden Planet) Robbie had a long career beyond Forbidden Planet, appearing in many popular US TV series such as "The Thin Man", "Lost in Space", "The Twilight Zone", "The Addams Family", "The Love Boat", "Columbo", "Mork and Mindy", and, most recently, "Clueless".
Gort (The Day The Earth Stood Still) The actor inside the seamless suit was Lock Martin, the doorman from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, chosen for his great height., Unfortunately he was not a particularly strong man and had to rely on hidden wires camera dollies, and lightweight dummies to help him in scenes where Gort was called upon to carry a human being.
Swarms of robot spiders (Lost In Space) the robot in the original series did have a (rarely-mentioned) name: in the third-season of the ... TV show it was shown in its packing crate, and the crate was labelled "ONE General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental ROBOT" with the G, U, N, T, E, and all letters in "ROBOT" in red capital letters, while all the other letters were black; suggesting the acronym "GUNTER"
Terminator Series 800/Model 101 (The Terminator) O.J. Simpson was considered for the role of the Terminator, but the producers thought he might be "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer.
Runaway with Gene Simmons was supposed to be the blockbuster for that year but it got slammed but low budget robot movie.....the Terminator
The word Transformer is only used once in the movie...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Three people were killed and three others critically injured on Thursday July 27, 2007 - in an explosion at the California testing facilities operated by commercial spaceflight pioneer Burt Rutan.The blast occurred at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where Scaled Composites, the company formed by Rutan, was testing rocket motor components. Two people were killed instantly in the explosion at 1434 local time and four others were rushed to a local hospital. One of those died following surgery. Rutan was the first person to privately put a crewed space craft into space, collecting the XPrize with the feat.
Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth (a spacewalk). As of September 13, 2006, 158 astronauts had made spacewalks (out of 448 astronauts ever in space). These are some of the most interesting moments in spacewalks history.
Click on the article title or the photo to go to the blog site which contains some fantastic pictures and videos. Enjoy!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Thanks to Shaun A. Saunder for the post
photo by NASA
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
NASA and its international partners may be hard-pressed to keep the space station alive after the planned retirement of the space shuttle in 2010. The US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing on the status of the space shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) on July 24th in Washington, DC, US. After the shuttles retire in 2010, current plans call for other vehicles, such as the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), to pick up some of the slack.
But Tommy Holloway, who retired in 2002 from his position as manager of NASA's space station programme, said he doubts that the commercial vehicles will be ready by the time the shuttles retire, as planned.
thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post
Monday, July 23, 2007
Progress (is being made) ... with a strain of pigs genetically engineered in the hope of addressing chronic shortages of organs and tissues for transplantation. The animals lack the gene responsible for "alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase" (GT)—an enzyme normally present in the pig vascular system. Humans have natural, preformed antibodies to GT, resulting in immediate (acute) rejection of any pig-to-human transplant.
The new series has been conceived to be "a completely separate, third entity," Cooper said "much more so than Atlantis was. Atlantis was much more of a spin-off series of SG-1 and was sort of born out of SG-1."
Cooper said, the idea for Stargate Universe was originally conceived as a stand-alone movie. Also Stargate Universe will not be set in a different era, Cooper confirmed, neither as a prequel nor in the far future of the Stargate program.
CityWatcher.com, a provider of surveillance equipment, attracted little notice itself -- until a year ago, when two of its employees had glass-encapsulated microchips with miniature antennas embedded in their forearms. The "chipping" of two workers with RFIDs -- radio frequency identification tags as long as two grains of rice, as thick as a toothpick -- was merely a way of restricting access to vaults that held sensitive data and images for police departments, a layer of security beyond key cards and clearance codes, the company said. News that Americans had, for the first time, been injected with electronic identifiers to perform their jobs fired up a debate over the proliferation of ever-more-precise tracking technologies and their ability to erode privacy in the digital age.
288 hc pp
Front cover reads On February 1 2003 10 astronauts were orbiting the planet. Seven were headed back to Earth on the Space Shuttle Columbia. They never made it. The 3 men left behind found themselves.... Well you get it.
Chris Jones has given us an in depth description of what life was like aboard the International Space Station in the weeks and months after the shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry. At times the story is poignant . At times it's extremely interesting. And at other times it is frightfully boring. Now your saying, how can any telling of the drama of being marooned in space be, well, boring. Jones has managed that feat....and done it well. Now am I saying that the book is a complete snooze fest? Oh hardly. The book is written in such a way that you feel like there is another seat in the cramped Soyuz tma -1 during a malfunctioning reentry module fires too long, or just beside astronaut Bowersox during an EVA to repair electrical connections. Or for that matter several other instances where Jones has all but sealed you into your own space suit and sent you on your way. The research he put into this book shows all through it and on every page. But for every firey reentry or heart stopping E.V.A. You get several instances of how things taste in space, or run on descriptions of astronaut's experiments and what can be more boring that a hugely descriptive telling of what is boring about being in space.
Plus Jones seaways into various other earlier mission that he uses to fill in knowledge gaps that the reader might have, especially when it comes to the finer points of the inner workings of NASA. Initially this seems like a good idea, however several times the seaways are longer than the section of the book they are meant to shore up. I found myself several times flipping through page after page when unending descriptions became very tedious. All this with the understanding that I am truly a space geek. So with that said, I loved most of this book, but at times Chris Jones has managed to take a truly awe inspiring event and make it mind numbingly boring. Thats not all the time mind you. I was amazed by the make-do attitude of the Russians and the cramped interior of the new Soyuz. This book is filled with so much insider knowledge that Jones must have been right there with them instead of just writing about it. And for that point alone I would recommend the book. However be warned, there are many places in the book that are frightfully hard to get through. Forewarned you should be able to enjoy this book and come away better informed about one of the most tragic moments in space exploration history.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Paul Cole, ‘Beam Me Up’ Science and SF radio show (WRFR 93.3 Maine) and Podcast.
An eminently readable and often hilarious collection of cautionary tales.
Not since reading (and rereading, and rereading) Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God" as a kid have I come across a short story (Curtain Call) with this power.
Sara Bordowitz, Israel.
Saunders' singular style evokes Ray Bradbury and George Orwell, with a generous dash of O. Henry.
Sunni Maravillosa, creator of the pro-freedom culture 'zine Sunni's Salon (http://www.endervidualism.com/salon/) .
Saunders picks targets that matter and hits them with frightening accuracy.
David Southwell Author of a number of best-selling books on conspiracy theories and the nature of organized crime in the twenty-first century.
Another brilliant, funny, satirical, succinct and realistic-while-imaginative work by this contemporary Huxley-Orwell-Asimov. Very entertaining and oh-so-true...
Brian O'Leary, Ph.D., www.brianoleary.com,
for more information, please click here
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the submission
Masi Oka was the only member of the "Heroes" cast to get nominated for his role as Hiro Nakamura. Some of the other nominations were for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor. Other "Heroes" nominations were for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series, Oustanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series, and Oustanding Stunt Coordination, all for "Genesis," while the episode "Five Years Later ..." earned an Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series nod.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For you Claudia Black fans (I know your out there and you know who you are!) Farpoint Media's Slice of SciFi has an excellent interview the the raven bombshell.
Claudia Black has been an actress on great SF television series’ such as the highly acclaimed “Farscape” where she portrayed Aeryn Sun and also in the tele-film “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.” From there she assumed the role Vala Mal Doran on “Stargate-SG-1,”. Claudia is currently shooting two made-for-DVD Stargate films which will continue the series in that format.
Her talents have not been confined to the small screen at all. Black has appeared in the Anne Rice feature film “Queen of the Damned” as Pandora and and in the SF hit movie “Pitch Black” with Vin Diesel.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Shatner has signed up for a new show titled Shatner's Raw Nerve. It will air on the Biography Channel. Shatner will interview celebrity and political guests. The show will run for 13 episodes to start.
Is this science fiction? No Is it science fiction related....? huh? Maybe
You know, after all these years, I like to think of it as my 'semi-sometime' blog entry titled
What the F*bleep* is Will Shatner up to now!
Monday, July 16, 2007
"Fine Tuning" by J. Alan Brown
"Little Green Apples" by Angela Slatter
"Assassin's Sorrow" by Chris Pavey
"Lie Back And Think Of Efficiency" by Meika Loofs Samorzewski
"A Fine Madness" by Shaun A. Saunders
"Egg Sharing" by Julie Bailue
"All For An Orchidaceae" by Andrew Leadbeatter
"Framework" by Rodney J. Smith
"Sweat" by Deven Kivioja
"Yum Yum" by Charles Richard Laing
Fans who still have dart boards with SciFi Channel executives on it might be ready to take those pictures down as the network has announced it is bringing back its cult favorite "Farscape" as a new Web series. No word has been announced on when such a project would be released, or how long each episode would be (or who will star), but SciFi Channel officials said they have ordered a 10-part series based on "Farscape" that will be executive produced by Brian Henson and Robert Halmi Jr. Just like the original series, this Web series will be produced by the Jim Henson Co. and RHI Entertainment.
Well, I am not taking down my pictures yet....but I will stop throwing darts...
Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, wants to change that.
Newman is working on a sleek, advanced suit designed to allow superior mobility when humans eventually reach Mars or return to the moon. Her spandex and nylon BioSuit is not your grandfather's spacesuit--think more Spiderman, less John Glenn.
Photo / Donna Coveney
Mushroom-champing berserkers, hashish-puffing Assassins, the drunkard's hazy courage, Popeye the sailor man after downing a can of spinach, the cowardly lion with his medal; humankind has, for better or worse, sought biological or at least mechanistic ways to instill bravery on the unbrave.
And, just as importantly, ways to RESTORE courage and peace of mind to the war-traumatized and the tortured.
Now, in the July 15 online edition of Nature Neuroscience. A team of MIT scientists report that they may have discovered how to do both of those things. How? In their report A hippocampal Cdk5 pathway regulates extinction of contextual fear (abstract), researchers Farahnaz Sananbenesi, Andre Fischer, Xinyu Wang, Christina Schrick, Rachael Neve, Jelena Radulovic & Li-Huei Tsai explain that reducing the amount of an enzyme named 'cdk5' that is naturally present in the brain's hippocampus region reduces the intensity of traumatic-stress-induced fear, and may actually extinguish it.
Actually in the story, the scientists only report on the fear-reducing quality that decreasing the amt of the enzyme in the hippocampus has on the courage of mice. But of Mice and Men, they, you and I know, there are similarities (viz Algernon)....
TechDigest takes things a bit farther, claiming bluntly that mice without Cdk5 brain enzyme are smarter.
Just as important: What happens when the amount of cdk5 in the brains of mice or people is INCREASED beyond natural levels?
Some interesting possibilities emerge:
(1) Decreasing the amt of cdk5 in the hippocampi of 'normal' non-traumatized persons should create 'chemically courageous' smarter people. Even recklessly so at really low levels. Isn't that the continuum? From not-fear to anti-fear? Maybe suicide bombers have zero cdk5 in their noggins. Hard to test for, though, after the fact.
(2) Increasing the amount of cdk5 present in the hippocampuses of non-traumatized people should _create_ generalized fear and stress in them, that will be related to whatever they are doing when the fear chemically imprints. Hmmm...They must _already_ be putting it in
America's drinking water.
Maybe. Read the article below.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Science Daily — A team of European and American astronomers has announced the discovery of the best evidence yet for the nature of the star systems that explode as type Ia supernovae. The team obtained a unique set of observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope and the Keck I 10-meter telescope in Hawaii. The researchers were able to detect the signature of the material that surrounded the star before it exploded. The evidence strongly supports the scenario in which the explosion occurred in a double-star system where a white dwarf is fed by a red giant.
(Credit: European Southern Observatory)
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The article concerns the argument among scientists that in the words of the late cosmologist Fred Hoyle who called the universe "a put-up job." Or princeton physicist Freeman Dyson (who proposed the Dyson sphere that is a common science fiction theme even today) has suggested that the universe, in some sense, "knew we were coming." British-born cosmologist Paul Davies calls this cosmic fine-tuning the "Goldilocks Enigma." Like the porridge for the three bears, he says the universe is "just right" for life. Many scientists hate this idea -- what's often called "the anthropic principle." They suspect it's a trick to argue for a designer God.
Thanks Nelson, the article is VERY thought provoking. Click on the article title for more
Friday, July 13, 2007
It seems that the head of the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty is telling is to be afraid, be very afraid.
Technology such as cloned part-robot humans used by organised crime gangs pose the greatest future challenge to police, along with online scamming, Keelty says. Mr Keelty said scams had sprung up in online virtual worlds such as Second Life, where people can spend real money via credit cards to buy products such as virtual real estate and gifts.
"Policing that is going to be quite difficult," he said.
Australian and UK police had also noticed a trend of internet pedophiles crossing into real life pedophilia, and were planning a joint operation in developing countries, he said.
"We are watching people in the virtual world convert what they are doing in the virtual world to travel to some of these countries where children are at risk," he said.
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing would like to announce "As Fate Decrees" by Denysé Bridger which arrives August 15th 2007.
Denysé Bridger is an award winning Canadian author whose writing will leave the reader wanting more. She is able to captivate the reader with each page and image as she sets up her main character, Amarantha, on a journey through challenges only found in myths and legends of the ancient Greeks.
ABOUT AS FATE DECREES
The gods of ancient Greece must find a mortal champion to defend their fate.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
*Take a moment to recognize one of those odd historical coincidences that history occasionally *serves up: Today is the anniversary of both Cordwainer Smith’s birth and John W. Campbell’s *death. For those outside sci-fi literature, this date probably goes utterly unnoticed, but it *shouldn’t. These two men literally changed the course of not just science fiction, but history *itself.
As you know Campbell was the editor of the pulp fiction mag Astounding Science Fiction (today known as Analog Science Fiction & Fact) from 1937 until his death on this date in 1971.
and Cordwainer Smith's fiction well was vividly bizarre with an emphasis on psychological distortions and strange devices.
click the title for more
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Launched in 1962, Telstar 1 wast the first satellite designed to transmit telephone and high-speed data communications. It was roughly spherical, was 34.5 inches (880 mm) long, and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg). Its dimensions were limited by what would fit in one of NASA's Delta rockets. Telstar was spin-stabilized, so its outer surface was covered by solar cells in order to always receive some power. The power produced was a relatively tiny 14W. Telstar was equipped with a helical antenna which received microwave signals from a ground station, then amplified and rebroadcast the signal. The broadcasts were made from a series of somewhat directional feed horns distributed around the satellite's "equator". The electronics switched which antenna was active as the satellite rotated. Telstar was placed in an elliptical orbit (completed once every 2 hours and 37 minutes), revolving at a 45 degree angle above the equator. Because of this, its transmission availability for transatlantic signals was only 20 minutes in each orbit. Telstar relayed its first television pictures (of a flag outside its ground station in Andover) on the date of its launch. Almost two weeks later, on July 23, it relayed the first live transatlantic television signal.
Telstar I is still orbiting the Earth even though it permanently broke down seven months after launch.
Thanks Shaun for the math udate...duhhhh!
Friday, July 06, 2007
The search for life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond should include efforts to detect what scientists sometimes refer to as "weird" life -- that is, life with an alternative biochemistry to that of life on Earth -- says a new report from the National Research Council. The committee that wrote the report found that the fundamental requirements for life as we generally know it -- a liquid water biosolvent, carbon-based metabolism, molecular system capable of evolution, and the ability to exchange energy with the environment are not the only ways to support phenomena recognized as life. Presently there is the assumption that alien life would utilize the same biochemical architecture as life on Earth. This means that scientists have artificially limited the scope of their thinking as to where extraterrestrial life might be found.
Aliens vs. Predator - A sequel to the singular Alien vs. Predator.
PROS: Aliens was good. Predator was good.
CONS: The original Alien vs. Predator...not so much.
BOTTOM LINE: I'll pass.
Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She Vampires - Bruce Campbell reprises his role as an elderly Elvis Presley in this sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep.
PROS: I liked Bubba Ho-Tep.
CONS: Nothing as far as I can tell.
BOTTOM LINE: They had me at "Bruce Campbell". At "She Vampires" I was already packing a suitcase and moving into the multiplex.
The Dark Knight - The sequel to Batman Begins.
PROS: It's Batman!
CONS: I really, really must see the first film.
BOTTOM LINE: Sure to be a huge hit. Everyone will rave about it and then I'll wanna go see it. Damn you, fanboys!
Jurassic Park IV - The script is still being written, but you can be sure dinosaurs are involved.
PROS: The return of the CGI dinosaur!
CONS: The return of the CGI dinosaur.
BOTTOM LINE: Meh. Been there, done that.
click the title to go to the comple blog listing or here
Thursday, July 05, 2007
for more information - log to http://www.strangehorizons.com/fund_drives/200707/main.shtml
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The new micro-generator harvests power electromagnetically, exploiting the wobbling of several magnets attached to a millimetre-sized cantilever. It measures just 7.0 millimetres by 7.0 mm by 8.5 mm, and the team behind it say it is the most efficient micro-generator yet developed.
The generator converts 30% of environmental kinetic energy into electrical power, and could keep all sorts of low-power devices running without batteries – particularly when alternatives like solar power are not an option.
(Image: Steve Beeby/University of Southampton)
thanks to Shaun A. Saunders for the post
While the idea makes for great fiction, some scientists now say traveling to the past is impossible. There are a handful of scenarios that theorists have suggested for how one might travel to the past, said Brian Greene, author of the bestseller, "The Elegant Universe" and a physicist at Columbia University. "And almost all of them, if you look at them closely, brush up right at the edge of physics as we understand it. Most of us think that almost all of them can be ruled out."
Click story title for more or here
SF and fantasy writer Fred Saberhagen died June 29, 2007, at the age of 77. He began publishing in 1961 with short stories in Galaxy and If magazines, and published collection Berserker in 1967, first in a series about interstellar killing machines programmed to destroy all life. Saberhagen's 60+ books also included the Empire of the East sequence, beginning with The Broken Lands (1968), the Dracula sequence, beginning with The Dracula Tape (1975), and two books co-written with Roger Zelazny, Coils (1981) and The Black Throne (1990). His last book was Ardneh's Sword (Tor, 2006).
• The family will announce a date for a Memorial Celebration later this year.� Donations would be appreciated to Doctors without Borders, Catholic Relief, SFWA Emergency Medical Fund, and John 23rd Catholic Church in Albuquerque.
Photo by Scott Edelman)
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Ron's comments about Quantico (shorter version of our conversation about this book on the podcast : 59 www.beameup.podomatic.com)
Paul, I enjoyed yakking away today about Quantico by Greg Bear. I couldn't call it my review so much as my impressionist rant. The Thinking Man's Tom Clancy, I recollect saying. Quantico is a good read for those (like me) that like that sort of near future action adventure.
True to that genre, coincidences pile up, major characters survive unsurvivable crashes and explosions, and murderer-wannabes are thwarted by a sudden need to declaim at length to helpless prisoner Rebbecca before delivering the lethal stroke, giving the cavalry time to come to the rescue.
But those are practically de rigeur for the AA genre. Bear's futurist equipage for the large cast of characters is entirely believable or at least suspension-of-believable: the neo-blackeberry 'slates', the mini-UAV 'midges' ; characters on the whole believable; the Arab-bashing is within present-day American norms--though Bear is fairly merciless in Quantico to middle easterners of all types.
I liked the meeting of the protagonists and supporting characters with Madame President. It powerfully depicts the personality stresses of such a gathering.
As Chief Villain, Lawrence Winter was rather interesting - starting off as your basic merciless amoral maniac, then going through a sort of flowers-for-Algernon decline and fall into final irrelevancy for his hubris.
I look forward to reading more of Greg Bear's works.