Sunday, August 31, 2008

Variant Frequencies wins Parsec Award

For the third year in a row, Variant Frequencies has won a Parsec Award. The year VF won the parsec Best Magazine or Anthology Podcast category.

<- Variant Frequencies ->

"Weirdness" at Eureka

I was reading over on IO9 about the first half season or so of the Sci-fi channels Eureka which read really good about the addition of a corporate mystery woman and the passing of Nathan Stark.

It's worth a read on many levels. But then the weirdness started rolling in. First off it seems the sheriff's home computer SARAH has a twitter site. This message was posted there recently:
Security sensors have detected an alert concerning a Mary Perkins. If you have information regarding her whereabouts, call
202-640-3864. On the Eureka unscripted site you see this message, which is very similar: Have information on her whereabouts? Call us at 202-640-3864.

The phone number works, seems to be hooked to a "cell phone message". You should record it, because it almost incomprehensible. However if you don't have that capability, you can go to this Eureka discussion group and there is a LINK to the recorded file and more talk. There seems to be some speculation that there might be an Eureka ARG (alternate reality game) in the wind.

It working on generating buzz for the program and I think it is working. To bad Sci-fi didn't put more of this effort onto some of the other equally good offerings.

Mccain's a Cylon?!!!

I was looking through the thoroughly politically incorrect blog IO9 and saw this picture, (well actually it was part of a larger pic that show his running mate as well) and I instantly though is there something Mr. McCain would like to tell up at this point? Its funny but it also means that he doesn't need much for a Halloween costume...So what do you think...has the BSG group arrived ? lol

<- more ->

Friday, August 29, 2008

Humans have x-ray eyes!

I was one of those kids that dreamed what it would be like to be Super Man. Flying was the big thing, but that x-ray vision, well that had it charm, if you know what I mean. Well with the advent of personal flying devices of one type or another the flying thing has kinda lost it's shine, but there was always the vision thing. So you can imagine that I was drawn to an article in Science Daily that make a case that two forward facing eyes that one had thought were for 3d vision are in fact evolved for x-ray vision. Now I can hear you saying....I ain't got no x-ray eyes....ahh, but if we look at how your eyes work they you will understand. As the article points out forward facing eyes evolved because of a busy or cluttered environment. Not only was it important to see how far away something was but also what existed around and behind obstructions. So our eyes and brains evolved to literally see "through" obstructions. As the article describes:
  • Demonstrating our X-ray ability is fairly simple: hold a pen vertically and look at something far beyond it. If you first close one eye, and then the other, you'll see that in each case the pen blocks your view. If you open both eyes, however, you can see through the pen to the world behind it.
TADA! another step closer to superman!

<- more ->

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"New" webisodes Lonelygirl15 & The Resistance

Last week seemed like where ever we looked there was another webisode coming online (Gemini Division, Venus Rises) This week there is talk of another and one that started this spring that I never heard of. First, Lets talk some weirdness. Gemini Division was hyped hard and now a week later, when there are a couple more episodes listed, you can't view a single video on their site. Venus Rises seems to still function but only list one episode which was billed as a back fill episode to fill in some missing information. I think the people over at Venus Rises made a serious mistake releasing any episode information this early. When the average person looks at a web site for about 22 seconds, a few days or weeks waiting for new material is an eternity. On the other hand, having a website with every video not available is even more of a disaster. So right now it appears as both of those are still born.

Now I hear about a project started the first of this year called 2009: A True Story. A YouTube project supposedly about lonelygirl15 who is recording the end of the world that happened on April 11, 2008. All through the "eyes" of 18-year-old Sarah Ford who sets out for California to be closer to where her brother is stationed. The youtube series is made up of 13 episodes tracking both Sarah's journey out of the military madness of LA and into the Mojave, and her brother Adam's helmet cam. Now it seems the producers of Lonelygirl15, are about to launch a new scifi web series tracing the steps of The Resistance, which is a rebel group of citizens... who just happen to be made up of actors from the old Lonelygirl15 series. The Resistance series starts September 20th 2008 so you should be able to pick up quite a bit from the site.

<- lg15:The resistance at IO9 ->

New Fall Science Fciton TV Programs

From the sf/fantasy blog what's on tap for Fall 2008 in sci-fi and fantasy TV.
  1. Fringe: Premiere: Sept. 9. Airs: Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox. Described as a cross between The X-Files, Altered States, and The Twilight Zone. Called in to investigate the grisly flesh-eating bacteria deaths of everyone aboard an arriving flight, the main character Olivia, is forced to investigate the "fringe" sciences and soon suspects that the airplane deaths were just a part of a larger, sinister secret.
  2. Knight Rider: Premiere: Sept. 24. Airs: Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. Mike Tracer, a 23-year-old ex-Army Ranger becomes the driver of the AI-fitted car, KITT. The news series is trying everything it can to distance itself from the 1980s campy series of the same name and has been reinvented as an action series showcasing the new KITT, which NBC touts as "absolutely the coolest car ever created."
  3. Life on Mars: Premiere: Oct. 9. Airs: Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC: After a car crash, a cop suddenly finds himself in 1973, causing numerous clashes with the 70s cops as he tried to keep doing his job.
  4. Sanctuary: Premiere: Oct. 3. Airs: Fridays at 9 p.m. on Sci Fi. Sanctuary started life as eight independently produced webisodes created by Damian Kindler. The Victoran-era-set Sanctuary stars Stargate veteran Amanda Tapping as Dr. Helen Magnus, whose father introduced her to the study of strange and magical beings on Earth. Aiding her are psychiatrist Will Zimmerman, her ex-lover John Druitt, who's from the far future who also has the ability to manipulate spacetime and teleport.
  5. True Blood: Premiere: Sept. 7. Airs: Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. Anna Paquin stars as a telepathic waitress in this fast paced vampire drama. The show's name comes from the vampires all drink a Japanese synthetic blood mixture called Tru Blood. Some of the tension comes when Anna's character becomes involved with 173-year-old Bill which doesn't please either the mortal or vampire communities.
<- more about new and returning programs ->

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nimoy Narrates Dawn Video

Does anything more need be said? Nasa has produced a beautiful new, thirteen minute long, video about the asteroid belt and Dawn's mission to visit Vesta (in 2011) and Ceres (in 2015), the two largest objects in the belt. I'm much more excited about Ceres, but both asteroids should provide good science.

<Dawn's Homepage>

Mayan Underworld Found.

Archeologists in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula have discovered an impressive labyrinth of fourteen caves, filled with pyramids and stone temples. This discovery has led archeologists to wonder if a Mayan myth may have inspired this labyrinth or if it may have inspired the myth. Though, William Saturno, a Boston University expert on the Mayais fairly certain that the maze of temples was built after the story.

What is clear is that the Maya used them for elaborate rituals including, unfortunately, human sacrifice. All linked to a myth that the souls of the dead must follow a dog through darkness "on a horrific and watery path and endure myriad challenges before they could rest in the afterlife."

While archeology doesn't seem the most natural science to link to SF, countless great SF stories have dealt with archeology and myth. Delany's classic Ballad of Beta 2 comes to mind.

<National Geographic article on the discovery>

First Robot on Robot Combat Kill

Here is another "It was bound to happen sooner or later" From Gizmodo the first combat related autonomous machine kill of another robotic device. A week ago in Iraq, a MQ-9 Reaper killed a remote controlled vehicle carrying a bomb. The MQ-9 destroyed a RC car using a laser-guided 500-pound GBU-12 bomb in southeast Iraq. It was the first recorded incident where the UAV searched for, found, fixed, targeted and destroyed another autonomous/robotic threat.

Aussie has answer to save Earth from asteroid attack - Plastic Wrap

In all seriousness, a PhD student with the University of Queensland's School of Engineering has won top prize in an international competition for a very unusual idea for protecting the Earth from collisions with asteroids. The plan would require wrapping an asteroid with reflective sheeting. The proposal involves using enhanced solar radiation pressure to move the threatening asteroid off course by wrapping it with reflective Mylar film. This is the same material that is already used on satellites to control temperatures. The film would be in the shape of miles long ribbons that would be carried to the asteroid by a satellite. The asteroid's own revolutions would be utilized to take up the film carried by the satellite, with the aim of covering about half of the body. This would change the characteristics of the asteroid enough to push it by solar pressure to a different orbit.
<- complete The Register article ->
submitted by Shaun A. Saunders

Mexicans get chipped over kidnapping fears.

This is how it begins. An incident is capitalized on and the government and big business preys on fear to inroad personal liberties as well as marketing worthless technologies. In this article, submitted by Shaun Saunders, he notes: Mallcity 14 nonsense and hysteria...(i.e., using fear to sell) . From NewScientist Tech, Affluent Mexicans worried by soaring kidnapping rates are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin. Kidnapping jumped almost 40% between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico, (which) ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as one of the worst countries for abductions. Detractors say that the chip is little more than a gimmick that serves no real security purpose. The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients' bodies .... A transmitter in the chip communicates with a larger GPS-enabled device carried by the client... That gadget reports its location to the company when the owner presses a panic button, something the device could arguably do without an under-skin chip. Consumer privacy activists (says) the chip is a flashy, overpriced gadget that only identifies a person and cannot locate someone without another, bigger GPS. Combined the devices "offer them a false sense of security which is exactly what this is," says consumer activists.
<- NewScientist Tech ->

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mars 2020: Springtime

I just couldn't resist this short. A cute piece of animation that shows Mars' surface in the near future. As more and more robotic craft are add, the neighborhood becomes a bit chaotic. It really is very funny.

<- via The daily Galaxy ->

Terry Gilliam The Wrong Door on the BBC

The BBC has probably committed one of its worse mistakes to date - that being giving Monty Python alumi Terry Gilliam access to the airwaves for an absolutely insane romp reminiscent of Robot Chicken, which he calls "The Wrong Door". And it's ever so wrong. Below is an example of the insanity: envisioning what would happen if your desk-top took one slap too many. There is another very funny clip on the Gimodo blog. You can still see the core genius that drove so many of the Monty Python skits in these shorts.

<- The Wrong Door via Gizmodo ->

Cher could be the next Cat Woman?!

Though I loathe to put anything Batman in the category of science fiction (come on, he is a rich vigilante, who has a lot of cool stuff) when there is sufficient enough weirdness, I can't resist. Christopher Nolan is the director of the next installment of the series with a working title of "The Caped Crusader". And according to Mike Hineman writing for SyFyPortal, Nolan is considering Cher for the part of Cat Woman.
  • "Cher is Nolan's first choice to play Catwoman," a studio executive reportedly told the British newspaper. "He wants to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years. The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry's ( portrayals)
At the risk of sounding "catty" Cher will need more than flying wires to keep her off the ground.

<- syfy portal ->

A representative for Warner Brothers said all the talk about Cher slipping on the leather onesie is just a big fat rumor. Ok, the nightmare is over, we can now carry on with our lives!
<- Showbizspy via IO9 ->

Beware The Blob!

What happens when you combine surf music with science fiction? Why the Blog theme song that's what! From the 1958 cult favorite.

Thanks to SF Signals for this great cut! Steve McQueen must roll over in his grave whenever this is played....

Ray Bradbury Receives Grand Master Poet Award

On Saturday, officers of the Science Fiction Poetry Association presented Ray Bradbury with the 2008 Grand Master Poet Award as part of his 88th birthday celebration.

Read S.F.P.A.'s Stephen M. Wilson's comments on Bradbury's career and accomplishments which everyone agrees, a Grand Master award was long over due.

<- Wilson's comments on the SFPA official site ->

<- Deborah P Kolodji - Poetry Scrapbook via Science Fiction Award Watch ->

Photo by
Jim Woods

Escape Velocity Latest Issue on hold

Online magazine Escape Velocity from Adventure Books has made the startling move of putting issue 4 on permanent hold. According to the website: The first three episodes sold poorly which Adventure Books theorizes that their previous publisher to be a major part of the problem. At present Adventure Books is re-editing their books and moving to a different distributor/printer, Lightning Source.

Robert Blevins says he truly regrets putting issue 4 on hold and hopes the switch to the new publisher will allow them to continue with future issues.

I really think this inventive magazine merits support. If you would
like more information log onto Escape Velocity Magazine.

<- read complete release from EV ->

'Stupid' Neanderthals A Myth

A new Science Daily article reports that American and UK researchers have brought new evidence to light that crushes a long held belief that Neanderthals went extinct because they could not compete with Homo-Sapiens in areas requiring intelligence. For 60 years it had been a commonly held belief that in the area of tool making, homo-sapiens outstripped and out performed those of neanderthals. Researchers spent three years producing stone tools. Archaeologists often use the development of stone blades and their assumed efficiency as proof of Homo sapiens' superior intellect. Yet when scientists compared the type of blades created by homo-sapiens to those of the neanderthal they found that there were no fundamental difference in efficiency and effectiveness in either tool types. In fact, their findings showed that in some respects the flakes favoured by Neanderthals were more efficient than the blades adopted by Homo sapiens. Far from clearing up the mystery of why the neanderthal became extint, it now has deepened it. It has been shown that neanderthal was equal in hunting, had no real disadvantage in communicating and now in some cases, superiour tools.

<- read more of the science daily article ->

graphic via Rhagor

Monday, August 25, 2008

Atmospheric "Gravity" waves

Intelectually we know that the atmosphere is a fluid. In wind we can feel it acting in this nature, but seeing large structures moving in a fluidic nature, are not often possible. An Atmospheric "Gravity" wave is a manifestation of ripples in the air mass as opposed to the air column which is more what thunder storms, tornadoes and hurricanes do. Under the right conditions, these waves can be observed. From the Berkley Edu site:
  • Gravity waves are the oscillations of air parcels by the lifting force of bouyancy and the restoring force of gravity. These waves propagate vertically as well as horizontally, and actively transport energy and momentum from the troposphere to the middle and upper atmosphere. Gravity waves are caused by a variety of sources, including the passage of wind across terrestrial landforms, interaction at the velocity shear of the polar jet stream and radiation incident from space. They are found to affect atmospheric tides in the middle atmosphere and terrestrial weather in the lower atmosphere.
And your asking, how is this science fiction related. As I have been saying all along, good science fiction is based in good science and the observation of how the natural order of things work. Seeing this video, you can almost imaging extrapolating it into an alien environment with a heavy atmosphere, plus a whole order of other strangeness.

Click on the play button to see an effect that I suspect that you have never observed. Its quite facinating.

Thanks to Kim Komando's video of the day

<- Berkley site on Gravity waves ->

Sunday, August 24, 2008

RC 1701-d yep, you heard correctly!

Oh kiddies, tell me with a straight face that you DON'T want one of these sweet rc fliers.

not cheap, but not expensive....available in 2009 All I want to know is who is going to be stand up enough to pre-order my Christmas present!

Why did HAL sing Daisy at the end of 2001?

Do weird questions like that bug you? Yeah me to. I am constantly wondering why certain songs, or landmarks or lighting is done one way and not another. The funny thing is I never quite made the connection to why H.A.L. sang Daisy at the end of 2001 while he was being shut down block by block. It was far more poignant than in 2010 when he asked "will I dream?" At the time I read the book, I don't think I was aware of it, but later I had heard that the very first song that a computer ever sang was Daisy Daisy, but for some reason I never saw the homage Kubrick was paying to those early computer pioneers. Here is the 2001 and the original.

<- Via SF Signal ->

Four Reasons Not to Give Up on Interstellar Travel

Ahhh I knew someone else would jump at this. When rocket scientists recently concluded that humanity would never reach the stars, the comments started a firestorm of comments on this blog.( earlier article Man will never reach the stars ) Now IO9 lists four reason not to give up on the stars just yet:
  1. We are likely to develop new propulsion methods.
  2. Humans could figure out ways to endure long space journeys.
  3. Earth is not the only source of fuel.
  4. We may yet discover a way to achieve faster-than-light travel.
The IO9 article makes a good point on each number and follows our earlier discussion. It's still worth the read though. Check it out HERE

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who owns the moon?

Cutting Edge asks a question that is hardly new, but in an age where not just the United States but many government and Google driven private concerns are actively seeking to return and set up a more permanent really does have to ask, what are your or my rights when we get there and plan on staying. Ownership is different from property rights. People who rent apartments, for example, don't own where they live, but they still hold rights. At present it has been agreed upon that everyone OWNS the moon and no one does. But if industry and other activities are going to get started, these efforts are going to have to be able to protect their rights of property. Should be an interesting the Chinese would say.

<- cnet news Cutting edge article ->

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stargate: Atlantis' Canceled

Wayne Hall writing in the SyFy Portal blog is reporting something that should not surprise anyone that has been watching the Sci Fi Channel any time at all: At the end of Atlantis' fifth season which ends in January of 2009, it will end it's weekly run. This all takes place after word that the first several episodes of the fifth season have attracted more viewers, doubling the fans between the ages of 18 and 49, according to a new Turner Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. There is some speculation about movies and direct to DVD material, but honestly that hardly makes up for what is proving to be a pattern for Sci-fi "if its science fiction, if its popular, cancel it, put in a reality show and more wraslin"

<- more ->

****update*** Mark Wilson's Sci Fi/Fantasy blog puts the final nail in the StarGate universe coffin. Mark reports that
Joseph Mallozzi, one of the show-runners for Stargate Atlantis, has confirmed in his blog that the show's currently airing fifth season will be its last.

<- more from Mark Wilson ->

Science Fiction Inspired Song Site

Here is a deceptively simple idea. Read a great science fiction book and then write a really good song inspired by that book. If your like me, not something you would undertake lightly, but blogger John Anealio seems to do it with ease. He writes in his blog Sci Fi Songs:
  • I'm a professional educator, as well as an avid singer/songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. Sci-Fi Songs is an attempt to merge my passion for music with my love of sci-fi/fantasy literature and art.
As a Philip K. Dick fan, I was drawn to his song Rachel Rosen which was inspired by Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The song is from Deckard's point of view. (if you click on the song title you can listen to the song) Plus it's not bad!

Thanks to SF Signal for the heads up

Motion Capture pwned by Image Matrix

In this film, Emily describes the present state of the arts for motion graphics called "motion capture" which relies on special cameras, actors and markers on the face and body to accurately capture the nuances of the actors movements and emotions. With Image Matrix, graphic motion is taken to a whole new level, requiring none of the special equipment of MC. Emily is a very well informed rep. Very knowledgeable, excellent at describing the new equipment and its benefits in a glib and humorous manner. On and one more thing. Emily is not real. Oh well, she was once. Actress Emily O’Brien provided Image Metrics ( with 35 facial poses in front of a pair of digital cameras. After that it was up to techs, software and hardware. Check out this very convincing demonstration of Image Matrix's animators.

ESA - Rosetta Nears Asteroid Fly-by

Overshadowed by more glamorous missions to Venus, Mars, Saturn, etc., the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission approaches a scientifically interesting fly-by of asteroid 2867 Steins. The closest approach will occur on September fifth.

ESA just released this tracking image from Rosetta which shows Stein's relative movement.

"Rosetta spacecraft will be the first to undertake the long-term exploration of a comet at close quarters ... entering orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, the spacecraft will release a small lander onto the icy nucleus, then spend the next two years orbiting the comet as it heads towards the Sun"

This asteroid fly-by is just a cool bonus to Rosetta's main mission but is interesting nonetheless. (Now if I could just get that darn Alice Cooper song out of my head).

More information on this fly-by and Rosetta in general is available at its homepage linked below.

<ESA Rosetta Homepage>

Gemini Division Online Webisodes from NBC/Sci-Fi

Gemini Division is a new online Science Fiction available in bite sized (approximately six minutes) webisodes from the sci-fi channel and NBC. Two are currently available.

Set 5 minutes into the future: Anna witnesses her boyfriend Nick's gruesome murder... Determined to bring the people responsible to justice, Anna discovers Nick was not the man she thought - in fact, he wasn't a man at all. Nick Korda was a "Simulant" - a bio-engineered life form - connected to a global conspiracy involving covert military operations, bizarre genetic experiments... and a mysterious organization known as GEMINI DIVISION.

<- Main page ->

We are kind of split on this. I found the listing on QuasarDragon and Wolfkahn had this to say
  • I wasn't too impressed by the series so far . It seems half Blade Runner, half really bad soap opera. However, as an early web SF series, it could pave the way for better low budget SF. It's free and the episodes are short so it is definitely worth a watch. If anybody has an opinion about the show please feel free to comment.
The look and feel, well he might be on to something there, but after seeing some of what others were offering...(earlier listing...) I can clearly see the production values shine here. There really isn't anything new here, maybe the way the show sets itself up with conversations through a video cell phone. Anyway, I am will to say, give it a go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rocket Scientists Say We'll Never Reach the Stars

Ouch! I like to think that humanity's future lies among the stars. Sadly for us, rocket propulsion experts now say we may never even get out of the Solar System. At a recent conference, rocket scientists analyzed many of the designs for advanced propulsion that others have proposed for interstellar travel. The calculations show that, even using the most theoretical of technologies, reaching the nearest star in a human lifetime is nearly impossible. The major problem is that propulsion requires large amounts of both time and fuel. For instance, using the best rocket engines Earth currently has to offer, it would take 50,000 years to travel the 4.3 light years to Alpha Centauri, our solar system's nearest neighbor. Even the most theoretically efficient type of propulsion, an imaginary engine powered by antimatter, would still require decades to reach Alpha Centauri. And then there's the issue of fuel. It would take at least the current energy output of the entire world to send a probe to the nearest star, at the very least. More likely it would be as much as 100 times that.

Man that's bleak! But there is more! Read the Wired article.

How long could you survive in a vacuum?

In the long list of thing you might want to know about things you might never have happen...
How long could you survive in a vacuum? These are my results... I tried to see how bad I could skew them down, but I knew a few tricks about how to best survive a catastrophic loss of cabin pressure.

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?

<- take the test ->

Astronomers Find Very Unusual Solar System Minor Planet

Over two billion miles from Earth, inside the orbit of the planet Neptune, a lump of ice and rock is beginning the return leg of a 22,500-year journey to the inner system. Of course "inner system" as it applies to 2006 SQ372, is a relative thing. At it's closest approach to the sun it will be 150 billion miles out, nearly 1,600 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. So many things are unusual about SQ372. The major planets in the solar system have circular orbits. However SQ372's orbit is four times longer than it is wide. The only known object with a comparable orbit is Sedna -- a Pluto-like dwarf planet. But 2006 SQ372's orbit takes it more than one-and-a-half times further from the Sun, and its orbital period is nearly twice as long. SQ372 is also small, 30-60 miles, making it for all intents a comet, thought one that never gets close enough to develop a tail. That SQ372 is here at all is causing some head scratching. Comets come from the Ortt cloud which contains objects ejected from the inner system. The Ortt objects resides in orbits around the Sun at distances of several trillion miles. However even at its most distant turning point, SQ372 will be ten times closer to the Sun than the main body of the Oort Cloud. Some astronomers have suggested an "inner" Ortt cloud, suggesting that Sedna might also belong to that group. One thing seems to be coming to light though. There are likely many more of these smaller icy bodies in the solar system that will be uncovered by the next series of scans with greater sensitivity and covering a wider area.

Venus Rises first webisode Ikarus available

The first episode of science-fiction series "Venus Rises" is now available on vidcast. "Ikarus" is a short film prequel to Venus Rises Series 1. Viewers can watch "Ikarus" Here. The main url for the project is where you can find all sorts of information about the project. This is what I have been able to glean from the website about the series:
  • "Venus Rises" is an independent science-fiction vidcast series by J.G.Birdsall. The year is 2050. Earth was devastated by a chain of cataclysmic events leading to a pandemic collapse of governments. The human race colonize Mars and Venus, narrowly escaping with technology amassed by mega-corporations during Earth's final days. As Venus becomes home to the working class, and Mars the seat of power, two friends enlisted in the Mars Defense Directorate uncover the first signs of civil unrest. Humankind finds itself once again at the crossroads of extinction.
Ok that being said, I have watched it and can now review it. I really have to make a couple of points. The internet and therefor the web is certainly not a new incarnation. In the early day, yes, the whole system was the wild west so to speak, large big name sites were far outweighed by the hobbyist, hacker and scammers. Original material was truly forward thinking and deserved every bit of support that could be garnered. But at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, many parts of the web are getting long in the tooth and for the most part its a pretty staid mall. Major studios and network work in tandem with their web counterparts. In general this gives us choices of high quality entertainment....for the most part. In the past the wildcat producer was constrained by lack of fund, expertise and equipment, but their offerings were balanced of the bleeding edge of tech. Wild cat producers today have pretty much the same constraints, but for a different reason. The expertise is there, the equipment readily available and funds, well considering that the cost per minute for production is vastly lower due to the fact that so much can be produced in the very powerful computer equipment available for pennies...its not as much a major concern as it used to be. If your an independent producer today on the internet, its because you HAVE to or WANT to. But conversely the output does not HAVE to be less than acceptable. Sanctuary shows us that professionally made programming is possible with little more than an actor and a green screen. When I see SanFran invaded by Star Wars on YouTube, produced by a single person with a digital recorder and a working knowledge of digital production and editing....and find it damn good. Or when I see parodies of Tron done with Cardboard for Christ sake and find it wildly entertaining I realize that the internet viewer no longer has to be equated with sub par production. So with Venus Rising I find that what would have been viewed as ground breaking 10 years ago, merely comes off as painfully quaint. Maybe if VR wasn't reaching so high. If it placed itself right in amongst the fan produced Star Trek movies, it certainly would not be out of place. The graphics are on par with a quickly produced video game, The sets are overly dark and poorly lit, the dialog is poorly mixed - overly loud and then inaudibly quiet - which leads me to think the actors were all wearing mics and no boom operator... the dialog has characters thinking out loud to themselves and at times seems to be pervy 13 year olds. One minute drooling over the lone female and next calling off closing distances on a screen. yes, I am afraid I flinched quite a bit.

So... independent content is always of interest so go check it out. Don't go in expecting too much and you probably will have an entertaining few minutes.

10 Best Science Fiction Planets

Shaun Saunders sends in an article from Discovery magazine that I found fascinating. How often do you stop to think about the different worlds that occupy the pages of the stories and novels you read. Well, there is a reason you don't. Most of the worlds are so generic that they don't even warrant more consideration. As the author of this article writes:
  • These planets are usually convenient celestial bodies upon which to pitch a narrative tent for a few scenes before the plot moves on. Generic planets also tend to be one-note, reflecting some particular environment on Earth. You have your ice-worlds, desert worlds, lava worlds, jungle worlds, water worlds, city worlds, forest worlds, earthquake worlds, and so on.
And if you think about it, well - that's pretty dead on. But every now and then someone fills in the blanks so to speak and gives us a world that would as the author puts it:
  • a world that feels like it could happily go on existing on its own terms, with or without a protagonist or antagonist strolling around on its surface.
  1. Solaris: Stanislaw Lem’s conception of a world so utterly alien that it defies any genuine human comprehension still resonates.
  2. Dune: Frank Herbert created a complete ecosytem, deep geological history, and a complex native society to go with his sand covered planet.
  3. Annares: Ursula LeGuin’s novel The Dispossessed featured two worlds, a more-or-less straightforward analog for cold-war era Earth, and the far more interesting Annares, where settlers established an anarcho-syndicate-based society in a bid to be free from authoritarian government.
  4. Mote Prime: Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye, this is the homeworld of the Moties, a species that, due to cosmic happenstance, has been bottled up in its solar system ever since it evolved.
  5. LV-426: The dread planet that featured briefly in Alien, and was the location for 1986’s Aliens.
  6. Dagobah: From the Star Wars planet making machine Dagobah sticks out for its organic messiness and claustrophobic atmosphere.
  7. Lusitania: The setting of Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead.
  8. Red, Green and Blue Mars: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. Beginning in the near future, with the founding of the first permanent outpost on the red planet, and continuing for two centuries as Mars is terraformed.
  9. P2: a world orbiting the nearby Barnard’s star, and it is settled by fantastically advanced exiles from the solar system in Wil McCarthy’s Lost in Transmission.
  10. Nasqueron: A gas giant, home of the maddeningly unconcerned Dwellers, and location of much of Iain M. Banks’ The Algebraist.

Now if you were like me, you read down through the list and said "Oh Yeah!" because you remember the yarn and then the world. A few were instantly recognizable, a few were jogged by the article and then well a few just would not have made my cut. For me, some were movie I never thought of the Alien world...which is certainly a good choice for the list...but then the same thing happened with Dagobah, I don't think it would have ever made my initial list. For me Dagobah is exactly what this article started with. A world that is merely a place for the characters to interact. Dune is an excellent choice because it worked well in both venues. I would have put Hyperion on the list though and ummm PERN?! Any others? Maybe we could start our own list!

<- more at Discover ->

Topless Robots reviews Clone Wars

I have been seeing trailers for this film for some time and I have to be honest, I could not figure out what all the fuss was about. Knowing full well that trailers try to put the movie's best "foot forward" my reaction was....OMG this movie is terrible! So I wasn't terribly surprised when the Topless Robot blog more than echoed my sentiments. They write:
  • The short version: it could have been worse. Not a ton worse, but certainly there was more room for awfulness. However, I can wholeheartedly recommend you simply wait until the movie airs as the first three TV episodes—not only will you save the money, there’s a decent chance you’ll enjoy it more.
I would hit the article for a really more in depth write up which quite frankly are quite frank! lol

<- more Clone Wars review ->

Monday, August 18, 2008

LHC rap!

It me, DJ Pacman layin this track down for ya. Oh yes, a rap video about the LHC. Good stuff from the TechRepublic blog:

yeah, I saw you...head a bobbin...can't fool me. The track might be fly but the video? lol well it IS the LHC

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home Made Movie Short of Star Wars Tech in SF

Now here is something cool. Completely home made video, keep telling yourself when you see this. and never again take "UFO" movies at face value. The person who made this short writes:
  • "(I) shot everything on my junkie DV camera, did motion-tracking and comping in After Effects, and basic sound design in Final Cut."
Shot in and around SF with recognizable Star Wars machines and craft. I love it!

Robert Picardo talks to IO9 about Atlantis

This article in IO9 does a good job of putting a good light on Stargate Atlantis' newest addition, Robert Picardo. Picardo replaces Amanda Tapping who is going on to play lead in the SF Channel's newest show Sanctuary. In the article, we get to see what changes are in store for Pcardo's character Richard Woolsey as well as his earlier work on Star Trek Voyager as the Doctor. Included are the original videos of the interview as well as the text of the meeting. I think you will find it as informative as I did.

<- more ->

Antipodean SF #123 is online!

Editor of AntipodeanSF, Nuke, has sent out the TOC for the newest issue #123. Looks like a good crop.
Our stories this month are:

"Fahrenheit 41" by Simon Petrie

"Now You See Me" by Brent Lillie

"Oracle" by Daniel S S Santos

"Saving Time in the Sunshine State" by Glenn Davies

"The Luckpot" by Shaun A. Saunders

"The Empty Swing" by Richard Ridyard

"The Mage and I: You Bore Me" by Wes Parish

"KSDH 12" by Steve Duffy

"Waste Disposal" by Trost

"The Reaction" by David Schembri

Friday, August 15, 2008

How to clone yourself.... would I kid you?

Here is the cure for the summertime times 2! A way not serious look at - well - what... you expected something serious?!

A Human Clone! - video powered by Metacafe

Cassini Pinpoints Source Of Jets On Saturn's Moon Enceladus

It's no secret that I am a big Cassini fan. Every picture from this craft extends our knowledge base of the Saturn. Truth be told though, the vast majority of people disregard the shear distance and technological wizardry that is involved with controlling and receiving pictures from the craft. As a photographer, I am wowed by many of the photos, but these last few of Enceladus and the effort involved in taking high resolution frames. Most of Cassini's pictures are taken with a wide field of view where a little motion relative to the craft are easily compensated for. It's this latest pass that really had me saying "you have got to be kidding me!" Because Cassini was moving so fast and so close to the moon's surface, the effect was, in the words of controller Paul Helfenstein "skeet shooting". He describes it this way.
  • "The challenge is equivalent to trying to capture a sharp, unsmeared picture of a distant roadside billboard with a telephoto lens out the window of a speeding car."
  • Helfenstein said that from Cassini's point of view, "Enceladus was streaking across the sky so quickly that the spacecraft had no hope of tracking any feature on its surface. Our best option was to point the spacecraft far ahead of Enceladus, spin the spacecraft and camera as fast as possible in the direction of Enceladus' predicted path, and let Enceladus overtake us at a time when we could match its motion across the sky, snapping images along the way."
Amazing.... and even more exciting is the fact that they managed to catch the areas they were looking for which was the geysers that had been documented earlier. The article is a wealth of information.
<- check it out here ->

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Onion: Astronaut convinced there is a "fat" conspiracy

And now from the Onion network, an absolutely hilarious faux interview with an astronaut on the International Space Station who is convinced that there is conspiracy afoot.....

Astronaut Suspects NASA Using Him To Test Space's Effects On Fat People

A Most Unusual Shuttle Launch View

A lucky and level headed Air Canada flier had a once in a life time event. From Gizmodo is a short film our intrepid flier happened to catch out his window seat portal. The amazing thing you get from this video is clearly how fast this machine makes orbit. Freakin amazin.

Robot with a Biological brain

Ready for this? This isn't spooky science done at a distance, it's in your face research. I was going through Suicide Bots blog and came upon this piece of strangeness:
Oh yes me hearties, here is an in depth discussion of growing rat neurons, installing them on an electrode grid, connecting said grid to a robot's control and decision making center and turning it on. Want more? How bout a film of the damn thing bumping it's way around a room? Yep, check out the video. The talk is good, the ideals, laudable.....but in the end, you have a sliver of live brain inside a robot that perambulates at will.... It's fascinating and repelling at the same time.

<- ->

Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time possible movie?

SF Scope writes that Universal has options the 12 volume Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. From the article:
This is a project that makes the Harry Potter series look like a walk in the park. Not only is it twice as long, but huge in scope! I have been following the series pretty religiously ( yeah I know, not really sci-fi, but I have a good excuse, I loathe buying books that are not read and these were just lying around unopened beckoning to me.... come..... read....come... could not resist) and it has the potential to be every bit as big as Lord of the Rings and Potter if done correctly but the problem being is something that bit Blade Runner and Dune badly. So much of the world is taken for granted that the reader already knows what is going on. What would kill this movie is constant narration, just as it did with the others. But one can hope. And of course we are all waiting for book 12 which Jordan never finished before his death. It had to be finished with the help of his hopes.

Wild Toyota "sky dive" commercial!

Remember some months ago I wrote about an idea someone had of doing the worlds highest skydive. From all intents, from sub orbital heights. Well leave it to a car company to pick up on this and run with it. Here is the Toyota Prius commercial done like non other, with an ending any of us that watch the sci-fi channel will see the connection. Enjoy the ride.

<- via sfsignal ->

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Most Meteorites Come from Asteroid Belt, Not from N.E.O.s

Contrary to what would be expected, MIT researchers have discovered that most meteorites do not originate as Near Earth Objects (N.E.O.s) but "fast track" from the asteroid belt.

Puzzled by a discrepancy between the type of meteorites that typically strike the Earth ("
stony objects, rich in the mineral olivine and poor in iron") and the type of asteroids that form the majority of N.E.O.s, researchers discovered that most meteorites had to be from the inner Asteroid Belt.

They found that most of these objects were gradually disturbed by the Yarkovsky effect, which is the slight effect caused by the sun heating part of the asteroid which then radiates the heat as it rotates, causing a slight wobble in the asteroid's orbit. This can sometimes cause an asteroid to be ejected from the Asteroid Belt and into the Earth's path.

This study is good news for protecting the Earth from impact as it adds to our understanding of what type of asteroid is likely to impact and therefore what methods might be most effective in dealing with a threat.

<Full article from>

Cyberattacks: The new battlefront

Barry sends in a very interesting article from the New York Times. The article documents a curious occurrences that took place several weeks leading up to the Russian invasion of Georgia.
  • Weeks before bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.
  • (Internet Experts at) Arbor Networks in Lexington noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: “win+love+in+Rusia.”
  • Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests — known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks — that overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers.
In the early '90, during the first Iraq invasion, the U.S. weakened their opponent with sustained barrages of bombs and missiles. Less than 2 decades later we are seeing clear evidence that the first steps in a sustained engagements contain bombs of a completely different caliber. Every bit as effective towards crippling the opponents ability to share and access data and disrupt communications, is the sustained attack on the internet infrastructure. This kind of attack becomes ever so much more insidious when you consider that projections have the U.S. military comprised of 20% of robotic armament in the coming decade. Disrupting the ability to communicate and control these weapons would be every bit as effective as bombing the individual units themselves with the added advantage of being faster and lest costly overall.

William Gibson and the other crafters of the Cyberpunk venue were pretty much dead on IMHO
The article is full of descriptions of not only ddos attacks but site defacement and other very inventive attacks.

<- more of the NY Times cyber attack on Georgia ->

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NASA Proposes High-Tech Fix for Shaking Moon Rocket:

You know, when I heard months ago that the new NASA moon launch vehicle had a major problem with vibration, ( So bad in fact that many astronauts have stated unofficially that they would have grave concerns about launch safety.) I remember asking what genius let this one slide through? Now I hear from the Gizmodo blog:
  • NASA engineers have announced how they're going to deal with a potentially serious vibration problem in the crew-launched Ares I: springs.
WHAT?!!! Oh yes, you read right. Big springs and weights (oh yes, knowing very well how fiendishly expensive it is to launch anything out of Earth's gravity well and with a wealth of material already available on heavy lift, NASA again is trying to reinvent the wheel. The dichotomy is difficult to understand. They will copy the Apollo crew capsule and then disregard one of the shinning achievements of the Apollo era the Saturn lift system. It's a baby/bathwater event. With the present level of motor technology available, I am sure they could make the Saturn more efficient. But designing a whole new system that has yet to be man rated seems extraordinarily wasteful.

<- read more about the Aries 1 work arounds on Gizmodo -> Plus, Gizmodo's cartoon is funny!

Canada's Sci-Sat marks 5 years

Longueuil, August 12, 2008 — Operating well beyond its planned lifetime of two years, Canada’s SCISAT

celebrates its fifth birthday today in service to science and Canada. Since its launch in 2003, SCISAT has provided high-precision information on the condition of the ozone layer and atmospheric changes.

It is the only satellite capable of 3D surveillance of the gases regulated by the Montreal Protocol, which is of great importance to decision-makers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Invisibility cloak possible in near future

Boy, this has been all over the place. I want to thank Karen for bringing it first to my attention and Shaun Saunders for the easiest article to understand on the subject.

As we have all been reading, there are multiple efforts under way to develop a simple way to cloak people and machinery from detection. Previous efforts have aimed at only blocking certain wavelengths from being reflected. Other methods have used complicated building methods and expensive absorbent material to soak up and scatter other wavelengths. But an effective "cloak" for visible and near infra-red have proved difficult. Up to this point most efforts have used massive computer systems and cameras to make something appear to be invisible. Now, BBC news reports that :
  • Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects. The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale. The light-bending effect relies on reversing refraction, the effect that makes a straw placed in water appear bent.
Reversing refraction has been shown to be possible with microwaves, but this is the first time that the method has been demonstrated on frequencies much closer to the visible spectrum. The effect has been described as neither absorption or refraction, but quite litteraly letting the light "flow" around the desired structure.

<- More ->

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 Hugo Awards!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here they are hot off the press straight from the Hugo Awards site!

  • Best Novel: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • Best Novella: “All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis
  • Best Novelette: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
  • Best Short Story: “Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear
I kind of thought Tideline had a great chance. What a wonderful story, Congrats to all! Thanks to all that allowed me to read their material especially Mz. Bear for Tideline.

Things that make you say, Huh...I didn't know that!

Now here is something that I never knew. According to IO9, our favorite chief engineer Montgomery Scott, or in truth James Doonhan was not only a war hero but carried the sustained injury throughout his acting career. From IO9
  • James Doohan was nineteen years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery, and twenty-four years old when he got his first combat assignment: the invasion of Juno Beach, on the coast of Normandy, on D-Day. After leading his unit to defensive positions for the night, a trigger-happy sentry shot a light machine gun at Doohan, and he took one round through his right middle finger (as well as four shots to the leg and one in the chest). Now there's a situation where amputation is unfortunately guaranteed.
  • In his time as TV's Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise, Doohan's scenes were shot with stunt double hands. You can spot his injury in three episodes: "The Trouble with Tribbles," "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," and "Catspaw."
Huh...did not know that....

Friday, August 08, 2008

The 3 Bears effect on our Solar System

As Goldilocks, and now a new computer study, found out - certain things have to be just right. For our lady in curls, it was the oatmeal, chairs and beds, but for our solar system, far from being average, events had to fall into place just right for it to form the way it did. Leading ultimately to our arrival on the scene.

In an article in Science Daily, astronomers from Northwestern University are the first to run computer simulation of solar system formation, from beginning to end, starting with the generic disk of gas and dust that is left behind after the formation of the central star and ending with a full planetary system.

Recently published in the journal Science, their study showed that the average solar system's genesis was filled with as they put it a great deal of "violence and drama", but that the formation of something like our solar system required conditions to be "just right."

The first extra solar systems discovered didn't look at all like our Solar System. The orbits were elongated and planets were not where they were expected to be. The simulation suggests that the early proto planets interacted more than was initially thought, fighting as it were for resources, being pushed relentlessly toward the central star and also reacting with each other to force some into the central mass or slingshoting others our of the system all together.

<- more ->

(Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Perseid Meteor Shower, August 12 -13, 2008

The evening of the 12th August and morning of the 13th August is the annual maximum of the Perseid meteor shower. At its peak and in a clear, dark sky up to 80 ‘shooting stars’ or meteors may be visible each hour. Although the Perseids peak on the 12th August, the shower can be seen for some time either side of that date and it is worth looking out for them the night before. To see the meteor shower, look towards the north-eastern sky. It should be possible to see a meteor at least every few minutes.

The Perseid meteors come from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was last in Earth's vicinity in 1992. The name of the shower comes from the observation of the meteor's origins , which appear to originate from a point in the constellation of Perseus.

<- more from Science Daily ->

Thursday, August 07, 2008

There Will Come Soft Rains

A short film in Russian with subtitles based on a story by Ray Bradbury. Very dark and for all the world I kept having flashbacks to "the Brave Little Toaster" you will see, there is little correlation!

Olmos to direct Battlestar prequel movie

Yes kiddies, you read that right! Edward James Olmos is on board to direct a Battlestar movie that takes place soon after the Cylons destroy the humans homeworlds. It will follow the Cylons as they deal with human survivors, aboard ships as well as on planets. The new Battlestar project will air after the series completes its run next year. So far, Michael Trucco, Aaron Douglas, and Dean Stockwell are confirmed as part of the cast, nothing solid yet as to the rest of the crew.

<- more ->

Sir sind Helden - Kaputt

Not quite sure, but it does have one weird robot that is ummm Kaputt!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Young Universe data show Old Galaxies?!!!

Now here is something that would drive a science fiction writer nuts. Astronomers using Gemini North Telescope located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, now have the ability to peer farther back into the past with greater resolution than ever before. Their goal, to observe galaxy formation in the early universe at an age of 20 to 40% of its' present age. This early formative period in the universe should be dominated by little galaxies crashing together. But that is when the weirdness begins. What should have appeared as stars and galaxies in their formative period instead appear to be more fully formed and mature than expected at this early stage in the evolution of the Universe.

<- read more of this very intriguing research in the Daily Galaxy ->

Artificial Blood now considered a deadly idea

Wow, talk about a blow to our vision of the collective future. You remember the forecast that in the near future there would be no need for blood donations or if you needed blood for an operation, well they would just have some artificial blood already? Well it would seem that those days are farther off than we thought, and might be a lot closer to impossible than we thought. What initially
seemed so promising, being universally compatible and had a three-year shelf life (unrefrigerated), has instead proved to be possibly fatal, with a 30% increase in mortality. The performance has been so dismal that An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association has called for a halt to trials. That's pretty damning criticism.

<- wiki article ->

Anime on YouTube

Hey anime fans! (no Carole they are NOT cartoons!) FUNmation Entertainment just posted some really good news:
  • FUNimation just launched free episodes from four series on YouTube. Every week, FUNimation will be adding fresh new episodes for you to enjoy. Be sure to visit to see what's new every week. Also, be sure to subscribe to find out when we add new episodes.
Right now This is what they have listed for programs and episodes:
  • Blue Gender - Episodes 1-4
  • Kiddy Grade - Episodes 1-4
  • Peach Girl - Episodes 1-4
  • Slayers - Episodes 1-4

  • Blue Gender - Episodes 5-8
  • Kiddy Grade - Episodes 5-8
  • Peach Girl - Episodes 5-8
  • Slayers - Episodes 5-8
If your into Anime this is sweet stuff. It's a mixed bag, but I found a couple that I felt were worth watching. Also if your getting most of yours from Cartoon Network / Adult Swim (hey, I will take it anyway I can get it, I also watch Mondays on Sci-fi! lol) you will find that these are fULL episodes, just cut into bite sized chunks. No editing or censoring which as you know, both networks are famous for. I know, animated nipples are a no no...sheeeeeesh. gmafb

Researchers discover inexpensive method for spliting H2O

Shaun Saunders sends in a really exciting article concerning one of the major drawbacks to low cost solar and fuel cell power generation and storage. Up until now, the cost of storing the energy from the sun or splitting water molecules has been prohibitive. Thus pushing the tech into fringe markets. Now researchers from MIT have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy. Here is an excerpt from the article explaining the process:
  • The key component in ... (the) new process is a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuable hydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode, placed in water. When electricity -- whether from a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine or any other source -- runs through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas is produced.
  • Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can produce hydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splitting reaction that occurs during photosynthesis.
Though still in it's early stages, the implications are clear. Once implemented, cheap production of oxygen and hydrogen gases will lead to power generation at extremely lower cost which at the very least will reduce our dependence of foreign fuel supplies. Another benefit will be a much smaller carbon footprint.

<- more ->

Sunday, August 03, 2008

SpaceX Falcon 1 launch fails

Gizmodo reports that Space X's Falcon 1 rocket failed shortly after launch. Early reports put the failure at the separation of stages 1 and 2 which was to take place about 4 minutes after launch. Part of the payload was the Nasa NanoD experiment which was a test bed for solar sails. Also most unfortunately was James Doohan's ashes. Neither of which made it into low Earth orbit. From the Gizmodo article: Doohan—was one of the 208 people whose ashes were placed on board the Falcon 1 rocket by Celestis, Inc., a company that arranges for loved ones' ashes to be shot into space. Astronaut Gordon Cooper was also aboard the doomed launch.

Right now I think this sux. And I am not going to give the head honcho of Space X Elton Musk any more print space than he deserves other that to say I think his "Keep your chins up boys! Better luck next time" speech shows a disgusting lack of sensitivity. I have a better idea of where he can launch his next.

<- here is some more updates and comments from SpaceX sent in by Barry ->

Something Weird going on with the Phoenix Lander

This is what I just read on the web page: Phoenix has found something more compelling than water - President Bush informed.

Damn! now that sounds very mysterious. However NASA scientists are quick to point out that t they have not discovered direct evidence for life on Mars. But something is going on and it's important enough that NASA and the University of Arizona are going to great lengths to keep the details out of the public domain!
The official line is: the Phoenix team need more time to analyze the complex data they’ve received and will wait till mid-August at the earliest to make a press release.

The release in Universe Today is a bit more forthcoming: new data appears to indicate the "potential for life"

But the 800 lb. gorilla here is that this is all good and fine, and very exciting, but since when does that instantly rate informing the leader of the free world?

<- UPDATE NASA say Mars environment could support extreme lifeforms ->

Friday, August 01, 2008

Water Ice on Mars Confirmed

Well, we sort of suspected this was about to happen when the Phoenix first noticed sublimation happening in the first trench that it dug. Well NASA is confirming now that Phoenix has indeed confirmed that water vapor was detected when the latest samples were warmed in one of the ovens used for testing samples.

NASA also noted that the Phoenix's mission has been officially extended for one month beyond its original mission.

Phoenix has also completed its color panorama view of its landing site which was one of the criteria for completion of its primary mission.

color panorama view

<- more ->

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for the heads up