Friday, April 29, 2011

Bill Nye Said What about the Moon?!!! Time to giterdone!

Ok, I can understand when a 2 year old gets confused and maybe a bit flustered by basic science but adults? Oh come ON! Have you heard the latest incident? My nephew posted this link to with the headline:
  • Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun
Oh yeah, you read right! And there is more of this idiocy! Again from the article:
  • Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series
  • (Waco Texas residents) were "visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence," according to the Waco Tribune.
Nye was referring to Genesis 1:16 that speaks about a greater and lesser light, (the greater light of day and the lesser light of night, or moonlight) people in the audience were enraged, with several leaving the lecture all together, when in passing Nye said that moonlight is not a light at all, but only a reflector. article here
You can read the original Waco Tribune article here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Star Wars as a Jean Paul Sartre Vehicle

Pure IO9 existential gold, Star Wars as a foreign movie dubbed with Jean Paul Sartre quotes!

SpaceX says they can put a man on Mars in 10?

From the Wall Street Journal via Boing Boing I read that Elon Musk of SpaceX who says: We Can Put A Man On Mars In 10 Years or worst case, 15 to 20. NASA? Nope, SpaceX that's who.

From the WSJ article:
  • SpaceX, is aiming to send the first man to space in three years. But, he said, “we’re going all the way to Mars.”
It seems NASA wants to play too by awarding SpaceX $75 million in funding to aid in developing commercial spacecraft.
  • SpaceX (already) has NASA contracts to transport cargo to and from the international space station, and its hoping that its Falcon family of rockets will carry NASA astronauts to the space station, too.
  • Musk said in the WSJ interview. “I’d like to see a self-sustaining base on Mars.”
Full WSJ article and interview video

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The I.C. Celebrates it's 50th Birthday

The Hack A Day blog reminded me of something that was history making that happened 50 years ago on April 26th. This marks the 50th anniversary of the first silicon integrated circuit patent. According to the article:
  • Robert Noyce received the patent on April 25th 1961, and went on, along with Gordon Moore, to found a little known company you might of heard of, Intel Corporation.
Now before someone wigs out, this is the silicon IC. Earlier researcher Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, designed one using a germanium wafer.

But if you don't have a clue why the IC is important, which I can't imagine, look at all the electronic devices you use in a day or devices that use some form or electronics in them, (from cars to microwaves) none would be possible or at the very least affordable, without intergrated circuit.

Read the article here and the movie is great pr too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SETI shutting down?!

Wow, Tom Skerritt's part was prophetic now wasn't it? Now Jodi Foster never will be Contact...ed. You see where the SETI project has has to shut down the 42 radio dishes in its array called the Allen Telescope Array, near Hat Creek in California? Yep, it was announced this week (4/22) by SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson, who described the recent decision by U.C. Berkeley, "our partner in the Array", to reduce operations. Pierson noted that there may be work coming, that would keep the array functioning, from the USAF. The shutdown comes at a very odd time as SETI was set to study the multitude of smaller planetary systems that have been revealed by NASA’s Kepler Mission.

Here are a couple of places to read more about the shutdown

IO9 article

Article in SETI

Hugo Award nominees for 2011

Here is a list of Hugo Award nominees for 2011 - from Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing blog

Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
Feed by Mira Grant
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Best Novella
"The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
"The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand
"The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis
"Troika" by Alastair Reynolds

Best Novelette
"Eight Miles" by Sean McMullen
"The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele
"The Jaguar House, in Shadow" by Aliette de Bodard
"Plus or Minus" by James Patrick Kelly
"That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone

Best Short Story
"Amaryllis" by Carrie Vaughn
"For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal
"Ponies" by Kij Johnson
"The Things" by Peter Watts

Monday, April 25, 2011

CERN's LHC Finds the Higgs Boson?!

According to The Daily Galaxy blog -
  • (there is a rumor that) the world's largest atom smasher may have detected a long-sought subatomic particle called the Higgs boson
  • The controversial rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (that note can be read on the Daily Galaxy page)
Researchers reported in January that they have seen hints of what may be the hot, dense state of matter thought to have filled the universe in its first nanoseconds of existence. An in depth discussion on the Higgs Boson event would send most of us screaming after only a few seconds, but suffice it to say:
  • The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle that has not been observed in particle physics experiments.
But as the Wiki article points out:
  • If the Higgs boson exists, it is an integral and pervasive component of the material world
Of course the ultimate point here is, how close to the first event in the Universe, the big Bang can the LHC get. Well according to CERN spokesman James Gillies, who stated back in 2010:
  • "We're within a billionth of a second of the Big Bang,"
The main stumbling block now is the fact that the LHC is still running on only partial power owing to damage that occurred during the first full power test when several banks of magnets were irreparably damaged due in part to sub par welding. The LHC can only achieve 14 TeV restricting the collider to .001% under the speed of light. It is hoped that LHC will be able to attain full power some time in 2012.

Cheap Fuel Cells, A Very Real Possibility

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a platinum-free catalyst in the cathode of a hydrogen fuel cell that uses carbon, iron and cobalt. This could significantly lower the cost of fuel cells in general. Up to this point hydrogen fuel cells used platinum, lots of it. And as you know, the metal is rare and frightfully expensive (according to the Wired article, Platinum goes for $1800 an ounce! ouch!). The price of platinum alone will put the cost of even a modest car at around $50,000.

Hydrogen fuel cells offer all the benefits of an electric vehicle without the drawbacks, mainly that of short range and long recharge times.

Conventional hydrogen fuel cells us the platinum as a catalyst. The new design uses a carbon-iron-cobalt catalyst to complete the conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into water. The other good news is that the carbon based fuel cell is on par for durability with it's platinum counterpart.

The team at Los Alamos National Laboratory are hesitant to quantify just how much cheaper the new fuel cell would be, not because they fear that they have over estimated the saving, but under-estimated it. Platinum is likely to become much more expensive after car manufacturers start installing platinum based cell in 2015, but since the elements for the new catalyst are readily available, it is likely that it will vastly lower the price.

Wired Fuel Cell article

Wikipedia article on fuel cells

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monochrom's ISS

Has anyone heard of this comedy series before? I found it on Vimeo via Boing Boing

According to the Vimeo description:
  • In space no one can hear you complain about your job. Monochrom's ISS is a ten-part improv-reality-sitcom about living and working on the International Space Station. The four actors playing the ISS crew must develop strategies on the fly in response to surprise situations, which are loosely based on actual ISS data uncovered by monochrom.
The first episode titled V-Day deals with the crew frantically searching for a wayward mouse before the President addresses the crew. It's a strange show for sure. Funny concept, but maybe the episodes are a bit to long for the joke to hold up. Check it out.

Reading Boing Boing I see episode two is now available.

Here is episode one

monochrom's ISS 2011 / Episode 1 / "V-Day" from monochrom on Vimeo.

And the newest - episode 2

monochrom's ISS 2011 / Episode 2 / "Dump and Circumstance" from monochrom on Vimeo.

Gabrielle Giffords Well Enough to Watch Shuttle Launch

ABC News has learned Arizona Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords has been given the go ahead by her doctors to go to Florida, where her husband Mark Kelly will command the shuttle Endeavour for it's last mission.

From the ABC news site:
  • Giffords has been recovering (and) undergoing rehabilitation for a gunshot wound to her head.
  • Kelly's mission, STS 134, is the second to last space shuttle flight for NASA, and will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beam Me Up Episode 258

Another week goes by and its time once again for Beam Me Up. This week is episode 258 and I think you will agree that 56 minutes has never gone by so fast!

This week I have a couple of stories by new authors to Beam Me Up, music from John Anealio’s new ep and some interesting items from the BMU blog.

I open this week with John’s song We Don’t Need Another Trilogy” a biting comment on movie franchises. I close this week’s program with another cut from John’s ep, “George R.R. Martin is not Your Bitch.” should an author be required to finish a series? No! according to this biting commentary.

For stories this week, two new authors to visit Beam Me Up. Our first story is “Final Report” by B.A. Barnett a science fiction / horror story. “He told them, don’t open the crypt, it’s a prison! but they didn’t listen, it was loose now, it was not if you would survive, but how long…” This week’s second story was a nod to the Easter season. “When a science project ends, what do you do with the “test” subjects?” Harris Tobias spins a tale succeeding against expectations with
Bunnies of the Future.

From this week’s blog entries:

Mike Koehler’s wants to build a Star Wars AT-AT….could he? and how much would it cost? This week in April proved to be auspicious, April 19, 1971 the USSR launched Salyut 1 the world’s first space station. However if you are a science fiction fan then you know that in the time line from the Sarah Connors Chronicles, Sky Net became self aware 2011 on the 19th of April and shortly afterwards tried to bring about the end of humanity. Now Mortal Kombat fans may have something to get excited about, a new web series has started up, Live action Mortal Kombat is available on You Tube (the first two episodes at least) and in my mind it has potential!
ohn Anealio of Sci Fi Songs has a new E.P. available as a pay what you want album (even free!) on Bandcamp and Adventure Book is releasing 360 page Best Of monster – it contains 48 short stories by 44 authors - wow, I can’t wait! That and more on Episode 258

Friday, April 22, 2011

Could a real-life "Star Wars" AT-AT be Built?

Mike Koehler's wants to bring his AT-AT For America dream to reality. From the Boing Boing Article:
  • Heiko Hoffman, a robotics expert at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, CA. says, Making a modern-day robotic walker is not impossible, but it easily could cost $100 million or more.
The first decision is, do you make it just to "look" like an AT-AT or do you build the 50 foot quad-armored walker? The reason being a full scale build may be upwards of a hundred times the model sizes but the materials used in construction would have stresses of up to 1000 times that of the mock ups and that not only stresses the main sections but puts huge stresses on the leg joints. Though the "statically stable" walking method would work, moving anything faster than a slow shuffle would be impossible. As the movie showed even having a working AT-AT is not enough. Rebels took one down with comparatively simpler and far less expensive tech.

Realistically building something that "looks" like an Imperial Walker would be far cheaper and every bit as cool.

Boing Boing
Innovation News article
Wiki AT-AT page

Apri 1971: Soviets Put First Space Station Into Orbit

In our time line (the one where Sky Net is NOT blasting humanity to dust) we also have another auspicious space first. April 19, 1971 the Soviets put the first working space station into orbit.

Built out of parts from other spacecraft, Salyut 1 was far less successful than say NASA's less than sterling offering Skylab.

The first crew could not dock because of a failure in the docking collar. The crew if Soyuz 11 spent three weeks aboard Salyut 1, only to be killed on re-entry due to a failure of a pressure seal. Salut 1's controllers fired it's retro-rockets Oct. 11, 1971 and the craft disintegrated over the Pacific ocean a short time later.

Web Page on Salut 1

WIKI for Salut 1

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mortal Kombat Web Series

Hey, I just found out that they are doing Mortal Kombat as a webisode series! New episode each tuesday or something like that. Hey even if you aren't a Kombat fan, you have got to check out the actors in this series! I was floored when I saw the offering. Yeah, this might be a web based series, but it got it's share of good talent and for my money that makes it at least worth giving it a try. Here is episode one:

And here is Episode two:

Nerd Sex Tape (So totally NSFW!)

So totally inappropriate nerdy pillow talk that uses so many of the Sci-fi cliches, catch phrases and just plain in jokes and takes them to a place that is so wrong it's hysterical.

Be Warned, it is right on the edge of just about everything wrong.....

Thanks to the folks at Topless Robot for digging this one up for us...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Sky-Net!

You have got to love IO9, they are always coming up with bizarre facts! According to one of my favorite blogs: today's the day. According to Underwire: According to the Terminator clock, April 11 at 8:11 p.m. Tuesday, Skynet will become self-aware, this according to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Judgment Day should hit Thursday.

See, this shows you how screwed up time became in the past. According to the Wiki listing: In the Terminator storyline, Skynet was originally installed by the military to control the national arsenal on August 4, 1997. On August 29 2:14 am Eastern Time it gained self-awareness, soon after it determined that humanity was a threat and launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia which retaliated.

And you know what comes next kiddies! Yep, the nuclear Armageddon happens in a couple days. So if your name is Sarah Connor, you are about to have a VERY bad day.

Check out the IO9 listing here for some other great Terminator related posts

The Wiki Skynet Terminator site

Underwire Skynet site

Follow the paradox issues at the Wikja Skynet wiki site

3D To 2D Conversion Glasses? WTF?

I heard about these on Dvice and just HAD to go check it out! I was laughing so hard, but it would seem that they are, at some degree, a real product! Honest! If you are totally annoyed by 3d in the movie house and there is no 2d alternative, then these would it seem be just the thing. As you know 3d works by showing 2 slightly different pictures on the screen. To get the 3d effect each lens in the 3d glasses lets just one of those images per-side through, while the other lens lets the other image through and blocks the image the other side passed. How the 2d converters work is both lens block the same image, letting only one frame of the effect through. Thus eliminating the effect.

As you can see in the image, they do appear to have polarized elements, it might just work.

But for me and maybe for you, if you are totally annoyed by the 3d hype - I have gone one step further and blocked not only one side of the 3d but both going for total conversion.

Here is the 3D to 2D site so you can make up your mind. As the folks at Dvice said They totally called this during April Fool.....loma
Check it out here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sci-fi Songs releases New Song Collection

John Anealio of Sci Fi Songs writes us to say:
  • I wanted to let you know that my new E.P. is now available as a pay what you want album (even free!) on Bandcamp.
John's new collection is available at:
Here is a list of the songs available:
  • 1. George R.R. Martin Is Not Your Bitch 03:10
  • 2. Blue Lego (Steve Jobs Hates Flash) 03:19
  • 3. Unicorn Pegasus Kitten 03:28
  • 4. Pr0nbot 03:07
  • 5. We Don't Need Another Trilogy (ft. Dale Chase) 02:46

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adventure Books To Release New Sci-Fi Collection

Bob Blevins of Adventure Books of Seattle writes:
  • Within 30 days, we're going to release one of the biggest sci-fi collections of 2011. It's a 360 page monster in six by nine inch paperback, and it contains 48 short stories by 44 authors from around the world, including a few famous writers such as Ian Whate and others. I'm attaching a preview image of the final cover. Just thought you would want to see this. It will be Amazon within about three to four weeks under the ISBN 978-0-9823271-9-7.
If you have ever purchased anything from Adventure Books, you know the amount of quality and thought they put into everything they put out. Something I can't wait to see how this project turns out!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Episode 257 of Beam Me Up

Episode 257 of Beam Me Up! Well for us it was a cold and damp day, so what better story to open with this week? With a story about bargaining with death that is what! Hey yeah! I open with a wry tale from Terry Pratchett called Death and what comes Next, where a mathematician tries to wrangle out of dying using physics on Death!

Before I go to the conclusion of Ted Kosmatka's story I spend a few moments in the Beam Me Up Blog: William Shatner narrates a tribute to the shuttle program for NASA. Then, have you seen who get a shuttle after the program comes to an end? Well a place that you would have thought was a shoe in isn't even in the running and it will floor you! Brent Spiner as you never seen him before (funny) in the first two episodes of Fresh Hell! Wanna hears something that will make you all gooey inside? Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter has been hired to write the script based on one of my all time favorite series! Oh and you will not believe who your relatives are...I mean, you REALLY won't! Astronomers have uncovered evidence that seems to point out that galaxies were formed much much earlier than ever expected! That and more from this week's blog entries.

This week's second story is the conclusion to Infall by Ted Kosmatka where we finally find out just exactly what faces our two combatants as the draw closer and closer to the event horizon of their destination, a monstrously huge and vastly ancient, black hole. The ending is one that is truly unexpected!

Listen Here

Friday, April 15, 2011

William Shatner Narrates a Tribute to The Space Shuttle

William Shatner Narrates

Brent Spiner's Fresh Hell webisode!

Everyone it seems is going viral video. Some are even having fun with it. Check out Brent Spiner as you never seen him before (funny) in the first two episodes of Fresh Hell!

and here is episode two (oh lord, I needed to change my skivies at the "pay your dues" line! Oh and pause it at 3:57 Yep, perfect.......... for the part....

McCaffrey's Dragonriders being Deveoped for Film

Wanna hears something that will make you all gooey inside? Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter has been hired to write the script based on Dragonflight, the first book in McCaffrey's 22-book Dragonrider series!

I can't imagine a more difficult movie to make, think about it...the dragons are different sizes, colors and temperaments, they fly and more or less breathe fire (queens fight but don't chew rock) they communicate by mind speak, they teleport and we haven't even started on watchweryh or rider or herd beasts and then THREAD?..... can you say expensive boyz n gurlz? I would love to see this movie made, but like Dune, if it isn't done right there is no sense in trying at all.

So, don't know any more than what IO9 posted, but from my ears to yours...

Every Human is Related?!

I know...everyone has heard that at various points in the last say million years of human evolution, there were bottlenecks that shrank the population down to near extinction. But what if I were to tell you that everyone's common ancestor died not a few hundred thousand years ago, but most likely less than a thousand years!

This was the core of a curious article in IO9. You can do the family tree thing, but it really comes down to simple math. You had two parents (one hopes) and each of your parents had two. See? Each generation or your number of ancestors doubles every 25 years.

From the article:
  • If you take this back just 1,000 years, you'll find that you have well over 500 billion ancestors in a single generation. Considering there's fewer than seven billion people on this planet - and even that is far, far more than any other point in human history - there's something seriously wrong here. The solution, of course, is that you don't have 500 billion distinct ancestors, but rather a much, much smaller number of ancestors reappear over and over and over again in your family tree.
  • A person born in England during the late 40s say, would have 60,000 ancestors when America was discovered. 95% would have been unique individuals. Twenty generations would net 600,000 ancestors, and now 33% are duplicates. Going back to the 1300s and have had 3.5 million - 30 percent real, 70 percent duplicates.
  • The maximum number of "real" ancestors occurs around 1200 AD - 2 million, some 80 percent of the population of England.
So as you can see, less than 1000 years ago everyone claiming European ancestry that is alive today had for all intents and purposes... Now, going back even 200 more years brings up numbers that exceeded the population at the time and it fast approaches a number of all the people who have ever lived.... Since even 800 years ago gives us a duplicate of over 70% then a 1000 years gives you for all intents and purposes 100% common ancestors.

don't say it! nope....unuh don't

Catch many more interesting fact in the complete article at IO9 here

Earth Facts: from AARP April Bulletin

The April bulletin from the AARP has an interesting article called Changing Earth. It consists of a 50 point essay on how the planet Earth is changing. Here are some of the high points:
  • Global Warming followed each of the several ice ages starting in the Precambrian more than 600 million years ago.
  • By 2100 global temperatures may rise as much as 1o degrees
  • Between 1970 and 2010 the mean temperature rose 1.6 degrees and ocean temperatures rose 1.4 degrees and sea levels are predicted to rise 3 feet by 2100
  • The ozone hole over Antarctica is the smallest since 2004 and will disappear by 2050
  • Average Americans accounted for 17 metric tons of CO2 in 2009 down from 20 metric tons

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where Shuttles go after they Retire

NASA.Gov has release the final resting place of four shuttle orbiters.

At the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program - Shuttle Enterprise will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Discovery will reside at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Endeavour, which is preparing for its final flight at the end of the month, will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

Complete NASA article here

Galaxy Formation Started Much Earlier Than Expected

A Science Daily article reports that recent research into when galaxy formation started has brought to light some rather startling findings.

Astronomers have discovered a distant galaxy whose stars were born unexpectedly early in cosmic history. They found a very distant galaxy that began forming stars just 200 million years after the Big Bang. One such galaxy was observed through a gravity lens formed by a cluster of galaxies called Abell 383, without the lensing effect, the extremely distant galaxy would have been too faint to observe.

Though its not the oldest by several hundred million years, it is very unusual in that it is comprised almost totally of very old stars, unlike most of the very distant galaxies that contain mostly young bright stars. This told researchers that the galaxy was made up of stars already nearly 750 million years old -- pushing back the epoch of its formation to about 200 million years after the Big Bang, much further than had expected.

Read more here

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Deathstar was MY idea!

You know those annoying Windows 7 commercials where everyone is taking credit for Windows 7 os? Well here are some parodies that I found on IO9.

Chinese censors ban time travel TV shows

Yep, you read the headline correctly! From Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing blog:
  • The Chinese General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television has prohibited new science fiction TV dramas, following a vogue for shows where modern Chinese people travel to ancient China. They've also prohibited production of "the Four Great Classical Novels", on the grounds that the widespread adaptations of them take too many liberties with the original texts.
It would appear that in China, the time-travel themed drama is becoming more and more popular. Many of the time-travel stories and movies are based on real historical, but there is a growing trend to exaggerated events to add humor to the narrative. Many thing this is exceedingly funny while others aggravated by the lack of respect of the historical texts and now there is a trend to completely make up historical events. Hence the raised ire of the Bureau.

Check the complete text here

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Beam Me Up Episode 256

This week in episode 256 of Beam Me Up I start with a fast paced piece of music from Yu Kobiachi called Fight or Flight. This is the closing theme music for the anime series Dragonauts which is not really all that bad of a series. The “Dragons” are alive, but they are almost like living fightercraft with pilots which bond with them. It gets complicated, but has it’s moments.

The first story I play this week is episode 11 of the Dark InSpectre series by Jason Kahn and thing seem to be getting quite dicey for our favorite mind reading detective...., and I end this weeks program with part one of In Fall by Ted Kosmatka. A very mysterious tale of two men on a ship on the brink of an endless chasm, on young, the other old and both prisoners of their belief.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Close Call on 4/5/2011 Soyuz Launch wtf?

Hey, wanna see a close call that will make you damn glad you are NOT an astronaut? Check out this video of the April 5th 2011 Soyuz Spacecraft launch. I think if I were on-board and knew this was going on around the launch vehicle, I would have wet my space diaper for sure. Now I don't know how authentic the film is. (I first saw it on Daily Galaxy website) and since absolutely no one reacts to what happened, and I don't remember anything like this on the news right? So I am leaning towards hoax. But you watch it and let me know your take.

Rare Binary White Dwarfs Discovered

I just read this killer article in the Daily Galaxy about white dwarf stars. To be precise a binary pair of white dwarfs that are orbiting each other once every 39 minutes! Oh wait, it gets weirder. In a few million years they will collide and merge to create a single star! Ok I hear the comments. So, you have a rare event here, but what is so strange about 2 stars colliding to make one?

To answer that we really should take a moment to figure out just what a white dwarf star really is. The Daily Galaxy article really does it best:
  • White Dwarfs are among the oldest objects in the galaxy and are the remnants of the earliest phases of star formation. No bigger than the Earth, they are formed when a star like our Sun ends its life.
And weirder still:
  • Out of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, only a handful of merging white dwarf systems are known to exist. The latest discovery will be the first of the group to merge AND be reborn.
That's right, two dead remains of long dead stars will combine to make a brand new star, not a bunch of junk from two dead stars... But you thought that it can't get any weirder? Oh my...we have only scratched the surface. Check this:
  • The two white dwarfs orbit each other at a distance of 140,000 miles -- less than the distance from the Earth to the Moon. (Their orbital speeds reach upwards) of 270 miles per second or 1 million miles per hour!

Ok, now this is important.... in the normal stream of events, when two white dwarfs collide, the produce a super-nova. But and this is a big but...(ok, I know, I could have gone there but give me a little credit for not being juvenile 24/7) for a supernova to happen the mass must reach about 40% more than the mass of our sun. Now the binary system has one viable star which masses 17 percent of Sol and the second companion white dwarf weighs 43 percent. Now my high school math tells me that comes out to somewhere 60% or so. Instead of going boom, the new what....zombie star?... will begin fusing helium (which is the main element in the two dwarfs) and enter onto main sequence again, like a normal star.

Bardem is Deschain

From Deadline via Topless Robot: It would appear that Javier Bardem is Universal Pictures choice to play gunslinger Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower. For those of you that lived in that perverbial cave for the better part of 30 years, the Dark Tower is the brain child of Stephen King. It spanned a total of 7-novels and told the tale of Roland as he tracks a mysterious Man in Black. Many trials and tribulations take place and some down right weirdness, which included but was not limited to Roland's cadre finding themselves in just about every King novel in one fashion or another.

Well to get back on track.... Universal's series will span three movies and a limited run TV series in between each film, and be directed by Ron Howard. Production begins on the first film in September, and he'll also direct the first TV segment.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mars Odyssey 10 Years Old This Week!

NASA's Mars Odyssey entered it's 10th year of continuous operation this week, making it the oldest orbital spacecraft still exploring the red planet, according to NASA's website.

According to the NASA release some of Odyssey's duties included:
  • a communication relay, handling most of the data sent home by Phoenix and NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Odyssey became the middle link for continuous observation of Martian weather by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Check out the release on the NASA site here

NASA Curiosity Rover Animation

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has put together a short animation of the Curiosity Rover leaving Earth and landing on Mars. It's fun to watch as well as a bit informative as well. Worth checking out for sure.

Martin Test New "Jet Pack"

Dvice points out a video of Martin doing outside test on the jet pack. Oh I so want one of these!!!

Virgin Oceanic: Yep, You Heard Right

It seems, according to an article in Dvice blog, that Richard Branson is not sitting on his Galactic laurels. It seems that Branson along with Chris Welsh will helm the Virgin Oceanic vehicle on five separate dives to the deepest points in Earth's oceans. Here is a teaser trailer of the sub's "missions" and as the disclaimer points out Teaser Trailer of Virgin Oceanic's flagship sub! Disclaimer, this is simply an animation of the sub's potential capabilities, and in no way should be assumed to reflect a real mission. *sigh* well it looks pretty!

BMU on Craphound

Hey, here's something that always manages to jazz me up... Craphound mentioned the Beam Me Up podcast recently. I played Cory's story Ghosts in My Head on episode 255 (I really like the way it came out. If you haven't listened yet, check it out ) and he returned the favor by hosting the link on Craphound which is his private blog where Boing Boing is the full out weird podcast.

If you haven't caught this week's program, take a trip over to and check out episode 255.

Flying With White Knight & Space Ship 2

According to an article in Boing Boing Virgin put on quite a media blitz for the opening of Virgin America's new Terminal 2 at the San Francisco International airport. In this short film we see White Knight and Space Ship 2 flying in close formation with the media junket jet that Virgin provided. There are more pics of the event and another short film of the landing at the Boing boing site here

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Movie Short: Precision from Andrew James Sykes

On the Vimeo website you can find some really interesting short films. Here we have a short science fiction film that according to the site:
  • This 5 minute film was conceived, written, shot, scored and edited in only 48 hours.
Even more interesting is that in the guidelines set up by the SCI-FI LONDON 2011 challenge was that writer, director and crew had stick to the 48 hour time limit to complete the film. What's more they had to include the following items:
  • Prop: red or green liquid inside a clear bottle with no label
  • Title: Precision
  • Dialogue: It is just a glitch in the time continuum, it will sort itself out in a minute. Just hope it won't wipe you out in the mean time.
Here is the completed short. Watch for the items that had to be included. I think it's a very clever film and great effort.

PRECISION from Andrew James Sykes on Vimeo.

SpaceX Testing New Heavy Lift System

From SpaceX via Boing Boing is news on SpaceX's new heavy lifting system, The Falcon Heavy which according to the website:
  • (is)the world’s most powerful rocket. (The Falcon Heavy has) the ability to carry satellites or interplanetary spacecraft weighing over 53 metric tons (117,000 lb) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Falcon Heavy can lift nearly twice the payload of the next closest vehicle, the US Space Shuttle, and more than twice the payload of the Delta IV Heavy.
The Falcon Heavy develops over 3.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. To put that into perspective: that kind of thrust is equal to fifteen Boeing 747 aircraft at full power. That makes it one of the most powerful rockets since Apollo's Saturn 5 main stage.

(I KNOW! Saturn 5 WAS the main stage! But lets be honest, when most people see the whole Saturn stack they think Saturn 5! I know...Saturn 3 was the next stage and Saturn 1 was what pushed the "Luna stack" towards Luna insertion. I just KNOW some of you rocket jocks would call me on that if I hadn't said something! lol)

Check out the SpaceX page here

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Burt Rutan to Retire!

According to the L.A. Times via Boing Boing, aviation pioneer Burt Rutan is retiring at 67. Rutan designed the Voyager, which was the first airplane to fly around the world without refueling, and SpaceShipOne, the first private rocket plane ever to put a man into low Earth orbit. In fact Richard Branson, the British billionaire behind Virgin Galactic is using Rutan's rocket design for the spacecraft Branson will use to take tourists on sub orbital flights.

For more on Rutan, check out the LA Time article here or with Wiki article here

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Review: Rubber

Xnewsman sends in this review of a weird move called Rubber. As you can see by the trailer above, it's star is a junk yard tire with telekinetic powers. I'm serious! Justin Lowe writing for the Hollywood Reporter / Mercury News writes in part:

  • Despite some marginally diverting sight gags, the repetition of exploding heads, horror-movie references and tire jokes grows far too thin much too quickly.
  • Dupieux, who writes, directs, shoots and edits "Rubber," is clearly extremely pleased with himself and his creation, although his obvious talent is exceeded only by his self-indulgence. Even "Rubber's" overly familiar meta-conceit of a film within a film falls short of raising the interest level.