Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
You know, I have tried my hand at understanding quantum mechanics, in a shaved chimp kinda way, but the closer I get to getting a handle on it, the rules change.... relatively speaking...
What put me over the edge this time? The Casimir effect, which wrapped up in a tidy bundle describes an effect whereby mirrors can and do produce their own light due to the interaction with virtual bits. Honest!
I was reading this article in IO9, that describes placing two mirrors close together (micro-meters and the wiki article calls for a vacuum) so that the virtual particles that "pop" into existence (you see now why my head hurts? virtual....existence? But if you are interested there is a nice article here on virtual particles. ) will force the two plates together. Now that is a rather badly explained Casimir-Polder force, much less than more. It's what happens when you accelerate this structure to relativistic speeds.
The first weird thing happens when you place your mirrors closer than the wave length of the virtual particle. First off, let me explain, in part, these virtual particles. Most importantly they came in pairs. A virtual particle and an anti-virtual particle. ( I know, ouch....) and when they come into existence they annihilate each other instantly. But as the plates are pushed harder and the speed becomes a goodly fraction of C it then becomes possible for the virtual particles to be separated by a plate so they can not annihilate and therefor become real and should said virtual particle be virtual photons.....? There, I give you light from ummm virtual light courtesy of the Dynamic Casimir Effect.
Really, I have done a poor job at describing a fascinating effect at the quantum level. Read the IO9 and the Wiki articles to get totally twisted.
(Good bye, good night, don't let the door hit you...I need to find my asprin)
Friday, May 27, 2011
The film was conceived by Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard and is almost an hour long. The visuals are stunning as is the sound track (if a bit Blade Runner sounding at times or even Terminator) .
The film is likely to be confusing to people that have not seen the Matrix because it leans heavily in the tech that was prevalent in all three of the Matrix movies right down to agents and a good stand in for Neo.
You can watch the movie on line here
Undergraduate Amelia Fraser-McKelvie's, breakthrough indicates that the mystery material is located in vast structures called "filaments of galaxies".
Scientists have for decades considered these structures as possible repositories of the missing matter, but the technologies to detect it have only been available for a few years.
Complete Science Digest story here
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Now before you start envisioning well drilled to huge aquifers you should know that these new figures are based on samples brought back from the Moon by Apollo 17. The deep core-sample contained glass beads with trapped water in them.
High levels of water on the Moon is a bit of a mixed blessing. The down side is the theory of the Earth being created by a Mars sized impactor pealing the Moon off the proto-Earth. The problem is that the impact would have left virtually no water behind. Present theory has water brought from deep within the Moon by volcanic activity.
for the complete article and links to other articles check the IO9 blog here
The Green Hornet
Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Directed by Michel Gondry
Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz. Edward James Olmos
The Green Hornet movie is based on the story line and characters that had originated in a 1930s radio program and has appeared in movie serials, a television series and comic books.
I love movies like this. They lend themselves to simple reviews as is the case here. Hornet is flat out terrible. It is supposed to be an action comedy, but the only action you will want to see after fifteen minutes is the credits rolling.
The story revolves around Britt Reid who as a child was ignored by his father - a ruthless go getter that has little time for a child. Britt lost his mother at an early age so has little direction in his life. He does however fantasize about “helping” people. After one such episode he is sent home for fighting. His father, enraged proceeds to decapitate Britt’s prize possession, a super hero which traumatizes the child.
As an adult Britt find himself without direction. His father has died under mysterious circumstances. Britt finds himself seeking out Kato who makes his morning coffee and it seems is a wildly talented mechanic. After a night of binge drinking they vow to team up and fight crime.
I get the impression that it was suppose to be a comedy / drama, but the comedy is flat, the characters laughably thin and the acting by pretty much everyone involved is just terrible. Diaz is competent but could not carry the movie. Same goes for Edward James Olmos. As the editor of the family's news-paper, he manages to exude that inner strength that has become so familiar with BSG fans. I honestly felt however, like I was watching a Pink Panther movie. A BAD Pink Panther movie at that.
My suggestion to you about this movie is do not no let it anywhere near your player. If you do then you might find yourself forced to watch a few scenes.
The Green Hornet is about a three and I couldn’t care less about the extra. People doing a wax on Wax off are just trying to polish a turd. Not interested.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
From the Gizmodo article:
- Spirit has been incommunicado for more than a year despite daily calls by NASA. The cause of Spirit's silence ... is (very) likely the bitter Martian winter (which most likely) damaged its electronics, preventing the .... rover from waking up.
Wiki on Spirit Rover
Complete Gizmodo article
cartoon by Nitesh
Tim Sayell just send me a note concerning NASA's newest mission post. Or is it an new old mission? hummm. This is what is going on. Since the White House put the breaks to a return to the moon NASA has been looking for a way to put the Orion project to good use. As you might recall, Orion was part of the Constellation program that was suppose to return men to the moon by 2020. Instead NASA was tasked with sending people to an asteroid by 2025, and then on to Mars missions by the 2030s. To do this NASA plans to modify the Orion capsule with help from the Orion's main contractor - Lockheed Martin. The new capsule will be designated the MPCV or Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.
The design is very Apollo Command Vehicle in design but will carry 4 crew members for up to three week. From the article:
- The MPCV will be capable of performing a variety of in-space activities, such as rendezvousing and docking with other craft. And astronauts aboard the MPCV will be able to perform spacewalks
Monday, May 23, 2011
And cat sizes!!!
complete article on IO9
The Nebula for Best Short Story this year is a tie!!! The co-winners are:
"Ponies" by Kij Johnson
"How Interesting: A Tiny Man" by Harlan Ellison
The Nebula for Best Novelette
"That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone
The Nebula for Best Novella
"The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky
The Nebula for Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
The complete award article can be found on the SFScope site here
Sunday, May 22, 2011
- To thwart the infrared satellites, Area 51 crews began constructing ... fake planes out of cardboard etc.
From the article:
- Sometimes staff even fired up heaters near imaginary engine locations to make it look as if planes had just landed.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
From the Beam Me Up blog this week: The eccentric spy series Chuck manages to get one more season however NBC gives Wonder Woman a pass. V, No Ordinary Family and The Event have had no such luck with 11th hour reprieves either. How about a list of seven technologies that we have now or will have in the near future that will transform humanity into something very Borg like...... Exactly why is it that Area 51 isn't acknowledged by the government, Have French scientists found a planet that is most likely habitable?
And now the fun stuff, this week’s audio fiction! The first story is from a new author to the Beam Me Up program, Patricia Stewart. Mz Stewart is a regular submitter to the flash fiction online site 365tomorrows. I read her flash fiction story “Command Decisions” - a tale of how people rise to the occasion under difficult circumstances. The last story for this week’s program is another first timer - Ken Liu. This week I play part one of “Simularcum” that explores the dimensions of obsession with a fleeting moment in time and a less than perfect representation of an original.
Link to episode
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Though Gliese 581d is about the size of two Earths and masses upwards of six times Earth mass scientists consider it to be a good candidate for habitability because of it's rocky surface, ability to maintain a robust stable atmosphere and receive enough energy from the red dwarf to maintain large bodies of liquid water.
Even so it is not likely to be a vacation spot. From the article:
- That's not to say it would necessarily be a pleasant place to live, though. Gliese 581d probably depends on a significant greenhouse effect to keep itself warm since it gets relatively little energy from its star. The atmosphere is mostly CO2, and while you'd get clouds and warm rain and oceans and stuff, the surface itself would be "in a perpetual murky red twilight."
Cosmos article Dvice blog article
- which covered everything from crashing a plane carrying a nuclear device to detonating nukes in orbit. Objectives ranged anywhere from seeing how humans would be affected in the resulting irradiated zones to testing nukes as a means to power spaceflight.
- was curious about installing missile installations in orbit and on otherworldly bodies.
But as Jacobsen puts it,
- the real whopper involved the German Horten brothers who were into building experimental planes for the Nazi party. The brothers were working on a flying disk design in 1942. After Germany surrendered in 1945 the US wanted the pair desperately. In 1947 one of the craft the brothers build crashed in the US. (Oh wait it gets weirder) The disks were said to have lift off and hover capabilities and weirder still the pilots (due likely to design constraints) were children around the age of 13. That weird enough for ya? Want more? ok, the child sized pilots according to eye witness accounts in Jacobsen's interviews, were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program,"
- "and they had been made to look like aliens using "genetic and surgical" procedures.
Why would they do this you ask? (ok the ones of you that are not wearing tinfoil beanies) Jacobsen scenario has it that:
- the Soviets were hoping to recreate the mass hysteria caused by the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds
- It's secret because apparently American officials saw these tests and decided to conduct human experiments of their own.
oh ok, now it makes sense.....
So, want to read the complete story about this insanity and links to her interview on NPR, and you want it all now? then click the on the Device link - here
Tim Sayell turned in this link to start the ball rolling. Yahoo News article
1: Social Media. We can now share huge amounts of information, instantly and over huge distances.
2: Super WiFi. Of course all that data is useless if you can not get to it easily, no matter where you are. In the testing stage now, Super WiFi can handle copious amounts of data, physical barriers are almost no hindrance and has a footprint of miles instead of feet.
3: Augmented Reality. No, not virtual reality but augmented (any of you see the animated series call A Circle of Children? It was a near future world where children picked up the fad of wearing augmented reality glasses that would show the real world but also augment that with virtual pets, info, computer interaction ect.) Information supplied to you akin to a heads up display.
4: Truly Transparent Displays. like the glasses I just mentioned. The trouble with augmented info now is it usually is on a device that distracts you. It will really come into its own when you can access it in real time.
5: Nanocomputers. All of this information, connection and displays are going to take a lot of computational power to operate. The "wearable" computer never caught on for obvious reasons. What the upcoming tech needs is powerful but small computers. A fully functional computer today can be shrunk to fit inside of a USB shell. It is conceivable at this size to have a hundred or so secreted about your person, all of them connected by an adhoc network. For all intents a small walking around super computer. Downsizing them further, several hundred to several thousand could be in everything you wear to the devices you carry, in whatever vehicle you choose to ride in, even to others around you. Everyone becomes a node in a super consciousness.
6: Actual Retinal Displays: This would really push things along. You wouldn't have to wear the screen, your retina IS the screen. You might only need to wear special contact lens that would transmit the video / augmented info straight onto your retina.
7: and of course Bionic limbs. This is so close it's not even funny. Any missing or damaged limb could be replaced with something stronger and faster than you can know.
Good or bad, a lot of this type of tech is already here in one shape or another. The rest will be along soon.
Thanks to Device for the great post. You can read the complete article here
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Chuck: It would seem NBC has renewed 'Chuck' for a 13-episode, in their words, fifth and final season. I know I will miss this one. The quirky plot-line and even qwirkier supporting characters. Plus we know that NBC has opted out of the Wonder Woman series.
V, No Ordinary Family and The Event have had no such luck with 11th hour reprieves. V barely made it out of the blocks and No Ordinary Family in my opinion shot itself in the foot. I liked the show and after the first couple of episodes it became torturous to see the show self destruct. It might have been No Ordinary Family but it was all to ordinary plot lines. Should she tell, will he tell, damn I never could tell and how could you not tell.....after half a dozen episodes of this and I was damn glad I keep the gun and ammo in different places. - cause it was either me or the tv and I like that tv.......
Monday, May 16, 2011
This week's stories and music? Well, my opening song is She Dont like Firefly. Lol she is perfect in every other way, but doesnt like Firefly, so she is gone! This week is episode 12 for the Dark InSpectre by Jason Kahn. I want to thank Cyberwizard productions and Abandoned Towers for their continued excellence in production values. Our strangest story to date is Health Tip for Traveler by David Goldman. A does and don'ts travel brochure of the most unusual type!
Beam Me Up episode 261 dowload
Friday, May 13, 2011
From the NASA article:
- Io produces about 100 times more lava each year than all the volcanoes on Earth. While Earth's volcanoes occur in localized hotspots like the "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Ocean, Io's volcanoes are distributed all over its surface. A global magma ocean about 20 to 30 miles beneath Io's crust
Limited screenings have reportably disappointing and possibly confusing to the audience. David Kelley's offering had added a new twist to the Wonder Woman theme. In the comics, Diana Prince was the civilian identity of Wonder Woman. In this adaptation though, Diana was also known as Diana Themyscira, the chief executive officer of Themyscira Industries. I can see where it might have been difficult to follow the character. Oh and to mix things up or make things a bit trashy, Wonder Woman it seemed had a love interest in each of her "manifestations"
Airlock Alpha article
Now IO9 reports that there may be another effort to bring an animated series to the "small" screen. Their blog say that Roberto Orci has said that a new animated Trek could be materializing. (har I get it!) According to an article in Television Blend - Orci has been talking about putting together an animated Trek. They do note that it is not clear if it is just an idea of if Orci is truly in negotiation with Star Trek rights holders....... so at present we can treat this as a good rumor and cross our fingers....
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The situation is soon to degrade so badly that many of the choice high altitude orbits will become unusable and satellites will have to park in lower much less optimal orbits and relay signals to other low flying satellites. Space.com calls this: an "abandon in place" posture for certain orbital altitudes.
20,000 pieces of debris are now being tracked, many experts agree that a triple of this amount by 2030 is not unreasonable. Some of the increase can be attributed to more sensitive detectors but that still leaves a sizable increase over the intervening years. Add to that objects that are too small to track but at orbital speeds are every bit a lethal. Estimates range upwards of 10 times as many objects that can not be detected. (that's almost a quarter of a million bits - kiddies)
When asked if the Air Force was funding any projects to deal with debris, Gen. William Shelton, commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command said:
- We haven’t found a way yet that is affordable and gives us any hope for mitigating space debris. The best we can do, we believe, is to minimize debris as we go forward with our operations. As we think about how we launch things, as we deploy satellites, minimizing debris is absolutely essential
Nightshade Books http://www.nightshadebooks.com/
John Klima editor
From a story about a boy, so brain damaged that he should not be able to walk or even talk, does, and mysteriously seems to be ever so much more, to a tale that explores clashes between species on a very sad and individual basis – when a man much choose between the love for his daughter and promises to his wife. 15 stories, poetry and interviews that cover a wide expanse of the human ideal and nature.
A book, ultimately, should have one goal – to keep you turning the page. No matter how well intentioned, a book is, if you can not bring yourself to turn even one more page, then the book has failed.
On this simple test, issue 20 of Nightshade's Electric Velocipede is a well healed success. Filled with short stories and poetry that fit well into the morning commute or a short afternoon break. Collections like this are perfect for the busy individual or someone that just needs a quick dose of good science fiction.
Nightshade continues to turn out great collections of great science fiction!
Monday, May 09, 2011
- Variety reports that the studio is now considering abandoning Ron Howard's ambitious adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower novels.
- Deadline now reports that the Dark Tower pre-production staff have been asked to stop working, and that all plans for a September start date have been canceled.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Direct to video animation
Clancy Brown as Lex Lutor’s
Kevin Conroy as Superman
Tim Daly as Batman
LeVar Burton as Black Lightning
Public sentiment turns on the Justice League when it appears that the super cannon on their space station fired on a secret lab. Forcing the leaders of the Justice League to turn themselves into the authorities.
At this time an asteroid of Kriptonium is on a collision with Earth. Luthor’s plan to blow it up fails and saving the Earth falls to the superheros again.
It soon becomes apparent that Luthor has an ulterior motive and the survival of the human race may be in the balance.
This film came out before Crisis of two Earths and set the stage for what happens in many cases in Public Enemy. They should be watched in sequence, but Public Enemy stands well enough on it own. The animation and story line hold up well enough for fans of the comic book genre though anyone familiar with basic science and physics is going to groan in many places.
The blu-ray as usual is loaded up with extras from a sit in on a dinner, to extra half hour short Batman episodes.
So if you prefer high end American animation to that of anime and are a DC Universe fan this is tailor made for you. Otherwise the animation is adequate and the plot line is ummm unencumbered. I would give the movie a 6 and a 9 for extras.
From the article:
- Campbell is probably best known to Trek fans as Trelane, the Q-like character who pestered the Enterprise crew in the 1967 episode "Squire of Gothos."
- He also appeared in one of "Star Trek's" other famed episodes, "The Trouble With Tribbles," playing the Klingon Koloth.
There is no question that Star Trek had a major influence on me growing up. I can trace a lot of that influence to several marked episodes like Squire. This episode just freaked me out for days. No question, he was doing Q before anyone even thought of Q. Good stuff.
In his article Mark stated:
- This was a heartless mistake by the network--a mistake by which Syfy elected to announce to its viewers that it's willing to foot the bill for whimsical dramedies and pointless reality shows, but not actual science fiction.
- With the death of SGU, replaced on its schedule by cooking shows, wrestling, and light fantasies, Syfy is now entering a period where it will experience more and more difficulty convincing science-fiction fans that it should be taken seriously.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
This week from the blog, SETI has lost it’s 2.5 million budget and I put it into perspective with the cost of some of the countries and the DOD’s pet projects, You too can take a trip around the moon in a Soyuz capsule, all it takes is 150 million dollars, Antipodean has a new issue, Richard Branson is not the only game in town when it comes to diving to the deepest place in Earth’s oceans, The NASA Messenger probe is sending back great pictures, but one of them has something strange on it.
And this week’s story is part two of Fox Dunham’s The Heretic’s Son, the ship is an ancient generation ship and it is wearing out. The prophet needs to come soon to guide the people to nu ome. Cody is sick and near death and nothing seems to make sense. Join us for the conclusion of one of the most engaging stories we have had in a while.
- I've returned to Pseudopod horror fiction podcast, my second story to run there. It's a reprint of my flash story "What Makes You Tick" which has probably been my best-received story so far. It's included in Pseudopod 228, a Flash on the Borderlands episode that has 2 flash stories by other authors also included in it, so you get several stories for the single download. http://pseudopod.org/?p=325 Enjoy! ,David Steffen
Kudo Dave! Great job!
Friday, May 06, 2011
- On Nov. 19, 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean made a precision landing on the lunar surface in (in the area called) the Ocean of Storms. Their touchdown point was a mere 535 feet from the Surveyor 3 lander -- and an easy stroll to the hardware that had soft-landed on the lunar terrain years before, on April 20, 1967
Though scientists agree that this claim was ridiculous, the press and later the internet continued to champion the claim that microbes had survived. The truth however was far less romantic. Even though the clean room examiners claimed no contamination, examination of procedures and interviews proved different.
From the article:
- The research team writes of the way the Surveyor 3 camera team studied the equipment here on Earth. Or put more delicately, "The general scene does not lend a lot of confidence in the proposition. For example, (after studying documents and 16mm film of the period researchers found that) participants studying the camera were found to be wearing short-sleeve scrubs, thus arms were exposed. Also, the scrub shirt tails were higher than the flow bench level … and would act as a bellows for particulates from inside the shirt..... All in all, the likelihood that contamination occurred during sampling of the Surveyor 3 camera was shown to be very real.
From the Wired Science blog:
- The telephoto image revealed four distinct craters, each ringed with a dark blanket where soil was blasted out in the impact. The crater quartet could have been formed by a single meteorite that broke apart on its way through Mars’ atmosphere.
Wired Science article
Thursday, May 05, 2011
From the Wiki:
- The discoverer, Leonid Elenin, estimates that the comet nucleus is apx. 2.5 miles in diameter. As of April 2011, the comet is around magnitude 15 (roughly the brightness of Pluto), and the coma of the comet is estimated to be about 50,000 miles in diameter.
Science daily article
- NASA says the X is the result of two separate meteor strikes whose craters are outside the area that can be seen in this photo. When each meteor hit the surface, the force of impact threw off material that left behind its own, smaller, craters when it hit the ground.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
With the additional time, physicists can now study antimatter in general and antihydrogen specifically. Some of the crucial information that can be gained are:
- Does antihydrogen have the same level of energy as normal hydrogen?
- Is it an exact mirror image of matter and other fundamental questions.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
More info on the sub and the project here
Editor Ion posts that the newest issue of AntipodeanSF, the Australian online flash fiction magazine, is online and ready for your enjoyment.
The Genetic Time Traveler By David Gray
Old Tidings By JC Mangold
Night Falls At The Dream Markets By Elizabeth Carroll
How Technology Threatened My Manhood By Tod McCoy
Somewhere By Shaun A Saunders
Over Too Soon By Nicholas J Carter
Moving House By Antoinette Rydyr
Nanobrains By Kevin J. Phyland
7 Bullets By Jules Carey
This Alien Landscape By Chris Large
Monday, May 02, 2011
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Seems like a lot of money, but when you consider that NASA spent about the same amount (300 mill) for Apollo 8, it really isn't such a bad deal, considering that NASA would spend in the billions now to do the same job, it is even a much better deal. Plus you become part of a very elite group of people. Only 24 others have circled the Moon in the past!
Here is the mission plan according to Dvice:
- After launching from Russia, your Soyuz capsule will rendezvous and dock with a waiting booster rocket, which will power you into a free-return trajectory around the moon and back. After a two day journey, the capsule will circle the moon once, viewing the dark side from a mere 62 miles up. (Returning to Earth) you can expect to land somewhere in Siberia a few days later.
From the Wikipedia:
- She is best known for The Female Man, a novel combining utopian fiction and satire. It used the device of parallel worlds to consider the ways that different societies might produce very different versions of the same person, and how all might interact and respond to sexism.
five tomahawk cruise missiles 2.5 million
entry level learjet 12.9 million
1 apache attack helicopter 18 million
citibank exec bonus 19.3 million
trident submarine launched nuclear icbm 29.1 million
cost of significantly increasing sensitivity (expanding) of the allen telescope array 50 million
eight elviss Andy Warhol 100 million
total 2010 revenue of world wrestling entertainment 477 million
cost of google buying admob 750 million
Toy Story 2 box office worldwide 2010 earnings 1.06 billion
Nimits class aircraft carrier 4.5 billion
ipad sales in 2010 @500ea 7.4 billion
Starbucks 2010 net revenue 10.7 billion
Citigroup 2008 bailout 25 billion
extending the bush tax cut 544.3 billion
Oh and I know this is nothing we could control, but as a distraction while one of the most efficient uses for our scientific investment was being raped, we watch the British Royal Family run through about 64 million dollars for a wedding. Now, Like I said, that's their business, but when I hear how many ooooooooohed and aaaaaaaaahhhhhed about this and the whole damn list above is just plain ignored, I just hoped they all were well greased and grabin for their ankles.