Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Mark comes through again with a great DVD The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth

Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle

Tom Hardy as Bane

Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul / Miranda Tate

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake (aka Robin John Blake)

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane

Directed Produced and Screenplay by Christopher Nolan  I know Chris is his generation's wonder kinder, but at what point does a project change from expressing one's art and delve into the realm of self aggrandizement?

First off the movie is Looooooooooong but doesn't seem to drift to far astray.  It is slow moving in the beginning.  I know that Wayne is hurt and may no longer believe in what he does.  Which is weird, I do not remember him so despondent in the last movie...huh.   But yeah, the movie is slow to get rolling.  There are moments but until it quite literally comes crashing down around him, Wayne spends a lot of time brooding or over coming self doubt.  

There are points when some of the things that are happening just seem gratuitous and over the top.   Maybe it is my belief that society is a bit stronger than Nolan seems to think.  Are we really just a few days away from total collapse of society?

Once things get going however, we find that ho we now have a Cat woman...I think...lol some cool new toyz for da boyz and some wicked ahas!!! at the end.  It goes without saying that you should see   or rent this movie.  It is kinda a pivot that Nolan has put his Dark Knight arc on.  Of course there are more questions made than answers answered if you catch my drift.  

I can't speak of extras, this being a rental it had NO extras.  So on it's own entertainment  its an easy 8 or 8.5.  If I can get my hands on a blu-ray, I will let you know and edit this listing accordingly.  Otherwise it is a pretty definite see it rent it borrow it...whatever.  It is a good dark Batman.  

What's Inside a Poop? Inquiring Minds Want to know!


You know I just could not stay away from this one!  I really thought it was a joke when I saw the first link on Boing Boing.  Especially when it liked out to an article named:  
  • An In-Depth Analysis of a Piece of Shit: 
Stranger still, it seems to be legit!  Links lead to PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases and talks about hook worms and other fecal egg counts....HONEST!!!  of course it is some of the methodology that set me over the juvenile edge.    Stuff like 
  • 222 samples were collected....not saying a thing....each sample was cut into four pieces.  (turd cutter....hows that for a job description...I think I need professional help) 
  • and of course this line "Some samples were homogenized"  
  • and the infamous " keeping collected stool samples cool and moist
Not making fun of important research,  but I am totally amazed at some of the projects  and some of the people who contribute....that might have been a poor choice of words....

If A Horse Came Up As Lame as 2012, They'd Have Shot it!

Barry sent in a link that has had me laughing all afternoon.  From Time Magazine  Tech is this article from Harry McCracken covering as he puts it,  the 57 Lamest Tech moment of 2012!

Stuff like:  
  • Apple customers at a Vancouver Best Buy, discover  the iPads they’ve purchased look suspiciously like blocks of modeling clay.   Seems  criminals bought iPads and then returned them for refunds but not before removing the iPads  and refilled the boxes.  
  • Or Motorola selling  about 100 refurbished Xoom tablets that may still have their previous owners’ information on them. 
  • Microsoft ditches the START button in Windows 8?!!
  • You know the saying about people that never learn from history?  You know the rest?  Well it should just read dumb and gullible.  It seems  quite a few credible websites bit hook line and sinker on a "historical" discovery that a youthful Abraham Lincoln attempted to patent his idea for local newspapers to give each citizen a personal page to “discuss his Family, his Work, and his Various Endeavors” — in effect, a 19th century dead-tree version of Facebook.  Great idea, totally fake....
And this is just the first few listings!

Click here to go to the TIME article.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Forever War, (movie???)

   Okay, first off, let me say that I love the book. I read it when it came out in 74. (yeah, I was 11 years old and reading this). 
   Joe Haldeman wrote the novel, and it is quite an interesting read if you haven't read it. And if you haven't, do so, seriously. It's been a long time since I read it, and I need to read it again myself. (So please, if I make a mistake here, please correct me, as most of the stuff here outside of the movie comes solely from my own memory). 
   Basically, it is the story of a war between us and an alien species knows as Taurans. It deals with many of the psychological factors of war, and more or less how inhumane war is. It also deals somewhat with the bureaucracy of the idiots in charge of the war. We'll get back to that in a moment. 
   Now here is why it is called the Forever War, and why I found it so interesting. It doesn't just deal with the psychological effects of war, or of the time away from family and fiends, but deals with the fact in these areas, that time dilation during flight really sends you into an area that is hard for a lot of people to accept. Imagine going far out into space to do battle, and realizing you are 600 years from the time you left earth. Then of course you make back up a certain amount of time on return trip. Just read the book.
    Lets just simplify the entire thing. 
    It deals with a massive space war, and the effects on a man returning home after the war, centuries out of time from when he left. We had ships or a colony that got destroyed, we blamed them, and since we couldn't communicate, 1000 years of war. Eventually we start cloning, get a new race of people, I believe were called man men, or man man, something like that. They became capable of communicating with the Taurans, and guess what. They didn't do it. So basically we see how non-communication leads to a total disaster, and countless lives lost.  Also, if I remember correctly, the people chosen to fight had to have IQ's over 140, or 150. I think 150, but if I say that, it'll be 140 or 160 with my luck.
   The book won the Hugo and Nebula awards, and I believe one other award as well.
   Now on to what could be great news, or absolutely horrible news. Here is what I know about the movie so far. 
   Ridley has been trying for ages to make this into a movie, and I heard he finally got the rights to do it a few years ago. He said 2 years ago that Matt Carnahan was on the fourth draft os a screenplay for it. The original was done by David Peoples, the writer of Blade Runner. 
   Apparently now however, it deals with a soldier that returns to a world he doesn't know after only 20 years. That isn't right by the book right there. But then, no book is ever done properly on screen. (I cite my man Logan as the perfect freaking example of such disasters). If I remember correctly, it was 60 or 600 years before they got back, and his GF/wife would be back shortly before or after him. (Like I say, correct me where I am wrong on this, PLEASE).
   Now when this actually gets moving is another guess. He has Prometheus 2 in the works, and from what I read in an article, apparently maybe a Blade Runner 2. 
   Not sure I like the idea of this made into a movie. I remember I loved that book, even though I don't remember everything about anymore. (Now if you want to discuss "A World Out Of Time," by Larry Niven, we can have a conversation. I have 2 copies now, because I am tired of losing that book somehow). I'm just afraid they are going to end up doing another Logan's Run, (and yes, I'm positively terrified by what may be coming out of that new attempt coming soon).
   Well folks, there you go. Anything I got wrong about the book, please correct me on it. And in the meantime, lets hope they don't destroy this as well, or dumb it down for the common populace that barely understand the concept of multiplication any more. 
    And there is the problem with doing this book. We'll get a 2 hour movie, and 45 minutes will be someone explaining how the time dilation works, (which I admit I forget how he had it written in there as well), but I just don't see them keeping the aspects of the book, and being able to get the regular movie goers to get it all. First you have to  get the regular movie goer to understand how time could slow on a ship at near light speeds, and how time could be made up the same way. If I had my book, this would be written a lot better than it is here. I'd have just taken an hour or so and reread the blasted thing.
    Damn, guess it's time to get a Kindle. I could have downloaded it from Amazon and read it again already. But then I miss holding the book in hand. Fine, I'll get a blasted Kindle. 
   And yeah, this could have been written up a lot better, especially if I had my book still. Sorry for the mess of this article folks, bear with me on this one. I realize it's the biggest jumbled mess I have ever written here.

BMU_246 Call Me Joe con - Poul Anderson


After my opening monologue concerning talking animals in entertainment plus a comment concerning a Burt Lancaster movie called Swimmer I play a couple of excerpts from Earth Sky.

from the blog

Barry sends in info talking about a Star Wars Christmas television special, honest and yes we have links to the documentary and half of the star War Christmas special. Oh my... 

NASA has a new deep space z1 space suit that bears a  strong resemblance to ummm well Buzz Lightyear! No kidding!   

From MIT come the news of a "quantum"computer. More to the  point a hybrid, and this configuration would vastly speed the or reduce the power consumption of the average pc. The speed  comes for the quantum states (which seems to be 500 or more,  but more on that later) and do it with far less wattage. 

What if dinos were still around, would you eat one? If so, which would be a good choice? I discuss this subject from a Pop Sci article.

 Oh, since the world didn't end would you believe that instead of despondency they only figure that it must have been the wrong day for the apocalypse  And speaking of quantum computers, I talk about an article where scientists from the USA and China are working on a system to identify quantum states and boy are there a lot of them!

And finally I play the last part of Poul Anderson's Call Me Joe

I hope you enjoy this weeks output, don't forget to visit the blog and add your 2 cents to the mix!

Enjoy!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Star Wars Christmas Special....are you kidding me?!

Ok, Barry floored me with this heads up! This is a documentary clip about the ill-fated Star Wars Holiday Special

First off, my disclaimer is that I am not a follower of the Star Wars universe, no, I am probably one of the most ill informed Trekee ever but I know enough to start an argument if need be! lol.

On the flip side however I did follow Star Wars through the late seventies and early eighties. So when Barry blows in and said 

  •  "This is a documentary clip about the ill-fated Star Wars Holiday Special."
I was whaaaaaaaaaa Christmas?  Star Wars?  Have any of you ever heard of this?  It is not a prank!  There really IS a Christmas Star Wars special and it is in the wind!

So far, from what I have gleaned is this is most likely one of the worst pieces of Television in existence today bar none.  Lucas has been heard to day that.....well, watch the clip, be prepared to be dumbfounded.    



That is just a short taste.  If you like having your eyes burned out and a major big gulp of pain, point your browser here "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFB627wyzR0"   and Kallamis points out that if you have the fortitude to want to watch thespecial, he found a link to part one here
" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQt7LRTSVTA"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Science, Science Fiction, Yin,Yang?

To the right you see the iconic Buzz Lightyear.  Beside him is a prototype of a new Z-1 for use by astronauts on deep space mission.
Anyone want to talk about the 800 lp gorilla in the room?

Quantum Computers to Compete with Home Computers?

A "Quantum Computer" has for the most part been the minion of science fiction.  Using quantum states for logic instead of 1s and zeros used by today's computer logic systems.  A quantum logic state can  store more than 1 and do it at virtually no power consumption.

Any one of these would make a home or business computers vastly more efficient.  But Physicists believe that a true Quantum computer is still way into the future.  

Now, several teams have demonstrated a "quantum" speed-up that if perfected could give the standard computer a very real competition! Scientists at MIT, studying the effect, have said that the mechanical computation of Quantum may just be possible which would mean that calculations that take hours and days, might be able to complete in a fraction of the time.

Read the Wired / Science Now article HERE


Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Feasting! Alternative Menu Items?!

The Christian holiday menus are in a funk.  Come on, you know it's a fact!  Turkey, Ham or pork, maybe the vegetarians have it right.  Well lets discount for a moment that vegi-burgers many not be on everyone's menu and do some speculating. 

With that in mind, there are reasons that these choices in meats were made.  For the most part they are mild flavored for the most part.  Meat often takes on the taste of what the animal eats.  There is a reason that carnivore meats are not at the top of meats consumed.  

This round about way to menu choices then brings us to a PopSci article asking the rather intriguing question - what kind of dinosaur meat would taste the best!  As in today's diet, carnivore meat would most likely be off the menu.  Fat contributes a lot to the flavor of the meat and what an animal eats flavors the fat.  It becomes quickly clear why, now and it was then, the meat eaters were not good eating.

However if we think of the types eaten now - cow, deer, bison perhaps, we see the palate leans toward grass and grain fed.  T-Rex for all it's supposed glamorous nature, has been found to have jaw abnormalities which suggests diseases from eating rotten meat which also suggests that the meat would be heavily laden with parasites.  It does not take much to consider how a Rex would taste...bleh.

Many theories suggest that dino meat would taste like chicken because of the close ties to modern birds.  However the Pop Sci article suggests that many of the land going dinos would be closer to beef.  

The article goes on to consider slow vs fast twitch muscle fibers and fast and slow activity to suggest what  meat would be like on certain animals and go on to make some interesting conclusions.

Read the Pop Sci article here to see if your mouth starts to water...lol    


The World is Still Going to End...Just Got the Date Wrong!

You would think that a few moments after midnight on the 22nd, the doom-sayers would have seen the error of their ways and recanted.  You know, one hopes for some sort of common sense.

Would you believe that in an article that was pointed out to me on the Komando site that many believe the exact opposite!  Honest!   First, it should be made clear that the Myan calendar no where fore tells of a world wide dooms day.   Through a misunderstanding on how the Myans recorded time and used the "calendar" which lead to the belief that the calendar had no further dates on it past Dec. 21 2012.    In a Science on NBC News article:  Researchers point out that "Matching the dates of the Mayan calendar to our modern calendar is not an exact science". 

Why is that?  because Myans based their calendar on a system like a "long march" type of system or long epochs, in many ways similar to the old Chinese system.  Trying to match this system to a 12 month 365 day calendar is very imprecise at best.  

Not to be deterred however, doomsdayers  are sure the end is nye, just the date is wrong, so their belief is stronger than ever.  

And then there are those that are traumatized.    The reasons for this are varied and complex.  Often  varying  from despondency to paranoia.

From my end, the one thing I don't see much of is acceptance of the fact that the apocalypse just isn't a happening thing.   But then that is asking for rationality.... 

Matter is either solid, liquid, and gas, right? Wrong!

There are in fact more than 500 phases of matter, according to a major paper in the 12/21/12  issue of Science.

Using modern mathematics, Perimeter Faculty member Xiao-Gang Wen and collaborators from the US, Canda and China reveal a new system which can, at last, successfully classify symmetry-protected phases of matter. Their new classification system will provide insight about these quantum phases of matter, which may in turn increase our ability to design states of matter for use in superconductors or quantum computers.

"a revealing look at the intricate and fascinating world of quantum entanglement, and an important step toward a modern reclassification of all phases of matter." according to the press release.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

BMU # 345 Land of fire & ash con - Davies

Seasons greetings one and all.    Plenty of fun stuff this weekend.   Didn't get all done that I wanted, but I think it was a fun episode.

First I start with a fine piece of music that is the closing music for the anime series  called Btoom! which I review later in the program.  The song is Aozora and is performed by May'n.  

After the music I do indeed explore and review the 12 episode anime series called Btoom!

The story of the day is the conclusion to Colin P. Davies Land of Fire & Ashes.  A thoroughly entertaining and exciting tale.

Next are a few articles from Earth Sky, this week, spider webs, giant bugs and the Milky-way is truly HUGE!

Then some Trek Trivia with questions about  James T. Kirk.  Much better!

From the blog  The Grail Sats crashed, but not before they did excellent science.

Kall, describes his plans for world domination after the apocalypse   Then I take a moment to pass on some observations about copyrights.  

Another review takes the form of the abysmal "Class of 1999"  It shows that some good actors can not save a steamer....nope....

Oh you know the song Gundam Style...well I play the music here for a parody called NASA Huston Style, but you have to see the compete video for comic effect!

Brighton may want to check out their lights...someone was a bit upset.  Check out the vid on the beam me up blog.

Will we ever return to the moon.  Well  if we plan on going to the moon or the asteroids, the moon is close and copies many of the features of where we plan to go.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review : Btoom! anime series

Anyone ever catch the latest Predator movie? The last one remember? Where
people wake up not knowing where they are or why. Periodically a c130 flies over and drops supplies. You "win" when you destroy the mysterious alien bent on killing you. This is where the review gets a little strange because to some extent I have been describing the anime series Btoom! In Btoom! Main character Ryōta wakes up hanging in a parachute harness. Once free he finds that everyone he meets wants to kill him. There are no guns or knives but different "flavors" of hand thrown explosive. Ryōta is know a one of the best players of an online game called "Btoom" and strangely enough the island and the online game seem to mirror each other. Ryōta realizes that if he plays the game on the island he may be able to go home. Throughout the first few episodes Ryōta gains allies and begins to think that he might be able to get back. The only downside is each player wears a crystal embedded in their hand. when they dye the crystal releases. When you have killed 8 other players you can get off the island. Btoom! is much better than I make it out to be. The plot is far superior to the regular anime angst in high school. The premise keeps you attention and the action, though sometimes ultra violent, leave you in anticipation of the next installment. Though I might want to warn some of the faint of heart, the Mature warning is not all for the violence. There are some very adult situations as well. Many of the "players" on the island feel that the isolation is carte blanche on any type of behavior. It soon becomes evident why the women trapped on the island and forced to play, do not trust men at all. Well it soon is clear to all that the people on the island were chosen for their playing ability of Btoom! With many in fact knowing each other! I thought this series very inventive and entertaining in many ways. I would give it an 8.5 just wondering why some of the theme items are REAL close to the Predator movie. Nit picking I know. Watch it, you will not be disapointed!

Oh, and the ending is way wide open!  Only 12 episodes and almost none of the strings are tied up!
Bummer!

Friday, December 21, 2012

TWO NASA SATS Crashed


The GRAIl satellites, refereed to, affectionately as Ebb and Flow, entered service in late 2011 early 2012 produced highly detailed gravity maps that shows a scarred surface rivaled only by an even more battered interior. The Moon's crust is thinner than expected and that it is shot through with lava-filled cracks evidence that the Moon expanded early in it's history.

NASA has for a year had a pair of satellites orbiting the Moon. NASA's Gravity


Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) enabling scientists to make detailed gravity maps that aided researchers to better understand the sub-surface lunar makeup.


On December 17 the Grail probes were instructed to impact a mountain at the northern pole, which the did within 20 seconds of each other at 5:28 p.m. EST.


















Wikipedia GRAIL link HERE


Goodbye

   Well, folks, as of 6:11 am, Ohio time, the world will come to it's end. 
   The alien god will return.
   His name is Galactus. And it fits to what the 2012 Mayan doomsayers, (greedy assholes that prey on the gullible of religious persecution and destruction), say we are going to end or enter a great new age of awakening.
   Well, after over 30 years years of some of the greatest training on Earth, I say this, go for it. if you want the world to end, than MAKE IT SO.
   But he is coming, believe it. The end of the world is now. We are all going to die, because we have not fulfilled the laws that the ancient alien gods gave us to follow.
   They will return, and we will pay for what we have done wrong. The true age of Aquarius will start soon, and all non believers and all haters of true freedom will die horribly.
   And don't you all forget. I have foretold this, and therefore it is absolute truth. You must listen to me. I have sorcerers training. If you do not prepare, and put in place a multi-million dollar shelter system by 6:11 am Ohio time, tomorrow morning, you will all be dead. 
     I say goodbye to you all. The ancient aliens are returning, and I, as a homo superior, will be chosen to rule over the rest of you left alive.  Be warned, I am a hard master. You will obey me, or you will be destroyed, by my masters laws. 
   Okay, there's my psychotic end of the world 12/21/2012 nonsense idiocy. 
   Remember, I warned you. I am the new emperor of the planet Terra. Obey me, or my alien masters will make you pay. 
    Obey me, or suffer eternal torment starting at 6:12 am Ohio time. I have warned you, beware.
  Hey, this is a sci-fi, etc site. Besides, no one else went wonky here, so I will.

NOW, BOW TO YOUR IMMORTAL DOOMSDAY SURVIVING GOD. BOW NOW, OR ELSE.
   LOL. Okay, who's next. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

We All Are Copyright Infringement Criminals!

Oh yes, it is true!  I have to admit that I suspect even myself am in danger of prosecution and a large fine for just such heinous infraction.  Truthfully I did not and was not aware that my actions were a felony, and since ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.  Now that I have been informed, I must admit that I have witnessed equally felonious behavior myself.

What has me so spooked you may wonder?  Well in a note from the FreeMusic Archive: Time Warner will charge you ten grand in fines if you infringe on their copyright and use \ perform their product in a public forum.  

That is what has me worried for I myself have  used   this product in public.  Matter of fact, several time alone in 2012.

And what is this product that Time Warner is so willing to sue you if you use it?  It is a simple six note song with words that TW says they will defend their copyright with all due diligence.

You see, Time Warner owns " Happy Birthday"

I have now decided that yes indeed, the world has gone insane.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Class of 1999

Directed by Mark Lester
Written by C. Courtney Joyner Bradley Gregg
Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Miles Langford
Stacy Keach as Dr. Robert "Bob" Forest
Bradley Gregg as Cody Culp
Traci Lind as Christy Langford
Patrick Kilpatrick as Mr. Bryles
Pam Grier as Miss Connors
John P. Ryan as Mr. Hardin
Darren E. Burrows as Sonny
Joshua John Miller as Angel

Well if you read who wrote the screen script and stared in it, clears up some of the mystery as to what possessed these people to make this absolutely horrid turdfest.

Gregg knows better to as does McDowell. Ferchristsake, I mean A Clockwork Orange? Who did you piss off Malcolm that left you in a position that you felt like you needed to do this?

Mark brought this by and his reason for renting was the lack of fake effects. He seemed to think that way back in 1990 the didn't have such things...I would hate to bust his bubble that I remember Star Wars and 2001 a Space Oddssey, both made well before this one and used pretty damn good effects that would hardly be out of place today. No, this movie didn't do computer graphics because it was a low budget movie.

So what is the premise of Class of 1999? well in the future, gangs have become so powerful and violent that they have for all intents "taken over" cities. Certain schools have become free fire zones, where not even law enforcement will venture into.

Into this mess Dr. Miles (McDowell)Langford decides to fight back and brings in Dr. Robert (Keach) Forrest to regain his school. Dr Forrest used Kennedy high-school as a training ground for his "tactical education units" but in fact the are humanoid war-fare but in fact are terminator style combat units reprogrammed them with teacher personalities. In the same ole anti science and tech, the Tactical Education units begin to revert back to their warrior units and student trouble makers begin dying.

A point is reached where they are not even coming in to school but attempt to kill gang members and to buy their old units and begin instrumentally to start gang wars.

It goes on and on, trying to be something it cant. Green goo and pasted on makeup. A schizophrenic plot that races to the end. I honestly tried to stop the DVD several time but I just watched it enough that I could talk somewhat about the high points.

Keach and McDowell on their own don't save this self indulgent piece of trash.

I would not buy this film and neither would I pay to rent it. Hey I wouldn't even watch it if I wasn't doing reviews. Well the one good thing I learned that B movies are universal and for the most part universally bad!

I would give it a 4 first because well the movie is slock)and guess what it had NO extras. That's it. I know, I have called other movies bad, but they were masterpieces by comparison.

Put the dvd down and back away slowly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NASA Johnson Style

If you are at all suspicious at this point well you have a right to be. One of my fav contributors sent in this parody of Gangnam Style titled aptly enough: NASA Johnson Style! Now before you get your knickers in a knot, watch this video. I am sure that someone is going to say, Doesn't NASA have enough to do already! To be honest, I think this is more NASA enthusiasts instead of the front line people "wasting" time. Come ON! This is in fact, clever and fun!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Company Claims Invention of Potter Style Invisibility Cloak

And if you are like me, the BS alarms should already be going off. Why? Well this Canadian company UltraStealth says that they have invented a screen or tarp or cloak if you must, that uses no camera, or power supply, but if you look at the photo, it is clearly Photoshopped which Ultra Stealth explains as not wanting to give away technical secrets. hummmm. If you read the original article, you can clearly tell that they ARE talking about the Potter cloak, here is why. They describe a scenario where a soldier could walk into a room undetected. Now if your blocking all the IR visible and UV then yes you would be undetectable. But it also shows a fantastic ignorance of simple physics and the behavior of light. Because anyone that knows about refraction and reflection knows that if this unit works as advertised they would have a MAJOR problem. The wearer is blind. Potter is fiction so she can say what she wants to about how the cloak works, but obviously has absolutely NO scientific training. And you know this is true and you can prove it to yourself if you doubt me. A mirror reflect virtually all the light energy that hits it right. But if you stand behind this mirror, you can not see anything. Now the very first objection that usually comes up is what about 2 way mirrors....really? 2way mirrors are only partially glazed. it is very easy to see through both sides, but you ALWAYS see the hidden side as a dark room. Haven't you ever seen glass at night? Makes a good mirror... That how we know that UltraStealths cloak is vapor ware....

Dvice Article Link

uhhh Brighton.... we have a problem.....

I would say that someone had a serious problem with there job during the Christmas season. I suggest NOT watching the video if you are easily offended. oh and uh, Merry xmas!

Well We Ever Return to the Moon?

Here we have an excellent and very personal short from Andrew Chaikin. Mr. Chaikin witnessed the last Apollo launch and on the anniversary of Apollo 17's mission he makes a good case for returning. His reasoning is that here is another world for all respects and only 3 days away! What better place to train to work and survive on other planets (if we are to go there)than our own back door! Plus it goes without saying that Apollo only scratched the surface in it's exploration of the Moon, there is so much left to be studied in a place that is for all intents from the beginning of our solar system. It's a good vid, check it out!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

BMU # 344 Land of Fire & Ashes -


I open with Fit and the Consumption’s “Sweet Sister Starlight”  Love this song!
From there, I do a couple of Star Trek trivia questions.

Then I review Abe Lincoln – Vampire Killer!  Maybe not as bad as you thought or worse!

From the Blog, news from David Scholes,  John Anealio has a free EP for listeners, have scientists uncovered the oldest dino to date!?   3D printers….and AR firearms…can they be controlled, and if so how?   Zombies Among Us!!!!  and is there POOP on the moon!
Finally Part one of Colin P. Davies excellent short story “Land of Fire & Ashes”  It is so good to see Colin back on the program.   If you are not familiar with his work or possibly forgotten, you are in for a treat of  excellent story telling from one of the best!



Enjoy

Friday, December 14, 2012

Poop on the Moon!

Yep, you are reading that right. The Minute Physics (same guy that does Smarter Every Minute)asks the question that I am sure we all wondered about, but were afraid to ask, Did the Apollo astronauts leave their poop on the moon? The question arises out of a fairly basic but important limitations. The assent portion of the Apollo Moon Lander could only carry a little over 300kg of material back from the moon. To extend that as far as possible, lander astronauts cast off any items that were no longer needed.
Minute Physics asks in the video below, did the lander ejecta contain some number 2s?

Review: Abe Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

Starring
Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas

Everyone must have a movie that they fear someone will find out they watched it.  Though perhaps not quite that bad, Vampire Hunter surely must be in the running.   This was a film that I was quite sure I would never see, but then there was my friend Mark with another movie in hand extolling the film as "not that bad really!"   Hardly what I would classify as a great endorsement but I gave it a go. 

First thing I noticed is some of the industry's notables that were involved with the project.  Like Make up artist extraordinaire Rick Baker listed as producer...Yeah I know.  

But there again is Lincoln's name and visage across the screen and for me...well I was running cold already.  

The premise?  At a early age, Abraham Lincoln witnessed his mother killed by a vampire and pledges revenge on the monster who killed her.  If you feel that you have heard of this plot outline before you have.  It is one of the laziest to do.  The Karate Kid, Star Wars, pretty much ALL of Segal's movies, on and on and on.  The plot was so telegraphed that ten minutes into the film you knew everything that was going to happen and how the movie will end.  Trust me, it IS that by the numbers movie making.  The only thing I really didn't expect is how much of early USA history was portrayed as though it were the Civil war.

Now if they took out any reference to Lincoln and his ninja ax it well could have been a better movie.  The fight scenes were bloody and violent for even the most jaded viewer.  But there is Abe with his kung fu grip.  

The movie looks good.  Good period piece, there are extra, but I didnt care to watch after this viewing I just couldnt bare to go through it again.  So the movie rates a 5 and the extras a 5, because no matter how good, if they dont get you to look it is a wasted effort so 5.5 for a combined rating.  

If you like non stop fight scenes or gore, this is for you, otherwise pass on it.   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Earth Makes Noises Like Crickets and Chirping Birds!

Carole sends in a note concerning the twin Van Allen probes,  formerly known as the Radiation Belt Storm Probes    Theses probes were launched recently to study the harsh radiation surrounding the planet.   Though barely into their mission the probes have made very high resolution  measurements of high-energy particles and radio waves. 

Scientist have already found that the radio waves and the radiation belts interact.  The radio waves seem to add energy to the high energy particles in the "belts".   The added bonus comes in the form of the frequency of these waves which interact and produce signals within the range of human hearing. 

University of Iowa physicist Craig Kletzing played a recording of these high pitched radio waves at a recent conference.  Kletzing says it sounds like the chirping of 'alien birds" and crickets.

For the most part, these background sounds were undetectable most of the time, however amateur radio operators had reported these odd bird chirps and cricket sound.  It is the unprecedented clarity of the new recordings  that is unprecedented. 

What the satellites have already uncovered is  the outer radiation is proving to be much more dynamic and rapidly changing than had been anticipated. 

 Yahoo news article

Real Zombies Among Us!

Xnewsman send in an absolutely horrific article from the New York Time that reports on the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology which deals with the naturally occurring zombies in nature!

 For the Doubting Thomas' among you, should be aware that zombies are FAR more frequent than you think! Viruses, fungi, protozoans, wasps, tapeworms and a vast number of other parasites have developed very specialized biology that hijacks another's brain and nervous system for their own needs.

Like a Costa Rican spider that ends it's life weaving a special web for the larva of a parasitic wasp, or a virus that infects certain caterpillars and drives them to climb high into the canopy unlike the caterpillar's regular behavior to stay low and out of sight of predators. Once it is at the highest point, it's body disintegrates spreading millions of copies of the virus.

Mammals and humans are not immune from parasitic infections and even chemical alterations of their brain chemistry....yes Zombifacation!

Check out the New York Times article here

Rep Calls For Ban on 3D Printed Firearms

Hey, did Cory Doctorow call this one or what!  Early in Beam Me Up's run (episode 38) I ran a story call Print Crime by Cory.  It told the dark tale of copyrights that extended to 3d printers.  In most cases even the printers themselves were an arrestable offence! Not to mention many desperately needed products which copyright leaches had tired up for their own devices.  

Well here is where a scenario like Doctorow's might start.   No matter how you feel about assault weapons or their ability to be printed (they work, but are only able to fire a handful of rounds before disintegrating. ) really isn't the point.  It's the inclination to take this kind of action without fully understanding the ramifications   or for that matter implementation!

I wonder even if that covers all of the possibilities.  This is an insidiously slippery slide that once ventured upon can only, in my humble opinion, lead to disaster.  

The technology has proven itself wildly valuable in many instances, but wholesale legislation could ruin the device's potential.  

I know it's a bit of a stretch, but thoughtful consideration before wholesale legislation is, I would think, the order of the day here.

Least that is what I think... Hit the link below to read the Boing Boing article and the ban Rep Steve Israel is calling for.

Article link here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

News from Dave Scholes


  • Dave just sent in a note that I figured fans of his work might enjoy 
  • Just to let you know that the Bewildering Stories site has published an excerpt from my "Essential Reading in Science Fiction"  book:
  • http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue506/essential_ex.html
  • Also I'll be making the digital version of this book free on Amazon for 5 days from 12.01am Friday 14 December 2012 (US Pacific Time).
cool....Thanks Dave!


Possibly Oldest Dino Uncovered

Paleontologists have discovered the bones of a 240 million years old dino, little larger than a domestic dog.   This discovery pushes back the appearance of dinosaurs at least 10 million years.  

This discovery at the very least could change researchers’ views of how dinosaurs evolved.


The fossils first came to light in the 1930s   and studied for decades by the paleontologist Alan Charig, 
until he died in 1997.  He named the animal Nyasasaurus,  but never published his conclusions as to the true genus of the animal.  Many of the other specimens from the same strata at the Tanzania’s Manda Beds, were very close relatives of the dinosaurs.  So close in fact that  the "sister taxon" is closest it can be to a dinosaur without actually being one.

Examining Nyasasaurus closer uncovered traits of both dinosaurs as well as the sister group.   A  team of paleontologists at the University of Washington, Seattle,lead by Sterling Nesbitt, carried out a systematic comparison of the bones.  They found that Nyasasaurus, bones contained a number of characteristics that belong to true dinosaurs.  

For more, check out the Wired com article  or the Science Now article here



Season's Geekings EP From John Anealio



John writes in to let us know:

  • As a way to celebrate the holiday season, you can now download the Seasons Geekings E.P. for free!  It features holiday songs about Batman, Star Wars and Chupacabras.  
The album can be had by clicking 
John only asks that if you like it, share it with your Facebook friends, Twitter it, whatever, just let your friends know where they can get some good seasons geekings from John Anealio!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

BMU #343 Call Me Joe pt5 -Poul Anderson - In Plain Sight ep15 - Jason Kahn

Wow, what a confusing day at the podcast.  This will give you a hint...I had to totally remix i twice when I got to my own home recorder.  But anyway - I open with some Christmas music.  I play "I want the Mellium Falcon for Christmas by John Anealio of Scifisongs.blogspot.com.

My first article asks what laws of robotics should robots use.  I use a slightly offbeat answer buy asking what laws?!

Next is the first story of the afternoon.  Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe" pt5.

Earth Sky had some really good articles this week, from giant stars to galactic collisions.  

Followed by Star Trek Trivia

I start the blog with my review of The Amazing Spider Man and my review is a bit less than stellar.  From there there are articles about what NASA has in store after the Curiosity rover,   I think all were a bit disappointed with the release of Curiosity's SAM lab data, which is certainly not for the history books.  Wanna go to the moon?  well if you have a spare 1.5 billion you can according to start up Golden Spike.  and a Darwin should have been.

Finally In Plain Sight ep16 by Jason Kahn is our closing story of the afternoon!

Enjoy episode 343 of Beam Me Up

Another Darwin Award Nomination...

Every now and then I hear of a person who by some odd twist of fate have managed to exclude themselves from being a Darwin Award alumni.  It is clear however that souls are neither of a higher order or extremely lucky, no, far from it.  Often these should have been misanthropes one head bang away from compete idiocy, case in point, let me introduce Portsmouth  NH resident Scott Pipher,  who reported that an Old Orchard Beach prostitute of shorting him 10 minutes.( Yes, that OOB.  Maine has had its share lately of prostitute drama, and yes I know Mr. Strong)

The police blotter said Pipher called police on March 25 and complained that the woman he hired did “not give him his money's worth” by cutting their time together by ten minutes.

As comical as that sounds, it gets better when Pipher was arrested a short time later for engaging in prostitution!  Oh it gets better!

It would seem that there is an internet database for use by "escorts" which is kind of a bad boy or black list of clients.  According to the article Pipher:
  • is described as being “notorious for booking out-calls and then not answering his door or phone
Sadly Pipher is not completely alone in this idiotic behavior.  It seems that police had become familiar with his misdeeds.  According to a police report, a woman called and complained that Pipher had reserved her services for a private dance, but he refused to answer the door when she arrived.  

From the Seacoast Online article:  
  • The dancer claimed it was a theft of her services, but police Capt. Mike Schwartz countered it wasn't a theft because she never danced
You can not make this stuff up! The future of the human race is bleak indeed if these brain-trusts are the future!

If you doubt me at all, check out the Seacoast Online article here

So I humbly nominate Scott Pipher  for a future Darwin award. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Company to Offer Expeditions to the Moon



The Golden Spike Company announced on the anniversary of Apollo 17 (the US's last Apollo mission to the moon) that it would begin offering as they put it, " routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon."

Using existing rocket systems  and emerging commercial-crew spacecraft,  the company  plans to market the resulting system to "nations, individuals, and corporations with lunar exploration objectives and ambitions.  Plus offer them at a fraction of the cost of any lunar expedition envisioned so far. 

Golden Spike estimates the cost for a two-person lunar surface mission will start at $1.4 billion.  Golden Spike says that this price point is very competitive as many of the countries are already spending for robotic equipment.


I was going to also include the Golden Spike web address but I received a 404 error....

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Curiosity's SAM Results.....

NASA has released the findings of the Martian rover Curiosity's S.A.M. lab.

Curiosity's lead scientist had promised something for the history books but according to Paul Mahaffy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center:
  • "We have no definitive detection of Martian organics at this point, but we will keep looking in the diverse environments of Gale Crater,"
What Curiosity did find  was volcanic soil, small bits of volcanic glass, a few water molecules, 
oxygen and a possible chlorine compound. 

Follow On to the Curiosity Rover Mission Announced

Following on the success of Curiosity, NASA announced recently that the follow on to Curiosity is well underway and is scheduled for Mars in 2020.

This newest rover project will lean heavily on the work done by Curiosity.  Much of the technology and hardware will mirror Curiosity's almost completely.  This is, in part, due to funding which is half of  the two billion that was allotted  to the Curiosity project.  Also its' mission will be fundamentally the same as that of Curiosity.  

One of NASA's goals in the future is a system to bring Martian soil samples back to Earth for further analyst.  The as yet unnamed rover mission will help lay the ground work for that future mission.     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Monday, December 03, 2012

Which "Laws" Should Our Modern Robots Use?

Ok science fiction/robot story fans, the next three lines  should be instantly identifiable. 

1)  A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2)  A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.

3)  A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws.


If you said anything other that Dr. Asimov's three robot behavioral constraints.  Asimov used these"laws" as foils for his story plots concerning robot's behavior often with a conflict between a law and what the robot needs to accomplish.

The curious thing about these laws is that many people know of them and consider them real restrictions on anything vaguely robotic.  So the problem at hand is which laws can realistically be incorporated and which are beyond our tech. 

Case in point The robot controlled car.  Here is the instance that The New-Yorker 
  • Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk?
Chances are you have only a few thousandth of a second to make the complicated maneuver. 

Now add in all the robotic devices that the military uses.  I sounds almost impossible to implement and in the next  couple of decades the problem will most likely triple in complexity.

Here is the url to the New Yorker article.                        

A Scale Model of an X-Wing Fighter Made of What?

Check this out!  Now this is what I call dedication!  What we have here is a model of an X-Wing fight.  That in and of itself is not that noteworthy, nor, if we want to be picky is the great attention to detail.  But consider how inebriated the person had to be during testing fitting and construction!  Amazing! Using nothing more than Beer cans no less.

Here is a link to the flickr account that hosts the models. (no I am not going to make an AA jokes...to easy)  




Review: The Amazing Spiderman


Directed by Marc Webb
Starring 
Andrew Garfield -Peter Parker / Spider Man
Rhys Ifans - Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard
Denis Leary - George Stacy
Martin Sheen - Uncle Ben
Sally Field - Aunt May

It would seem to me that there are very few reasons to remake a movie. 

The original was made quite a while ago is a good jumping off point....

This could be a version of the first one, the movie was made in a period where technology was cruder. The movie can now be remade with newer tech to improve the look in many areas of the film. King Kong might make a good example here. Harryhausen's armateurs and stop motion were at their height when the first movie was first made. Modern tech however vastly improved the movement of the ape with CGI and animatronics. Good or bad, these technologies will draw a newer and larger audience. 

Looking at a newer audience base of viewers. 

The original was made long enough ago that the majority may never have seen it on the big screen and with some older movies simply not working well on newer screens. ( that is weak but has happened)

And ultimately the director and crew feel that they have something substantive to add to the movie or canon if the movie is a series or some such. 

So how does this argument apply to The Amazing Spider Man? One begins to wonder. As far as substantive, do they think adding material that isn’t even in the canon? Parker’s earlier life that as far as I can remember is not part of the Spider Man history and in truth they leave out more than they add in. As far as looking for newer audience....well you would almost think that this means people that may not have seen or are not familiar with the earlier works. I really find this one to be a bit of a stretch. The first Spider man movie (of the present set mind you. I am not aware of anything but animated and a short lived tv Spider man from as far back as 1967) was made in 2002 which in my mind really cuts down on the “new” viewers. 

So with The Amazing Spider Man we have a product that technology wise has little in the way of improved special effects. A movie where the majority of viewers can compare both movies from the same, point of view, as an audience viewer.

Overall I consider the movie was made too soon...but that is my opinion, Technically there is nothing new and I felt they played a bit fast and loose with the history.  Finally their choice for Peter Parker missed the mark completely, never once could I suspend belief enough to think that it was him under the mask even though the director thought he was the quintessential Spider Man.  

With nothing in the way of special features on the rental disk, the movie has to stand on it's own - I would give it an 8 just because it is as good as anything out there, but as far as a SM movie, it left a lot on the table. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

BMU # 342 Now Online

Episode 342 is ready to go...in a manner of speaking!  There were times when the computer seemed to have a mind of its own!  Anyhooo  I start with a breezy piece of music called The Flame which was the theme opening song for Requiem for the Darkness.  Strange and evocative music to match the anime series!  Well worth checking out!

The first story of the afternoon is another fine piece of flash, by Mark Webb, that he did for the  flash fiction Antipodean podcast/magazine site. located in Australia, called, “Make mine a Macchiato”  Oh and don't forget to check out Mark's book of flash fiction on Smashwords.  Details after his story!

I manage again to squeeze in some Star Trek trivia!  Once again this week, I do a couple questions from the animated series.

First thing in the science department is a story concerning the possible formation of Mars, on this week's Earth Sky.  

From the blog,  the largest black hole EVER discovered.  Did the LHC create new matter?   What??? did the U.S.  Really try to blow up the moon?  People believe this?

And Finally our second story of the afternoon, part 4 of Poul Anderson's  “Call Me Joe”


That's it!  Enjoy! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Black Hole How Big?!

Astronomers have discovered the largest black hole on record.  Located in the center of the NGC 1277 galaxy about 220 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Perseus, lays a monster 17 billion times the mass of our sun with an event horizon ten times the size of our solar system!  By comparison, the Milky Way's center singularity is about four million solar masses.

Most super massive black holes at the center of galaxies make up roughly .1 percent of their host galaxy mass.  But NGC 1277 accounts for a staggering 14% of it host's mass!  Now that one ultra massive black hole has been uncovered, it would seem they are not as uncommon as previously thought.  The astronomy team at the Planck Institute for Astronomy have found five more galaxies with similar characteristics.  Plus they may have discovered (confirmation is still pending) a black hole that could be as large as 30 billion solar masses eight months ago.

One thing is really clear with the discovery however.  The discovery of these ultra-massive black holes will have to lead to a rethink of the dynamics behind the formation of galaxies.

Thanks to Dan for the heads up.

complete Register article

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LHC produces new matter, maybe

Looks like the LHC is at it again folks.
First, as announced on July 4th of this year, the Higgs Boson particle was apparently at least discovered. Well, now it appears that it may have produced a new type of matter. This is according to an analysis of collision data by the scientists at the (CMS) Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration. They also had assistance from researchers at MIT and Rice University.  
            The new type of matter, (yet to be verified) is theorized to be one of two possible forms at the moment.
1)      A flattened nucleus transformed into a wall of gluons. Basically like a glue of smaller subatomic particles. They are calling it “Color-Glass Condensate.”
2)      A dense soup or liquid-like collection of individual particles called “Quark-gluon plasma.

Gunther Roland, an MIT physicist who led in the analysis of the collisions had this to say in an upcoming paper.
“The color-glass condensate is one of the two most prominent possible explanations for the effect we have seen, with the other being the creation of a dense ‘liquid’ system that expands and leads to the observed correlations.”
 “Formation of a quark gluon plasma in the much smaller [proton-lead collisions] system would be considered rather surprising.” It only exists at extremely high temperature (several trillion degrees Kelvin).”
Either of these strange types of matter would have been around at the start of the Universe, shortly after the Big Bang (hence the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator’s nickname). The color glass composite is also considered to be a precusor to the quark gluon plasma.
            Here’s what they are saying makes this discovery so remarkable. It occurred after only four hours’ worth of collisions of protons and lead ions. They weren’t expected to form anything new, but guess what.
One more proof to never completely trust what you think, or are told. Always try the experiment even if they say you are nuts, or you yourself think you are nuts. (Kind of referring to myself there, and I am sure a few of you as well)
            You know, I kind of wish they would let me in there to play with that thing. Of course, I’d probably find a way to blow it to oblivion. I’m sort of good at that, just wish I did it on purpose, and not by accident which is usually the case.
            Now I am quite sure there are those of you out here that understand all this better than I do. After reading it on that “Y” site we all know, it took me nearly an hour to find a decent article on it.  My science sites failed me miserably this time. Here’s the link for all of you that are better in physics than me.

            http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/11/large-hadron-collider-may-have-produced-new-matter.php

One other thing from me however. If any of you know a good site to actually keep up with all of this, please let me know. Honestly, most of my science sites are based almost strictly on Nasa and space. I really need to update my home page. Thanks folks.