Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fossilized Rain Drops?!

Here is a new one paleoclimatologists. The study of ancient even prehistoric weather. Not from a few hundred or a few thousand years either....Try on Billions for a fit! Long before there were people, or dinosaurs or for that matter even microbes, the earth had weather, and weather means rain. Paleoclimatologists have used fossilized raindrops to figure out what kind of atmosphere our planet used to have. Wait, back up a few here.... fossilized whaaaa?
So this is when they point out that rain drops in fact Can Not fossilize but if conditions are right, the impact that the drop makes when it hits the ground WILL in fact cause a fossilization event. Those conditions require an ongoing volcanic event that is regularly depositioning fine layers of ash. It has to rain soon after an event and then the volcano needs to lay a fine layer over the rain drops. All of this effort to figure out what kind of atmosphere our planet used to have.

Check out the pic above for what the ancient rain drops look like fossilized and here is the link to the Dvice article

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller @ the Rockland Public Library

Knox County Science fiction and Fantasy aficionados  may want to take note of this event.  THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 6:30 PM at the Rockland Public Library

Maine-based Science Fiction & Fantasy writers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller first teamed up in the late 1980s to bring to the world the story of Kinzel, a inept wizard with a love of cats, a thirst for justice, and a staff of true power. Since then, the husband-and-wife team have written dozens of short stories, and nineteen novels, most set in their star-spanning Liaden Universe®. Lee and Miller will discuss the age-old question of Where Authors Get Their Ideas, with illustrative readings from several of their novels. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Liad Clan Korval's home on the Web
Wiki page for Sharon Lee
Wiki page for Steve Miller

New ResearchQuestions Moon Origin

Our Moon is a highly unusual object in the Solar system. One of the things that make the Moon really different is its size. According to the Wiki, It is the largest natural satellite of a planet in the Solar System relative to the size of its primary, plus is is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System.

The most accepted theory on the Moon's formation some 4.5 billion years ago was that of a rogue planet delivering a glancing blow to Earth. One that stripped Earth of much of its crust and destroying the rogue in the process. This material stream coalesced in Earth orbit with the majority forming the moon. This is called the impact theory.

New research from scientists at the University of Chicago, suggests that the impact hypothes might be wrong! They came to this conclusion by comparing elements from the Earth and Moon. Chemical analysis shows that these elements are for all intents and purposes identical. No evidence what so ever of the presence of another body that would have contributed material to the formation of Earth's satellite.

Of course you deal with one problem and several more creep up. It is easy for the Moon to resemble the chemical makeup of Earth's crust. Up to about half way to Earth's center there would be little difference. It is only after you pass this half way point that the chemical nature of the rocks changes drastically due to raising pressures and temperatures. The Earth due to its mass has no trouble at all maintaining these extreme temperatures and pressures. However the moon, being FAR smaller, could never sustain a high temperature core. Strangely enough at some point in it's early life it did just exactly that!

Read the Daily Galaxy article that is linked in the title and below

Daily Galaxy article 
Wiki info here

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Only the Third Person in Human History Visits the Challenger Deep

If you should by chance find yourself in the Pacific Ocean - 62 miles southwest of Guam in the Pacific Ocean and 35,756 feet straight down, you might find it interesting to know that you are in very elite company. For you have entered into the Challenger Deep portion of the Mariana Trench, the lowest point on Earth, or the deepest part of the Pacific ocean.

Until March 26 2012 the only submarine to visit this area was Navy submersible Trieste, which carried the only two people who had ever dived on the deep, Don Walsh, a retired United States Navy captain, and Jacques Piccard, a Swiss engineer, reached the spot on Jan. 23, 1960.

On March 26th film director and James Cameron became the third person to bottom of the deep, in the submarine Deepsea Challenger .  Cameron's attempt is even more unusual in that he did the dive solo and there-for the first and only person to do so.

At 35 thousand plus feet below the surface, pressure on a vehicle reaches a staggering 16,000 pounds per square inch, rivaling the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus. The environment, at this depth, is so hostile that more people have visited the moon.

NY Times Environment article  Wiki Deepsea Challenger article

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Book Reader In the Past

I really enjoyed this article I came across in Boing Boing. The device you see in the graphic is from the April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics. In it we see what they envisioned as the future of machines for reading "electron" books. What I see is a technology that was used up until a few years ago, the microfiche machines. Also you can see the influences from the picture viewers popular a few years earlier. The technology to the best of my knowledge never made the transition to the consumer book field. But as you can see, it is based on tried and true technology.

The Retronaut via Boing Boing

Sunday, March 25, 2012

And Now For the Paranoids Among Us......

My computer was slowing a bit so I did some clean - up which usually at the end requires a reboot. Well this time, for a split second I swear I saw a purple page with a square with a unhappy smiley face on it and I swear, the words to the effect of "He's Dead Jim!" Well the paranoid in me was suspicious now so I began to watch the computer when it reset...and there it was again! Well for me it is straight to the web, and find out if this had happened to anyone else...Come to find out it did! Come to find out, what I saw was indeed a real result of a Chrome!

Here is the down-low:

  • The fun play of the Google Chrome team never ends. Their latest adventure is on the sad tab, the page you see when a tab crashes. ”He’s dead, Jim!” is a catchphrase used by Leonard H. McCoy, a character from Star Trek.
  • The message continues: “Something caused this page to be killed , either because the operating system ran out of memory, or for some other reason. To continue, press Reload or go to another page.”
Ha!  Now that is just plain funny!

Has Your Brain Been Hacked?

In my mailbox today comes a message from Ron. Now Ron is certainly that counter influence in a world that is trying desperately trying to find equilibrium. Ron's message contains nothing but two enigmatic addresses. So what am I supposed to do with this info...? huh? Walk away? Oh fat chance! Nyet! Nein! I am in the deap end of the pool feet first before you can say AVG....

It would seem that several years ago, there was a burgeoning industry catering to potential customers who were concerned that their cerebral tissue was under surveillance or outright attack. To that end the first place I visited was the (quite possibly with tongue firmly planted in cheek) AFDB or the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beenie. Touted as An Effective, Low-Cost Solution To Combating Mind-Control. We are treated to what an AFDB is to detailed instructions for building your own. I am especially keen on the construction page's step seven which gives instructions in easily to follow pictographs detailing affixing the AFDB to your cranium. There is even an AFDB Usage and Maintenance section! A truly brilliant and well thought out site.

The next url took me to Mind Guard subtitled psychotronic mind control protection. Glad I got that cleared up. Again we are served (pun? what pun) up either a brilliantly funny page or an insanely paranoid page. Mind Guard is computer software it would seem which is proudly touted as software for the Amiga and now Linux (Use Linux because THEY don't want you to)

Here is a piece of paranoid brilliance from the MindGuard page:

  • MindGuard offered Amiga-using paranoids the world over a new opportunity to think free of evil influences using advanced Active Anti-Psychotronic (AAP) software, theretofore only available to mind-control agents and paranoid millionaires.
Oh my,  the person who set up the MindGuard page needs to gets some sort of award.  It IS that wildly entertaining (oh that's going to get me letters) and so full of boogah boogah  gona getya wonderfulness that I am sure you will be able to find much more than I did with just a cursory looktru.  Check both of the sites out and see what you can glean.  Enjoy

Beam Me Up episode 306 now online

I have found that coding html should not be done while asleep. Odd things take place...but onward and upward as they say....

In the newest episode, 306, of Beam Me Up - one can count on a boat load of entertainment. Yes a boatload!

Dan made the suggestion that Space Truckin from Deep Purple would make an excellent show opener which I agreed to!

Jeremy stops by to talk about the Disney movie, John Carter of Mars. I wish I could have spent more time on the review, but today was really loaded up.

After our review, I head over to the Beam Me Up blog at

For this week’s news. Scientists and researchers at the Virginia Tech, the University of Texas and other schools are working together to develop the robotic jellyfish that runs on sea water to move its artificial muscles. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has returned some great photos of its first stop off at the asteroid Vesta. While at the NASA website I took a look at how Messenger is doing at Mercury. On March 17, 2012, MESSENGER successfully wrapped up a year-long campaign to perform the first complete reconnaissance of the geochemistry, geophysics, geologic history, atmosphere, magnetosphere, and plasma environment of the solar system's innermost planet. NASA is considering the ISS as a platform for a mock Mars mission, based somewhat on the results of the Russian land based experiment a few years ago. One of the main research points would be the effects of microgravity on the astronauts over an extended period of time. I play The audio from the 14th Symphony of Science video.

"The World of the Dinosaurs" is a musical celebration dinosaurs, their habits, extinction, and our methods of learning about them. Featuring Alice Roberts, Bill Nye, Nigel Marvin, Dallas Campbell and more. Easily worth the price of admission for sure!

This week’s story is part two, which is also the conclusion to Ed McKeown’s Final Test, which was excellently read by our most talented reader Ron Huber. This week the high school students come toe to toe with a most fearsome alien in a truly desperate effort to keep Earth from becoming a food source for alien carnivores.

That and more. I am all cued up and ready to go!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Robo Jellies In Waters Near You

Here is something interesting sent in by Dennis from the IB Times.

Scientists and researchers at the Virginia Tech, the University of Texas and other schools are working together to develop the robotic jellyfish.

The schools are working with funds from the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. research is underway to develop a robotic RV which is inspired by jellyfish. Whats more the robot powers itself with sea water. Robojelly will use oxygen and hydrogen, which are abundant in seawater, to activate a chemical reaction that will activate its artificial muscles. It seems the jellyfish's swimming action make it an ideal model for the newly invented remote vehicle.

Still in the early stages of research and development, researchers hope that it can be used in various underwater operations.

Yonas Tadesse's, (lead author of the study) paper on Hydrogen-fuel-powered bell segments of biomimetic jellyfish on IOP Science web page here

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Photos From NASA's Dawn Spacecraft of Asteroid Vesta

Rheasilvia impact basin is 310 miles in diameter.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to do spectacular science on it's mission to first off, study asteroid Vesta.

From the Daily Galaxy Blog

  • Vesta is one of the brightest objects in the solar system and the only asteroid in the ... main (asteroid) belt between Mars and Jupiter visible to the naked eye from Earth.
From NASA:

  • Dawn has found that some areas on Vesta can be nearly twice as bright as others, revealing clues about the asteroid's history.
From Wikipedia

  • Vesta, is one of the largest asteroids, with a mean diameter of about 330 miles is the second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet Ceres, and comprises an estimated 9% of the mass of the asteroid belt. Vesta is thought to be a remnant protoplanet.   It lost some 1% of its mass less than a billion years ago in a collision that left an enormous crater occupying much of its southern hemisphere. Debris from this event has (even) fallen to Earth . 
Lots of great info and pics on all the sites.  enjoy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Man...Two Bots....oh and A Charity.

Like Kim Komando's newsletter says, tongue firmly in cheek....Shave and a Haircut....Two Bots.

All kidding aside, the video is of the Multi-Arm UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) demonstrates its dexterity by shaving a volunteer's head to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a charity committed in funding research for finding a cure for childhood cancer.

But after seeing this bot's dexterity, there is no way I would let it anywhere near me with a sharp blade....cyberdyne just may be in the mix never knows.

For more visit HERE

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Messenger completes One Year Mercury mission

From the NASA website and the Messenger Mercury rendezvous spacecraft, via the Daily Galaxy Blog, come a real interesting update.

Here is the release of the current news from Discovery:
  • On March 17, 2012, MESSENGER successfully wrapped up a year-long campaign to perform the first complete reconnaissance of the geochemistry, geophysics, geologic history, atmosphere, magnetosphere, and plasma environment of the solar system's innermost planet. The following day, March 18, 2012, marked the official start of an extended phase designed to build upon those discoveries.
First....I can not believe it has been a complete year!  Plus the list of science packages that have been done!

Congrats NASA and Messenger!

Here is the NASA page link

NASA Considers ISS for a Simulated Mars Mission

It seems NASA is considering the ISS as a platform for a mock Mars mission, based somewhat on the results of the Russian land based experiment a few years ago. One of the main research points would be the effects of microgravity on the astronauts over an extended period of time.

Space station program manager Mike Suffredini said during a news conference on March 20th:
  • "Clearly, in order to be able to explore beyond low-Earth orbit, we're going to have to stay in orbit for longer than six months," article

Dinosaurs!!! Symphony of Science

Here we have another in the ongoing experiment of putting scientific discussion to music courtesy of Symphony of Science.

Here is the blurb that SOS has onsite describing their newest offering.
  • The 14th Symphony of Science video is out today!! "The World of the Dinosaurs" is a musical celebration dinosaurs, their habits, extinction, and our methods of learning about them. Featuring Alice Roberts, Bill Nye, Nigel Marvin, Dallas Campbell and more.

Fun With LEDs

I know...not science or ...well wait it IS kinda find so much fun stuff on the Hack A Day anyway, if you are facinated with LEDs like I am than you're going to love this piece from as he disassembles an LED home bulb. Todd it seems ran into the exact same thing that I think any of us that jumped on the LED bandwagon only to find that many of the early producers shoved whatever they could into whatever they could and called it good enough. Far from the 5000 hours, you were lucky if you got a couple of week! But these bulbs were treasure troves of LEDs and various hardware.

So, this is like the everyman's teardown. If you are a tech, you will find some of the video tedious, but the attention to detail that Todd gives us makes up for it.

So, here is another of my fascinations, electronics...and I think LEDs rule! I hope you find this as much fun as I did 

The ToddFun site can be found here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beam Me Up episode 305 now online

Ok, Saturday’s show is a clear example of what happens when Paul lets things get away from him! Yep, I had said that I would run Final Exam starting earlier in March. For some reason I confused that with Keith Latch’s “One Law”. What does that mean to you? Other than you get almost 45 minutes of story time this week!

To get the toes tappin I play a live cut of Mr. Spaceman by the Byrds.

In the first story, part one of “Final Exam” by Ed McKeown. A YA short story that really will appeal to all ages. In Final Exam, the fate of mankind may really have fallen to a group of intrepid high school students. All they needed to do was pass.....the test....The Final Exam.

I close episode 305 with the conclusion to Keith Latch’s “1 Law” We have learned so far that there is only one true law - You will NOT edit time. There isn’t any defense and punishment is swift and final. Part two put our enforcer Carson in one of his strangest jobs yet. One where the very mission itself may end his existence!

Between the stories I review the movie “In Time”, where the “currency of the realm” is time itself. Is the movie worth the “Time” it takes to watch it? Listen and find out....

Direct link to episode 305 here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tohoku University Researchers Designing a Sonic Boom Proof Plane

Dvice is great at finding far out science news, and they haven't let us down this time either!

Researchers at Tohoku University are researching designs for planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound. If you're old enough, and lived anywhere near a fair sized airport, you remember the very common occurrence of a plane breaking the sound barrier. Most of the time they were high enough that you heard a whump, but low enough and fast enough and you could have widows broken or material knocked off of shelves. The seventies saw laws prohibiting generating a boom over populated areas.

So it was quieter but it limited how fast you could fly from a to b. It goes without saying that commercial aviation, areo-space, NASA and others are interested in how to lessen sonic booms. Up to this point the rule of thumb was to keep the sonic blast to a minimum, long, skinny and pointy were the rules of the day.

However as you can see by the picture of Tohoku University's concept, none of the "laws" were followed. Instead of a long swept back wing, their concept plane is a bi-plane, with an engine module looking for all the world like a VW Vanagon flipped on it's side and shoved between the wings. And atop it all sits the cockpit and passenger compartment.

The bi-plane design should generate tons of drag, however MIT engineers have designed the wings leading edge to be bumpy which seems to cut drag way down.

Read the complete Dvice article here

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Long Term Space Missions Lead to Optical lssues in Astronauts

Anchored to the International Space Station's robot arm, STS-123 Mission Specialist Richard Linnehan participates in a spacewalk outside the orbital outpost. Photo credit: NASA

Dvice blog is reporting a study led by doctors from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston has shown that astronauts performing long duration space flight often report optical abnormalities. Now further research confirms that this does seem to be the case. Problems can range from deformation of the eyeball to swelling of the optic nerves.

Samples of 27 astronauts showed they did indeed have a mix of these problems as well as changes in the pituitary glands. According to the article, these symptoms mimic:
  • intracranial hypertension, where pressure inside the skull rises and presses on the brain and eyes. 
  • A very rare condition.
More problematic, flattening of the eyes and the optic nerve swelling  left unchecked could cause permanent damage. Even more troubling is that the issues seem to get worse  the longer the stay in space.

The Sydney Morning Herald, EurekaAlert

Iron Man: The Real Deal

The Dvice blog had this post of what a real Iron Man would look like.

Got to admit, that IS Iron Man....

Complete article here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 13, Anniversary of Apollo 9's Test of LEM Technology

From Time/Life we are treated to a series of images celebrating the various LEMs that NASA built through the years. From wood models to scaled up mock-ups that allowed engineers and astronauts to test full sized machines.

Apollo 8 took men to the moon, orbited and returned. The next target was to put men on the Moon and the mission was moved up to 11. That meant that the LEM has to be engineered from mock ups to a functioning spacecraft. A herculean task under normal conditions, supernatural with the time Grumman and NASA had to work with. Apollo 9 flew a LEM that provided the astronauts a platform to practice rendezvousing with the Lunar Module setting atop the S4-b. Nine's LEM was not meant to fly outside Earth orbit, but was a test bed for many of the procedures and equipment. 10s LEM was fully functional and did fly to Lunar orbit and performed all of the maneuvers that 11s lander was being prepared for. A little known fact is that 10s lander was fully capable of landing, but in a move that many felt was dangerous and put the 10 lander crew in danger, NASA did not fuel the assent module with enough fuel to make orbit, preventing 10's crew being first on the moon. Also 10 was the last Apollo mission with real time audio being fed to the networks. 10's LEM worked very well, but either the assent engines glitched or as in the "official" version, a switch was in the wrong position. The glitch manifested itself as a violent vibration. In truth the accent module maneuvered violently for almost a minute. Mitchell, while regaining control of the craft described to NASA mission control the manner of the malfunction. Being a VERY stress few seconds, Mitchell interjected several rather colorful and extremely descriptive words, much to NASA's chagrin.

Checkout the Time page and photos here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: In Time

In Time

Directed by Andrew Niccol

Justin Timberlake as Will Salas
Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia Weis
Cillian Murphy as Raymond Leon
Olivia Wilde as Rachel Salas
Alex Pettyfer as Fortis
Vincent Kartheiser as Philippe Weis
Johnny Galecki as Borel
Collins Pennie as Jaeger

At the risk of being to flip with this movie review, how many people remember Logan’s Run. For the most part that movie was about a society where people only lived until I think it was 25. At that point, a flower in their hand would change indicating that they should report to voluntary euthanasia areas where some mystical dance would take place and they would be pleasantly terminated. But Logan (an enforcer of all things) fails to report for voluntary termination and “runs”, has various adventures, returns and society realizes the error of its’ ways.

In Time has that feel at first. People timing out, running for time, earning time, no on has enough time.

Will Salas is living from day to day until he rescues the mysterious Henry Hamilton who has a whole century on his clock. Because you see, everyone in truth is immortal, but the argument is that if everyone lived forever there would be widespread famine and riots, so everyone has a clock that how much time they have to live. If it zeros out, you die. Rich have centuries of time and the poor have hours or minutes. Beggars beg for spare minutes. But Henry Hamilton rocks Will Salas’ world view when he tells Will that there is more than enough of everything for everyone. Gives Will a century and proceeds to commit suicide by timing out.

The balance of the movie is Will trying to make the time rich pay for the death of his mother and father and or running from the time enforcers in a Bonnie and Clyde type of mentality when he teams up with the daughter of a powerful time broker.

For the most part the movie takes no real chances. Its a by the numbers movie that could be any futuristic or otherwise movie about a person from the other side of the track, constantly at odds with whatever government is in charge, winds up teaming up with a disenfranchised boy/girl from the well to do who happens to know many inside secrets with which they are successful or not in changing the status-quo.

The movie’s locals and sets are good at inferring the mood, but again very simplistic. The people that inhabit them are equally simplistic. Dark angry and desperate for the slums, clean, cheerful and carefree for the well to do.

The movie at times is hard to watch for just this reason. Poor ignorant boy in a restaurant doesn’t know what fork to use..... Time cop born in the ghetto ashamed to admit his roots and on and on. Action chase scenes are ok though. But overall the movie barely rates a 7

As for extras....well, no commentary, but can’t say I am surprised. There are deleted scenes and a faux documentary which in truth is better than the movie! Other than that it’s just previews and trailers. Worth an 8 just for the “documentary” which gives us a 15 or 7.5 overall. if it is just for a diversion, yeah its ok, but if its to watch a good sci fi flick...don’t bother.

Wikipedia article  In Time's Casino Website

BMU 304 Now Online

Robert Keith Latch
This week on Beam Me Up episode 304 contains top notch entertainment as well as thought provoking articles.

I open this week’s program with episode 6 of In Plain Sight, the Dark Inspectre Series by Jason Kahn. Inspector Jack Garrett finds himself drawn back into the dark places his previous case took him. Things are still not adding up and old ghosts continue to “haunt” him at every turn.

From the Beam Me Up blog: Earth Sky brings us up to speed concerning the light show that Venus and Jupiter will put on in the evenings of March. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson answers the question "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?" as only he can. MIT research team has shown an LED bulb can actually give off more energy (in light) than it consumes. Cosmologists from Canada's Dalhousie University and Queen Mary University in London, theorized that some primordial black holes might have existed before the big bang.

Finally the closing story is part one of Keith Latch’s 1 Law which gives us an unusual spin on the time traveler bent on changing history and the time cop that must stop the illegal time line modifications at all cost.

It seems there was so much stuff in such a short time. Reminds me of something....blivit or not! Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

BMU Writer Fox's Story The Singing Dragons of Mars Now Online

Frequent BMU contributor Fox Dunham writes to let us know that his story The Singing Dragons of Mars is now live at Hogglepot, an online fantasy journal.

He adds:
This is an important story - one of beauty, life, loss, truth and renewal.  

Here is a short blurb about the tale:

  • An old professor with his faithful student and now assistant Santiago has searched the world for evidence of real dragons, then he discovers them on Mars. In a time of personal grief, he asks the question: Why is death in the world? And he calls upon the dragons to answer.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Were There Black Holes Before the Big Bang?

I have long held the opinion that space and time are flip sides of the same coin space/ and time are both held in equilibrium by the density of mass or mass/density. They are all facets of the same thing. Mass curves space. All of the mass, curves all the space back on to itself, meaning all the space encompasses all the mass. This structure then has to include all of time as "space/time". But more importantly the higher the mass density, the slower the time passes - with the inverse also true.

So what the hell am I getting at? Well the way I understand space/time/mass is that there can not be anything "outside" or "before" because all the mass contains all the space/time. In other works there is no "space" and no "time" outside the curve of space time because all the mass has curved it back onto itself. A mobius of space / time if you will.

So when cosmologists from Canada's Dalhousie University and Queen Mary University in London, theorized that some primordial black holes might have existed before the big bang, having been created in the Big Crunch. Which puts the Universe on a cyclic time line. Meaning that the Big Bang was not a single event, but one that occurs over and over again as the Universe crunches down to a single point, then expands again.

Well this is rather inconvenient. I grew up thinking that the universe was either expanding or contracting and would do so forever. Then the dark time when the Universe showed an ever increasing expansion that would continue forever slowly cooling and darking the Universe leaving a dark emptiness.

Now it would seem that a expansion/compression Universe in a possibility again. And more, that structures can exist outside of the big crunch / bang. (my head hurts)

Now cosmologists theorize that black holes of a certain mass could avoid the crush of the big crunch and survive as separate entities. The masses of these black holes would have to be small, with the upper limit being equal to the mass of our sun.

From the article:
  • The theory is based on  the Earth, and the rest of the known Universe occasionally (being) bombarded with unexplained bursts of gamma rays -- something that could, (possibly) be the result of primordial black holes running out of energy and disintegrating.  (some scientists are calling this effect evaporation of the singularity, which should result in massive bursts of gamma radiation.  ed)
The "primordial" black holes are fundamentally different from black holes that were created later.  Regular black holes today are created by the collapse / supernova of super-massive stars.   The primordial black holes were possibly created by the crunch of the universe.   One problem is that post big bang also created primordial black holes.  

From the article:
  • A key problem they agree on is that it would likely be impossible to tell the difference between pre- and post Big Bang primordial black holes.

Daily Galaxy article here

The Most Astounding Fact About the Universe Asked of Neil deGrasse Tyson

From an article I was reading in IO9, In 2008 Time Magazine was interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson. Interviewer Adam Kraus asked Dr. deGrasse Tyson the following question: "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?" Tyson's response in some ways is predictable, but at the same moment it is one of the most amazing and moving thoughts that I have ever been privy to read or listen to. See what you think

Project KARA (tech demo for Quantic Dream)

Here is a short film written and directed by David Cage of Quantic Dream. The video runs real time on the PS-3 and was created as a demo of the software game engine to convey different emotions.

What we get though is a disturbing and poignant short about a new robot helper who seems to become self aware. This is grounds for instant disassembly while the android
begs for its' life.

As a tech demo, it's amazing, but its real calling is in the morality play that plays itself out in a few short minutes. It asks us to examine when and in what form can we accept a machine as an alive and thinking individual.

Youtube page

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

LED Bulb That is 230% Efficient

You read that right. An MIT research team has shown an LED bulb can actually give off more energy (in light) than it consumes in electricity. Every law about the conservation of energy or thermodynamics that you learned in school just flew out the window. How is this possible?

Well for clarity, lets look at the Gizmodo article:

  • (scientists) from MIT posited that while the bulb's energy requirements decrease at an exponential rate (halving the voltage reduces the input power by a factor of four), the lumen output would decrease linearly (halve the voltage and the lumens drop by half as well). This means that at some point, the amount of lumens the bulb is emitting would be more than the amount of energy spent—essentially "free" light.
Still it's enough to make you head spin!  The factors we do have to watch though are that the bulbs are extremely small and the amount of voltage applied is minuscule.   To get an idea, let's look at the article again:

  • the team was able to generate 69 picowatts of light from just 30 picowatts of energy. (to get an idea of how small a picowatt is,  a picowatt is 1 trillionth of a watt)
But some of the methods used to boost efficiency is equally amazing.  In this instance, the MIT team boosted the bulb's inherent electrical inefficiency by capturing waste heat from the bulb's atomic lattice!  This cools the device and raises the efficiency.   The really good news is that the methods employed can be applied to the LEDs in use today, making them "cold" bulbs.  Though they would not reach the efficiency of  the MIT's bulb, the bulbs would still be giving off light without any waste heat to rob the bulb's overall efficiency. 

Physics online article here

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Warp Drive Would Destroy Its Destination


                                                     Alcubierre drive

Wow, this could lead to someone having a very bad day. I was reading on the Dvice blog that well say we actually built an FTL drive that really could take a craft trans-light - it seems that anything at your destination would gamma ray and high energy particle blasted into oblivion. Ouch.

A team at the University of Sydney in Australia looked at a warp drive concept proposed by theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre. As you might remember this is the system where the ship would be enclosed in a "bubble" of negative energy that would warp space ahead and behind the ship. Ahead, space/time would be compressed allowing the ship to "skip" across the tops of the "folds", and stretched out behind the ship. In theory, once activated the drive would require little energy because space/time itself would "push" against the ship, moving it forward.

However as we have seen with items in the universe that are moving away, there is a red shift. The opposite is true as well, objects moving towards us will blue shift. At trans-light speeds the blue shift would be incredible. The blue shift would come from particles that were pushed along in front of the ship. These high energy particles would emit massive amounts of gamma radiation. Plus there seems to be no limit to how much energy would be built up, the farther you travel the more energy from high energy particles would be released. The result would be very much like a huge GRB very near by. Everything at the destination would be blasted into oblivion.

Here is the link to the Universe Today article
Click picture for the WIKI on the

Alcubierre drive

Monday, March 05, 2012

What Has DARPA Got In Mind for This Creepy Robot?

Hey, check out this video of DARPA's possible follow on to BigDog (at least that is what I think..) the Cheetah. Treadmill test show a speed of 18 mph. It can reach these speeds by mimicking the physiology of the fastest land animal, the Cheetah. Though clearly not as robust as BigDog, so supply material is not its main purpose and DARPA isn't elaborating on what the military applications are - but at those speeds, it sure would be good at running things down.......

Antipodean Issue 165 Now Online

Antipodean the online Australian flash fiction site's monthly issue numbered 165 is now  online!   Here are the stories that editor Ion has chosen for your enjoyment!

March 2012

Life & Death By Julie Wornan

Mega Star By Greg Mellor

Frozen Moments By Steve Duffy

Winter By Kevin J. Phyland

A Moving Memory By Wes Parish

The Lottery By Shaun A. Saunders

All Possible Worlds By Pavelle Wesser

What Have Future Generations Ever Done For Me By Bart Meehan

Strange Brew By Eleni Konstantine

The Gloriously Cunning Plan By Mark Webb

Click the article title to go straight to the story page. 


Sunday, March 04, 2012

NASA Hoping to Scrape Up Enough Cash for a 2018 Mars Mission

Since President Obama eviscerated NASA's 2015 budget, chopping it down to 189 million.....(yes, drop chin to chest and groan)

Wait!  Before I go any further, let's put NASA's PRESENT budget into perspective.  Not the chump change that they will be allotted.  The Army (just the army now) spends more just for air-conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan in that region's summer months than NASA's entire yearly budget! I am not busting on the military,  I just get tired of people telling me that all that money NASA spends is just so wasteful!  And to find out it doesn't even cover the AC bill for one arm of the armed forces!? Un frackin believable!

Anyway, NASA science chief John Grunsfeld wants to scrape together funds from the human spaceflight program and the space technology division to come up with about $700 million to make something happen by 2018.  Why the fascination with that date?   Well it all comes down to orbital efficiency.  Between Earth and Mars, a close approach happens about every two years and once in every sixteen years you have an optimal positioning of the planets that requires the least amount of fuel to transfer from Earth to Mars.  2018 just so happens is one of those super optimal times.  So now it comes down to a mission that can do as much as it can with extremely limited funds.

<- dvice article ->

There seems to be some disparity between the Dvice article and the Nature article from which it was based.  Taking my information mostly from the DVICE reference lead to a bit of misunderstanding and I feel it best to clarify.   The budgetary numbers in question are for NASA's Mars program.  This is how the Nature article stated the cuts:  

  • the Mars programme from $587 million in 2012 to $189 million in 2015
If you would like to read the article - it can be found here  

Beam Me Up episode 303 now online

Strange and creepy are the cornerstones of this week’s Beam Me Up broadcast. I start off first with T. Fox Dunham’s spin on a well worn science fiction theme. I read his “Freedom Day” Where a long lost space traveler only to find humans enslaved by mechanical overlords. Upon freeing the oppressed human race our stalwart traveler garners a reward that was far beyond anything he could have imagined.

Next from Earth Sky - news on the VLA telescope soon to be fully operational in Chile called Alma and feathers caught in ancient tree sap helps demonstrate that early flightless dinosaurs and ancient birds both used feathers but for varying purposes.

From there I head over to the Beam Me Up blog to discover that dinosaurs themselves were plagued by fleas just as much as modern animals, but these were no ordinary fleas! Next I review the blu-ray Batman: year one which follows the genesis of the Batman mystique from the comic book history time line, Hubble has detected a gas cloud thought to be the precursor to a supernova that could happen at any moment, Some voice over actors find it difficult to drop their assumed personas once the project is finished. Watch Ben Shelton's web series The Daly Show - I have a link and the mentioned video - funny just can not describe it! The most distant object in the visible universe had been discovered. Light from the GRB has been traveling to us for 13.2 billion years, that makes it 96% of the age of the Universe itself. I find another Darwin hopeful....this brain trust is not to be believed! And finally from the blog comes one of the most disturbing ideas yet to improve on meat production. You will not believe your ears!

And finally part two of Nancy Fulda’s story Movement which is up for the Nebula this year in the short story department. Good Luck Nancy!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Dino Fleas!

Listener Dan pointed me towards this AP article concerning a parasitic life-form that plagued land dwelling animals 125 to 165 million years ago as they continue to do today. Fleas, a bane today as they were millions of years ago. Though fleas today are a far cry from the monsters that plagued early dinosaurs. The ancient pests were gigantic by today's reference - being almost and inch across - with females twice as large as males!

Paleontologists from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology in China say that the prehistoric fleas had:

  • disproportionately long proboscis, or straw-like mouth, had sharp weapon-like serrated edges that helped them bite and feed from their super-sized hosts
One thing these monsters didn't have was well developed legs, so they didn't have the fantastic jumping ability that modern fleas do today.  Crawling was the order of the day

It's A Brave New World - WTF?!!!

In the extra creepy department....Architecture student André Ford in an effort to make the meat production industry more efficient has proposed a new way to raise and house chickens so they do not suffer pain and stress of current high output farms. Many people can relate a story of a chicken who lived quite well with most of its brain missing. What Ford proposes is an industrial version of the same thing. Lobotomizing the chicken and removing all of its upper brain function, feeling no stress or pain or anything else for that matter. The birds would be hung from racks and their feet would be removed (they couldn't walk anyway) One tube would feed and another would remove waste. With this method, it would be possible to quadruple the number of chickens per any given area. So far it is just a project...but the idea has been sown.....

picture from Gizmodo article here

And Another Darwin Award Hopeful

Atlanta GA. A man was arrested after attempting to rob a local bank. The suspect exited the bank after failing to obtain any funds. The suspect re-entered the bank when he discovered that he didn't have enough money to cover the fee of the taxi he hired to take him to and from the robbery. Meanwhile, the cabbie, fearing the suspect may attempt to skip on the fair, used her cab to block in the suspect's vehicle, and drew the attention of the local police.

The really strange part of this tale is why the suspect re-entered the bank. Well it seems that the officer contacted by the cabbie, knew nothing of the previous bank robbery and convinced the suspect into going back to the bank for cab fare. Of course he was promptly arrested by other officers who had been call earlier concerning the robbery.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

GRB 090429B The Most Distant Object in the Universe

The photo to the right is of a gamma-ray burst with the unassuming name of GRB 090429B. This faint red object has the title of the most distant object in the observable universe and therefor the oldest. GRB 090429B's light has been traveling 13.2 billion years or 96% of the age of the Universe itself.  First observed by the Burst Alert Telescope aboard NASA's  Swift satellite when it observed a  five-second-long burst of gamma rays from the constellation Canes Venatici.

What fascinates me about these vast times and distances is that they have very little in common with where and when the object really is now. 13 Billion years ago GRB 090429B was 17 billion light years closer to us and as the light reaches us from 13.2
billion years, the object is in truth more like about thirty billion light-years away!
How is that for a mind bending thought exercise!

Read More at the Daily Galaxy Blog's page

Super Hero Voice Over Artist Support Groups?

Here we have a recent episode of Ben Shelton's web series The Daly Show we are witness to the effects that doing super hero voice over work does to the likes of Tim Daly, Nathan Fillion and an absolutely hilarious walk on by Michael Rosenbaum all of whom have done super hero voice over work. This is just plain silly fun and I applaud the gentlemen who participated!

Thanks to Topless Robot

Review: Batman Year One

Batman Year One

Directed by
Sam Liu
Lauren Montgomery

Starring the voices of
Benjamin McKenzie as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Bryan Cranston as Lieutenant James Gordon
Katee Sackhoff as Detective Sarah Essen
Alex Rocco as Carmine "The Roman" Falcone
Jon Polito as Gillian B. Loeb

based on Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. Batman Year One is an origin movie much like the tale Batman Begins. There are significant differences between the animated and live action films. Batman Begins is much more in line with the comic book history of Batman.

The main bullet points are the same. Bruce’s parents are killed while he witnessed it. He spends a protracted time away from home and returns with a conviction to end crime in Gotham City. A few of supporting characters we have come to expect, Gordon, Dent and Catwoman is onscreen for a couple of scenes.

The bulk of the movie is watching Wayne/Batman and Gordon flesh out into the characters we have come to expect. I really enjoyed the inside look at Gordon’s early days on the Gotham police force, dealing with a police force rife with corruption. Bruce also finds himself deeply involved.

The animation is good, but like the dark storyline, many of the scenes are dark as the plot line.

No expense was spared on the extra either. There is a Catwoman short, a couple of Batman the Series episodes and a commentary track which has the director and voice coordinator plus a couple others from the staff talking about the movie of course but their parts as well an in depth history of the franchise.

Overall I found the movie and extras well worth the wait. I would give the movie an 8 and the extras a 9 for an 8.5 which may be a bit conservatives.