Thursday, May 31, 2012

Space Bread by NASA?

From Dvice blog I read about the linchpin of civilization BREAD, that has fed civilized man for thousands of years with little change in ingredients, flour water sugars some binding fats and the living ingredient yeast. Anyone with strong arms and patience could at least feed themselves within reason. Now NASA has put the patience portion of the formula up for grabs - as part of NASA'sSpace Apps Challenges/BakerFaire: how to make bread in space. In just three hours, comes a 16 year old. Sam Wilkinson has managed to come up with a way to make bread rise instantly in microgravity without using yeast. By using CO2 Wilkinson can get his space bread to rise in 5 seconds flat! Check out the proof of concept video below.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Psychotronic Childhood - Learning from B-movies, by Colson Whitehead

reader/listener Nelson sends in a nostalgic look at formative B movies called A Psychotronic Childhood - Learning from B-movies, by Colson Whitehead, from the pages of the NewYorker. Mr. Whitehead's musings are evocative and funny, for I hazard that we have all been exactly in his situation. For me of course it was rushing home from high school to quickly slather on bread some mayo and salami, then to sequester myself for the balance of the afternoon to watch whatever fare being offered up. Mostly at that time it was Dark Shadows, but PBS wonder of wonders would often have Dr.Who or something in that never quite knew which. Check the NewYorker story here.

Why 60

Now here is a short cut that will explain why in a base 10 system our time is base 60.  Haven't you ever wondered that?  I started noticing things like this when I was first studying digital logic and binary which, obviously, is base 2 or base 1 if you use 0 to start.  In binary 1 is one 2 is 10 and 3 is 11   see?  Am I weird or does that just give you goose bumps?  Now I am not going to ruin the short other than to say it quite obviously is still in use and it was like a light going on...  a Sextant! and if you want to explore THAT though a bit further go here

Review: HOP


James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie


Tim Hill

HOP is an Easter-themed live-action and animated comedy film from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

Here is what the Wiki says about HOP and to start of civil, lets go with that.
  • Hop stars the voice of Russell Brand as E.B., a rabbit who does not want to succeed his father, Mr. Bunny (Hugh Laurie), in the role of the Easter Bunny; James Marsden as Fred O'Hare, a human who is out of work and wishes to become the next Easter Bunny himself; and the voice of Hank Azaria as Carlos and Phil, two chicks who plot to take over the Easter organization.

 That's nice. If I had started out, it certainly would not be so civil. First off yes, I know it meant for a younger audience, but I am sorry, that doesn't excuse them from making even a marginally watchable movie. But no, this movie is a flip off for anyone over the age of 10. I honestly have never seen so many actors blatantly go out just for the paycheck! But I have to be honest, 30 minutes was all I could take of this travesty. 

One of the first things I like to do is check the extras in case there is a different cut or options. Again, there seemed to be but it would seem that Universal has jumped on the "lets make renters second class customers" wagon by turning off all the extra features and even worse letting you know they are doing it because you are renting! So you can see the mind set I was in when I started the movie proper. I love animation...mixed media is ok in its place. But after a half hour of wooden dialog and garish CGI sets, I was pushing the stop button out the back of the remote. 

There really isn't much good to say. If you are an animation fan, run as fast as you can away from this disk, if you are a collector, well unless you have toddlers still in diapers, don't waste the shelf space. 

The movie itself is an unwatchable morass of cliches and one dimentional characters. Here it is in a nutshell - I don't want to be the Easterbunny! But you HAVE to be the Easter bunny! I don't want to work in a no where job. You don't want to be the easter bunny? I can be the easter bunny! I just don't understand my son! I love what I am doing now! I love you son even if I don't understand you. cut fade and scene. shudder..... 

I don't give out negative number ratings, because that is a bit nonsensical however this is damn close....maybe a 3 denoting the fact that they could light and shoot the movie even if calling it a movie is a stretch.  Put the DVD back in the rack and step back, now turn and run as quickly as you can away from the movie.

Creepy Shoulder Robot Wants to be Your Friend?

I found this creepy article while looking through the Komando blog which tells us about this group of Japanese researchers from Yamagata University who are developing a robot to keep you company....sort of. The "robot" consists of a wearable miniature humanoid in a controlling framework that sits on your shoulder. Creepy enough, but creepier still it can be remotely operated by your friends from anywhere, you know, like one of them good angel/devil bad angel/devil scenarios.....ick! Oh and I can just see the problems....I have five other brothers who would just LOVE to take control of this thing while I was trying to have a conversation or some sort....I know, because it is the same thing I would do....I know ASL see.... the possibilities are endless.... Nope, not going to give em the chance.....

NASA coverage of the Dragon module's splashdown

Reader Kallamis sent in a comment on the Dragon coverage.

He wrote:

Is it to much to say "History in the making"?   Thanks for the heads up Kallamis

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pic of the Insides of Dragon While Docked With the ISS

André Kuipers, a physician with the European Space Agency, aboard the ISS, had a chance to take this photograph while SpaceX's Dragon supply vehicle was docked with the station.

He also wrote,

  • Inside of the Dragon module. Beautiful. Spacious, Modern. Blue LEDs. Feels a bit like a sci-fi filmset. Of course it is from Los Angeles.
Yep, even though we have seen it before, there is something about seeing it while it is working. The light DO add to the futuristic feel, don't they.

More in the Boing Boing article

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dragon Docks With ISS

Space X's unmanned supply capsule Dragon was successfully captured by Don Pettit using the International Space Station's (robotic arm. SpaceX is the first private company to dock a spacecraft at the ISS. Dragon is carrying supplies consisting of food, water and clothing and for the ISS crew. After unloading, Dragon will be repacked with equipment to come back to Earth. It is scheduled to detach, do a de-orbit burn and return to Earth on May 31.

The video shows the Iss's "arm" controlled by Pettit capturing the Dragon capsule

Read more at The Telegraph

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scientists Successful in Re-purposing Skin Cells...

Newsdaily reports that researchers based in Technion-Israel Institute of Technology,have for for first time ever, succeeded in taking skin cells and transforming them into beating heart tissue.

The researchers speculate that a patient with advanced heart failure instead of going through the difficulties of a transplant could use their own cells to create heart tissue that would be equivalent to healthy and young heart cells which would grow into their own heart, doing away with the need for transplant drugs and the ilk.

The research team accomplished the feat by taking skin cells from two patients with heart failure and transformed theses cells by adding three genes and a molecule called valproic acid to the cell nucleus.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, said clinical trials of the technique could begin within 10 years.

Read complete article here

Thanks Herb for the heads up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

2011 Nebula Awards Winners

IO9 has posted a notice of the winners of the 2011 Nebula Awards. Here is a short list is the winners.

NOVEL: Among Others, by Jo Walton

NOVELLA: "The Man Who Bridged the Mist," Kij Johnson

NOVELLETTE: "What We Found," Geoff Ryman

SHORT STORY: "The Paper Menagerie," Ken Liu

A complete article can be read here

19 Year Old Invents New Spacecraft Propulsion System

A nineteen year old college student has invented a new spacecraft engine - system that she says will make space flight much cheaper and ever so much faster. Aisha Mustafa, a student at Sohag University has developed her system to take advantage of the Casimir-polder force that I reported on last year at this time, in an article here  which, put simply,is the energy that occurs between separate surfaces and objects in a vacuum. The energy for all intents is a quantum force measured between two plates positioned quantum micrometers apart from each other, will generate virtual photons which constitute a field, and generate a net force - all this with no external electro-motive potential applied.

As mind bending as the casimir effect sounds, Mustafa feels that the potential (pun intended pac) is there to make space flight much simpler.

read the dvice article here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

BMU #314 Now Online

Beam Me Up episode 314 (for some reason I had 318 on my brain so I went ahead and said this is 318...duh, this IS the proper episode number. Sorry for the confusion pac) is technically the first show in the Beam Me Up fiscal year. This week I continue a series, try out a new feature and finish a multi-part story.

First I demo a new q & a about Star Trek. Each week I will ask a couple of questions to be answered the following week.

The first story is Part 8 of In Plain Sight by Jason Kahn. Our detective on New Eden continues to run head long into strangeness. This week is no exception.

From the Blog, I review David Scholes Alien Hunters, I talk about how water droplets react in micro gravities when exposed to tone generators. Very interesting to watch the video. Next, you will not believe what Kodak kept in a cellar in Rochester NY, and you have to watch this little mockumentary about the near future and most of the western world. Nasa wants to mine asteroids and so it would seem does some private companies.

Finally AC Wise Still Life story concludes this week with part three. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why Darth Vader May Not be a Good Party Planner

Every year, Disney puts on a series of Star Wars weekends. Disney's Idea Generator Matt Buchanan leads off the brainstorming sessions where he will field ideas from the collaborative group.

Here however is one such event where Star Wars characters themselves join the the process. Sith Lord Vader even takes a crack at some core events that he feels would be interesting.

Don't miss this hilarious "behind the scenes" look at the brainstorming process.

The piñata suggestion is particularly funny in a twisted kind of way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Black Hole Observed Destroying Star

A team of astronomers at John Hopkins University have witnessed an event that is believed to only happen once every ten thousand years. A super-massive black hole destroying and absorbing an orbiting star.

The super massive black-hole in question resides in the center of a galaxy 2.7 billion light-years distant from the Milkyway. The John Hopkins team of astronomers led by Dr Suvi Gerzari was looking for ultraviolet light from the center of a galaxy, which is often a clue that a black hole has recently absorbed a star at some point in the past. Much to their surprise the team noticed a bright glare coming from the center of a distant galaxy. This bright light is an indication that a black hole is in the process of consuming a star in close orbit around it. This happens so infrequently that the astronomers have been looking for years to observe the phenomenon.

was looking for a bright flare in ultraviolet light from the nucleus of a galaxy, which is a lingering clue that a black hole has consumed a star. Instead, they discovered an active black hole in the process of consuming a star.

Read complete Australian Geographic article here

Thanks to Dan for the heads up on this article

NASA MUM on a Manned Mission to an Asteroid

With Bruce Willis no where to be seen and no stirring vocals from the likes of Areosmith, NASA it seems is still looking to put feet on a near by asteroid, according to Dvice.

NASA is planning to reveal details of the asteroid mission this month at a conference in Japan. However some details have leaked by Richard Gray of The Telegraph. Here is an excerpt:

  • ....astronauts are being trained to land on an asteroid to explore its surface, search for minerals and even learn the skills they may need to destroy it should one pose a threat to the Earth.
NASA has set a time frame of the end of the next decade for an asteroid rendezvous.

UK Telegraph link 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ghosts With Shit Jobs

Here is a five minute block of a biting satire from Jim Munroe which debuted at the Sci - fi London film festival called Ghosts With Shit Jobs. The premise of the mockumentary is the western economy has collapsed. A Chinese film crew is touring Toronto documenting the living and working conditions of the new poor. It seems (according to the film's premise) that after the collapse a whole new group of "workers" has evolved that will do anything that the average Chinese worker would never condescend to. The Chinese call these workers "Ghosts"

The complete film was made for about five thousand dollars by a group of film makers in Toronto, with the writing going to Munroe.

Check this preview short or you can get more info at the official site here

Here is the IO9 article

Kodak Had the Bomb? WTF?

Boy do I have a real WTF article for you! It is so far out there that I really had to wonder if it was BMU material. Well it does in a round about way have a science component and it is strange enough to qualify in some sort of way. But wow, this is really out there.

What am I going on about? Well from the Gizmodo article comes a story so weird that you have to check the date just to make sure some one isn't screwing with my head:

  • Down in a basement in Rochester, NY, they (Kodak)  had a nuclear reactor loaded with 3.5 pounds of enriched uranium—the same kind they use in  warheads....
Why did Kodak have a hidden nuclear reactor loaded with weapons-grade uranium?  How did they get permission to even own it? And Kodak was allowed to set it up in a densely populated area, no less!   Whats more no one seemed to know about it.  City officials, police, fire,  no one it seems in the state of  New York, only a handful of engineers and government officials knew anything pertaining to the reactor -  and they still wouldn't had it not been for a disgruntled employee.

It seems it's main purpose was to check for material impurities and other even more obscure purposes.  But it is the whole idea that since the material and reactor was obtained in 1974 it has been a closely guarded piece of information.

In 2006 the reactor was ordered dismantled due in part to rising security concerns but still well after 9/11.  Strange goings on...

Water Droplets and Sound Waves in Space

I am sure we have all had that "what would happen" moments in life. If you are a science fiction, fan it is almost a given. Here is a great demo of sound and fluid dynamics presented on orbit aboard the shuttle. Those of us in audio can guess what is coming but it is still fascinating all the same. No special equipment was used, just some old usb speakers and plain ole water.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Alien Hunter / Star Trooper by David K. Scholes

Alien Hunter - Star Trooper by David K. Scholes

Alien Hunter is based on the 12 part Alien Hunter Series in the Golden Visions SF Magazine 1/2011 to 2/12.

There is always a time when you want to introduce a young reader to the science fiction genre.  Very few books now lend themselves easily to the YA group of readers while still being able to entertain the more seasoned reader.  

Alien Hunter is a clever mix of mercenary and mysterious alien.  Alien Hunter’s Earle is a humanoid - human to any that know him with a mysterious mix of powers and weapons.  Earle has come to Earth on a mission.  He is hunting beings called “shifters” who have nothing but disdain for any other beings other than themselves.  

What makes Alien Hunter an easy read for the beginner is the novella length and for the seasoned reader in the alien mercenary theme, it makes an excellent quick read.  For the beginner the book is an excellent introduction to a popular venue without inundating the reader.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

BMU #313 Now Online

Well, out with the old and in with the new. Episode 313 of Beam Me Up is the beginning of the seventh year of I am not sure what. It would seem it is popular though!

I open this week with a quick ditty from John Anealio called “Let Your Geek Flag fly” a cute “call to arms” for all the geeks of the world. 

From there I play the first piece of fiction of the afternoon. a flash fiction, a story by J.P. Kelly that was influenced of all things by down-town LL Bean in Freeport! I kept thinking I would run it during the Christmas holidays but never got the chance. But now I read that he now is gearing up his site Free Reads and I thought what better story to remind everyone how good the site was. From there it is over to the blog with the article about a black hole that has some mind numbing features, Symphony of Science is back at it again, I play the newest compilation, “We Are Star Dust”. Earth Sky’s article this week points how different Mars really is from the Earth For all that it seems to be like Earth. Another article from Courtney tells of scientists using space telescopes like the Spitzer have been able to resolve infra-red light from “super Earth” planets. 

And finally I play part 2 of A.C. Wise’s Still Life

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Milky Way Sized Black Hole Seems To be Waking

Everything is relative.... How many times have you heard that, huh? We look at our sun, solar system and Milky Way and find that for the most part they are all about the same in a relative kind of way. Then we find that some of these galaxies have monstrous black holes at their centers. But far from being a deal breaker, the Milky Way has one of these animals at its center as well. A huge 4 thousand Sols in fact and scientist now are saying that eventually ALL galaxies will have these monsters at their centers as well. So, again things are the same relatively speaking.

And now along comes another deal breaker. In 2010 a team of astronomers spotted what appeared to be a flare from a previously inactive black hole in a galaxy about two billion light-years away. What caught my eye in this article was not that the black hole seemed to be waking up or even that another galaxy HAD a super massive black hole - as super massive black hole with an event horizon the size of the milky Way! (I say event horizon because in reality a black hole is infinitely long and infinitely narrow at the opening. However its influence spreads far from the opening, with huge warpings of space time. The event horizon is that point of influence where light itself can no longer escape from being drawn into the central opening. )

complete article here

Fringe Picks Up One More Season

Mark Wilson over at About SF/Fantasy blog tells us that despite poor ratings, Fox has ordered 13 new episode for a final season. I am glad that the shows were ordered but as Mark points out that once again, significantly different science fiction programs are continuing to drop like flies. Eureka is running its last few episodes, Chuck burned in a few seasons ago in a confusing mess and I am sure we all have our secret favorites that have driven off into the night over the last seasons....once again we sink towards mediocrity.

Check out Mark's article here
Walking about two miles a day, Claire Lomas finished the London Marathon 16 days after the race began. Claire, paralysed from the chest down following a horse riding accident in 2007, completing the course with the help of a powered exo - framework or power suit if you will. In doing so, she becomes the first person to finish a marathon using a powered exoskeleton or in this case a ReWalk suit.

Below is a video of her last few feet of the race.

Well, I replaced the video with one from youtube. I didn't title it though, that's a bit sappy....

Symphony of Science - "We Are Star Dust"

Here we are again with another mix from Symphony of Science called "We Are Star Dust" and like the media, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the darling of this compilation. Also in this 15th Symphony of Science video are Richard Feynman and Lawrence Krauss.

Look HERE for a complete listing of lyrics and the shows that generated the bulk of the material in this offering.

ahhhhhhhhhh the dulcet tones of the auto tuned....

Light from Extra-Solar Planet - Seen for 1st Time

Whoooooooooo Hooooooooo blog fan Courtney sends in this article that left me tingling! Light from a planet circling a distant star was for the first time viewed by space telescopes in orbit around Earth! That my friends is what I call a historic achievement!

The scope doing NASA's heavy lifting for this discovery was the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope. The telescope spotted light coming from the alien planet with the rather innocuous moniker of 55 Cancri e. This Super Earth (so designated because its' size is roughly twice that of Earth and a mass density of about 18 times that of Earth) orbits a star 41 light-years from Earth.

Of course this is not the first time that Spitzer has pulled off this hat trick. In 2005 it also gathered IR light coming from an extra-solar planed, however this was "hot Jupiter," an ultra hot gas giant far larger than 55 Cancri e that orbited extremely close to its parent star.

The more 55 Cancri e is studied, the stranger it becomes. Not only is it ultra dense, it orbits 26 times closer than the distance between Mercury and our own sun!

Oh and it gets weirder! Here is the link to the article. Read just how nightmarish 55 Cancri e could really be!

Graphic is a plot of data from NASA's Spitzer …

Ah, Just What We Need! Another Rube Goldberg Machine!

Here we have short film concerning a very odd gent and two even odder suit cases. Please enjoy Hey Hey Hey's "Melvin the Mini Machine" You see, Melvin is a world traveler and as he finishes each leg of his journey, he feels the need to send a post card home to document it.

you can find out more about Melvin the Mini Machine at

Melvin the Mini Machine from HEYHEYHEY on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I know...Not BMU Material...Couldn't Resist

As a photographer for 40 years and a lover of the reflection, plus add that for many years a photo editor, well I know things can get out of hand and overlooked. But this beauty is beyond comprehension....Was this like the Disney Littlest Mermaid debacle? Just couldn't resist, I am weak....yada yada..come's FUNNY... Unfortunate mistake?  possible...a pissed of photoshopper?  I'd buy that.

Space Coast Becoming Ghost Towns?

Boing Boing is trying valiantly to put a somewhat comical spin on the plight of Florida's "Space" coast, places like Coco Beach, as they try even the most outrageous methods in hopes of bolstering a failing economy. This excerpt pretty much sums up what it used to be like:
(local communities were) for decades buoyed by the NASA Space Shuttle program. Astronauts, aerospace contractors, service workers, and their families all made their way to communities near Kennedy Space Center.

But now real-estate prices and business alike are dropping through the floor. One hotel in the area has gone so far as to reinvent itself as clothing optional.

It's sad and frustrating for many reasons. It really is hard to affix blame, but it is our canary in so many ways.

Check out the BB article here

New Enhanced Touch Interaction

Goes without saying that just about everything we do now when interacting with various machines and hardware can or does have some form of "touch" for operation. Desk-tops, laptops, phones, bank atms, all types of cooking and other household items - the sky is the limit. However one of the major failings of the present system is that for all intents the present systems are binary. Either off or on depending on whether the object is touched or not a single channel if you will. There hasn't been much growth into the "type" of touch, like are you using 1 or a number of fingers, are you grasping turning, pushing, pulling - any number of variations. Now a system called Touché which in it's simplest form is a multiple channel sensing. With this configuration you not only can vastly increase the information of touch but use a much wider use of materials for sensing even human skin. Think of this a second. A system that could tell if you were say touching all your fingers together, or holding your hand in a specific position could tell Touché to say turn on you music system, touching your palm could change how the player works. Any number of things. Watch this video to see some ideas.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Beam Me Up episode 312 now online

wooooooooooo ever had one of those days? Yeah? Mine seem to last a week... soooooooo, what’s on tap this week? Well its episode 312 and I found a couple of entertaining stories and some very interesting articles plus a review.

Very first thing out the door I had a story with the same characters as in episode 308 Kevin Phyland’s Phobic. In this episode Kevin’s story may not be as graphic but it is every bit as thought provoking. His story this month is “Going Home” and I think you will enjoy it every bit as much as I did reading it.

Next I have a couple of articles from The articles of note this week deal with first, where is all the star building material come from? You will get a major Oh WOW when you find out not so much where as to when star making could have ceased....and speaking of star making material, how about surviving stars from just shortly after the big bang, yep, possible. 

From there I review the movie Cowboys and don’t pass judgement now, listen to the review! From there, it’s the SuperMoon on the 5th / 6th if you are lucky tonight otherwise this is dated - I know, dont you hate that! Ron sends us in a study just starting up about pulsed fusion space engines that is very interesting! And check out hypervelocity stars. Yep 2 billion MPH now that is what I call faaaaaaaaaaast! 

And to get the ball rolling, Courtney wanted to remind me that this year is the last year for over 100 years in which we will be able to watch a transit of the Sun by Venus. It will be in June this year, and I will remind everyone so anyone that wants to can see it, at least we have some lead time huh?

And so on to our second story, Still Live by AC Wise will be this week’s ender. Still Life deals with the progression of tech to preserve a person’s memory. For most of the past century it was a picture. Literally a still life..... Now we have instant pictures and where will the tech progress from here. What will be the reaction of others that loved and cared for them as well. How do you consider other’s feelings for your love lost. And what of the replacement. Its more than a picture, but how much more...... I will only get about half read before the top of the hour, so more next week.


Friday, May 04, 2012

Saturday's "Super Moon" Not Likely to Destroy Earth

I had been hinting that this Saturday / Sunday  - the 5th - 6th would be highlighted with full moon at perigee known recently as a super Moon.  This is when the moon is the closest and in "line" with the Sun, what forces that are applied to the Earth's surface.  Our regular contributor Xnewsman sent in this article from

Setting aside the doomsayers for the moment, lets look at what makes this a singular event in and of itself.  The Moon's orbit is not quite circular, there for the moon will reach its perigee distance (closest approach ) of 221,802 miles   at 11:34 p.m. eastern time and enter alignment with the sun exactly 1 minute later, making for an even larger and brighter than the  super moon of March 19, 2011.

With the last event, all sorts of  chaos was predicted.  From earthquakes to  volcanic eruptions,  but other than slightly higher tides, nothing catastrophic is predicted.  

image credit NOAO/AURA/NSF 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Slapshot to Deep Space

Space Hockey for real?  The ticket to Mars and beyond may be a series of nuclear slapshots that use magnetic pulses to slam nuclei into each other inside hockey pucks made of a special, lightweight salt.
A physics team from The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering soon will take delivery of a specialized system to see if they can "Z-pinch" a tiny bit of that salt into the heart of a star.
“We are trying to develop a small, lightweight pulsed nuclear fusion system for deep space missions,” explained Dr. Jason Cassibry, an associate professor of engineering at UAHuntsville. “If this works we could reach Mars in six to eight weeks instead of six to eight months.”   Read complete release
image courtesy

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Hyper-velocity Ejected Star

Now here is another truly strange character - Ejected Stars or Rogue Stars if you like. These are stars that astronomers say are or were ejected from the MW galaxy.

It would seem however that this is an extremely difficult thing to do. Here is an excerpt of the Science Daily article that gives you an idea just HOW difficult.

  • the primary mechanism (for ejecting stars from the milky-way galaxy) that astronomers have come up with that can give a star the two-million-plus mile-per-hour kick it takes requires a close encounter with the super-massive black hole at the galaxy's core.
It seems that it is so difficult and thus so rare that only sixteen hyper-velocity stars have been verified, and even though they have enough speed to eventually leave the Milky Way all together, they are still "inside" the galaxy.

However this may not be the case completely. Here is another excerpt.

  • Vanderbilt astronomers report in the May issue of the Astronomical Journal that they have identified a group of more than 675 stars on the outskirts of the Milky Way that they argue are hyper-velocity stars that have been ejected from the galactic core.
Very strange indeed.  Here is the link to the rest of the Science Daily article

Picture shows Four runaway stars plowing through regions of dense interstellar gas and creating bright bow waves and trailing tails of glowing gas. The stars in these NASA Hubble Space Telescope images are among 14 young runaway stars spotted by the Advanced Camera for Surveys between October 2005 and July 2006 (from

Once in a Lifetime Venus Event

Coming this June is an astronomical event that will not take place again in your lifetime, or to put it more accurately, not again until 2117.

June 5 & 6 of 2012 will transit the sun. This pass will take about six hours to complete. The last transit was 2004. The reason for the two relatively short periods separated by a much longer periods (the transits have two rather quick transits, only separated by eight years - hence the 2004 to 2012 time frame then a 105 year wait.) of 105 to 121 years - happens only when Earth and Venus are in line with the sun. This doesn't happen often because of the different orbital times and the fact that neither Earths or Venus' orbit are flat.

The Science Daily article is rich with historical data, which if you have even a passing interest, I suggest that you check this Science Daily article out.  It really is worth it!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Review: Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys and Indians

Starring Daniel Craig Harrison Ford Olivia Wilde

Directed by Jon Favreau

Talk about covering all the bases - Every kid from the 50s and 60s played Cowboys and Indians and since then everything Aliens is golden. Combining the two is like "you have chocolate in my Peanutbutter..."

So here we are in the late 1800s in a slowly dying. The sheriff is all but a figurehead. The real power base is the local beef - baron, who's son  terrorizes the locals and is generally above any laws.  That is until a man with no name comes to town.

Fights and show down ensue until strange flying craft begin capturing locals.  

From then on its the tech disadvantaged locals against ruthless aliens - there is even a plucky dog!

I was ready to hate this movie, but I was surprised by the depth of the actors in the film and they didn't seem to be walking through their parts.  Plus a reasonable amount of action both real and cgi.  

So up to this point, I was pleasantly surprised and even willing to overlook some of the little quirks.

And then one major problem.  I make no bones that I rent my movies.  I like the fact that I can watch it at anytime I want.  Plus the disk often offers extras about the movie.  I like that often as much as the movie. 

This is the way I choose to view the movie.  I don't care for a movie that only plays at a certain time,  or has to be returned within a certain time.  I feel the rental gives you the best bang for your money. So you can understand that when all the menu items are there but each brings up the message that this disk is a rental and words to the effect that unless you plan on buying a "real" disk, then you are out of luck.  So the disk rental is the bottom of the heap.  That I paid real money for the rental, seems to be moot.  Fairview Studios, along with Platinum and imagine Entertainment can collectively kiss my ass.  I do not enjoy the message being foisted here.  Its a cheap shot and in good conscience  I can't recommend  the rental.  The movie itself really is just passable so if I had to I would give it a 5 if  I had to.  If you enjoy the extras....your out of luck.

Asteroid Mining May Be Against the Law?

Well we may just have jumped the gun on this story. As you recall I wrote about a venture capitol group, consisting of people like James Cameron, wanted to start a company to mine near Earth asteroids for their resources. Now according to BY George Dvorsky writing for the IO9 blog -space law expert Frans von der Dunk warned that current space law is seriously out of date and such ventures may turn out to be illegal! The question of who owns the asteroid and what rights do the miners have should someone consider taking any particular mine as their own. Without clear cut laws, this scenario could be a very real possibility.

From the IO9 Article:

  • The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forms the basis of international space law and to which all space-faring nations are a party. The treaty says that outer space constitutes a "global commons." This means that extraterrestrial bodies can never be part of one country such as the United States
The complete IO9 article can be read here

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