Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Consider: The Worthington Jet

I am not sure how to handle this.  It is the scourge of millions each day at the same time it is a documented phenomenon.   A.N. Worthington along with   the London Society for Promotion of Christian Knowledge published A paper  in 1895 concerning splashes, or a phenomenon called the Worthington  Jet. This is the effect  observed when an object or material  is observed  as it travels
through the surface of a Newtonian fluid. (note PDF @ http://www.colorado.edu/MCEN/flowvis/galleries/2007/assignment6/OLoughlin.pdf) 

The effect is basically, as the object contacts the fluid's surface, it pulls this surface down and along with it.  A turbulent interface is observed between the bending surface of the fluid and the mass.  At this point the mass breaks away and the fluid rebounds into the cavity (due in part to surface tension, and pressure)  to form the Worthington jet.

The jet's structure can be controlled by varying the uniformity of the object.  Spherical objects provide the most uniform / cohesive jet, where as rough and or irregular object seems to produce jets consisting of several parts.  

As this effect can be troublesome, experiments have shown that changing the surface tension can eliminate or lessen the effect. 

Now if you haven't figured this out yet....oh I love the fact that there is a REAL name and a REAL effect,  continue on to the address below. 

For more on the effect and lessening its' effect, please watch this YouTube video

Odds on me doing this story with a straight face?

Star Wars VII

  Yep, you read that right. Star Wars 7. 
  Apparently, Disney spent 4.05 billion to acquire Skywalker Sound, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and the Indiana franchise, they announced a tentative release date of 2015. 
  Apparently a Disney representative mentioned that they had every intention of making more than one film. He said to the effect of episode 7 in 2015, and then episode 8 the next year, and 9 the year after, and see where they go from there then. 
   I admit that getting Lucas away from Star Wars is probably one of the best things that could happen. However, will it now get even more childish, or will they actually try and do something with that space fantasy.
  I was a fan myself, but I saw it for what it was even then. It wasn't science fiction, not even back when it came out. Lucas himself called it a Space Fantasy, and that is what it was. But after the first one, (episode 4), it just kind of went to shit. Everything could be seen coming so easily, and then when he got to the prequels, he went totally off base. The man goes from a mystical energy field, to symbiotic creatures in the blood as an explanation of the Force. Doesn't work. You can turn sci-fi into space fantasy, or science fantasy, but you can't do it the other way around. 
  And as for Disney, look what they did back then to a great movie, or could have been, called The Black Hole. We ended up with this nonsense about a black hole leading to heaven or hell. 
  And no folks, it isn't that I grew up when it comes to star wars. I'm an avid follower of bad movies, and anime of all types, even that childish Super Hero Squad that I watched every episode of.  Still Love Astro Boy too. So maybe this will be a good thing.
   Then again, if they go from what Lucas originally had planned, (which was the rebuilding of the old republic) and would decide to pick up shortly after the original 3, where would you get the people to play those characters now. And would they be accepted. 
  You know, I think I will be waiting much more anxiously for season 10 of Red Dwarf, (which is airing now in Britain) before I m ever waiting for episode 7.
  Anyway, here's a link for all interested. And also have 1 web series review later this week, and maybe 2. Depends what breaks, blows up, or blows out (my back again) next.  Meant to have those two watched and up here almost 2 weeks ago. Hell, I'm even an episode behind on Arrow. And the CW site sucks for playback usually.

Review: Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow

 Review: Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow
Voice credits for the animated characters.

    Brenna O'Brien as Torunn
    Aidan Drummond as Henry Pym, Jr.
    Noah C. Crawford as James Rogers
    Dempsey M. Pappion as Azari T'Challa
    Adrian Petriw as Francis Barton/Hawkeye II
    Tom Kane as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Ultron
    Shawn MacDonald as Vision
    Ken Kramer as Bruce Banner/Hulk
    Nicole Oliver as Betty Ross
    Fred Tatasciore as Hulk
    Michael Adamthwaite as Thor

In this straight to video Lions Gate animated Marvel film we are again visited by some old nemesis but the twist here is that it is a couple of decades into the future and we are introduced not to the Avengers, but to their children.  It seems many of the avengers had married and produced children.  These children, of Black Panther and his queen Storm,  Black Widow & Captain America, Giant Man & Wasp and the daughter of Thor & Sif are kept in a secret enclave away from Ultron who has eliminated the Avengers and would do the same to the children if he discovered them.  Curiously it is Tony Stark / Iron Man who has been tasked with caring for the children since they were infants.  

Their lives are uneventful until a mysterious android called The Vision appears one day heavily damaged to tell Stark that Ultron is aware of another child, long thought dead, still alive in the city.

Through another bit of mis-adventure, Ultron is also made aware of the other children as well.  

The balance of the movie is Ultron trying to destroy  the children, Stark and even another Avenger who was not killed in the initial attack and the children finally pressed into destroying Ultron even though they were to flee to another hiding place.

I had seen bits and pieces of this movie in the past, but was unclear of the timeline.  Being interested in the comic/animated version of the Avengers, I took a stab at watching the animated carry on to the Avengers.  According to the on disk extras, this particular piece of Avengers timeline is in fact a stand alone with heretofore unheard of characters.  This was not one of the “tiny or mini” Avengers that you find on some of the kids channels.  Though aimed straight at a much younger audience, this full length animated feature is much more edgey and far more ambiguous when it came to the right choices.  So it is clear that the writers and directors were aiming at a much more sophisticated watcher.  Though the animation is certainly not Japanese anime quality, it is still far above what was usually available in Saturday morning fare.

I would give this a qualified watch.  I think the younger you are the more you might enjoy it.  As for extra features, the movie has two featurettes and a couple of Hulk VS introduction shorts and that is about it.  The featurettes however are interesting enough if you are a comic / anime fan, for the thought process and a view into the minds of fan / animators / artist, which is worth a watch.

So overall if you are an Avenger or comic Avenger fan and are intrigued by a stand alone follow on piece then this is for you and as far as entertainment goes under those parameters, the movie will  likely be an 7, but otherwise it will not work for you, it is clearly a fan film by fans for fans and as such will simply not appeal to the average movie viewer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

BMU #337 Now Online!

On the last show for Beam Me Up in October, once again is out traditional Halloween story, Happy Halloween by Colin P. Davies.  If you haven't heard this story yet you are in for a treat!  Colin went all out with this one and Crystal Wizard studios has done a masterful mix!  In its' third year, it continues to hold up and I am sure you will see why I feel it is one of the best stories for a season, that we have ever run.

But first up: Did you remember that Lost In Space had two theme music scores? I found the one that was played from year one to four, but there was another.

Ever been asked why is the sky blue or black at night?  Think you got the answer?  You may only be part right!

I dial it back for a sec to do Star Trek Trivia once again.

Nissan in an effort to improve the comfort of their car's ride are trying to emulate the texture of a very unusual substance...

With the advent of 3d-printing - scientist suggest that DNA and Drug manufacture can not be far behind and the implications are staggering!

That and much more this week on Beam Me UP!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zoomable Milky Way Mosaic

Here is one short and sweet. Astronomers assembled hundreds of infrared photos of the milky way. All of them put together form a mosaic that is zoomable.

The utility was constructed using images from the nine gigapixel VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory.    This provided a dataset that contains more than ten times more stars than previous studies!  This gives viewers an incredible, zoomable view of the central part of our galaxy.

 You can find this browser based utility here  or click the top photo

Human Skin as Car Upholstery?

EEEEEEEwwwwwwwwww!  What?!!  The title is essentially true, for the most part.  Here is what the Dvice article said: 
  • Nissan engineers are working to develop synthetic materials that can replicate the touch and feel of a human finger.
You have got to be asking now....why would ANYONE want the inside of their car make them feel fingered?!  

The article states that Nissan considered (you can't make this stuff up!) four factors in the replication of the"feel" (swear to god) of the fabric:   examined were the flexibility, temperature, smoothness and moistness of a human finger (moistness?!! really? what, just like, just in the mouth moistness or oh Jesus someone help me, this is getting way out of....ummm hand already...omg even the author says that they can save a whole lot of time by just visiting an adult novelty store...oh I am so going to hell with this one...) 

Here is the link to the original Jalopnik article   

Happy fing...um motoring....

Print Your Own Drugs?

Ok, now there is a science fiction concept that I never thought of!  Consider this however, as the tech for 3d printing continues to advance, plus advancements in biosynthesis and molecular construction, it may become a reality that medications and drugs could be simply printed on the spot as needed!

This amazing idea  comes from Craig Venter who is known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome. 

The core idea for this tech idea originates from Venter who speculated about sending a DNA sequencer to Mars, in hopes that DNA material could be found.  With a sequencer on hand, DNA could then be sequenced and studied remotely.  But it pretty much stalls right there.  It would be so much better to have the material at hand speculated Venter,  but unless the rover can somehow send biological material back or we send a probe to gather and return with that material, we are basically out of luck.

Consider however a spacecraft that could "phone home" the information we need, instead of the actual material itself, and using this "mailed" information, the DNA could be reassembled in labs on Earth. 

Venter now envisions one single machine a "printer" if you would that could handle all facets of biologics or even drugs.  From the Dvice article:
  • one single machine that can "print" drugs by carefully combining nucleotides, sugars, amino acids, and whatever else is needed while u wait. Technology like this would mean that vaccines could be produced locally, on demand, simply by emailing the appropriate instructions to your closest drug printer. Pharmacies would no longer consists of shelves upon shelves of different pills, but could instead be kiosks with printers inside them. Ultimately, this could even be something you do at home.  
Professor Lee Cronin, the chair of chemistry at Glasgow University, has taken the concept of 3d printed chemicals and drugs to a new level.  Cronin and his team have developed a new 3D printing process to synthesize chemicals.(note graphic in upper right)

Above, A research team at the University of Glasgow has created a 3D printing process that may be able to print custom drugs for patients.

The original NewScientist article can be read here

Doug Michels: Visionary Architect of the Future

I am going to have to admit that I didn't have a clue who Doug Michels was until I found this YouTube video via Boing Boing. Among his varied ideas and accomplishments was a design firm Ant Farm.  Michels' mind resided firmly in the future.  Some of his designs and proposals were well ahead of their time.  It is clear that Michels had a profound effect on the entertainment media of his time and well into the future.

Wikipedia notes Ant Farm as: an avant-garde architecture, graphic arts, and environmental design practice, founded in San Francisco in 1968 with Chip Lord.  At its' heyday, Ant Farm was known for its' counter-cultural performances and media events,  but probably best remembered for their art installation Cadillac Ranch.

Below is the short film in question.  It is clear at the outset that Michels, who died in a climbing accident in 2003, was a brilliant futurist and satirist. 

The film is hosted by Tom Weinberg, founder of the video burn archive.

Watch the film and spend a moment with true creative genius.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sixth Grade Alien Uncovered?

Has an alien been discovered hiding out in a sixth grade elementary classroom?  Unfortunately, for those that so desperately for it to be so, the "alien" is far less sublime.  From one of my favorite sites, Photoshop Disasters, via Boing Boing, comes this monument to the short attention span....

This disaster is created with the clone tool and probably some sort of edit layer.  I instructed in the proper use of Photoshop for many years. h One of the things I always stressed is to watch where the clone was "cloning" from.  Here the editor was most likely fixing hair and was not watching as the selection X passed over the student's eye and there it is!  Though just how incompetent do you have to be to NOT see this!???

Check out the Photoshop disasters page for a laugh,  even more so if you are a user of the software. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some things are just funny!

From the warped sense of humor that is Xnewsman

All a matter of perspective and frame of reference, I believe.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BMU #336 Now Online!

Well I was accused of going on at length with this week's program, but there are always something that will set just about anyone off, and it just so happens that there were a few this week!  But all in all, I didn't fall asleep this week, so I must have been interesting!

I start off with a funny one liner that xnewsman sent in.

From there I have one of Family Guy's segways that may not have much to do with science and fiction, but everything to do with supercilious public radio! If you can't poke fun at yourself?  You know? 

Mark Webb adds another story in his interstellar government functionary arc.  The Earth has been destroyed and the Humans that were lucky enough to be off planet are now only capable of the lowest form of menial labor...Mark Webb's The Devil Wears Shapeless Ugly Garments, Covered in Dog

The Earth is far from quiet in space.  Not the spurious noises caused by man but the various other magnetic and electrical noises that are constantly emitted by the globe.

 You will be amazed at what it sounds like!
Earth/Sky again spins up with some fascinating facts about Pole Wander, which I had never heard about but it is fascinating.  From there I take us right into a new Star Trek trivia!
This week's review is the movie "Battleship" based on, of all things, the board game of the same name...oh yes.

China has the idea that virtual supermarkets are the thing!  13 thousand square feet of empty racks filled with virtual goods!  I am serious!  And you won't believe the company that has invested heavily in this idea.....

Finally,  from the fertile imagination of Jason Kahn id the newest episode of In Plain Sight.  This week episode 13 "Home to Roost.

These and other subject this week on Beam Me Up # 336

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fly By Wire, Where?

Here is a question for ya...name the conveyance that takes input from the controller, feeds it to various computers through digital input.  These computers then make changes to the various other control systems that control how the vehicle responds.  This system is better known as fbw in many of the systems it is incorporated into. 

Now if you had said the General Dynamic's F-16 Flying Falcon (or Viper) using Fly By Wire tech. you would be right.... but we are not talking about planes.  No, cars!

That's right, in a partial step towards driverless technology, Nissan plans to sell cars controlled by steer-by-wire technology as early as 2013. 

Nissan says that the fbw system would transmit the drivers intention to the proper systems much faster than hydraulic and mechanical systems. 

Also the FBW system insulates the driver from unnecessary feed-back from the road, like uneven or rough driving surfaces.

It is bound to be greeted unenthusiastically by some drivers.  From the article:
  • In 2004 Mercedes-Benz faced customers complaints that its Sensotronic brake-by-wire system - which used an electrical link to control vehicles' brake pads - sometimes failed.
  • Although the vehicles had a hydraulic back-up it meant some owners had experienced longer stopping distances.
  • The firm ultimately recalled about two million vehicles and dropped the feature.
Fly By Wire article here on BBC


Did you hear that Stan Ovshinsky died recently at 89?  Not all that sure who Ovshinsky was?  Well you, like many others, including myself, should not feel quite so bad, I guess.  However Stan can quite literately be called the architect of today's society!  

In the GMA article that Xnewsman sent me, are a short list of what Stan can be credited:

His obituary credited him for contributing to sustainable energy and innovative information technology with inventions like:
  • the environmentally friendly nickel-metal (NiMH) hydride battery, which has been widely used in laptop computers, digital cameras, cell phones, and electric and hybrid cars
  • continuous web multi-junction flexible thin-film solar energy laminates and panels
  • flat screen liquid crystal displays (LCDs)
  • rewritable CD and DVD computer storage
  • hydrogen fuel cells
  • nonvolatile phase-change electronic memories
Imagine today's society without these innovations...  Fairly daunting isn't it?  Stan Ovshinsky was to the tech industry as Henry Ford was to the automotive industry.  If you are interested in more the article has  quite a lot of info here

ISS Startrails Stack

Now I know...we have all seen the stars and the Earth as it rotates below the ISS. Christoph Malin has taken all these beautiful films and stacked them to make on of the most awe inspiring short visuals that I suspect that like me, is one of the best you have seen for some time.

 If you go to the Vimeo site for this video, you can see more of how he created this wonderful work.

ISS Startrails - TRONized from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Battleship? I really did make myself forget!

Hey, have I talked about this piece of trash of a movie called Battleship? My friend Mark lent it to me, and it seems the review totally left my conscious mind! That should tell ya somethin.

 Well anyway...if someone remembers it, I will take it down, but it is the strangest thing...

Lets talk about the movie Battleship for a moment...

Directed by Peter Berg

Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Alex Hopper
Alexander SkarsgÄrd as Commander Stone Hopper (Alex's older brother)
Rihanna as Gunner's Mate Second Class Cora Raikes
Brooklyn Decker as Samantha "Sam" Shane
Liam Neeson as Admiral Terrance Shane (father of Samantha Shane)

I would have to say that if I were a movie producer and wanted to be taken seriously by my industry, the last thing I would proudly extol was the fact that the multimillion dollar offering that I am making is based on a board type of game suitable for young children!

Somebody forgot to tell the folks that put together “Battleship”. Not even the good sense to come up with another name. Oh and I say put together deliberately. It is clear that the Battleship people were looking to cash in on the block buster movie of the summer, Transformers. There are scenes taken directly out the Transformers movie. What should be even more embarrassing is the clear references to Battleship! They go so far as to techno babble it up and call it part of the fire control system, ahhh, but no, it's the same game! So you can see why it is so hard to take this movie seriously.

That being the case, the “plot” of the movie is that Earth has been invaded by creatures that seem to be a cross between a porcupine and a hairless Mexican Chihuahua. Three advance ships try to land on Earth, but one hits a very large communications satellite and is destroyed. The remaining ships, for the balance of the movie, wreck havoc on the United States fleet in Hawaii. It would appear that the aliens are trying to contact the remaining fleet of ships using the large dishes on the island.

Some of this movie is so improbable that it is impossible to suspend belief. But then some reviewers have said that this is the worst movie ever is going a bit far for I have seen many that have been far far worse! That being said, I am confident in saying that this film is not aimed at an adult crowd, but towards those that like to experience lots of things blowing up and gratuitous violence.

That and the fact that it is eerily like the first and second Transformers movies to the point that you can confuse the two! So much so that I would say that if you have seen the first or second Transformers movie, don't bother with this one, but if you missed those films, this one will not be so bad.

The extras are pretty good. I really shows how much these people went through to get this film made.
You can't fault them for an honest try all but the original idea which is truly a faulty idea.

I would rate the movie a seven because of execution and the extras are an 8, lots of good stuff in there but it lacks some of the features that I have come to expect in extra, like a good running commentary.
So that gives us a movie rating overall of 15 and an average of 7.5 which I think is fair.  Borrow it if you must,  rent it if you have to, but buy it?  nope!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

VR SHopping?

Take a look at the photo here.  This is a real Chinese super-market set to open set to open soon.  Nope, it is not some variation on a theme or some weird austerity program.  The shelves are in fact fully stocked with groceries!  Virtual Groceries. 

Yihaodian, the marketing group behind the scheme, has 1000, 13,000 square foot store fronts that will be stocked with virtual products.  The customer will be able to "see" the products using their smart phones and making purchasing decisions with the self same device.  The items would be totaled, charged, and delivery would be later the same day.

My comment here is....when is the last time you bought fresh veggies or cheese, preserved meat like a Genoa Salami without touching it, smelling it, getting the whole sensory input thing. How can you test if bread is fresh without tapping the end?

The reason I am taking it a bit personally is the article goes on to state:
  • A couple of months ago Walmart did a little virtual shopping of its own, and purchased a majority share in Yihaodian.
Niche fur miche (yep, can't spell in two languages ....)

Here is the article link from Dvice had listed for the original in TechAsia

The Ballad of Felix Baumgatner

Well unless you live in a cave you know that Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere right into the history books.

To commemorate the effort songwriter John Anealio  says he watched it live with his son and it inspired him to write a new song about it.  Called "The Ballad of Felix Baumgartner"

Here it is for your pleasure:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mach Man!

I was just going to update my earlier observations but what happened today is truly worthy of a post of it's own. Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian daredevil, rolled back the portal hatch cover, disconnected his custom space suit from external supplies, stepped off the stoop of his specially constructed capsule, at a height of over 24 miles in height, and fell into aeronautics history.

  Baumgartner, within minutes reached 833.9 miles per hour, or Mach 1.24, putting him solidly into the history books.

  Baumgartner broke altitude and speed records set half a century ago by Joe Kittinger, now 84, a retired Air Force colonel. Curiously, Baumgartner, early into the jump, experienced the same problem that had nearly killed Mr. Kittinger a half-century earlier. Early in the jump when he began spinning out of control in the thin air of the stratosphere, but as the atmosphere thickened, Baumgartner managed to stop the spin and open his cute at 5 thousand feet and continue to a soft landing, under full control.

For more about the jump and Felix and this incredible sky dive, you can go to the

New York Times here

The Wiki info on Joe Kittinger here

And Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos jump here

Cyber Pearl Harbor!

If you listened to this week's program, you heard Xnewsman speak at the end of the program about a statement from Leon Panetta about the state of cyber security in the U.S. and that a real concerted effort by a terrorist group could quite literally cripple the United States worse than Pearl Harbor did.

Panetta's come on the heals of an attack on the world's largest oil producer. Panetta warns that the attack could have come from Iran, whom, Panetta warns, that they are developing the capability to launch devastating cyber attacks.

Here is the CBS News video on the latest statement from the Washington Post:

Beam Me Up #335 Now Online!

Beam Me Up Podcast #335 online

You know that Chinese curse that says, may you live in interesting times....Think about it... and know that is what this weekend's time in the studio was like!   

But through adversity comes greatness?....I can not believed I just typed that! lol! Really did manage to get a show out that I feel is quick and interesting.

I start with a bit of fluff, from the anime series Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne, I play the closing music called "Hello" by Megumi Nakajima. It is fun and sets the mood really well for the rest of the afternoon.

Next a fun piece from Bart Meehan "Welcome to Skull Island"  A bit of alternative timeline story in which Kong is real and resides on of course Skull Island in a very Juassic abode.  Mix in a petulant five year old and you have a recipe for discomfort! lol

Star Trek trivia is next on the roll with two new questions.  Lets' go people.  I have had no solves in 3 programs!  What's up with that Trekkies?

Three great articles from Earth Sky are on tap!  From sun diving comets to sailing lakes of liquid methane!

A few quick items from the blog and then off to the next short story.  This week's ending is The Last line by Kevin Picket.  Kevin's story combines the pain of unendurable loss with a most inventive healing process!

And surprise!  It is not the end of the program, because Xnewsman stopped by to talk about a statement by Leon Panetta concerning the lack of cyber security in the United State, and such a lapse could lead to an attack that would be more devastating than Pearl Harbor!  Shocking stuff indeed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RED BULL STRATOS Delayed Until Sunday 10/14/12

It is now official Kallamis is being drove batty. Why? Well the Red Bull sky dive from the edge of space has once again been moved due to weather conditions. As it stands right now the dive by Felix Baumgartner will take place Sunday October 14th.

For your entertainment, here is the animation of the jump

And if you click here, you can go directly to the site.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Should Have Been A Darwin Award Candidate

You know...there are definite activities that one hears of today that are or were never considered when we were younger. I NEVER thought I would EVER hear myself say that, but in this absurdly stupid to the point of being comical (the only reason is that someones life has be DRASTICALLY changed because of this idiocy)From the BBC comes an article of a teenager have radical surgery called a total gastrectomy (it is so weird a word that my spell checker still says its' spelled wrong)which is just what it sounds like, the complete removal of the stomach. Why you ask? Well she presented at the emergency room complaining of extreme distress of the abdomen. Palpitation of the area revealed a grossly distended stomach.

Immediate surgery was called for where the surgeon examined then remove the complete stomach which was severely damaged organ. The stomach had multiple perforations as well as other indications of severe distention.

It seems the girl had been drinking and had experimented with a drink that contained liquid nitrogen. Yep, liquid nitrogen is called a cryogenic liquid in that in its' liquid state its average temperature is minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit, capable of doing severe damage to human tissue (it has been called "toxic" but the real danger is not the gas itself but the temperature it exhibits in its cryogenic state.).

The liquid mixed with alcohol caused freezing damage to lips, mouth, throat and esophageal tube and stomach, plus when it is warmed by the stomach, the liquid return to a gaseous state taking up a much larger volume, necessitating  the stomach, which was the most heavily damaged, be removed.

Stranger still is her drink was not spiked! She was fully aware that she was drinking a dangerous liquid which was being served AT THE BAR she was attending!

The mixed drink containing the liquid gas has become fashionable as of late.

The as yet un-named bar has agreed to cease the use of the liquid gas, however it seems that many hi-end bars continue to mix the dangerous combination.

Full BBC article HERE

Skydive from Space Aborted!

Not much to give in the way of info, but this is what I found on the popsci page
  • Felix Baumgartner's 23-Mile-High Skydive Aborted Due To Wind
I will post, or one of the editors, any updates.

If anyone hears anything about a new date or time PLEASE post it!  Thanks

If you are interested in what is going on with the dive, you can find the mission description HERE

Why is the Night Sky Dark?

Sounds like a pretty simple kids question, does it not? And of course, as adults with faaaaaaah greataaaaaaaaah knowledge know this answer. Well I got my mind blown with this video. Yes the simplistic answer is that the sky is bright in the day because the Sun's radiated energy is absorbed and retransmitted and defused by the atmosphere. But you know what? That is only partially right. I am not going to ruin it for you by giving a spoiler talk. Play the video and then, see if you are not properly struck dumb!

Declassified Flying Saucers!

This ought to be fun!  From the National Archives NDC blog I spy this little goodie!
  • Recently declassified records from the Aeronautical Systems Division, USAF
  •  reveal some ... perhaps never-before-seen images.
Those words and the above illustration, are contained in a document called "Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” (d.1956)  

The pages describe a project bye the USAF and a Canadian company Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario.  Avro was contracted to construct a disk-shaped craft.  

The design specs. were amazing even for today and in the 50s practically unheard of.  The craft would be designed to: 
  • a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.
The NDC article says that the other design graphics show a craft that was very similar to those in the UFO movies of the time. 

The balance of the article can be found here

Monday, October 08, 2012

Scholes, Soldier of the Brell Excerpt on Bewildering Stories

David Scholes just sent me a quick note concerning an excerpt that is being picked up by Bewildering Stories.

Here is his note with the particulars:

An excerpt from my Soldier of the Brell novella is now up on the BWS site (Issue # 497). Here's the link: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue497/brell_ex.html

If you have been enjoying Dave's "Brell" alternative universe stories here then this is a perfect add on.  Besides, the other plus is the nice site that is Bewildering Stories.  
Episode 334 of Beam Me Up is at hand! This week, I tie up one story arc, start another small one and an anime fan joins me to talk about a movie we just watched.

First I open with the Bare-naked Ladies doing their theme song for the television show Big Bang Theory.

The first story of the afternoon is Mark Webb's In the Service of the Public. This story an Earth diplomat in service to an inter-galactic government. Webb has managed to make the subject entertaining and even develop a small story arc. As odd a subject this would seem, from what I have read so far that no matter how things change and evolve there is always a functionary some where keeping the "machinery" rolling. Webb seems to have captured the essence of the true architects of empire. We will see as the Interstellar Coalition Public Service and the Aazork public service evolves. My reading is a little rough however. It was a last minute addition to this week's line up.

Next is a couple of really excellent science article from Earth Sky dealing with the Van Allen radiation belts and the Tunguska event.

Then it is time once again for Star Trek Trivia. Two new questions this week.

If you are an anime fan and have seen the Tri Gun series or even if you haven't, you are going to want to take a listen to our review of the Tri gun movie Badlands Rumble which is an excellent to the TriGun universe or an excellent return to the Vash the Stampede universe. Anime fan and listener to the program Jeremey joins me to talk about the movie and the TriGun series in general. I know I had a great time, and I hope you have just as much entertainment!

David Sholes has a new collection of short stories called Speculative Fiction: The Ultimate Collection. Dave sent over a copy of the collection for me to take a look at. Since it was a nice mix of stories we have seen on BMU and new I thought a review was in order.

Ron posts an article about the Curiosity rover and many other of our equipment still out there doing science. As new and as cutting edge they are, the probes and rovers are held together by tech, thousands of years old!

Finally I play the conclusion of Edward McKeown's excellent story "The Dive". Everything moves ultra fast in this week's final. I think you will agree that this has been one of the better written and narrated series the show is running.

That and some other foolishness this week on episode 334 of Beam Me Up!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Review: Speculative Fiction - The Ultimate Collection

Speculative Fiction The Ultimate Collection By David Scholes 23 highly entertaining short story collection.

Any long time listener to Beam Me Up is bound to recognize the name David Scholes. Beam Me Up has hosted his stories like Odenforce The Intervention and Trathh. Scholes is well schooled in the god of ancient Norway which he has at time molded into wars spanning all time.

Also David has fashioned an alternative history where England was a major technological mover and shaker during the early 20th century managing to outstrip even the USA. It is clear that Scholes is a master of history and can realize a milieu as robust and complete as any historian.

Along with his Asgardian and Greater Britain stories there are other equally robust and entertaining shorter pieces.

Hired Guns is a fast paced short alien mercenaries story. Easy Meat, who said waste management can be entertaining? Are you ready for the Grey Police or something called GrannyBoost? Yeah? Then take a short read with the enforcers in Surprise Attack!

Sholes is not above changing up his Asgardian/Brell should the need arise. In Unwelcome Visitor, we are not sure who is the most “unwelcome” but like unruly children, certain lessons must be taught no matter how the “unruly child” complains. Or the story “The Ship” asks, what would it be like if everything was just.....better? And if the bringer of such largess were damaged, could we benefit from the lessons given even if the teacher is gone?

If you enjoy stories with a strong military / warrior thread running through them, then like me you will enjoy not only great ships and god like powers, but also stories of the human condition and so much more.

Sholes Speculative Fiction collection is marvelously entertaining and thought provoking as well. If you have enjoyed some of David's shorter works on Beam Me Up then this book is a definite look-see.

Lulu is publishing the paperback and the e-book is available on Amazon

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Hand-tied knots on Mars

It might surprise most people to learn that knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown.   See knots on Rover Curiosity, right.

 Acceptable NASA knots are specified in NASA Technical Standard NASA-STD-8739.4 -- Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses, and Wiring.  

If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for millions of years.

Pictures courtesy of International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum 

Woman Grows Ear...On Her Arm!

I know, sensationalistic, but honestly how often do I ever get the chance to really come up with a totally lurid article title! Plus have it be 100% absolutely true!

That's right, A woman really did grow an ear on her arm, it's the circumstances I have omitted... This is what the Boing Boing article said:
  • A woman whose exterior ear was removed during her fight with cancer has grown a replacement ear made from starter-tissue harvested from her rib. (when it was mature) it was removed from her arm and affixed to the side of her head. 
And who is doing this "cutting" (sorry) edge plastic surgery? Doctors at Johns Hopkins according to this CBS News Article 

Sherrie Walters lost her ear to an extremely aggressive rapidly-spreading basal cell cancer, in 2008. 

Doctors took cartilage from Walters’ ribs (and) stitched together a new ear matching her right ear which they then implanted it under the skin of her forearm, where it grew for months.


Monday, October 01, 2012

Cheap cool hybrid possible, maybe

I want this freaking car, and badly want this car. 

It's an Aptera hybrid.   Okay, before we get to the tech aspects, I have to say something here. This thing looks like the cars we were once promised even if it doesn't fly. Now on to the tech part.
Aptera in Greek means wingless, and the car is as eco-friendly as it is futuristic.

It can be all electric with a plug in, or you can get a small fuel engine installed which will apparently deliver around 200 - 230 MPG. (Bet we never see these offered here openly.)
  The top speed is limited to 95 mph, which is 
probably a very good thing when you take into 
account people like me that learned to drive on
 back country roads.
It's a 2.5 seater, and has only 3 wheels. This would also reduce the friction lag and drag on the car, and still keep it entirely stable. 
  The all electric version runs about 120 miles and then you just plug it in for a couple hours. And it plugs into a standard 110 outlet.
  The other has a fully electric drive train, assisted by a fuel efficient generator.
  It has all the standard festures of a regular car, with air bags, rear view camera, gps, and of course stereo accomidationg cd's, mp3's and a dvd player. RFID key system for starting, solar assisted climate control system, and my mouth is watering over this thing. 
  Reserve it for a 500 dollar fully refundable deposit, and the car itself runs in the area of $26,900.
  Now lets get to what I am fairly sure will happen here. I have no doubt that they will do everything in their power here to keep this vehicle out of america by any means necessary. We have too many in charge that care more for their pocket than they do anything else, regardless of what they say they care about. And you know that the oil companies will hate this and do everything possible to see to it that it gets banned in America for something.
  People are so against hybrids in this country it is unbelievable  and here is one that not only looks amazing, but is also within the affordable range of your normal working person.
  Anyway, thought this might interest a few of you out there, and since we were talking about antiques, and ended up on old cars, I remembered this one.
  SO, anyone know where I can get a quick $27,000 plus shipping costs? Not only would I and I am sure many of you love this vehicle, just think what it would do to this backwards town I am living in right now. Hee hee hee. Okay, so I'm evil. They started it.
  But here it is. Hybrid, affordable, and just plain gorgeous. And I bet they'll do everything possible to keep it out of this country, or they won't make as much money. Or, gas will suddenly shoot to 85 dollars a gallon for whatever false excuse they can make up. I don't care, I want one. And I want it now. They didn't give me my flying freaking car, so I'll take this instead, and we'll call it even. FOR NOW. I still want my flying car. 

Here's a link folks, enjoy, and dream. And if you get one before me, please don't tell me.