Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Hugo Nominations

Here are the 2013 nominations for Hugo awards
Best Novel 

 2312 - Kim Stanley Robinson 
 Blackout - Mira Grant 
 Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold 
 Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas - John Scalzi 
 Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed 

Best Novella  

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fal - Nancy Kress 
The Emperor’s Soul - Brandon Sanderson 
On a Red Station, Drifting - Aliette de Bodard 
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats - Mira Grant 
The Stars Do Not Lie - Jay Lake 

Best Novelette 

The Boy Who Cast No Shadow - Thomas Olde Heuvelt  
Fade To White - Catherynne M. Valente 
The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi - Pat Cadigan 
In Sea-Salt Tears - Seanan McGuire  
Rat-Catcher - Seanan McGuire 

Best Short Story 

Immersion - Aliette de Bodard 
Mantis Wives - Kij Johnson 
Mono no Aware - Ken Liu 

Warehouse 13 Season 4.5 - Will Start, But Late

Fans of SyFy's Warehouse 13 can stop holding their collective breaths now, because SyFy has
announced that the last half of season four (4.5 if you must.  You know I hate the way SyFy breaks a season and then shows the two halves months apart, just enough time for you to become fuzzy on the plot or forget about it all together) consisting of ten episodes will finally be airing the end of  April.  The second half episodes will continue from where the first half ended.  

Its' not all shiny though.  No one is saying anything about a renew for a fifth season.  The rest of the info is here at this link if you are interested. 


This week on Beam Me Up episode 359, I am kind of all over the place.  After the intro for this week's program I read Kallamis' weekly rundown of the events in science and science fiction that Kallamis has found interesting, from flights to the ISS to strange meteorites and Independence Day sequels  It turns out that Independence Day is one of Xnewsman's favorites for a couple of scenes in the movie. 

From here I read our first of two stories.

The first is a melancholy tale from K. A. Dearsley called Salvage. 

Next I serve up some Star Trek trivia With such diverse questions as Tribble origin's to the original first episode.

I have some Earth_Sky news with some new Milky Way news and a mysterious ring system forming in a distant section of our Milky Way galaxy.

And while we are on the subject Courtney sent in an article describing a most unusual black hole / star pairing where the gravity around the black hole is whipping the star around in an orbit of over 1 million miles per hour!

To finish off the hour, I read part 5 of Know How - Can Do by Michael Blumlein.

and th th th th that's all folks!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Star Orbits Black Hole At the Astounding Speed of 1.2 Million mph

I sure am a sucker for these articles about high speed stars and black holes.  To that effect, here is a link to an article in Bad Astronomy.   A star system has been found in which a star is orbiting its' companion at 1.2 million mph!  The star orbits its' companion every 2.4 hours.  Let put this in perspective,  the star has an orbital radius of about 600000 miles, that's about twice the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  
doozy!  Courtney sent me this

Now if everything else remains even, if the moon were at the distance from the Earth that the star is from its black hole, it would take the Moon 56 days to do the same orbit that this insane star system does in just under 2 1/2 hours!   It clearly gives you an indication of how insane the forces are even well outside the event horizon.    Thankfully it is not the norm but is instead a record setter system.  

The black-hole/star system is very difficult to observe.  Right now astronomers put it about 1000 LY away but could easily be 20X further away.  

The system named MAXI J1659−152 was discovered in 2010 simultaneously by NASA’s Swift and the Japanese MAXI satellites.  

The rest of the article is equally informative.  You can find the rest here.

Weekly Rundown

  What is being called the “express” flight to the ISS (International Space Station), has delivered three new residents after a six hour flight. Definitely better than two days, that’s for sure.  The Russian rocket was carrying one astronaut from Nasa, Chris Cassidy, and two cosmonauts, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin. They’ll remain on board until September. And you think getting to work is bad? These guys will be up for twenty hours before settling in to the station. 
What took so long to get things moving like this? We should have been here years ago. I think we need to work on launching time as well. Even with an escape capsule, if it was out as well, it just takes us too long to get off the ground in case of an emergency. 
The second link is to a set of pictures of launch and approach. Pretty cool to look at. Watching live would have been better, but I wasn't paying attention.

            What is interesting about this as well, is that it may well be from Mercury. The study and meteorite NWA7325 were unveiled this month by Meteorite scientist Anthony Irving at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
            It is a group of 35 meteorites found in morocco in 2012. They have estimated the age at 4.56 billion years.
            The article is really interesting and very informative. I’d say a must read for anyone into this area. The technical details are just too long and too many to get into here on a rundown.  It explains how they try and tell where meteorites are from originally.

FOR APOLLO 11 FANS (which I'm sure here is everyone)
            And for the last of the actual science news this week, I stumbled across an interesting video. If you ever need a reminder of what space exploration is all about, or just one of those days where you want to watch Apollo 11 again, I think I found a quick spot. The entire video is 153 seconds long. Its title is “APOLLO 11 IN 100 SECONDS.”
            And the best part is, it pretty well does it as well. It’s a fast frame video, meaning that some scenes are only one second long. But they are in a perfect usage basically of what was happening at the moment, and fit into the original words of the astronauts, ground crew, etc. Most are longer of course as it is a video of moments during prelaunch to end.
            And there are a lot of other space videos there as well. Just hit the "see all" at the top of the screen. There were only 78 videos total when I was there today. Not all are space of course, but there are quite a few. There is also a link on the page that will take you to a site that sells dvd sets of the Apollo missions, etc. 

            Two things of some interest here this week. One I am sure most have already seen, or at least know about, but if not here is the trailer for the new International Wolverine Movie, titled, “The Wolverine.” Seriously, what else needs to be said in the title. 

            Turns out Roland Emmerich is planning on two sequels to “Independence Day.” Well, he certainly waited long enough, but it sounds like it is going to be good thing.
            The movies will be follow ups that are taking place around 20 years after Independence Day. They are being called "ID Forever Part 1" and "ID Forever Part 2.”
            As for Will Smith coming back it is doubtful. He says that Will has gotten too big for this kind of movie, and it isn't a Will Smith movie. It’s a group thing.
            The first link is to the article, and the second will be to the IMDb page about “ID Forever, Part 1.” To sum it up quickly, Dean Devlin was paid for a sequel originally, wrote it, and gave the money back because it couldn’t live up to the first film. Check it out, it’s in the Did You Know section there. 

            Been an interesting week. Hope you enjoyed the rundown. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clarke Predicted the Internet in 1974!

Look at this charming photo here. The setting in 1974 inside a large data center filled to the brim with the behemoths of the day. The venerable Clarke stands to the right and a reporter for Australian TV along with his son. The reporter asks Clarke what the boys life will be like in 2001.

Clarke in a room full of what the present, at that time, considered the height of technology, describes something quite different.

With the racks and rows looking on Clarke all but names the internet.  The boy's home will contain a vastly smaller computer which will supply the boy's information needs.   The unit will be so innocuous that the boy will take it for granted, much as he would the phone.  Remember this is way earlier than the "web" and predates the internet by a good 20 years.

Clarke does acknowledge that there is a chance of dependance but that is outweighed by conveniences like tele-commuting plus the ability to talk to other people over the computer.

Lost Girl Good For Season Four

Fans of the fantasy series Lost Girl rejoice!  Mark Wilson over at writes that SyFy has renewed the series for a fourth season.  Production should resume in April 2013 but don't look for the new episodes until 2014. 

Thirteen episodes have been ordered so we can look for a complete season.   No word on what we can expect plot-wise, however executive producer Jay Firestone assures us a roller-coaster ride.  Main character "Bo" alliances will be challenged and everything she thought she knew about her past will be turned upside down.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gravity? What the Frak is Gravity

Here is a short from YouTube, where students were asked what gravity is. Their answers sound spot on, but in my mind all wrong. Watch the video and if you like write a comment on what you think "gravity" is and why am mostly tempted to say that there is no such animal.

BMU # 358 is Now Online

I open the program this week with a birthday announcement.

 Yes this week we celebrate the bithday of one if not the greatest starship captains that have ever existed   Yes, the 22nd of March is the birth date for James T. Kirk.  Captain of Galaxy class NCC-1401 Enterprise.  Played larger than life by William Shatner.  Kallamus writes : Shatner was born this day, in 1931, Montreal Quebec Canada.

Next, I found this short on Youtube for a company called SleepThinker that suggests that if you are bothered by dumb people than you are in a shrinking minority, it would be ever so easy to just join the majority and get dumb with their product minus-IQ.  The sales pitch is beyond hilarious   

Kallimus once again gives us his weekly run-down of news.   Kallimus covers everything from Apollo to a possible He-Man reboot.

Earth Sky articles are next  - sun or light pillars,  weather changes on Saturn's Titan after Saturn experienced equinox and exo-planets may have larger Goldilocks zones that astronomers/scientists first thought.

I take a break here and do some star trek trivia.  This week - Mr. Spock

Then it's back to the Beam Me Up blog before finishing the hour with pt 4 of our story.

Space X does a successful test flight of the Grasshopper reusable launch and landing vehicle.   Then an article sent to me by Xnewsman that discusses the ramifications  of  Earth being in the path of a Coronal Mass Ejection.    I do a review of the animated feature The Book Of Kells which is a fantasy retelling of the creation of the Irish treasure - an illustrated book of the Bible called The Book of Kells.  

Finally I play part 4 of Michael Blumlein's Know How Can Do.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Now You Too Can Be Dumb!

I was reading this article on Gizmodo, and I just HAD to share it. I mean even the copy was funny. Here is just part of what got me going:

  • Do you ever feel like the rest of the world is so dumb? And it's not that you're especially smart, it's just that people are just so dumb. Do they enjoy being dumb? Have they ever thought about being smart? Of course not......


Friday, March 22, 2013

Thank You Captain

     You all know who I am talking about here,                          
and if you don't, well then shame on you. I
just got reminded because of the girlfriends 
birthday today, so Shame On Me as well.
     William Shatner was born this day, in 
1931, Montreal Quebec Canada. 
     The character James T. Kirk was born 
on 3/22/2233.
     I could go on and on about Mr. Shatner, 
but what's the smegging point in doing so. 
     We all know who he is, and what he has 
done, and if you don't, well then why are you 
here anyway. To make it simple.
He is William Shatner
Greatest starship Captain of all time.
Captian James Tibreius Kirk.



Weekly Rundown

     Or at least hasn't for a very long time. Around 2 billion years any way. There's a new video out from the LRO's (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), data collecting of the moons coldest and darkest craters.
     The LRO helped confirm the presence of water on the moon. The 504 million dollar project including a laser ranging device that is used to create the best topographical maps of these shadowed regions. The video itself is worth going to the site to see. It's only about 2 and a half minutes long, but still cool.

     Billionaire Jeff Bezos has been backing a salvage crew on the ocean floor. They have been recovering components from the Staurn 5 engines that powered the Apollo moon missions. 
     He made this statement on Wednesday.  "We've seen an underwater wonderland — an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program." The first link is to the article with pictures underwater and an board ship after recovery of pieces, and the second is to where it shows pictures of the original engine in one piece as well. 

     Michigan has given Bay 20 million dollar incentive to start filming Transformers 4. And from what is being said now, it will continue on, and not be a reboot. This is what is now being reported as the plot outline. 
     "As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross hairs  The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues."
     I am wondering if this ancient evil is someone we all know already. Could be Unicron is the main guess right now. It's Bay, who knows. 

    Benedict Cumberbatch may not sound like the Khan we all knew and loved, but if that is who he is, well the new version would be much closer to what was originally said about that character. Nothing has been said for certain, and it is still listed as rumor, but I don't see who else he could be.  Anyway, check out the link which has the latest international trailer on it. It's not on IMDB yet anyway. Personally, I'm waiting fro this one this year. 

     And that's it for me this week. Not enough info on the possible reboot of He-Man to say anything yet. Though I would like to see it done, and even though there is talk of bringing back Dolph, I'm guessing it would only be as maybe the king. Lets be serious, he's not He-Man any more. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Space X's Grasshopper Demoed

The Dragon supply capsule has proved itself very successful. But Space X is not about to set back on its' laurels. Recent tests of the Grasshopper are very encouraging. The most recent flight of Grasshopper had the rocket fly to a height of 263 feet, hovering for 34 seconds then returning to the launch pad. This goes a long way towards proving the viability of the reusable system. The Grasshopper consists of a Merlin 1D engine, a Falcon 9 tank and four legs. Though no plans as of yet include a space launch, the Grasshopper has made great strides since its' first 8 foot test flight. And yes that is a cowboy on the side of the rocket.....

Is Paper Dead?

My better half sent this in, and it makes its' point quick and sweet....Matter of fact, the next time someone tells you paper is dead....send them this link!!

Apollo Era Engines Recovered from the Depths?

From the Miami Herald via Xnewsman and others, is word that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made good on his promise and has raised an engine thought to be from the Apollo Saturn rocket that launched American astronauts towards the moon. Bezos and NASA on Wednesday that the rusty relics fished from the bottom of the Atlantic may well be parts to two Saturn V F-1 engines of which the Saturn main stage had 5. Bezos says it is difficult to determine which mission they came from, as the serial numbers have corroded off most of the exposed surfaces. NASA is helping track down the information on the engines.

 NASA's Saturn V still holds the record for the only rocket to take humans beyond earth orbit as well as holding the record for largest payload. Fully fueled, the Saturn tipped the scale a 6.5 million pounds. It could loft 260,000 pounds to low Earth orbit (leo) of which 90,000 could be delivered to Moon orbit.

Read more at the WIKI site here And the Miami Herald here

Thanks to Xnewsman for the info

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Does the Next Geomagnetic Storm Spell Doom For the U.S.?

From an article in the NY Times written by Kenneth Chang

The worst geomagnetic storm in recorded history happened in 1859.  Sol sent out billions of tons of electrons and protons that slammed into Earth's magnetic fields setting up currents in telegraph wires that shocked the operators and even set nearby paper on fire!

If such a storm hit now in the 21st century, it would have the potential to do much greater harm.   First are the communications and GPS satellites would be damaged or scrambled along with communications and power grids on the surface.  

Millions of people would be affected by a country wide blackout, but according to a non profit company created and funded by the utilities to manage the country's power grids, most of the power could be brought back online in a week.  

Other experts are more pessimistic.  They feel that many components in the grid would be damaged beyond repair.  Some areas would be without power for months while others would experience 
chronic shortages  that would last for years.

These huge storms are impossible to predict and even harder to know if the earth would be in the path.  What is known is that the more sun-spot activity, the more storms.  Such activity has been light so far this season, but this fall the Sun is set to reach the high point of the sun spot 11 year cycle. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: The Secret of Kells

Animated feature - running time 75 minutes

Story and directed by Tomm Moore

Kells is set during the dark eras of early Christianity during the eighth century. 

The main character, Brendan, is growing up in a remote abbey in Ireland. 

What we are treated to is a fictionalized version of the creation of the Book of Kells, which is a real book, depicting an illuminated manuscript of the bible which has since become an Irish national treasure.  

Brendan has heard of a great book, the Book of Iona.  Brought to the abbey by Aiden of Iona who is a legendary illuminator.

Brendan desperately wants to be an illuminator but finds working on the Book of Iona completely unsettling.  He finds that he must face his inner fears and the fear of the forest outside the wall.

Saying much more would really ruin some of the really well written and acted parts.   The animation is very stylized however you get so involved with the story that if it does bother, it won't for long.

I was totally overtaken by the story as much as the way it was being served to me.  At times simplistic and others, wildly adventurous and mysterious.  It seems like the  stylized animation itself was used as a tool.  If it was, it was damn effective. Plus I like a story that doesn't feel like it should tie up each and every loose end.  The ending I think you will find is very fulfilling.

The film is an easy 9 or 9.5  it is not perfect, but I would be pressed hard to describe an imperfection. I found the film on and I amd sure there are other  outlets.  It is WELL worth watching.

Wiki information on The Secret of Kells

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hey have you seen comet Pan-STARRS yet?   It is visible here in the Northern hemisphere at twilight in the southwest sky, and should be until the end of the month. 

Photographer Dan Finnerty took a series of still photos, in Altadena California, of the comet in the evening sky setting beside the moon.  The series is really spectacular!  Here is the Vimeo short film of the photos set in time lapse mode.
Comet Pan-Starrs Moonset from Dan Finnerty on Vimeo.

If it fails to play here, click the vimeo at the bottom of the video.
You people know that I make no bones about my fascination with animation. For a long period, animation on tv took the lowly road of the "cartoon" a low rez poorly animated disaster, while feature films continued to take to high road. Now, with the advent of the feature based on comic book heros, tv animation has received a new injection of plots, characters and much much better animation. But that seems to be as far as the largess goes. If you are a Green Lantern fan then you already know that DC is pulling the plug on GL and Young Justice: Invasion, both of which I considered well written, well acted and good animation.

There will be some shuffling around on the CN.  I know, you will groan, but the Cartoon Network really is one of the few places you can get high quality animated stories.

IO9 really has a great rundown on what is happening.   Check it out here. 

Killer Dolphins Have Gone Missing

Out of what can only be reasonably described as that of a B movie about rogue mutant animals trained by mad scientists to kill all humans, comes the reality that the Ukrainian Navy may have a "broken arrow" situation on their hands!

Not some wayward missile, but initially a report I read on the Justin Gregg blog!  It started with a report from the Russian New Agency that reported that three of the Ukrainian military’s trained and armed dolphins had gone AWOL. 

Oh and hey wait, it gets stranger!  This report spread like wildfire over the web with photo-shopped photos of what the "armed" creatures looked like.   Check out the photos here!

But as all good things come to an end, so did this crazy story thread.  It seems that the voice of Russia, RIA Novosti appear to have sources at Sebastopol.  However the "sources" information would prove to be fictitious.  But not before the web had spread this "true" story to every corner. 

You can read more at the RIA Novosti page

and where I found it first on the Justin Gregg site

BMU 357 Is Now Online!

First off, Yes this show is a bit short.  On the original  program, I had exported all three parts to Mr. Blumlein's story instead of just the third part, so this version has pretty much all the content I wanted....but shorter.

Anyway, I noted that there is this push by the do-it-yourself  folk towards very sophisticated instruments that can be built from material around the house like construction paper and 
cheap cameras.  I noted an article that Ron had put on the blog about  paper adapters that could be taped over the camera of a smart phone and thought that was pretty damn inventive! A 
spectrogram out of paper and a smart phone!

Next I read contributor Kallamis' Weekly Roundup which runs the gamut from mini black holes to life in the universe. Yep he sure aims high. I did thrown in an article KNLA ran on their web site about findings from the mars rover Curiosity which reported results very much the same, however the still operational Opportunity’s data showed different results.

Earth-Sky is next on the agenda. On a dad note, Earth-Sky will be closing down this summer after a spectacular run.  They will be difficult to replace.  This week's articles ALMA telescope array is now fully functional. Next, research has shown that there are tens of billion planets in orbit around red dwarf stars in our own galaxy.  

From there, I started this week's story, part three of Michael Blumlein's Know How Can Do.

Sorry the program run short this week, I will be in better shape next week. 

Thanks for listening - enjoy

Friday, March 15, 2013

I really love any instructional that deals with the dual/single slit experiment, and this one (which caries on from his last video) is no exception. Here we see an example again of the 1801 Thomas Young experiment, which passed a single photon against a dual slit plate. It wasn't until the early 1900s that light energy is not as evenly spread as one would expect in a wave. It acted more like "packets" of energy, hence the Photon. Check out the informative video below:

Has Curiosity Found Evidence That Mars Could Have Harbored Life?

It would seem that the Mars Curiosity Rover may have uncovered, quite literally, evidence that ancient Mare could have easily supported life.  In fact the conditions on ancient Mars were, according  to a recent KTLA news article:

  • so benign, and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it
This from John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The evidence is based on powder that Curiosity retrieved after drilling into rocks.  

According to the article: The powders contained were
  • sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon. These are ingredients for life.
Curiosity is presently in the Yellowknife Bay area.  According to Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program:
  • "It appears that slightly salty liquid water existed in the area"
The sample That Curiosity contained  between 20% to 30% of a type of clay, which forms in the presence of water.  All is not rosy however.  These results are in sharp contrast to the findings of Mars rover Opportunity, which amazingly is still in operation on another part of Mars, found rocks which appeared to be made of hematite with iron-bearing sulfates, indicative of acidic water. That would not have been a habitable environment.   The rock that Curiosity found,  seems to have been in water with a neutral pH, much more conducive to life .

There is much more information available on the KTLA site.  click HERE for more

Thursday, March 14, 2013

LeVar Burton using a Public Laboratory spectrometer

LeVar Burton at SXSW this past weekend, using a modern day tricorder: a public laboratory-designed paper spectrometer, one that latches handily onto any smartphone. 
"Especially cool" one onlooker noted, "since Geordi LaForge's 'visor' was, after all, a multispectral scanner".

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weekly Rundown (updated)

Well, right off the bat this week, let’s see if we can freak out the conspiracy theorists and doomsayers. I am sure that everyone out here knows what a black hole is. Well, now scientists think that they can create mini black holes in a laboratory. They think they can do this with particle acceleration, and it will take a lot less energy than originally thought. If they succeed, it could also prove the existence of extra dimensions in the universe.
There a number of theories that suggests the existence of extra dimensions of the universe, folded into sizes from the size of a proton, to as big as a fraction of a millimeter. (We are talking dimensions not multiverse realities so no sliding possibilities folks, sorry).
          Just so you understand the power of the LHC, (Large Hadron Collider), here is the base of its power.  It is 17 miles around, and at its maximum power each particle beam fired packs as much energy as a 400 ton train moving at 120 mph.
          There would be no danger to Earth however. Even if Stephen Hawking is wrong, and black holes do not lose mass over time by way of Hawking radiation, they would be so small that it would take basically more than the current age of the universe to wipe out even a milligram of Earth matter.  Basically though, they would die in a fraction of a second, not having the time to devour any matter.

          Well, here we go again. But now the scientists are on my side, for once. Primitive life is now thought to have been possible on Mars. (No, I am not touching on the fossilized remains in a meteorite, though I could.) This is all from Curiosity herself.
          Now this is not evidence that life did exist there, yet. And we are not talking about life in the more advanced stages either. Also, curiosity carries no life detecting gear on her. We are talking about microbial life at the moment.  On Feb. 8th, Curiosity bored 2.5 inches into an outcrop of rock called John Klein using its arm mounted hammering drill.  She identified some of the key chemical elements for life in the dust that was analyzed from the boring. These included sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and carbon. The mix also included a possible energy source for indigenous Martian life, if it ever existed.
          It is suggested a long ago aquatic environment, maybe a lake, that was neutral and not too salty. They also said that if you were around at that time that it was so benign and supportive of life that we could have probably drank it.
          Brings up all kinds of theories for some of us, and probably a few more for those of the suspicious quirk of mind like mine.

          Well, here is one I don’t personally agree with on a lot of levels, but here it is.
          A new theory presented this week, states that life may not exist elsewhere in the universe.  Basically meaning that space is a whole lot of wasted space. Some are now saying that just because another planet may have a habitable atmosphere; it doesn’t mean that life would have evolved there.
In a statement Charles Cockell said, “On our planet, carbon leaches into most habitat space and provides energy for microorganisms to live. There are only a few vacant habitats that may persist for any length of time on Earth, but we cannot assume that this is the case on other planets."
"It is dangerous to assume life is common across the universe. It encourages people to think that not finding signs of life is a 'failure,' when in fact it would tell us a lot about the origins of life,” he added.
He did go on to say however that we may not be able to detect alien life even if it exists due to it being so different from planet to planet.  He also admitted that our view is still going to be heavily influenced by our knowledge of life on Earth.
For those of you that have read some of my stuff, you know where I stand on this. Number 1, we have to throw out our preconceived views of what life is. And it is a big fracking universe out there as well. And we have looked at how much of it so far. We just started to verify the existence of other planets, and this guy is already throwing in the towel in my book. I’ll make my feelings on this simple. Remember those planet killing scientists I have been screaming about since August 24th 2006. They just moved down on my list. There is now a new number 1 on that list. Matter of fact, he takes up spots 1,2, and 3. Here’s the link to the article anyway.

            And just because, here is a link to 9 possible worlds that could have life of some type.

           Director Ridley Scott has teamed up with the online streaming site Machinima. His production company RSA will be doing a series of 12 short films for the site.
          For those not familiar with the site, and they have some good stuff there, here is a list of a few web series they have done.
Halo: Forward Unto Dawn
Battlestar  Galactica: Blood and Chrome
Mortal Kombat: Legacy
          I have personally only watched the Mortal Kombat so I can’t say anything about what else they have. That one was pretty good however. I would recommend that you see it if you are a fan of it.
         The idea is to bring some of the visionary science fiction film makers of his company to use ideas they have that would work best as short films on a web based platform.
         The partnership also allows for RSA and Machinima to produce potential feature films from these filmmakers while bringing Scott and his experience into the fold. They are hoping that new science fiction franchises will be born from this also. Here is the links to the main article, and to the Machinima site itself.  

            Well, hope you all enjoy the rundown this week. I’ll be spending the rest of the night dreaming about slapping the living... Well, you get the idea of whom and why I am sure.  Think I’ll go grab Leon and kill me a few zombies tonight in RE6. There are people that just need a good slapping, you know.

On the life question, here is a link to follow. No oxygen, no light, they live by a process called chemosynthesis. I love it when my irritated ramblings get some back up.

Queen of Canada praises 1st Canadian commander of the International Space Station

On March 13, 2013, Queen Elizabeth wrote: "I am pleased to transmit my personal best wishes, and those of all Canadians, to Colonel Christopher Hadfield as he takes command of the International Space Station on Wednesday. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and the entire crew, as are our prayers for an eventual safe return to family, friends and fellow Canadians."

The gallant Colonel responded: 
"In 2013, the 50th year of Canada in space since the launch of our first satellite Alouette, this Canadian is now asked to command the world's spaceship. It's a first for our country, but is really just the culmination of a lot of other firsts. I stand on the shoulders of so many that have made this possible, and now take my turn to try and add to that solid foundation for the Canadians that follow.
"It is vital that tomorrow's generations have the confidence, tools and education, as well as the vision and drive, to continue our exploration and understanding of our place in the world, and our World's place in the rest of the universe.
"It is a tremendous honour to assume command of the ISS. I will do my best to acquit myself well, accomplish the utmost as a crew for all the International Partners, and fully live and share the experience on behalf of so many around our world."

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Legendary Writer Remembered (Updated)

     Born on this day, March 11,  in 1952, in Cambridge England, he was an English writer, dramatist, and humorist.
     He has written three stories for the Doctor Who television series, one of which was never completed and never broadcast due to industrial disputes. This was back in the days of the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. 
      The list of stories, articles, and books would fill the page, so I'll make it simple for everyone here with two words that should give away who I am talking about here.
That alone should tell you that I am talking about the great and never to be forgotten in this or any other universe, the great Mr. Douglas Noel Adams.
      If you haven't figured out the two words yet, where you been, Saying goodbye to the dolphins, or making plans with the mice out there. 
     He is the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started out as a comedy science fiction radio program. It has since spawned the sequels, numerous spin-offs, stage show, video game, etc. It was also a full length movie, (pretty decent), and a British TV series, which was bloody awesome, (maybe since I saw it before the movie was ever made).
     He was a staunch advocate for environmentalism and conservation. He also loved fast cars, cameras, technological innovation, and the Apple Macintosh. 
     He was also a complete atheist and made famous his imagining a sentient puddle which wakes up one morning and thinks as follows. 
     "This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly doesn't it? In fact, it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!"
     This of course will make sense to anyone that has ever read the Guide. The guide was of course the first four parts of the radio program by the same name, and was first published on October 12, 1979.
     For anyone that is not familiar with the Guide, it was inspired by the book The Hitch-hikers Guide to Europe. The Guide however, is for anyone hitchhiking their way around the galaxy. Being an Ex-drifter myself, I of course fell in love with the book, and the series immediately. 
     Mr. Adams died of a heart attack on may 11, 2001 at age 49. Way too soon if you ask me, way too bloody soon. 
     I thought that here on his birthday, would be a good time to remember him. So every one just take a moment to remember this. Always, and I mean always keep a clean towel on hand, because you never know when an intergalactic bypass will be built, and you'll need to get off planet fast. 
     Thank you Douglas Adams for the wear and tear on my rib cage as I laughed my way through the entire bloody series.
     Even Google remembered him this day, and here is a link to the Google doodle. Not sure how long it will be up, so please take a look for my man here. Thank you all.
The link no longer works, but I found the bloody thing online again, and was able to get it. So here it is.
And for those that don't  get it all, here's the explanation, in hitchhiker terms mostly.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

BMU # 356 Now Online

As per usual, I get my episode numbers mangled again. I keep calling this show 355 but it IS in fact 356. Sorry about that!

In show 356 of BMU I open with a song that describes what a “real” spiderman might be like…and yeah it is that funny.

Next I play episode 18 of the Dark Inspectre series by Jason Kahn.

Phil joins me for a discussion of one man’s effort to get a radio controlled flier to the edge of space. I have heard of many different kinds of items being flown, but I have to say this radio glider is a first I think. More can be found on YouTube on David Windestal at

I read Kallamus’ weekly rundown of events from Martian rover temporary shutdown to first ever evidence of an extra solar planet in the early stages of formation.

I next play several articles from Earth Sky.

Star Trek Trivia is next with questions like, do you know how many screens there are on the bridge of the Enterprise? or how many years can the Enterprise go without being restocked?

I then review “Writers on the Wrong Side of the Track” a very  “Dangerous Visions” type of stories.

How about two rat brains linked electronically?! It’s happened.

Finally part 2 of Michael Blumlein’s “Know How Can Do”

Complete episode HERE

Friday, March 08, 2013

Water On Young Moon Rivaled That of Earth

A study of Luna material brought back to Earth during the 1972 Apollo mission shows evidence that the moon, may contain as much subterranean water as the Earth.  

Estimates have it that Luna's mantle may contain 100 times more water than was previously thought. 

This could be more troublesome than anything however.  The present convention has the moon formed by collision with a Mars sized object and ejecting the moon as part of the collision.  If this is the case though, the the intense heat of the impact would have vaporized on the primordial moon.  

Read more here on Mail Online 

Cassini Records Meteor Hits on Saturn's Rings

Cameras on the Cassini spacecraft recently recorded debris plumes caused by meteors impacting Saturn's rings.   Not a lot is known about the meteors other than speculation as to their size.  Estimates have suggested that they were far smaller, possibly as tiny as three feet across, than even those that crashed in rural Russia.  The damage however comes from the meteor's high velocity, somewhere in the order of ten miles a second.  

The first images were taken in '09 but were overlooked because of their minuscule size. If you look at the photos here,  you can see light colored streaks.  Even though they were tiny, the resulting dust plume,  at the brightest part is over 3000 miles long but only 125 miles wide, which made it difficult to detect at certain angles. 

You can read more of the article here on IO9

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Weekly Update

    Curiosity has been shut down, but only for a short period.  She had her science experiments put on hold, after recovering from a memory hiccup that engineers were in the process of troubleshooting. That however is not the reason for the shutdown. Sol unleashes a minor blast that is heading for mars, so doing this was simply a matter of caution, as they don't expect any damage, but did it in response to the memory problem.  Basically a huge solar flare was released, that sent a stream of radiation toward Mars, along with a cloud of super heated gas moving at 2 million mph. And believe it or not, this explosion is considered middle of the road. It is not expected to have any bearing on anything on Earth however. 

    We now have what may be the first images ever of a newly forming planet around a nearby star. The young star, HD 100546 which is 335 LY's from us, apparently has a giant planet coming together. It is thought to be a baby gas giant at this time, similar to Jupiter. This star is already thought to host another giant planet that orbits it about six times farther out that the Earth does Sol. This one appears to be at ten times the distance of it's new neighbor, which is approximately 70 times the distance of our Earth to Sol.  Though exoplanet research is still a new frontier, they are finding that many things are aligning with what was thought about planet formation. 

NASA's Messenger spacecraft, the first Mercury orbiter has been sending back some real interesting pics. It has been in orbit since March 2011. The pictures can be found at the following link. Pretty cool as well.

And that is it for this week folks. Sorry for the shortness of this one, but I am proof that Alien Viruses are alive and well here on Earth. The girl friend brought them home and infected me with them. (Seriously, nothing earthly could strike this fast and this hard). So provided I don't turn into a slavering monstrosity out for world domination, or spitting acid, next weeks will be back to normal. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Two Brains Linked Electronically Through Cables

Scientists from the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, building  on their previous work with brain-machine interfaces have connected the brains of lab rats, allowing one to communicate directly to another via cables.

The  implants allowed  signals to be sent from one rat to another, creating the first ever brain-to-brain interface.  The devices allowed sensory and motor signals to be sent across the interface, even if the interface nodes were thousands of miles apart. 

The interfaces do not have to be connected to another brain, but can also be connected to a variety of sensor.  The team interfaced on rat with infra-red detectors, allowing the animal to "touch" infra-red energy directly. 

Although the signals were in real time, results did not occur instantly.  Training for 1 hour a day for 45   days eventually brought a success rate of close to 70%.

For more information you can read the BBC News Article here
or the Scientific Reports article here

Scientifically Accurate Spider Man

You and I both know there is something fundamentally wrong with the Spider Man model portrayed in the media. In an effort to address this, the folk over at ADHD have scored a short video describing what a scientifically accurate Spider Man would look and act like.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Review: Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road

Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road
by Sassy Brit and Goodreads author editor Clayton Bye
p/b 312 pages

Couple of heads up with this collection.  First it really can not be described as science fiction and in most cases not even speculative fiction.  Then again, some are.

Each story has to be approached on it's own merits because the stories are so eclectic a mix that one bears little in common with others in the book.  

Eighteen stories varying in length from several pages to a full novelette length.

The best way maybe to describe this experiment is maybe to recall a series of story collections edited by Harlan Ellison called "Dangerous Visions" 

Now Ellison's collections were stories that often were collections of stories that in most cases could not find an outlet in the general media because of content.  

In that, we have stories many times stronger than Ellison's works, so it is likely these will only be available in this tome.  

They are explicit, no holds barred stories, from the most unusual love story Malpas at the end of the book, to Hold Up at the start, there will always be something that will push the point to strange new heights.  

If you are looking for science fiction here, forget it.  But if you want stories that you will not likely find anywhere else period, but entertaining none the leas, even if disturbing!

Available on Amazon and you will not feel cheated!!!

check it out!   Here is the Amazon Kindle version link, you can search out some really good deals.


Canadian Space Snacks brought by Dragon to ISS

When Canadian astronauts Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk were in space in 2009, they shared a Canadian meal with their crewmates from around the world. Local foods tell the story of the regions and the cultural diversity of each country
Canada then launched the "Canadian Snacks for Space" contest in 2011 so the public could help astronaut Chris Hadfield select some Canadian treats to bring on his upcoming mission. 
Winning foods by town and province:
 Egmon in British Columbia,   Candied Wild Smoked Salmon;
  • Oyama in British Columbia, Smoked Salmon Pate;
  • Edmonton in Alberta: Cranberry Craze Buffalo Stix;
  •  Abbotsford in British Columbia: Hapi Foods Groups inc. cereals;
  • Saint-Bruno in Quebec, dried apple chunks;
  • Surrey in British Columbia  Sun Rype fruit bars;
  • Montreal in Quebec,: Biscuit Leclerc orange zest with green tea cookies;
  • Toronto in Ontario  maple syrup cookies;
  • Whistler in British Columbia : the Whistler Chocolate;
  • Charlottetown in Prince Edward Isl Island Abbey Foods  honey drops;
  • Regina in Saskatchewan,  chocolate bar; 
  •  Kitchener in Ontario  maple syrup.

Episode 355 Of Beam Me Up Podcast Now Online

I really think this week proves just as informative as it will entertaining, even though I didn't aim to either side with any purpose of doing so. 

Anyway after griping about the lack of common sense understanding of basic Newtonian physics, I play the first story for the day.  

I start with Julie Wornan's melancholy post apocalyptic tale “Epilog”.   

From there I break out the Star Trek Trivia book for some fun and arcane fact about the original Star Trek.  Like, what deck is Medical on?  Or the three  operational divisions that crew are assigned to?    How about the maximum number of people that can beam on and off the ship through the main teleporter?  Stuff like that! Who knew!

Kallamis once again does a weekly round up of smaller news items that I may have missed.   This week, news on the Space X resupply launch to the ISS.  Info on a supermassive black hole  that will twist your head sideways!   Mars caught Kall's imagination as usual.  A start up non profit I.M.F.  Wants to send a couple to visit Mars.  Of course the devil is in the details... and the next asteroid close encounter will not be Earth, nope, not this time!   

I have thought of giving Doug Turnbull's video reviews a try on the podcast by stripping off the audio.
To get the ball rolling I start with his introduction to Robert A. Heinlein's Juvenile series of early books which I swear I think I read each and every one.  Heinlein's books and stories fast became one of my very favorite authors.  Doug intends to review each of these early Heinlein masterpieces.  This will be kind of an introduction others to follow on, every other week or so. 

This February 20 was the 51st  anniversary of John Glenn's historic and almost fatal mission. 

After some confusion about this story, I guess I though it was being read or I had already done the story when neither was the case...duh, so I am going to play part 1 of Know How Can Do by Michael Blumlein as the program ender.  

Enjoy everyone.  Thanks for listening!

Paul Cole
for B.M.U. Episode 355