Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Ignites its Rocket

For the first time, Virgin Galactic tested SpaceShipTwo's  rocket motor, and doing so in mid-flight
driving the ship super-sonic!  SS-2 reached a speed of mach 1.2 and climbed apx to 56,000 feet. in altitude.

This puts Virgin another step closer to commercial passenger flights into space.  Girgin Galactic now hopes to make its' first passenger flight in 2014.  Industry experts however say that they would not be at all surprised if the 2014 date proves to be too ambitious and also 

For the complete LA Times article, log here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturn tonight, (Sunday).

       Wanted to get this up quick. No major science or anything, but for those without telescopes, or who are covered in clouds and rain like me, here is where the live broadcast of Saturn will at tonight. 
       The first link is to the article explaining that Earth will be between Saturn and Sol, and the second link is to the video page that will go live at 9:30 pm EDT. 
       Nothing else folks, just wanted to get this up quick, considering how late in the day it is. I know I'm kind of late, but with weekend sci-fi and anime, it's amazing I'm up Sunday during the day at all.  Enjoy the live feed folks. Too cloudy here for any telescope tonight. Blasted rain.

BMU #363 Now Online! pt. 1 No Great Magic - Fritz Leiber

Wow does Beam Me Up episode 363 steam right along this week!
It was really a case of not being able to get a word in sideways because of all the stuff I had planned!

I start by well raving a bit about the new spaceport....but mediate it some with the closing song to season one's A Scientific Rail-gun called "Dear My Love"  I know, but it is a toe tappin tune that makes for a cool piece.  I like the anime as well even though it incorporates all the standard High School short skirt big .....eyes, pantie fixation and odd powers.  But something about the characters is captivating.  Hey it is no High School of the Dead...but then few are.   

Earth Sky this week covers Cassini's work at Saturn's moon Titan and who can get bored about any information about the mysterious and weird as the harmless sounding as a white dwarf?

Star trek trivia is next on the card.  This week, Tribbles the open monologue, the premier episode?

Kallimus again collects some of the top science and science-fiction news, which I read.  Meteorites and space junk among others this week.  

This week I though some golden age science fiction might be in order.  No Great Magic ch.1 by Fritz Leiber from the Librivox project.

See?  Like I said, little over an hour and it steams!  Enjoy!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Well, two I guess is a bit more accurate. What we have are a pair of meteorites that have two surprising grains of sand.  Now what gets interesting here is that it is speculated that they were formed in a single supernova that occurred billions of years ago. They may even be from the supernova that was the foundation for the formation of our own solar system.
            Each of the meteorites contains a single grain of silica, (the main ingredient of sand). The chemical signatures are identical, and they are so rare that it is suspected both came from the same supernova. These are the first grains ever found in what are called primitive meteorites, and are very distinctive because of the type of oxygen contained within the silica. As stated above, not going into all the scientific aspects this week, so head over to the article and check it out. It’s really cool to see how they figure it out, and a lot there to learn as well. 

            Nope, not our planet this time. Instead, we are apparently secretly and unintentionally going xenophobic I guess about aliens finding us. There are more than 170 million pieces of space junk that are currently orbiting our planet. Like I said, we are trying to hide the bloody place I guess. 29,000 of these are larger than 4 inches, and pose serious threats to satellites and to the ISS as well. But at 17,000 MPH, something the size of a dime could be a real problem also I would think.
            But what we have is a massive meeting going on about this very problem. More than 300 representatives, from researchers to policymakers have gathered in Darmstadt Germany for a four day event at the 6th European Conference on Space Debris. They will discuss the buildup of potentially harmful debris in orbit, and address possible ways to remove dead satellites and other pieces of errant space hardware. And roughly two thirds of these objects are from either a collision, or something blowing up. So basically they will probably discuss a lot, and still not have any answers for the problem. The reason I say this, is that it is going to take quite a few countries working together to solve this problem. I’ll make it easy for them. Build me a space type garbage scow, and I’ll change my name to Quark and do it myself. (Yes, that was a hilarious 70’s sci-fi Comedy for those too young to remember it).

            Nope, not the color. But the way in which it is performing. 6 billion LY’s from Earth, Galaxy SDSSJ1506+54, is what is being called the greenest galaxy ever found. It was discovered one day after Earth Day, which is also pretty cool. But here is why it is being called the greenest. Most galaxies use only a very small portion of of their available fuel to create stars. But in this galaxy it is rapidly using all of its gases to create stars. And also in this case, instead of stars being formed in knots in the spiral arms, it is collecting gas at the center, where stars are being born at a very fast rate.
            However, despite the galaxy seeming odd at this time, it is still being considered to be a normal galaxy caught in a short lived phase of its evolution. They predict that within a few tens of millions of years, it will probably have used up most of its gas, and will become a typical elliptical galaxy.

            This is a good place to go from the science to a science/science fiction cut-over to the sci-fi part.
            Looks like the old girl is getting salvaged by a couple true to heart Trekkies. Adam Schneider and Alec Peters, are only a few weeks away from completing the complete restoration of the life sized Galileo from Star Trek.
            This has been tried before, but nothing ever came of it, and it ended up in storage here in Ohio for the last 20 years. They managed to get it at an auction in 2012.
            They feel it is important to save it, not just because of its importance in TV history, but because of its importance to our space agency. Seems like Star Trek shows up a lot with our space agency in one way or the other doesn’t it. Anyway, think about it for a second, and think back to what Galileo was called. Now think about what NASA built. The term space shuttle apparently originated right here with the Galileo according to Schneider. No one had used the term at NASA or anywhere else before it showed up in Star Trek in 1966. A must read article here for all of you. There is also a link within the article a few paragraphs down that will take you to a gallery, 12 shots I believe, of the restoration project itself. I’d personally love to be in on that restoration even more than restoring my own car.

            For all the fans of Futurama out there, myself included of course, it’s been cancelled, AGAIN.  The last half of season 7 will air beginning on June 19th and going to the end of the season, or series I guess is more accurate. Let’s hope it’s only for now. Matt Groening told Entertainment Weekly they would love to continue on with it as they have a lot more stories they still want to tell.
            Maybe they’ll get back, but if not, it was a fun run with them. 

            The teaser trailer is out, and I’ll link this for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. But no frost giants this time. He’ll be facing the Dark Elves. They are the latest supervillian team basically to be introduced in the Marvel Universe. I think supervillian group is stretching a bit however, as they are a freaking army. Anyway, the leader of the Dark Elves is Malekith the Accursed who will be played by Christopher Eccleston, the first man to play The Doctor on the series regeneration back in 2005. Malekith is a creature that achieved his standing through deceit, and alliances with Loki. So for those of you that are fans like I am, especially of the Marvel universe, then what they say is right.  November 8th just seemed to get a lot farther away. Enjoy the trailer.

            Sorry, I just can’t call some things a reboot. Especially when they should have learned by now to leave the movies of the 80’s alone. But they just don’t seem to learn, do they.  So here we go, and there are two of them. The first is HIGHLANDER. At the moment it is rumored that Ryan Reynolds will be the new Highlander.
            And secondly, is Weird Science that is going to be remade as well. They say that the film will carve its own identity by being done as an edgier comedy along the type of 21 Jump Street, and The Hangover. The studio said that the rating for the movie in not certain at this time.
            You know what. I’m just going to shut up on this one. With the record so far of what has happened with remaking 80’s classics, I think my point is already made.
            The first link is to the Highlander article, and the second to Weird Science.

            Hope you enjoyed the rundown. See you all next week folks. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vostochny Space Launch Centrer - Remember That Name

Here is a name you will be hearing a lot about in the next decade:  The Vostochny Cosmodrome  or quite literally the Russian:  "Eastern Spaceport".   This new Russian space launch facility's   Raison d'ĂȘtre  is, according to the Wikipedia,   to reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in Kazakhstan.

The planned total area is over 342 miles and almost 20 miles in diameter and construction costs have been estimated  over 13 billion.

Plans call for the building of seven launch pads at the site, including two for manned flights and two for space freighters.  (and three for hummmmmmmm) 

Of course not all is vodka and caviar in Amur Oblast land.  From the Wikipidea file:
  • In November 2012, press reports indicated that the Russian government is having difficulty in finding a good use for the new spaceport, and that other government ministries have been avoiding the project while "calling the project a 'dolgostroi,' which is Russian for an endless construction boondoggle (aka Boston's Big Dig).
In any case The first launch from Vostochny is unlikely to occur until 2018 at the earliest due to construction delays.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Asimov Get Plaque in Fhilly Maybe

A plaque commemorating Isaac Asimov championed by science fiction author Michael Swanwick  in his hometown of Philadelphia, it seems is gaining support.

There's a movement afoot to put up a plaque where Isaac Asimov lived while he was working (and writing seminal Foundation and Robot stories) at the Naval Yard during WWII. Asimov, in a weird twist, hated Philadelphia while he lived here,  but came back for the conventions year after year.  Now, according to author Swanwick,  it's time to Philadelphia to give back to him. The petition seems to have stalled at 364, 136 short of its goal.   How is it, I wonder, possible that there are not even 500 people in Philly who are even passing fans of the master and can't spare the time it takes to sign a credit card receipt?  Come ON!

Mr Swanwick and Mr Doctorow, I know I am not anywhere near you gents in science fiction field.  However I have been a fan for well over 40 years and Asimov, you could say, set the foundation on which I built my appreciation of the genre.    Philly may be Swanwick's home base, but they are not showing any of the love for the good doctor or for Swanwick's efforts.  The plaque would be a waste of time, willing to be that even if it were installed, it would not garner a second glance.

Pearls before swine perhaps.

I know I might be cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I have to say it.    Maybe the efforts would be appreciated elsewhere?      

Discovery Channel's Incredible Robots

CrystalWizard sent me a note saying"I ran across a very cool video on robots...when ....hunting stuff to watch"  and "this" is would seem is an in-depth look at the early evolution of robots et-all as well as a critical look at the various systems that would constitute a "robot" or an autonomous device that can overcome its own physical short comings to complete its' mission.   

The 47 minute program ( the equivalent of an hour program on US television ) is slightly dated as some of our most sophisticated probes in the form of NASA's Cassini–Huygens or the latest NASA Mars  Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover are not mentioned, though some of the earlier tests on Curiosity's suspension was in evidence.

My conclusion is, that after watching, not only will you find it entertaining, but very likely informative, especially if you are not as familiar as some when it comes to Robots in science fiction text or possibly some of the earlier efforts into learning an movement.

This is most definitely a check it out.

Thanks CW!


SOFIA Observatory Observes Massive Star Formation

Researchers using the airborne SOFIA have observed the most detailed infrared images yet of a

massive star condensing within a dense cloud of dust and gas.

The star,  commonly known as G35. It is one of the most massive known of its' type and is located  8,000 light-years from Earth.

As fantastic as this discovery is, the SOFIA platform is even more interesting.

SOFIA started its' life as a 747 wide body built in 1977 and delivered to Pan American Airways where it remained a commercial carrier for pan am until 86 when United purchased the plane keeping it flying until 1995 when United moved the plane to storage.

In 1997 the plane was purchased by Universities Space Research Association for use as an airborne observatory.  NASA purchased the platform from USRA in the same year.

In 1998, Raytheon designed and installed an 18  by 13.5 foot wide  door in the aft port side of the aircraft's fuselage.  This door can be opened in-flight to give  access to the sky.  Access in this instance comes in the form of a 2.5-meter  infrared  reflector telescope, which has an over-sized, 2.7 meter diameter primary mirror.

There is much more at NASA and at Wikipedia

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Grasshopper Leaps to 820 Feet

And of course, Space X is not sitting on its' thumbs either. Test flights of the VTOL system designation "Grasshopper" continues to operate in a stellar fashion. Space X's Grasshopper out did its March 7th flight by flying to 820 feet, tripling the performance of March 7th flight. Check out the video of Grasshopper's latest test flight.

Antares Orbital Sciences Launches Antares

A rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. lifted off from Wallops Island, a NASA facility on the Virginia coast and transitioned into space Sunday, in a near picture-perfect maiden flight. This test flight demonstrates Orbital Sciences Corp's ability to deploy to the space station carrying cargo. It is hoped that deliveries will be able to start later this year. Sunday's 5:00pm launch was described as a total success. Check out the short video of Sunday's launch.

Book banning

          On the topic of Banning, let’s look at it this way. And there is only one way. Books should not be banned, period. Now, before I get yelled at here, let me say there is an exception. There are books that do not belong in certain places, though this should not mean they should be banned. Here is one of my points on this. You don’t need to ban, let’s say, Logan’s Run from the teachers reading list in kindergarten. No, I’m not touching any of the ones listed, but just using an example of a book I am very familiar with. And also of a Dystopian society. Common sense says it’s not a book for that age. And no one would read it to their kids at that age. Yeah, I went a little extreme here to prove a point. One is common sense, and the other is an attack on the principles we should all be standing for.
If you don’t want to read a book, then don’t read it. To ban a book because of disagreeing with what it says is not a good idea, especially for a society that is supposed to pride itself on freedom of expression, acceptance of art, and promoters of knowledge.
Any book that is lost, any writings that are lost are a loss to who and what we were for one thing. And yes, I said “WERE’” not are. Think about the great classics from the past that we would never have enjoyed had they been banned for whatever silly reason that someone found to disagree with. Let’s see, Moby Dick, The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, A world Out Of Time, Logan’s Run. All and any become targets when it begins.
Now why did I put Logan’s Run, and A World Out Of Time in there I am sure quite a few of you are wondering. Because I am allowed to put in there ones that I consider of a personal classic for me, same as all of you are, and should have done. Doesn’t mean I have to like them at all, or agree with them. Or you mine. A book, especially science fiction, fantasy, and so forth in our particular genres here, are books of fiction, regardless how many times we each wish we could go to someplace else, like the Enterprise for an example. That’s what they are supposed to do, or make us not want to go there. But either way, for a short time we get too, by allowing another’s work and art to take us there.
That comes from freedom of thought that we have that allows us to find ideas, and concepts from others as well. You can’t be against thinking.
And how much was once only science fiction that is now reality. And you know what is really strange about that. It seems to be in the order things like Lasers, (Laser eye surgery for example), cell phones and fast communication by computers that you carry in your hand to work and to play, and possibly save your life in an emergency.
We especially know what it means to ban books and ideas. Forget the science fiction aspect for just a moment, and let’s look at science. Let’s look at the ideas of banning ideas and papers and theories. And I believe I can do it with the name of one man.
Galileo Galilei, born on February 15th 1564.
Now on to this disturbing topic of  book burning. Well that is easy and simple as well. See above.  No. I won’t even bother explaining this, as there is no need to. You don’t burn books, period, and end of story. I will repeat what I said earlier, altering only one word in my statement.
If you don’t want to read a book, then don’t read it. To burn a book because of disagreeing with what it says is not a good idea, especially for a society that is supposed to pride itself on freedom of expression, acceptance of art, and promoters of knowledge.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

BMU 362 is Now Online

This week on Beam Me Up episode 362

Kallamus joins us once again for his entry in the blog for his weekly round up.

I review the anime dvd series Gantz

I found a small article that deals with a large subject Book Banning.  In this case it is the top 10 banned and challenged SF book! I may have run on a bit here......

It seems everyone is excited about the possibilities of if not life at the very least all the needed parameters needed to support life on the newly discovered Kepler 62e and 62f are Earth like rocky worlds that contain liquid water possibly on their surface..... Very exciting indeed!

A dig in china has yielded some very exciting embryonic dinosaur fossils that may radically change our understanding of many of the up to now animals of little know about their early stages.  

The story this week is "The Hunted" by Robert Lee Fraizier concerning a bounty hunter and his "prey" who develop a most unusual relationship.

And that is it for this week.  Enjoy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekly Rundown


          In 1604, a bright light appeared in the sky. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler believed he was looking at a new star As it shone up brighter than all other planets and stars at its peak. He was wrong, but that’s okay. He did find something alright. What he found was an exploding star, and now centuries later it has been named Kepler’s supernova.
          A basic cosmic autopsy has shown that it was a white dwarf with more heavy elements than our sun Sol.
          This type of supernovae is thought to originate in binary systems where at least one of the stars is a white dwarf.  Gas transferring from a normal star in the pair can accumulate on the white dwarf, or if both are white dwarf stars, they can combine together from a shrinking orbit and fuse. Either way, eventually too much weight is added, somewhere around 1.4 times the mass of the sun,  and well, boom. You get a runaway nuclear reaction that begins inside, eventually leading to the brilliant flash we know as a supernova.
          By studying this, which is thought to be around 23,000 LY’s away, we are hoping to fine tune our understanding of the universe beyond our galaxy. I am betting it will help us understand more about our own galaxy as well.

          Yeah I know. This is sort of off topic here more or less, but considering how much we all use their site, and refer to it constantly from the horrible writings of certain places that begin with a “Y” that we all know, I think it should be mentioned here.
          What I am talking about is the Webby Awards. This is an award for excellence on the internet that is presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
          Space.com will be announcing the distinction in conjunction with its coverage of the Antares rocket’s maiden launch, which may happen on Friday April 19th at 5pm EDT. The Antares will be launching from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional spaceport.
          You can read the entire article and get all the basic information at, well, where else, at Space.com. 

          Looks like we are returning to Kepler again this week. Here is what is being talked about right now. The two planets that are being discussed are Kepler 62e, and 62f. It has been stated that the two worlds are perhaps the most promising yet found to have life beyond our solar system. Computer models have shown that both of these worlds could well be covered entirely by ocean.
          Now to me, that sounds pretty promising. At least in the terms that we are looking for life elsewhere, and since we insist that it takes water to have life, then we may have found something here. Life here came from the oceans so far as we have learned so far, and if these are completely oceanic, well, I’m guessing there could be all kinds of things there, the same as there are in our own oceans here on Earth.
          It is not believed that they could have any type of advanced technological civilizations like our own, due to the fact that water, mixed with anything like electricity or fire doesn’t work well. Nor would it allow for advanced metallurgy. But if either did have any dry land that is yet undiscovered, that could change the entire scenario in that respect.
          The article itself is very good, and they even had a little fun with it. Here is a direct quote from the article that actually had me chuckling here.
          ("If you want to write a science-fiction story, and you land on both [planets], at least be sure that on f you don't want to take your mask thingy off," said modeling-study lead author Lisa Kaltenegger, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.)
          Seriously, mask thingy??? Oh well, we all have our days I guess. I know i do. Well worth the read just to get to that part, believe me. And there is a pretty good short 2 minute 3 second video there as well to watch.
           The second link here leads to a gallery showing more about the Kepler planets in terms of size relationship to Earth, etc. 

          This is a list of six things that happen to the human body in space. I’ll give you numbers six and five. For numbers four through one you’ll have to go to the article.
          #6.     If you’d like to be a bit taller, go spend six months or so in space. On the ISS, (International Space Station), the astronauts grew as much as 3 percent taller. It’s a simple explanation actually. Without the gravity of earth pulling you down, your spine is free to expand, and it remains so for a few months even after returning to Earth.  After a few months being back, they will return to their regular Earth bound height.
          Hmmm. I wonder if they would let me volunteer to go up there for a few months to conduct a perfectly legitimate experiment on this. What I am wondering is this. Outside of the gravity, and using their recreation equipment, I am wondering what it would do for someone who’s back is, well to put it simply, shot to oblivion. Yep, self-serving all the way on this one.
          #5.     The Puffy Faced Ones. This means all of them up there. Here is what happens. While on Earth, the fluids of the body are not evenly distributed. Once again, we can blame that old gravity guy for that as well. Most of our fluids pool in the lower extremities, which also makes a lot of sense since we are being pulled down.  Apparently, for the first few weeks of spaceflight, most astronauts appear to get puffy faces, and skinny legs. This is due to the fact that the fluids in the body are now able to redistribute themselves evenly. After a time in orbit however, the body will adapt, and they no longer appear to have skinny legs and a puffy face.
          This is well worth reading. Especially when you get to number one, which fascinates me to no end. And I am sure I know why. Blame the Fantastic Four for my fascination with number one.

          Well, I am sure everyone knows this already, but just in case. The next villain in the new rebooted Spiderman franchise is going to be Electro played by Jamie Foxx.  But don’t be expecting the Electro in the green suit and the fake lightning bolts sticking out from the mask. For one, he’s blue. Not a whole lot has actually been said yet, due I am sure to them not wanting too much of the plot to get out.  Also, Peter will be learning more about his past as well it appears. Here’s a link to the site with a picture of him cloaked, and a short video that shows him walking through the city.

          My main site for sci-fi news seems to be down, so that is the best I can do on the sci-fi front this week. There were a couple other things, but I don’t want to write it up without a link, and a way to quickly refresh my memory. Sorry about that folks.  And since I was so stupid as to not bookmark the other site, (as it was on my homepage of a certain “Y” organization as mentioned before), I don’t remember where it was at the moment. Yeah, they removed that one as well with no warning, so I’ll be on the hunt for it again this week and have the sci-fi section here back to normal again next week.
          Well, hope you all enjoyed this week’s rundown folks. And I’ll be back next week with more interesting topics again, and hopefully a real sci-fi rundown again.    

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: Gantz dvd series

Review: Gantz anime DVD series

Gantz is an anime series based on the Gantz Manga series written by Hiroya Oku.  

The story line orbits around  Kei Kurono and his friend Masaru Kato who die while saving a drunk who has fallen onto the tracks of the subway.  But instead of nothing, the pair wake in a room with a dark sphere and shortly there after a man dressed in what appears to be a dark latex body suit.  

They are informed that they are not really dead, but in between and as such have to complete tasks devised   by a mysterious Gantz.  As the series proceeds, more people join under the very same circumstances and even more are "killed" under increasingly more difficult tasks.  

The Animation of Gantz which appears in Japan as Manga, is directed by  Ichiro Itano and produced by Gonzo.  The series aired in Japan on Fuji Television and AT-X. The Gantz anime is divided into two seasons: The first season is known as "The First Stage", while the second season is known as "The Second Stage", which is a direct continuation of the first season. The First Stage aired in Japan with several scenes censored due to inappropriate content such as violence or nudity. However, the DVDs from the series contained the scenes uncensored. The Second Stage aired on Japanese network AT-X on August 26, 2004.There are a total of 12 Japanese DVDs, released from August 28, 2004 to June 29, 2005.  The US release contains ALL the scenes as the Japanese dvd release. 

On June 25, 2010, anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced on their online FuniCon 4.0 panel, that they have acquired the rights to the series, along with 3 other former ADV titles after ADV's collapse in 2009.

That's the basic history of Gantz.  If you want a break from High School antics, Gundam power suits and move into something more sophisticated as say Ghost in the machine, with an even harder edge, you might just want to check Gantz out.  However FAIR WARNING The average character is unpleasant, the action is fast and violent to the point that if it can be cut off or sliced up, it is!  With great gusto.  Gouts of blood and flying body parts are the rule of the day along with...well if you caught the review about scene censoring you have to know where that was headed.  If you want introspection, you are not going to get it here! Graphic violence and nudity, and more, that would get this series canceled except on dvd anywhere you can imagine.  If this is your cup of tea, well you are not going to be able to rent it, so pony up and buy BOTH sets and you will not be disappointed   But if you want introspection for the ages, put the DVD down and run away.  

How would rate this? if looking for edge of your seat action you will get it in spades.  If I had to I would deduct a point for just to damn much! that would still give it an 8 or 9 with the graphics right up there with it.  Hey its' no DC or Marvel but then it ain't trying to be.  If weird weapons and whacked power suits (not gundam but form fitting latex with weird power globes at strategic locations) you will be watching one dvd and have two or three right at hand ready to go, and the world will go away for several hours....

Is Your Fav SF Tome Banned? or We Braved the New Slaughter House #5 and What a Strange Clockwork Land it was Indeed.

Seriously, consider one of your most cherished Science Fiction book.  Is there a possibility that the book you hold near and dear is on someone's ban list?

I am not too sure how how I got here, but I was following link and five or six layers deep came across an IO9 article written by Susana Polo that originally appeared at Geekosystem.   Her article was the top ten banned science fiction works.  Now, the first few were works that I wasn't familiar with, but then it got....interestin!

Check it out

7:  Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein -This book was:
  • pro-religion, free love was controversial even when it was published in 1962.  So naturally it was challenged as part of the curriculum of a summer "Science Academy" course in Texas.

6: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - As the author of this io9 article points out :
  • In a textbook example of "missing the point," in 1981, Jackson County, Florida challenged ... Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in its schools and libraries, claiming that the book was pro-communism and anti-Semitic 
Did they even bother to read past the first chapter?  Clearly they never understood the novel what so ever!

5: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - I wonder if anyone stopped for a second to savor the irony of this situation?  Banning a book whose very nature rails against book banning! Here, from the article itself:
  •  In 1998, Fahrenheit 451 was removed from the curriculum in a Mississippi high school because a parent objected to the use of the phrase "god damn."
4:  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle - I myself am not familiar with this book, but I feel the  book bears mentioning if for nothing else than for the number of times they were banned.  From the article:
  • This first book of  the series, tackles the the vastness of time and the universe, the nature of evil, and the dangers of blind belief.  But, it's got characters known as "witches"...... 
3: Slaughterhouse-Five - is a thinly veiled autobiography of Kurt Vonnegut's experience during the bombing of Dresden which killed tens of thousands of German civilians by firebombing the city. 
From the article:
  • Not only banned (in New York State, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin) and challenged (in Louisiana, Michigan (twice), Texas, Virginia, Rhode Island, Illinois, Kentucky (twice), and Wisconsin again), copies of Slaughterhouse-Five were burned in North Dakota in 1973.
It is like you combined Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451!  Bradbury's novel was a work of fiction....right?

2: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley   Here is a clear example of not understanding  what you are reading.   BNW was banned because it was supposed to endorse:
  • free love, free drugs, atheism, and rejection of the nuclear family.
Now as  Susana Polo points out that this would be a legit argument if  BNW was presented as a utopia
But even I, ( Paul ) as a very green SF reader when I first started reading SF, could PLAINLY see that this WAS NOT as it was portrayed but a not to subtle Dystopia! Who could have missed this heavy handed wide brush painting of everything that is wrong with society whether it is early 20th or early 21st. Be that obvious as it may:
  • It was banned in Ireland in 1932, a Missouri town in 1980, an Alabama high school in 2000; and challenged in Oklahoma in 1988, California in 1993, Texas in 2003, and Indiana in 2008.   
1: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - Now I know...everyone is going to say Novel? No!  Movie directed by Stanley Kubrick starring Malcolm McDowell.  Granted, the movie is brilliant at times and disturbing, but at other times almost self indulgent.  But we are talking about banned books here and Burgess wrote the short novel....... And the book itself did have some strange moments in the annals of banned bookdom.  Here from the article is one of the more warped book bans, and I have to think, this one was based not on reading the book, but watching the movie...:
  • in 1973 a shop owner in Utah was arrested for selling the book, and though the charges were later dropped, the store was forced to relocate due to the controversy. Later in the 70's it was removed from two high schools for "objectionable language." Presumably they didn't mean bratchny, droog, or garbles.
full IO9 article with the complete list HERE

Sunday, April 14, 2013

BMU # 361 Now Online Kahn & Khaw

After a short intro, I spend about ten minutes in my opening with a discussion. This week, why I feel the force you call gravity does not exist in the classical sense. At least according to the first law of motion...and some of the second. YOu can write comments to me btw at beammeuppodcast@gmail.com or go to the blog at wrfrbeamEup.blogspot.com and make your thoughts known on the weekly show description.

 From there....

 Episode 19 of Jason Kahn's series In Plain Sight. This week, psychic detective Jack Garrett has become interested in a mysterious back room, but to gain entrance he must face a man why himself also fairly crackles with psychic energy. Jack it would seem has his "work" cut out for him.

 The Original Star Trek (tost) is next in line as I find interesting Star Trek trivia from my favorite Star Trek trivia book. Some interesting facts to be had, to be sure.

 Next Earth_Sky reports on the Lyrid April 16-26 2013

 Kallamus is back with his weekly rundown, starts with a returning DBZ. NASA has submitted its' 2013 budget, one really exciting news about an asteroid capture, tow and then explore! First ever discovery of a black hole chowing down on a rogue planet! Io has some wildly different volcanic activity! Kallamus finds a site that shows how the planets would appear if they were in the same place as our moon. It is a stunning effect! Kall found some really good info on the "Man of Steel" movie. And finally Kall has a run at conspiracy when they take aim at a clothing tester and that somehow has been twisted into terminators of all things!

 Finally I read Having Survived an Apocalypse by Mini Khaw a story I read for the online flash fiction site Antipodean.

 All in all, I think this week's program was great fun. I hope you think so too!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dragonball Z is Returning

     Yeah, I know. It's been over for a long time now, and any new news is usually just info or fill-in story lines. But this is not. This is real news that gives hope to all of us that were, and are fans still.
     Now we aren't talking about any of that nonsense of DBGT here, but only about DBZ itself. And here is the news.
     A new DBZ movie titled "Battle Of The Gods" was released in theaters in japan. And it did amazingly well from what I have found. It did so well in fact, that Akira has stated that he is going to see about returning and doing another DBZ saga possibly up to 200 episodes. 
     It isn't over yet people. New technology and animation and DBZ is apparently returning. 
     I know not everyone out here is a fan, but yours truly is a fan as much as he is a fan of Reed Richards. And I grew up loving Reed. Not his power, but his mind. But forget that, we aren't talking about the first family of marvel here. We are discussing DBZ.
     I and many like me are excited over this. Not only is there a new movie, but now we apparently have more episodes coming. And since my man, Piccolo was in the movie, I am guessing he will be returning in the series as well when it returns. 
     I have no idea what to say, except for one thing. Bring it on. Duel monster tournies went to hell in a hand bag here, and DBGT went to hell as well. Maybe duel monsters will never be what it should be again, but there is hope for DBZ after all. 
     So for those like me, that are serious fans of the story, lets keep our fingers crossed. Because at the moment, it looks like this.
     Yabba fracking dabba smegging doo.

     Sorry. I really loved DB and DBZ.  DBGT just sucked in my view.  So long as my boy returns, I'm there, believe it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Looks like it could happen in terms of budgeting.  NASA released a 17.7 billion spending plan for 2014.  It continues ongoing space exploration, and the funding to start the mission to capture a small asteroid and have astronauts on it exploring by 2025.
            What would make this nice is that it would be returning the budget, minus around 50 million, to what it was back in 2012. It’s only about 1 billion more than 2013, but it’s a start at getting them funded properly again.
            This budget also sets aside 78 million toward the asteroid capture and towing mission, as well as a few other pretty cool concepts they are working on. One of these is the technology for solar electric propulsion and laser communications. The funding will also cover the mars research, and the ISS, as well as increased support of the private space taxi operations.
            In my view, that budget needs to be higher. A lot higher.

            Astronomers have found a first. A black hole has apparently been having lunch at the expense of a giant rogue planet. However, it didn't even eat its entire meal. Just stripped off about 10% of it, and left the rest floating along. For now. The denser core is still left. They figure it was a planet similar to Jupiter, or possibly a brown dwarf.
            This is happening 47 million LY’s away in galaxy NGC 4845. Now this galaxy has been quiet for at least the last 20 – 30 years.
            And later this year, our own black hole here in the Milky Way is scheduled to make contact with a massive gas cloud several times the size of earth. Just one more reason we need to get it in gear, and figure out warp drive, or something to go and see stuff when it is actually happening, and not seeing it thousands of years later. I would love to go and watch that cloud, but fact is, it is already over, and has been for quite some time.
            They also figure that events like this happen every few years in the galaxies around us. The site has a real cool video as well of this. Well worth watching and dreaming about being there in person to watch it. 

            Here is why. Jupiter’s moon IO, apparently doesn’t realize that volcanoes are supposed to follow along certain lines.
            The major volcanic activity is 30 to 60 degrees off of where they think it should be. So basically, our understanding of IO in particular, is way off. Which frankly I think is a very good thing. It means we have more to learn there as well, a lot more. As the author Christopher Hamilton says, “Our understanding of tidal heat production and its relationship to surface volcanism is incomplete."
            IO is the most volcanically active body in our solar system, at 25 times that of Earth. Some of the plumes of the volcanic activity there are 250 miles above the moon, and it’s surface is reformed around every million years or so.
            You would expect the volcanic activity to be above the hottest points, but instead they lay to the east of the hottest spots. This is a very interesting article, as it shows that no matter what we think, we still have so much to learn that it is frankly to me, an endless quest of learning. Which is basically how I view life in the first place.
            Why this is, is a mystery. It could be that IO is spinning faster than what was thought is one of the theories to this. As for the other theories, you’ll have to read the article. The study was first published in January, and just now showing up on space.com. It should have been there in January when it was first published in my opinion.

            I am combining these two together as they are two different places, but both consist basically of pictures.
            The first one shows the distance of Earth to Mars in terms of pixels, and is really cool to see. Just click the downward arrow, and watch how far we really are from Mars.
            The second one shows what the planets would look like if they were in the place of the moon in orbit around Earth. However, they made one mistake there.
They didn’t include my little planet in this. Yes, the rebellion here will never end. Pluto is a bloody planet. If not by size, then by a tradition that is rooted so deep, it needs to be a planet regardless. Give me a ship so I can start to colonize the little girl, and I’ll make it a planet again.                                                                    Okay, off the rebellion now.  It is actually a pretty cool thing to see, what with the size of Jupiter as our moon. Frankly, that would be just terrifying in some ways. But the desert highway, with the planets as a moon is just too much to pass up. You owe it to yourself to take a look at these. I’ll include the Jupiter pic here, but the rest you have to go see for yourselves.  

First link is to the distance from Earth, and the second is to the planets as our moon.

            The new Superman movie, “Man Of Steel”, will not have any kryptonite in it. Apparently they figured that Zod was enough of a problem. There are also some other changes that are theorized to be happening as well. Now here I get lost as I wasn’t involved in comics at this time, but sounds slightly interesting to me even. Apparently they are going with a concept of Kal-el being special even on Krypton.
            Something about him being the first naturally born child of parents having sex in over a thousand years. So in other words, the Kryptonian’s are once again proven to be far more advanced than those of us here. But I am personally still not convinced that Russell Crow can be Jor-el in any way. But who knows, maybe. And I don’t care what anyone says, he still doesn’t look like Kal-el to me. If I just look at the face, maybe. But I’m already not happy with the uniform in any way. Supes is the one character, out of DC, or Marvel, that doesn’t need updated. And I’m Marvel all the way. But supes is to be the light for all others to follow. Just not happy with the darker superman. Yet. I will reserve my judgment until I see it. But not being a Nolan fan myself, in any way shape or form. which I am sure will get me hated out here, I don’t hold high hopes for this, at least in my eyes.
            Anyway, here’s the link to check it out for yourselves.

            LOL. Okay folks, relax here. This time, once again, I have to turn on my own people. I’m a conspiracy nut from way back. But now we are getting silly beyond belief again. And believe it or not, this actually fits to this site.  So sit back, prepare to laugh, and enjoy.
            The government is building a robotic termination army, at least according to the first link i will give on this.
            The PETMAN. A robot designed by the DOD to test suits used for biological, chemical, and nuclear. In other words, a machine designed to test new suits for our military personnel. And it sweats as well. It had better, as I can tell you from personal experience, that what we were using in the 80’s, well, sucked. Hotter than the surface of mercury if the sun was shining and the temperature was over 35.
            And of course according to this site, they will become self-aware, and then take over the Earth and wipe out humanity. Yeah, okay.
            Look people, what better way to test a suit and measure how it responds to sweat, movement, etc than to use it on a robotic unit to test it for miles and miles on end of walking. Let me tell you, back in the 80’s, those bloody things were not only uncomfortable as hell, but once you started sweating, you suffered even more, believe it. Anyway, check out the two sites and make up your own mind. I’m a survivalist, and a conspiracy theorist, and even I can’t buy into this one. I just can’t. I’d love to, if even for just the fun of it, but they have us already having SKYNET based on drones, and terminators based on a testing unit for freaking clothing. So basically, using a set of drones, to carry a load in what is essentially a net, adds up to the sci-fi SKYNET. Sometimes, I am just seriously embarrassed by the conspiracy people, and this is really one of those times. To create an army of terminator units would take secrecy beyond belief, and someone would talk. Not a bad idea I admit, as it would keep our people out of harm’s way, but let’s get real here.  Anyway, here are the two links. The first one to the conspiracy out there site, and the second that tells what it really is.

             So I hope you all enjoy this week’s rundown, and sorry for missing last week. Lets just say I had a system failure and leave it at that, to avoid the cussing that would come along if I explained it. And yeah, it really was a stupid system failure. One I ordered the part for to update and improve, without knowing that mine was already bad. See you all next week folks. And who knows, maybe by then we’ll have the conspiracy proof of the lizards controlling us like we have proof this week of terminators coming. 
           Sometimes my people just embarrass the feck out of me.

Oldest Embryonic Dinosaur Bones Discovered

Scientists digging in China have discovered the earliest fossil embryos to date. The find includes
remains from many animals at different stages of development providing a unique opportunity to investigate the embryonic development of a prehistoric species.

the fossils were discovered in a bone bed in Lufeng County that dates to the Early Jurassic between 197 million to 190 million years ago.  The site contained more than 200 various bones as well as pieces of fossilized eggshells.

To put this discovery in perspective most of the dinosaur embryos on record are concentrated in the Late Cretaceous period.  This discovery  takes a detailed record of dinosaur embryology and pushes it back over 100 million years!

From the Nature.com article:

  • But it is not just the age of the fossils that is notable, the researchers say. Spectroscopic analysis of bone-tissue samples from the Chinese nesting site revealed the oldest organic material ever seen in a terrestrial vertebrate.