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.
 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 

          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.    

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