Sunday, June 30, 2013

BMU episode 372 Now Online

I open the program this week with a short tribute to one of the masters of science fiction / horror Richard Matheson who pass away recently. Some of my earliest memories in the field were Matheson creations. After an anime musical interlude and news on the Supreme Court ruling on patenting genes. The first story of the afternoon is part two of In The Mourning pt2 by Edward McKeown. From the BMU blog: Data from Voyager 1 is posed to truly enter interstellar space. Researchers question NASA’s spacecraft sterilization procedures. Researchers may have found a way to make a working deflector shield. And inventors have developed a flying bike…Really! The closing story David Scholes’ story Trath: Return of the Quellers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Star Trek Style Radiation Deflector Shield Possible?

Right out of a Star Trek episode, UK scientists are working on a device that could protect astronauts from high levels of radiation and it would work very much like the Trek "deflector shield" or how Earth's radiation shield works.  

Recent NASA studies have shown that astronauts exposed to open space, as on an extended trip to Mars, are exposed to as much radiation as they would be allowed to be exposed to in two-thirds of their allowable lifetime exposure.

Effective shielding would be expensive, massive and for the most part impractical.  

But the researchers at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory seemed to have stumbled upon an elegant solution - a mini Earth-magnetosphere.   Researchers have found that if you set up an electric field around an object, electrons from a plasma will flow around the object.  However lighter ions will be deflected or continue past the shielded object.   In effect, a miniature Earth magneto-sphere.   Initial tests have shown proof of concept.  

Radiation shields using this concept will be light and self supporting once started.  

Read more in the IO9 article HERE

Photo shows a small model in an energetic plasma stream.  The model is being protected by an electric / magnetic field as described in the article. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mars Bound Craft Sterlization Unnecessary?

For the past several years, NASA's Office of Planetary Protection have taken  expensive efforts to keep Earth microorganisms off Mars.  

Now two astrobiologists from Cornell University - Alberto Fairén and Washington State University -  Dirk Schulze-Makuch say that NASA's efforts are expensive and unnecessary.

Fairén and Schulze-Makuch, posit that such efforts are probably in vain since life from Earth has had billions of years and untold meteorite impacts to spread Earth-life to Mars.  Plus Several Earth spacecraft have visited Mars without undergoing the sterilization procedures now in place.

The researchers have said that should be cleaned to avoid confusing results, however craft like orbiters and geology-oriented devices should be scaled way back on sterilization. 

For more:

Voyager 1 Closing in on Interstellar Space

The latest data from Voyager 1 seems to indicate that it is at this moment at the very edge of the space influenced by Sol and entrance into interstellar space is now eminent.  

At present, Voyager is over 11 billion miles from Earth and at this remote distance particles from the sun have all but dissipated.  Controllers have also noticed that particles coming  towards Voyager from interstellar space,  have jumped markedly in the past year.

This of course means that Voyager 1 is set, any time now, to become the first  man made object to exit the solar system. 

Complete BBC article HERE

Supreme Court Says No to Human Gene Patent

The Supreme Court ruled recently that human genes are not patentable. The court found that isolating the BRCA1  and BRCA2 gene does not constitute an “act of invention.” 

 Myriad Genetics has held the exclusive right to test for these genes ( if mutated, hugely increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancers) for the past two decades. 

The court said that naturally occurring DNA cannot be patented, however artificial genes can be......

The most direct impact  is it now opens the door for many other companies to begin testing on genes that were previously patented, and a decrease in cost due to greater competition.

Myriad Genetics has charged nearly $4,000 for the cancer causing gene testing.  The new ruling could reduce the costs and eventually decrease it to as little as $1,000. 

RIP: Author Richard Matheson Passes

Listener Nelson sends in a heads up on the passing of one of the pillars of the science fiction entertainment field.  Author Richard Matheson, who's works include classics such as the 1954 sf/horror novel I Am Legend, which has been adapted to film no less than three times.  

Other film adaptations of  Matheson's works were The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come among others.  Matheson also wrote for Rod Serling's  The Twilight Zone, with classic episodes "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Steel" which the movie Real Steel was based in part on.  

Matheson  adapted his 1971 short story "Duel" as a screenplay which was promptly selected by a very young director  Steven Spielberg. 

Richard Matheson's pen was forever stilled on Sunday the 23 of June, at his home in Calabasas, Calif. He was 87.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Flying Electric Bike?

I know...we have heard of this before, but this one has an interesting wrinkle.

First, is that the device is electric. The vehicle's six propellers are all powered by onboard batteries. This of course severely limits flight time to 5 minutes. Czech developers are hoping for higher capacity batteries to be developed to make their "bike" much more practical.

The flying Bike was designed using  French software and for now, the flying bike is still in development.
The prototype is controlled by remote control, but its designers hope that it will eventually be piloted by the rider.

And from my perspective the flying bike doesn't do either very well.   Redesign is going to have to be a must. As most would agree, it would make the world's worst bike with those pods and the inventors have admitted that it is very unstable to fly.  We won't be seeing this thing in it's present incarnation and if they stay the course it will be unlikely that   we will see the machine in mass market at all!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Doug Hilton's New Site

Author Hilton wrote to tell me that he has collected all his stories and moved them to his new web site.   Now if you enjoy Doug's writing as I do, this is a boon.

If you're interested, go to WWW.DOUG.BE

Thanks for the heads up Doug

Sunday, June 23, 2013

BMU episode 371 now online

Beam Me Up episode 371 humps along fairly well, so I guess there is some entertainment value!

 After a quick musical interlude, it is time for episode 21 of Jason Kahn’s Dark InSpectre series. Inspector Jack continues to track an extremely dangerous killer.

 I move on to Star Trek Triva. I have a few of Mudd’s Women questions left so those and a few others make up this portion.

From the BMU blog Kallamis again comes through with his weekend review. Covered are the newest crop of astronaut trainees, mold on the ISS? Mars had an oxygen rich armosphere? Looking ahead to the newest Riddic movie and reviewers are going hard on the new Man of Steel movie, Logan’s Run movie still seems to be in limbo, Is China hiding the proof that aliens are real?!!!

And I end with the first part of Edward McKeown’s story In the Mourning.

Thanks for listening….

Friday, June 21, 2013

Super Moon This Weekend!

Xnewsman is telling us to watch the sky's 7:32 am Eastern Time Sunday the 23rd. Why?  For this year's "super" moon.  This will be the time when the moon will be at it's closest to the Earth in it's monthly orbit.  Full Moons happen each month but the super moon is once a year and this year's will be spectacular.  The moon is calculated as being 16,000 mile closer than it's usual orbit, lending to a 10% larger and 30% brighter moon.  

Don't miss it!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Weekly Rundown

This week we will be covering a little science, a little sci-fi, and then we just get strange. To say the least.  

            Eight new astronauts were named Monday, and here is where it starts getting good. Four of them are women. This is the highest percentage of females ever chosen for any class in the history of NASA.  They were named Monday, a day before Sally Rides first flight into space, and hot on the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova's historic spaceflight in 1963, who was the first woman to go into space. Christina Hammock, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain and Jessica Meir will be the newest female trainees housed at the Texas space center. The men are Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Tyler Hague and Andrew Morgan. Not including this newest group of trainees, twelve of the forty nine active astronauts are women.  This group was chosen from the second largest group to ever apply for the training. More than 6,000 applied for the 2013 selection process. This could be the first group of astronauts to pilot the Orion spacecraft, fly to an asteroid and even land on Mars. Below is a picture of the newest group of heroes, of which yours truly is jealous beyond belief one isn't me. 

            Yeah, believe it or not, they are the ones complaining. It sounds strange I know, considering that at the end, MIR was basically a floating biological experiment, or factory, or disaster depending on the which word you choose to use. Disaster is more accurate, but experiment is nicer. Anyway, on to why the complaining, and for good reason I might add as well. The robotic European cargo ship Albert Einstein was opened Tuesday morning (June 18) at the International Space Station. It was a day late in opening because of concerns that mold may have grown inside ship. This stems from concerns that its cargo may not have been properly disinfected.  It is not known for sure if any mold actually grew, but let’s face it, better safe than sorry when it comes to space.
            James Oberg, space analyst of NBC news had this to say. "It's a well-established principle of spaceflight safety that, under uncertainty, you don't 'assume the best,' you make sure the worst cannot be true.  And if you're not sure you decontaminated these items to rigorous standards, then you do it again, to make sure."
            Now considering that we know for a fact that some things such as salmonella become more dangerous in the micro gravity, extreme caution must be taken in this respect.
            "Apart from the experiments, oxygen and water, ATV-4 also brings personal clothing and food, among which is Italian space food delicacies, such as tiramisu. Luca Parmitano, the only Italian astronaut on board will be sharing this from his personal supply with his crewmates. He stated this on his blog hosted by the European Space Agency. “There is nothing like the promise of an Italian dinner that I will offer from my personal supply to entice my colleagues to work quickly and well!"

            Yeah, about 4 billion years ago that is. The rise of the atmospheric oxygen on Earth was around 2.5 billion years ago. Scientists from Oxford University investigated the compositions of Martian meteorites found on Earth and data from NASA’s ‘Spirit’ rover that examined surface rocks in the Gusev crater on Mars. The fact that the surface rocks are  around five times richer in nickel than the meteorites was had cast doubt on whether the meteorites are typical volcanic products of the red planet.
            According to Professor Bernard Wood, of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences “both meteorites and surface volcanic rocks are consistent with similar origins in the deep interior of Mars but that the surface rocks come from a more oxygen-rich environment, probably caused by recycling of oxygen-rich materials into the interior.”
            The meteorites are geologically ‘young’, around 180 million to 1.4 billion years old, the Spirit rover was analyzing a very old part of Mars, more than 3.7 billion years old.
            Professor Wood also had this to say on the subject.  “The implication is that Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere at a time, about 4 billion years ago, well before the rise of atmospheric oxygen on earth around 2.5 billion years ago. As oxidation is what gives Mars its distinctive color it is likely that the red planet was wet, warm and rusty billions of years before Earth’s atmosphere became oxygen rich.
            Anyone else out there saw the Doctor Who episode “The Waters of Mars.” And yeah, I’d love to go on a tear here about more proof that life here started out there, which this is another theory dealing with our buddy next door, but I have other stranger things coming besides my own ramblings here.

             Now we will move on to a quick sci-fi rundown before moving on to some really strange and out there stuff I came across this week, proving once again I should not be allowed to wander around the net unsupervised.

            Well, what can I say. Cool. Looks like everyone, and everything is trying to kill him off this time. Here is the basic synopsis of the movie that has been put out as of now.
            Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.
 Basically, everything on the planet wants to eat him. In the meantime you have bounty hunters and mercenaries that want to kill him. And apparently, this is all happening with a huge life destroying storm on the horizon moving its way in. Yeah, this sounds like a Riddick movie.
            Well, we’ve certainly waited long enough for it, that’s for sure. I actually like Riddick. Lots of action, things going boom and a group of people that basically fight like anime characters. Works for me.  Here’s the link to the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. It is due out on September 6th.

            Okay, let’s be up front here before I jump in with both feet. I am still not happy with the new uniform, but I am pretty puratinistic at heart when it comes to books and comics, etc, but I am slowly getting used to it, sort of. I won’t even go into my continuing tirade over Starbuck in the new Battlestar. But on to Supes here.  I am going to list only one of their major complaints here, and frankly, it is idiotic.
            The action is too large.
            Really people? This is freaking Superman here. Spidey or Green Arrow or Batman, or The Falcon can get away with running around busting normal criminals that may have a few high tech gadgets, but this is Superman for crying out loud.  What part of Super don’t these ding dong critics understand? He doesn’t fight the normal little crooks and criminals. The people he takes on are usually the punch a hole in the planet powered types. How else do show Supes, without some massive action, and also massive destruction based on that fight. I mean, if they are going to fight like they try to in DBZ, and head off to the middle of nowhere, okay, maybe a little less CGI. But if you are going to have a massively powered punch out slam down in the middle of the city, there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. Things are going to get broken, a lot. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Just how do you do all this without some serious and destructive action?  I always loved Christopher fighting Zod, but I also always thought there should have been more destruction there as well. Let’s face it; critics are the worst when it comes to properly rating any super hero movie. They need to stick with their ancient and worn out old drama movies where they belong. We just don’t have critics that get sci-fi, or anime, or much else usually for that matter unless it is trying to make some great social commentary with zero entertainment value. I may have problems with the uniform, but I still plan on seeing it, as it looks like it is really a good movie. As for the critics, ppttthhhh. Bunch of gits anyway. Here’s a link to some of the other complaints going on by the bloody gits. I would have loved to hear them screaming if the DBZ movie had been done correctly, and not destroyed by an unnameable. These critics would be in the street protesting with signs.

            Not exactly according to what is said, but I’ll believe it when i see it. And I bet if they do actually get around to it, I’ll be off on a complete tirade.  Kets take a look at some of the names that have been attached to writing the new screen play so far. Bryan Singer , Alex Garland, Joseph Kosinski, Will Beall, and Dan Harris have all had a shot at it. Now we are apparently having BioShock creator Ken Levine take his shot at it.  And it is still unknown if it will go by that horrible movie rendition, or stick closer to the book. Really? Like there is even a choice in this. You die at 21, period, that’s it, hook line and freaking sinker, you die at 21. That is how it is written, and there is a bloody good reason for it if people would take the time to read the damn book. And let’s get the gun right this time shall we. It is not a blaster which is basically what they showed before, and the one from the movie you can build at home actually, including the flame out the side ports.  But the real gun is patterned after the old six shooters. There was a good reason for this, as it fired different projectiles, not whatever that thing in the movie was supposed to be firing.
            Only a DS man (Deep Sleep or Sandman for short), could carry a Gun. Each weapon was coded to the operative's hand pattern, set to detonate on any other human contact. With a full load, it carries six charges: tangler, ripper, needler, nitro, vapor -- and homer. Now I will agree on updating the Homer aspect and this is why. A homer was designed to zero in on a person’s body temperature and would burn out every single nerve in the body at one time. Yeah, fun way to die, but that’s what happens when you become a runner and do not obey and die when told to. Now considering the technology of the cities, and what we know now, I would not complain if they used a DNA system for it to track, as it would be more conceivable to have everyone’s DNA code listed in the thinker (the main computer that runs everything in that world). See, even I can get with updating a few things now and then. Let’s face it, firing a homer at someone in a crowd would be beyond dangerous. Way too easy for it to swerve off and simply fly into someone else due to body temperature. I’ll now stop my rant here, as when it comes to my man Logan, I will go into a rant. Here’s the link to the article, but not much there really that wasn’t mentioned here, and frankly, a lot more about Logan here than there.

            Don’t yell at me, I’m just sharing it. I may be a conspiracy man myself, but sometimes I have to wonder about some of my guys out there.  Some are saying it is simply an elaborate hoax, and others of course are saying that it is being called a hoax to throw people off and cover up the truth. To make this simple here, I am simply going to quote part of the article as it is the best way to do this one. So here we go.

            One recent early morning, Kai went out to check on some electric fencing he had set up to help him catch rabbits. Once there, his bicycle began to be beamed up by a strange light. He explains:
“An unidentified flying object like a UFO was suspended above the shore of the Yellow River. I had no idea when my bicycle had gone under that flying saucer, and then five aliens came down one after another.”
Kai threw rocks at the spaceship in hopes of getting back his bike. None too pleased, the aliens started to chase him when one of them ran into the trap intended for rabbits. The other four aliens fled, but Kai was left with the incinerated remains of one of them.
He put the creature on ice and called the cops, who brought in government agents. However, after many mysterious nights of examination, the experts disappeared as quickly as they came.
So anyway. Now he is claiming it was all a ruse, to what purpose i have no idea and isn’t mentioned either. But it is also being said that the Chinese government has forced him to recant his story and are in fact covering up the remains of a dead alien. So, what made these experts so interested in something made out of rubber? And why were they trying to steal this poor man’s bicycle? And I did warn you ahead of time things were going to get weird this week. Do I think there are aliens out there, well of course. You all know that about me. My only conclusion to this however, must have been teenage aliens that decided to come out to the fringe and mess with the primitives again. Or, as I thought when reading this, now how the F are these guys going to embarrass the rest of us? Well, now I know. Here’s the link.

            I am going to list #1 only here, as it kind of fits to the alien deal there above. I just spent half the night at this site the other day, and am still running around it happily filling my brain with all kinds of silliness, and some really strange stuff as well. Yep, a site right up my alley.  Here we go with #1.
First off, the name comes from a Greek historian known for his works in relation to cryptography and for developing the Polybius square.
This is the oldest of the video gaming myths around as far as anyone actually knows at this time. And just a bit scary if it is true. It even appeared in an episode of The Simpsons. It was an arcade game. It mysteriously appeared in an arcade in Portland Oregon one day in the early 80’s. The cabinet was said to be completely black, and incorporated elements of classic shooting games like tempest, mazes like Pacman, and spatial puzzles. However, when it was played, it apparently caused all sorts of health problems such as Amnesia, blackouts, headaches, seizures, night terrors, and it was even reported that some players committed suicide shortly after playing it. And now we enter into my world where it gets even more interesting about this game. Apparently, there were also men that were dressed all in black that were often seen messing with the game. This of course leads to; you guessed it, a government experiment. Now whether or not this game really existed is up for grabs here, as I have no idea, but I doubt it. But if it did, (and I can wish right), I want it, and I want it now. Is it possible that it was real; yeah I suppose it is, but again, I seriously doubt it? But it is fun to think about. And just in case there are any of you men in black out there, bring it on. I want to play it. I’m quite open to moving to the non-existent base with no problem. And you don't even need to kidnap me. I'm willing to pack up and move all on my own.
All you gamers out there especially need to check out the link below.
And for you Morrowind The Elders Scrolls 3 fans, look at #3 especially. It’s about a hack that has driven people to hallucinate that the assassin is crawling on the wall or ceiling when they took a bathroom break from playing, etc. And apparently, the hack does exist, and I have that game here somewhere boxed up. Once this place is done, I’m going to have to look into this, after I finish playing it that is again.

Well folks, hope you all enjoyed the rundown this week, as it seems to have gotten a bit freaky and twisted this time. If anyone does know of any real info on the urban legend gaming stuff here please let us all know at the blog site. See you all next week folks. 

Almost forgot. Supermoon on the 22nd and 23rd. It is the closest it will be to Earth until August of 2014. Fine, I did forget and had to come back to update this real quick. Here's a link for anyone not knowing exactly what it is about, and it has links to commonly asked questions also.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Stop Asteroids From Destroying Earth

Well according to NASA they might just have a plan to keep humanity from being destroyed by huge space rocks.

NASA has proposed an initiative titled:  The Asteroid Grand Challenge.  NASA officials presented the plan at NASA's headquarters which:
  • calls on the public to present new ways to detect and address asteroid threats to Earth.

NASA officials state that NASA wants, in part, the ideas and assistance of private U.S. companies, universities, and non-profit organizations. 

The new mission works in conjunction with ongoing NASA projects, one of which involves   a plan to capture an asteroid, pull it in toward the moon and send astronauts to visit it.   Of course the asteroid-retrieval mission, which btw would be  the first deep-space mission for astronauts flying on NASA's Space Launch System rocket and Orion space capsule both of which are still under development.  Needless to say this reticence comes from a congress that has been all to eager to cut more from NASA's budget.  Now they feel that NASA should put it's efforts into  returning to the moon.

Right now, from my perspective, I would love for them to just fly their own craft.  Landing on an asteroid does sound cool however!

Mainer Selected for Granting of Life's Dream

Long time listener Leinad Ztrev (Yeah, who knew?!) found an article in a recent Press Herald.
This article talks about  and how NASA has granted one of  Jessica  Meir's   life long dream of being an astronaut

From the article:
  • Jessica U. Meir, a 1995 graduate of Caribou High School who now works in Boston, could be among the leaders of a manned mission to an asteroid in the 2020s and to Mars in the following decade, according to a statement issued by NASA.
  •  Meir, 35, is among eight astronaut trainees who were introduced  by NASA to be in its first training class in four years
The truly amazing fact about Meir's selection was NASA chose her from an astronaut pool of over 6,000 candidates!

If Meir can successfully complete the two year, intense training regiment, she could join fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy, the only other active astronaut from Maine. Cassidy, is now serving aboard the International Space Station.

RIP: Telegrams no more....

On July 14th 2013, India will send the world's last telegraph message.  

144 years after Samuel Morse sent the first message, India, the last country to still use the system will cease operation with its final message.  

The US had discontinued telegraph messaging several years ago, but India continued with its widely used system.  Recent counts put the number of daily messages at around 5 thousand.   Telegraphing simply can not compete with text messaging and email, for speed.  This is one of the contributing factor in the state run system that is incurring 23 million dollars in losses a year.  At its peak in 1985, 60 million telegrams were exchanged.  Now the Indian government is the primary user of telegrams, making up 65 percent of the market. However, the remaining 35 percent of users are the general public. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PS3 Update Warning

Not sure what the real deal here is yet, but wanted to get the warning out here quick.
Apparently people are having their systems bricked after downloading the 4.5 firmware update. It sounds like it is only happening to systems with 500 gig and more, but I'm avoiding it till I know for sure the problem is resolved. 
I just wanted to get it out on here quick though for any others of this site that have a ps3 like I do. Damn glad I stumbled on this tonight, as I was planning to do updates on everything tonight, including my PS3. 
Here's the link to the joystick column so you can check it out for yourselves. 
I'd say avoid it to be safe even if you have the smaller drives for now. Last thing we need to do is be locked out for an indeterminate amount of time. 

The Anatomage Table

Oh wow, not in my mind this is a great advancement in teaching biology or any type of medicine that deals with the structure of the body. This device is called The Anatomage Table, or a virtual anatomical table capable of real time virtual anatomical table that allows for viewing and or dissection of body structures. It is wildly fast and accurate. My only trouble with it is, I was watching ahem...Hannibal on Hulu and thought, hey, lets check out some news feeds....yeah, this table is that good. I know...what a sick mo fo - what can I say... watch the short YouTube demo...Chianti anyone?

Monday, June 17, 2013

BMU # 370 The Rise & Rise of Grey Power + No Great Magic con

Well here we are!  Another week gone by and it is time for Beam me up episode 370.

I start this week I open with what I like to call a conversation but others would classify as a rant  ***sigh*** How about we split the difference and call it a conversation with passion?  No? Well anyway, a listener pointed me in the direction of a news article concerning recent additions to the passenger list of Virgin Galactic.

Next I was having some difficulty talking, I play a nice musical selection which leads to the the first story of the afternoon David Scholes “The Rise & Rise of Grey Power”.

I open the book on Star Trek Trivia.  This week – Mudd’s Women.

Now I meandered over to the Beam Me Up blog.  This week, articles about China’s space effort and Andromeda it seems has a plethora of black holes in its core. From the weekly rundown, Nuclear  spacecraft engines, It seems that some gullies On Mars were not made with water, news on NASA’s Sun Jammer solar sail as well as discussion on Lagrangian points.
Then it is time for the conclusion of “No Great Magic”.
That’s it for this week.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Maybe. They seem to be finally looking at something that we should have been doing already a long time ago. Nuclear Fusion Rockets in other words. Yeah, those things I've been screaming about since you all met me out here.  This would cut travel time down immensely, and would pretty much open up the solar system for us to explore. Imagine getting to Saturn in just a couple months or so. This would mean manned mission to Saturn, not just sending a probe that takes forever to get there anyway. Here’s a quick comparison for you. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took off in October of 1997. It finally managed to enter into an orbit around Saturn in 2004. Now this is still a good ways off, and won’t be happening anytime next year, but at least NASA has started funding the research for it. And considering it is figured that it could take only 30 days to reach Mars for example, I’d say it is high time. Why we weren’t doing this long ago is just beyond me. They are also looking at other advanced systems, but for the moment this is the most logical solution in my eyes. Yeah, I know about solar sails, and ION drive, and they are even interested in matter antimatter, but that is still a long long long way off for us.  Now though this has been studied for decades now, there are those I saw on a science program, (through the wormhole I believe),  a few are getting closer to it. And now that it is being looked at for space flight, and has NASA behind it, it may not be always 30 years away any longer.  Let’s hope anyway.

            Some of the gullies on Mars now appear that they were formed by large chunks of frozen carbon dioxide, (dry ice). Serina Diniega of NASA’s jet propulsion lab in Pasadena California has this to say. “"I have always dreamed of going to Mars. Now I dream of snowboarding down a Martian sand dune on a block of dry ice." Okay, I have to admit that sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder if you could carve them into small ski like things and do it that way. She and her colleagues were studying one type of groove on a Martian hillside known as a linear gully. It doesn’t appear to have been made from liquid. With a liquid flow, material eroded transfers to the bottom and spreads out in a fan shape. In these, you are carving out the gully, and pushing the material to the sides instead.  Now this is only for this one type of gully, and there are plenty of other types on Mars as well. They took dry ice out to the dunes in California and Utah to test their theory, and the blocks they slid down the dunes made similar markings. Seems to me we have another reason to go to Mars now. This would definitely appeal to the extreme sports people and a few others out here as well.

            In order to demonstrate the viability and value of propellant free propulsion, a huge solar sail is set to be sent into space in November of 2014.  Nasa’s Sunjammer Spacecraft as it is being called, will have a solar sail that is 13,000 square feet. Basically, this is sailing in space on a different type of wind, being photons from the sun. It is scheduled to lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. This will be a secondary payload for Falcon 9, with the main payload being the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) toward a gravitationally stable location called the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1, which lies about 900,000 miles from our planet. Sunjammer will monitor space weather using several different instruments, though the $27 million mission's primary goal is to help prove and advance solar sail technology, which it is said could power future missions cheaply and efficiently.
            Even though Sunjammer will be the biggest solar sail ever deployed in space, it won't be the first. Japan's Ikaros probe unfurled a 46-foot-wide sail in June of 2010, becoming the first spacecraft ever to cruise through space propelled only by sunlight.
            We have also sent up ne previously ourselves. Five months aftger Ikarus, NASA launched its NanoSail-D demonstrator craft, which sported a solar sail with a surface area of only around 110 square feet.  NanoSail-D deployed its sail in January 2011, and zipped around the Earth for 240 days before burning up in the atmosphere.

            Now we will move on to the sci-fi portion, and will be starting with something that may or may not be sci-fi, depending upon which book you use. But it still sounds a bit silly to me.

            Okay, I am sure we all remember those books that were out for quite a few years that were called Choose Your Own Adventure.  Just in case you don’t remember these, I’ll give you an example. You read the first page, or first few pages, and then you had a choice to make. Say you were a thief in the book. Your choices could be something like this.
            If you choose to hide turn to page 10
            If you choose to attack the guards turn to page 43
            And so on and so on. They came out in the 70’s and basically vanished in the 90’s after 180 titles.
            Anyway, some real braincases out there in Hollywood have apparently come up with the idea that this would be a good thing for a movie, or number of movies to do. Yeah, right, whatever. This is what they are proposing. That the people in the theater at a certain time in the movie would have to text or something similar their choice as to what to do, and how they wanted the story to move forward. Okay, so a group of 300 people all deciding on a decision. Yep, I see no problems there. Except of course for those whose choice was not played out.  Now the books could be fun when you didn’t have your RPG group together to play. But an entire theater doing this? Umm, no. I know for a fact that trouble would ensue, believe it. I have done something similar with a movie before. It’s on DVD, and is titled “Scourge of Worlds - A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure.” I have it and it isn’t bad, but that is at home alone, or with a few friends. It’s actually kind of fun. But to do this with a theater full of people I just don’t see happening easily. Anyway, I will list 2 links here. The first is to the article, and the second will be to Amazon and the DVD that was already done back in 2003. And played this alone and with my buddies who are all D&D and RPG gamers as well, and we survived both times. I let a few other people play it that weren’t gamers, and they died, twice. And they want to do this on a theater level. Can anyone else say freaking disaster.

            Well, it’s apparently official now. Terminator 5 will start filming in January 2014. Arnold had this to say at the 21st Century Financial Education Summit seminar in Australia.
            ”I’m very happy that the studios want me to be in Terminator 5 and to star as the Terminator, which we start shooting in January.”
            So basically we get a 65 year old terminator now.  Okay, I’m not going to gripe on that. The guy still looks pretty good, and he is back for King Conan, or The Legend Of Conan, or whatever they finally decide to title the thing. Now the question is this, and I think it’s a big one. Is there still a place for this franchise any longer? Though I admit I am on the edge about a basically 70 year old terminator, I’m kind of looking forward to it. Sounds better to me than some of the underwear model he’s still a good guy Zombie silliness we are starting to get now at least. Sorry, but zombies do not recover, that is why they are called zombies. They are rotting flesh no brained biological killing machines that eat flesh, etc. Anyway, looks like Arnold isn’t done with the action flicks yet, so that is probably a good thing at least.  Guess we’ll see when it is done and hits theaters. Until then we can only wonder about it.

            I don’t know. No one knows yet. If they have decided, they are being closed mouthed about it to the extreme. However, there are rumors to the extreme, including maybe a woman taking over the part, (which i do not agree with as the puritan guy I am when it comes to characters), and also a list of about 900 other people.  So if they ever say anything there, I’ll let you all know. There is even a rumor that says Tenant will be taking over for a few episodes again as he tried to set the regeneration right. Now that would be interesting to see, but in my opinion, just give us the new doctor and don’t be playing any smegging games here. It’s always hard enough to say hello to the new guy and say goodbye to the one that actually does die. I’m sorry ladies out there, but let’s not be femming up the Doctor. Although, he is running out of regenerations, or is supposed to be now, I guess since women are the ones that give birth, and the time lords are gone, (maybe), that might be a way to solve that problem. But I won’t get into that here as it would end up being a mile long before I got done, and when you start trying to throw a logical theory of renewing regenerations into this, it’s going to get really weird. But then, without Gallifrey, that limit may no longer be in effect anyway.  No link on this really, just was passing on the rumors and wonderings here.

Well, that's it for this week folks. See you all next week, and hopefully before Friday night. Everything is running behind this spring, me included apparently. So I will try and aim for Thursday night again next week, when I want to get this up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Andromeda is FULL of Black Holes!

And ones more from my little motorcycle dude.. website writes about a section of the Andromeda galaxy that has recently been under the scrutiny of NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope.

From the article:
  • 26 new stellar-mass black hole candidates have been identified, adding to nine previously known and bringing the grand total to 35.
 The photo shows the core of Andromeda's X-Ray candidates and the core.

Check out the complete Discovery article here

China Has A What?!!

Yep, my little motorcycle dude hit me with another today.  Check this out....China has a space station.
Yeah you read that right - on June 13th just two days after launch, a Chinese Shenzhou 10 space capsule carrying a crew of three docked with the nation's orbiting Tiangong 1 space module .

According to the article the crew consisted of :
  •  Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping — the second female Chinese astronaut to fly in space 
Now for more DAMN I DIDN'T KNOW THAT! stuff..... This was China's fifth manned mission (oh come on!)  This is the last of three missions to test space based docking procedures.   The Tiangong 1 has been orbiting Earth since Sept. 2011. Its schedule calls for it to remain operational for another three months.  This crew is the second to dock with the module.  

China plans to take what they learn here and apply it to a larger station in 2020 which eventually have 3 interconnected modules.

Here is the link to the complete article

Justin Bieber is Going Where? For How Much Money?!!

 My little motorcycle friend delights in dropping bombs on me and this one is no exception.  First off we know what Virgin Galactic is right?   Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot spaceship.  A ride costs $250,000 and will take you to an altitude of about 68 miles plus at apogee giving you a few minutes to experience zero gravity.

Well that being as it may, if you have a quarter mill not doing anything productive, you can give it to Richard Branson to be dangled from and then dropped of a perfectly fine airplane only to be kicked in the ass by the mother of all Hydrogen peroxide rocket.

So far about 500 have sighed on to do just that!    Some really notable names too.  People like physicist Stephen Hawking as well as  Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt.   Even a bit stranger at an auction some one paid 1.2 million for the right to sit next to  Leonardo DiCaprio.  Plus Ashton Kutcher is number 500.  

But when Justin Bieber signed up....well the life went out of me a little bit.  NO NOT because is was some rich kid who wants to take an A ticket ride it was me mental case of a manager  Scooter Braun, whom Bieber also bought a ticket, said that they were the latest "future astronauts." and Bieber tweeted  "let's shoot a music video in SPACE!!"

Excuse me....I need to go now.... I just threw up in my mouth......

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Men In Black 3

Will Smith as Agent J
Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K
Josh Brolin as Young Agent K
Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal
Emma Thompson as Agent O
Michael Stuhlbarg as Griffin

Men In Black 3 rejoin agents J and K in a third romp of a complicated nature. The initial plot centers around an alien Boris the Animal. It appears that he has been incarcerated for forty years in a some what over the top Hanibal spoof.

Boris was arrested forty years ago by agent k and now he want nothing more than to seek revenge on K for shooting off his arm and keeping him chained up for almost half a century. But the revenge will take place 40 years in the past where a younger K shot Boris and arrested him.

This is where the real fun begins because of the time traveling paradox should not be looked into too closely or the whole thing just breaks down.  But we do find out what happened to J's father, who K is (which set me to grumbling because things should have been different when K & J met for the "first time")  But what the heck, this movie is far better than the second that this alone makes it worth of watching.    I really don't want to give too much up if you haven't seen it yet, but enough to say that they have fun twisting the heck out of cause and effect time paradox.  But Brolin is an absolute must see as he does his version of K  not Tommy Lee Jones but Jones doing K and a younger K  talk about NAILING it.....    

Extra are good too, gag reel and making of shots plus a game for the younguns 

Love time travel and MIB3 is no exception.  It is a good 7 or 8 as well as the extras at a 7....hey no director's commentary but there is enough to keep you occupied.  overall 15 or a 7.5 rating ....maybe a bit low...but 8 is pushing it.  Harmless fun.  My guess is that you will enjoy it.  

Curiosity Takes Great Photo of Self

I know, the rover Curiosity has proven its ability to take a picture with itself as the subject, but up until recently those photo has all the charm of a Chilton Auto Repair Manual.  I know, NASA needed to see how the rover fared during the trip and various other shots.  But when when the operators get the chance, they prove that they can  do some really great work.

This photo shows us, in part, just how big the machine is.  Each of those wheels is over half a meter or 1.6 feet.  Plus we can see all the workings as well as the tread material!   Looking back at the mountains between the bogey wheels makes me feel like I am there!

You can see the ultra high rez photos at Space do Com here

Was Ancient Mars Truely Habitable?

Well according to an article that Kallamis sent me, NASA's rover Opportunity has uncovered evidence that points to a very emphatic yes!    Just imagine it!  For the past ten years this stalwart rover has been doing history making research and the little rover's latest find may be the biggest yet because it seems that Opportunity has uncovered evidence that in Mars' ancient past, life indeed may have found a foot-hold.

On the rim of Mars' Endeavour Crater, Opportunity discovered clay mineral deposits in ancient rock strata.  This suggests that neutral-pH water once flowed through the area.  Water that was potable even.    It was this  neutral-pH water that generated the clays.  Though it is difficult to know precisely  when exactly this water flowed - it was most likely during the first billion years of Martian history.  

Opportunity's latest discovery dovetails nicely with recent ones made on the other side of the planet by the Curiosity rover,  which found strong evidence that its landing site could have supported microbial life, as well, in the ancient past.

For more you can read the Huffington Post science article here

The picture above shows the pale clay strata upper center of the frame                                              


Sunday, June 09, 2013

BMU #369 Now Online

It is time once again for Beam Me Up episode 369.  This week's stories are a new one by a new author to BMU and continuing our multi-chapter sci-fi classic.

But first some music. This week "Dear, My Friends" the closing music for the anime series "A Certain Scientific Railgun". Performed by Elisa.  I know it is sugar sweet, but it is one on my favorite anime songs.  

Then I thought, what the heck, lets do some Star Trek trivia....

For the first story, I play chapter seven of Fritz Leiber's No Great Magic.

Over to the Beam Me Up blog a is Kallamis' weekly rundown.  He finds an article about a huge proposed telescope called Colossus that would be so huge it could see cities on a planet 70 ly away! Plus an article that suggests that life was started by commentary impacts!  The Mars Society wants to study long term effect of space flight and confinement by simulating a 1 year Mars Mission.  The facility they want to use is on Dvon Island in the upper latitudes of Canada.  The "astronauts" will be doing field studies as well as maintenance of the habitat.  What makes this unusual is they have to doi it in full space suits.  They estimate the cost of this "dry run" would be a million dollars. That and more.

The finale this week is "A World's New Destiny" by Kallamis.

That's the week.  Enjoy

A World's New Destiny by Kallamis  

Friday, June 07, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Not meaning they are heat seekers, but that we are hoping to find them by the heat that their civilization would give off.  This would be done by a new 1 billion dollar telescope that has been proposed that would be called Colossus. There’s a good reason for the name. The thing will have a 250 foot aperture. That’s double the size of any existing today.  It will use mirror technology in the form of thin mirrors, and a few large aperture mirror segments.  They estimate that it could pick out a city as far away as 60 – 70 ly’s away.  I know that doesn't seem like much, but it’s a start anyway.  First however they need the funding, which I hope they get. If they had the money today, they say they could have it done in 5 years. Anyone got a billion laying around I can borrow? Now I won’t put everything here as they discuss the Dyson Sphere possibilities and how alien civilizations could be using just that type of technology as well. One example would be a planet that was dark optically, but bright thermally. Such a situation would be evidence of an extraterrestrial civilization.

            Yeah I know a lot of us accept the comet theory already as a pretty viable theory of how we all got here. We now have more proof that it is quite possibly what got us started though. A computer model was done of such an impacts effect on a comet crystal made up of water, carbon dioxide and other simple molecules.
            According to co-author Nir Goldman, a physical chemist at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California, "Comets carry very simple molecules in them. When a comet hits a planetary surface, for example, that impact can drive the synthesis of more complicated things that are prebiotic, they're life-building." The theory that the life building molecules were carried here by a comet is not new, but the theory that comet impacts could have created those molecules is newer.
            They used a computer model to simulate a single comet crystal of hundreds of molecules. Comets are mostly dirty snowballs, so the simulated crystal started with mostly water molecules, but also included carbon monoxide, methanol, ammonia, and carbon dioxide.  They then simulated the effects of the crystal hitting the Earth's surface at various angles, from crashing into it directly to making a glancing blow. They followed the chemical changes in the crystal for about 250 picoseconds, about the amount of time the system needed to reach a steady state, where the proportion and type of chemicals in the system is stable. The huge jolt from the impact provided the energy needed to make complicated chemicals. So basically, we are starting to prove that life here really did start out there. Cool.

            How people live and work together on a mission to Mars may turn out to be one of the biggest challenges of deep-space exploration. So to simulate the experience of a crew stuck inside cramped quarters under stressful conditions, the nonprofit group. The Mars Society is planning a one-year mock Mars mission in the Arctic. It is to start in July of 2014. A six member crew will spend the next year living inside the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS). This station is a 25-foot-tall by 27-foot-wide cylindrical habitat on Devon Island in the high-latitude Canadian Arctic. This actually sounds like it would be very interesting, and actually sort of fun.  And here is why. They will be conducting field geology, and have to wear full space suits while doing so. They will also be doing other scientific research, as well as maintenance on the habitat and equipment. They want to simulate a real Mars expedition more closely than past mock missions, which were set under more comfortable conditions, and without such stringent research duties. The July 2014 mission is estimated to cost up to $1 million, will aim to provide information to help the planners of the first real-life trip to Mars and aid in the choosing of a leadership structure and promote healthy social interactions among the crew. Under directions from the Obama administration, NASA is aiming to send people to the vicinity of Mars in the 2030's, with a landing on the Red Planet to follow. As for the healthy interactions part, and keeping up moral, I think that would be relatively easy. I am basing this of course on my own loner personality here. But if we make sure they are supplied with enough recreational stuff, such as books, games, etc, I don’t see where the problem would be. I realize that they wouldn't have the privacy as here on Earth, but you can always shield off a small area for personal privacy. Something I thought about, though it may not work for a lot of people, would be to let them take dice and actually have a fantasy RPG session once a week or so. Or for that matter, they will have computers, so there are a lot of computer games that they could take as well. There so many ways to take entertainment with them, or send it there after them even. I think one of the biggest mistakes would be to send a group to Mars on a long stint, and then not keep them up to date as possible with things on Earth. News, entertainment, etc would be needed by the first people to go there. I mean, if they are there for a year let’s say, then at say 6-7 months in, when we send a supply pod there, we include the latest DVD’s, etc according to their likes. Hey, these people would be living heroes, and they should be treated as such. I’m tired of hearing all this nonsense about cost this and cost that. But I’ll avoid the waste spending here as it doesn't fit, plus I would be going on for hours if I did that.

            Okay folks, now on to the sci-fi portion. Things are a bit short this week, as my schedule is beyond insane, and sleep seems to be a nearly forgotten concept again. But here we go. 

            I don’t care if they call him superman or not in this Nolan movie, he’s always going to be Supes to me. But the link here shows a really pretty cool trailer if you haven’t seen it. And you know, though I am still complaining about the suit, (and probably will till the day I die), I have to say this is the best scene yet in my opinion.  For those of you old enough to remember Jim Croce, you will remember a line from a song that says “you don’t tug on superman’s cape.” Well, I’d say a bigger one is to not threaten his mom, Ma Kent. That will get you seriously punched the frack out. So for all my initial complaining, they finally got my attention. Still don’t like the new outfit, but then I am a puritan when it comes to comics. Though even I have to agree that Wolverine in yellow spandex just wouldn't work on screen.  We’ll see. I’ll give it a fair shake. And there is no way it could be worse than Superman Returns. Even if they put him in pink undies, it would still be better than that movie. But check out the link and watch the clip. It’s only 1 minute 18 seconds long, and for all my complaining, I've watched this clip like 5 times. So folks, I do believe we have a pretty good movie coming. Even if they did destroy the uniform.

            Looks that way in these photos. It’s the fully updated beast makeup and he looks pretty good. I am referring of course to X-MEN Days Of Future Past. Now I know there are a lot of you still screaming about First Class. Well, I handle it the easy way now. I simply gave up on anything in Marvel ever being done by the original story. (Such as Doom going into space with the FF.) That is when I just hung it up and gave up. So forget the original stories, and sit back and just enjoy whatever they do, and be happy we at least see our heroes on the big screen, and live action. At least they haven’t done to X-Men what they did to DBZ, Last Airbender, etc. Well, not yet anyway. Now if they mess up Doctor Strange if they ever do it again, then you’ll be hearing a rant and tirade that’ll make your ears blood, and a sailor blush. Yep, Doc Strange is still my favorite of all.

            Okay folks. I love horror. I love zombies; Evil Dead (the original) is still a classic to me and always will be. Have all 3 actually and watch them on Halloween. That is actually when I got big into horror movies actually.  I even memorized all te words from the tape and freaked out a couple friends on a foggy night out in the woods camping. Yeah, I know, I have an evil streak sometimes. But it really was hilarious. Anyway, there is now going to be a 3rd Human Centipede movie. I stopped after the first one. Was going to watch the second one, but after what I heard, and other horror fans i know said don’t bother, and explained why, I haven’t yet. But now we are getting a 3rd one, and rumor mill is talking about a Centipede of 500 people. Really? Now that just seems to be going way over the line of horror, into utter silliness to me. But apparently a few big names are involved with this one. Eric Roberts for one, who seems to show up in nearly everything, and if you look at IMDb, I don’t know how the man gets any sleep at all. And apparently someone by the name of Bree Olson, who I guess is a porn star of some kind. Don’t watch porn, never did, and this is the first time I heard of her ever.  Even so, a 3rd one?  Really? I mean, I watch some sick and twisted stuff, but this is beyond even me actually.  Think I’ll be skipping this one, and just wait for the return of Superjail. At least that has some kind of semi sensible plot to it. If you consider extreme over the top hilarious violence in an anime show a plot. Anyway, here’s the link for any that are interested in this.

            And that is all for this week folks. Oh yeah. Almost forgot. 2 new shows premiering on the former sci-fi channel this Saturday night. Sinbad, and Primeval: New World. And continuum is back on Friday nights now on that channel as well. Catch you all next week again folks. Hopefully actually being awake at the time of writing this then. And please excuse all the spelling disasters this week. Auto check is off, and to be honest, I'm just too bloody tired to care right now. Later all.