Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            NASA has received over 400 proposals from private companies, international organizations, and non-profit groups. This was in response to a call for suggestions on an asteroid retrieval mission.  About a third of the proposals were tied directly to NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge. The rest dealt with components of the mission.
            This mission has also sparked debate in congress as to whether NASA should focus on a manned asteroid exploration, or if they should look more at a moon oriented goal.
            The article itself is short, but not bad. Basically an update article. But I don’t see why the two are exclusive. We should be doing both right now.  There is no reason not to have a moon base already in operation in my opinion. The advantages of having such a base could be the focus of more than one book on the subject I am sure. Research alone would advance as well, especially in the areas of space and travel. And if anything did go bad at least they are close enough that it is feasible to rescue them. And basing on the moon would also make a magnetic launch system something that could be looked at as well, instead of using fuel to launch from the moon with.

            NASA is gaining more confidence in the printed technology as the engine parts that were developed using 3D printing have gone through another rounds of tests without a problem. The two injectors were made with both printed and traditionally created parts, and survived temperatures of around 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and extreme pressures. The tests just done follow the recent tests done at the Glenn Research Center here in Ohio.
            As i mentioned before here, the process is cheaper and faster, and this week I actually have a price comparison listed in the article to show that.  The injectors that are constructed using the standard method cost around 10,000 dollars each. They also each take 6 months to build one. The printed version however took only a few weeks to make, and only cost 5,000 dollars. I have listed numerous reasons times why I think this technology is the next wave of production. I also think it will be in space as well soon in order to make parts, even if temporary emergency parts only. See, another reason for a permanent moon base or station, which I am coming to next.

            The ISS has been undergoing a serious engineering and risk analysis assessment. This is to gauge whether it will be operable through 2020.
            Brad Cothran, Boeing’s vehicle director for ISS had this to say on the subject. “The good news is, so far, we haven’t found any showstoppers. Our plan has been to get back to the ISS program and clear the station to get to 2020. After we get to that point, we’ll enter what we call our phase three, and we’re going to clear the ISS for 2028 and beyond.”
            It does turn out however that the solar arrays are degrading faster than they originally thought they would. They are degrading between 1-2% per year instead of the max of 1% year per rate as what was calculated. It is still a mystery as to why this is happening, but one thought is that the proton and neutron environment is more severe than originally thought.
            Memory devices that aren’t powered are also becoming a problem, as they only hold their memory for an average of around ten years. 
            There are many other things as well, and too numerous to list it all here.
            This article shows my reasoning also for a massive space station. We need to get with his and start doing things that are meant to last, period. Anything we build to use in space should be built to last for much longer than what we have been doing. A massive station, big enough to hold one or two shuttles in, and a moon base, and things would happen to help the entire world then. And if I start listing here, I won’t be done till next week, so I’ll shut up my rant on this for now. Check it out though; it’s a pretty good article about some of the things they are learning there over the years.

            A bill introduced to congress has started controversy, for some unknown reason. I’m going to try and be nice about this here. Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park would be on the moon. This has come up due to the new commercial space flight situations that are going to be arising soon, and as other countries are now advancing their capabilities as well. This means that anyone could actually be landing on the moon soon.
            Okay, I’m done with the article here. I’ll put the link at the end of course for anyone else that wants to get irritated quickly by this even being a bloody issue. What the smeg is wrong with those people, (I use the term uselessly). This should not be an issue, or even a discussion. If they don’t, people like me (but ones that actually have money), will have that stuff in their houses one day. As soon as I saw the title of that article, I knew where it was headed, and for those old enough, images of “SALVAGE 1” I am sure jumped in your heads.
            I admit it. If I could get my hands on that stuff, you bet I would. Talk about a center piece for a science or a sci-fi collection. Hell, any collection for that matter. And it should be a historic site. What the smeg else are you going to call it. We were there. We did it. We made it to the bloody moon because it was there. And we had to leave our own world, and cross a gulf of vacuum and radiation to get there. IT’S A FREAKING HISTORICAL SITE, PERIOD.
            I’m just going to say it. Anyone opposing this should just be slapped.
            In the end, it would be listed with United Nations Educational, Scientific, and
Cultural Organization as a World Heritage Site. As it should be. Why anyone would be against this is beyond me. And I actually managed to be nice about this here, and didn’t say a word that I would like to say about certain people. I am quite sure you all know my feelings on this as it is anyway.

            Now on to the sci-fi part of this week’s rundown. I dropped the ball this week on this front, that’s for sure. Basically, building a kitchen, and found a new anime that I will discuss here instead of the regular rundown of movie stuff. A quick look through things though didn’t show anything that was really new or that wouldn’t be common knowledge to all of us out here already. I am watching this on HULU. It’s not HULU Plus, so it is available for anyone to watch that has an internet connection.

            Yeah, that is Tail, not Tale. It is the name of a guild of magic users that hire themselves out to do jobs for people. There are actually many magical guilds on the continent. Fairy Tail however is a bit of a different type of guild. For one thing, they’re all freaking insane. The whole guild is nuts. All of them.
            The magic is based on the separatist style lean in anime, as each person that uses it and studies it focuses on a certain aspect, like ice, fire, card magic, ring magic, etc.
            If you like anime like slayers, that is kind of out there in terms of characters and story lines, this is a good one. Gray, a powerful ice wizard of creation magic has this habit of taking his clothes off. Anywhere, at any time, and doesn’t even realize he is doing it. That gets explained in the series believe it or not. It isn’t a truly bloody violence, but things do get blown to smeg now and then. Which is one of the council’s problems with the Fairy Tail Guild. A lot of them kind of over do things.  
There are plenty of battles, and plenty of character history as you learn about them as you go along. And you get to see them become stronger as they band together and move ahead.
            This is also a Manga, which I have never seen. But I love the anime version. And you also get to see what they learn about secrets, as they move through their daily lives of taking jobs, and hanging out at the guild. It is really a great story so far, and having seen only half of the 48 available on HULU, I have to recommend it. There are more but they are on DVD. Which is fine because I plan on buying the series as it is released here anyway. It is a total of around 175 episodes or so I believe.
            But check this out. It’s a fun anime, filled with great stories, lots of action, and mystery. I definitely recommend it for anyone that is a character follower like me. There are plenty in this one to keep you up for hours watching it. The first link is to the character listings on the Fairy Tail WIKI site. The second is to the main page for the show on HULU. There are 48 dubbed episodes, and 72 subtitled.  Enjoy all.

            Well, see you all next week folks. I’ll try and keep up a bit more with the things this week as Paul is down for a short time as you all have read I am sure. See you all next week folks. And let’s all wish Paul a speedy recovery and getting himself back out here where he belongs. 

out to lunch

No not really  but a week ago i was struck  down with a particularly pernicious infection

Looks like I will be out for about 3 weeks

 Continue to post guys please 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hopefully Brief Hiatus

Just a note to everyone to say that Paul is in the hospital recuperating and hopes to be back at the keyboard and microphone soon. Thanks!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            First off this week, is a simple question. Does anyone else hate the new Space.con layout as much as I do? It’s just irritating. I’m used to following a story there, and then hitting the home page link, which now apparently doesn't exist. Why do these sites, (Google mail included in this here this week with their new silliness also), always have to change things are working perfectly fine.  Anyway, on to the weekly rundown.

            Yeah, you’re reading that correctly.  NASA and Florida-based company Aerojet Rocketdyne put the injector which was built using 3D printing technology through a series of hot-fire trials, agency officials announced last week. They crafted the injector by using high powered lasers to liquefy and fuse metallic powders into the desired shape and structure.  Now these injectors usually take a year or more to manufacture (which frankly seems like a very long time to me). But by using 3D printing or additive manufacturing as it is sometimes called in certain areas, reduces the time to around four months, and decreases cost by around 70%.
            NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington, D.C. Michael Gazarik, had this to say in a statement. "NASA recognizes that on Earth and potentially in space, additive manufacturing can be game-changing for new mission opportunities, significantly reducing production time and cost by 'printing' tools, engine parts or even entire spacecraft. 3D manufacturing offers opportunities to optimize the fit, form and delivery systems of materials that will enable our space missions while directly benefiting American businesses here on Earth.”
            Looking to print an entire ship? I do believe he is getting a bit ahead of himself, but it does remind me of something I read in a sci-fi book once. There was a type of hull that was formed by a molding process, making it a one piece unit. I don’t remember where exactly, but I think it was in book two of the Han Solo trilogy. Frankly, I Am betting that in a few years, 10 at the outside, 3D printing will exist in almost as many homes as computers did 10 years ago. Lets hope so anyway. Personally, I want the food replicators refined and done for one simple reason. When you AC blows up in this weather, it’s just too freaking hot to stand around in a kitchen cooking. Yep, self-serving concept again here. But such things would also work great for people that are disabled or old, etc. Not just lazy excessive heat hating people like myself.  So maybe not so self-serving after all. Okay, it is.

            Okay, so that isn’t quite accurate there. It’s been there the whole time, but we just found it apparently.  The moon is estimated to be about 12 miles in diameter, and lies approximately 65, 400 miles from Neptune. It was discovered by astronomer Mark Showalter while searching for moons inside the faint ring fragments circling Neptune.
            Showalter and his colleagues are working on a name to propose to the International Astronomical Union, which has final say in the matter. Which I do not feel is right. They found it; they should have total freedom in naming it. And frankly, those stuck up prudes at the International Astronomical Union shouldn’t have a bloody thing to say about it, unless of course they were going to name it something extremely vulgar or silly. Maybe they should get hold of that dirty planet killing death star wanna be Mike Brown as well and get his permission before they name it anything also. He was the driving force behind Pluto being demoted for those that don’t know the name.
            Showalter did have this to say about the name however. "We haven't really gotten far with that. What I can say is that the name will be out of Roman and Greek mythology and it will have to do with characters who are related to Neptune, the god of the oceans."
            At the moment, the newly found moon has been designated S/2004 N 1, and is located between Larissa and Proteus. It has an orbit time around Neptune of 23 hours.

            No, I don’t mean the movie Starcrash with the lovely Caroline Munroe, (which was actually a better movie than Star Wars which they ripped off horribly to make Star Crash), but by actual super dense dead stars.  And just so you know, it is thought that this is possibly where all the gold on Earth has come from. The origin of gold in the universe has long been a mystery, as it doesn't form in stars themselves. Edo Berger, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead author had this to say.
            "We estimate that the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of the two neutron stars may be as large as 10 moon masses quite a lot of bling!" (This is his statement remember, not mine. Bling. Really?) "To paraphrase Carl Sagan, we are all star stuff, and our jewelry is colliding-star stuff."
            Berger and his colleagues studied a short gamma-ray burst; a class of explosions that are among the most luminous known in the universe which was spotted by NASA's Earth-orbiting Swift spacecraft in early June.  This burst was 3.9 billion LY’s from Earth, and lasted only 2 10th’s of a second. In the aftermath of the burst, scientists noticed that the explosion gave way to a gradually fading glow dominated by infrared light. The team thinks that this comes from exotic radioactive elements. The team expects that the gamma-ray burst ejected about one one-hundredth of a solar mass of material, with some of it being gold. They also think that all the gold in the universe may have been created in this fashion. If that is the case, then there were a lot of collisions over time to put the gold throughout the universe, and it would also explain why gold is so rare in the universe.

            Maybe, and now we are going to try and find out. A team of researchers from MIT, Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) want NASA’s next Mars rover to probe the surface of Mars for genetic material by analyzing soil and ice samples with a DNA-sequencing microchip. Now finding signs of past life has actually already been considered a major priority in the next mission to Mars. The next Rover is scheduled to launch in 2020, and there is talk that one of its main missions will be to search for life there now, or recently extinct life, as in the last one million years or so.
            The study’s lead author Christopher Carr (of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences), had this to say on the subject.
            “If there’s life on Mars and it is based on RNA and DNA, you would get not one but many sequences and you’d be able to understand the extent of ‘relativeness’ of any Earth life. You could use that to determine whether it’s contamination from Earth or whether it's actual Martian life. That would also allow us to say how Martian life is related to Earth life.”
            Sure seems to me that there is a lot of talk about this recently, where even a few years ago it was being said that it was not possible. Amazing how things seem to change rapidly isn't it? I still say they already know something that they haven’t told us. But then, I’m naturally suspicious.  Check out the article, it is well worth a thorough read, believe me. As usual, I am just giving the basis of it and that is it here in the rundown.  Should be quite interesting if they ever tell us the truth. But I doubt seriously anything went from here to there. Due to the suns gravity alone, it would only be logical to assume that any life that was transferred by meteorite collision would come from there to here. You see, they too are starting to believe that life here, started out there. I seriously doubt that even if they did find absolute proof that they would release it anyway. There is this great conception of thought that if they did so everything would run amok as religions were destroyed by knowledge. I’m not joking on that, that really is a serious thought of way too many people in governments. One of the big reasons that I say they know more than what they are saying, and instead dragging it all out to try and prepare people for the truth. At least my conspiracy theories are based on some kind of logic, and not just a doctored picture of a robot head on the moon, or some crystal pyramid thingy there used by the aliens to watch us. And for those that haven’t heard those, they really are conspiracies that are out there being promoted as absolute truth. Maybe I should do a weekly here on nothing but some of the conspiracy theories of space, aliens, etc. Could probably have a few people here, (Dave) either rolling on the floor laughing, or crying. Anyway, here’s the link to the full article, with a lot more info than I have put here.

            Okay, not much to say about this, as the title I put there describes it entirely. This is the transcript of the Apollo 10 mission as recorded on the command module data storage equipment. Why this was ever listed as confidential in the first place i will never know. Anyway, it is available here at this link. It is also 506 bloody pages long. I am not reading all that at the moment, as I just found the dang thing about an hour ago actually. But I will be reading it, and wanted to list the link here for anyone else that wants to check it out as well.

            No, not the old Atari game. They are making a movie of that game. Why am I already dreading the very thought of this. Oh well, at least they can’t destroy beloved hero’s with this one, like happened with a few anime I could mention here, DBZ and Avatar for two. But this apparently ids not a myth like i thought it was.  Here’s what Di Bonaventura had to say about the whole thing.
            “Really, Asteroids is the one we’re spending our time on now. The truth is, I love the title… when I look at that project, that’s what I think about it, is I think about the scale of it and I think about the possibility of it. It’s not a disaster movie. If we’re successful at getting it made. It’s much more of a space opera. It’s like a great sci-fi movie if we get it done right. It is not at all what people think it is. People think, ‘Oh, the asteroid’s gonna hit the earth,’ and I have no interest in doing that. That’s been done exceedingly well before. No, this takes place in an asteroid belt, the whole movie.”
            Man of Steel scribe David S. Goyer has been brought on board now to rewrite the script. Uh yeah, and for good reason. Here is what the original script was going to be about, apparently.
An early synopsis for Asteroids suggested it would follow two brothers who have to “go through a seminal experience to figure out their relationship, against this huge backdrop.” That was back in 2009.
            I’m not holding out much hope for this to ever actually get made, but it probably will. But as I said, at least they can’t destroy any beloved characters this time, and I won’t be seeking revenge against certain people for that again. Nope, I am never going to let go of what they did to Last Airbender, and especially not to my DBZ.  Some people just need a beating for general purposes. 

            Needless to say, I am not exactly a fan of this rebooted series. I still prefer the original, as I usually do.  Director Matt Reeves however is now letting a few things slip out, basically due to Comic con. Here are two of the things he had to say about it so far. The rest is in the article.  Let’s start with whether the apes will be talking in this one.
            “Caesar talks at the end of the movie; he has some level of speech. I wanted to make sure we’re continuing to go along the path of evolution without missing it, it was so delicious to watch in the first movie. It’s not like now they are talking in verse. Hopefully the movie is emotional and thrilling as you watch the apes come into being.”
            And as for the evolution of the apes since Rise of the Planet of The Apes he had this to say.
            “The world is larger, still growing. For all of us that was exciting to explore, and bring in new performers to our cast of apes, Toby Kebbell and other great actors along with Andy. The apes story is a through-the-looking-glass way of looking at what we are. By what’s going on in the internal lives of the apes we are exploring ourselves, our impulses, our society. So much is roiling inside Caesar. He has a rational side separate from the apes, they’re all instinct. We are seeing how Caesar becomes this leader.”
            I still prefer the original novel, and the original movies to this. I also like the old quickly defunct live action TV series more than this new reboot stuff they are doing now. But that is just me I suppose. To be honest, I was much more impressed with the 2001 remake of this than I am with the reboot going on now. Something about this just doesn’t appeal to me very much. But since I know most of you seem to like this reboot, I included it here for you all. Personally, I won’t be seeing this one till it shows up on a used DVD fro a buck or two, or appears on Netflix or Amazon for free. It just kind of falls into the Twilight movie area for me. And I despise underwear model vampires, period. Needless to say, I will never be reviewing, or watching the new Dark Shadows movie. I’ll stick with Frid when it comes to that. The one, the only, the real Barnabas Collins. Anyway, here is the link to the rest of what he had to say for all those that are interested in this.

            Here is a series of new pics that have been released for the sequel to Hunger Games. Now one thing that sounds a lot better in the sequel is that it is supposed to have ultra-vicious, extra nasty super games in this one. Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.  If they want nasty, they should come and talk to me or some other gamers about how to make mean, nasty, bloody, violent games for this. Seriously, after watching every episode of Superjail multiple times, I really doubt this movie will live up to the violent hype they are trying to say that it will be.
The new suits look pretty cool though. And there are a series of 11 pics on this link that show the characters in them.  Some of them look really good. I haven’t read the books of this series yet, and here is why. I saw the movie first, and frankly it wasn’t bad in my book at all. However, that means I have to stay away from the books until the series has finished. If I don’t, I’d probably be slamming it right and left right now. Once the franchise is done, I’ll be reading the books. Actually, I’ll be reading book one after the second movie is seen. I figure that way I won’t explode too much on things they did or shouldn’t have done in the movie. Personally, I’m looking forward to the second movie. But for a post-apocalyptic survival game, I really do think there needs to be a lot more violence and bloodshed. I mean, Death Race 2000 actually had more violence than the first movie of this franchise did. 
But since the president is trying to teach them all a lesson about revolting, this one could get pretty nasty actually. Let’s hope so anyway.

            Okay, we have all heard about Sharknado by now I am sure. *Sigh.* This is about two new films coming to that channel soon. And one of them is going to be a direct sequel to Sharknado scheduled for sometime in 2014. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually kind of love Asylum, as I am a super fan of low budget bad B movies. I actually loved Starcrash to give you an example. And Asylum now and then actually turns out a decent film, more or less. But it gets even better with the former sci-fi channel.  Have any of you ever been actually embarrassed to talk about a movie that hasn’t even been made yet. Well this time I am. Here is why.
Ghost Shark
Here is the synopsis of this what I am sure is going to be a waste of film.
”When a young girl’s father mysteriously vanishes in the Gulf of Mexico, she becomes obsessed with finding the truth behind his disappearance, only to discover that the culprit is not only inhuman, but the ghost of a vengeful Great White Shark. Now she must convince the local authorities to trust her wild claims and identify the origins of the spectral predator if she wants to save her friends and family from the unstoppable killing machine.”
I rest my case here. The movie is scheduled for August 22nd.  The trailer on the site this is from has been removed, so the second link will be to IMDb where the trailer is available.

            Okay, I liked the first Star Wars movie. After that they just went to frack, especially the last three, or prequels, whatever.  Anyway, though the two cannot even really be compared, everyone seems to want to do so, and someone wrote up an article giving 5 reason why Trek is of course better than that other one is. I will give one of their reasons here. It is number two on their list, and one of the things I pointed out immediately when I got myself to watch the first of the prequel things.
The Force.
A mystical energy field that surrounds us, that binds the galaxy together. Remember that all. Well apparently old Ben had lost his freaking mind in 20 or so years. Because according to the prequels it was bugs in the blood that did it. Yeah I know there are people complaining that the history of Trek was destroyed, but it wasn’t. In fact, the original Trek is still exactly as it was, and still in existence. A separate timeline was created basically, and to say it wasn’t makes no sense. Without that other time line, there would be no old Spock, and he certainly would not remember what happened there. All Abrams did was create a way to actually reboot the series without taking away from the original. Whereas in Silly Wars, Lucas just simply rewrote the whole bloody thing to the point that everything that had happened in the future now makes no sense any longer. Now I am not a fan of Abrams, don’t get me wrong. I actually don’t like the guy very much at all. But he did do a semi-decent job on Trek, even though the true appeal of Star Trek, (thinking), was actually lost to conform to the mentally deficient society of non-thinkers we have out there now going to movies. Trek was never about big explosions, or excessive violence, or a list of other things I could list here. But for an adventure sci-fi film, it wasn’t bad at all. Hopefully, if it ever does return to the small screen, like so many of us are hoping for after the franchise ends this time, it will return to its proper roots of social thought, etc. Hey, I love action, and violence, but let’s not overdo it with Trek here.
I mean, lets really compare the two here. Man’s quest to understand his place, compared to a brats insanity with severe daddy issues that likes kissing his own sister. When it comes to Wars, I’ll say this. Give me Han, Chewie, and the Falcon. The rest you can keep. I’ll take the Han Solo trilogy over the movies any day of the week. But it was nice to see someone else agreeing with me out there finally. Long live Trek. As for Wars, see you around; if you manage to blind side me that is. I mean really. Hyperdrive is actually one of the silliest things I ever heard of. At least in the way it was done in those movies. And Lucas apparently doesn’t even know the difference between speed measurements, and distance measurements. Personally, I think he should have quit doing anything remotely related to sci-fi or fantasy after THX1138. And that was a snooze fest in itself.

Well, hope I got some info out there this week that you all didn’t know about yet. I’m now going back to waiting till it is cool enough to try and get another couple hours sleep in tonight again. At this rate, the Rundown may just end, as I go the way of the wicked Witch in OZ. In other words, I think I am smegging melting here. See you all next week folks, provided I am not a puddle by then.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Trailer

I know, cartoon, kid stuff yada yada......But if your a fan and you could not resist sticking your tongue out at the kid stuff comment are truly going to enjoy a trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2.  The animation is truly breath taking.  If the film is half what the trailer is, then we are in for a serious treat!

Helmet Leak Forces NASA to Scrub EVA

A leak in the helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, his country's first astronaut to walk in space,
forced NASA to terminate Tuesday's EVA.

The leak in question was a water leak in  Parmitano's helmet that grew progressively worse an hour into the EVA.  The leak was believed to be a tube in Luca's helmet leading to his water pouch, but NASA feels the leak in the helmet was “not readily identifiable.”

Luca initially mentioned the rise in humidity in the helmet, making it difficult to see at times. But as the water was pooing in the back of the helmet, NASA felt it was ok to continue with the mission.  But when he complained of water getting into his eyes, NASA advised Parmitano to  prceed to the airlock as they were terminating the EVA immediately.

According to Universe Today "At one point, there was so much water inside Parmitano’s ears and around his face that he couldn’t hear or speak to communicate with the other astronauts."

Once back inside the ISS, the crew, after removing Parmitano's helmet, reported that he was miserable but suffered no other ill effects.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BMU #374 Now Online

 Welcome to episode 374 of Beam Me Up for show date 7/13/13.

After my usual show intro I open the program with one of my favorite tunes, Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me With Science.  Yep this crazy tune encapsulates this program.

In news, Nasa's Jason-1 was decommissioned this week after more than 11 years.  Not bad for something that was on supposed to last 3 years or so.  I say that's a good return on their investment!

Instead of a regular weekly rundown, he does a review of The Tale Synphonia game / anime.

Next I read some trivia from the Dagger of the Mind.

From the blog, I review the Disney movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.  Japan is still gaga over power exoskeleton and NASA is giving composite materials.

And Finally I play the last of Ed McKeown's story, In the Mourning.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekly Rundown, Symphonia

Weekly Suspension For This Week Only
            I’m doing something different this week than the regular rundown, which will be back to normal next week. It’ll be taking up both this week and next hopefully. Been kind of a slow news week, so I am using the Weekly Rundown to run a review of and promote a game. And not just a review which I am doing, but also a kind of promotion for the game, and the anime version of it. The title of the game you wonder that has me so infatuated to use that term to its best here I believe, is this.
                                               THE TALES OF SYMPHONIA

            First off to make a few things here clear.  This is one of my favorite games, along with Skies of Arcadia: Legends, and Beyond Good and Evil. The anime came from the game itself. Not the other way around. The game has an IGN rating of 8.5 as well. The game is listed as an RPG, and it isn’t bad as one either, as there are a few different scenarios created by your choices. Since I don’t really know which to start with first, I will first say this. I got this game for like 3 bucks at the used video game store we use to have here about 10 miles away about 2 weeks after the games release date here. I hadn’t even heard of it, which is nothing new as I play a lot of multi-player games for competitions here at home. Mario party, Mario kart, golf, battle, San Francisco Rush, Burnout 2 Point of Impact, etc. Most RPG games I played were 1-2 player at best. This one is up to 4 players, all the way through it. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube originally. I put the game in and played for around 45 minutes or so to learn how the game worked as I usually do and ten start over after learning the controls of it. Folks, I played this game for 52 hours straight. Yeah, I hit the bathroom, and refilled my mug and that was it. Outside of that, I was playing the game. It isn’t the animation of it, as it is at best a 2.5d game. But the story and the characters grabbed me, and wouldn’t let me go. It’s a 2 disk game on the GameCube, and after my nap I got up and played another 36 hours straight in order to finish it. And then I immediately started it over again. And now on to the actual review of the game itself.
            You are basically supposed to run Lloyd when running alone. He is the main character and it is just easier to do so. You start off in school, sound asleep standing up holding two buckets of water in your hands. Yeah, you’re one of those students. Anyway, to make this quick and simple about what is happening is this. You are friends with one known as Collette, She is the chosen to regenerate the world. You are an orphan that was raised by a dwarf when he found you in your dying mother’s arms. The exsphere on your hand gives you great abilities, but was also the reason that your father killed your mother, after it turned her into a monster. And you father is a member of the group that is going to kill the chosen, that is at war with another group called the Renegades that also want to kill the chosen, and you see where this is going right. You don’t know your dad, you want to protect your friend, which your heart there also gets you banished form the village, while at the same time being best friends with a half elf, that are the Desians that that killed your mother, and use the chosen. And the Renegade leader, and dad, and others are all angles that can basically kick your behind in a heartbeat. So you get involved in the quest of the chosen to save Sylvarant, which also ends up in a quest to save a second world called Tethealla that sent an assassin through the dimensional barrier to kill the chosen of Sylvarant to ensure the flow of mana to their world so that it would not go into decline as Sylvarant is now as it’s mana flows to Tethealla. If the chosen makes it, then the mana flow reverses, and Sylvarant will flourish, as Tethealla wanes as it loses its life force.
            All this sound confusing yet? Play the bloody game and you will see what I mean by all this, as I have explained it only half, and without revealing too much either. And now as to the anime. PLAY THE BLOODY GAME FIRST. Seriously people, go out, but a GameCube, and buy the game, and play it before you watch the anime. The game in this case is like the book compared to the movie. The game has so much more info, and in fact thought he story line is the same, the game does it does much better as you get so much more information about everything.
            Now, why am I bringing up a game that was released for the GameCube back in 2004, well, that’s easy. It’s being re-released in HD for the PS3. Let’s be honest, there is only so much your can do with it in the case of the animation unless you bloody well start over at the beginning. Apparently it will be bundling both Tales of Symphonia and its sequel, (which is just bad) in the same game system. Either way, go play the original game, or at least watch the anime version of it. It is not dubbed, it is only subtitled so far, and I despise subtitles to the point of blowing up the entire planet. And I have watched it twice now, and now watching it a third time writing this up. Now that is with subtitles only, and I am still recommending it. And I’m the guy who reacts to subtitles like I would to someone telling me the Earth is flat and only 6000 years old. Same reaction, but in this case, it is Tales Of Symphonia, and Lloyd, Colette, Genis, Raine, Sheena, Regal, Kratos, etc. And you run alone up to four characters at once int he game. And you can set what they do as well. I set Raine to healing, and use Lloyd, Genis, and  ??????, to go into battle with.  And just so you know, if you cried when Giant Robot apparently dies, then this will rip your fracking heart out of you at one point. It did me, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I then went on the hunt to kill everything, go back and kill it again if possible, and make sure I never lose another fight again.  Yeah folks, it actually brought tears to my eyes during a boss fight, and the anime of course is no better for me there now.  Seriously, there is a point in that game and everyone I know who has played it agrees, that that is the first one. And then there is another as you end up going alone that will rip you heart to the point that you don’t care if you win or lose. You just want to hurt that %*%@$^%^%%#^%.
to Sylvarant and Tethealla to fight again.
            It’s a great game, one that I personally rate a 10 or higher, and the anime is actually
pretty good as well. So go play the game, or watch the anime, and learn how to live your life.
Yeah, it’s one of those as well folks. And I am now going to go watch episode 3 again, as I set
up my GameCube to play that game again for about the 15th time. And yeah, there are secrets
I haven’t mentioned here of course. Go find your own bloody special blades that work for you.
Luck all, enjoy, and see you in Symphonia.
Here is a link to the game opening.

And here is the link to episode 1.

Review: Oz: The Great and Powerful

Directed by     Sam Raimi


James Franco - Oscar Oz Diggs
Mila Kunis -Theodora - Wicked Witch of the West
Rachel Weisz - Evanora - Wicked Witch of the East
Michelle Williams - Glinda - Good Witch of the South
Zach Braff - Voice of Finley
Joey King - Voice of China Girl
Bill Cobbs - Master Tinker
Tony - Knuck
Bruce Campbell - Winkie guard

Oz: TGandP takes place some twenty or thirty years before the time of Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ. This movie is very much a "where did the main characters come from?" feel.  Several  are not in evidence while a few make very short appearances.

The story deals mainly with "OZ" escaping one perdicament only to find himself embroiled in those of OZ.

Many a homage is paid towards the MGM WofOZ that would be ill of me to mention them in case you haven't see this film / dvd yet.  But you do get a feel for what brought about the creation of many of the main characters.  

The film starts with con man and small time carnival magician  escaping from an enraged boy friend only to be transported to the Land of Oz.  There he is befriended by good which Theodora and learns the dire conditions that the Emerald City is in with the murder of the king by the wicked.   Theodora believing that Oscar is  the Wizard as told of in prophecy,   escorts him to the Emerald City.  

Oscar  is told that to become King he must destroy the wicked witch.  He sets out and along the way accrues   a motley crew consisting of a china doll and a winged monkey.

There are a few change ups and reversals and things are often not what they seem. 

The story is a wee bit thin.  If you grew up on the MGM musical, you will find the "prequel" nature of this film interesting, from the standpoint of, where did all these people come from....If you read the book series you could be aggravated at the liberties taken and if you have done neither, there is a great possibility that you will become lost in the convolutions.         

I would give the movie a 7.5.  Disney has a habit of rewriting history to suit their needs and the final product often only vaguely    resembles the original work.  I don't  think they were so openly aggressive in this case, but in typical Disney fashion, lots of splash and color and little substance.  Plus sadly many of their earlier works far outshine this one.

As for extras?  slight but interesting.  Walt's desire to do something with the Oz products that he had reserved really is an interesting look into the past.  What he wanted and what got made are a very interesting.  I would go as far as an 8 on this merit alone.   15.5 total on the film    and a 7.75 overall is something I think hits the mark pretty well. 

It is worth the rent, maybe not so much the purchase...but I am on the fence there.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

WTF Powered Exo-Skeleton Demo

Are you ready for something just a wee bit strange?  Then check out this "demo" film for a powered exoskeleton from Sagawa Electronics.   As the Dvice article says, it appears to be a joke until we see the "power jacket" in operation.

Check out the short video and see if you are confused as I am or would you lay down the 123,000 dollars it will cost to get one of these limited editions!

NASA Testing New Class of Fuel-tank

It is no mystery that the traditional  material for NASA's high pressure cryo-fuel tanks is metal of one type or another.  Metal pressure vessels and fuel tanks are good at what they are designed to do, however the down side is that they invariably have a large weight penalty.

So with this in mind NASA  has begun testing fuel tanks that are made of composite materials.  The aim of course is to significantly reduce the weight of the launch vehicle or other parts of the mission.  Less weight equates to lower costs and larger payloads.  

To use composite fuel tanks, a number of breakthroughs in manufacturing needed to take place. A breakthrough in automated fiber placement which will help eliminate leaks and tooling that will eliminate the heavy bolted joints, which composites perform badly at. 

Below is a NASA film describing the process of manufacture and the ultimate weight savings.

Monday, July 08, 2013

BMU #373 To Bere Arms - Wes Parish + In the Mourning p3 - Ed McKeown

Welcome all to episode 373 of Beam Me Up.  I hope you find it to your liking!

I start off this week with a 'discussion' of one of the most egregious desimation of antiquities that I have come across in some time and that is saying something....

Following a musical interlude (The Big Bang by the Barenaked ladies) I get out the Star Trek Trivia book for a little bit of hey did you remember this?

Then it's off to the BMU blog for Kallamis' Week In Review.  This week Kallamis talks about an asteroid hunting telescope Sentinel auction, An astronauts guide to life on Earth by Chris Hatfield, a spinoff of Once Upon a Time?, More about the TMNT - Kallimis is on another rant....

A mystery signal from deep space, NASA's revolutionary 7kw ion engine finally is being shut down after five years of continuous operation, you will not believe how many life supporting planets
might exists in the Milky Way.

The first story of the afternoon is Wes Parish's To Bere Arms.

And finally part 3 of Edward McKeown's In the Mourning.

That's it!  Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Now this is something we could all be excited about, especially if you have some money to burn for your own personal collection. It’s an auction going on where Apollo 9 spacewalker Rusty Schweickart and International Space Station flight engineer Ed Lu have put up for sale flown-in-space mission patches, flags, medals and pins to support the launch of the private Sentinel space telescope. This telescope is designed to discover, track, and map asteroids that have orbits that approach Earth and are therefore considered being a threat to the planetary life.
            Lu had this to say on the subject. "We want to literally save the world. Not only will the money raised by this auction go to supporting the Sentinel mission, but also we hope the increased attention to our cause will help everyone realize that they really can take a critical role in protecting our planet in a real and concrete way."
            The auction will end on Sunday July 7th. Yeah, I’m late on this one, sorry about that. I just learned about it now due to busy and insane schedule, so anyone with cash to burn, go there and bid quick. The first link is to the article, and the second link will be to the auction site page.

            No, this is not another type of book like Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, or any of the others that have since ripped off that series. This is the title of the first book that will be written by everyone’s favorite astronaut photographer Chris Hadfield. This first book will be published this fall, and will take us “deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible.”
             Hachette Audio will also be releasing an audio book version as well, so that that drive to work can be a bit more enjoyable.
            Though Hadfield has done many things, and is even a member of two bands, one being an all astronaut band, he is best known for his latest space expedition due to his flow of photos and videos that have consumed the interest of those like us here. His rendition of the David Bowie song, Space Oddity, received more than 10 million views during its first three days online. Maybe the learning channel should go back to focusing on these guys for one, instead of things like what I will call smeg for brains, (to leave out names and titles that you all already know who and what I am referring to anyway and wish you didn’t).
            There are also quite a few others who are now writing books that have retired and that list is also on the article.

            Well, sort of. There is a new series coming out next year that will be a spin-off of the popular TV series now going strong. It is titled, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.”  It was originally ordered as 13 episodes, but word is that it is falling actually somewhere between 13 and 22 episodes already. Now yeah, this does sound strange, even by todays lunatic TV series ordering system that frankly seems to be done by throwing darts at a board anymore. But here is what co-creator Edward Kitsis has to say about it.
            We really want to tell the story without having to worry about how to stretch it for five years. The upfront order will be it for the season. This is not meant to be a 22-episode season. Whatever it ends up being, we’ll have told a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end.

            It will be telling the story of the romance between Alice and the genie Cyrus, played by Sophie Lowe and Peter Gadiot. It will be a stand-alone series, so if you have never seen Once Upon A Time, you will not be lost on this one.  I’m a fan of the one that is on now, but usually spin-offs don’t fare well, but we’ll see what happens here. I for one am willing to give it a shot. But it had be as good as the original series that is going on now.

            Yeah, more about the Teenage Mutant Turtles reboot. The more I learn, the less thrilled I am. But then you all know how I hate it when they start changing story lines and characters.  Well, first off they have replaced April’s jump suit with a leather yellow jacket. Okay, can deal with that to a point I guess. Makes sense.  However, let’s get to what isn’t sounding quite right here at all. William Fichtner is playing the Shredder. Now let’s leave out the part that well, he isn’t Japanese.  That kind of seems like a very important point to that character. Let’s instead look at what he had to say when asked about the part and whether he has gotten the Shredder look down.
            ”I actually play a guy named Eric Sachs (Shredder’s name is Oroku Saki). It gets better folks, trust me. Here is more.
            “But Turtles is coming together very, very cool. There is a whole interesting dynamic that happens in the world of Turtles and all I can really say about it at this point while working on it is that the Turtle film, it’s not like anything that I remember about the Turtles before. I feel like this Michael Bay-produced movie is just gonna really be something else. I’m pretty excited.”

            Who knows what is actually what, but considering some idiot put Bay in charge of all this, anything could be going on now. Frankly, I am starting to despise that man with a passion. But again, we will see eventually how he manages to destroy this old favorite of many of us as well. I am personally starting to wonder if there isn't a way to charge him with destruction of art for what he does to things. 

That's all for this week folks. Have another post I am working on getting out before the weekend is up on an upcoming game being re-released soon. And sorry for missing last week. Life schedule just sometimes runs amok and things don't get done that should get done, like the weekly rundown. See you all next week folks.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Mystery Signal From the Past

Astronomers using the 210 foot CSIRO Parks radio telescope located in Australia have detected a radio source from 10 billion light years away!

The drama, though, started in 2007 when astronomers were studying a whole sky survey from 2001.  What immediately stood out was an incredibly powerful and extremely short, about 5 millisecond, a curiously short duration, one that was never again, until seven years to the day.

As odd as this sounds, there's more.  The first time it was recorded, the burst was so short it was somewhat doubtful that it had really happened at all.  So when the bursts started again after more than half a decade, astronomers were anxious to study the data.  However their results didn't seem to make sense.  

First, the events seem to come from an unbelievable distance, well outside the Milkyway.  Being as bright as the events were, and the distance involved, they had to be something cataclysmic.  Something along the line of  neutron stars merging or black holes, a dying magnetar, or a black hole feasting on a star, the bursts coming from huge amounts of stellar material dropping through the event horizon.  One thing is clear however.  These bursts came from so far away that when they started the universe was only half as old as it's present age, or 6 to 9 billion years old.

The implications are numerous but it may be very likely that they shed some light on the Universe's missing matter.

One thing however seems to be apparent, the initial "quiet" time between bursts.  It seems that bursts like these should be happening every 10 seconds if the sky could be observed completely by large radio telescopes.

I Fear that the Human Race is Doomed....

I know, this isn't quite science and it certainly isn't fiction, but when members of the same, dare I say race?, do something so totally insane and lacking in any thing resembling foresight, makes me wonder if the race is worth preserving.....

What has got me in a tither today?  Well as many of you may not know there seems to be a systematic effort to decimate antiquities in central America.    Case in point Belize, several months ago a construction crew raze a 2300 year old Maya pyramid.  Why?  They were part of a road construction company and needed crushed rock for a new road bed!  

Ready for more....oh yeah, more and worse....

Peru, a complex of 5000 year old  pyramids, yeah plural, there were  12, were demolished by two construction companies.  One of the oldest constructions ..... gone.   Oh and to make matter worse if that is at all possible, the site was later burned by several clandestine groups that entered the site

What the hell is going one?!!!  This is insane!

NASA Thruster Sets a New Record of 5+ Years Continuous Operation!

You read right, NASA has had an ION engine running non stop for 48,000+ hours which works out to 5 plus years of operation.  NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster project at Glenn Research Center is responsible for this extraordinary engine's core ionization chamber and  Aerojet Rocketdyne  designed and built the ion acceleration assembly.  

NASA says that the 7 kilo-watt engine can be used in a variety of projects such as deep space missions where weight is a premium.  One innovation comes in the shape of it's electric thruster unit which is powered by solar electricity which make it possible to accelerate xenon atoms  to speeds of up to 90,000 mph without the need of a reactor to generate the electric field.  

There isn't any doubt that the ION engine is hugely efficient and the NEXT engine, during it's 5 year run,  consumed apx 1,918 pounds of xenon fuel.  Less than a ton of fuel for 5 years of constant acceleration! 

Of course the pay back is what this type of engine is best at, acceleration.  The impulse may be slight, it is additive.  An engine, such as a variation on the NEXT,  under constant operation is capable of reaching speeds that would be an appreciable fraction of C, but even the present impulse of NEXT is remarkable.  

More @ and the NASA article

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Milky Way May Contain 60 Billion Life Supporting Planets?!

Scientists using the Kepler spacecraft have redoubled their estimates on planets in the Milky Way that could support life.

Estimates now put the number at an astounding 60 billion planets that could support life.   This mind numbing figure comes on the heels of  Kepler's findings.

Scientists base their estimates on the most common star in the Milky Way, red dwarfs.  Their rational being that each red dwarf's habitable zone contains a life supporting planet. 

The problem though is red dwarf stars are exceedingly miserly with it's energy.   Dorian Abbot, an assistant professor in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago suggests that planets in the "Goldilocks" zone may well have thick cloud cover to trap infrared energy.  

There is an excellent film concerning discovering extra-solar planets at THIS link