Friday, May 31, 2013

Tesla founder Elon Musk Wants to Build a Hyper What?


Musk want to build a Hyperloop.  A machine able to transport passengers from  downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes.

Described as a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table - Musk envisions the Hyperloop traveling 3 or 4 times faster than the bullet train, all the while costing you much less than an air ticket or for that manner cheaper than any other mode of transport. 

So what started him in this direction?  Well it seems Elon doesn't put much stock in the proposed bullet train.  First it seems that the Californian bullet would be the slowest in the world and the most expensive, in Musk's mind a complete waste.

But what exactly IS the Hyperloop?  Musk has been uncharacteristically quiet on the particulars.     However in a recent CNBC today Elon was a bit more talkative.  Of the Hyperloop, he said - It's basically an underground bullet train that, freed from pesky terrestrial concerns like weather, farm animals, and friction, could cross the country in hours instead of days. 

Wait you you say.  We can already fly across in hours, which is true, but at greater expense and at substantially higher risk.  

Musk says that the tech to build such a device already exists - basically superconducting magnets.

But as the Atlantic Wire writes:  

  • Sadly, the Hyperloop will never, ever happen. It's a brilliant, pie-in-the-sky idea that the realities of politics and construction permits would render all but impossible. Even if the technology is perfect, we can barely build a train from Orlando-to-Tampa (using already obsolete technology)
Business Insider link HERE


Manned Trip to Mars Impossible with Current Tech

NASA has concluded that a manned trip to Mars is out of the question at our present level of tech.  

This piece of very disappointing  news comes after NASA had a chance to review the Radiation Assessment Detector aboard the rover Curiosity.    Even from inside the spacecraft the RAD was able to take radiation levels while traveling from the Earth to Mars.    These levels were determined to be to high for our present level of radiation shielding. 
rFrom the Gizmodo article:
  • The findings, which are published in the May 31 edition of the journal Science, indicate radiation exposure for human explorers could exceed NASA's career limit for astronauts if current propulsion systems are used.
Go to the Gizmodo article HERE  for more on the radiation and dangers it would pose.

Warehouse 13 Gets a Half-Heated Renewal


Fans of Warehouse 13 that have been holding their collective breaths wondering if the show would garner enough support for a renewal can rest, well, easier.  I have good news and bad news.  The good is this quirky sci-fi offering has netted a renews, but in the most back handed way possible....only six episodes.  Yep you read that correctly.  The fifth season of Warehouse only garnered six new episodes, and that is the bad.  

This is what Mark Wilson of About wrote after finding this choice piece of crap.
  • Syfy honcho Mark Stern nonetheless had the chutzpah to praise the show and its special place in Syfy's heart.

No Mr Stern, I think you mean another orifice presently blocked by another part of your anatomy.....


Here by the way is a link to Mark's article HERE

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Eden of the East


The anime series starts with a naked man with a cell and a gun standing outside the white house.  Through a few unlikely misadventures, a female Japanese  high-school student named Saki Morimi who is visiting Washington on a graduation trip is aided by this naked man who apparently has no memory of previous events except for his name: Akira Takizawa.  His only possessions are the gun and a very weird cell phone and several billion in credit available.  The money is to be used to "save" Japan in some unspecified manner.  However, it appears that there are 11 other Seleção with the same setup and their own plans.

Often, what makes a good anime series is one that convoluted and at time difficult to follow.  I don't mean a show that is deliberately obtuse to the point where nothing makes sense, but one with layer upon layer and nothing is quite what it seems.  Eden of the East is multi-layered but not to the point that you feel like your drowning but just enough that as the story proceeds, you have many "aha!" moments.  

Saki through out it all seems to be in the middle of a maelstrom so it is fun when she starts to put the pieces together. 

The artwork isn't too bad at all, but it is the story that really shines.  Anytime we are gifted with a good story line that isn't adolescent school girls in short skirts suffering the angst of who likes who and what high-school club your in.....well that is just golden, and Eden of the East has so very little of that type of anime, that you can't help but be intrigued.     

The story rates a 9 in my book and since I caught it on youtube, I can not speak to the extras...If you get a chance to rent it, I would give it a go!

original run 2009 with 11 episodes. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sometimes NASA can be such Dicks.....


Harsh, I know, but let me bring you up to speed:

40+ years ago, upon its' return, the material that the Apollo 11 crew collected from the Moon was categorized and packaged for later study at various universities.  One of these was the Space Sciences Laboratory in Latimer Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.  After Berkeley studied the dust samples, they were packaged for return to NASA.  the ensuing hub-bub, a vacuum jar containing   vials of the moon-dust was accidentally moved to storage, where they sat until Berkeley Lab archivist Karen Nelson found the Moon dust — about 20 vials.  Nelson says there is no record of how they wound up in a university storage warehouse.  

Upon hearing about the find, NASA promptly requested the return of the samples. 

Am I missing something here?  Believe me, this is not the only sample NASA lost contact with samples.  How many times have we heard of people who have found or have in their possession whole rocks!  Now they are worried about dust?  Really? 

Any way, the article is short, click HERE to go to the whole article. 


Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Ghost Machine



Right away, the title gives you a hint as to what is wrong with this movie.  Is it a ghost?  Is it a machine? Ahhh, I don't know and I suspect neither did the producer or the director.  The actors may have, but you can't prove it by me.  

So what is Ghost Machine?  First blush it seems to be a movie that couldn't figure out what to call itself so they just ripped off the first movie that even came close to the same plot, but believe me, not anywhere close enough.   But Ghost Machine is supposed to be a British SF movie about a group of hacker ( oh yeah, got to have hackers) no...they are online game players (oh even better) but wait...what game? Because now they are VR and they have absconded with a top secret military  hardware that runs a super secret VR SIM that I think they devised but now are hacking into?!!!  Oh and so they HAVE to steal it and set it up in a mental hospital / prison where medical experiments went on..  either way it's haunted...ummm but only in the machine....but can kill people in the real world.....  And you want to know what is worse?  The person who wrote the wiki article had less to say about this film that what I have written so far!  Did the director have the good graces to spread these tidbits through-out the film?  Nope, I got this in the first half hour and promptly shut the movie off.  

The only extra that this dvd needed was a way to destroy the disk and let out the evil spirits!

I am not even going to bother with more about this film.  I rented it, my loss, don't let it be yours.
Put the movie back on the discount rack and back away slow.  If renting...remove it from your cue before its' to late!

Oh, you want a rating?  without finishing the film is fair, but I feared for my sanity, but what I saw would hardly rate a 4....take heed.  This film blows.






BMU # 367 In Plain Sight #20 - Kahn + No Great Magic #5 - Leiber


I lead off this week's episode, episode 367, by doing a short memorial for Heinrich Rohrer Father of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope.

I follow this with a new episode of in Plain Sight episode 20 from Jason Kahn. This week our detective Jack Garrett falls a bit further down the rabbit hole and finds information can come from the most unlikely of sources.

In science...I start with Earth Sky talking about the possibility of intelligent life in the Milky-Way and how we are looking for it.

Next I read the high lights of Kallamis' weekly run-down which goes from honoring Sally Ride to food replicators...

Oh and I finally have time for some Star Trek Trivia!

Fredrick Doyle also died recently. Doyle was instrumental in developing some of the most sophisticated optics and camera systems for the Apollo era moon missions as well as work for the CIA.

I review the animated feature: Rise of the Guardians

Finally I play chapter five of Fritz Leiber's No Great Magic

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly Rundown

SALLY RIDE FINALLY HONORED
            Yep, you read that right folks. Sally Ride is receiving the Medal of Freedom posthumously. This is the highest civilian commendation possible, and will also have a camera on the ISS named for her as well. For those that don’t know, the Medal is for meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. She is the ninth astronaut to receive the award, joining the ranks of those such as John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and others. She was also honored earlier by naming the intentional lunar crash site the Sally K. Ride impact site.
            Sally Ride also was a great proponent of getting kids to study math, science etc that would aid in stellar research and space travel. Okay folks, before I run amok here again, as I am trying to shorten these a bit due to my sometimes long winded nature, I am going to say one other thing. It is high time she is receiving Medal. Though to be completely honest here, and not to lower her accomplishments in any way, or anyone else’s, I feel all astronauts that spend time in space deserve this award. I mean, what can possibly be more dangerous than a mission into space. It’s not like you can step outside and wave down help. You are in a position where something as small as a pebble could actually end not only your life, but the lives of everyone that is there with you if it impacts correctly with your vehicle. These men and women are true heroes, and deserve every honor possible. Folks, go read the article. It isn't long, and well, frankly you owe it to her to do so, and to every other astronaut as well.

FOOD REPLICATOR COMING
            Maybe. NASA has given a 125,000 dollar grant to Systems and Materials Research Corporation based in Austin Texas to build a prototype food synthesizer. They are hoping that such technology can be used on long term space flights like going to Mars, etc.
This is done by dividing the various components of food into powder cartridges that would theoretically enable users to mix them together, basically the same as mixing up a recipe at home, only it seems this would be a bit easier actually. At least less of a mess than I usually have I guarantee it. To prove that it could be done, they created chocolate using this method. The next step is to create the prototype to make a pizza.
            Now this isn't quite a true replicator yet, but it is definitely moving in that direction at least. They also believe that it could aid in the problems of food shortages from rapid population growth. I would agree with this, if we get to the point where we can alter basic molecules into something else to do so. And somehow, I don’t think this is as far off as a lot of people think it is. And if we do manage to get that far, then we will have a basic recycling system that will be able to break down our waste into the basic molecular components, and well, you get the idea here. And I know some out there are already disgusted with that concept, but once we get that far, it wouldn't matter. We already use waste to fertilize, so there really wouldn't be any difference here in my opinion.  I will give two links to this as well. The first of course is to space.com, and the second is to a short article on it where they give a picture of the basics that will help in explaining how it all works. 



A DANGER FOR MOON BASES
            Kind of self-explanatory here, but recent events has proven it again.  A 1 foot wide rock slammed into the moon at a speed of around 56,000 mph, creating a 65 foot wide crater. The impact created the largest and brightest explosion ever seen since we started monitering impact activity on the moon in 2005. Not only did the impact equal the explosion of 5 tons of TNT going up, it also saturated the camera according to Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
            Rocks of this size enter our atmosphere on a daily basis, but our atmosphere burns them up before impact, or breaks them up into such small pieces that they do no real damage on impact. The moon, having no atmosphere, has no protection from such things and basically just takes the full force of the impact with no protection at all.
            Now this also points out what I was saying earlier about the dangers of space. As far as suits are concerned, a millimeter sized rock would rip right through it with no problem in any way.  So even by building a moon base under the surface, which I personally think would be the best idea, and having an above surface observatory would still make working there extremely dangerous for anyone that had to go outside on the surface.  Even with these dangers, and the high radiation, I still believe that a moon base should be our first real outpost off world, or build a massive station.  Even though I want us on Mars, with me there of course if I could figure out how, with the fuel supply that is available on the moon, we should be starting there.

             Now as I move into the sci-fi part this week, I have to add something here. I am noticing a lot more articles on Space.com, and other places that are dealing with whether or not we can pull off a warp drive, or wormhole travel. Most seem to be on Warp Drive however. Now I may be wrong here, but is it possible that the return of Star Trek bringing in a new generation of people is getting us back in the direction we need to be going. Frankly, I see nothing stopping us except for the power requirements which they are beginning to say now that we might actually be able to do it. However, I am in agreement with the biggest obstacle to the entire situation here. Us. People. Home bloody sapiens. Without a peaceful world, and the end to our ignorance of war, all we would accomplish is a way to build a massive weapon that would wipe not only us, but probably our entire planet from existence. Just my two cents there worth folks.

TREK TECHNOLOGY
            Here’s a really cool article about the technology of Star Trek, from Warp Drive to Phasers. It explains how it would work, and it also lists where it was first done.  Here is an example from the article. I’ll use one of everyone’s favorites here. Transporters. We all know the basics of this. Matter is transformed into energy, then beamed to a target within about 16,000 miles and reassembled again as what it was. And I am not getting into the debate here of whether or not it actually kills you.  The problem with this, is that the human body has an immense amount of atoms, and the data storage to pull this off would be incredible. Plus we would have to be able to measure each and every atom and even quantum physics has reached that point yet. Frankly, I’d say we are much closer to Warp Drive than any form of Transporter technology by a long shot.  But do you know when it was first done? Frank K Kelly wrote a story in 1933 called Into the Meteorite Orbit. In the story, he used a concept of the human body being reduced to a vibration and travelling on a wave channel. It was then reintegrated into matter in a receiving chamber. He called it a Vibra-Transmitter.  Check out the article to see the rest of the stuf there. You’ll be surprised at what and when a lot of the stuff was first thought of and used, even if it was under another name, and worked slightly differently.

TRANSFORMERS 4 DINO’S
            Yeah you got it. Dinobots are apparently coming to Transformers 4. According to the article, both Optimus and Bumblebee will actually be riding them into battle as well. And apparently is is going to get even better here. If you can call what Bay does better. We’ll see. But here’s the scoop on the big one I think. Megatron will be returning again. But not as Megatron. Yep, he will be returning as none other than Galvatron. I hope I am wrong, but I am guessing this will be another disaster not unlike Revenge of the Fallen.  I mean, that one wasn’t as horrible as some make it out to be, but it just seemed to get silly at times there. And way off course of what the legend is. Yeah I’m a pretty big puritan in some of this stuff.  If he ever does Thunercats, I predict I won’t be reviewing that unless i want to go to jail for some reason. Bay either does it right, or I swear just does something without thought or reason. No in-between with him it seems.

HAN SOLO MOVIE
            Okay, this has been rumored I think since Star Wars first hit the big time. But it has been mentioned again by Disney after getting the rights to SW.
            Now I’ll be honest here, I’m not what you would call a Star Wars fan. I liked the first one, but that was basically because of my man Han, Chewie, and the Falcon.  That was actually a fun movie, and then you could see everything in the other ones coming from 12 parsecs away. 
            Now if they would do it like they say they want to, it would probably be a good movie. But lets leave the Star Wars silly stuff out of it. I mean in terms of the force, those dippy Jedi, etc. If you want to do a Han Solo movie, then do it right. He was a smuggler, gun runner etc. Make it an outer space adventure movie without the silliness involved.  Just keep the force stuff out of it. Sorry folks, but I truly despise Jedi’s. They are the most arrogant hypocritical group in that galaxy, and then act like their stuff doesn't stink.  And they are supposed to be the great heroes.
            Sorry, ran off on a tangent there again.  But Josh Holloway is the one that a lot of people would like to see play Han I guess. Basically it is wild speculation and hope at the moment, but looking at the pic in the article, I have to say, I think he could pull it off. At least in the looks department anyway.  But with Disney in charge now, I wouldn't be surprised to see them put it out after the next Star Wars movie, just to keep the money rolling in between what seems to be a never ending deluge of Jedi silliness. Just remember, this is all speculation and hope by a lot of people. Can't be sure I am one of them though, even though I loved Han.

HALO GOING LIVE ACTION
            That’s what Microsoft has said. Entertainment Studios announced a live action Halo series to be produced by Steven Spielberg and 343 Studios. Now this isn’t a movie people. They are talking about a TV series here. A lot of people want a movie, but for a game as large and as long as this is, a movie will never cover it. I think the best way is to go with a series or a mini-series even. Now I have never played it, but have a friend that did. And from what I have heard from him and others, a movie would never cut it. One explained it to me this way. Imagine taking Tales of Symphonia, which is a two disk game on the Gamecube, (and around 80 hours for first play if you want everything, and I fell in love with it and played the first time for 52 hours straight, and I’m 50 so I get the concept of gamer love),  and turning it into a 2 hour movie. My response was no way. Same for Halo I guess. But there is one thing that concerns me. If they are doing this for TV, what channel. If they let the former sci-fi channel have it, they may as well just throw the entire thing into file 13 right now. Let’s hope they get it somewhere like TNT with their Falling Skies, or AMC and their Walking Dead. You may not get a lot of episodes in a season, and it seems to take a TARDIS to live long enough to get to the next season before old age sets in, but at least the quality is there, and it wouldn’t get cancelled for some insane silliness. Fans of this game have to read the article, as you will all know more about this than me, and you owe it to yourself to go there and check it out. 

          Now back to science for just one quick question that I am kind of wondering what the people out here on Beam Me Up think. Do you think we should go with a station on the moon, on Mars, or build a massive Station in orbit. And I mean massive. I don't mean just 2 or 3 times the size of the ISS. I mean one big enough to build the ISS inside of it multiple times over. Just curious as to what the folks out here think would be the best idea to move us forward. 
       Hope you all enjoyed the rundown, and for those of you that do sorry about missing last week folks. Sometimes technology just fails at the worst possible moment. And on a personal note here, thanks for helping me get back up and running here Paul. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

RIP: Heinrich Rohrer Father of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope


Heinrich Rohrer is often called the father of nanotechnology.  Rohrer with the help of his research partner Gerd Binnig of the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1979, patented the  Scanning Tunneling Microscope which for the first time in history allowed scientists to see individual atoms.  The pair shared the 1986 Nobel prize in physics which they also shared with physicist Ernst Ruska, who designed the first electron microscope in the 1930s.

Not only did the microscope allow scientists to see atoms,  it also allowed the construction and manipulation of extremely small objects — because their device could be used to move atoms around on a surface.

Heinrich Rohrer - the father of nanotechnology, died of natural causes - May 16 at his home in Wollerau, Switzerland, at the age of 79.

Read more at the LA Times article HERE

Thanks to listener Dan for the heads up

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

RIP:Frederick J. Doyle, photographic mapping specialist for NASA



I will have to admit that I knew very little about Frederick Doyle past the point of doing high resolution space/luna mapping for NASA / Apollo. As well as helping develop some very sophisticated and advanced spysat photographic equipment.

  From the Washington Post article  
  • In 1969, Mr. Doyle became chairman of NASA’s Apollo Orbital Science Photographic Team, and he planned the camera systems and directed orbital science photography for Apollo lunar missions 13 through 17. 
  • In 1971, Mr. Doyle received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for development of the Apollo orbital photographic system. He later directed photography projects on Mariner and Viking missions to Mars, Venus and Mercury

Mr Doyle died at 93 April 17th.

    Review:Rise of the Guardians

    Chris Pine as Jackson Overland Frost or Jack Frost
    Alec Baldwin as Nicholas St. North (Santa Claus), 
    Hugh Jackman as E. Aster Bunnymund (Easter Bunny)
    Isla Fisher as Toothiana or Tooth for short (Tooth Fairy)
    Jude Law as Pitch Black (The Boogeyman)

    Where are you likely to find a possibly demented Russian Cossack, A giant Ninja Rabbit and a human humming bird all in one place?  In a Dreamworks animated feature, that's where. 

    The story revolves around the major holidays and the "Guardians" who protect the institutions against those who would see the holidays disbanded and no longer practiced.


    Into this mix comes Jackson Overland Frost or Jack Frost one of many magical entities that have powers that are associated with holidays or times of the year.  Jack of course brings the cold and frost which seems to be all that he knows about his former life.  He knows that he is immortal,  but nothing about his former life. All he knows is that the guardians have all but ignored him over the centuries.   The Guardians find out that the ancient boogy man "Pitch Black" is planning to destroy children's faith in the Guardians with nightmares.  He convinces Jack that the Guardians do not care about him at all.  With Jack's help the Guardians are weakened as children stop believing in them.

    Through another misadventure Jack begins to regain his memory and with the aid of the only child left who believes in the Guardians, beats Pitch Black.

    As you can see, the plot is fairly simplistic but has enough twists to set itself somewhat apart from the totally derivative children's fare.  The computer 3d animation is more than adequate giving the viewer a visual treat in motion and color.

    Extras on disk are slim.  One inclusion that bares notice is Paperman.  From the wikipedia:
    • Paperman is a 2012 black-and-white 3D hand-drawn/computer animated romantic comedy short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios
    • The short won both an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards and the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject at the 40th Annie Awards 
    Here is the wiki on Paperman  HERE

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Amazing in Motion Video by Lexus Featuring the Music of Kristina Train

    Have you seen this amazing commercial by Lexus called Amazing In Motion "Steps" which features 11 foot tall metal puppets and  the song Wandering sung by Kristina Train which is a cover of the Aretha Franklin’s soul classic, ‘I’m Wandering’... .

    The commercial is unusual in many ways because first it does not depict a real product, instead centers around an 11 foot tall lattice work puppet, brought to live by puppeteers dress in black holding control rods attached to key points along the puppet's frame and moving it in a very convincing lifelike manner.  Throughout the commercial, the puppet seems to be hunting throughout the city for something not brought to life until the very end.  

    The short is a wonderful mix of scenery  acting and music.  

    More about Mz. Train is available on her website KristinaTrain.com

    Here is the YouTube video

    BMU #366 With Stories From Leiber and Daviess! Plus I review Lady Death dvd

    Welcome to the eighth year of Beam Me Up!  Episode 366 is the first episode of the eighth yeah and who knows what will happen this year!

    This week's program starts with former ISS commander Chris Hadfield, who among his other talents, is an accomplished musician, performs David Bowie's Major Tom while aboard the ISS.  Even Bowie himself said that it was one of the most poignant renditions of his song and the video is beautiful.  Well I can't play the video, but I do have it on the blog (you can find it on Youtube as well. 

    Flash from the past again this week, I rejoin Fritz Leiber's 1960 tale, No Great Magic.  This week is chapter four.

    From news this week, info on 1998 QE2, the 1.7 mile asteroid, makes it's closest pass May 31. 

    From Earth Sky, where does the solar system fall in place among the stars of the Milky-Way?  How many sunsets and sun rises would you see on the moon in a month...? And scientists succeed in storing data in DNA. 

    Boston Dynamics now has PETMAN!  The video is wild!  Do you remember Skylab? 

    I review the animated feature Lady Death.  

    I finish with Colin Davies' very inventive tale, The Fighter.

    All in all, a good start to the new year.  

     

    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    Petman? Oh Come On!

    You tell me the first thing that came to mind when I saw this DARPA video.   With the camo on the damn thing  is all but indistinguishable from a human corps-man.  

    The article says this about the...what...robot?  Yeah I guess....anyway:
    • The PETMAN robot was developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the DoD CBD program. It is used to test the performance of protective clothing designed for hazardous environments. 
    Then they say things about micro climates, sweating and stuff...but dollars to doughnuts we see it in the field with heavy packs or even dare I say it, mounted weapons?  Even the mounted part need not happen.  But if you have a weapons platform that can use weapons already in the theater of conflict or able to pick up and used any light to medium weapon would be golden for the same reason that a lot of American weapons started chambering NATO rounds, it makes them more universal in the field.  I can't be the first person to say ... hey  ground troops! As long as it doesn't have that stupid whine that big dog and the headless horse has.

    Mark my word on this....


    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Latest ISS Astronauts Return Safely

    Three astronauts returned to Earth, aboard a Soyuz capsule, safely after a marathon five-month mission.  The crew-members  landed Tuesday (5/14/13) on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

    Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, American Thomas Marshburn and Russian Roman Romanenko landed as planned without incident.  

    Hadfield has managed to garner some notice in the entertainment industry as well with his recent rendition of Major Tom which was filmed and recorded aboard the station. ( The five-minute video posted Sunday drew a salute from Bowie's official Facebook page: "It's possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.")  Hadfield, from Milton Ontario is also Canada's first professional astronaut to live aboard the ISS as well as the first Canadian  spacecraft commander (he was commander of the ISS while aboard, passing command Sunday before he returned to Earth).  

    There are still three crew members aboard the ISS.  They will be joined by another three astronauts in a couple of weeks.




       

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    May 14th - Skylab Anniversary


    May 14  of this year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of America's first space station.  massing 169,950 pounds, Skylab was launched atop a modified Saturn V rocket. 

    Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979.  Due to a constantly descending orbit, Skylab entered the atmosphere and crashed over parts of Australia.  

    The space station almost didn't make it.  During launch, a micro-meteor shield detached and  damaged one of the large solar arrays.  The shield also helped maintain temps inside the lab and without most of its power systems  could not maintain comfortable living conditions or electrical systems for life support and to run experiments.  

    Skylab hosted three crewed missions during it's active career. 

    The first manned mission was Skylab 2 SL-2 (SLM-1). The crew arrived on station at 5/25/73. This mission lasted 28 days. On board were Pete Conrad,  Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin.    

    The second mission was Skylab 3 SL-3.  The crew was aboard 7/28/73 and the mission ran for  59 days.  Skylab mission 3's crew was  Alan Bean,  Jack Lousma and  Owen Garriott.  

    The final manned mission was Skylab 4 on 11/16/73.  This was the longest running mission lasting     84 days.  4's crew was Gerald Carr, William Pogue and  Edward Gibson.  

    Plans were to continue manned mission to Skylab, using the new Shuttle to move the crippled station to a higher orbit and repair the launch damage.  However due to delays, the Shuttle was not available at the needed time and Skylab entered the atmosphere, crashing many parts on Australia.     

    Review: Lady Death - animated film




    Lady Death takes place for the most part in the 15th  century Sweden.  The story centers on the young daughter, Hope, of a skilled and ruthless mercenary called Matthias who in fact is in actuality a  demon.  

    Matthias is dispatched by villagers for him evil.  Hope herself is accused of consorting with the Devil and is sentenced to burn at the stake.  At the very last moment she is transported to Hell by winged demons.  Her body restored, she is taken to her father who in fact is the ruler of all the levels of hell 
    and demands that she join him in ruling Hell.  Matthias/Lucifer forces her hand by showing that he has trapped he mother and the first true love.  

    Refusing to join him, Hope is cast out to die, but instead she is transformed into a powerful demon in her own right and with other powerful demons join power to take down Lucifer.

    Hope however finds out that she is still trapped in  Hell for as long as one of Lucifer's allies remains alive.

    Not a badly animated film.  Looks very much like the work that used to come out of CLAMP.  Many of the graphics and back-ground have a very stylized look to them, which lends itself well to projecting the horror of the local without graphic death and dismemberment.  Though it is an animated film from the US,  Japanese anime fans will still enjoy it as well.   It seemed a bit dated to me however, not that the story or the graphics lacked anything, just the nagging feeling that it has been done before.   The movie deserves an overall 7 easily.  Worth a check.

    Chris Hadfield Sings Major Tom in a most Unusual Way!

    You might think, just by listening, that you were experiencing David Bowie, singing an updated version of his timeless classic, Major Tom. If you thought that, you would be very very wrong. For here is astronaut Chris Hadfield singing his version of this topical tune while SERVING ABOARD the ISS! Plus to do it one better, Hadfield does it as a video that proves to be an amazing counterpoint to the song! Yes pay close attention to Hadfield as he sing, plays an instrument and demonstrates micro-gravity! Plus the whole thing was recorded aboard the "tin can"

    Sunday, May 12, 2013

    Improptu Space Walk on the ISS, a First for NASA!

    Spurred by a recent Ammonia leak, astronauts aboard the ISS took the uncharacteristic action of instituting an EVA Saturday with the plan of finding the leak that if left unchecked, would leave the station without power in a few short hours. 

    Astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Christopher Cassidy, prepped for the walk shortly after the discovered leak on Thursday and exited the station Saturday, proceeded to the source of the leak where they replaced a suspected pump, in a closely scrutinized five plus hour EVA.  

    NASA is still unclear as to the cause of the leak so  it remained unclear whether the issue had been entirely resolved.   (note yellow circles in top photo show Ammonia flakes streaming from the unknown leak)

    More on the c/net article site

    BMU #365 now Online!




    Another hour that just flies by.

    I play the conclusion of David Scholes Trath: The Final intervention, just to make sure that I get in them in this week.

    Next from the blog and Kallimus:  Trouble with the ISS coolant again, Ray Harryhousen has passed away at 92, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson has a web site that promotes his radio program Startalk  and YouTube videos, there is a link on the wrfrbeameup.blogspot.com BMU blog.  A company has developed a bulletin board that sends two messages, one to adults and one to children in a call to help reduce child abuse.  Check out the blog for more information. 

    Earth Sky articles are next, the Milky-way, asteroids, temporary moons and Earth's shadow are on tap. 

    I review the live action version of Death Note. 

    And finally, chapter 3 of No Great Magic by Fritz Leiber a novelette from the sixties.  

    That is it!  I hop you enjoy this week's offering of Beam Me Up.

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    Weekly Rundown

    ISS LEAKING COOLANT – AGAIN
                The ISS is leaking coolant, and this isn't the first time it has happened. The station uses liquid ammonia for cooling the power systems on its 8 solar array panels. NASA is looking into the problem, but says it poses no immediate danger to the astronauts. Now here is where things get interesting. A minor leak was first discovered in 2007, and NASA has been studying the problem ever since then. In November of 2012, two of the crew spacewalked in order to ficx the problem.  They rewired some coolant lines and installed a spare radiator. They assumed it was damaged by a micrometeorite. Seriously, 5 years to get that done. Am I missing something here. That seems like a very long time.
                Well, apparently today (May 9 2013), they noticed a steady stream of frozen ammonia particles leaking off again. It appears to be coming from a coolant loop in the Photovoltaic Thermal Control System (PVTCS).
                NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries of the Johnson Space Center in Houston told SPACE.com that it is in the same area as previously, but they do not know if it is the same leak. Humphries also stated that they were taking it very seriously because of the importance of the system. If they would lose the ability to cool the array, the station has no power. It has in fact worsened to the point that they expect that particular loop to shut down within the next 48 hours.
                Okay, now that is sounding just a bit serious to me. This to me just highlights again why we need to move forward, and build a massive station up there, instead of these, well frankly, flimsy little things. But that is just my opinion, as I think we should already have one large enough to actually fly a shuttle inside of it. Here’s the link to the entire article.

    EARTH CONTAINED WATER BEFORE MOON CREATION IMPACT?
                We are still under the theory that Earth’s water originated from ancient meteorites, but perhaps sooner than expected. It is thought now that water existed here before the collision that created our moon. Though it is still a mystery of how the water survived the impact, it is thought now that the moon had water from its earliest moments of existence.
                About 4.5 billion years ago, the earth had a run in with a proto planet about the size of Mars, creating our moon from the molten debris. This kind of heat should have baked any water and it’s ingredients out of the moon. But 5 years ago, they discovered evidence of hydrogen in samples brought back from the lunar missions. In order to discover the origin of this water, they began analyzing crystals and glass beads from the moon ricks brought back by Apollo 15 & 17. These have tiny pieces of glass that basically serve as records of the geological history of the moon.
    Study lead author Alberto Saal says, “With a good degree of certainty, we know that the water came to the moon and Earth from primitive meteorites now located in the outer parts of the asteroidal belt." He also told space.com that, "the Earth from its birth had water, and it got to the moon during the giant impact without completely being lost by this event." He also added that it is not believed that the Earth gained any more significant amount of water after the event that created our moon.
                Folks, this is a must read article, as I haven’t the room for all the explanations and science there to put here. But it makes you think about something though. The moon would have 5-10 times less water than the earth, but that isn’t it. What would the earth be like now, if the moon had simply been captured in passing, and no collision had ever occurred? I’d say for those of you with the turn of mind in this area, that you have yourselves a pretty decent alternate history version of our planet for a story or novel here. Check it out though, it’s really interesting.

    FARMING ON MARS
                Well, it makes sense actually. Considering what it would take to keep a constant food supply going, I don’t see where there could be any other choice.
                Now considering that the first manned mission is looking to be around 2030 or shortly after, NASA is debating whether it should be a long mission, or one of short duration. The discussion revolves around whether or not to keep a sustained human presence on Mars. Guess I don’t need to put my opinion in there do I?
                The ISS has suggested through its experiments that plants can grow in micro gravity, but as to the reduced gravity of mars, scientists are still wondering. Also Mars receives only about half the sunlight as that of Earth, and then there is the pressurized enclosures that would lower the lighting even farther.
                Robert Ferl, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida had this to say on the concept of the pressure compared to Earth normal. "You don't have to inflate that greenhouse to Earth-normal pressure in order for plants to grow. Maintaining a full atmosphere of pressure is difficult on a planetary surface. You can take plants down to a tenth of an atmosphere and they'll still function."
                This of course would mean that gardening would have to be done in a suit as the garden would be separate from all normal quarters. There a few other things here as well in the article, so make sure to check it out.
                Now in my personal view the lighting should not be a problem. Add LED lighting to standard fluorescent in order to get the proper light waves that are needed. This works quite well as I myself have experimented with this. Also, you could do the entire thing as hydroponics to start out, and save a lot of space by using the circular enclosure system with the lights down the center.  As the plants turn on what is basically the inside of a wheel, they will pass through the nutrient solution, and by using mylar to reflect light back upwards toward the lights in the center, you will be giving light to all parts of the plant. This is already in use here on Earth anyway. I have not experimented with hat system, but then I don’t have the funds that NASA has either. I think it would be a lot easier to ship in a bunch of nutrient solution compared to hauling up tons of earth. Now there are two types to this. One is the ferris wheel type where all plants are aimed up  like here at all times. The other is inside the wheel where they will be upside down for a time period. It is the second type I am talking about and below is a picture to clarify what it is I mean. Been growing plants for medicine and food since I was a kid, so I think this would be the best way. First the link to the article.






    TREK OR WARS - YOU DECIDE
                This is just a way to finish off the science, and move into the sci-fi this week. And it is being done at Space.com as well.
                To put it simple, they are taking a poll. Which is better? Star Trek, or Star wars.
                I’m sure you all know which side of the fence I fall on here, but they went and through a monkey wrench in there just to screw me up. Here are the choices below. They are truly nasty people sometimes.

    1.        Star Wars! Luke and Vader could wipe the floor with Kirk's Enterprise.Star Trek!

    2.        Whiny Luke can't hold a lightsaber to the sheer awesomeness of James T. Kirk and the Enterprise crew. Plus, Trek was first.

    3.        Get Warped: There's more to life than the Force and starships. And everyone knows Doctor Who rules the school.

    See what I mean. And me and the Doctor are both turning 50 this year. I went with Doc, I had to. The smegheads. But in the Trek vs Wars, well, there’s only one choice for me. Star Trek, all the way. That should get me hated by some of you I am sure. Anyway, here's the link folks. Frack, I'm older than Star Trek.

    And now on the the sci-fi portion.

    SUPER POWERS
                This sort of belongs in the science area, but I am sticking it here instead considering.
    Tim Bouckley, Millie Clive-Smith, Mi Eun Kim and Yuta Sugawara have created two masks that enhance sensory perception. One fits over your mouth and ears, and is supposed to be able to neutralize background noise. Sound is transmitted to the wearer a mouthpiece and headphones to the inner ear by bone vibrations. They say it is like hearing someone talk inside your head.
    The second fits over the eyes, and has a camera mounted near the top to capture images. These are processed by the software, and basically allow the wearer to see a frame by frame progression of movement.
    Hey, don’t ask me, I just stumbled across this and decided to throw it in here. Amazing the stuff you come across by accident.



    APRIL ONIEL DISASTER COMING?
                Yep, back to the Turtles again folks. The link below will take you to a site that shows pictures of Megan Fox that were apparently taken right before her shoot in an underground subway. And if this is what she is going to be looking like in the movie, well, nuff said. There is also a voting place there to say whether you think she is a fit, you’ll wait and see, or no way. Also it was rumored that Will Arnett would be playing Casey. That's out the window as well I guess as it is now being stated that he will be playing April's cameraman. The second link will take you to that page. There are also more pics there of April, if you can even call her that. I have only one thing to say about the entire situation. If Bay gets his hands on Thundercats, I am finding a way off this bloody planet once and for all.


     DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
                Looks like Ellen Page will  be returning as Kitty Pryde. This isn’t the only news here however. It has been confirmed that both Bishop and Warpath will be appearing in Days of Future Past, and we will also be getting our first look at Iceman, Storm and Beast. Okay, let’s be honest here. As an X-Men movie, First Class doesn't pass the muster. For an action movie yeah, but in terms of the X-men, no. It has been rumored that things are going to be more explained in this, and some of the First Class movie will be straightened out in this, but we all know how those rumors usually pan out now don’t we. And frankly, I don’t see how they could. Let’s just hope we get a little more back on track here with this one. Not much on the site, and I basically just told everything that was there plus, but here is the link anyway.


    WE LOST A GREAT ONE THIS WEEK
                Usually I use these as blog posts, but decided with my schedule this week, and the next few, I would include it here instead. And frankly, it belongs here. We lost one of the greats this week. If you don’t already know, I am talking about Special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. He passed from our realm on May 7th, at the age of 92. And if you don’t know his name, you definitely grew up watching his work. He created a form of stop-motion model animation known as "Dynamation. He influenced so many of those that are working in the fields today, that frankly I don’t think a list of them would even be possible. But as for what he did that many of us grew up with, here a partial list. Mighty Joe Young 1949, It Came From Beneath the Sea 1955, 20 Million Miles To Earth 1957, Jason And The Argonauts 1963, One Million Years BC 1966, Clash Of The Titans 1981, and so many many more. I will be listing two links here. The first is to his official website, and the second will be to the wiki article about him. He will be sorely missed, but his movies and legacy will live on, especially in this household, believe it.


    Well folks, that's it for this week. Once again I was picking and choosing what to put here again. Well, except for the last one that is. There was never a doubt that was going on Beam Me Up one way or another. And I figured I could reach more with it on the rundown, so that is why it is here instead of being a standard blog post. Hope you all enjoyed this weeks, and I'll be seeing you all again next week.  And once again it is almost 2 am, so ignore all the spelling mistakes. Auto check doesn't always get them, and frankly I'm too tired as usual to notice any longer. I really need to get started earlier on this thing. Especially when I wander off into the long winded segments like I did with the growing on Mars.


    Thursday, May 09, 2013

    Startalk Neil DeGrasse Tyson

    Hey, any of you out there Neil DeGrasse Tyson fans?  Well, I will fess up and tell you that I really enjoy the way he brings a subject to life.  Well It seems listener Kallamis is as well.   Kall sent me a heads up for the Startalk web site that DeGrasse hosts.  The site will give you links to video and radio programs among other very interesting items.

    As you might suspect the site is called Startalk radio and here is a short video just to get you started:


    and again here is the LINK to the site    http://www.startalkradio.net/.


    Wednesday, May 08, 2013

    Trailer: Ender's Game

    Unless you hate science fiction...(which begs the question, why would you read a science / science fiction blog..... but that is for another article) you know of or have read Orson Scott Card's Ender's and the follow on book for a remarkable series, very much in the vein of say Empire by Asimov.
    Well it has taken some time but the film is due for release November 1 of this year.

    If  you enjoyed the book series or have only  read Ender's game, you might want to take a look at the
    live action for Ender's Game movie.

    Check out the Trailer.  If the movie is even half as good, its goin to be awesome!




    Monday, May 06, 2013

    Bill Boards for Children Only....

    ANAR Foundation in Spain manages a special phone number to aid children and teenagers who may be at risk of abuse or are activly being abused.

    From the article:

    • On this telephone number, only for minors, they can find the help they need in a totally anonymous and confidential way. But, how can we get our message to a child abuse victim, even when they are accompanied by their aggressor?
    Here is where a brilliant piece of technology comes in.  The board in the video below had two messages.  One for adults that has a general awareness message, the other is directed at minor children and is invisible to adults.  The message to the children contains a phone number that only they can use that will aid them in getting help.

    Knowing the average height for adults and children under 10, GREY, of Spain, using an outdoor lenticular system, showing the adults the awareness message, while children see a message where they offer them help and show them the telephone number. A message only for children.

    Watch the demonstration video below:

    May 5th 1961 Alan B. Shepard - First Man From U.S. In Space

    Alan Shepard became the first American in space when the Freedom 7 spacecraft lifted off from Florida on May 5, 1961. Not to be one to set on his laurels, Shepard continued with the program and 12 years later, he become the fifth man to walk on the moon.


    Now for the nit pickers out there, yes I know -  sub orbital and ballistic, but give it a rest! After all these years, give the man his due.  When he was taken off active flight status, missing his chance at the first Gemini, he continued on in a planning and advisory position.  After surgery to correct an inner ear problem he ones again gained a seat on Apollo 14.   Yeah, I think he had the right stuff. 

    Click HERE for the Space.com article

    Review: Death Note the Movie

    Death Note is a live-action Japanese film released in 2006. The  movie is based on the Death Note manga and the later anime series.  

    The film primarily center on a university student, Light Yagami, who finds a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it.

    Light begins a campaign to rid the world of evil with the help of the notebook but soon blurs the boundaries of real evil and perceived evil.  

    If you have watched the anime you know that the series goes much further than this.  In truth, Death Note is two part series.  Part 2 was released shortly after the first and deals mainly with the actress Misa.

    When watching this movie, I really did not think that the director could pull off the same look and feel as the original anime series that I had watched earlier.  I was however surprised as just how accurate they managed to get.  Yes Ryuk, the Shinigami who was the original owner of the Death Note book was CGI but really masterfully done!  Plus the interaction between the live and cgi characters was seamless.  

    If you liked the original DeathNote anime then you should enjoy the live action as well.  In the original anime I really had trouble liking some of the anime characters.  I can't even go so far as calling some Anti-heroes.  The sets are good and really to be honest, it is the best try I have seen so far. 

    With that in mind, the movie deserves an 8 and the extras which good are one of the most frustrating ways to navigate!  Good extras...hard to get to! 6  for a total of 14 and an average of 7 which is low for the movie, but more than generous for the extras. 

    Thanks to our movie guy Mark for the find.

    Sunday, May 05, 2013




    This week I start off with a new track from John Anealio called Zombinista which has a decidedly 50s or 60s zombie flick.

    Next I read Kallamis' weekly run down of weekly happenings.

    First it's Curiosity's return to operation. Next it is alien planets tidally locked planets orbiting red dwarf stars. In Sci-fi news the st-tng's bridge is being rebuilt. TMNT are NOT aliens it would seem! Fantastic Four reboot may be problematic?
    I do a follow up on space trash. This week we learn that the Fermi space telescope was almost destroyed by space junk!

    David Scholes sends in a new story in the Trathh arc. "Trathh: The Final confrontations" Due to the run time, I was only able to play the first part.

    In Earth_Sky news, Cassini has returned some exciting news on Titan. Jovian Trojan asteroids are in the news this week and maybe the discovery of the worlds oldest Dinosaur records.

    IBM researchers have created a film that sets the records for the smallest stop motion film.

    I review the anime movie Redline which is an over the top racing movie.

    Hey, have you heard about Google's Glass? The head mounted computer that Google has great hopes for.

    NASA has extended their contract with Russian space services for a mind numbing...weeeeeeeeell it is half of what a stealth bomber cost...so maybe not numbing, it is just money that could have served a better purpose....like doing it ourselves..hummm?

    And finally - in our flash from the past - chapter 2 of Fritz Leibers No Great Magic!

    And that folks is the podcast. Yes, I know it is a bit longer than the radio program, but I wanted to add in several features, that I didn't have time for on the radio.