Saturday, August 31, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            Maybe he didn't make it into space himself, but he more than had a hand in our exploration of the solar system. I am talking of course about planetary scientist Bruce C. Murray. He died Aug. 29 at the age of 81 after a long illness.
            For those that don’t recognize the name, you will recognize his talent and dedication to the exploration of space. He was the director NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, from 1976 – 1982. And a lot of things happened during this time as well. Let’s just list a quick few here as examples.
Viking 1 & 2 both landed on Mars.
Voyager 1 & 2 were launched
Founded the Planetary Society with the late Carl Sagan
            And the list goes on. He also fought tirelessly to keep us moving forward on planetary expeditions during a time when budgets were being shredded like illegal documents at the CIA, and the future of exploration was looking grim indeed.
            He is survived by his wife Suzanne Moss, and also 5 children and grandchildren.
            Goodbye our old friend. May the spaceways remain clear for your sailing freedom to the stars where I am sure you always wished to go yourself. We’ll all catch up with you out there eventually.

            We are getting more evidence it seems all the time that life here did begin out there; in this case our neighbor mars.
            According to Steven Benner of The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida, evidence is mounting that life was brought to Earth by a meteorite that originated on mars.
            Basically what this is saying here, is that a form of oxidized molybdenum may have been crucial for life to start here on Earth. This was likely to have been available on Mars surface, but not here on Earth 3 billion years ago as we had very little oxygen but Mars did. So basically though the building blocks of life are founded in organic compounds they need a boost to  get things started. So with either Boron or molybdenum dropped into the mix, things get a jump start and start happening.
            The analysis of a Martian meteorite shows that there was Boron on Mars, and it is thought that some form of molybdenum was also there. Also, with Earth being covered by water at the time, it would have been difficult for boron to form as it has been found now in only extremely dry areas. There wouldn’t have been enough dry areas like this back then for boron to have formed in high enough concentrations to jump start life here.
            Well, what can I say? This works for me. So I guess we could say that we have those blasted Martians to blame for all the problems here after all. And since we are those Martians, I still get to complain about us. So this all works for me in every direction.

            Phase 2 of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which awards up to 500,000 for research and development, has been granted to 6 ideas. And they are pretty good ones too.
            Most are at least a decade away from being of any possible use on a mission, but at least we are preparing for it and doing the research to get us there. Seriously people, someone come up with a cryo system or something that works or a serious life extension plan for us will you.
            Now, in order to make this simple for us, (meaning me here), I am simply going to copy directly the 6 concepts that have been chosen. Here they are along with the principle party responsible for researching the concept.

Propellant-less Spacecraft Formation-Flying and Maneuvering with Photonic Laser Thrusters (Young Bae, Y.K. Bae Corporation, Tustin, Calif.)

SpiderFab: Architecture for On-Orbit Construction of Kilometer-Scale Apertures (Robert Hoyt, Tethers Unlimited, Inc., Bothell, Wash.)

A Gravitational Wave Detector Based on an Atom Interferometer (Babak Saif, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.)

Super Ball Bot: Structures for Planetary Landing and Exploration (Vytas SunSpiral, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.)

Nomadic Exploration: Following Routes of Solar Sustenance and Temperate Climate (David Wettergreen, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Sample Return Systems for Extreme Environments: Phase II (Robert Winglee, University of Washington, Seattle)
            Now you see why I copied and pasted it.
            When you look at these in the right way, it seems that there are still people out there determined to get us off this planet. It also seems that there are some pretty big things that could be in the planning somewhere as well that we haven’t heard about yet also. I can hope a anyway.
            Also, at the end of paragraph 3, there is a blue link there to a gallery of Future Visions of Human Spaceflight. Well worth the look, believe me. Needless to say I went back and forth a couple times with the pics and got sidetracked.  But here the link to the main article, and don’t forget to check out that futuristic gallery.

            Don’t panic, not that kind of prophecies. This is just a list of 10 sci-fi predictions that now actually exist. I will only give two of them here, number 10 and 9, and the rest are at the link. Just something I came across here that I thought i would throw in here for fun.
#10 The Atomic bomb.
            The World Set Free, written by H.G. Wells has numerous descriptions of atomic bombs. Yeah I guess that isn’t a big thing, except that the book was published in 1914. Yep, basically 30 years before the first atomic bomb test which took place in 1945, at 5:29:45 am, on July 16th, at  Alamogordo, New Mexico. 18 years to the day before I was born.

#9The Internet
            "From the 'London Times' of 1904" by Mark Twain. He may not have written a lot of sci-fi, but then he was Mark Twain and he was about as out there as a lot of us are  a lot of times it seems. I like him anyway. I think out of a lot of people from history, if I could choose only one to go back and visit, it would probably be him. He would definitely up there on my list at the top, that’s for sure.
            The first link is to the list, and the second link will be to that story.

            Now, as I haven’t been able to keep up this week on the sci-fi front, I do have two things to put up here. Both short, but one may or may not be good news, depending how you look at it.

            Looks like they really are going to try and do this after all. I was kind of hoping this would be forgotten and removed as a very bad idea. From video game to big screen movie usually doesn’t work out to well. And I did play wow for a while myself. It was fun back before they turned the freaking thing on its head, and in my opinion, destroyed the game.
            Now I already know the responses out there. There are basically two of them. Oh hell yeah, and Oh hell no. This time I’m in the middle. I don’t know which way to go on this at all. So I simply won’t say anything on that yet. There seems to be about a 50/50 split of the people I know who have played, or are still playing. I will probably enjoy the movie though to be honest as I simply got irritated at what the game became over time. I was basically a soloer and helped out others here and there though when I could. Even started a guild of nothing but soloers and it worked out pretty good till we all got disgusted and went on to other things. But I doubt they screw this up as bad as some others that have come out in the past. I won’t mention any titles here, but bouncing plumbers come to mind.

            And sorry, but that means exactly what you thought it meant. Yep, from that end. It’s about a guy who discovers that his stomach problems are being caused by a demon living in his intestines. Yeah, I’m going to be seeing this one.  Basically, when he gets stressed out he does what a lot of people do, bury it inside. Well, in his case, not a good idea. So basically, stress turns into demon, which pops out of you know where to take revenge on that which is stressing him out. Yeah, I really have to see this. (Seriously people, there has to be something wrong with me). But this looks hilarious. Well they are right about  one thing. The tag line says, bad sh*t happens. I will give two links to this as well. The first to the Movie pilot page which doesn’t say alot, and the second to the IMDB page with the trailer. You can see it on Itunes or VOD now, and it will be on the big screen October 4th. I have only seen a part of the trailer, and yeah, it’s another of my type of comedy horror things.

            Well folks, hope you enjoyed the rundown and I got a little info out here that you didn’t know yet. And I will be seeing you all again next week. Hopefully with a little more time to keep up with things this coming week also. One more breakdown by anyone’s vehicle that I have to repair, and I really will be trying to steal a shuttle and get out of here.  

            And one last thing for all the Whovians out there. Saturday night will be the Dr Who "Doctors Revisited" special, and we are now up to Doctor #8, which is Paul Mcgann, and this is of course the movie that was shown here back in 1996. This is on BBCA and is on here at 8pm. Here meaning Ohio time. 

This Saturdsy live

Yep you read that right, this Saturday 8/31 I plan to go live....should be a hoot!

Monsters of the Cosmos - Symphony of Science

Here is the newest offering from Symphony of Science!

This time out the target is Black Holes and SoS is up to the task. There are cuts of Morgan Freeman,
Neil deGrasse Tyson among others. 

Maybe not their best effort, but none to shabby either.

Take a listen....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is the Moon a planet?

Anyone that has spent any amount of time looking at the moon has got to ask themselves that question.  I know it is not that simplistic.  The moon is simply too damn big to be captured by the Earth.  More than likely it was formed early in Earth's history when Earth was struck by a Mars sized objects. 

It is clear that the Moon has been with the Earth for much of Earth's history, but that doesn't go anywhere near far enough to explain the phenomenon that is Earth's largest satellite.

First the Moon is huge, a full quarter the size of Earth....nearly a planet in it's own right.  Matter of fact, the Moon is so large that it in truth doesn't orbit the Earth as much a travel along with Earth, in a sinusoidal pattern that sometimes has it slightly ahead and sometimes slightly behind the Earth and one which if you plotted one complete "orbit" you would find that it does not center on the core of Earth but some 3 thousand miles from the center.  This means of course that both bodies "orbit" this commonality.

The pair would seem to then have a co orbit something like this, but due to the Moon size, the Sun in reality has more influence on the Moon than the Earth, so the orbit would appear more like this, with the orbit more centered around the sun with the Earth playing tug of war....
But as attractive as these orbits are, in truth the orbit of the Moon around the Sun is almost circular with no where near the large perturbations of these examples.  The point being that many of the criteria that have been accepted as rules to go by in determining a planet could apply to the Moon! 

Read the IO9 article here

Six Second Sciencee

Hey, you have got to check out this short video.

GE held a competition asking people to pack as much science as possible into six second, this video is a compilation of the best ones.

From the Gizmodo article:
  • You will recognize most of these experiments, because chances are, you've done them before. From a volcano made out of baking soda and vinegar, to making a basic circuit, to simple explanations of static electricity using a balloon, these are the ways we learned science when we were young. Adorable, a little bit nostalgia-inducing, but awesome most of all because they're demonstrations of real science.

NASA Tests Revolutionary New Rocket Engine Component

On Aug. 22 NASA fired a new rocket engine that in many ways a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware.  

The engine in question was capable of generating a record setting 20,000 pounds of thrust. which in many ways was 10 times more thrust than many previous components were able to deliver before.  

One component in particular that NASA was monitoring was a special injector that was responsible for delivering propellants to the engine's combustion chamber.  

The test injector passed with flying colors which caused a great deal of excitement.  The reason for the interest was the process by which the injector was manufactured.  The innovating process is called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing which is hoped to bring about new and more cost-effective manufacturing processes in the agency.  

  • The component was manufactured using selective laser melting. This method built up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder to make the complex, subscale injector with its 28 elements for channeling and mixing propellants. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines. It was similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for deep space human missions to an asteroid and Mars.
Pic is of a Shuttle rs-25 main engine being test fired. 

full article here

Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekly Rundown

This week it is pretty much sci-fi being done here. Most of the interesting science has already been covered, so off to the sci-fi for us. First we will start with news that may be good, or may be downright horrible.

            I’ll make this short, and simple, if not sweet. The new Batman for the next Man of Steel movie is Ben Affleck.
            And I am sure you all know what happened when he was announced as the new Bat. The net went bonko, as usual.
One guy compared the reaction to what it was when that Ledger person was cast as the joker. (I still hated him as the joker by the way, as he just didn’t cut it. Not to me anyway. All he had was the insanity part, but with no class at all.) That is my opinion, of which I realize I am in the strictest of minorities on this. I’m used to being there anyway.
            Anyhow, that is going to be the Bat in the next MOS movie. As for giving a link to this, it’s everywhere. It’s on yahoo, movie pilot, and every other site on the internet it seems right now. They certainly lit up the net when they dropped this bombshell on us.
            Personally, I’m going to attempt to withhold my first impression of this, and wait and see. For him to be the best Bruce Wayne so far is completely possible. But as for him actually portraying the Bat, well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. And yeah, there are also a number of petitions out there already asking them to recast the part. And no, I haven’t signed any of them. I’m still kind of waiting for my official meltdown on the new Fantastic Four cast if they ever get there. (Personally, my favorites there are the originals to play the part in that Roger Corman disaster film he made.) Anyway, here is a link that will take you to the DC page of movie pilot, where it seems half of it is all on this subject right now.  So enjoy him being cast, or at least try and enjoy your own complaining. Kind of like I do.

            They are doing it again. The Flash as a TV series. The cost is a lot of the reason the last one was cancelled. But they are going to try it again, which I don’t think is the best idea here at all. Now of course this will come about by being tied in originally to CW’s Arrow. 
            However, there is some hope here. This time, there won’t be the typing into a computer for an answer, as we have all been inundated with forensics on TV now through a variety of different programs, CSI leading the way in that of course. So this time, they will have to expand on that area quite a bit. So the show could actually be better than the original series, so let’s all of us, (myself at the top of the list here) TRY AND GIVE THIS A FAIR CHANCE.  I gave Arrow a chance, even though I had my serious doubts about it. I simply threw out everything I knew about Green Arrow, and just rode the wave on that one, and so far am not happy, but not unhappy with it either. It has its good points. But back to The Flash here.
            Here is why I think this is a bad idea. They want to do a Justice League movie. That means the Flash. So if we have a series with the Flash, and then a justice League movie with another person playing the part. Once again we see continuity go right out the window again. It would be nice if these people would get together, and figure out what the feck they are actually going to do, before doing it.
            Anyway, there is a lot more, (and I mean a lot more) info in the actual article. No one has been cast yet to my knowledge, but they may simply not be saying yet. I personally always liked The Flash, and would love to see a series get going that actually works. I’m just wondering how dark they will make him to appease the new violent loving crowd out there, and throw away everything that made the Flash a great character. Kind of like what they did with Supes from what I am hearing out here. I have got to see that movie pretty soon. Anyway, here’s the link folks.  The second link leads to Amazon and the original series being sold there.

            Basically, they are all on the chopping block this season. I’m almost willing to bet however that Daryl isn’t on that list, regardless of what they say in the article. He has become one of the most recognized, and followed characters on the show. Him and Glenn that is.  They even have a wall in the offices that is for all those that have left us on this show, whether by being eaten, gnawed, shot, left, etc. and they are apparently going to be adding more heads to that wall this season, and apparently with some of the main characters. Well, let’s be honest here about this show for one second. I can to you all right now, that out of all of them, there are only a couple I would ever allow to be in my group. Rick and his brats are not on that list, and I am personally hoping to watch them get eaten. I mean really, having a baby in that world, at that time, yeah right. That’s a sure fire way to become bloody food let me tell you.
            Also, we will apparently be seeing a lot more human on human debacles as it goes forward.
            I have to admit that last season was better than season 2, but not by much. They are promising better yet again this season, but we’ll see.
            Lets look at this show for a second. They worry so much about a dippy relationship, or some other silliness, instead of what they should be focused upon, that which lies beyond survival. If this would happen, here is what I would do. While things like the net are still active, I am going to download a printed copy of every place that there is a shelter of the government, or of a private person, since so many of them want to appear on TV now for some reason, and I am going hunting. And another thing, just where are they getting all this fuel at. Gas only stays good for about a year, and after that it really goes downhill. And I haven’t seen a still anywhere. So just where are they getting all this unlimited fuel at?
            And yeah, I could go on, but let’s face it, it’s the only freaking Zombie series we are ever likely to  get, so I’m there for the remainder I believe regardless.  I just hope they feed Rick at least to something. Better yet, let him behind while they escape and watch him be eaten. Yeah, I really hate that lunatic idiot.
Here’s the link folks.

            No, it’s not a YouTube video folks. It’s a bloody horror movie titled; you got it, “Squirrels.”
            Now just in case you haven’t figured out a plot for a bunch of run amok flesh eating killer squirrels, here it is exactly as it is in the article.
            A young man return to his home town after his father is mysteriously killed. Sadly, his investigation into his father’s death is somewhat hampered by the hordes of blood-crazed, homicidal squirrels that suddenly descend on the sleepy little town.
            As a rodent lover, and having had many as pets over the years, and my rats are actually out here with me at this moment, I have to say this looks entirely silly, and demented. And yeah, I will be seeing this one of course myself, even if it is out there on a limb like Attack of The Killer Tomatoes’.
Even so, you need to watch the trailer if you are a fan of horror, and especially a fan of ludicrous horror movies. Yeah, I even liked Poultrygeist. Okay, so I watch some really twisted and sick stuff at times. And if you haven’t seen Poultrygeist, see it. Just remember, its real title however is this, “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead”. And now you know just what it is about more or less. It really is a fun movie for those that like that type of movie. I loved it. Sorry Dave, I love bad movies, always will. After all, I loved star crash too remember.
            Anyway, for all you fans of lunacy horror movies, this one looks right up our alley. So check it out.

            Self explanatory, and that is really all there is here on this link as well is pics from the new movie. And I do have to say, that Eccleston, (the former and first Doctor of the new Doctor Who series) looks amazing here.  Check it out. The pics will do nothing more than make you wish you had a TARDIS to get a jump on the rest of us and go see the bloody thing now. Cool pics though. Yeah, even a week waiting is enough to drive this old Thor man wacky.

            On November 23rd of this year, Doctor Who will be celebrating 50 years. And this time there won’t be any spoilers coming from those that have seen it first, and that has been guaranteed.  Those people in Britain will not be able to make posts about it before we have seen it here as well. As well as the other 200 or so countries that are going to be airing it as well won’t have that problem either. It’s going to be simulcast across the globe at the same time. And I couldn’t care less if it is on at 9pm, 3am, or whenever, I am going to be there, believe it.
            How I missed this article before I have no idea, so though it is a bit late, I wanted to get it out here anyway for everyone like me that loves the Doctor.
            And if you have the money, fly to the UK for that day. It’s also going to be shown in theaters there. Lucky sons of ......
            This is direct from the article itself.
            “Global broadcasters have agreed to simulcast the 3D special to avoid plot leaks or spoilers, meaning that if, on the anniversary of Saturday 23 November, the episode was to be shown at 7pm on BBC1, fans in LA would see it at 11am while viewers in Sydney would be watching it at 6am on Sunday.”
            Now the big question of course is what it has been. Is this the second to last Doctor. It has been mentioned so many times that they have only 12 regenerations. However, River burned up all of hers to save him after they locked Hitler in the closet. And without Time Lords to control it now, and with all of them gone, (maybe), does that even have any bearing any longer. Without their limits, it could be that being the last time lord in the universe, those rules no longer apply. Also, with the connection between him and his only true lady, (the TARDIS), I wouldn't be surprised that she herself may have altered things at some point. And yes, all TARDISes are female.
            I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again here. Forget Han, forget Kirk, forget Goku, or superman. There is only one true hero of the universe, and we don’t even know for sure his real age. Never forget rule 1, the Doctor lies. So frankly, he could already be thousands of years old, and just lies out of some type of vanity.
            Personally, I think with the end of Gallifrey, it was the end of the limits put in place by the time lords, and our Doctor now may very well be basically an immortal being, considering that his regeneration may have no limit now.  And frankly, it would be the perfect cap stone to the death of those lunatic time lords that were following the king lunatic Rassilon.
            Of course, I don’t think we've seen the last of The Master either. That tricky one had to have a plan of escape somehow. After all, he did turn everyone into him once, and I have no doubt there was a part of an escape plan in there somewhere.
            Long live the true hero folks. Long live the Doctor.

            Yeah, those dips had to do this one, and now I’m back in this again. You all know my feelings about Trek and Wars. It’s Trek, period, first, foremost and always here. However, This isn’t that argument, of which only the Trekkies are correct about anyway. Yes, I’m sticking to my side on this, as they really can’t be compared in the first bloody place. One is sci-fi, and the other goes into the same category as Star Crash, a space fantasy, a space opera, whatever you want to call it.
            But this is about Han and Kirk. I love them both, but to be honest, I have to go with Han here. Yeah, Kirk has the women, (though I am betting Han had a few in every port), and he has the enterprise. However, lets see the enterprise do what the Falcon can do. The problem here is simple. The enterprise would never fit where the Falcon does, and would be in pieces if they ever tried to fly it that way.
            Kirk has scotty, and an entire engineering crew to get his ship moving. Han has himself and chewie to fix whatever breaks, and no Starfleet for parts. They buy their own, or make them, or steal them.
            Frankly, Han could fly circles around both Kirk, and the Enterprise. Ouch, that actually kind of hurt to say. But it is a fact.
So lets break this down into the only way to choose who is the best of the two.  And here it is. Personal choice folks.
            Considering the two are totally different, ships totally different, and universes not even remotely connected, I find the entire thing a bit silly to compare them. A more fair comparison would be Kirk and Picard. And no way am I getting myself into that battle. I still remember the fist fight over Trek and Wars in a freaking parking lot. For a bunch of geeks nerds and dweebs, we can certainly get violent over things at times. And no, I didn’t start it either. My mouth may have helped, but I did not throw the first punch. Actually, I don’t know who did. Yeah, try explaining to the cops that one. No one got arrested, we were all asked to leave and dang if we all weren’t back there the next night. I miss those days.
            So make your choice folks. For me, Han dresses better, looks better, and has a much cooler ship for getting into trouble with. Kirk dresses in uniform, has a huge ship to blow up things with, and a lot more entertainment on board it as well.
            Folks, honestly, they just can’t be compared. And neither should the two franchises for that matter. But hey, what else have we got to do but argue over greatness (TREK) vs silliness (WARS).
Here’s your link folks.

There you go folks. Hope you enjoy the rundown this week. The science articles I had listed are already up there, so that is why I went sci-fi only this week. Time restraints and schedule here are insane for me right now, so just going sci-fi this week was easier for me,. See you all next week folks.

Podcast Blues....

hey guys....just wanted to let you know that after a protracted illness, I am on the mend and should hit the Beam Me Up trail once again next Saturday.    I am now home and resting well.

Thanks to all your help and support over the summer.  Believe me it has not gone without  notice


Review: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie by Tim Burton  B+W stop motion

Directed by     Tim Burton
Story by          Tim Burton
Based on         Frankenweenie by Tim Burton

Catherine O'Hara  Susan Frankenstein
Martin Short  Edward Frankenstein
Martin Landau  Mr. Rzykruski
Charlie Tahan  Victor Frankenstein
Atticus Shaffer  Edgar "E" Gore
Winona Ryder  Elsa van Helsing

The first thing I think needs clearing is what this film is based on.  Burton a few years back make a live action short called Frankenweenie.   As you may have guessed, this short was based on a boy named Edward who loved making films and often used his constant companion  his dog Sparky who through an errant pitch at a baseball game, fetched the wayward ball and was run over by a car for his trouble, killing him.

Young Victor sees an experiment with a frog and electricity.   Exhuming Sparkie he pulls a Shelly Frankenstein's Monster  which eventually is successful and Sparkie is once again with his best friend.

Now Burton's stop motion Frankenweenie if virtually frame for frame exactly like the live action. 

Burton also has fun by sending up many of the old horror films like Frankenstein, King's Pet Semetary, Edward Scissorhands among others.  I won't give away all the little tid bits that are there for the film buffs and or adults who I know will be watching!

As for rating the film.  The stop motion is extremely good.  The voice acting was a treat and the visuals and tongue in cheek references are fun for adults and kids alike.  I think it is an easy 8.5
As far as extras there is loads of information on how Tim is keeping an old tech alive and fun. A good 8  for a 16.5 film total and an 8.25  for average.    Well worth the watch. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mysterious Moon Dust

Any of the Apollo astronauts that forayed to the Moon's surface must have had run in with the sticky, abrasive, and gunpowder-scented moon dust.  However no matter how many times we heard about it, nothing quite does it up than this pic of Apollo 17s Gene Cernan covered for all the world with what looks like coal dust.

The dust is purported to be so abrasive as to be able to dig its way through Kevlar of all things!

The Scientific American article describes how the material came into being and describes the dust's characteristics as well.  

What are my bids for this 25 feet tall, 160 feet long and 135 feet wide and weigh around 8.2 million pound launcher?

What is are 25 feet tall,  160 feet long and 135 feet wide and weigh around 8.2 million pounds?
NASA's historic mobile launch platform, or MLPs, famous for holding Saturn 5s and the Shuttle as they made their way from the VAB to the launch area.  

 NASA presently owns 3 of these behemoths.  The agency is entertaining concepts for the potential use or divestment of three historic launch platforms that are not needed for the agency's current or planned future missions.  

Are you reading this correctly?  Key words.....Saturn, Shuttle.   I would add in unique and historic.

Can you say short sighted?  Irreplaceable?  Of course we have seen what Nasa considers mothballing or storage....

Read the NASA post here

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rogue Planets!!

From The Daily Galaxy

In a huge cloud of gas and dust 4600 light years from Earth in the the Rosette Nebula exists tiny, round, dark clouds. Dubbed "globulettes" these strange formations have the right characteristics to form free-floating planets with no parent star.

  • The Rosette Nebula is home to more than a hundred of these tiny clouds. This observation from 
  • Gösta Gahm, astronomer at Stockholm University. These structures are very small, each with diameter less than 50 times the distance between the Sun and Neptune with an estimate that most of them are of planetary mass, less than 13 times Jupiter’s mass. 

From the Article:
  • Previous research has shown that there may be as many as 200 billion free-floating planets in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Until now scientists have believed that such “rogue planets”, which don’t orbit around a star, must have been ejected from existing planetary systems. New observations of tiny dark clouds in space point out another possibility: that some free-floating planets formed on their own.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Early days of the PC with Radio Shack's TRS-80

Wow, does this bring back memories of high school in the '80s!

Early Days of the PC with the TRS-80

Animated short: Girl and Robot

Here is a cute shot animation done in Steam Punk called Girl and Robot....Enjoy

Voyager Has Left the Building....

Kall asked the question in last week's RUNDOWN segment, where exactly IS Voyager?
Well now, according to Reuters, new research indicates that the craft left the confines of the Solar System last year.  Making it the first man made object to do so.  

This new research is based on conclusions by physicist Marc Swisdak of  the University of Maryland.  Up until this point, scientists have based Voyager's position to magnetic fields.  These fields, according to computer models, will flow away from the sun as long as Voyager is in the Solar System. These fields should stop and the flow then should come from the interstellar medium and flow towards the solar system.  

However Swisdak's findings suggest that Solar System magnetic flows and interstellar's flow are aligned enough that "you can actually pass through without seeing a huge change in direction,"

If this is indeed the case then Voyager's position can only be based upon the amount of particles from Sol or cosmic rays flowing toward the Solar System from the interstellar medium.  This very scenario occurred with Voyager last year, hence the conclusion by Swisdak that Voyager has indeed left the Solar System and did so last year when Voyager detected a sharp drop in particles from Sol and   a corresponding increase in particle influx toward the Solar System. 

From the article:

  • Voyager lead scientist Edward Stone, now retired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said Swisdak's research is interesting but different computer models are portraying different scenarios to explain the Voyager data.
Read complete Reuters article HERE

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekly Rundown

First off, sorry for going AWOL. It's kind of hard to let people know anything, when nothing works. Everything is now back online, and I am back again. Sorry about that folks. I really need to start buying top of the line equipment, AND stop dumping drinks where they do not belong. Nuff said on that. Again, sorry about being missing there for those couple weeks without notice. Had to wait for payday to be able to even get back on here. And now, back to normal again. Well, as normal as I will ever be anyway.  One question, anyone know if those spill proof keyboards are really spill proof. Or is that just another way to make me spend more for something I am apparently determined to trash anyway somehow. I realize there is no such thing as a spill proof computer, but frankly I should probably have one of those as well. Turns out that Root Beer happens to be quite a nasty substance when it gets mixed in with computer electronics.Now you know where I've been. On to the rundown.

            The Kepler space telescope and it searching for extraterrestrial planets has come to an end, due in a large part to cheapness, and laziness.  Apparently the positioning system cannot be repaired. Anything that is not exploded can be repaired.
            Kepler was launched in 1990 to search for earth sized worlds in what we consider to be a habitable zone, and ones with water that we assume is needed for life. In May, it lost the equipment needed to keep it steady and focused on what area without moving. The stability is achieved through a combination on three wheels that keep it pointed and balanced basically in one direction at one point for the time needed to check for a planet around a star.
            Kepler has found 135 planets so far, with around 3500 possible waiting for confirmation.
            The system must remain pointed at the exact same spot for years in order to be sure of a planetary body within the system. Here is why folks. Say it was another species doing this, and looking toward sol for a planet like our Earth. Well, that in all accuracy could take over a year to prove we were here. It takes us a year by our count to go around our sun. Therefore, just to find earth with this system would take a year basically just to show there could be a planet here. Then another year basically to gather more info and prove we are here. Finding planets doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long drawn our process, and we need Kepler. And now we get to my point about sheer cheapness and laziness.
            Kepler is about 40 million miles from Earth. That’s it. 40 million miles. Yet they are saying it is too far to send a repair crew, or even a robotic repair system. Bull. That is barely farther than Mars at its closest, and we are talking constantly about a manned mission to Mars. Give me a ship, give me the bloody parts, and I’ll go fix the damn thing myself.
            You know, if we would stop[ screwing around with solid fuel bombs under our peoples butts, we might actually get somewhere. Leaving Kepler up there in only a partial usable state is just wrong by me. If that is the case, then lets head her back to Earth, pick  her up, and museum her. If we sent it up, we can bring it back. This is why we need a moon base or a huge station. It would be the perfect places for a museum for all things space, (spacey), pick one of those words, whichever sounds better to you. 

            Yeah it’s still there, and we can find it. However, the question is this. Has it left the system yet, (as in solar system). NASA is still waiting for it to depart the system, but another study says that it left our system and hit interstellar space last year. According to the new study, she left our system on July 27th of last year. According to NASA, she is still in the system, though just barely.
            The lead author of the paper, Marc Swisdak had this to say about this. "It's a somewhat controversial view, but we think Voyager 1 has finally left the solar system, and is truly beginning its travels through the Milky Way.” He and his co-authors, Merav Opher and James Drake also of the university of Maryland, are not mission scientists. And the conclusions they have reached fly in the face of the conclusions NASA has reached.
            According to NASA, they think that Voyager 1 is now flying through a strange transition zone of the heliosphere at the edge of our system. And this is where the two teams start to disagree on their conclusions. The new study has come to the conclusion that the heliosphere boundary is a porous and multilayered structure, and not the homogeneous style that we have been considering it to be for ages now. And both Voyager 1 and 2 are now in that area picking up information.
            To make this all simple, basically it is this. Voyager 1 has now detected a large jump in cosmic rays, and a severe drop of solar particles. Solar comes from our star, while the high energy cosmic rays are interstellar space. 
            Reading this article, it could be that both sides are actually correct, in a fashion. It is quite possible, that the heliosphere is not even out there. But at places stretches farther, and in others it is not stretched out as far. In this case, it very well could have left what would be considered the solar system, yet still be within a part of the heliosphere that stretched outward beyond the average point. Yeah, that was my 2 cents worth there folks. Check out the article and pick a side. Or join me in my musings which could also be correct.

            Six scientists have just completed a four month mock mission to Mars. Any of us could have done this simulation with ease, though I am sure my recommendations would never be taken. In other words, lots of crawfish on board.
            They spent 118 days on the mission and ate a wide variety of instant foods, as well as foods they cooked themselves from shelf stable ingredients. They then rated all of the meals they ate along with keeping detailed accounts of their moods, feeling of body, weight, etc. This was done in order to aid our astronauts on long voyages, such as to Mars. They are working on ways to better keep our men and women happy and healthy out there.
            One of the problems with instant food is that it has been processed to the point that they are lacking in fiber for one thing, so they also ate a lot of wheat bread, rye crackers, nuts, and dried fruit.

            They did also venture out of the habitat once a week, in space suit, to do geological  and microbe detection studies. All in keeping with the concept of it happening on Mars of course. These aren’t the only ones working on the food category for this. As I mentioned awhile back, NASA also has awarded a $125,000 grant to a group working on developing a 3D printed pizza. There is also one of those vote things at the end of the article you can choose. Basically would you sign up for a year’s-long space mission. You all can pretty well guess where my vote went.

            Not for us though. These are things that were considered and though up in the past, and it is pretty cool to check out. Basically it is a list of pics with a short explanation, but the cars they thought up then are worth the look for them alone if nothing else. That’s about all there really is to say on this part. Check out the pics, especially you younger people to see what we older ones grew up seeing what they were lying to us about.  

And now, on to the sci-fi part of which there seems to be quite a bit this week. That’ll happen when you are not around for awhile. But there are numerous things happening, and I will try and cover what I consider the top ones. There’s even a Doctor update that i will not say yet if I am happy with or not.  But lets start with some anime here.

            For all you airbender fans out there, book 2 is looking pretty good. The link will take you to the trailer, though they haven’t much at all to say there yet. But the trailer looks pretty good. Personally, I like Korra a whole lot better than I ever did Ang. Actually, I like a lot of the characters in this better than I ever did the original, and i am a fan of the original as well.

            And this time, it isn’t that shamadingdong person for once. They are saying that a Futurama Simpsons crossover is going to happen. Seriously people? What is wrong with these people.  So apparently Planet Express is coming to Springfield somehow. I personally think this is a horrible idea. These dinks must be taking advice from that shamadink or something. It’s bad enough there is going to be a family guy Simpsons crossover, but this is just going too far in my book. This is just too disgusting to even discuss actually, at least for me. Here’s the link folks. Go check it out for yourselves. Apparently these ding dongs are taking advice or ideas Shamadink. Doesn’t say so, but what other ding dong could come up with something for an idea that is this bad. Especially when the Simpsons are already a confirmed TV show in Futurama. Just an all-around bad idea I say. We need to keep Futurama, and send the simpsons packing like they should have done 300 years ago after season 987. Or so it seems to me anyway that it has been around that long. Don't get me wrong here. First few seasons of the Simpsons were great, and then down hill it went faster than even the Mach 5 could keep up. I'm just disgusted even talking about this, so here's the link folks. Make sure you haven't eaten anything before reading it if you feel like I do. 

Now on to much less disturbing sci-fi news.

            Yeah, I’m talking about the new shield television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now this series has so much potential, all depending on who has the rights to what here. I mean, anyone from Marvel, and basically everyone in Marvel, has at one time or another had a team up, or more than likely a problem with S.H.I.E.L.D. (from here out in this segment being written as just shield). There isn’t much of an article here either. Basically it just says that the resurrected Coulson and his team will be tackling new and unclassified cases. The trailer looks pretty good actually, so lets hope that it doesn’t follow the normal route of this channel. It is premiering on September 24th, and universes help us, it’s going to be on the Already Been Canceled channel. Yep, ABC folks.  Well, I guess that’s probably better than the former sci-fi channel having it. Seriously, if they had it, we’d probably get versions of characters that would force us to tear down their studios finally. But this show has so much it could do, so let’s hope it goes well, and they don’t destroy one of our universe here. Check out the trailer folks, it’s worth it. In the words of our favorite little ninja Naruto, Believe It. I am seriously waiting for this one. But then, I think like everyone else out here, I fell in love with Coulson also. The guy is just so cool. And the actor portraying him is amazing in that roll. I honestly didn’t see any difference between the one on the Avengers movies, and the one from the new anime like spidey. Pretty much exactly the same guy. Coulson has become a very loved character, so lets hope they don’t screw this up big time.

            Not the millenium one people. The hero one. Looks as though in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, my man The Falcon is going to be there as well. Or at least make an appearance. I  know this has been out there for a while now, but it finally was actually confirmed fully. Amazingly.
            Anthony Mackie will be playing the role. Now I don’t think he is quite the right choice, as his upper arms don’t look big enough, even though Falcon isn’t huge, though he does sort of have but I have been so wrong about these things before it isn’t even a laughing matter. Except for my friends who got to point and laugh at me when i had to admit I was wrong, thereby suffering great and tremendous agony to myself. I hate my friends.  
            Falcon was one of the first black heroes to actually be in main stream comics. Not counting Black Panther here of course. Personally, if I had the choice, I would rather have Cage and Iron Fist, but I always loved The Falcon as well. I even stole his uniform colors once to use for a character of my own in the marvel RPG game universe. So I am actually excited about him showing up finally, more than I am about the second Captain America movie.
            Also, according to IMDB, he is listed, (though it is said to still be rumor only) as being in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron due in 2015.
            Now since he is going to be a part of Shield here, and is a tactician, I see no reason why he could not also show up in the series on TV, along with so many others like I mentioned earlier.
I hope they go with the Red and White uniform for him. I have no idea how that might look on screen, but some of the uniforms actually do cross over to live action without a problem. Here’s the link for you fans of The Falcon.

            BUT NOT HERE.
            I have thought about this since last night, and have decided not to post it here. The article where it is doesn't even come up till you scroll your mouse pointer over it. So here is what I am going to do for us. I am going to put in the link, and if you don’t want to know about a spoiler, don’t read it. If it doesn't bother you to know, then follow the link and see what it is. I don't get that choice myself. I have to know what it is so I know if it is worth putting up here. Alan Taylor is the director, and he is basically called when they want to kill people. He admits this. His exact words, Part of them anyway, are as follows. “I just get called in to murder people’s favorite characters.”
This is simply the easiest way to get it out there, and yet not get it to those that don’t want to know about it yet. So make your own choice here folks. 

            Okay, I don’t know what to say here. The new Doctor for those that don’t know has been cast. Just not sure what i think about this guy. Peter Capaldi will be playing the 12th Doctor. From what I know of him, umm, no. One, he is too old for today’s Doctor. Sorry, that’s how it is. If you look at things, in the beginning, the doctor was old. But younger in more recent regenerations. What they should have done was do it with someone more unknown, and younger. I just don’t know about this guy being the Doctor. He seems to have the ability to bring the charisma, but not sure about the rest. There is an 11 second video of him at the link that makes me think he might be able to do it, but still. They may be heading in for a rough ride with this guy. I’m seeing a lot around the net where people aren’t happy with this. I’m not, but this is the Doctor, and I will wait and see before I make my decision. Of course, I’m not entirely happy with the darker direction that the series has taken either, but I will always be there regardless. Until the day they turn the Doctor into an underwear model vampire teen idiot, I will be there travelling along with the rest of you.
            Now I have nothing against an older Doctor. But you need someone that is actually in excellent shape, and seriously, in that show, someone that stays in shape by running. My problem here is this. I would love to see more enhanced technical aspects in the show, and more of him concocting things like he used to do back in the days of numbers 1-4. However, they have turned this into an action adventure show all the way now, and that is how the new generation that has come into it knows it. Especially here in America. We have always had a problem getting the Doctor here to begin with. (The smegs haven’t even shown the new season of Red Dwarf here yet.)
In all honesty, this could kill the series here. And here is why. I know so many people that have come to the Doctor recently, and then when they go back and watch the old ones, they don’t like them. Nothing ever really happens is one of their main complaints. Or the effects crap complaint. It seems like anymore all anyone is interested in in shows and movies is constant vulgarity, rapes, killings, murders, massive explosions, etc etc etc. Okay, I like a lot of that myself at times in ceratin movies that are that, I admit that. But this is the Doctor, and like Star Trek (or MacGyver) is supposed to do, he uses his mind first. He isn’t one of us. He doesn’t see something he doesn’t understand and so decides the answer to the question is blowing it up.
            But we shall see what happens here. Hopefully he brings the same energy to the character, and the same how to say this, exuberance, cheer, something. Watch the 11 second video and you’ll see what I mean. In some ways he reminds me a bit of my Doctor, Tom Baker in the way he smiles and moves.
            I have some hope, (and I doubt I’d leave anyway even if he was horrible as I have been with the Doctor for most my life). I refuse to be one of those that scream because we are getting a new Doctor. That’s what happens. Time Lords regenerate. And like most, I hate seeing the doctor be replaced, especially now that it is finally proven that that one really does die.
\           Hopefully this guy brings the power that is needed to the part. All we can do is hope for the best. Here’s the link folks.