Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ellison at Eighty

You read that correctly!  Harlan Ellison, as of May 27th, is eighty years old!  Talk about something making you feel ancient!

Ellison really defined my appreciation of the science fiction genre, in the late 60s and early 70s, with works like the Dangerous Visions that he edited, "Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", I have No Mouth and I Must Scream, "A Boy and His Dog" oh and one of my all time favorites the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".  (I am not alone on this one.  Many people consider this episode of Star Trek, the best one of the 79 episodes produced. 

Oh you have got to read the Wikipedia article on Ellison HERE

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dextre "hand" replaces malfunctioning camera on the Canadarm2

The Canadian Space Agency demonstrated the "Destre" system or the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, by  replacing a malfunctioning camera on the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Dextre,  is a two armed  telemanipulator, which is part of the Mobile Servicing System on the International Space Station.   One of it's main functions is to replace some activities otherwise requiring spacewalks.
In a thrilling demonstration of space robotics, today the Dextre "hand" replaced a malfunctioning camera on the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm. And the Canadian Space Agency gleefully tweeted every step of the way

Read more at:

Check the article HERE 
or the Wiki HERE

Skype to Instatute Real Time Translator.

Here is a prime example of my ongoing statement on BMU.   When I first heard about this software, the news person equated it to the universal translator used in the original 1960s Star Trek program. Science fiction influences science which in turn influences science!                                                        
Microsoft/Skype are developing  real time translation software.  Windows Eight users will be able to use a beta version of the software by the end of 2014.  A fully function  program is slated for 2016.

Ah but with Microsoft involved, even though Skype is free, we can count on one thing, it won't be free and it won't be cheap, is that two things?

click title for full article.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

NASA Spots Huge New Crater on Mars

Scientists using images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, discovered a new crater on the surface of Mars.   The crater was formed by a March 2012 impact and is large enough to cover half of a football field.  

The culprit that created the crater was most likely  a car-size asteroid.  The Martian event is similar to an impact event over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which shattered windows, damaged hundreds of buildings and left more than 1,000 people injured.

Read the complete Science article HERE

BMU #407 Now Online

Welcome to episode 407 of Beam Me Up.  This week I hit the "road" running.  After my initial opening comments I play a story from a new author Leslie Anderson.  Her story Life in

Space highlights some conflicts in space from an unique viewpoint.

Then I wander over to the BMU blog to read a review and a full out rant by our #1 commenter Kallimus. Believe me, he is in good form this week!

Next I review a really good anime feature Summer Wars.

NASA has put three Moon lander concepts up for consideration for a lander that can do scientific work on the Moon in the near future.

I have some shot video of Space X doing a water landing after visiting the ISS.

I was shocked to find out how fast Jupiter's Red Spot is shrinking.  Don't panic, it won't disappear anytime soon, but there will be a time soon it seems when there isn't a huge red storm on the face of Jupiter!

And a team of scientists has created a working tractor beam....buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut......

The final story of the afternoon is Soldier of the Rorne by David Scholes.

That's the program for this week.  Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Summer Wars

Animated Anime Feature 114 minutes
Mamoru Hosoda director

Our anime guru Justin has come through again with a really timeless anime film called Summer Wars.   From the director who did the wonderful film The Girl Who Jumped Through Time.

First thing is to imagine a large social media program like Facebook combined with with something like Second Life.   The program itself is the basis for a virtual world called Oz.  This meeting place has grown from a simple place to play games or to talk to people, to a huge multi-faceted  world where much of daily life takes place.  Work and leisure, take place in the virtual settings of OZ and the film's layers all revolve around this virtual world.

The main theme is this virtual world is compromised by a mysterious person.  As a result, much of the infrastructure in Japan begins to crumble.

At the same time we have a young high-school student being exposed to a large extended family of really unique individuals.  The dynamics of several of the family members is what keeps the movie entertaining as well as intriguing.

I really don't want to give away to much of the plot because how this film progresses as the main character becomes more involved with them is the dynamic of what makes this very unique film, immensely entertaining. The plot moves along very well and the animation is very good.  I would put this piece of anime in a class that would contain films like Spirited Away, The Girl Who Jumped Through Time  or Steamboy, it really is that good.

I would give Summer Wars a conditional must see.  It is very entertaining  but sometimes you get the feel that you are watching a good anime serial instead of a stand alone film, but that is certainly not anything that should  keep you from seeing this film.   

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NASA Unveils Three Possible Future Moon Landers

Astrobotic's Griffin Lander

Recently, NASA had asked private industry to present concepts of a future Moon lander. NASA has revealed that three of  the landers have been chosen for further consideration.  The three companies that made the cut were: Astrobotic Technology Inc's Griffin lander, Masten Space Systems Inc's XEUS lander  and Moon Express Inc's MX-1 Lander.  These three companies concept landers will move on to the "Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown  initiative" or the "Lunar CATALYST".

NASA is not providing any funding, however  the agency is prepared to offer assistance in technical matters, access to test facilities, equipment loans and software for three years.

  • Both Astrobotic and Moon Express are competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize awarded to a private team that can land and perform activities on the surface of the moon by Dec. 31, 2015.

Monday, May 19, 2014

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Returns Home

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft returned home this past weekend loaded with  more than 3,500 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon cargo craft splashed down at 3:05 p.m. EDT Sunday, in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 300 miles west of Baja California.

Some of the experiments and data that were part of Dragon's cargo were science samples that are critical to improving our knowledge of how space affects humans who live and work there for long durations,  data that could aid in better understanding the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during spaceflight while also improving antibiotic development on Earth.  Plus many others.

For more information, check out the NASA.GOV sight HERE

Below is an earlier water landing of the Dragon cargo module.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinking is reporting that Jupiter's great red spot appears to be shrinking!  This observation is based on photos taken by the Hubble space telescope since the early 90s, as well as observations from amateur astronomers.

While the storm has been observations from  the late 1800s estimated  the spot at 25,500 miles across.  A century later, the Voyager spacecraft flybys  in 1979 revealed the spot had shrunk to 14,500 miles.

Images from Hubble showed in images taken in 1995, the storm shrinking to 13,020 miles across. By 2009, the Red Spot had diminished to 11,130 miles.

Read the complete article HERE

Unaired Remo Pilot/ Is ISS viable (seriously?)

My review of unaired pilot episode for Remo Williams. 
Now this is from back in 1988 and was done shortly after the movie Remo Williams, The Adventure Begins.  Now as a longtime fan of The Destroyer series, created by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, I had seen parts of this before, but have never seen a decent copy that didn’t give me a severe headache trying to watch it. Finally found the full episode again online so the link to it is at the end here.
Well, what can I say? It is titled Remo Williams – The Prophecy. Before I go into anything major about it here, Master Chiun is played by Roddy McDowall. He does a good job of it after what horrible things they did to that character in the original movie.
Though the title is The Prophecy, any longtime fan of the series will recognize it immediately as the novella The Day Remo Died. Now this is actually the perfect, and the true second story, though not the second book. There are many things wrong, but still worth a watch, especially if you liked the movie. 49 minutes 16 seconds. That’s the time it will take to watch a decent story unfold, if inaccurately. As to the things that are wrong. Most stem from the movie itself, and not from this, though I will admit that it needs to be redone to accurately portray the violence of Remo and Chiun, which was never portrayed in any way accurately. What was wrong with the original movie was an entire list of things.
Master Chiun does not wear glasses; he is the master of Sinanju.
Chiun ripped the ears off a man for shutting off his soap opera, but only breaks the guys neck that tried to kill Remo at the Statue of Liberty.
And here is where they really messed up in the original movie, which would have screwed up any series that tried to follow the true story. It takes years for Remo to get over a fear so ingrained in him that it even halts his Sinanju abilities almost 20 years later. That was screwed up by the origin they told. He didn’t die by car submerged in river. Remo was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, sentenced to die in an electric chair that didn't work, (though still gave him burns and a deep fear of electricity and what it could do) and sent to work for an organization that doesn't exist. All of that being missed would have killed the series in the long run any way.
            It needs to be redone today, and done properly where the magic of the Sinanju abilities can be seen. And it wouldn’t even be an expensive series to do either. The effects now for such things like Sinanju are cheap. AMC should do the series. Hell, if they can get walking dead on tv now, Remo and Chiun would not be a problem, and the stories would be more exciting, and the political satire a lot more funny than most things on tv right now, and certainly more intelligent than a bunch of idiots trying to survive in a magical land where gas in cars on the side of the road never goes bad, and tires never go flat from sitting. And apparently the brakes never freeze up from sitting either. Yeah, Remo and Chiun are certainly more believable than that show.
            And yeah, the second book now that Murphy is back is just as good as the first after his return, if not better.
Here’s the link. Go enjoy the next viewing of the greatest and I believe the only surviving heroes of the Men’s Adventure genre of the 70’s and 80’s. Definitely the greatest of them all.

And now on a personal note on the ISS and the latest upheaval of silliness by our dippy governments on this planet.  Oh, the things I would like to say to certain people, and I mean to their faces. You know, if Russia wants to leave the station, let them go. And why the fecking idiocy about whether we can keep it going, or is it viable to do so. Who the hell do I need to slap the crap out of here around here to wake up the idiots. Is it viable? Is research, science, learning, knowledge, etc a viable reason, or would you idiots like to go back to cave living which the way some sound lately, that is apparently where they would rather be.
            You know, I remember back when I was a kid, how all we heard about was how space was advancing mankind, and all the benefits it was giving us. I mean come on people. Do you really think anyone actually liked that freaking TANG stuff. It sold to people because they connected it to astronauts and space. The entire concept back then was one of advancement, scientific inquiry, and pushing for more. Not just a few of the people, but the entire country was behind the concept. Good concept too. The only truly valuable one we have. Or had. Sometimes I really feel like we are about to slip back into an age of inquisition, and anyone that understands that the Earth isn't flat will get burned at the stake.
            My friends, we have been lied to. Everything we have been told about the world is a lie. Something went wrong somewhere. The inmates have taken over the asylum, and we are trapped within it. If I find a backdoor out of here, I’ll let you know.  Until then, all of you keep looking as well. Seriously, we have to be locked in some alien experimental lab zoo somewhere where they are seeing how long it takes to drive us bleeding insane. I prefer the lunacy of that idea to the lunacy that all of this around me and you folks is real, and our government and people have become so insane as to even question the worth or viability of space, the ISS, and everything beyond.
            Interesting though that as the search for knowledge wanes from the forefront and is challenged even, the images of our older heroes are now being darkened and changed to blend with modern views. Hmmm. So Superman now kills members of a dying race (his race) and is accepted as a hero instead of the light he was supposed to be for all to follow, while in the real world the concepts of science and learning are being challenged and undermined from every direction. Just a small observation on my part was all, and wondering if there is a connection.  They say ignorance and violence go hand in hand. Well if that is the case, look around. We've turned supes into a killer, and are attacking science and advancement and twisting what is there into things that never were. Like dinosaurs and humans co-existing.
            I've said it before, I’ll say it again. We’re freaking DOOMED. Forgot fearing the ruler ship of the apes people. We live on The Planet of the Idiots. See you all next time folks, provided we all haven’t been hung, exiled, or burned at the stake by then. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Team Produces Working Tractor Beam

Yep, a working tractor beam....but to be honest, it probably isn't quite the one your thinking of.  Your expecting something like the tractor beam on the Enterprise  that could exert force on objects over great distances in outer space.

By comparison,  this new "beam" is better known as an "Acoustic" tractor beam. Or a device that can use sound waves to move objects around.  So this one could not work in space, because it needs air to function.  Still, it is a breakthrough in its own right.  Several new technologies had to come to fruition before something like an acoustic tractor beam could be made possible.  

And how the acoustic tractor accomplishes the feat of moving object with air pressure alone is still a neat hat trick.  How it actually works is damn complicated, but basically it uses two sound pressure "plates" that can be moved in relationship to each other.  When the sound pressure waves intersect they set up an interference pattern that can be made to push or pull an object.

This effect can be very useful in a variety of experimental and manufacturing processes here on Earth and even on space laboratories like the ISS. 

Check out the complete article HERE

NASA to Test Supersonic Saucer Shaped Mars Lander

NASA has chosen several days in early June, the first being June 3, for balloon launched test flights of the saucer shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator  or LDSD experimental vehicle that will carry technology that will allow supersonic atmospheric entry and low speed parachute landings on Mars.

From the article:
  • NASA's LDSD test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit landing future human and robotic Mars missions, as well as aid in safely returning large payloads to Earth
  • The NASA LDSD test over the Pacific Ocean will simulate the entry, descent and landing speeds a spacecraft would be exposed to when flying through the Martian atmosphere. During the test a large saucer-shaped disk carrying an inflatable inner tube-shaped decelerator and parachute system will be carried to an altitude of 120,000 feet by a giant balloon. After release from the balloon, rockets will lift the disk to 180,000 feet while reaching supersonic speeds. Traveling at 3.5 times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle down, and then a parachute will deploy to carry it to the ocean's surface.
Here is a short film of NASA testing the parachute for the LDSD

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NASA Stll Has Plans for a Manned Asteroid Mission

As you can see in this short video, NASA still hopes to be able to put astronauts on an asteroid in the not to distant future. Plans are to possibly put astronauts on the surface of an asteroid some time in the 2020s.

To view the water tank experiments click HERE

As you can see, people are still training in simulated environment for this extremely difficult mission.

You can read the complete CNN tech article HERE

Russia to Abandon the ISS by 2020

According to an article on the CNN U.S. blog site   Russia has said that it does not plan to use the ISS past 2020.  This move puts into doubt whether or not NASA will be able to make an argument for extending the life of the laboratory to 2024 or longer.  

Officials in Russia have stated that Russia will redirect it's efforts in different directions and on to other projects after 2020.  

From the article:
  • NASA released a statement saying that the U.S. space agency "has not received any official notification from the Government of Russia on any changes in our space cooperation at this point."
Since NASA retired the shuttles the only way to reach the ISS has been aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. 

Read the full article HERE

Monday, May 12, 2014

BMU episode 406 now online

Hey there! Welcome to Beam Me Up episode 406.  This week my opening comment reflect those of Kallimus who is constantly amazed at the capacity of the human animal for stupidity. I use his comments, posted on the Beam Me Up blog, as my opening comments.

I also discover that Dark Inspectre stories have been lacking.  So I take the latest installment that played back in December and play that in hopes that it jogs people's memory and I will start with news installments as soon as I can get them from Mr. Kahn.

Then I move back to the blog for a few of the latest articles that have peaked my interest.

First is a review of a short film on YouTube called Payload...

Then a new product that the inventor says will be the end of food! And you will not believe what they call it!!!

ABC renews Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!  Plus another surprise!

Finally Mr. Scholes changes gears slightly and brings us "Human Hunter" which is a departure from his Trathh series.

There is enough to entertain. I hope you find it as such.  Enjoy

Saturday, May 10, 2014

ABC Renews Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

That's what the buzz says from Sci-Fi Storm.  that ABC has committed to a second season of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", despite being up against stiff competition.  

One other surprise is in addition to the  S.H.I.E.L.D. order, ABC is also ordering a series called "Agent Carter"  -  Peggy Carter, was Steve Rogers love interest in Captain America: The First Avenger.  After Captain America "disappeared" Carter goes to work for the Strategic Science Reserve doing administrative while also secretly going on secret missions for Howard Stark.

Check out the article from Sci-Fi Storm HERE

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

NASA Wants to Terraform Mars?

That's what I read in this Gizmodo article .....wwwweeeeeeell terraforming may be stretching it, but NASA is considering sending plants on the next rover mission.  Nope, no furrows or holes with seeds in them.... there WILL be a modified Cubesat box with Earth air, dirt and a small handful of seeds from a plant that is a cousin to the mustard plant.  Oh and the box will be no where near Martian dirt but  positioned on the back of the rover (less and less glamorous ).   However this experiment, called the Mars Plant Experiment, would be entirely self-contained and will hopefully help lay the foundation for a long-term, sustainable base and possibly even colonization of Mars

Now don't go looking for a brand new rover on Mars, anytime soon.  NASA's next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020 and land on the Red Planet in early 2021.

Read the article HERE

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Soylent.....The End of Food As We Know it?

Here is an article link from the Boing Boing blog that I just could not resist!

Rob Rhinehart, a tech startup engineer running short of funds Rob decided to cut his monthly food bill that was upwards of 470 dollars a month. compiled a list of nutrients required for survival - ingredients like: carbohydrates, protein, lipids.A ll blended into a slurry of chemicals that his room mates remarked that it resembled gooey lemonade.

His genius though came from what he called the mixture,  Soylent, a wink and a nod to the reference from a science-fiction novel from the nineteen-sixties or the Bert Lancaster film of the same (well almost ) name from the 70s.

From the article,  this is an excerpt from an article called "The End of Food" by Lizzie Widdicombe where she notes in her article that Rhinehart started living on Soylent and blogged about his experiences in a post titled "How I Stopped Eating Food":
  • The positive response that the post received convinced Rhinehart and his roommates to enter the synthetic-food business. “Last week, the first thirty thousand units of commercially made Soylent were shipped out to customers across America.
Complete Boing Boing article HERE

Short SF Film: Payload

Well it is no mystery now that I like Sci-Fi films and have a soft place (wait for it) in my heart (ha!) for the short venue.

So I came across this one while perusing through my article listings.  The premise is a dystopian future (not necessarily Earth) in the slums that have sprung up around the base of a space elevator.  The black market currency is..... well, you will find out.  

I would take a look at this short for sure.

BMU # 405 Now Online With the Conclusion to Dean Giles "Mad World"

Welcome to Beam Me Up episode 405.  This week is also a bit off the beaten track.

After my opening comments I play the closing music to “Ground Control to phyco-electric Girl”  and it is probably one of the most charming pieces for closing an anime episode that I heard in a long time.

Then from the Blog at – ISS used for commercial concerns…. A short film that demonstrates how gravity works, what I like about this short is the demonstrator is not only enthusiastic about the subject matter but is also clearly an expert.

From there I talk with Justin, my anime guy, as we go over some of the recent titles as well as favorites and some classics.

And finally the conclusion to Dean Giles’ Mad World.

Thanks for listening.