Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SNC Questions NASA Selection of Boeing and Space X for Commercial Crew Program Prize.

 Hey have you heard of this?
SNC (The Sierra Nevada Corporation) has filed a legal challenge to NASA's recent selection for the contract for the Commercial Crew Program prize.

NASA selected Boeing and its CT-100 and Space X with it's Dragon 2. 

SNC, in spite of not challenging any contract selection in over 50 years of doing business with NASA but felt justified in this case, when  NASA's own documents, "indicate there are serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process."

Sierra Nevada stated that the $6.8 billion in contracts announced for Boeing and SpaceX will cost taxpayers "up to $900 million more" than a choice that included Sierra Nevada.  

Gizmodo article HERE       AL News from Huntsville HERE

Monday, September 29, 2014

UFO keeping pace with ISS?

Here is a short video brought to us by Courtney who gives us all things weird and wonderful.
What we have here is a short video taken onboard the ISS September 21st.   The video seems to be
a glowing orb keeping pace with the International Space Station, which is in decaying orbit about 261 miles  above the Earth.

From what I have been reading this happens with some regularity.  I am not going to queer the comments by throwing in my 2 cents worth at the beginning.   Thoughts gentlemen....ladies?

BMU 425 is now online

This week on Beam Me Up - episode 425 - after my opening comments, I play the first of two music selections. This week, Monochrome Kiss by SID. Interesting selection from the world of Anime.

Next up is an article that you could say I used as a model for this week's program.  The article in question is the top six places of the Darwin award followed straight away by a fast piece of music from BECCA called appropriately enough "I'm Alive!" the closing theme to the anime series "Black Butler".

On the blog front, Kallamus joins us for his review of the Marvel series Agents of Shield.  His next review Brick Mansion doesn't miss a step and

Running out of time, I finish this weeks program with the final chapters to Isaac Asimov's "The Final Question"

And that is Beam Me Up episode 425  I hope you enjoy the program

Beam Me Up episode 425 can be downloaded from the podcast site www.beammeuppodcast.com or you can listen or download it from the FTP/Archive site HERE

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shield Premiere/ Brick Mansions

            Well, the easiest way to describe the premiere of season 2 is;
1)      Confusion
2)      Damn
They are seriously in a mess, and things are basically as we all kind of figured they would
be, a complete and total disaster for everyone involved.
            Coulson is the director now; the question is of what. There really isn’t a lot left to be director of, but he is still running around recruiting those he can find. He’s Coulson, what do you expect.
            Basically, once again we see Hydra being a pain right off the bat in the premiere, and actually managing it from WW2 and the time of the Red Skull.
            And as everyone knows Shield just loves collecting artifacts and alien tech etc, so you all see where this disaster is headed quickly. Basically, the first thing they ever took into custody that would fit into said categories, was being sold off by an ex-shield operative.
            There were also new allies in the picture, not all of which survived the first episode, which kind of sucks considering who didn’t make it.
            Absorbing man was portrayed pretty well also. Let’s remember this is a TV show, and not a full fledge movie here. They did a good job. But then, they have been doing a good job anyway in my opinion, and why all the hatred for Skye I see around the net I really don’t understand. Yeah she can be a bit na├»ve, but I am hoping she has learned her lesson. Whatever it is she turns out to be, at least she hasn’t been a secret hydra agent traitor, and would certainly be a valued member of any such team I would put together.  
            Anyway, one mission fails and another succeeds, pretty much at the same time. In other words, it’s Marvel disaster everywhere you turn.
            Stayed kind of vague I know, but for anyone that maybe hasn’t caught it yet, I didn’t want to give away anything major.
            Basically, they did it right, even with the screaming online about a certain escape. When you don’t know a person’s powers, you can get surprised pretty easy. And even if someone hasn’t yet been dropped from an airplane at 30,000 feet like they should be; and even if we don’t have a clue where a missing member actually is right now, I think they at least have a good season started with enough stories to make it through easily and keep everyone interested. I give it an 8.5. They lose a point for someone still being alive.

Brick Mansions
            Folks, this is a fun movie. It has a 5.7 on imdb, and I personally think it was rated by a bunch of smegging prigs.
            It stars Paul Walker, (No description needed for him I don’t believe), and David Belle the founder of Parkour.
            Basically, they wall off a part of Detroit, and let the people inside fend for themselves. Dystopian style somewhat, but set in 2018, so nothing big on post holocaust or any of that.
            Belle plays an Ex Con, and Walker is a cop. Yeah I know, everything in here has basically been done before, and sometimes on numerous occasions.
            I’ll make it simple. Forget the overall plot, and just watch this thing for fun, as it is meant to be watched. Here’s the link to the IMDB page. We just watched this on Amazon, and it was well worth the $2.99 or whatever it was.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Gotham

Wow is the fall tv offering loaded up this year!  A virtual cornucopia for anyone's taste.

What am I all excited about?  I just got a chance to watch the first episode of Gotham.

This offering of the "Batman" franchise is really one of the most innovative to date. 

Gotham is set  in the early days of the Batman myth, basically around the time when Bruce Wayne's parents have recently been murdered.  But this is where Bruce Wayne is pushed back to a supporting role,  Gotham and the minions who live within are brought into hard light and sharp focus. 

The truly wonderful thing is all the major players are here and in place but only in their formative stage. Along with Bruce, Gordon, Nigma and so on slowly develop into the extreme character the ultimately become.   They are all worth watching and one in particular is Jada Pinkett Smith's mob boss which has the potential, well worth watching.

There are so many more talking points, but I am afraid I would become a spoiler.  But I can not end this review of sorts without strongly suggesting seeking out episode one of Gotham and enjoy!

Wikipedia listing HERE     Fox tv listing HERE

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shield back tonight

Was sleeping at the switch folks, sorry. Agents of Shield returns tonight, apparently an hour later than last year for some reason. Doesn't matter, I'll be there. Just a heads up it is returning tonight, Tuesday.

Monday, September 22, 2014

BMU #424 is now online.

My opening comment for episode 424 I speak in part about Dremel's new 3d printer, I welcome a new contributor to Beam Me Up. Plus I speak about the OSIRIS-REx Mission of putting a lander on an asteroid in 2016 plus Maven has done an insertion burn for it's prelim orbit.

My musical selection for the afternoon is BNL's "The Big Bang"

I speak briefly about Isaac Asimov and John Campbell as their work together.  This week chapter four of "The Last Question"

I read  the intro from ("my anime guy") better known as "Mebbles"  which he posted on the blog.  Mebbles also has some favorite anime music of which I play a selection.  For my part, I mention a couple of  series  that I have have enjoyed over the past few months.

Next on the agenda is chapter 4 of the "Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.

I read "Meebles" introduction letter. (he should prove to be an excellent addition to the staff) plus he includes a fun url for his favorite anime music which I just can't resist!

I talk about a couple of anime series that I just finished watching.

Kalimus posts a review of Asylum productions newest outing z Nation.

I talk about Dremel's newest printer which is an affordable 3d printer and how it reminded me of a story by Cory Doctorow.

My final story  Tiny Leon and his Wee adventure by Michael Juby.

Hope you enjoy the program.  Thanks for listening.

Click HERE for episode 424

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I love Asylum

            Not the powerful Z of Dragon Ball, but still a lot of fun none the less. Someone got the bright idea to give Asylum Productions a TV series. Someone, somewhere, made the right choice. These people did Sharknado for fecks sake, and look what happened there. And they didn't even try on that.
            First off, I am prejudiced a bit here, as I love Asylum Productions. These people have never lost money on a movie. Let’s see MGM say that.  Ok, I’m the first to admit that sometimes what they do can be construed as, well, just bloody embarrassing. But when they get something right, they really seem to get it right. In other words, this time it wasn’t the, “Oh look, we have beer, weed and a movie camera, lets rip off a movie today.” They actually did some work on this one. Sober some of the time I’m guessing.
            This show seems like it is going to be a lot of fun. You all know my basic attitude to walking dead anymore, so I don’t even have to go there I don’t believe. Them and their freaking magical Wonder Bug technology. Seriously, how soon are they just going to give those people a magic horn?
            And at least in this show most of the characters seem to have a singularly higher intelligence than the entire character list of The Walking Dead, (not counting Glenn as he is the only real intelligence in that outfit).
            The worst thing about the episode is that Harold Perrineau, (the dad from lost with the boy and the lab), didn't make it. He was military, (we’re still fighting back in this, unlike the magic car show), and his mission was to deliver the only human being to ever survive a zombie bite to California from New York.
            DJ Qualls is also in this series, as Citizen Z, and he is doing a great job as he always does. The man is a seriously under rated actor in every sense. I think the guys an amazing character actor myself.
            This seems to be more of an action driven show, which is a somewhat welcome relief from that dippy channel. (The former Sci-Fi one.)
            Folks give this a shot. I always try to give a series 3 episodes before I make up my mind to stay or not. Don’t need to this time. I’m staying.
            So in short, Long Live Asylum and their specialty of, well, I’m sure they’ll figure it out eventually. What can I say, I love Asylum. Wow, I’m starting to sound like Dr. Horace Diaz on Mighty Med with his bridge loving obsession. Yes, I watch that too, and so should all of you.
Friday nights on the former Sci-Fi channel folks. Check it out. Z Nation is well worth the hour of your time, especially if you are a fan of Asylum like I am.
That’s all this week folks. Sorry for being absent for so long. On my way back.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Doctorow's Story 'Print Crime' a Little Closer To Reality Now

Doctorow's Story 'Print Crime' is indeed one step closer to reality with the advent of Dremel's new 3d printer.

Print Crime was a chilling short story that involved 3d printers and copy-write  laws.  Sounds pretty dry doesn't it; well believe it or not it is a completely involving story with fast action to boot.

The premise concerns 3d printers.  In Cory's future world, the components for 3d printers have vastly declined (I am not going to a spoiler so I suggest finding and reading the story for HOW that happened) this give people the ability to print just about anything, which brings them in direct conflict with copywrite trolls which have managed to make a 3d print of anything an illegal act which is treated by the police much as drug purveyors are now handled.

So you see when I hear about 3d printer with a price bread under 1000 - I was instantly reminded of Cory's story.

Imagine if in the future you might not actually buy a product, but the code to print this product.  It is perfectly possible if the printers make enough of an inroad into the public's notion of what is being purchased.  You might just get a disk or coded email, instead of an actual product.   Doctorow explored all of these factors and a few not mention (no spoiler)

The printer in question is the Dremel 3D Idea Builder.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mebbles joins BMU!

Hi guys!
Mebbles' avatar

   ...I sense confusion; let me elaborate: I have been known as BMU's "anime consultant". There, now I bet some of you hard-core BMU followers and the like have at least some idea of who I am! *Laughs*

   I was huge into anime when each DVD cost about 30 dollars US back around the early 2000's, so I was into pretty new ones at the time. I also was getting some of the older-ish anime from the 90's on DVD for a better price (like some Gundam anime). Currently, I bought the Outlaw Star series and I am having a blast watching it again!

   Besides anime, at heart I am ultra big into video games! I really love the ones that involve awesome technology, space, and all kinds of sci fi goodness. One of my favorite video game franchises is Megaman (or Mega Man or Rockman, however you want to put it) and I am huge into the Megaman X series which takes place after the original Megaman series. The main protagonist in Megaman X is a blue robot guy named X that has human thoughts and emotions. X appears physically and mentally older than the older yet child-like blue robot of the previous series named Megaman (Megaman is often compared to Astro Boy).

More on X from Megaman X can be found here
More on the original Megaman can be found here

   Here is one of my favorite songs of all time that's from Megaman X6 that was made into a video that has spoiler-y visuals and English subtitles:

(The video above isn't made by me)

P.S. - I also have started my very own blog recently. I cover games, toys and post my YouTube videos on it.

My blog can be found here

Edit: I am very happy happy to contribute directly to BMU! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment on this post and if I can respond to it, I'll do so!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maven gets inserted 9/21/14

Oh you have such a dirty mind!  NASA's MAVEN, a Mars science package, will enter the Martian atmosphere at an altitude of 236 (what wildly accurate shooting huh?) to begin a 33 minute deceleration burn that will consume more than half of the on-board fuel carried by the satellite.   This combination of  atmosphere and  engine burn will insert Maven into a 35 hour capture orbit.  

MAVEN will then begin a calibration phase a part of which includes maneuvering the spacecraft into its final 4.5 hour orbit.  During this period, controller, will  test its instruments and science-mapping commands.  After-which MAVEN will begin its one-Earth-year mission to take measurements of the composition, structure and escape of gases in Mars’ upper atmosphere and its interaction with the sun and solar wind.

NASA Maven article   HERE

Monday, September 15, 2014

BMU #423 Is Now On -Line

Here we go for another week - It's episode 423 of Beam Me Up!

I open with Eat Dreams which is a remix of Eurythmics music and commercials audio.

Next is a milestone update for the rover Curiosity plus NASA's next gen of heavy lift rocket that will ferry astronauts and cargo  anywhere from low Earth orbit to Mars or beyond.

The first story for the afternoon is The Last Question chapter 3 by Asimov.

From the BMU blog: First a review of the British SF movie "The Machine"

A look at the next Batmobile, the argument of can a person or country "own" asteroids or other heavenly bodies?  Can you brew in space? Did Nicaragua get slammed by a piece off low flying asteroid?

And chapter 3 of book one of CrystalWizard's Wizard's Bane is the final story for the afternoon.

Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: The Machine

The Machine is a British SF thriller.  There are many plot lines running through this film, however for me the main theme is Vincent McCarthy is a scientist who's main motivation would seem to be doing research on brain implants to help brain damaged patients to function.

It soon becomes clear that his aim is to help his daughter who is severely brain damaged.

The only place where McCarthy seems to be able to do his research is in a super secret military facility where he is tasked to develop implants that will help damaged soldiers able to think and function.

McCarthy does succeed in combining implants and human into a reasonably stable cyborg, but it soon becomes clear that the computing needs to go to a much higher level.

Researcher Ava is recruited after demonstrating her work in AI. Ava however is killed after voicing her suspicions that the men she is working with are being treated inhumanly.   McCarthy then uses scans of her brain in a cyborg that resembles Ava.  He soon discovers that Machine may be self aware.

Of course this is only half of the movie, but by this time you are fully vested in Machine, McCarthy and his daughter's fates.  The action soon becomes non stop as Machine is trained in various deadly
martial arts.  But the downside for me was so many of the plot lines just seem to fall away or are not developed clearly.  The bad guys are singularly evil where Machine is supposed to be part of the "good" guys but manages to do most of the killing in the movie.

By this point the movie has fallen into well worn tracks of evil government, questionable science and completely predictable ending.

The sets and locals really lend to the menace of the film. The photography and writing are different enough to hold your interest.

Caity Lotz is certainly beguiling as both Ava and The Machine.

However all the good parts don't hold together well enough to sustain the movie.

I would give the film a 6 or maybe a 7 out of 10.  The menace is there and the action is great, but together they do not hold the movie together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Batmobile from Batman vs Superman

The Verge online magazine has, it seems, acquired  pictures of the new Batmobile.   Much larger than a standard car and really looking more like an armored fighting vehicle from a branch of the armed forces than any kind of "mobile", but then that seems to be the way the BM (sorry couldn't resist) seems to be morphing.

The rest of the shots are on the Verge  HERE

Who Owns the Asteroids?

Am I missing something here, or is the answer painfully obvious.....

Well according to a recent article in Popular Science, it is a bit more complicated than first blush would have us believe.     According to the PopSci article -  the House is holding hearings to discuss a new law to manage resource mining in space.  

In the early days of the "Space Race" an accord or "Treaty" was signed that said, in simple terms, no country or person could assume to own any celestial body.   But now the focus is on mineral rights.   There is some credence  given to having a legal framework  in place which may at the very least spur more entrepreneurial interest in the sector.   The proposed legislation, working in tandem with the earlier Outer Space Treaty, formulated in 1967,  would give U.S. companies ownership of any materials they mine from asteroids, but not ownership of the asteroid itself. 

Read the complete Popsci article HERE

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Scotch From Space

Since its inception in the mid-Twentieth Century, the Space Program has brought us innumerable scientific advances and helped us to gain a better understanding of our place in the Universe. And still, after more than half a century of space-travel, one important question remains unanswered -- namely, what effect does the micro-gravity of outer-space have on the alcohol fermentation process? Well fortunately, we shall soon have an answer.

In 2011, the space research company NanoRacks LLC teamed up with Ardbeg Distillery to launch vials of Scotch whiskey into space. Now, after three years orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station, the whiskey is due to return to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan on Friday, September 12, 2014. From there, as explained on the Ardbeg website:
Waiting on the ground will be assorted boffins ready to rush the experiment to a scientific laboratory in Houston. Among their number will be our very own whisky creator, the eminent Dr. Bill Lumsden. It will be the team’s task to proceed to unlock the mysteries of maturation, through the study of the interaction between Ardbeg-crafted molecules and charred oak, both in micro-gravity (in orbit) and normal gravity (in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3).
In other words, they'll conduct a highly scientific study of just how the space-whiskey compares to an identical batch, aged those same three years in Scotland. The results will be written up in a white paper, "at a later date after the exhaustive studies." So it will be a while still before we begin to unlock the secrets of off-world alcohol manufacturing. Still, it's exciting to think that a humble three-year aged, single malt Scotch whiskey is taking that first small step.

And if you've found yourself wondering why, in the new Star Trek movies, Scottie's engine room looks so much like a distillery -- well, maybe there's actually some history behind that.

See more at the Ardbeg website.

Meteorite Slams Into Nicaragua or Did it?

Asteroid 2014 RC recently passed by one-tenth of the distance from Earth to the moon may have left a "surprise"earlier this week.  This present was in the shape of a meteorite that "caused an explosion and earth tremor, leaving a crater 39ft across and 16 ft deep in Nicaragua near the city's airport." 

Asteroid 2014 RC,  is expected to orbit near Earth again. 

Original article originated on Boing Boing  HERE

Strangeness abounds however.  NASA doubts that the blast and resulting crater were caused by 2014 RC.

The blast occurred better than 12 hours after the asteroid had made its pass, plus the nearness of this asteroid's pass, precludes impacts from meteorites.   

NASA's Doubts can be found in the National Geographic site  HERE

Higgs Boson - Universe Killer

Yep, you read correctly,  under the right, or wrong in this case, conditions, the elusive Higgs boson particle could destroy the entire universe!

Under what circumstances you ask?  

If the particle becomes unstable (at energy levels of 100 billion giga-electronvolts or higher) it could trigger a vacuum bubble that would expand at the speed of light, eventually collapsing all space and time.

You wouldn't even know it was coming if the event happened on Earth, because it would propagate around the globe faster that the blink of a eye. 

This is all speculation from Stephen Hawking's in his upcoming book Starmus,

Read the complete Engadget article HERE

A More Refined Defination of the Distrabution of Galactic Super-Clusters Across the Universe

Superclusters  are areas in the universe that are densely packed with galaxies.  These are the biggest structures in the Universe.

Scientists have struggled to define exactly where one super-cluster ends and another begins. Now, a team based in Hawaii has come up with a new technique that maps the Universe according to the flow of galaxies across space.

Run the short video below to get an idea of the problem and the unique solution the Hawaiian team formulated to demonstrate a solution.


Complete Adafruit article HERE

Monday, September 08, 2014

A Short Film on Hubble's Deep Field Experiment

A fan of the program sent in this link from Flixxy.com.  The link concerned the Ultra Deep Field project that astronomers performed with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope.   I have one of these photos hanging above my work area.   Every time I look at it, I am again amazed and stunned.  The incredible density of galaxies is hard to believe even when looking at the proof.

Check out the Flixxy video below:

Sunday, September 07, 2014

BMU #422 Isaac Asimov - Michael Juby - quantum computers - closest supernova in ages - Killer Robots

This week's episode (422) of Beam Me Up, my opening comments contain information on odd happenings with cube sat launches as well as near passes of a just discovered asteroid.

I end the the opening section with the opening theme music from the anime series Durarara!!

The first story of the afternoon is Phillippe and His Rather Boring  Time Travel (pt1) by Michael Juby.

This week from the Beam Me Up - 

Google wants to create sentient robots and to that end are working on quantum computer chips.
Chandra observes one of the closest 1a supernovas in decades. 
Spitzer space telescope has observed a large asteroid collision.
Will Robots of the future be mercy killers?

The final story this week is part two (ch 2+3) of Isaac Asimov's The Last Question.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Google Wants to Create Robots That Think

 Google says it is working on a "quantum" computer chip.  The goal, stated Google researchers, is to, one day, have machines think like humans.

Researcher John Martinis and his team at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has begun to work with the Quantum Artificial Intelligence team at Google.

Thise new pairing is part of Google's "hardware initiative" to design and build chips operating on sub-atomic levels in ways making them exponentially faster than processors currently used in computers today.

Now with an integrated hardware team, the blended Quantum AI team will now make it possible to implement and test new designs.

Recently, Google's artificial intelligence lab, partnered with NASA space agency on quantum computing research.

The complete Business insider article is HERE

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Chandra Sees Closest Super-Nova in Decades

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory glimpsed one of the closest supernovas witnessed in decades. The telescope was able collect data on a the type 1a explosion that took place January 21 2014.

 This is one of the closest supernovas (located in the nearby Messier 82 galaxy) witnessed in decades.

The data gathered from the explosion allowed scientists to rule out one possible cause.

The type 1a supernovas is thought that the explosion may be triggered when a white dwarf takes on too much mass from its companion star, immersing it in a cloud of gas that produces a significant source of X-rays after the explosion.

Using NASA's Swift and Chandra telescopes, Astronomers searched the location of the explosion, for such an X-ray source. However, no source was found.

It is possible that this supernova, SN 2014J, could have been caused by the merger of two white dwarf stars, which would result in little or no X-rays after the explosion.

Read the rest of the article HERE on the NASA page

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Spitzer Notices Cosmic Smash-up

Scientists studying star NGC 2547-ID8 witnessed a  huge amount of new dust between  August 2012 and January 2013.  Speculation has it that two very large asteroids collided in that system. 

While asteroid collisions have been observed by Spitzer before, this is the first time scientists have collected data before and after a smashup - offering a glimpse into the process of making planets like ours.

Check out the NASA site for the complete article HERE