Friday, November 28, 2014

People Believe That This is Evidence of What?!!!!

Or  space theories you won't believe other people believe!

Oh yes.  Like Bone On Mars!

The above photo, taken by the Martian rover Curiosity, appears to contain a thigh bone.

An interview with a man claiming to be a former Lockheed Martin scientist surfaced after the man's death. In it are details about  Area 51 and interactions with aliens, including photos like the one above. The interview,incredibly, claims that  aliens currently work for the US government. has declared the video a hoax, pointing out that the alien figure shown looks an awful lot like a toy on sale at Walmart.

A UFO blog picked out what looks a little bit like a sideways sideways art on a rock from a photo captured by the Curiosity rover. The blog suggested that it looks an awful lot like some inscriptions on columns from ancient Egypt.

Want to send conspiracy theorists into orbit? Send an unmanned space plane into orbit for two years and keep its mission classified. Theories about what the X-37B did  was looking for aliens, commandeering abandoned alien bases on other planets or flying around communicating with extraterrestrials.

Malaysia Airlines conspiracy theorists claimed that radar readings showed a UFO interfered with the missing airliner flight, while others suggested it might have been swallowed by a black hole

When Philae "landed" on a comet, an anonymous "ESA whistle-blower" sent around an email claiming the comet was actually anything but and that the Rosetta mission was all about making contact with extraterrestrials, perhaps by a rendezvous at this secret spacecraft/base posing as a big rock

The World's Largest Solar Power Plant Now Online

Hi-Tech construction firm - First Solar -  recently finished building a 550-megawatt plant that is the largest active solar farm on the planet, capable of  powering 160,000 homes. 

Even with nine million solar panels that cover 9.5 square miles, it won't be king of the hill for long however.  

From the Endgadget article:
  •  First Solar's Desert Sunlight farm will match that capacity once its last solar cells go online, and SunPower's 579MW Solar Star is due to go live in 2015.
For more, read the Endgadget article HERE

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Research Show That Neanderthals Were NOT a Sub-Species of Modern humans

Researchers have identified new evidence supporting the growing belief that Neanderthals were a distinct species separate from modern humans (Homo sapiens), and not a subspecies of modern humans.  Neanderthals' extinction was likely due to competition from modern humans.  

Go Here   to read the absolutely fascinating article from the Ancient Origins online magazine.

Rosetta covers a Beatle's tune

Rosetta covers a Beatle's tune. Well almost. Andrew Huang took fragments of the audio from the Rosetta mission. His goal was to have the sounds from Rosetta back him up as he sings The Beatles' 'Across the Universe'. Apart from his singing, no other sounds were used in the song.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NASA Opens Registration for 2015 Exploration Rover Challenge

From the NASA web page:NASA has opened team registration for the 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.  The event will be held April 16-18, 2015, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, in Huntsville Al.

The challenge is open to high school, college and university students in hands-on, experiential learning activities, while also testing potential technologies needed for future deep space exploration.

Student teams participating in the Rover Challenge must design, engineer and test a human-powered rover on a mock course designed to simulate the harsh and demanding terrains future NASA explorers may find on distant planets, moons and asteroids.

For complete article, go HERE for more

Beam Me Up #432 is online

My opening comments to Beam Me Up episode 432 drift off into a review of The Xmen Days of Future Past The first story for the afternoon is a short strange tale by Deborah Walker called Sibyl.  A deceptivly different "time travel" tale.

From the blog:  Meebles sends in an article about a "working" hoverboard.  ESA's spacecraft comet landing of Rosetta's landing craft.

Next, could AIs becoming a problem for humanity.

Jupiter's great red spot is something much more complicated than once figured.

Our final tale is Kurt Vonnegut Jr's 2br02b  a story about a perfect world that harbors one uncomfortable fact.

That's it...Enjoy

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Great Red Sunburn

Jupiter has one of the largest planetary atmospheres in the solar system, with three atmosphere layers made up of ammonia, ammonium hydrosulfide and water clouds at different altitudes.   As chaotic and beautiful Jupiter's atmosphere is, the great red spot out-shines them all.

The Great Red Spot is a vortex the size of three Earths.  Researchers have been theorising for hundreds of years as to the cause of the Great Red Spot's color. Up until recently it was thought that the color was some kind of red phosphorus or sulfur compound rising from beneath Jupiter's clouds.

Scientists at Nasa's JPL have been studying data gained from Nasa's Cassini spacecraft, which flew by Jupiter in December 2000 on its way to Saturn and its moons.  They also conducted laboratory experiments  by blasting ammonia and acetylene gases (chemicals known to exist in Jupiter's atmosphere) with ultraviolet light, in order to simulate how the sun affects these chemicals.  The experiment produced a reddish material that matched a model of the Great Red Spot where the red-colored material had been confined to the uppermost reaches of the vortex.

"Our models suggest most of the Great Red Spot is actually pretty bland in color, beneath the upper cloud layer of reddish material," said Kevin Baines, a Cassini team scientist from JPL. "Under the reddish 'sunburn' the clouds are probably whitish or greyish."

Read more in the article on International Business Time site

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Is AI a Real Threat to the Human Race?

 It is a fact that Artificial Intelligence scares the crap out of some people.  The knowledge and
resources are in place that allow for the construction of more powerful AI systems.  It doesn't stretch the imagination that  such AI systems could reach the level of humans in intelligence and in doing so have the capability to construct AIs that could be far more intelligent than the original AI.  

Present AIs are fairly cute and simplistic.  However as the past has demonstrated, as the systems become more capable, more responsibilities will be shifted to them.  The question on a lot of people's minds are how long before we can no longer control these computer intelligences?

As the author postulates in the Irish Times Technology section:
  • Imagine how a medical robot, originally programmed to treat cancer, could conclude that the best way to obliterate cancer is to exterminate humans who are genetically prone to the disease.
People who support AI postulate that things like this would never happen - that programmers will  build in safeguards.  This, author Nick Bilton says in part, from programmers who can barely keep present day computers from crashing whenever you check just your e-mail

From the the Irish Times  article:
  • Elon Musk, recently said artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes”. Stephen Hawking, one of the smartest people on earth, wrote that successful AI “would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Philae Lands on Comet Comet 67P

After a heart stopping seven-hour descent, the ESA Philae space-craft has indeed made history by being the first spacecraft ever to land softly on a comet. 

Philae's mother-ship - the Rosetta orbiter, transmitted the signal confirming the successful touchdown.  

Rosetta was launched on 2 March 2004 and traveled over 4 billion miles through the Solar System before arriving at the comet on 6 August 2014.

The landing site, named Agilkia and is located on the head of the bizarre double-lobed object.  Soon after Rosetta arrived, it began taking photos from apx, 20 miles to as far away as 60 miles looking for a possible landing site. 

  • Those first images soon revealed the comet as a world littered with boulders, towering cliffs and daunting precipices and pits, with jets of gas and dust streaming from the surface. 

Philae was release at a distance of 15 miles and it made its decent, without propulsion or guidance.   

Over the next 2.5 days, the lander will conduct its primary science mission, assuming that its main battery remains in good health. An extended science phase using the rechargeable secondary battery may be possible, assuming Sun illumination conditions allow and dust settling on the solar panels does not prevent it. This extended phase could last until March 2015, after which conditions inside the lander are expected to be too hot for it to continue operating.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A real hoverboard?! Yes, indeed!

Nerdist's video on hoverboards on YouTube
I just wanted to share with you guys real quick that there are finally real hoverboards that work via magnets! Like they say in the video, it has limitations and can't go over water and things like that. Still this is amazing stuff! I'm amazed at this (obviously!) but tell us what you think in the comments.
To learn more, check out the Kickstarter page here

BMU 431 is now online

Episode 431
I open with are review of the science fiction movie Snow Piercer I also note that Chris Hadfield's version of David Bowie's Space

Oddity is back on YouTube thanks to the man himself!

First story of the weekend is Episode 30 of the Dark Inspectre Jason Kahn.

From the BMU log:
You can win a ride into space for free!  Most stars may not be in a home galaxy...  The ISS almost had a close encounter with some space trash.  How about an astronomy first?  The first ever pictures of a proto, planetary system.  And the universe may have started out of nothing?

Final Story  Wizard's Bane ch5 pt1 by CrystalWizard

That's it!  Enjoy

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Universe Came From Nothing?!

I don't think we have to go over the big bang theory here do we?  You know the Universe began from an infinitely small point and expanded in all directions all at once.  We ok so far?  So the question is what came before the infinitely small point of space/time?

Well that has been the 10,000 dollar question as of late.  From the Slash-Dot article:
  • Cosmologists at the Wuhan Institute have published a proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously because of quantum fluctuations. "The new proof is based on a special set of solutions to a mathematical entity known as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation.
The words that make my heart go pitter patter are 'quantum fluctuations' which the Wikipedia explains as  'the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space'

We know that energy can not be destroyed, simply changed and matter is just another form of energy.  So I would suspect that a temporary change in the amount of energy at any given point would result in a quantum particle.  If this particle is stable or not is moot, as long and the process once started does not stall.  Because at any given point an unstable quantum particle could evolve into a much more stable unit which given enough time and fluctuations could lead to a macro particle with a much higher energy potential plus the added attraction of being significantly more stable. 

The neat thing is, I  one heard this ripple, quantum energy flux first applied to the very end of the universe, when all matter has bled down to an even quantum state.  At some point a quantum fluctuation would bring about a temporary energy point and damn if that don't sound like the whole universe starting up again.

Here is the Wikipedia on quantum fluctuations

Thursday, November 06, 2014

ALMA Takes First "Baby" Pictures

The ALMA array in Chile has accomplished what will prove to be one of many firsts.  ALMA is the first telescope to take pictures of a proto-planet system that is actively in the process of making planets. 

Here is the complete PopularMechanic article

The ISS Has a Moment of "Gravity"

 In a moment reminiscent of Hollywood's 'Gravity', the ISS instead avoided being struck by space

In late October, the ESA reported that the ISS lab was threatened with a collision by space junk.  The usual procedure is to have a docked Progress supply ship push the multi-toned craft out of harms way, which in this instance was a hand sized piece of metal from an earlier collision between a defunct Russian and an operational US satellite, traveling at 17000 mph.

The problem was however that there were none of the regular craft on station to pull duty until quick thinking controllers at the ESA ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France remembered that the ISS currently had the  Automated Transfer Vehicle Georges LemaĆ®tre, which ferries supplies to the station from Earth. The unmanned ship,  is controllable from Earth. Which meant that a team of engineers  at the ATV control center were able to use the supply craft to  move the ISS.

The Georges LemaƮtre, was instructed to fire its engine for 4 minutes which moved the ISS' orbit by one mile.

Complete Atlantic article HERE

As Many As Half of all Stars May Reside Outside of Galaxies

Scientists from the U.S., Japan & Korea have released a study that concludes that as many as half of all stars may not be affiliated with a galaxy but instead may have been pushed out of their parent galaxy by mergers and collisions.

Individually, these stars are way too faint to be detected, but collectively they create a background of fluctuating near-infrared light.   This diffuse glow is as bright as all the known galaxies combined and may mean that galaxies do not have sharp edges but soft boundaries that spread out to connect to other galaxies.

Read the complete ABC News article HERE

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Chris Hadfield's Space Oddity Back on YouTube!

Earlier this year Chris Hadfield (a Canadian astronaut)  posted a wonderful rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity to YouTube (while he was doing an extended mission aboard the ISS) — It was later removed because of a lack of permissions. Now, David Bowie has given the go ahead for it to be online once more.  As a side note, YouTube shows the views as well over 23 million!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Philae's Landing Site Now Has a Name

The science spacecraft Rosetta's lander, designated Philae is due to land on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko November 12.  Up until recently the landing site was simply known as 'J'.  

The Philae steering committee, along with other agencies involved with the ESA Rosetta probe, asked the public for suggestions.  The name was finally narrowed down to Agilkia.  

Rosetta will release Philae on November 12 at a distance of 14 miles  from the center of the comet, with a scheduled landing about seven hours later at Agilkia.

Check out the complete article on Astronomy  HERE

Pixyfox Streaming Media for Manga & Anime Fans

This is what AnimeNewsNetwork has to say about Pixyfox:
  • Pixy Fox is an anime website with extensive unique features that will help you connect and discover new anime 
Pixyfox's press release says in part      
  • Pixy Fox will focus on creating a way which will connect Anime and Manga fans and allow their interest in the Anime and Manga to be pushed to the next level.    
 I had a chance to tool around the site and I will have to admit that I was largely unimpressed.  The idea is great but the implementation leaves something to be desired.   There are damn few videos on the site and the ones I did find were streaming by another site.  If this is all the site has to offer then it is of very limited use and if they plan on adding content, one has to wonder why they would roll out such a crippled site?

See what you think, I would be interested in your observations.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Win a Free Ticket For a Ride Into Space...

Yep, you read correctly!  The folks behind the movie 'Interstellar' have teamed up with XCOR Aerospace for a contest that will give an extremely lucky person a free space trip.

How you may be asking? Well according to the Yahoo article:
  • People who purchase their "Interstellar" tickets through the online site Fandango through Dec. 1 have a chance to win a free suborbital spaceflight aboard XCOR Aerospace's Lynx Mark II rocket plane. Seats aboard the vehicle normally sell for $100,000.
 For  more info  go HERE

Sunday, November 02, 2014

BMU #430 is now online

Yep, it is episode 430 of Beam Me Up on a cold and decidedly winterish weekend in Maine.

After my opening comments I play one of the opening pieces of music for the animated series RWBY called This will be the Day by Jeff Williams featuring Casey Lee Williams.

I follow this music with part two of the series Squeak Squeak by Michael Juby.

From the BMU blog  I mention the Virgin Galactic space plane failure.
Jarad sends me a couple of links to two extremely well made short films ABE and the other is Blinky.  These two are so well made as to be big screen quality.   Or how about the TSA agent who confiscated a toy ray-gun belt buckle...   John Anealio has a new Halloween themed album out.

The last story for the week is David Scholes Human Hunter - The British facility.

That's it for the weekend.  Enjoy!