Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cygnus Supply Craft. Sporting New Solar Array

Cygnus's newest improvements are effective, efficient and by many descriptions - adorable.

When the S.S. Deke Slayton II launched in December, it was the first mission of the
newly-upgraded Cygnus spacecraft.

The upgrades included an expanded cargo hold and reworked service module, but most striking of all is the new solar panels. Like the rectangular bars on every other spacecraft (including older-model Cygnus spacecraft), the Cygnus now sports a pair of round Ultraflex solar arrays.

The design is not form alone however. The round fan-fold allows for higher performance at a lower mass than typical arrays. The arrays also fold up smaller than traditional arrays, reducing the stowage volume  when launching. 

Check out the Gizmodo article HERE

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Force was with this Waitress

A hilarious story or cruel joke - In 2002 Jodee Berry, a Hooters waitress in Panama City FL, thought that she had won a Toyota in a beer sales contest, not a toy Yoda. She ended up suing Hooters, who settled by giving her an actual Toyota. 

According to the manager of the Hooters, the contest was an April Fool’s Day joke.

Lesson that should have been learned - be careful
of whom you play a joke on.  They may not find
it funny in the least................

Some Possible Darwin Award Nomination

A friend knows just how much I like the Darwins so here are some folks that should be nominated.
 For those who are not familiar with the Darwins, the awards are tongue in cheek lists of people that have strengthened the gene-pool by removing their own genes in a most spectacularly stupid fashion.
Like she texted:
Some of these people are probably not with us anymore...




















Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Possible New Ninth Planet

Well outside the orbit of Pluto lies the possibly of a new new ninth planet several times the
size of Earth.

Eccentricities in the orbits of several far flung ice planets indicated something very large well outside Pluto's orbit.

According to a recent National Geographic, the 
gravitational signature of a large planet is written into the peculiar orbits of the ice worlds called extreme Kuiper Belt Objects.  these worlds are tracing odd orbits around the sun that have puzzled scientists for years.

This evidence points towards seems to point to a planet even though one has yet to be seen.

Greg Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, If there is another world in the Solar
System, than this one is it.

For more information click on the national geographic link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gravity Waves Discovered

One of the most significant discoveries may have taken place in the field of physics.

In 1915 Albert Einstein theorized that massive objects could cause ripples in local space/time.  These "ripples" are better known as gravity Waves.

One of the devices that has the best chance of discovering gravitational waves is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory which was upgraded in 2015.

Gravity waves are the product of two massive objects colliding or the rapid collapse of a massive star. The more massive the collapse or collision, the greater and more numerous the ripples.

For more information click the link        

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Space 1999 Behind the Scenes

Hey, were you a fan (like someone that will remain nameless) of the 1970s British TV science
fiction series Space 1999?  if you were then you will flip over this behind the scenes short that
shows the model building in action.

Behind the scenes film

Behind the scenes web page

Space1999 Year1 Title.jpg
"Space1999 Year1 Title". Via Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shannara, and Trek. Where'd they go?

The Chronicles Of Shannara
     (Or how to rape a great fantasy to death). I read the first four books, and as this is based at least partly on Elfstones, lets just go with that. To put it simply, Brooks sold out, entirely. His novel, his characters, everything is practically unrecognizable.
     Wil is entirely too muscular, and not the Wil of the books in any manner except name. Same goes for most of these characters, if they can be called that.
     Amberle was not at first repulsed by the Elcrys, but accepted and even enjoyed the visions and communication at first. Plus they are the chosen, not the strongest in a run amok blinded foot race.
     As for Allanon, Haven't seen hide nor hair of that man. Not even a whisper, except for the foolish belief in that fake running around. Allanon is not covered in carved tattoos, and he is over seven feet tall, angular featured, and frankly, just terrifying as all get out. And that is how his friends see him. This is a man that would make a Z fighter think twice. And they give us some fool, that isn't even six feet tall, and looks like he is still carrying baby fat on his face. The guy looks great for an adventure part, but not for this. No Allanon, no Shannara, that simple.
     I was one of the smart ones. Once I heard it was that channel, I pretty much knew this would be turned into some dippy teen-aged twilight wanna be teen angst silliness. And so it is.
     And this takes place thousands of years after we destroyed ourselves in a chemical and nuclear war. So why are we playing Walking Dead ignorance in this. Helicopter in the forest in the open clearing and still has the rotor attached”? And a flat bed truck also that believe it or not, must have had all of it's tires made from plastic and not rubber. Damn things even still appeared to have air in them.
     And I could go on, but I won't. This entire deal is one big farce, appealing only to the common denominator of childish silliness and ignorance, with the true plot, concept, and legend tossed to the four winds like so much dust. Brooks should be slapped into silliness, and as for that channel, they should be put on the same sun routed ship as Tranks. I'm giving it a 2, and think I am being generous with that. 

Star Trek??????
Here is the link to the trailer if you haven't seen it. Not looking good, but lets hope this is wrong what everyone is thinking. It is looking like that idiot Abrams is attempting to turn it into some loony action movie. ST is for thinking, which is why so many highly intelligent people watched it. Hawking, Martin Luther King, etc etc. It isn't Star Wars, it isn't Fast and Furious in space, it isn't wrasslin fantasy. If they want super filled action sequence for a movie, and that is all they want, then please remove the sacred name of Trek from it, and ship off to the lunatics that have never learned to think in this world. The SW and wrasslin crowd comes to mind. Here's the link folks. Lets hope the entire movie doesn't follow the disastrous course we are fearing it will. If it does, then we need to pack Abrams on that sun routed ship as well.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Beam Me Up Podcast eps 461 Now Onlineline

This week on episode 461 of Beam Me Up I play a short story from David Scholes at a quarter to the hour - called, There Will Not Be Time.  One of the oddest tales of Time Travel since I read Poul Anderson's Tau Zero. David is strutting his stuff with this one.  Tightly written, terse plot and even though nothing moves, a great deal of action.  Can you tell I liked it?

From the Beam Me Up blog:

It may be possible to see black holes with little more than  an 8" optical telescope!

SpaceX reports that the recent launch and return landing of it's Falcon 9 booster showed no ill effects and in founder Elon Musk's words "ready to fire again!"

I review the animated feature Inside Out.  Very cute if a bit intense at times.

The question has been posited...How big was the universe before the Big Bang?  Any bets, some might start to drool just thinking about this one!

Kallamis gives us "I just couldn't resist" and it is FUN NY"

Plus a few other fill ins.  Enjoy!

Podcast link - click  HERE

Thursday, January 07, 2016

How to See a Black-hole With a Small Telescope

Blackholes are one of the most mysterious and powerful objects in the universe. Plus, due to their nature, all but invisible.

Scientists traditionally have used x-ray or gamma ray telescopes in hopes of locating new singularities.

Unfortunately these installations are large and expensive, well outside the capabilities of the back yard astronomer.

Now, according the the original Gizmodo article, a new study suggests that we could accomplish the same thing with
nothing more than a standard, optical 8-inch telescope.

This hat trick is accomplished by one of the most common black hole - an X-Ray binary consisting of a massive dead star that proceeds to absorb all the material in it's vicinity.   This leads to the emission of huge amounts of X-Rays, but a new discovery shows that the X-Ray binary also emits a small amount of low - level light, but well within the capabilities of a modest backyard telescope.

Using data from a nearby black hole (V404 Cygni which had a recent flickering event) the black hole was show to emit low-energy photons which makes the singularity "flicker" and visible to even modest telescopes.

Video  of  V404 Cygni flickering

Complete Gizmodo article

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Musk Reports on Falcon 9 Status


SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on New Year's Eve that the Falcon 9 rocket that carried satellites to orbit last month and the returned safely to Cape Canaveral is, after inspection and was found free of damage is in Musk's words "ready to fire again." This, rather than falling into the Atlantic Ocean as so many space program rockets have ended for decades.

Musk tweeted that the “Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.”

Friday, January 01, 2016

Review: Inside Out

Starring the voice talents of 

Amy Poehler as Joy
Phyllis Smith as Sadness
Bill Hader as Fear
Lewis Black as Anger
Mindy Kaling as Disgust
Richard Kind as Bing Bong
Kaitlyn Dias as Riley Andersen
Diane Lane as Riley's Mother
Kyle MacLachlan as Riley's Father
Paula Poundstone as Forgetter Paula
Bobby Moynihan as Forgetter Bobby

I had heard some good things about the animated feature Inside Out, so I finally got a watchable retail dvd to see what all the excitement was about when the movie first hit general release. I wasn't disappointed.

A Pixar / Disney collaboration (is that the proper word? Since they are part of the same company.) That seemed to take the best of both.

I thought with Disney, I was going to get a straight on children's film and in a lot of respects, that is what I got. Oddball characters and even stranger plots. Not disappointed on either front with Inside Out.

But once the main characters are introduced, the plot-line takes a turn towards the dark. The whole plot device being that the major emotions are taken up by identifiable archetypes and we view the majority of the movie from these archetypes view point with occasional forays into the exterior world to observe the interplay between external and internal worlds.

There are several places in the film where each of the characters are highlighted and how they make up the whole. And this is why I have reservation on very young children watching this film. The emotions are strong and intense, so much so that even as an adult I was uncomfortable and uneasy, so I would lean towards older children with more experience with stronger emotions