Friday, April 30, 2010
Blizzards that's right, on Saturn. And these storms are so huge they can be seen from Earth by amateur astronomers! Data received from the orbiting Cassini spacecraft showed a large, turbulent storm, covering an area at least five times larger than the biggest blizzard that hit Earth so far this year.
Amateur astronomers are particularly useful to NASA because of the nature of the Cassini probe, it must be aligned to take readings months in advance, where as with amateurs they can reposition their equipment in minutes and take highly sophisticated pictures and data readings.
Amateurs from such diverse locals as Australia and the Philippines have been sending in pictures that give NASA a clue as to just how violent these storms are. Cassini showed that ultra-violent storms were taking place about 250 miles deep in Saturn's massive atmosphere.
lightning has been observed in the clouds tops which are comprised mostly of water and ammonia.
Read complete Yahoo News article here
Thanks again to Tim Sayell
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In a spectaular crash, today in Alice Springs, a territory of in northern Australia, over 2 million dollars in a painstakingly built telescope. The Nuclear Compton Telescope (NCT), a gamma-ray telescope was to be carried aloft by a huge helium balloon.
The research balloon was built by in Palestine, Texas was expected to haul its two-telescope payload up to an altitude of about 120,000 feet, but failed to lift the payload more than a few feet at which time the payload crashed back to earth and was dragged several hundred of feet.
View the raw film of the crash here
Original Space.com article here Lots of images
Thanks to Tim Sayell for the link
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tim Sayell sends in an article from Yahoo News that pretty much confirms something that we suspected - that Earth's water came from water bearing asteroids.
From the article:
- Astronomers have for the first time detected ice and organic compounds on an asteroid
It may be that asteroids were responsible for 20 to 30% of the total amount of terrestrial water.
Read the complete article HERE
Monday, April 26, 2010
Awarded with two Academy Awards for best Animated Feature and best Original score plus Golden Globe Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Starring Edward Asner Christopher Plummer Jordan Nagai Bob PetersonI know, what am I talking about Up for on a sci-fi / science blog. Well I have made no bones about how much I enjoy good animation. I know many of the animated films I have reviewed have had a strong SF theme, but to be honest the reason for the rental was indeed the animation. And without another word the animation is sumptuous! In the theaters it was originally presented in 3D but not having seen it as such I was most pleased with the blu-ray version I watched.
For those that haven't seen the movie, the first thing that can be said is that the plot is very much a “let's put this part here, that part there and so on”. By that I mean, all the ideas and plot devices are off the shelf in a very “Disney” kinda way. No real stretching going on here. That being said though the movie is out and out whimsy. I don't believe at this point I am giving anything away when I say that, in an attempt to keep a promise to his wife of many years Carl escapes almost certain forced retirement by escaping in one of the most unusual methods imaginable but makes complete sense in the world we see Carl grow old in. At the start of his voyage he finds himself stuck with a young boy named Russell who drags Carl into his world and by misadventures bring Carl into a completely over the top adventure all his own. Oh and I am using the word adventure this many times on purpose. The whole movie revolves around it, from very tearful (Disney, who would have thunk it) end of one to the inadvertent completion of another. Did I say tearful? Yeah I know Disney you're thinking of Bambi but it's much deeper and fuller than I have ever seen a Disney movies go. So they gave Docter and Perterson quite a bit of leeway.
The rest of Up is just over the top. Everyone put a great deal of work in detail and it shows. The extras will show you just how much of the movie was drawn from real observations of very real places in South America. And the EXTRAS! The director's comment tract is one of the best I have seen. Lots of effort went into the information that is offered along with the director's commentary. Included in the extras is a great making of and a couple of scene expansions which are wonderful. Even the closing credits are fun! If you like animation you won't be disappointed with this offering. Even the score of the film is great, as shown by the awards for it.
The movie is fun and the extras are a movie buff treat I would give the movie an 8 just because many of the plot devices are like off the shelf Disney kind of thing but just for extras the blu-ray gets a 10 for just SO much material. So that's what...a 9? yeah, that works for me.
If you like animation and whimsey go for it. If not, rent it for the kids, they will love it, but sit in the opening sequences may be upsetting or confusing to young viewers.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
- The operation took 22 hours and 30 doctors... in Barcelona, a man who'd lost his much of his face in a shooting accident received an entire face—skin, muscles, .... cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth
Of course the article ended from a donor....uhhhhhh duh! If it wasn't a donor there is some seriously pissed of person out there. Of course it was from a donor! and I am going to let you check out the "graphics" What a twist! huh?
Friday, April 23, 2010
The suit was manufactured by Massachusetts-based David Clark company, which has pioneered air and space crew protective equipment since 1941, including launch entry suits for Space Shuttle astronauts and the iconic suit that United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Joe Kittinger wore on his historic Excelsior III jump in 1960.
Kittinger set three world records that still stand: the highest parachute jump 102,800 ft, the longest parachute drogue fall 4 minutes and 36 seconds and the fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere 614 mph.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
1) The actual solid part of a comet is tiny. The actual solid part of a comet is tiny.
2) Comets are dirty snowballs. In general, comet nuclei are mountain-size dirty snowballs: rock, dust, gravel and other bits of stuff all mixed up with frozen gases and of course lots and lots of water.
3) Comets spend most of their lives looking pretty much like asteroids. They tend to have long, elliptical orbits. The farther they are from the Sun, the slower they travel, so really they might spend 99.9% of their lives far, far from the heat of our nearest star in temps so cold that even water freezes harder than rock.
4) Every time a comet comes near the Sun, it dies a little bit. Some comets are held together by the frozen gases. As one of these passes the Sun, that gas blows away, and the comet loses some of its structural integrity. Eventually, if it’s mostly gas, it’ll disintegrate.
5) Comets can have two tails. In fact they can have lots of tails. The dust tail can be broken up into several straight features called dust striae, possibly due to large pieces of the comet breaking off and forming their own tails.
6) Comets spawn meteor showers. Millions of tons of material blowing off a comet every time it passes the Sun. If a comet’s orbit intersects the Earth
the Earth can plow through this debris which burns up in our atmosphere, and we get a meteor shower.
7) Comets are potentially more dangerous than asteroids. They can come from deep, deep space, falling all the way from beyond Neptune’s orbit. They pick up a lot of velocity, and some can be moving at 70 km/sec (40 miles/sec) this speed makes them pound for pound 10 times more energetic than asteroids.
8) Seven comets have been visited by spacecraft. So far.
9) The best comet hunter of all time is SOHO. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
10) Some comets can be seen in daylight. If a comet gets close enough to the Earth, or close to the Sun at the right angle, it can become bright enough to be seen even during the day.
Of course the article has LOTS more data than I put here. Click the article title to go to the complete Discover entry
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
When It Will Be Silent is the sophomore project for Israeli film student Dan Sachar.
That's right sophomore....Sachar shot the film in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Jordan, as a project for Sapir Academic College, Israel.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
- Some of the world's leading string theorists -"the theory of everything"- believe that our entire universe exists in a black hole. scientists at Princeton and Cambridge say that most of the universe is regularly destroyed. It's space-time-twisted into black holes...
- In each destruction cycle only a small seed of habitable space survives, which grows ... to provide a new universe due to ... dark matter.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Staring Mark Walhberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo
I just happened to catch this one on tv so I can not say what the dvd or blu-ray have to offer so if someone wants to fill us in that would be helpfull.
Walhberg plays teacher Elliot Moore who begins the movie by positing to his class a question as to why all the bees are disappearing. The day is disrupted by a supposed terrorist attack on Central Park where people inexplicably start killing themselves in the quickest method they can accomplish. Jumping off buildings, shooting themselves, driving their cars into obstructions...you get the point. The effect spreads so fast that it soon becomes apparent that it is not terrorists but natural causes. Walhberg manages to escape the effects with his wife and a friends child, but only just, and eventually waits out the worst in a remote farm-house. It is determined that the plants where or may have been the cause but everyone is skeptical because it only happened in the US Northeast.
Now Shyamalan could have left it right here and left you wondering and thinking and generally agreeing that though derivative at least the movie made you think. But the director just can not resist picking at the ending like a child at a scab until he bleeds every bit out of the idea.
"Happening" is at best a retread "Day of the Triffids" with a sprinkle of "the Birds" - with Night depending more on the horror aspect or the suicides. He not only telegraphs the ending but tells you point blank that he is going to do it! Nothing new here. We have the bad ole humans destroying Gaea and must be stopped - yawn.
If its on tv and you're too damn lazy to change the channel, then go ahead and watch, but rent? Own? nope. pass. Give it a 4 for some of the acting and visuals....
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
it’s too young to have formed by accretion, though it masses like a planet, evidence points towards or better away from the normal way planets form, and it too light to be another brown dwarf.
So at the very least the conventions held for planetary formation have to be re-examined. As
Kevin Luhman of Penn State University, recently said in The Astrophysical Journal. “This seems to indicate that there are two different ways for nature to make small companions.”
It gets weirder, read the complete Wired article here
Look, I read Spider's article and to be completely honest it felt ghoulish just pasting it in here. So I am going to ask that if you haven't heard or want an update go here for Spider's note on the subject.
All I will say is I offer condolences knowing somewhat from where he speaks.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
THE IRON GIANT
LOST: "The Constant"
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: "The Gift"
E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
CHARLY (Keys - Flowers for Algernon)
STAR TREK: "City on the Edge of Forever"
DOCTOR WHO: "Father's Day"
WINGS OF DESIRE (inspiration for the remake City of Angels)
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
DOCTOR WHO: "Doomsday"
Ok, where is Testament? the William Devaine, Jane Alexander movie about a post nuclear war that will rip you a new one? The movie Moon has its' moments, One the Beach? Damn I would put these up there before I would BUFFY! WTF
Monday, April 12, 2010
Is it possible? Very likely... Lets look at light. the posted speed limit for light is 300,000km a second. But that is only in a complete vacuum. In real life light travels MUCH slower. What slows light down? Well any ole atom will do the trick. An atom will absorb a photon and re-emit it, imparting a delay. This is called the absorption/re-emission cycle. Now I hear the screams "photon HAVE to travel at C!" and in truth the "slowing" is just an illusion because once emitted, the photon travels again at C until it hits another atom. But the delay...that is not an illusion.
What really gets weird is when the "stop" light. Check out this mind bending statement from the IO9 article
- When scientists stop light, they aren't actually halting a photon – they're embedding its quantum state into the nearby atoms. Later, they use another laser pulse to activate those atoms and make them emit an identical photon.
For the complete article and reference links, check out the IO9 article HERE
Slow Light in Wikipedia HERE
Sam Rockwell - Sam Bell
Kevin Spacey - GERTY (voice)
For the most part Moon is a one man show. Sam Rockwell plays Moon Helium 3 miner Sam Bell on a 3 year stint with Lunar Industries to mine Earth's primary source of energy on the far side of the Moon. All is going well, if a bit lonely, as Sam nears the end of his contract. However he starts to hear and see things that do not jibe with "world view". At one point these "hallucinations" distract him so much that he manages to hit and disable a mining machine and strand himself in the process. The weirdness continues when he awakens in the station's infirmary to be told by the robot caretaker GERTY that he had been in an accident.
GERTY begins to act very HAL like when Sam states his wishes to go outside. He finally misdirects GERTY enough to agree to let him exit the habitat where he immediately heads for the original crash site. What he finds there totally flies in the face of everything he thought he knew about his job, the company, himself and eventually his family.
Moon will play fast and loose with your sense of reality and self. At times you have a very real feeling that you are in the middle of a Silent Running remake, only for it to turn into an even creepier version of 2001 and to some extent, Alien It goes without saying that all of these movies seemed to have influenced Moon.
There are some major twists and reversals dealt in Moon, it would be best to leave all preconceptions at the start of the movie. Though budgeted like an indie film, everything about it is top notch science fiction. At the risk of giving something away, you soon forget that the only actor on screen is Sam Rockwell. I honestly see this film being compared favorably in the future with those films that inspired it.
The movie itself is well worth the rental. But the Blu-ray version is a movie fan treat. There are two comment tracks, special effects real, two q&a reels, a making of short and another short science fiction film called Whisper that puts a completely new spin of what might be called the third oldest profession.
I could pick at the movie and the speciality tracks, but it really would be nit picking. This movie disk is well worth a rental or even better a great addition to your disk library.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Oh it gets weirder! From the article:
- Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in trash bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his ‘time machine power unit’, a device that resembled a kitchen blender.
As the PopSci article puts it:
- In 2007, off the coast of Japan, it became the first mission to study subduction zones, the area between tectonic plates that is the birthplace of many earthquakes. Over the next three years, scientists will tack on at least an extra mile of drill and attempt the most ambitious mission ever: piercing the Earth’s mantle.
- For deeper ground penetration, where temperatures can exceed 500°F and corrosive chemicals reside, engineers will use a higher-tensile-strength steel to build the drill string. Also in development are new drilling (synthetic) mud that cool the drill bit during operation.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
No surprise that Paolo's The Windup Girl is in the running!
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
The City & The City by China Miéville
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Beam Me Up review here)
The God Engines by John Scalzi
Palimpsest by Charles Stross
Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow
Vishnu at the Cat Circus by Ian McDonald
The Women of Nell Gwynne's by Kage Baker
Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky
The Island by Peter Watts
It Takes Two by Nicola Griffith
One of Our Bastards is Missing by Paul Cornell
Overtime by Charles Stross
Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" by Eugie Foster
BEST SHORT STORY
The Bride of Frankenstein by Mike Resnick
Bridesicle by Will McIntosh
The Moment by Lawrence M. Schoen
Non-Zero Probabilities by N.K. Jemisin
Spar by Kij Johnson
Friday, April 02, 2010
Next - Simon Petrie
A Man, A Plan, A Shattered World - By Wes Parish
Colourblind - By Dr. Michael Schaper
Paradigm Shift - By Gitte Christensen
I Close My Eyes For You To Sleep - By Jacinta Lodge
Prevention Is The Best Cure - By Shaun A. Saunders
The Socks - By Julie Wornan
Strangers In The Night - By Garry Dean
When One Cries, The Other Tastes Salt - By Threasa Meads
Wilderness - By Rob Bleckly
You can find issue 142 by logging to AntipodeanSF
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Yep, on a video kick again. Here we have a reality twisting short that even Tim Leary would have appreciated! From the fertile imagination of Alberto Corral I present Get Out.
Alberto writes about this short: Shot in December '09 with Nikon D5000 in Los Angeles, California. Edited January '10. No additional lights but natural light. No budget except for food. 2 1/2 days of shooting.
Now that's dedication!