Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of Copyright

O.K., I'm finding this pretty amusing. The P.K.D. Estate, which sued Google over the use of the phrase "Nexus One" is suing to recover money from the profits of a film based on one of PKD's stories. The studio now claims the story is out of copyright, so they say they owe nuthin'.

Heave forbid, however, if you were to "pirate" that flick.

More here.
Irregular Webcomic

I'm not sure when I first started reading this webcomic, but it has been a daily read for years. A year or so ago, I downloaded a number of webcomics onto The Young Lady's netbook and this one became her favorite.

She will be very sad to learn that the webcomic is ending (or transforming, see the link).
Zone One

The Agony Column presents a interview with Colson Whitehead and features his new book, Zone One.
Space Ghost from Coast to Coast

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is perfect for Halloween! vdB 141, also known as by the catchy moniker of Sh2-136 looms spookily in the galactic sky!

A modest proposal. Do we have the will?
John Schoenherr

Genre artist Gregory Manchess on the art of John Schoenherr. Great stuff!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a interesting orbital shot courtesy of Mars Odyssey. White fingers on Mars!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Humor. A Difficult Subject.

Assume a spherical cow...
What's In My Bag?

One of my favorite weekly columns (of a sort) in The New York Times was called What's In My Briefcase? and featured business folk, tech folk, and even Neal Stephenson at times with their "everyday carry". BoingBoing brings the theme back and looks at what is in the bag of one James Gurney.
Red Sky at Night

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a real October/Halloween sky!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Treat

The folks at The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast present a full recording of Eich-Pee-El's classic The Call of Cthulhu. Which recording was funded by many people, like me, in order to bring you the crunchy goodness of old squid face in time for Halloween. Download and enjoy!
Young Stars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows young stars that will be around a lot longer than the hot young talent of Hollywood.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sheep, Electric

A nice video montage to Tokyo, Blade Runner and the music of Vangelis. Turn up the volume.
Lasers and Vampires

Space junk is an increasing problem for an orbital presence. Here's a proposal to use ground-based lasers to clear the skies (how long before somebody screams about dual-use...what clears junk can also clear enemy satellites!). Could something like this eventually lead to a laser launch system?

And...with all that (expensive) junk orbiting the Earth, how about using them as a source of parts (of course we can also put the paranoid spin, as above, on this...what can harvest a dead satellite can also attack a live enemy satellite!).
Chop Bard

Old Will as a podcast. Will give this one a try next.
Classical Gas

Improving upon the classics by rebranding them. Heh.
Saturn and Beyond the Infinite

In the novel (and in earlier versions of the screenplay), the Discovery was heading for Saturn, rather than Jupiter, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I first read the book (several months before seeing the movie during its first run), my mind was filled with the vistas of Saturn, its dancing moons, and the rings. This was further enhanced by some of Clarke's collected short works such as Jupiter V and Saturn Rising.

Saturn (along with Jupiter and the Moon) were among my first sights through my first telescopes. Whenever Saturn hoves into view, I'll focus whatever scope I have out towards it to see the rings and catch a glimpse of its belts and its moons. Amazing stuff, to see with the "naked eye" even after several decades of (sporadic) observing.

It is nice to see that reality matches and outstrips our imagination. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the rings, Titan, Dione, Pandora and...if you look very carefully...Pan.

Beyond the infinite, indeed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jupter and Beyond the Infinite

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of Jupiter and several of his moons.

One evening, when I still had my LX-200 10" SCT, I focused in on Jupiter. It was a beautiful night for "seeing" and I was spotting way more detail (in the belts) than I had seen before. Soon I spotted on of the four major moons, and then its shadow on Jupiter itself. The Great Red Spot appeared on one limb of the planet, clearer than I had ever seen it. I sat there and watched the GRS across the planet.

Then I realized my legs were stiff and I was shaking from the cold of the January night. That period of great seeing had lasted something like four hours!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Many Veils

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of interplay between colors in the constellation of Perseus.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Tale of Tails

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet Garradd (visible through binoculars, if this weather would cooperate!) and its multiple tails.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

By the Way, Which One is Pink?

Makes sense to me. And then there was Half Thoughts, gone and lamented, which had the cover as the store sign.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows star trails across the sky and across the MAGIC telescope.
Friday is Fish Day

A true classic.
Into the Stacks

Rob Cain of the Ancient Rome Refocused podcast on discovering books in the stacks. And, that rare commodity, the helpful bookstore clerk.
Lost Brass Castings

An interesting bit about how a Frank Frazetta painting was...circumcised (?).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mouseguard RPG

The folks at the D6 Generation Podcast have reviewed the Mouseguard RPG. Guess what I'm reading now (preparing to run it for The Young Lady)?
The Rich Reds

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of IC 1795. This is the kind of astronomical picture that I would study for hours years ago, pre-Hubble and the other space telescopes, pre-CCD's and the vast improvement brought by non-film ground cameras.

Episode 40 of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History show is up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pastoral City

Robert Silverberg introduces Clifford D. Simak's classic work.
The Ghost Pirates

A great big bundle of William Hope Hodgeson titles, via Baen's Webscriptions service. Originally published by Night Shade Books, these are excellent collections of carefully corrected texts. And for way less than I spent on the hardcovers!
Single Point of Failure

A heart-wrenching dispatch from Michael Yon.
The Fall of Rome

Triplanetary by E.E. "Doc" Smith as an audiobook. Interestingly, this is not the original serial edition but the revised edition. Earth falls...again and again...
Big Time

Fritz Leiber's classic tale is out as a (free) audiobook.
Saturnian Sundial

Astounding (astonishing?) shot of Saturn in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 7635 in Cassiopeia. Beautiful!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Watch Your Step

A report with video from Michael Yon, just another day in Afghanistan.

Graphic. Startling. Reality. You have been warned.
100 Years

Gregory Benford on the recent 100 Year Starship conference.
Final Countdown

The march to the new Vernor Vinge release continues with a posting by Tobias S. Buckell at the Tor site.

What is happening in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day? Sunrise. A strange looking sunrise.

Will Boeing bring us an "evolved" X37 to deliver cargo to the ISS? Maybe this is the route the shuttle should have taken to begin with.

Samuel R. Delany is interviewed on public radio.
The Bible Repairman

While I wait on my super-deluxe-fanboi edition (signed!), I can read a review of a new Tim Powers collection at The Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

What Mad Universe

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day discusses (and depicts) what this year's Nobel Prize in Physics was all about.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the cruise of Comet Hartley 2. Now if we can just pull a Brin/Benford and have cruiseliners inside comets.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


So in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day we get to see what happens when an ice cube meets a spotlight. A really tiny icecube and a really big spotlight.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a good follow-up to yesterday's crowded sky. Here's what happens when one of those objects meets our planet (if it's big enough).

Saturday, October 01, 2011


Like a good neighbor, Ansible is there.

As Others Research Us. TV critic Mary McNamara marvels at a new concept: 'People flee a polluted Earth by going back 85 million years in executive producer Steven Spielberg's promising new drama on Fox. / Easily the most exciting show of the fall season, Fox's "Terra Nova" has such obvious, instant and demographically diverse appeal – sci-fi fans, fantasy fans, 5-year-olds, 50-year-olds, Al Gore – that you have to wonder why no one thought of it before.' (LA Times, 26 September) [DB] Mass time-travel to the deep past! If only Julian May, Robert Silverberg or Clifford Simak could have come up with such a notion...

Magazine Scene. Steve Davidson (who blogs as The Crotchety Old Fan) has been granted the Amazing Stories trademark – abandoned by previous owners Hasbro – and plans to resurrect the magazine.

Somewhere I have heard that name before...
Our Crowded Sky

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows just how crowded our sky is. These are natural objects, not a few lost satellites!