Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Who Knew?

Harlan Ellison collects painted minis? Who knew? Is he also a gamer?
The Next Dick?

Who could be Hollowood's next Philip K. Dick? I'll point out that (a) Hollowood has not been very kind to the actual texts of PKD's work; (b) several of these folks have had long (fruitless) relationships with Hollowood already!
Another 15 Picoseconds of Fame

Hey, joy, I'm named specifically by the loon behind Season of the Red Wolf. Along with luminaries such as Lavie Tidhar, John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell and Mary Robinette Kowal.

It's an honor, as they say, just to be nominated.
Landing Sequence Started

Next week, God willing and the creek don't rise, we'll see another rover landing on Mars. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows you what the landing will be like.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Space Review

The current issue of The Space Review has several items of interest, especially given the impending landing on Mars! Adrian Brown has a nice overview of the Mars Exploration Program. Jeff Foust wonders about commercial space's "Netscape moment" (do we really need one?). Dwayne A. Day looks at one reason why the contentious space shuttle site selection process might have had good reasons for skipping Houston. And, bringing it back to Mars, Jeff Foust reviews a new book, Rod Pyle's Destination Mars.
Silent Moons Go By

Another great shot from the Saturn system of moons. Glad we keep funding a functional spaceship instead of doing some stupid like "saving money" by shutting it down.
The Crowded Sky

Some asteroid orbits plotted. Hey, what are all those dots on the background? Oh...a sampling of asteroids. DUCK!
The Quiet Earth (02)

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another shot of our quiet, gentle, never-changing home planet.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hot Cluster

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a young (energetic) cluster of newly-emerging stars in the region of 30 Doradus.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows planetary and stellar trails above the skies of Germany.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Living in Stereo

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a stereo pair of telescopes to detect Cherenkov radiation. I didn't know ground-based scopes could do that!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tulip and Swan

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is the complex area known as Sh-101 in Cygnus. Amazing detail in those stellar nurseries!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another astonishing show of our own planet. While the active Sun is playing "old Harry" with radio reception, it is generating some amazing views.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


It looks like both Saturn and its moon Titan share something: strange atmospheric structures at their poles! Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us what lurks at the south pole of Titan.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a amazing short video showing lighting (filmed at over 7K images/second)!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


If you've only seen one image from the Hubble Space Telescope, today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is probably it. The Pillars of Creation.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day will send you searching for those red/blue anaglyph glasses you have around.

Yes, boys and girls, once upon a time we sent humans to another sphere.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When Worlds Collide

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a "collision" between our Moon and Jupiter and its moons.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dishing the Lineup

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another view of the planetary and stellar lineup in our morning skies. Now with more technology!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

White Eye

What is on the other side of today's Astronomy Picture of the Day? It appears that a crater on Mars may have happened above a cave system...and that the impact broke through the cave. A possible look into the inside of the planet? Are the caves of Mars an abode or life or a source of water?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Merger Proposal

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a computer-generated video showing galaxy formation. The dancing atoms!

Amazing how much this looks like the "ink spot" portions of the Star Gate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Orion

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an astonishingly detailed view of one of my favorite winter viewing objects. WOW. Just what I need during all this endless summer heat!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spots Up Close

I'm not sure if the sunspots in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day are the same group as those imaged in the setting Sun a few days ago or not, but it is a nice look at how complex this "mottling" can be.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the power of today's opitcal instruments. Images of Messier 101, the last "official" entry in the famous catalog, are merged. By using different light frequencies, a whole new understanding of the makeup of the galaxy appears.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows patterns in the sky and patterns in the rock. Which patterns will last longer?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Eats

Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose (writing); Langdon Foss (art); Jose Villarrubia and Dave Stewart (colorists); Todd Klein (letters): Get Jiro! (DC Comics; 2012; ISBN 978-1-4012-2897-9).

In the not-to-distant-but-somewhat-unspecified future, food and foodies have come to dominate the world, or at least Los Angeles. In the battleground drawn by the corporate mega-giants (personified by Bob) and a loose-and-shifting alliance of back-to-nature, sustainable-and-local, communists-and-socialists and even survivalists (personified by Rose) steps in Jiro, a highly-skilled sushi chef with amazing skills in presentation, flavor...and knifework.

Anthony Bourdain first came to my attention with Kitchen Confidential. It's a vastly amusing book about life in the restaurant industry (I had a few years, summer work, and then have revisited a couple of times between figuring out what to do with MRE's in the Army and a large number of volunteer hours in a kitchen for charity work, so the book really interested me). He went on to write some fiction, a lot of non-fiction and to start in a number of very funny and very intelligent and well-written shows such as A Cook's Tour and No Reservations (recently ended, alas).

Get Jiro! is his first graphic novel effort, set in a world where food rules. Bourdain manages to be funny, be bloody, but to be educational (not only do we learn the proper way to eat sushi, but the best way to separate an attacker's lower limb from his upper limb, without damaging the bone in the arm). I detect hints of any number of samurai and gangster films/television shows in here, as well as (to me) things like Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash (oddly enough, this is the second graphic novel I've learned of in a week that is related to food).

Will Jiro survive the machinations of Rose and Bob to get him on their sides? Will small independent restaurants and suppliers survive? Will people learn not to ask for the California Roll? Get thee to the bookstore and grab a copy before supplies run out. Fun stuff, great art and writing, highly recommended.
Shoggoths Tear My Flesh

Howdy! Yep, despite rumors (rumours) to the contrary, I ain't dead yet. Just exhausted. Without saying too much, perhaps we let too many people go too fast at a certain establishment and perhaps coupled with a certain lack of direction and leadership (and the development of new operating procedures and policies)...exhaustion.

But I'll try to get back here, fill in the missing APOD's, put up a few reviews, post a few links. And maybe blog my way back to regularity and sanity.

Lineup (02)

Remember this? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a more recent view of the lineup in our night sky.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Tourist Snap

No matter who the tourist, no matter what the location or subject, we'll get some vacation shots. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a sample of what the still-running (90 day journey scheduled...several years mission extensions running!) MER Opportunity saw during it's "winter vacation".

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Deflectors Up, Captain!

The old joke goes that the dinosaurs are extinct because they did not have a space program. What could we do if a rock has Earth's name on it? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one possible spaceborne solution.

Friday, July 06, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a scattering of galaxies in the wilderness of our universe.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view of edge-on galaxy NGC 4565. How many other galaxies can you spot in the field of view?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Setting Sun

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of the setting Sun, bespeckled with spots. Let's not forget the foreground as well!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Saturn Space and Beyond the Infinite

This is how 2001: A Space Odyssey should have looked if special effects technology had existed to make the rings. If you cannot look at today's Astronomy Picture of the Day and feel a stirring in your soul...

Monday, July 02, 2012


Not big enough for a world-dominating evil genius, but maybe a regional evil genius?

Some media articles here, here and here.
Not Quite Stubby

Anybody want to build me a fleet of these?
The Devil's in the Details

If there's a Prometheus Vault book like my Alien Vault book, I'll buy it just to see all the little details (such as outlined in this article). But the movie seems such a mess overall, the beautiful details didn't seem to fit. Was there really a half-hour-plus of scenes removed?

I guess I'll need to wait for the super-deluxe-fanboi edition to see if it holds up on restoration.
Pictorial Arts

Some amazing stuff on this blog!

Take a look at this example, for instance.
Aperture Envy

Some people are just not happy with a backyard scope, oh no!
Annic Nova!

Classic Traveller art from Winchell Chung
Reading List

A list of the books mentioned in Among Others by Jo Walton. How many have you read?

Rejoice! Rejoice! You really have no choice!

Number 300 in a series.

As Others See GRRM. Here's how to say you like Game of Thrones without being overly uncool: 'To anyone who wasn't Hobbit-friendly previously, this genre – fantasy medieval – is as sexy as pubic dandruff. Viewers like me, non-Dr Who types, vehement Hobbit-knockers, fell for Game of Thrones sheerly by accident and then fretted for their identity ever after. No sane person intends to go down a path where Saturdays are spent changing from jeans to a Dothraki pelt-skin costume in the back of a Ford Focus in a Milton Keynes conference centre car-park before meeting their friend Nige (him of the egg-box dragon costume and blow-torch mouth o' fire effect) but cosplay has to start somewhere. Game of Thrones, and its ilk, have made fancy-dress fools of wiser folk than us.' (Grace Dent, Independent, 2 June) [MPJ]


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is not a picture but a short video clip. Fast travel through the universe!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Ghost Shells

No, not anime. Astronomy. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the ghostly shells surrounding the very strange galaxy known as Centaurus A.