Monthly Archives: January 2009

By The Power of GraySkull!

Im gonna smash my way back to popularity!

I'm gonna smash my way back to popularity!

Last week, BA had me jazzed with a link to a 70’s / 80’s SuperHero montage. I didn’t get a chance to blog about it. But now comes word of a possible 80’s cartoon hero comeback. Rumor has it over at ComingSoon.net that He-Man is making a return to the American media and on the big screen at that.

I’m not too sure how this will play out in today’s world. There have been plenty of I’mma-make-a-old-super-hero-new-again busted ass movies the past few years. One of the key features with the Man was his (and his companion’s) over the top buffness. And who can forget Battle Cat (which would have been a sweet name for a rapper in the 80’s when SuperCat was doing his thing).

I wonder who will play the hero this time? Back in 1987, it was I wanna-be-Arnold, Dolph Lundgren. It will be interesting to see how they script this out and make it an excellent movie for us old school folk, but yet relevant for the youngins, like my kids.

Please Mr. Stevenson, don’t mess up my wonderful memories!

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Zombies & Cockpits – slow post day

Zombies invade Austin; hero alerts the public

Space Ship One, can I fly it?

Via Gizmodo

SciFi Must Reads

Picked up this challenge from TruSciFi from a few days ago:

update (20090/12/20):

  1. Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  2. Brian W Aldiss: Non-Stop (1959)
  3. Isaac Asimov: Foundation (1951)
  4. Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin (2000)
  5. Paul Auster: In the Country of Last Things (1987)
  6. Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory (1984)
  7. Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas (1987)
  8. Clive Barker: Weaveworld (1987)
  9. Nicola Barker: Darkmans (2007)
  10. Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships (1995)
  11. Greg Bear: Darwin’s Radio (1999)
  12. Alfred Bester: The Stars My Destination (1956)
  13. Poppy Z Brite: Lost Souls (1992)
  14. Algis Budrys: Rogue Moon (1960)
  15. Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita (1966)
  16. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Coming Race (1871)
  17. Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (1960)
  18. Anthony Burgess: The End of the World News (1982)
  19. Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Princess of Mars (1912)
  20. William Burroughs: Naked Lunch (1959)
  21. Octavia Butler: Kindred (1979)
  22. Samuel Butler: Erewhon (1872)
  23. Italo Calvino: The Baron in the Trees (1957)
  24. Ramsey Campbell: The Influence (1989)
  25. Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  26. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
  27. Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (1984)
  28. Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
  29. Arthur C Clarke: Childhood’s End (1953)
  30. GK Chesterton: The Man Who Was Thursday (1909)
  31. Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
  32. Michael G Coney: Hello Summer, Goodbye (1975)
  33. Douglas Coupland: Girlfriend in a Coma (1999)
  34. Mark Danielewski: House of Leaves (2000)
  35. Marie Darrieussecq: Pig Tales (1996)
  36. Samuel R Delaney: The Einstein Intersection (1967)
  37. Philip K Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1969)
  38. Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle (1962)
  39. Umberto Eco: Foucault’s Pendulum (1989)
  40. Michel Faber: Under the Skin (2000)
  41. John Fowles: The Magus (1966)
  42. Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2001)
  43. Alan Garner: Red Shift (1973)
  44. William Gibson: Neuromancer (1984)
  45. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
  46. William Golding: Lord of the Flies (1954)
  47. Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (1974)
  48. M John Harrison: Light (2002)
  49. Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
  50. Frank Herbert: Dune (1965)
  51. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)
  52. Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker (1980)
  53. James Hogg: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
  54. Michel Houellebecq: Atomised (1999)
  55. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World (1932)
  56. Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled (1995)
  57. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
  58. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (1899)
  59. PD James: The Children of Men (1992)
  60. Richard Jefferies: After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
  61. Gwyneth Jones: Bold as Love (2001)
  62. Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)
  63. Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (1966)
  64. Stephen King: The Shining (1977)
  65. Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953)
  66. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Uncle Silas (1864)
  67. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris (1961)
  68. Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
  69. David Lindsay: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
  70. Ken MacLeod: The Night Sessions (2009)
  71. Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black (2005)
  72. Michael Marshall Smith: Only Forward (1994)
  73. Richard Matheson: I Am Legend (1954)
  74. Charles Maturin: Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)
  75. Patrick McCabe: The Butcher Boy (1992)
  76. Cormac McCarthy: The Road (2006)
  77. Jed Mercurio: Ascent (2007)
  78. China Miéville: The Scar (2002)
  79. Andrew Miller: Ingenious Pain (1997)
  80. Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)
  81. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas (2004)
  82. Michael Moorcock: Mother London (1989)
  83. William Morris: News From Nowhere (1890)
  84. Toni Morrison: Beloved (1987)
  85. Haruki Murakami: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (1995)
  86. Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (1969)
  87. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)
  88. Larry Niven: Ringworld (1970)
  89. Jeff Noon: Vurt (1993)
  90. Flann O’Brien: The Third Policeman (1967)
  91. Ben Okri: The Famished Road (1991)
  92. Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club (1996)
  93. Thomas Love Peacock: Nightmare Abbey (1819)
  94. Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan (1946)
  95. John Cowper Powys: A Glastonbury Romance (1932)
  96. Christopher Priest: The Prestige (1995)
  97. François Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34)
  98. Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
  99. Alastair Reynolds: Revelation Space (2000)
  100. Kim Stanley Robinson: The Years of Rice and Salt (2002)
  101. JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
  102. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses (1989)
  103. Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry: The Little Prince (1943)
  104. José Saramago: Blindness (1995)
  105. Will Self: How the Dead Live (2000)
  106. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (181 9)
  107. Dan Simmons: Hyperion (1989)
  108. Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (1937)
  109. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash (1992)
  110. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
  111. Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)
  112. Rupert Thomson: The Insult (1996)
  113. Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court (1889)
  114. Kurt Vonnegut: Sirens of Titan (1959)
  115. Robert Walser: Institute Benjamenta (1909)
  116. Sylvia Townsend Warner: Lolly Willowes (1926)
  117. Sarah Waters: Affinity (1999)
  118. HG Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
  119. HG Wells: The War of the Worlds (1899)
  120. TH White: The Sword in the Stone (1939)
  121. Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun (1980-83)
  122. John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids (1951)
  123. John Wyndham: The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
  124. Yevgeny Zamyatin: We (1924)

I Want – Zombie Kid Print

Jason Chan is COOL! Once again, I wish I could draw

Buy here (original post from Gizmodo)

Baby Cylon, Not Baby Cylon

Baby Nicky, the not half-cylon baby

Baby Nicky, the not half-cylon baby

There is a scene in the Color Purple, where Celie finds out that the man she thought was her daddy, is not her father after all. Which is especially good news, as the man got her pregnant and had two kids with her. In the movie, she says “Pa not pa”. I thought of this when last night’s episode revealed that Baby Nicky was not a half-cylon after all.”Baby cylon, not baby cylon“.

In my opinion, this was another great episode! For the most part, things were being setup for later in the season. The President stopped taking her meds, Zarak is up to no good as usual, the Good Cylons are making a powerplay, and Adama is trying to keep it all together. And we can’t forget Felix going off the deep end and starting to plan a mutiny (I was just waiting for him to bust out in song!).

I am definitely looking forward to next week. I get the feeling that the writers have really put some thought into how all of this closes out. I am going to miss good TV like this, once the show ends. 😦

A 7 Day Elevator Ride

space elevatorIn my very first blog post, I listed a few books of hard core scifi that I really dig. I completely failed to mention what I consider one of the most awesome trilogies of all time, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. This was where my love of hard core scifi started! (So sorry Kim, please accept my humble apologies!).

One of the key features of the novel is the construction of a space elevator on the Red Planet. The concept is to create a structure that climbs up a tether into space. One end of the climbing tether is anchored at the equator. At the opposite end is a very large man-made construction or a captured asteroid that is in a geosynchronous orbit.

Minor spoiler: One of the greatest “oh damn, no he didn’t” scenes in novel history occurs when a character in Red Mars severs the cable to a space elevator intentionally. Ouch!

IO9 had a blurb today about a university team that may have developed a material that can handle the stress and load of a space elevator cable. It would be magnificent if the human race can pull off an engineering achievement this great. It would be a boon for space exploration as the cost of lifting objects out of the gravity well would be greatly reduced (some say as low as $220 per kilogram as opposed to $11,000 per kilogram via conventional rockets). One of the biggest barriers to a space program is actually getting materials off planet.

Also imagine the elevator as a basis for a tourist industry!? Oh man, that would be a 7-day vacation I would definitely pay for.

Here is a clip I found on YouTube featuring one of my favorite astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Google Reader Stats

I’ve been using Google Reader to lurk around the blogosphere. I hardly use many of the features it offers. But I thought Stats page was pretty cool (not sure how useful). Here is a snapshot of my Top 10 Most Read:

Google Reader stats

Obama showing NASA some love

lunar_roverI’m still getting caught up with my nerd news because of the move. But I thought this was worthy of me taking a break from unpacking. I’ve had a few posts about NASA, Obama and what is in store for the future of America’s space program. It’s encouraging to see that our beloved national space program will be shown some love at the inaugural parade.

The STS-126 crew, as well as the experimental Lunar Electric Rover (see picture) will be featured. With the record crowds that are expected (not to mention on TV and on the intertubes), let’s hope this generates some excitement amongst the American public.

You can follow the Rover team as they progress through the parade on Twitter. Go NASA!



**Update (Jan. 20)** The NASA Twitter site linked to this picture. Looks like Barack and Michelle stuck it out for the long haul. Look at all of the empty seats!

I Want – View a Shuttle Launch

I was getting caught up on my Google Reader and saw this great post over at The Launch Pad (note to ISU team, I’m very jelly right now). Shuttle launches (or any other event where tons of man-made machinery is pushed up and out of the gravity well) are  one of those rare events that few humans have had the pleasure of seeing in person. I’ve always wanted to be there. I’ve been to the Space Coast and KSC, but unfortunately could not visit during a launch.

So I’ll add that to my life’s TODO list. But, I best to get a move on. The venerable Shuttle is due for retirement soon (unless the Obama team flips the script for NASA).

Kobe Bryant and the Broken Ankles

NOTE: The fam is getting all settled here in Huntsville, AL. It’s rough being without access to the intertubes for just a few days. We forget what we did before all of those pipes were created. The GC posts will now be resuming their normal schedule. Also, I missed the first episode of BSG dagnabit! Now, I gotta catch it online or in a rerun!

I boosted this from a friend’s blog. Hilarious…

I Want – Icon A5

icon_a51

I’ve always wanted my pilot’s license. I’ve looked into pricing and talked to a few instructors. But the time commitment (and in 2008, the cost of gas), has put a damper on the plan. But after seeing the Icon A5, I might have to reconsider. The first production orders are due in 2010. Sign me up!

Via The Danger Room @ Wired

I Wish I Could Draw :-(

Sometimes I get full of myself over my technical prowess. Being the GoTo guy in my family (and extended family) for all things computer related, being adept in a number of programming languages, exhibiting my highly advanced skills in Oracle, MS SQL Server and MySQL at work.

But I have no artistic skill. Can’t draw squat. Can’t act my way out of a sleeping bag. Can’t sing worth a lick. Can’t play an instrument (at least not now, but I think I can learn).

So when I come across something so nerdy, yet so artsy at the same time, I get a little jelly.

I saw this over on Boing Boing today. Mr. Fleming, you sir are dope! I may have to order me up something from his Big Cartel shop and give the guy some financial love!

Where rocket-propelled grenades are fired

I have had a hard time finding new and fresh music. I love me some iTunes as I truly hated having to buy a whole album full of crap to get one or two new songs. So it was with a big smile of appreciation I stumbled upon this article on NPR about K’Naan the Somalian rapper.

I’ve longed believed that hip hop needed a good dose of freshness. From the samples on the NPR page, this is exactly what I’m talking about. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when K’Naan’s latest tracks drop for purchase.

And from the article, here’s K’Naan’s take on American gangsta rappers:

“For us, it’s more a source of entertainment. It’s more like a comedy or something we watch. Say, ‘Oh wow, that’s kind of cute of American gangsters.’ But it isn’t hardcore, it isn’t that bad. Let’s get things in perspective, you know?”

Hilarious!

Why We Fly

Note: Posts may be spotty over the next few weeks. The Calrissian family is relocating to another state. I’m trying to keep up with the latest nerd news during this time. We’ll see how it goes.

I picked up a this presentation from MIT’s Space Policy & Society Group via Open NASA. Its primary focus is to outline what they believe the Obama administration’s priorities should be when it comes to space policy. A large part of the document also focuses on why it is important to have a manned space program.

After the Columbia accident and some now infamous cost overruns, some people in the general public called for a cutback in manned flight. Others even advocate for the government to redirect money spent by NASA to more “down to earth” programs. (remember readers: NASA’s budget amounts to about one half of one percent of the total federal budget).

This paper makes a good case as to why America (or any other country that has aspirations of a space program) should continue with manned exploration. I won’t spoil the findings, you’ll have to read through it for yourself. I’ve always believed that we should send people up 100KM (and more). But as the doc points out, my reasons are largely sentimental. After reading through the presentation, I’ve come to a new understanding about sending people into space: the costs and the benefits.