Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Milky Way Shaped Life On Earth

Frenzied star-making in the Milky Way Galaxy starting about 2400 million years ago had extraordinary effects on life on Earth. Harvests of bacteria in the sea soared and crashed in a succession of booms and busts, with an instability not seen before or since. According to new results published by Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center in the journal Astronomische Nachrichten, the variability in the productivity of life is closely linked to the cosmic rays, the atomic bullets that rain down on the Earth from exploded stars.


Posted in Science, Space November 15th, 2006 by Chip
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Posted in Humor, Squid November 14th, 2006 by Gandalara
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Steampunk Computer Casemod

Steampunk CasemodThis guy has casemodded his PC to look like something out of a steampunk novel.

I soon realized that my true passion was not in the ’40s, or even in the 1900s at all. No, steampunk was the way to go.

Thus was born the Telecalculograph.

Not including the original PC, this project cost about $70 total. It took around two months of spare time, and was done with basic hand tools. The only power tools used were a drill and a Dremel.

The Flickr photoset shows lots of details, and there’s also a video of the thing’s “furnace” working.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet, Ephemera November 13th, 2006 by Chip
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Chicago bidding again

Chicago lost their bid for the 2008 Worldcon to Denver during the vote at LACon IV. So they’re gonna try again.

From avt_tor’s LJ (

November 11, 2006, reporting from WindyCon “By a unanimous vote, the Chicago Worldcon Bid corporation decided to bid for a Worldcon in Chicago in 2012. A committee was named to define corporation membership levels for the future, and another to explore facilities options for 2012. The plan is for Dave McCarty to do a preliminary announcement at Smofcon in Kansas City, then an official announcement at the business meeting at Nippon 2007, with a launch party in Denver in 2008.”

Posted in Conventions & Fandom November 12th, 2006 by Gandalara
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Jack Williamson April 29, 1908 – November 10, 2006

Reported on several newsgroups and e-mail lists, he died peacefully at home.

He published science fiction stories in each of nine decades.

“The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made as follows:
The Jack and Blanche Williamson Scholarship Fund
ENMU Foundation
Eastern New Mexico University
Station #8
Portales NM 88130”

There will also be a memorial service held on the campus of Eastern New Mexico
University, next Thursday at 2pm.

Posted in News November 11th, 2006 by Gandalara
1 comment

Chip’s Picks

One evening in chat, someone asked me for some “must-read” SF. I tossed together a list off the top of my cerebrum, and later posted it here on the site as a “Top Ten” list. I’ve decided to revisit the list as a series of blog posts, expanding upon the reasons behind some of my choices, and even updating my Very Favorites List here and there.

Let’s put the big ol’ disclaimer right up front: This is a highly-opinionated list, and my tastes may not be the same as yours. If you can’t imagine why I overlooked one of your favorites, or if you completely disagree with my inclusion of an author you hate…um, tough. I’ll be happy to compile a list of other readers’ favorites, though. Feel free to add your opinion in the comments section, or drop me a line at with your choices.

My inaugural “Chip’s Pick” will be: Robert A. Heinlein

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books & Authors November 10th, 2006 by Chip
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Models in Spaaace!

Zero-G CoutureThe University of Tokyo recently hosted a spacewear fashion show with couture designed for weightless environments. Similar to the way that some coats are reversible, allowing you to look good in dry or wet weather, these clothes are directionally reversible, looking good “up” or “down.” Interestingly, none of them looked much like Starfleet uniforms….

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Ephemera, Space November 9th, 2006 by Chip
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Poking the Shub-Internet with a Stick

Artist Fang-Yu Lin is trying to make contact with the “aware” portion of the Internet.

According to legend, Shub-Internet, Beast of a 1024 Processors, Eater of Characters, Avatar of Line Noise and countless other appellations rests peacefully in its lair deep beneath the Pentagon. Shub-Internet is nothing less than the harsh personification of the hideous multi-tendriled Internet itself. Now, artist Fang-Yu Lin has created a way for mortals to contact the Beast – he calls it From the Great Beyond, a device he quaintly believes to be part of some sort of artsy project.

Isn’t this how Skynet got started?


Posted in Computers & Internet, Ephemera November 8th, 2006 by Chip
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HOWTO: View the Transit of Mercury on November 8

The Exploratorium has instructions for building a projector to view the transit of Mercury across the Sun, an event that occurs only 12 times a century.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Science November 7th, 2006 by Chip
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“Fossil” Virus Resurrected from Human Genome

Fossil Virus ImagesFrench researchers have resurrected the “Phoenix virus,” a “fossil” virus that lay dormant in the human genome. The retrovirus infected our ancestors millions of years ago, and is apparently still infectious in its new revivified form.

The researchers showed that the newly crated virus could infect a variety of human cell lines and replicate. But its infectivity (sic) was extremely low, perhaps because human cells have evolved resistance against such viral invaders.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in News, Science November 6th, 2006 by Chip
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