Unless you’ve been living under a rock,* you’re surely aware of Google Earth by now. You may even have played around with Google Moon and Google Mars. Now check out Google Sky.
To help you explore the far reaches of our universe, we have teamed up with astronomers at some of the largest observatories in the world to bring you a new view of the sky. Using Google Maps this tool provides an exciting way to browse and explore the universe. You can find the positions of the planets and constellations on the sky and even watching the birth of distant galaxies as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The tool combines data from the massive Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s Chandra and GALEX satellites, and several other sources, and even allows you to view objects in different wavelengths. The latest version of Google Earth also incorporates the Sky images, so all you have to do is look up.
*A rock with, um, internet access.
Posted in Space March 31st, 2008 by Chip
A convention finder searchable by zip code has just been launched, and they’re looking for gonzo fans to help populate it:
Now, it has to be filled with conventions. Spread the word to your various fan groups and/or, if you know of a convention that’s coming up in your area that would be of interest to geeks in general, please feel free to submit it yourself to the convention finder (just make sure that you have the venue’s zip code).
The link to the con finder is here. (via BoingBoing)
And don’t forget the O*W*C’s own convention calendar, kept up to date by the indefatigable Gandalara.
Science Junkies suggests that gene splicing might be fraught with peril.
DNA Combination: Chicken + Cockroach + Giant Squid
Intended Result: A quickly reproducing completely boneless chicken yielding six to ten tasty “drumettes” (boneless drum sticks)
Unfortunate Outcome: A quickly reproducing flightless, 8 beaked cephalopod with a bullet resistant exoskeleton
Posted in Humor March 27th, 2008 by Chip
We can’t get off the ground in real life, but the National Space Society is sponsoring a short-story contest on the theme of returning to the Moon.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR: Science Fiction stories that show the adventure of lunar settlement. We want to feel the romance of life there, the wonder of the lunar frontier, of its magnificent desolation. We prefer near future (50 to 150 years from now), realistic stories about human lunar settlement. We want good characterization and well-written, tight prose. We want to feel what it’s like to live on the Moon.
The contest runs until June 15. Winning entries will be published in an anthology, and the grand prize winner’s entry will also be reviewed in the NSA’s Ad Astra magazine.
Link (via The Website at the End of the Universe)
Variety reports that Dune is going to be
flogged to death remade again, this time by Paramount Pictures. Peter Berg (The Kingdom) has been hired to direct, and the project has been farmed to writers.
I’m sort of mystified by Hollywood’s moth-like attraction to the conflagration that is Dune. The planning meetings had to have gone something like, “The movie was made in 1984 and it sucked, and then a miniseries was made and it, uh…sucked less. So let’s try to make something that sucks hardly at all!” Yeah, good luck with that, guys.
Link (via ForeverGeek)
Posted in Movies & TV March 25th, 2008 by Chip
Wikihistory is a short story by Desmond Warzel which takes the form of a “Talk” page on a time travelers’ wiki.
At 14:52:28, FreedomFighter69 wrote:
Reporting my first temporal excursion since joining IATT: have just returned from 1936 Berlin, having taken the place of one of Leni Riefenstahl’s cameramen and assassinated Adolf Hitler during the opening of the Olympic Games. Let a free world rejoice!
At 14:57:44, SilverFox316 wrote:
Back from 1936 Berlin; incapacitated FreedomFighter69 before he could pull his little stunt. Freedomfighter69, as you are a new member, please read IATT Bulletin 1147 regarding the killing of Hitler before your next excursion. Failure to do so may result in your expulsion per Bylaw 223.
At 18:06:59, BigChill wrote:
Take it easy on the kid, SilverFox316; everybody kills Hitler on their first trip. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what’s the harm?
This sounds exactly like a number of wiki discussions I’ve been involved in. Um. Without the “killing Hitler” part.
Link (via BoingBoing)
The Pharyngula blog has a rather marvelous post up.
(You may need to scroll down; the formatting is out of whack.)
Posted in Humor March 21st, 2008 by Chip
Whoo! I’m scooping Gandalara for once! I feel so…naughty.
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins, Fourth Estate)
Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan/Feb. 2007)
The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)
Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
“Fountains of Age” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s July 2007)
“Recovering Apollo 8″ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s Feb. 2007)
“Stars Seen Through Stone” by Lucius Shepard (F&SF July 2007)
“All Seated on the Ground” by Connie Willis (Asimov’s Dec. 2007; Subterranean Press)
“Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (F&SF April 2007)
Read the rest of this entry »
Researchers have looked at the amount of torque that Titan’s winds exert on its surface, and have concluded that things move around too much for the moon to have a solid core. They suspect a water ocean deep below surface ice.
Posted in News, Space March 21st, 2008 by Chip