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This is Uncomfortably Plausible

How to access the internet…in 2025.

Before signing on, please ensure you have received your RealIdentity card from local authorities. Signing on to the internet without identifying yourself has been ruled illegal in the Stop Anonymity Act of 2012, and you need to be sure to associate your comments, emails, posts and more with your real name.

Link (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Posted in Computers & Internet August 17th, 2010 by Chip
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Heinlein Symposium at

Tomorrow Tor Books will release the first volume of the authorized Heinlein Biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, and to tie in with the event they’re having an “online panel discussion” to discuss his work.

Jo Walton, John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, and several others have posts exploring Heinlein’s life, themes, and legacy. Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that he had a massive impact on science fiction.

(Hat tip to CJ)

Posted in Books & Authors August 16th, 2010 by Chip
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Solar System Artwork

Artist Licoti created a huge (30,000 pixels long) representation of the solar system, including each planet’s major satellites. It’s gorgeous.

The full GNU-licensed image is available at Wikimedia, and he’s also posted a video “tour” of the image on YouTube:

(via Forgetomori)

Posted in Space August 13th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. What was the mission of the spaceship on the TV series Quark?
  2. What book begins, “The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.”?
  3. What planet does Babylon 5 orbit?
  4. Who is Cirocco Jones?
  5. What is the motto of the Tyrell corporation?
  6. What were Mike, Proteus, Extro, Domino, and Shalmaneser?
  7. What is the central race in Clifford Simak’s City?
  8. What “talented amateur” was mentioned in the opening of The Avengers?
  9. Who wrote The Houses of Iszm, a novel about intelligent plant life?
  10. Who is the hero in Lois McMaster Bujold’s sci-fi novel Barrayar?

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Ephemera August 12th, 2010 by Chip
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“Found Hardware” Props

YouTube user Propguy1701 has a series of videos discussing the “true origins” of a lot of Star Trek props. Here’s Part 1 of the Hardware video; the others are linked below. They’re great inspiration for making props of one’s own.

Found Hardware Part 2
Found Glassware Part 1
Found Glassware Part 2

(via Lost in Schlock)

Posted in Movies & TV August 11th, 2010 by Chip
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I Could Not Agree More


See the punchline at Hijinks Ensue

Posted in Humor August 10th, 2010 by Chip
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Scientific American Science Slideshow

Sci Am IllustrationScientific American Magazine celebrates its 165th anniversary this month, and they’ve put together a slideshow illustrating “the march of progress as seen through the magazine.”

Their progress doesn’t appear to march in chronological order, and some of their choices for articles representative of said march seem a little peculiar, but with 165 years of magazines to work with I imagine the winnowing process was a bit difficult. Still, an interesting look at the last century and a half in science.

(Hat tip to CJ)

Posted in Science August 9th, 2010 by Chip
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Sci-Fi Air Show

SpindriftBill George is a Visual Effects Supervisor who works at Industrial Light and Magic, and is a huge fan of the prop spaceships used in SF movies and TV. He’s put together the Sci-Fi Air Show, featuring an Eagle from Space: 1999, a Colonial Viper from the original Battlestar Galactica, and several others.

I am a little fuzzy on what the air show actually consists of; several photos on the site show what appear to be fans inspecting the various props, but other photos show the ships flying. The actual descriptions of the ships also make it clear that they’re supposed to be fully functional; part of the history of the Orion Space Plane says, for instance:

For the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” director Stanley Kubrick (famously averse to flying) had a second-unit crew, led by assistant cinematographer John Alcott, shoot exterior scenes of the Orion in space in the last weeks of October 1967; the live-action segments that took place in the weightless interior followed immediately thereafter. The actors aboard could only perform for short periods in the weightless environment of space before getting violently sick. Kubrick directed the actors and Alcott via a closed-circuit TV link furnished by Bell Telephone.

I’m thus not sure if the ships are actually all the property of one collector who displays them in prop “air shows,” or if the site just pretends they are.

Either way, the site is well done, and it’s fun to read about incidents like the “infamous ‘Buckinghamshire crash'” which resulted when one of the Eagle’s stunt pilots overshot a target.

Posted in Conventions & Fandom, Space August 6th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. In what Ursula Le Guin novel are the inhabitants of the planet Winter able to become either Male or Female depending on the dominant sexual emotion at the time they enter “heat?”
  2. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, was based on what Arthur C. Clarke story?
  3. What football star was the other head in the 1972 Ray Milland film The Thing with Two Heads?
  4. What was the title of Philip K. Dick’s only children’s book?
  5. What biologist wrote My Friend Mr. Leakey, a book of stories combining magic and science fiction?
  6. What was Cruiser C-57-D?
  7. Who is Tweel?
  8. The original title for this movie, while in production, was “Outer Heat.” What was it changed to prior to the film’s release?
  9. What star does Pern orbit?
  10. Who led the group of Ham, Monk, Long Tom, Renny, and Johnny?

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Ephemera August 5th, 2010 by Chip
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Link Dump

Solar System Necklace – Neat necklace that represents the solar system, each bead being 20 million miles.

Geek Dad – Book of “awesomely geeky projects” for parents and kids to share; from the guy who does the GeekDad blog on

Two from the Star Wars shop:
Bow TIE Tuxedo Shirt
Slave Leia BBQ Apron

sergey-larenkov – Some neat photo blending: He takes vintage photos from WWII and mixes them into the same locations as they appear today.

Logan’s Run Pillow – Insanely complicated cross-stitch pillow.

The Star Thrower – Sweet cartoon that updates the old story about the kid throwing starfish back into the ocean.

Dr Who, Jesus and the Blurflurgh – The article itself sort of examines the Bible through the lens of Dr. Who; I just like the concept of a “Blurflurgh plot.”

Why Talk to a Computer? – Charlie Brooker’s Guardian column frequently makes me giggle.

Posted in Ephemera August 4th, 2010 by Chip
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