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Take a Crack at Earth

Impact Earth

Want to work out a little aggression? Purdue’s Impact: Earth! simulator will let you give the whole planet the celestial zot.

The program is actually a research tool, expanding on a basic tool that scientists already use to explore the results of a meteor strike. The simulator lets you define the diameter and density of your space object, the angle and velocity of impact, and where on the planet it will strike. You can also choose the distance from which you will be observing the impact.

This might also be a good way to build public awareness about the need to keep a lookout for anything large enough to cause real damage.

(via Discoblog)

Posted in Science November 17th, 2010 by Chip
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Link Dump

Boba Fett’s Invoice – I love this “artifact” from Star Wars.

Gaiman Secrets – PostSecret-style blog devoted to secrets about Neil Gaiman.

Wedding at ZomBcon – Oh, lawsey. Bruce Campbell was ordained as a minister and officiated at a wedding. Ted Raimi was scheduled to participate as well. This is pretty much made of awesome.

The Far Left Side – This just amused me.

AT-AT Couples Costume – This. Is. Brilliant.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – I love this.

Posted in Ephemera November 16th, 2010 by Chip
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He Has a Valid Point


(via Blame It on the Voices)

Posted in Humor November 15th, 2010 by Chip
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Seen Online

I bet rocket scientists are conceited bastards. “YOU CALL THIS A MARTINI? THIS ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE DAMMIT! I WOULD KNOW!”

Going to Tosche Station to pick up power converters, a container of blue milk, and a stick of butter.

My kid asked for a Pb and J, but this lead is like really hard to spread.

If I had a time machine, I would fuck nerdy girls in it.

I just found out Stephen Hawking is British. Weird, I never even noticed an accent.

The best thing about telepathy is…I know, right?

As Timmy hugged the robot, its mechanical heart warmed for the first time. Once it hit 1000°, Timmy was nothing but ash. But still. Sweet.

Posted in Humor November 12th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. John W. Campbell rejected Robert Heinlein’s novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Which editor, now recognized by the SFWA as a Grand Master author, did buy TMIAHM?
  2. Name the corporate boss who insists that Jonathan E must retire.
    A) Mr. Bartholomew
    B) Theora Jones
    C) Mr. Lorimar
    D) Ben Cheviot
    E) Mr. Lynch
  3. What is the name of the leader of Pierson’s Pupeteers?
  4. By what “civilian” name do we know The Thing, one of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four?
  5. Who was the villain in the 1979 flick Time After Time?
  6. This Robert L. Forward novel is about a race that evolves on the surface of a neutron star and which lives on a vastly compressed time scale, but nevertheless manages to make contact with human observers. Name it.
  7. In Frank Herbert’s Dune, the natives of the planet Arrakis are known as what?
  8. John Amalfi destroys the Vegan Orbital Fort with what?
  9. In Ringworld, a Falan is a measurement of time equal to 10 rotations. How long is that in days?
  10. This unusually-cast adventure film combines Doug McClure, Cyd Charisse, and John Ratzenberger in a story about the search for an underwater city.

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Ephemera November 11th, 2010 by Chip
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Science Tarot Cards

Tarot CardThis is kind of hurting my head a little. The Science Tarot is a set of standard tarot cards illustrated with various scientific concepts, the point being to combine “science, art and mythology into a tarot deck to engage and awaken people’s curiosity about science and the natural world.”

Although I’m all over the idea of awakening curiosity about science, I’m not sure that the best medium (har!) to do that is tarot cards. Divination does not exactly lend itself to scientific rigor, and I dislike anything which promotes the notion that science and mysticism can be good bedfellows.

On the other hand, I have to give mad props to the clever artwork. The suit of Cups is represented by beakers, Swords are scalpels, Pentacles are magnifying glasses, and Wands are bunsen burners. The major arcana are all famous scientists, and the deck attempts to match their work with the various cards’ “meanings” (the nurturing Empress, for instance, is represented by Mendel and his peas). The minor arcana illuminate various scientific ideas, and again an effort has been made to match them appropriately: The ambitious Seven of Swords is represented by the expansion of a red giant star, and the partner-oriented Three of Cups is illustrated by an orchid and its symbiotic fungus.*

In particular, the fact that the Wheel of Fortune is represented by Schrödinger’s Cat is utter genius.

This might be an interesting gift for a collector of unusual decks, or for a scientist with a sense of humor.

(via BoingBoing)

*I’m familiar with the various card meanings, I hasten to note, because I do a tarot-reading schtick at parties. (“Madame Gazpacho Zorka. Cheaper Than a Consultant, Same Results.”)

Posted in Science November 10th, 2010 by Chip
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And Then She Met Neil Gaiman

Jenny the Bloggess, who routinely makes me laugh so hard I shoot coffee out my nose (whether or not I’m actually drinking coffee at the time), is a fan of Neil Gaiman.

I should preface this post by saying that Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury have been my two living writing idols since I was a school girl and if you comment “Did you mean Neil Diamond?” I will find you and burn your house down.

When she heard that he was going to be at w00tstock near her home, she “convinced” her husband to let her attend. And because Neil Gaiman is awesome, she had a lovely fangirl moment with him and asked him an interview question.

You can read the entire story (complete with knitted monkey-hat pictures) here.

Posted in Books & Authors November 9th, 2010 by Chip
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I Heart George Takei So Much

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is what Takei is responding to.

Never has the word “douchebag” been used with so much artistry.

Posted in Ephemera November 8th, 2010 by Chip
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Watch This. Right Now.

(via Pharyngula)

Posted in Science November 5th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. Stanley Kubrick wanted to use music from which Pink Floyd album for his film A Clockwork Orange?
  2. What name for a 10th planet did authors Douglas Adams,
    Larry Niven, and Arthur C. Clarke coincidentally “agree” on?
  3. There are only four writers to have two books win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best science-fiction/fantasy novel. Who is NOT one of them?
    A) Orson Scott Card
    B) Andre Norton
    C) Arthur C. Clarke
    D) Joe Haldeman
    E) Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. The 1991 novel Fallen Angels was written as a tribute to science fiction fandom, and is a collaborative work by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and who?
  5. Due to numerous, precise, and prescient descriptions in Robert A. Heinlein’s writings, what modern invention was prevented from getting a patent?
  6. Who was Paul French?
  7. What is the Stainless Steel Rat’s real name?
  8. In The Last Starfighter, The Frontier defended the Star League against whom?
  9. John Lithgow plays Dr. Emilio Lizardo in this under-appreciated SF comedy…drama…thing starring Peter Weller. Name it.
  10. We never learn the Mule’s name, but he took this title during his reign.

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Ephemera November 4th, 2010 by Chip
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