September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
A collection of Virgin Galactic’s first batch of space tourists gathered in the Mojave Desert last week. The astronauts formed an eclectic group, from an 11-year-old Pakistani girl to a 59-year-old grandfather from Maryland. For most people, $250,000 to let Richard Branson launch you into space for a fifteen minute ride seems unreasonable, and it probably is; but that won’t stop me from buying a ticket as soon as I scrape enough change from underneath the couch pillows.
Why would I be so interested in going to space? Because Warren Ellis told me so, of course. Back in 2010, he ranted a bit harshly in Wired against the funding cuts to NASA’s manned space flight program:
Exploration has always been central to the human drive. Not because of population pressure, nor trade necessity, but because it’s in our essential nature to wonder what and where is next. We are unique in the biosphere as creatures of imagination. Robot missions do not thrill us because the empathetic engagement is on a level with watching a Roomba do a decent job of hoovering some carpet fluff. It is nowhere near the same as seeing and hearing one of us walking somewhere brand new and telling us about it in the knowledge (however misguided that might eventually prove) that more of us, the rest of us, will follow.
He does say a few disparaging words about “quickie space tourism,” but that’s only because he wants a manned mission to Mars yesterday. I do, too, but since I don’t want to commit myself to that (I’d rather commit someone else to it) I’ll settle for a shorter jaunt out of the atmosphere.
September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
Why didn’t anybody tell me that owning a jet-powered shark was a thing?
Sort of biomimetic, the Seabreacher X is a jet-powered shark that you can drive around.
Remind Santa that you’ve been good this year. The Seabreacher also comes in dolphin or killer whale.
September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
Okay, so it’s not brand new. It’s actually a week old, but for most of society, that still counts as new. For those of you who’ve already seen it, it’ll help tide you over until Marvel’s Agents of Shield premieres tonight.
(Natalie Portman’s character actually looks important in this one.)
September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Hulu has the Disinfo documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore! Here he is contrasting cinema and comics:
This film is by no means new, but I’m on an Alan Moore kick, mostly because I picked up Vertigo’s new trade paperback release of League of Extraordinary Gentlmen Omnibus. Every reader of comic books goes through at least one Alan Moore kick.
Click here to watch the entire film!
September 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
So you know how if you live in or near Philadelphia, you have to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? (Well, you do.) If you live in Westchester (or Rockland or Duchess) County, New York, you have to watch Sleepy Hollow!
The pilot was pretty good, but for people from the area of the real Sleepy Hollow, which is absolutely not spooky in any way, it’s the local sites dressed up to look scary that’s fun to see – like the Tappan Zee Bridge! Now, it’s not just a toll hike you have to be scared of! BWAA-HA-HA! (That’s my spooky laugh.)
September 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
(I discovered this on theconversation.com.) There’s a theory that’s been floating around since the early 1960’s that comet impacts on Earth could produce enough energy to create amino acids, one of the major building blocks for life as we know it. The process is called “shock synthesis,” and famous astrologer Carl Sagan tinkered with the idea. More recently, Mark Price and some other folks at the University of Kent created a different experiment that produced the same result:
“… we shocked ice mixtures analogous to those found in a comet with a steel projectile fired at high velocities in a light gas gun to test whether amino acids could be produced. We found that the hypervelocity impact shock of a typical comet ice mixture produced several amino acids after hydrolysis. These include equal amounts ofD- and L-alanine, and the non-protein amino acids α-aminoisobutyric acid and isovaline as well as their precursors. Our findings suggest a pathway for the synthetic production of the components of proteins within our Solar System, and thus a potential pathway towards life through icy impacts.”
In other words, shooting blocks of ice has proved that life came from outer space, yo.
September 16, 2013 § 2 Comments
For those of you who don’t know about firearms, this is a REALLY difficult shot. Especially from a standing position. With an aperture sight.
Boom. People who get their firearms education from primetime TV think that shooting is easy. Kirsten Joy Weiss makes it look like it is.
This video is reblogged from TTAG.
September 12, 2013 § Leave a comment
Maybe you don’t remember the space pirate with a super-high collar, a facial scar, and big hair, but Captain Harlock spent the second half of the 20th Century gallivanting through Leiji Matsumoto’s anime universe. What was so inventive about that universe was how, whatever the series, from Arcadia of My Youth through Galaxy Express, Captain Harlock’s celebrity helped define the setting.
And now, it looks like he’s back in the 21st Century in this computer animated feature! Here’s some promo footage below. Imdb reports that the feature, titles, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, came out in Japan on September 7th. There’s no info on a US release.