Monday, June 30, 2014

What Drives Me Nuts About Comics... my seeming inability to go from point "A" to point "B".

I was looking at what is the current run of Guardians of the Galaxy in order to prepare for the next episode of The Three Hoarsemen. Collection 01, purchased. Collection 02, purchased. Some side stories, purchased. Current issues? Collected? Yes and no. And what's the X-Men doing in there? Do I need to buy the one's that come before the crossovers? The one's after?

And some of the more classic one's seem to have the same issue. One collection had 1-2 "pure" Guardians but then all specials with Dr. Strange, Thor, Iron Man, who know's who else.

I need a phone app just to trace all the branches. This is crazier than trying to keep all the bits of Terry Pratchett's Discworld straight.


Odd Fellow

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us an odd-looking elliptical galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus. Centaurus A was probably reshaped during the collision of two galaxies, taking away it's more familiar spiral shape.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ocean Meeting

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a peaceful view of sunrise over the ocean off of New Jersey. A waning crescent Moon and a crescent Venus (well, it would be a crescent through a telescope!) as well as a few waning stars (look closely) add to the scene.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful shot of NGC 7023 in the constellation of Cepheus. Popularly known as the Iris Nebula, it is a wonderful study of rich star fields and nebular clouds.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Space Lasers!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows ground-based laser defense systems in action. What? What's that? Oh, never mind. Just some astronomical lasers checking the quality of "seeing".

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brother, Can You Spare Me $750.00?

An ultra-deluxe-fanboi book on The Making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. And I'm not even asking for money for the most expensive version?

Oh, come on. Surely one of you can check the cushions of your easy chair and loan me the money?

InterWorld Cup

Like Elvis, the World Cup is everywhere.

"...listen: there's a hell of a universe next door, let's go..."

Tycho's central peak. Climb every mountain.

(More information here.)

Polar Lights

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us the southern pole of Saturn and the dancing auroral lights that last for days.

Different Lights

Images of a newly-emergent solar flare in different frequencies of light.

Cellular Mass

Here's a perspective on a storm cell that you usually don't get.


Made in 1999, here's a film about the art of M.C. Escher. I had several Escher prints on the walls of the college dorm (and still have one on the walls of the house).

Icy Orbitals

A nifty animation showing the journey of the ISEE-3 probe's orbital journey from 1978-1983. The repurposed probe (it was the USA's first cometary explorer after it was found how it could be redirected) is on the way back and is currently under the control of a crowd-funded group of "space pirates".

Addendum: This old teaching aid is interesting from two perspectives. From a personal perspective, Stephen P. Maran is an uncle of mine. From a historical perspective, read the final article.

Writing Process

How do you start writing. One author, Haruki Murakami, tells his tale.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day has star trails above and vehicle headlight trails below. And lots of windows. Oy, light pollution.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"You Put In Other Details"

Dennis Cox wrote "to a top scientist" about his rocket design. It took a while for a reply to return to him.

Big Eclectic Cat

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us NGC 6334 in the constellation of Scorpius. Well-placed for summer viewing (and if you're under even semi-good skies, the region of Scorpius and Sagittarius and the area around these constellations are a wonder to explore with even low-powered binoculars), this is more popularly known as the Cat's Paw Nebula.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is actually a short film of V838 Mon (in Monoceros). What caused the flash of light that we are still seeing echoes of?

Addendum: Pink Floyd's Echoes synchronized with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Go crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, APOD!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the location of nineteen years of Astronomy Pictures of the Day! I can't claim to have been a visitor since day one, but I know I started visiting pretty early on in APOD's run. Here's to another nineteen!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Secret Courtyard

I've been re-listening to "classic" episodes of the excellent H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (which has moved from covering only the stories of H.P. Lovecraft into a lot of classic weird fiction) and got to the coverage tonight of the minor story He. That sparked a memory and I tracked down an excellent bit of deduction by Scouting New York (another excellent site). Take a journey into Greenwich Village and the setting that inspired one of Lovecraft's tales.

More Questions Than Answers

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an all-sky map from the COBE satellite showing the cosmic microwave background radiation. The picture has been shifted to show relative speeds. So...Why are we moving so fast? What is out there?

To the Stars!

A fascinating look at the non-fictional appearance of a generation ship in the pages of a magazine helmed by Hugo Gernsback.

Hot Coffee in Bed

Soon you'll be able to get an espresso on the International Space Station.

Captain Scarlet

Actor Francis Matthews, the voice of Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet has passed away. Oh, what a wonderful show (for a fan of special effects) that was!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Window View

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a (highly processed and "stacked") view of the Milky Way from out of the window of an airplane.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Strawberries with Honey

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Strawberry Moon rising over Japan. In other regions, this full Moon is known as the Honey Moon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Energetic Spirals

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us two views of Messier 51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. "Mouse over" to alternate between visible and x-ray wavelengths.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pocket Guide

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a handy guide for identifying objects seen in the sky. Are any astronauts waving at you? (If you can see the astronauts waving at you, perhaps you should DUCK?)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Open Cluster

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows open cluster NGC 290 in the constellation of Crux. "Open cluster" sounds dull compared to, say, a globular cluster. Wait until you click through...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Across the Universe

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a study in perspective as Comet PanSTARRS C/2012 K1 seems to be passing near NGC 3319 in the constellation of Ursa Major.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ultra Deep

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is the latest in a theme that helped to put the Hubble Space Telescope "on the map" (at least for the public): The Ultra Deep Field 2014.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ansible! (Posted Late Edition)

No, Dave Langford did not post Ansible late. I did! For shame, for shame. Take a look for all the latest news (as well as a whole lot of links). Oh, and look: eBook editions of the Algis Budrys review collections that Dave Langford brought into print (excellent stuff, buy and support future Ansibles!).

ADAM ROBERTS delivered the second annual Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College, Oxford, on 2 May. His strategy: "I shall lecture with my serious professor hat on for 45 minutes; and switch to a jester's coxcomb for the last quarter hour ..." ("Excellent talk"—John Clute.)

Capture the Dragon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a Dragon-1 cargo capsule being docked at the International Space Station.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cat's Eye

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 6532, the Cat's Eye Nebula (in the constellation of Draco. In this image, the familiar nebula is surrounded by expanding shells of gas thrown off by the central star.

Jay Lake (1964—2014)

Over three hundred books. Many anthologies and novels. And a large hole in the lives of his daughter, family and friends.

I knew it was inevitable, but it has still hit me hard. I never had the pleasure of meeting Jay, I hoped we might be able to during his treatment on the east coast, but it did not come to pass. We only exchanged an occasional e-mail or tweet, but I aimed most of our non-deductible giving in 2012 and 2013 towards a fund drive to help him and to help science find a cure for cancer. I lost my father-in-law to cancer; with the Parkinson's that took my father a long-term debilitating disease not only takes a life but drains the family of the person (financially and mentally).

Jay will live on in books and memories. But there will be no more books and stories. For that, and the loss of the soul, I am very sad.

Addendum: John Scalzi's note. SF Signal's notice. SFWA's official notice. Howard Tayler's note. An image of the optimistic Jay, courtesy of Saladin Ahmed. Notice at Tor Books. Greg van Eekhout's note. Obituary at io9. Kevin J. Anderson's note. An online collection of fiction by Jay Lake. Boing Boing's notice. A note by C.E. Murphy. Obituary at Locus (replaces previous brief note). Gail Carriger's thoughts. Jay Lake's genome in fabric (Part 01, Part 02, Part 03). Obituary from The Oregonian. Official obituary. Jay Lake and the Last Temple of the Monkey King, a fictional tribute by Ken Scholes with illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook. Simon Owens on blogging one own's death.

Image from Lakeside.


A review of the recently-published (but long existing) translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien