Saturday, July 30, 2016

Meanwhile, In the Solar System

Hey, it's August. What's up for robotic explorers this month?

Clarke's Craft

With the publication of the Alastair Reynolds–Stephen Baxter collaboration of The Medusa Chronicles, itself an expansion of a story by Arthur C. Clarke, co-author Baxter looks at the spacecraft of Arthur C. Clarke.

As a side note, David S.F. Portree has recently done a multi-part article on the craft of 2001 which is worth a look: Could the Space Voyages in the Film and Novel 2001: A Space Odyssey Really Happen? Part 01 here. Part 02 here. Part 03 here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

COINing Games

A profile of CIA analyst and game designer Volko Ruhnke, who has been sparking something of a revival (at least from my limited perspective) in gaming that combines history, politics, warfare and more.

The US military (especially the Army) has the unfortunate habit of forgetting lessons learned, figuring whatever happened won't happen again. I think games like these (plus books, movies and more) help to preserve those lessons. If distributed widely enough, maybe we'll start learning not to forget?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bruce Pennington and Gene Wolfe

An interview with Bruce Pennington, who, next to Don Maitz, has done the most to create the iconic "look" of Gene Wolfe's world of the New Sun.

The Eagle Has Landed

We went to the Moon nearly fifty years ago. We haven't been back, other than by our surrogates, but it is clear that the journey inspired and continues to inspire. On the anniversary: explore the landing of Apollo 11 "interactively" and explore the Apollo 11 command module.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


The collision between cars and the outdoors with the start of camping "for fun". For a good view of this, see Leslie Peltier's Starlight Nights (available for free in an earlier edition, here).

Beyond the Infinite

A semi-random accumulation of links about my favorite movie!

A Look Beyond the Future (Look Magazine looks at 2001).

Cinephilia looks at 2001. The same site has Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 "diary".

28 behind-the-scenes pictures from the movie. A even bigger archive of images on Flickr.

Supposedly a collection only of the artwork of Brian Sanders, but there are Robert McCall (and other artists works) mixed in.

Online friend David S. F. Portree looks at the reality of 2001's vehicles (Part 01).

Holy heck, where are my lottery winnings? Simon Atkinson's limited edition prints of vehicles.

If this volume is as good as the first volume, it is a required buy.

Creative Review on Harry Lange and a new book covering his design work.

Typeset in the Future on 2001 (one of many excellent posts on the site about films).

The archives of Arthur C. Clarke are available to the public (details on how to apply for use).


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a "close" encounter between the Moon and Jupiter (with four moons visible).

Friday, July 8, 2016


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows, in visible light, the chaos swirling around something we first discovered in radio light: the swirling chaos around the pulsar located in the Crab Nebula.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cosmic Interaction at a Distance

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Arp 286 in the constellation of Virgo. Part of Halton Arp's Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies, we see a good example of how galaxies interact with each other on a vast (to mere humans) scale.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Clouds and Globulars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the rich star and nebula fields of Rho Ophiuchi. Embedded here is a much more distant object, the globular cluster Messier 4. Are the Humanoids lurking in those clouds?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Stars Above (and Below)

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows stars above, and the arch of the Milky Way, and stars below (fireflies in the summer night).

It Ain't Easy

Watch this video if you still think big complex machines always run perfectly.

July's Solar System

What's up in solar system exploration for July?


What will happen to the International Space Station when it reaches the end of use? Russia plans to spinoff portions into a new station (caution: similar plans were made for Mir, but scuttled due to lack of funding).


SF (and NF) author David Brin takes a deep look at webcomics (Part 01, Part 02, Part 03). I read several of these titles on a regular basis (and am way behind on several more).

Friday, July 1, 2016

On Approach

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a snapshot from Juno as it approaches Jupiter.

Off the List

According to the Near Earth Object Program, a few potential BFR's are off the list of objects that would cause us a very bad day.

Shockwave Rider

Alvin Toffler has passed away. The man who introduced us to the concept of future shock. That book was one of those moments when you read something and your whole perspective changes.

It has been argued in some quarters, by the way, the future shock does not exist. I disagree: I think we're all suffering from future shock PTSD at this point.

(Addendum: The New York Times Science/Technology section on carrying on with Toffler's work. The SF Encyclopedia entry on Alvin Toffler.)

(My very worn copy had a green cover, as below. Man, that book went through a lot of printings and updatings!)