Friday, November 30, 2007

11-30-07 Couch Potato Corner

The Broadway stage hand strike is over. Let's hope the writers' strike ends soon too.

I'm actually glad I have shows piled up on the DVR that I haven't watched yet. They are my strike insurance. Most of the shows I watch have either already finished or only have 1-3 eps remaining. (There are some exceptions - see the grid from FutonCritic.) The only shows I watch that will start mid-season are Lost, Medium & Jericho (I'm not counting True Blood, the Sookie Stackhouse series on HBO, or New Amsterdam or Sarah Connor Chronicles for Fox, because I'm not sure I'll like them enough to watch beyond the pilots). It looks like I will have a lot of time to read or catch up on skipped shows & DVDs. I just think it is sad that NBC put out a press release about their upcoming shows, and I am only tempted by one (Medium). I am clearly not their target demographic since I hate "reality" shows.

DVRs for the weekend:
5pm Flash Gordon (they call this the season finale, but it is actually ep 15 of 22 filmed)
7pm Stargate Atlantis
8pm Blood Ties (final episode on TV - the last 2 will be online: 1 this week and 1 next week)
6pm Tin Man (pt 1 of 3 - SCIFI)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11-29-07 Couch Potato Corner

I never saw it announced anywhere, but apparently Blood Ties was canceled. According to Tanya Huff's livejournal, tomorrow's episode will be the last one on TV. The final 2 episodes will be available online only.

TV Guide announced its Online Video Awards. The winner of the Sci-fi webisodes category was Star Trek: New Voyages, beating Battlestar Galactica and The 4400. I've seen almost none of these, but I think it is interesting that the fan-produced one beat the studio-produced ones.

If you want to read "I, Malcolm" by Nathan Fillion, you have 2 choices. You can buy the book:, Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe, or you can read the online excerpt at USA Today.

DVR for tonight:
8pm My Name is Earl
930 Scrubs
10pm Big Shots

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11-28-07 mix

Korean researchers have developed a plastic fiber optic cable for use in the "last mile" to connect providers with users. While not as fast as glass, it is still much faster than copper, and can be easily bent and connected with other lines. It is also cheap (using glass is costing Verizon approx. $900 per customer to connect, and AT&T is still using copper from the node to the customer rather than pay).

A new skin patch has been developed that may replace injections for medication. It doesn't go deep enough to stimulate pain, it can deliver multiple types of medication in a single patch, and it controls the timing and quantity of doses with a microchip.

SFGate has an interesting article on the research about organic foods.

I've been looking at the list of 2007 books, trying to decide what to order next, and I will probably revise my earlier post in the next day or two, adding genre or description notes and changing the lineup. I may add some (either from ones I found on the NESFA recommendations list or new authors found in Locus while looking for book descriptions) and remove others that are late in a series I haven't read or I don't think will be Hugo-worthy.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Shrek the Halls (ABC) - A Shrek Christmas special
9pm Pushing Daisies & Bionic Woman (final episode produced)
10pm CSI:NY & Life

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

11-27-07 Couch Potato Corner

Billie Piper (Rose) will be returning to Doctor Who for 3 eps in season 4 (which premiers on the BBC in March). No word how they'll explain it or if any of the companions scheduled for the season overlap and meet each other.

NBC has picked up Chuck & Life for full seasons. What that means when nobody can write any more scripts is a mystery to me, but still good news.

Kyle XY will return for the 2nd half of its 2nd season on January 14th. It has 10 episodes to play.

Over at the scifanletter blog, they have made a space opera reading list. There are some good books there, although some I didn't really consider space opera, and lots of books are missing, butI still may have to check out a few of the ones I don't recognize.

The Universal Digital Library project has completed scanning 1.5 million works, and made them freely available (copyright permitting) today.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Bones
9pm House & Reaper

Monday, November 26, 2007

RIP Oliver

We'll miss you.

Oliver was a "feral" kitten living, although just barely, in our Mom's feral cat colony last year. We (my sister & I) were visiting our parents for Thanksgiving of 2006. Our father had just been diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer and it was far from an ideal hoilday. We went out to the barn with our mom to watch her feed the ferals and a scrawny, half starved, grey and white kitten came right up to greet us. He was covered in ringworm (or should I say, he was nearly bald), in the near freezing weather it was clear he was suffering from the cold. He had a URI, was just skin and bones but he happily let us pick him up and he purred instantly. We immediately named him Oliver, as he was clearly an orphan in need of a healthy bowl of supper and some loving care.

We took him home and told him he could stay with us until he was healthy enough to adopt out. We tried him on more than 12 antibiotics over the course of the past year with no luck in clearing up his URI. We had his sinuses flushed and tried all manner of homeopathic care we could find to treat him. Sadly, he never got healthy, but he did win our hearts. Oliver was a one of a kind kitty who loved to jump amazing distances. He grew tall and lanky, and we called him the "Vertical one" or Oli-Vert which eventually became Vert. He also went by "Snot face" or Vader for his raspy breathing. He loved to perch on the coffee maker (sometimes turning it on) with his shoulder blades sticking up like folded wings, which earned him the nickname "Coffee Gargoyle". He was a happy boy in spite of his chronic URI and we had hope that he would live many long years and perhaps one day grow out of it.

Sadly on Thanksgiving day it became clear that his URI had finally moved to his lungs. He passed from this world while held in my arms during our drive to our Mother's house for the holiday. He is greatly missed in our home.

RIP sweet Vert. We will love you always.

2007 Books for Hugo consideration

Thanks to Locus, I've put together a list of books for us to consider for reading before Hugo nominations. If you want to see the full list (to see what I left off or just have a reference that links to Amazon for each book so you can see what they are), go to:

If you don't yet have a membership to Worldcon next year, get one before the prices go up in January. This is also when they'll mail out the progress reports with the ballots for nominations. No date has been announced yet for a nomination deadline (but March is likely).

(I'm pretty sure the + symbol means that 2007 was the 1st US printing, not the first printing, so it may be an earlier book that is still eligible for a Hugo)

2007 Books I've read and liked:
• Briggs, Patricia • Blood Bound • (Ace, Feb)
• Bujold, Lois McMaster • The Sharing Knife: Legacy • (Eos, Jul)
• Butcher, Jim • White Night • (Roc, Apr)
• Harris, Charlaine • All Together Dead • (Ace, May)
• Kenyon, Sherrilyn • Devil May Cry • (St. Martin's, Aug)
• Kenyon, Sherrilyn • The Dream Hunter • (St. Martin's Paperbacks, Feb)
• Rowling, J. K. • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows • (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, Jul)

2007 Books I know we own, but I haven't read yet:
• Caine, Rachel • Thin Air • (Roc, Aug)
• Gilman, Laura Anne • Burning Bridges • (Luna, Jun)
• Jones, Diana Wynne • The Game • (Firebird, Mar)
• Lackey, Mercedes • Fortune's Fool • (Harlequin/Luna, Mar)
• McKinley, Robin • Dragonhaven • (Putnam, Sep)
• Novik, Naomi • Empire of Ivory • (Ballantine Del Rey, Oct)
• Sanderson, Brandon • The Well of Ascension • (Tor, Aug)
• Scalzi, John • The Last Colony • (Tor, May)
• Traviss, Karen • Ally • (Eos, Apr)

2007 Books by authors we've bought before or who've been recommended & have potential (I don't think we have these, but there are a few where I'm not sure):
• Armstrong, Kelley • No Humans Involved • (Bantam Spectra, May)
• Asaro, Catherine • The Fire Opal • (Luna, Jul)
• Baker, Kage • The Sons of Heaven • (Tor, Jul)
• Bear, Elizabeth • New Amsterdam • (Subterranean Press, May)
• Bear, Elizabeth • Undertow • (Bantam Spectra, Aug)
• Bear, Elizabeth • Whiskey and Water • (Roc, Jul)
• Berg, Carol • Flesh and Spirit • (Roc, May)
• Bear, Greg • Quantico • (Perseus/Vanguard, Mar)
• Bova, Ben • The Aftermath • (Tor, Aug)
• Britain, Kristen • The High King's Tomb • (DAW, Nov)
• Brooks, Terry • The Elves of Cintra • (Ballantine Del Rey, Sep)
• Bull, Emma • Territory • (Tor, Jul)
• Butcher, Jim • Captain's Fury • (Ace, Dec)
• Card, Orson Scott, & Aaron Johnston • Invasive Procedures • (Tor, Sep)
• Cherryh, C. J. • Deliverer • (DAW, Feb)
• Cook, Glen • Lord of the Silent Kingdom • (Tor, Feb)
+ Courtenay Grimwood, Jon • 9Tail Fox • (Night Shade Books, May)
+ Courtenay Grimwood, Jon • End of the World Blues • (Bantam Spectra, Oct)
• Crowley, John • Endless Things • (Small Beer Press, May)
• Czerneda, Julie E. • Reap the Wild Wind • (DAW, Sep)
• David, Peter • Darkness of the Light • (Tor, Jun)
• Davidson, MaryJanice • Undead and Uneasy • (Berkley, Jun)
• Douglas, Carol Nelson • Dancing with Werewolves • (Juno, Nov)
+ Feist, Raymond E. • Into a Dark Realm • (Eos, Apr)
• Feist, Raymond E., & Joel Rosenberg • Murder in LaMut: Legends of the Riftware, Book II • (Eos, Aug)
• Fforde, Jasper • First Among Sequels • (UK: Hodder & Stoughton, Jul)
• Foster, Alan Dean • Patrimony • (Ballantine Del Rey, Oct)
+ Gentle, Mary • Ilario: The Lion's Eye • (Eos, Jul)
+ Gentle, Mary • Ilario: The Stone Golem • (Eos, Sep)
• Gibson, William • Spook Country • (Putnam, Aug)
• Goonan, Kathleen Ann • In War Times • (Tor, May)
• Grossman, Austin • Soon I Will Be Invincible • (Pantheon, Jun)
• Haldeman, Joe • The Accidental Time Machine • (Ace, Aug)
• Hallaway, Tate • Dead Sexy • (Berkley, May)
• Harrison, Kim • For a Few Demons More • (Eos, Mar)
• Herbert, Brian, & Kevin J. Anderson • Sandworms of Dune • (Tor, Aug)
• Hobb, Robin • Renegade's Magic • (UK: HarperVoyager, Jul)
• Huff, Tanya • The Heart of Valor • (DAW, Jun)
• Kay, Guy Gavriel • Ysabel • (Canada: Penguin Canada, Jan)
• Kerr, Katharine • The Spirit Stone • (DAW, Jun)
• Lackey, Mercedes, & Roberta Gellis • By Slanderous Tongues • (Baen, Feb)
• Lackey, Mercedes, & James Mallory • The Phoenix Unchained • (Tor, Oct)
• Lackey, Mercedes • Reserved for the Cat • (DAW, Nov)
• Lee, Tanith • The Secret Books of Paradys • (Overlook Press, Dec)
• Lindskold, Jane • Wolf's Blood • (Tor, Mar)
• Lynch, Scott • Red Seas Under Red Skies • (UK: Gollancz, Jun)
• MacLeod, Ken • The Execution Channel • (UK: Orbit, Apr)
+ Marillier, Juliet • The Well of Shades • (Tor, May)
• McCaffrey, Anne, & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough • Acorna's Children: Third Watch • (Eos, Aug)
• McCaffrey, Anne, & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough • Maelstrom • (Ballantine Del Rey, Jan)
• McDevitt, Jack • Cauldron • (Ace, Nov)
+ Miller, Karen • The Innocent Mage • (Orbit, Sep)
• Modesitt, L. E., Jr. • The Elysium Commission • (Tor, Feb)
• Modesitt, L. E., Jr. • Natural Ordermage • (Tor, Sep)
• Moon, Elizabeth • Command Decision • (Ballantine Del Rey, Mar)
• Niven, Larry, & Edward M. Lerner • Fleet of Worlds • (Tor, Sep)
• Nye, Jody Lynn • An Unexpected Apprentice • (Tor, Jun)
• Pratchett, Terry • Making Money • (UK: Transworld/Doubleday UK, Oct)
• Roberson, Chris • Set the Seas on Fire • (UK: BL Publishing/Solaris, Aug)
+ Roberts, Adam • Gradisil • (Pyr, Mar)
• Roberts, Adam • Splinter • (BL Publishing/Solaris US, Sep)
• Robinson, Kim Stanley • Sixty Days and Counting • (Bantam Spectra, Mar)
+ Robson, Justina • Keeping It Real • (Pyr, Mar)
+ Robson, Justina • Selling Out • (Pyr, Oct)
• Rusch, Kristine Kathryn • Recovery Man • (Roc, Sep)
• Sawyer, Robert J. • Rollback • (Tor, Apr)
• Schroeder, Karl • Queen of Candesce • (Tor, Aug)
• Shetterly, Will • Gospel of the Knife • (Tor, Jul)
• Shinn, Sharon • Reader and Raelynx • (Ace, Nov)
• Simmons, Dan • The Terror • (Little Brown, Jan)
• Sinclair, Linnea • The Down Home Zombie Blues • (Bantam, Dec)
• Sinclair, Linnea • Games of Command • (Bantam Spectra, Mar)
• Slattery, Brian Francis • Spaceman Blues • (Tor, Aug)
• Smith, Sherwood • The Fox • (DAW, Aug)
• Steele, Allen • Spindrift • (Ace, Apr)
• Stross, Charles • Halting State • (Ace, Oct)
• Stross, Charles • The Merchants' War • (Tor, Oct)
• Tolkien, J. R. R. • The Children of H£rin • (UK: HarperCollins UK, Apr)
• Valente, Catherynne M. • The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice • (Bantam Spectra, Nov)
• Walton, Jo • Ha'Penny • (Tor, Oct)
• Watt-Evans, Lawrence • The Ninth Talisman: Volume Two of the Annals of the Chosen • (Tor, May)
• Weber, David • Off Armageddon Reef • (Tor, Jan)
• Williams, Liz • Precious Dragon • (Night Shade Books, Jun)
• Williams, Tad • Shadowplay • (DAW, Mar)
• Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn • Borne in Blood: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain • (Tor, Dec)
• Zahn, Timothy • The Third Lynx • (Tor, Nov)

2007 Young Adult books by authors we've bought before
• Bell, Hilari • Shield of Stars • (Simon & Schuster, Apr)
• de Lint, Charles • Little (Grrl) Lost • (Viking, Sep)
+ Dickinson, Peter • Angel Isle • (Random House/Lamb, Oct)
• Gaiman, Neil, & Michael Reaves • InterWorld • (Eos, Jul)
• Jacques, Brian • Eulalia! • (Philomel, Oct)
• Le Guin, Ursula K. • Powers • (Harcourt, Sep)
• Lee, Tanith • Indigara • (Penguin/Firebird, Oct)
+ Marillier, Juliet • Wildwood Dancing • (Knopf Books for Young Readers, Jan)
• Sanderson, Brandon • Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians • (Scholastic, Oct)

11-26-07 Science/Tech

A German heavy-freight ship launching next month will be using a football field sized kite to provide most of their power. It should reduce fuel consumption by 50% and greenhouse gas emissions by 10-20%. Kites have been used before for yachts, but this is the first cargo vessel to use one. The company that makes the kites aims to equip 1500 ships with kites over the next 8 years.

China's moon probe has started to send back pictures. There's an article here, but the pictures only seem to be available on Chinese-language sites for now.

2 Australian firms are going to be making algae (for biodiesel fuel, to burn for power generation, or use as fertilizer) from coal mine emissions. A similar program set up in Arizona had to suspend operations earlier this year because it was generating more algae than it could harvest. I hope they both can get operations going so we can reduce carbon dioxide while generating something useful.

The AMA has adopted new guidelines for talking to pregnant patients about cord blood donation. There will be a greater promotion for public cord blood banking. This should help a lot of people.

Researchers have made advances in transforming adult cells into embryonic stem cells, which allows them to use the patient's own cells to cure them of disease or make new non-rejecting tissues.

One last stem cell article: Stanford researchers are developing a treatment that may allow stem cells to treat immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. An injection of antibodies specifically takes out blood-forming cells, which can then be replaced by new blood-forming stem cells. This would eliminate the need (and the dangers) of using chemotherapy and radiation to completely destroy all the original stem cells before a transplant and make it safe enough to use for non-life-threatening diseases. So far, it has only been tested on mice, but this holds great promise.

A Georgia professor is working on curing disease in mosquitoes. Rather than just kill the mosquitoes to prevent them from passing on diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus, he is putting medicines in feeders to stop them from developing pathogens, so even if they bite they won't pass on the diseases. Is it wrong that I'd prefer they were just dead? I hate mosquitoes, disease carrying or not, but I guess this is better for the bats and the environment.

A new company has formed to produce what amounts to a nuclear battery. It is a closed system with no moving parts the size of a hot tub, enclosed in cement, and doesn't require operators. It would be trucked to a site, hooked up, buried underground, and could power 25,000 homes for at least 5 years. I want to know what happens after the 5 years.

11-26-07 Couch Potato Corner

Talks resume on the writers' strike today. Let's hope they can come to an agreement.

The Mercury News has an interesting article about how DVRs are becoming more PC-like. I've noticed the software updates on mine recently (although for the most part they've really annoyed me), but I haven't looked to see if there was USB support (he has a different model than I do, so I'm not sure the features are the same). I would love to get an external hard drive to increase my DVR capacity, even if it was locked to just the single box.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Chuck & How I Met Your Mother
9pm Heroes & 2.5 Men

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

11-21-07 Couch Potato Corner

The strike may end up killing the final 10 episodes of Battlestar Galactica. Because of the production halt, NBC is suspending the actors contracts (some say against SAG agreements, which will cause more problems). This may make it more difficult to get everyone back for the end, or it could be a way for NBC to cancel the show midway through the final season. If they don't film the ending, there will be a lot of pissed off people (including me). Let's hope this is an exaggeration.

Both sides have agreed to resume strike negotiations on Monday, November 26th. Please say they can come to an agreement.

DVRs for the holiday weekend:
Wed 11/21
8pm Pushing Daisies
9pm Private Practice
10pm CSI:NY

Thur 11/22
9pm CSI & Grey's Anatomy

Fri 11/23
6pm BSG Minisodes (check time)
8pm Blood Ties & Ghost Whisperer & Men in Trees
9pm Moonlight & Womens Murder Club
10pm Numbers

Sat 11/24
6pm BSG Razor (2 hrs + check time)

Sun 11/25
7pm Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (pt 1 - ION - check time)
9pm Hogfather (pt 2 - ION - check time)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

11-20-07 Science/Tech

Google has added another personalization to their maps. You can now move the marker location for your home to point to the door, not just a random place in the street nearby.

A new database at will identify the stars in an amateur photo.

Researchers have discovered that a compound in marijuana may block the progress of metastatic breast cancer. Imagine stopping cancer without radiation or chemotherapy.

CNet has an article/slideshow today about the 10 essential open source software alternatives. Some of these I use and like, some I've never heard of, but the list is good.

11-20-07 Couch Potato Corner

Season 2 of Torchwood starts on BBC America on January 26th. I'm impressed with the quick turnaround. (No BBC start date has been announced yet, but it will probably be only a week or 2 before the US date.)

Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys is available as a free audio download until Saturday. The CD we listened to with just Lenny Henry was amazing. This still has Lenny Henry, but has added 7 other people to round out the cast.

The 4-hour TV movie of Terry Pratchet's Discworld novel Hogfather made for the UK last year will air this week on ION TV. He will have a cameo as the toymaker.

I'm not sure if it is an indication of tastes differing or if I am out of touch, but someone just listed their 25 essential reads for 2007 and there are only 4 books I've even heard of on the list, and none that I've actually bought (although at least one is in my wish list). I may have to research what else he's recommended to see if these authors are ones I should check out.

DVR for tonight:
8pm Bones
9pm House (Reaper is a repeat of the 2nd ep)

Friday, November 16, 2007

11-16-07 Science/Tech news

Garrett Lisi has developed a new Theory of Everything that doesn't involve string theory. Instead it involves a mathematical pattern called E8.

Motion-to-energy batteries are being developed. Charge your cell phone or iPod while walking.

A dinosaur has been discovered that had a mouth like a vacuum cleaner with rows of teeth.

Mozilla is trying to rush Firefox 3.0 into release, but may not have time to fix all the development bugs first. I hope they pause and work a bit longer.

An inflatable habitat designed to be a base on the Moon or Mars has just been sent to the South Pole for a test run.

(I'm in search of a better title for this post. If anyone has any ideas, please comment.)

11-16-07 Couch Potato Corner

Today I'm going to try to have separate posts for tv/media stuff and science/tech stuff. We'll see how it goes. I usually post as I find things in no particular order. Let me know what you think of the change.

It appears NBC is using their "Create Your Own Hero" contest to replace Heroes: Origins. (So much for the hope it was just being delayed.) I'm sure it is cheaper for them, but I'd rather have the writers creating characters that get voted on, not the audience picking attributes they want with nobody making them come to life.

I don't watch his show, but I respect David Letterman for continuing to pay non-writing staff that are out of work for the foreseeable future because of the strike.

TLC is going to revamp Trading Spaces again and bring back Paige. (What they really need to do is bring back the good designers, but it might get me to give it another try.)

DVRs for tonight:
5pm Flash Gordon
7pm Stargate Atlantis
8pm Men in Trees & Blood Ties & Ghost Whisperer
9pm Moonlight & Womens Murder Club
10pm Numb3rs

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The next project for James Marsters will be the villain in the movie Dragonball, based on the Japanese manga series.

Comet Holmes has now reached the size of the sun (actual size, not size as it appears to us). The article at Space has pictures and a sky map of where to look to see it.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm My Name is Earl
9pm CSI & Grey's Anatomy & Supernatural (haven't seen any of this season yet: DVD?)
930 Scrubs
10pm Womens Murder Club

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This is not a good month for the environment. As we are slowly recovering the bay from the 58,000 gallon oil spill last week, there was a 560,000 gallon oil spill in Russia. 11 ships (including a tanker) sank in a storm on Monday in the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. 30,000 birds have been covered in oil, and who knows how many fish and other animals since the oil sank into the sea bed. When will ship captains recognize unsafe conditions and just stay in port?

A picture of Zachary Quinto as Spock has leaked. He really looks the part.

Researchers have created a very efficient microbial electrolysis cell. Basically, you take cellulose or vinegar or some sort of plant waste, add common wastewater bacteria and a small jolt of electricity, and all of the hydrogen in the original material becomes hydrogen gas that can be used as fuel.

Subterranean Press has put John Scalzi's novelette The Sagan Diary (which comes between The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony) online for free in both text and audio versions.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Pushing Daisies
9pm Bionic Woman & Private Practice
10pm Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The UPS in Petaluma will be making its holiday deliveries with electric trucks from Zap.

Al Gore has become a Bay Area venture capitalist. He has joined Kleiner Perkins in financing global warming solutions. They will be funding green technology startups, and Gore will be advising on which companies and technologies are the most promising. He sees California as a model for green tech for the rest of the country to follow.

Too bad the strike is keeping the Colbert Report in repeats, I'd love to see his response to the Virginia election. He was a write-in candidate for a seat on the Soil and Water Conservation Board (but he isn't eligible to take the seat because he isn't a registered voter in that district).

Alexis Bledel (Rory Gilmore) is coming back to TV. She has been cast in a Fox Atomic comedy called "Ticket to Ride" about a woman who moves back home to her wacky family after college while she tries to figure out what to do next.

Pine trees are being cloned for forestry to provide disease resistant, uniform trees. This makes me nervous.

FutonCritic has a much more complete grid of the strike impact on scripted shows (# ordered, # shot, final date scheduled to air so far, # remaining).

I'm glad I don't count on CBS for my news: they are facing a strike too. The strike authorization vote will be held at the end of this week.

The FCC wants to regulate cable. They think that viewership has reached the level where the 1984 deregulation no longer applies. There is now an argument over whose statistics are correct (FCC says 70%, cable says 58%). If the FCC has their way, expect to see them push for a la carte programming, less "offensive" programming, and more control over pricing (to consumers and programmers). While I wouldn't mind lower costs and more choices over channel selection, I want them to stay away from content. I found this at both Yahoo and The Washington Post.

Next month, Buckaroo Bonzai will return as a 2-part prequel comic written by the original screenwriters.

Speaking of comics, ever wanted to read the original Spider-Man, X-Men or Fantastic 4 without tracking down and paying collectors prices for the comics? Marvel is putting them online for viewing (if you pay a monthly fee).

The Japanese moon probe has captured a great new Earth-rise photo in hi-def.

There are rumors (and massive spoilers) all over the place about the new Star Trek movie. Based on the rumors, Harlan Ellison is pissed that they are stealing his material without asking. If that isn't enough of a spoiler, you can find plot spoilers here and details of the reaction here.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Bones
9pm House & Reaper

Monday, November 12, 2007


NASA scientists are using Stirling cooler technology from the 1800s to design a refrigeration system to keep a probe active on the surface of Venus, where temperatures reach 450C. (Previous probes have lasted less than 2 hours before melting.)

A new antenna has been developed that is made from plasma (the heated gas, not the liquid in blood). It is impervious to jamming and undetectable when turned off. The model shown looks like a curved neon bulb.

A new online book cataloging program has been developed. It is called BookBump, and I'm going to keep an eye on it to see if I want to use it instead of LibraryThing to track my "recently read" books here since Librarything limits the books you can list for free and BookBump has no limits. I'll stick with BookCat for my main library. There's a review on SF Signal today.

The Scrubs finale may never air on TV. There were 18 episodes ordered for this final season. Of those, 11 were written and 10 have been filmed (3 have aired so far), so the final episodes aren't written (although the showrunner knows how he wants it to end. They were given the option of writing an alternate ending and declined. The showrunner believes they'll be able to produce it for the dvd if nothing else.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Chuck & How I Met Your Mother
830 Big Bang Theory
9pm Heroes & 2.5 Men

Friday, November 9, 2007


Producers from Pushing Daisies and Men in Trees have both said that their final produced episodes can act as season finales if necessary. Pushing Daisies considered it in the writing, and Men in Trees has an alternate ending.

This page has a more detailed chart of how many episodes each show has remaining before we run out until the strike is over. (He lists Heroes as making 12 eps, and I've heard 11 may be the last, so that one confuses me. I hope he's right.) The shortest is Bionic Woman with 3 remaining episodes. The longest is Men in Trees with 14 left.

Comet Holmes has grown to the point where you can see it without even binoculars, let alone a telescope. Look in Perseus (below Cassiopeia and east of Polaris).

Ships with solar sails coming to SF (probably as ferrys) in 2009. Large solar panels will act as sails so the boat can be powered by wind or solar (it also has diesel as a backup).

The Tech Museum of Innovation gave out awards this week for breakthrough devices for helping the environment and emerging nations. Today CNet has a slideshow of the winners (the solar sail ship above is #6).

There are 12 movies that will be in the running for 3 nominations for the Best Animated Film Oscar: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Bee Movie, Beowulf, Meet the Robinsons, Persepolis, Ratatouille, Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie, Surf's Up, Tekkonkinkreet and TMNT. Of these, I've seen one and plan to see another 3-4.

DVRs for tonight:
5pm Flash Gordon (note new time!)
7pm Atlantis
8pm Blood Ties & Ghost Whisperer & Men in Trees
9pm Moonlight & Women's Murder Club
10pm Numb3rs

Thursday, November 8, 2007


BBC America has scheduled 2nd season of Life on Mars to start December 11th.

Japan's orbiting Moon probe has sent back HDTV video and it has been posted as an online movie here.

China's Moon probe has just reached orbit.

A European probe studying Mars has found that an odd terrain near the equator (invisible to standard radar scans) is 1.5 miles deep. It is most likely ash or dust (although ice is remotely possible), but they still don't know why it hasn't compacted as expected.

Brad Bird (writer-director of Iron Giant, Incredibles & Ratatouille) is working on a live-action film called 1906 (rumored to be about the SF quake).

DVRs for tonight:
8pm My Name is Earl
9pm CSI & Grey's Anatomy & Supernatural
930 Scrubs
10pm Big Shots & Without a Trace (crossover with CSI)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


FOX is completely shuffling their lineup. Bones and House are moving, and they've set dates for their midseason shows. (You're out of luck if you like 24: they're holding it until after the strike when all episodes are complete.) Everything is subject to change of course.

Didn't think to check Google Maps before a trip and pull into a gas station for directions? Soon you'll be able to check Google right from the pump! New pumps available across the US starting next month will have directions for popular local destinations and an option to print.

Initial signs show that the strike might be successful. More producer-writers and actor-writers are joining the picket lines than the studios expected. The other unions are being more supportive of the writers than was anticipated. Lets hope this means a swift end, not a continuation until spring when the actors and directors contracts end too.

The LA Times has made a grid which lists how the strike will affect individual shows. Included in the article that led me to this but not the grid: Chuck will be able to complete its 13 episode order, and Heroes may stop at episode 11.

Redwood City has a new Southeast Asian restaurant. Sounds good. We should try it.

DVRs for tonight:
9pm Bionic Woman
10pm CSI:NY & Life

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Time Magazine has an article on Best Inventions of the Year. The iPhone was their best overall, but there are lots of other interesting items on the list.

Scientists have found a solar system with at least 5 planets in it (the 5th was just confirmed). The newest planet identified is in the habitable zone, but is made of gas. They are optimistic there is another rocky planet yet to be discovered that might have liquid water.

NASA has built a full-sized mock-up of the Orion spacecraft (for manned landings on the Moon or Mars). There are pictures at CNet.

There are lots of articles about Android today (Google's planned operating system for cell phones that will make them function more like computers). Chronicle and CNet.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Bones
9pm House & Reaper

Monday, November 5, 2007


It's official: the Writers are on strike. For scripted series, there are probably enough already filmed to last us a month or two, but expect repeats immediately for Daily Show and Colbert Report.

Astronauts successfully fixed the torn solar wing on the space station.

Ultra-capacitors are getting better at storing power and may start replacing batteries as well as working with them for better efficiency in recharging.

DARPA's robot race of cars without drivers going 10 miles through an urban setting is complete. Stanford's team came in 2nd (Carnegie Mellon was 1st).

Enrico Colantoni from Veronica Mars will be guest starring on Numb3rs in December (already in production so not affected by the strike).

The BBC is playing a 3-part Visions of the Future documentary this week. It sounds fascinating, but no word when we'll get to see it in the US.

There are plans for stackable electric cars (like airport luggage carts) to be available for rent for city driving where mass transit doesn't go. There are some MIT concept pictures and an article about them at CNet today.

Google has unveiled their response to the iPhone.

Several companies have plans to use the ocean to reduce carbon dioxide. New efforts are underway to create a code of ethics that will require permits and environmental impact studies prior to implementation.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Chuck & How I Met Your Mother
830 Big Bang Theory
9pm Heroes & 2.5 Men

Friday, November 2, 2007


Strike fallout has begun: They are filming an alternate ending for the Heroes episode scheduled to air on December 3rd in case it ends up being the season finale.

Researchers have found a way to make the catalysts for fuel cell batteries more efficient and cheaper - a critical step towards electric cars.

The meteor may not have been what killed the dinosaurs. New research is causing questions about the dating, and evidence is that volcanic gas may have played a role.

Mozilla and Microsoft are arguing about the future of Javascript. Be prepared for pages working differently in the 2 browsers.

A new magnet design could radically change nanoscience and semiconductor research.

JK Rowling has written a new book, but you can't buy it. She has made 7 handwritten copies of the fairy tale book mentioned in Deathly Hallows. One will be auctioned for charity, and she is giving the others away.

DVRs for tonight:
6pm Flash Gordon - some day I'm going to have to watch this
7pm Stargate Atlantis
8pm Blood Ties, Ghost Whisperer & Men in Trees
9pm Moonlight & Womens Murder Club
10pm Numb3rs

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Electricity drawn from common bacteria in dirt. Sounds interesting.

The University of Ghent has come up with electric wires that stretch. This could allow for greater flexibility in electronic devices.

CNet has an article on the interconnectedness between Google and Firefox (conflict of interest?).

They are actually making a 2nd X-Files movie. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Chris Carter will all be involved and it will be released in July 2008.

Eliza Dushku has brought Joss Whedon back to Fox TV. They have signed on to make Dollhouse, a show about agents programmed with personalities for their missions. Dushku's character is starting to become self aware. They have ordered 7 episodes for the fall, but plan to start filming them in the spring (before the actors strike, assuming the writers don't strike first and leave them short of scripts). There's more info here, including an interview and a note that Tim Minear will be involved. (Hopefully that won't be a death sign for it.)

Heroes: Origins has been shelved. Concerned over a writers strike and the slight dip in ratings, NBC isn't going to make the show this season. They may bring it back next season, but this sounds like proof that NBC isn't going to air anything I want to see if there's a strike.

Womens Murder Club got an order for another 3 scripts. They left that order a little late.

Geek pumpkin competition. And a great gallery of pumpkins.

DVRs for tonight:
8pm My Name is Earl
9pm CSI & Grey's Anatomy & Supernatural (as a download or wait for dvd)
930 Scrubs (either this or Grey's will need to be a download)
10pm Big Shots