Friday, February 29, 2008


Time Warner is absorbing New Line.

Neil Gaiman's American Gods has been put up as a free ebook for one month. If people read the book, then maybe they'll put up more.

Michael Moorcock has been named the newest Grand Master by SFWA (to be officially presented in April).

Chris Carter hints about the story ideas for the next X-Files film at SciFi Wire.

io9 has posted 20 SF Novels that will Change Your Life. (This is not the best novels, just the ones that they think can change your perspective on the world.) I've only read a couple, but many of these are on my TBR list, and I may add a few now.

A blog at Time Magazine has rules for library management that I think can only be followed by people who don't read much.

NBC and ABC are arguing over Scrubs, and we may get another season. Details at Zap2It and TV Guide.

DVR for tonight:
Stargate Atlantis

Thursday, February 28, 2008


This month a boat propelled only by waves will start on a journey from Hawaii to Japan, which will be a world record if successful. There are a few solar panels to power running lights and radio, but no sail or motor.

The EU is going to start treating net censorship as a trade barrier.

Google is setting up tools for building web sites.

CBS picked up the pilot of Mythological X, which is about a woman who goes searching for the man she is destined to marry after a psychic tells her she has already dated him. It is based on an Israeli series, and will be adapted by Veronica Mars alum Diane Ruggiero. More details here.

The Star Trek: Phase II webisode "World Enough and Time" (written by Michael Reaves and Marc Zicree and starring George Takei) got a Nebula nomination for screenplay and is being pushed for a Hugo nomination. Michael Reaves is undergoing surgery for Parkinson's disease so severe he can't type or speak, so a nomination would be a great emotional booster for his recovery (according to the letter in Neil Gaiman's blog today). Watch the episode here.

A 10-year-old girl from Montana has won the planetary mnemonic contest. The 11 planets (including the 3 newly designated dwarf planets) will be taught by "My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants".

Javascript performance tests show that Firefox 3 will be much faster. Now if it was just ready for release already. has new maps of the moon.

An Eskimo village in Alaska is suing oil companies over global warming. They are going to have to relocate their community.

DVR for tonight:
9pm Lost

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Nebula nominee list at SF Signal has been updated with more links to online free versions. Almost all of the short works are now available.

The Planetary Society has announced winners for their contest to design a mission to "tag" a potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroid.

Any good at reading aloud? SFFaudio has a contest going: if you make an audiobook from one of the listed public domain titles, you can get a free professional audiobook. Details at SFFaudio.

DVR for tonight:
10pm Men in Trees (it is finally back!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Despite all his comments that the series was over, Matt Damon has agreed to make a 4th Bourne movie (although probably not for a couple years). Let's hope that they can come up with a good plot that doesn't destroy the resolution of the 3rd film.

The ENDURANCE robot probe is scheduled to explore the water under the ice of Antarctica in the next few weeks. If successful, it will eventually explore the underwater environment of Jupiter's moon, Europa.

DVR for tonight:
10pm Jericho

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Researchers have found a way to make clothes clean themselves. They coat the material in a thin, invisible layer of microparticles, which causes any stains to oxidize and disappear when exposed to water vapor and sunlight.

J. Michael Straczynski was at Wondercon on Saturday and discussed several current and future projects. Check out the report at CBR.

Apparently Women's Murder Club managed to find a new showrunner and will be back for 3 new episodes this spring. Still no word if it will be renewed, but this is an unexpected step in the right direction.

DVR for tonight:
5pm Kyle XY
9pm Sarah Connor Chronicles
10pm Medium
I am also considering A Raisin in the Sun (8pm on ABC).

Friday, February 22, 2008


The Nebula Awards finalists have been announced. This SF Signal post links to several of the online stories or reviews. For the 2007 short works, I'm going to try to read them this weekend to see if they should be included in my Hugo nomination ballot. It is sad that I am making an effort to read books that I might want to nominate, and I've still only read 1 of the novels (the McDevitt, which I liked but considered one of the weaker entries to that series).

John Scalzi has started a last minute Hugo Nomination Recommendation thread. It is a good place to look for recommendations and links to other sites also discussing good stories from 2007. Remember: online nominations are due by March 1st, so there isn't much time left.

Also from John Scalzi: he is giving away 2 copies of an autographed, pre-publication novella to people who donate to a charity drive for libraries and then tell him what books they donated.

Rufus Sewell (Cold Comfort Farm, Dark City, The Holiday, etc.) will play Patrick Stewart's character in the US remake of Eleventh Hour, which is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for CBS. is going to be offering free, full length episodes of classic TV shows online. Their initial lineup (more to be announced later) includes Star Trek: TOS, The Twilight Zone, and MacGyver.

An air-powered car could be available in the US for less than $18,000 in 2 years. With one tank of compressed air and one 8 gallon tank of either gas, ethanol, or biofuel, it could get up to 96mph and travel 800-1000 miles.

Moonlight has lost another show runner. They are not expected to replace him for the final 4 episodes, but will if the show is renewed.

There's a worrisome article at ZDNet about IP addresses. Even with careful management, IPv4 will likely run out of addresses within the next 2-4 years. IPv6, which was supposed to solve this problem, will likely only make it more complicated.

DVR for tonight:
Stargate Atlantis

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Concurring Opinions has interviewed Ron Moore and David Eick, creators of the current Battlestar Galactica, about the issues they bring up in the show. So if you want to hear them answer questions about the legal, moral, political, and religious allegories in the show, check it out.

Looking for a new way to store books? Check out the bookshelf staircase.

The Saturn Award nominations have been announced (SF, Fantasy & Horror in film & TV).

SyFy Portal takes a look at the new genre shows that are planned for the next year. Dollhouse, Sanctuary, and True Blood show promise, Wizards First Rule really depends how they handle the adaptation from the books, and the rest will probably die quickly (or I won't care much if they don't).

The win by Blu-Ray in the HD war had Star Trek as a casualty. Toshiba was paying for the remastering of the original series, and just announced they are canceling the season 2 release. Paramount has now announced a switch to Blu-Ray, but they didn't mention how this will affect specific releases. Hopefully soon we'll find out if all 3 seasons will be released in Blu-Ray format, or if season 1 on an obsolete format is all that will exist for a while.

DVRs for tonight:
9pm Lost & Supernatural

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


French scientists have developed a rubber that heals itself. If you cut it, push the pieces back together and leave them for one hour, it reforms its bonds and meshes back together. It can even be stretched (they have a video).

ABC has finally announced their spring schedule. Most of it is exactly what we expected (new episodes are being filmed for Lost and Grey's Anatomy, but we have to wait for fall for Pushing Daisies or Private Practice). Men in Trees will be back next week.

A Greener Gadgets Award has been given to a lamp powered by gravity. You move a weight to the top, and it slowly drops down, powering LED lights equivalent to a 40watt bulb. The weight takes 4 hours to drop, the lamp should last 200 years if used for 8 hours every day, and the light color will slowly change over time. Other winners and notable entries can be found here.

NBC is swapping timeslots for How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory effective on March 17th. I hope they like this better and renew HIMYM.

Technology Review has released their list of 10 Emerging Technologies for 2008 they believe will be most important in the future.

The HD format war is over and Blu-Ray won, but don't run out and get a Blu-Ray player yet. Over the next year, they will be adding features and lowering the cost.

Monk and Psych have both been renewed. The new seasons will start in July.

Fox has changed their spring lineup yet again. Everything worth watching will be on Mondays.

NBC has announced how they want to change their presentations for advertisers. They are focusing on a 52-week year instead of just fall and possibly midseason shows.

There is nothing on TV tonight.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Thunderbird has split off into Mozilla Messaging, a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. They will be working to make email better. Since I currently use Thunderbird with the Lightning calendar extension for my work email, I look forward to seeing how they improve it. It is already better than Outlook or Eudora. There is an article in Information Week, and an announcement on the blog of the CEO.

CNet has a lunar eclipse slideshow to remind us to look up tomorrow night at 7:01pm.

Feeling nostalgic for cheesy TV from the 70s or 80s? NBC and their associated network websites are going to put a bunch of old TV shows online as streaming video. (Some examples: Alfred Hitchcock Hour, A-Team, the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Simon & Simon, etc.)

Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell will all appear as Heath Ledger's character in the upcoming film, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus". No explanation was given as to how they are changing the role, but since it is a fantasy film where a traveling theater company controls the minds of others, they will probably have the character appear differently at different times, which may allow them to keep the footage shot before he died.

The Sci-Fi Fan Letter blog had a post yesterday about Urban Fantasy private investigator stories. I can think of a few missing from their list, but all the ones I've read that they do include were good. (I've read 5 of the authors and have 2 more in my TBR pile at home.) Now I need to track down the other 6 authors they list that I've never read.

The Internet Review of Science Fiction (IRoSF) is back online.

F&SF Magazine has added a blog from the editors. They will include interviews, contests, and all sorts of other stuff to be determined as it goes. One nice feature, especially if I ever get around to cataloging our magazines, is that they include the cover art images all the way back to #1.

I mentioned Emma Bull's Shadow Unit some time ago. If you were curious enough to read some, episode 1 is now available at

DVR for tonight:
10pm Jericho

Saturday, February 16, 2008


SF Site has posted their Readers' Choice: Best of 2007. In this list, I've actually read and enjoyed 3 of the top 10 and will probably read another 3. If you count the honorable mentions, I've read another 2 and plan to read 4 more. Clearly their readers are more in line with my tastes than the editors, where I hadn't read any and am only tempted to read 2-4.

Another solar system has been discovered that has planets similar to Jupiter and Saturn.

China is banning horror movies. The decisions of that government baffle me even more than my own, and that is saying something.

DVR for the weekend:
tonight: Torchwood (BBCA)
Sunday: 9pm Knight Rider (NBC) movie/pilot which will probably be terrible, but nostalgic

Friday, February 15, 2008


As a Valentine's special, Neil Gaiman put an audio version of Harlequin Valentine online as a free download. Hurry, it won't be available for long.

The American Film Institute has come up with a list that they consider to be the 50 best Sci-Fi films (my list would be different). From that, they will announce the 10 best later this year (I think the show is 10 best in 10 genres or something like that). Sci-Fi Wire is asking people to vote now on what 10 films they consider best (and you can add films that aren't in the list of 50). The list of 50 includes:
A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Alien, Altered States, The Andromeda Strain, Back to the Future, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Blade Runner, Children of Men, A Clockwork Orange, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon, Contact, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Moon, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Escape From New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fantastic Voyage, The Fly (1986), Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein (1931), The Incredible Shrinking Man, Independence Day, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Invisible Man (1933), It Came From Outer Space, Jurassic Park, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Matrix, Men in Black, Minority Report, Planet of the Apes (1968), Repo Man, RoboCop, Rollerball (1975), Silent Running, Soylent Green, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Wars: Episode IV--A New Hope, Starman, The Stepford Wives (1975), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Them!, The Thing From Another World, The Time Machine (1960), Total Recall, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The War of the Worlds (1953), Westworld
Zap2It has a gallery of Engrossing Sci-Fi shows. There may be some debate over whether or not they are all Sci-Fi (Twin Peaks?), but they are all good shows, and they left off fewer than most lists (but still, where are Max Headroom, Farscape and Red Dwarf?). The original article was more of a discussion of which new shows will be added to this list over the years.

CW announced that several shows will be returning with new shows this spring. This will include Supernatural and Reaper.

The Indy 4 trailer has been released. It's going to be fun.

SF Signal has posted their Top Couples in Science Fiction. I'm sure there are a ton of great ones they leave out, but I like 5 of the 6 they listed.

CBS just renewed 11 shows, including the CSIs, Big Bang Theory, 2.5 Men, Ghost Whisperer, and Numb3rs. Still in limbo are How I Met Your Mother, Moonlight, and Jericho.

ABC Family has renewed Greek for a 2nd season. The 2nd half of the 1st season starts March 24th, and the 12 episodes ordered for season 2 should start this fall.

It looks like the networks still plan to have upfront presentations of their fall lineups in May.

DVRs for tonight:
Stargate Atlantis

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Beginning in April, Lost will move to the post-Grey's Anatomy timeslot, Thursdays at 10pm. I hope that doesn't mean it will be shorter, since Grey's frequently runs long.

The release date for the new Star Trek movie has been changed from this Christmas to May 8th, 2009. Other release date changes are announced in the article too, but I hadn't been as aware of the films.

Several actors are urging the Screen Actors Guild to begin negotiations early, so they can avoid another strike. Even with the writers back, studios are reluctant to start projects with the possibility of an actors strike in June, so it would be good for everyone if they could put together an agreement early.

With only about 2 weeks left for Hugo nominations, Spectrum is urging people to make nominations based on published works in 2007, not name recognition of their favorite artists. They link to the excellent gallery at Locus which can be used to determine which artists had which cover art pieces for books and magazines in 2007.

Locus has also tabulated genre books that appeared on multiple "Year's Best" lists for 2007.

DVRs for tonight:
9pm Lost & Supernatural

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


NBC has announced their shows coming back with new episodes too. Good news: Scrubs is coming back this spring, so they will probably film the ending. Not so good news: Although they have renewed Heroes, Chuck, and Life, there won't be any new episodes shown for them until Fall.

A new implantable device can remove stem cells or cancer cells directly from the bloodstream.

Disneyland is building a new "Home of the Future" in cooperation with Microsoft, HP, LifeWare, and Taylor Morrison. I wonder if this one will last longer than the 10 years the last one survived before cool and futuristic looked quaint.

Battlestar Galactica will get to finish its 4th season with all planned episodes, but they will be split into 2 dvd sets again.

Some dogs have become early recipients of stem cell therapy with stem cells drawn from their own fat cells. The article focuses on an 11-year old GSD who had severe arthritis and made a substantial recovery.

A 65 million year old bat fossil has been found, which shows that they developed wings before echolocation.

Firefox has released a 3rd beta for their new version. It sounds like it is getting closer, but I'm not switching yet.

CBS has announced return dates and the number of episodes expected to be shown for all their shows. Surprisingly, this even includes new episodes for their freshman shows (4 for Moonlight and 9 for Big Bang Theory). The Monday comedies will be first, premiering on March 17th.

Lost will have an additional 5 episodes filmed for this season, which is 3 less than they were supposed to have. The producer says that those 3 episodes will be added to the next 2 seasons, so we won't lose out on total episodes.

There is nothing on TV tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The International Space Station's newest lab, built by Europe, is opening for business today.

Astronomers have spotted what is probably the farthest galaxy ever found. It is 13 billion light years away, which makes the images from 13 billion years ago. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this image is from. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated show that takes place between movies 2 and 3. It will debut on Cartoon Network this fall, with encores on TNT.

The Hobbit movie is probably on hold again. The Tolkien estate is suing New Line Cinema because they haven't received any of the money from the Lord of the Rings movies. They are seeking damages of money and the right to terminate other agreements to Tolkien works (this is where The Hobbit would come in).

AT&T is replacing T-Mobile as the wireless hotspot provider for Starbucks. They will provide free Wi-Fi access to their DSL customers (other users will still pay a lower price than under T-Mobile). This brings the number of AT&T hotspots in the US up to 17,000, including McDonald's and Barnes & Noble locations.

DVR for tonight:
10pm Jericho (CBS) - 2nd season premiere

Monday, February 11, 2008


The Nine Lives Foundation blog has been updated with pictures from the move. Go check it out to see why I am so tired and sore today.

ABC announced the renewal of 9 shows today. What they didn't announce here was if any of them would actually see new episodes before fall. There were no surprises. I'm glad that Pushing Daisies, Lost, Private Practice, and Grey's Anatomy got renewed (I don't really care about the other 5), but there is still no word on Men in Trees or Women's Murder Club.

In related news, the TV Guide guy has updated his chart with reports (always subject to change) of which shows may have new episodes coming this season, next season, or never.

A new theory unites the theories of Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the same framework. Similar to "ether" this dark liquid would generally expand, but could condense around galaxies.

CNet has a look back in time today: they have a slideshow cracking open the TRS-80.

The writers strike is now over. Yay! However, as Tim Goodman at the Chronicle reports, that doesn't mean we'll get the rest of the TV shows ordered at the beginning of the season.

Yahoo has rejected Microsoft's takeover bid, saying the approximately $42 billion offer undervalues the company. Some articles indicate they would accept a higher offer.

Roy Scheider (Jaws, SeaQuest, 2010, etc...) died yesterday of blood cancer. RIP.

Neil Gaiman is asking for people to vote on which of his books (8 are offered) should be available as a free e-book to introduce people to his work.

The new Wall-E trailer actually includes some plot info.

Tor is giving away free e-books for people who sign up for their newsletter. Apparently they are going to make some big announcement soon, and want to publicize it. The first 2 books available are Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and Old Man's War by John Scalzi (both very good books).

Someone made a cartoon of the 7 Old Men of Science Fiction. I managed to guess 6 from the picture. Anyone who can figure out all 7? If you are frustrated, the answers are in the first comment posted here.

DVR for tonight:
Kyle XY
Sarah Connor Chronicles

Thursday, February 7, 2008


A new study says that ethanol use may add to global warming, but they base this on an assumption that there will be land-use changes to grow more crops for making ethanol. I don't think that is a fair assumption.

The Locus Poll and Survey is online. If you want to vote for the best of 2007, you have until April 15th.

Emma Bull told SciFi Wire that her new online fiction project, Shadow Unit, was developed because she wanted to do a fan fiction for a show that didn't exist. She worked with Will Shetterly, Elizabeth Bear, and Sarah Monette to create characters, story arcs, and write episodes. The "show" is starting to look pretty real, and it is still developing.

A robotic observatory has been opened on the Antarctic plateau. It has a great view, with clear skies, low winds, and an elevation of 13,000 feet. There are 7 telescopes. The nearest human outpost is an 18-day journey away.

DVRs for tonight:
Flash Gordon
Stargate Atlantis


Happy Lunar New Year!

News is starting to come in about network plans for TV shows once the strike ends. Of course they are tentative, but it mostly looks like comedies will film more episodes to air in April/May and dramas (except for those with CSI in the title) won't come back until fall. For specific shows, check out the chart here.

Popular Mechanics has an article today on plug-in cars and the challenges on getting batteries ready for them.

February 20th will have a total eclipse of the moon that should be visible from all of North America. It should last 51 minutes, starting at 7:01pm (PST), and Saturn and the star Regulus should be visible nearby.

Recast because of the car maker: The new Knight Rider movie had to recast the voice of KITT at the last minute because the original actor does the voiceovers for GM commercials, and Ford is using the movie as promotion since the new KITT is a Ford. The new actor will be Val Kilmer.

Wired has an article on 10 Sci-Fi technologies we could build now, except for the cost.

An Israeli startup company called Modu, partnered with SanDisk, is about to revolutionize the cell phone. They have created a modular phone unit that can fit into different shells for different functionality. Want a phone with a full keyboard, a great camera, or gaming options? You could use the same phone and just plug it into the specialized shell. Some electronics may provide links to use the Modu instead of building their own phone features.

eBay is changing the way they do feedback. One change is to eliminate negative feedback from being given to buyers (so their feedback to sellers is honest and not avoiding retribution). Other changes were made to protect sellers.

Scientists have bred see-through fish to study tumor growth for cancer research. Strange...

DVRs for tonight:
9pm Lost & Supernatural

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Negotiators for the writers guild will be presenting the proposed agreement to the guild membership this Saturday for approval. While the final details and wording still need to be formalized, this could be an end to the strike.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has released their 3rd white shark. The juvenile male was released after 152 days. He was seen by approximately 650,000 people, including me.

DVR for tonight:
10pm CSI:NY (season finale)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Later this month, Virgin Atlantic will be conducting a test flight using a biofuel blend (ready 10 months ahead of schedule). Air New Zealand will be conducting a similar test later this year. Even if successful, we are years away from this fuel being approved for passenger flights in the US by the FAA, but it is still a great start.

CNet has a slideshow today of the NVArt digital art challenge winners, which is an international digital art contest sponsored by Nvidia and the Society of Digital Artists. I like the 2nd and 3rd place pieces. More on the contest, including other entries, can be found at the NVArt site.

Steven Gould talks about his book, Jumper, becoming a movie. I had heard of the book vaguely, but didn't ever look at what it was really about. I need to read it before seeing the movie.

McNallyRobinson has an interview with Robert J. Sawyer.

Robert Picardo is going from occasional guest star on Stargate Atlantis to full cast member in the 5th season, replacing Amanda Tapping as she leaves for her new show.

Steven Brust has written a Firefly/Serenity book called My Own Kind of Freedom. It is a free download.

DVR for tonight:
9pm House (season finale)

Monday, February 4, 2008


Researchers have found a location used by HIV to hide and multiply inside the body. A medication already in use for leishmaniasis patients (and being researched as a possible cancer drug) may be effective in destroying these disease reservoirs.

SciFi has confirmed they will play 4th season Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures starting in April.

SFRevu's February issue is online now, and it includes their Hugo nomination suggestions and an interview with Jane Yolen.

Locus has announced their Recommended Reading for 2007.

Yahoo is turning their music service over to Rhapsody. Expect prices to go up. :(

It looks like the writers and studio may have a tentative agreement. It still needs to be finalized and approved by the guild membership, but expect an announcement by the end of the week.

DVR for tonight:
Kyle XY
Sarah Connor Chronicles

Friday, February 1, 2008


Researchers have made shape-shifting robots from tiny "catoms", or claytronic atoms. A swarm of tiny robots cling together by electromagnetism, changing shape by rolling around and connecting on different points.

Grow your own spare parts? A Finnish patient just received a jaw replacement made from his own stem cells and grown in his abdomen. Once again, truth is stranger than fiction.

A new motor makes Zenn's electric cars go further on a charge.

A 3rd cable has been cut in the Mediterranean, disrupting internet access in Egypt, India and the Middle East. Service is rerouting around the world, but complete coverage probably won't be restored until next week.

Stanford researchers have found that carbon nanotubes can be used for administering medical treatments and exit the body without damaging it. Good news for cancer research. Here's the article that talks about the latest developments, and here is the earlier article that talks about the possibilities for cancer treatment.

Microsoft has made a takeover bid for Yahoo. Execs from Yahoo have said they're considering the bid; Microsoft has said they won't take no for an answer.

I'd heard that the SciFi channel had picked up a web-based show to play on TV next season. What I hadn't heard before today was that it stars Amanda Tapping, so she will be leaving Stargate Atlantis to do it (she may still make guest appearances). Also involved are Damon Kindler and Martin Wood from the Stargate shows and Sam Egan from Jeremiah. The show actually looks like it might be good - I guess I'll need to watch some of the webisodes.

Expect to see more Canadian shows on US TV because of the loss of the development season.

SF Signal has Star Wars Benny Hill as their Friday YouTube. So very wrong...

DVRs for tonight:
Flash Gordon
Stargate Atlantis