Thursday, January 31, 2008


Discover lists "20 Things You Didn't Know about... Science Fiction" (I knew about 1/3).

Accenture has developed software that makes a cell phone act as a thin client for a remote server, removing the limits on processing power, so your cell phone could be a supercomputer. It processes images from the camera, identifies objects, and sends back information to the user.

Subterranean Press is having a sale on 4 books, 3 of which I want. Check it out.

Amazon has acquired

DVRs for tonight:
8pm Lost catch-up special (?)
9pm Lost 4th season premiere & Supernatural

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Doctors accidentally found a way to boost memory when trying to use Deep Brain Stimulation to curb the appetite of an obese man. The electrical stimulus triggered vivid memories and increased recall on tests. Researchers are now looking at the technique as a possible treatment for Alzheimer's.

TechRepublic has posted 25 more words every scifi fan should know (bringing the total to 100). I recognize almost all of these (much better than the last group).

CNet has a slideshow today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US entering the space race (the first successful US satellite launch was 1-31-58, so the anniversary is actually tomorrow). has an article about the things that must happen to make the New Mexico Spaceport actually open in 2009 or 2010 as planned.

Lumix has found a way to make a longer-lasting, brighter, high-intensity discharge (HID) light bulb. The first consumer application will be in projection TVs.

Sam Raimi is trying to bring syndicated fantasy back to TV. The producer/director (Hercules, Xena, Spiderman) is now planning to make a TV series based on Terry Goodkind's series, named after the first book: Wizard's First Rule. Since the things I didn't like about the book are unlikely to end up in a TV adaptation, this could be interesting. They start production in May, and the show has already been picked up by Tribune stations.

There is nothing new on TV tonight, but there is a repeat that may be worth watching. ABC is showing the Lost season 3 finale with clues to get you caught up before the 4th season starts tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Can anyone explain to me why it is necessary to make a flashlight that can burn paper in 15 seconds but only has a battery life of 15 minutes? Something a little less bright that lasts longer is fine for me.

The Lego is now 50 years old. CNet has a slideshow including some classics. To celebrate the anniversay, Lego is releasing an updated version of their original Town Plan set.

Scientists have developed a glass chip that can replace lab rats for most research.

Scientists are working on devices that generate energy from the vibration of falling raindrops.

Stanford has a site showing off a 3D-modeling system that takes normal 2D images and estimates structure, producing a 3D image which allows navigation. They even let you give it a try with your own photos.

This article from the LA Times sums up exactly why I am disgusted with pharmaceutical companies, and why it is turning around to hurt them now. I hope they change the way they operate, but I doubt it. has a podcast version of David Brin's story, The Crystal Spheres (I liked it when I read it about 20 years ago and wonder if it holds up).

Dead Like Me will be returning this summer as a TV movie, and if the ratings are high enough, they may bring it back as a series again. More details at SyFy Portal.

DVR for tonight:
Kyle XY

Friday, January 25, 2008

More news to start the weekend

China's space program is doing great and they may televise their first spacewalk later this year.

Courtesy of Neil Gaiman's blog, I found a great website with strange maps today. They have everything from political caricature maps from the early 1900s to a map of the island in Lost.

CNet has an article about Frontline's program "Growing Up Online", and how this is creating the biggest generation gap since Rock 'n' Roll.

Scientists have developed a helmet they think might help with Alzheimer's therapy.

A practical consumer fuel cell may be coming soon.

There is a great article at Inside Bay Area today about the first public showing of the Vick dogs that have been being cared for by BAD RAP and the help the Oakland Raiders are giving to the dogs.

TV possibilities for the weekend:
Saturday -
8pm - CBS - The Superbowl's greatest commercials
9pm - Hallmark - Daniel's Daughter (not genre, but it might be watchable)
10pm - BBCA - Torchwood season 2 premiere
Sunday -
6/9pm - ION - Journey to the Center of the Earth (a new remake)
9pm - CBS - The Russell Girl (Hallmark Hall of Fame with Amber Tamblyn)
10pm - AMC - Breaking Bad (watch this 2nd ep if we like the 1st one still on DVR)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The American Library Association has announced their first Reading List Awards for genre fiction. The site has a link to the press release (.doc) showing the winners and the nominees. Patrick Rothfuss won the fantasy category with his debut novel (I really need to read that for Campbell consideration), and Kathleen Ann Goonan won for SF.

Pixar has announced it will re-release the first 2 Toy Story movies in 3D prior to the release of Toy Story 3 in 2010.

A new "camera in a pill" has been developed as an easy, low cost diagnostic tool for esophageal cancer.

Scientists are making advances for transplants that may eliminate the need for lifelong anti-rejection drugs. A case that should be studied for this is the Australian girl who switched blood types and took on her donor's immune system after a liver transplant. has a bunch of new images of Mercury sent by the NASA Messenger probe.

Scientists are hoping to wipe out Dengue Fever by using genetically modified mosquitoes.

New models have explained how the asteroid killed the dinosaurs. Apparently it landed in deep water and the sulfer-rich sediments combining with the water vapor caused sulfate aerosols to pour down acid rain and cool the climate. There's more details at

ABC has released 1/3 of its scripts in development (about 35-40), the most of any network. Only NBC kept theirs.

Next Wednesday, ABC is going to repeat the 2-hour finale of Lost in an "enhanced" format. The bottom 1/3 of the screen will have text to let viewers in on the clues and get caught up before the new season.

There is supposed to be a Live Buffy Reunion in March at the Paley Festival. No cast has been announced yet. I hope if it actually happens that someone films it for those of us that won't be there.

SciFi is going to air 2 half-hour specials on Battlestar Galactica before the 4th season premiers April 4th. Probably a good idea since it will be more than a year since season 3 ended and the dvd won't be released until March 25th (not much time for rewatching unless you plan on a long marathon).

Marvel and Lionsgate studios have come to agreements with the writers.

DVR for tonight:
Flash Gordon
Stargate Atlantis

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


NBC is not only canceling their pilots in development, they are considering eliminating the filming of pilots all together.

It looks like IE8, when it comes out, may not comply with web standards in its default setup.

Virgin Galactic has unveiled their design (including pictures) of SpaceShipTwo.

Scientists have found evidence of an active volcano under the West Antarctica Ice Sheet.

Researchers have found more benefits for vitamin D and believe that 30-50% of the US has a deficiency.

Jericho reruns will start on SciFi in a 4-episode marathon the day before the 2nd season starts on CBS (Feb 12th).

DVR for tonight:
10pm CSI: NY

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


RIP Heath Ledger. Way too young...

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning. You have to get down to Best Animated Film before you find one I've actually seen. Of the films I've seen, Ratatouille and Enchanted each got 3 nominations, although I do plan to see Sweeney Todd, and I'm glad Johnny Depp got that nomination.

Techrepublic has listed 75 words that every sci-fi fan should know. How many do you recognize?

There is nothing on TV tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008


RIP Suzanne Pleshette. The actress from the Bob Newhart show, Support Your Local Gunfighter, etc. etc... died at age 70 of respiratory failure.

Due to the strike, CBS has dropped about 20 projects (mostly dramas) that were in development as new shows for next season.

HBO is planning a download service for movies & TV shows.

Strike negotiations look like they will begin again tomorrow.

DVRs for tonight:
5 pm Kyle XY
9pm Sarah Connor Chronicles
10pm Medium

Friday, January 18, 2008


After studying twins (one of which has leukemia and the other is healthy although both have pre-leukemia stem cells), researchers have identified that a 2nd mutation is needed to trigger the disease. This discovery will lead to better, more effective treatments. The full article is at BBC News.

The studios and directors came to an agreement. Let's hope that this means the writers can make a deal too, not just that the studios value directors far more than they do the writers. There are lots of articles, but the most informative I saw were at Zap2It and E! News.

SF Signal has provided links to free online versions of stories nominated for the 2007 Preliminary Nebula nominees.

Greg Johnson of SF Site has posted his list of the Best books of 2007. It is not just the usual suspects.

Researchers have discovered that corkscrew shapes are the best way to hold liquids in zero-G so they flow properly.

DVRs for tonight (all the CBS shows are finales):
5pm Flash Gordon
7pm Stargate Atlantis
8pm Ghost Whisperer
9pm Moonlight & Monk
10pm Numb3rs & Psych

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Worth1000's latest contest is photoshopping movie posters to give them scifi themes. It is pretty funny.

DVR for tonight:
10pm Big Shots

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The Messenger spacecraft returned the first photo of Mercury's other side. They have more info and a larger picture at the NASA site.

Fox is going to start putting iTunes versions of their movies on the DVDs.

Once again, nothing new on TV tonight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Studios canceled a whole bunch of writer contracts, effectively admitting that this season is over and there won't be any pilots for next season.

One day after winning the Golden Globe for Sweeney Todd, Johnny Depp gave $2 million to the hospital that saved his daughter's life. This on top of reading bedtime stories to the children while dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, and inviting the doctors and nurses who treated her to the premiere of Sweeney Todd. You'd think he was happy with their care or something ;)

Nothing new on TV tonight. I see more catching up on my schedule.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Neil Gaiman has linked to a YouTube version of the Coraline 3D trailer someone filmed from the audience. It is dark and blurry, but still interesting.

PBS starts their Complete Jane Austen showings as part of the revamped Masterpiece Theater on Sunday.

A new energy act has boosted designs for biofuels.

Netflix has announced it is removing the limits for movies watched online for all subscribers with unlimited movies per month.

SFGate has a report from the Consumer Electronics Show about what they considered to be the best products. My favorite: the charging pad.

DVR for tonight:
5pm Kyle XY
9pm Sarah Connor Chronicles
10pm Medium

Saturday, January 12, 2008


The Robot Chicken Star Wars special is coming to dvd.

The 2007 Preliminary Nebula ballot has been announced. Because of the weird eligibility for the Nebula awards, there are several 2006 stories and even one 2005 book along with the 2007 stuff.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles (or at least the pilot) has been getting some good reviews.

ABC has terminated the contracts for several writer-producers (Scrubs' Bill Callahan) among them.

China performed a "weapons test" against one of their weather satellites and increased the orbiting debris by 20%. Several satellites have had to dodge the debris field. We could really use a space garbage collection run about now. It is going to get so we can't go anywhere because there is too much stuff in the way.

It looks like watermarks will replace DRM for media downloads.

Friday, January 11, 2008

1-11-08 has a calendar of 2008 events (planets lining up, eclipses, a meteor shower, etc.) that should be worth watching for stargazers.

The Hubble telescope has captured an image of a double Einstein ring, caused when galaxies line up, and the larger one in the foreground bends the light of the one(s) farther away, making it look like a distorted ring from a magnifying glass.

According to a recent study, switchgrass (a native North American perennial grass), is much better for making ethanol than corn. It can deliver 540% of the energy used to produce it, unlike the 24% from corn, and you only need to plant it once.

Disappointing: Microsoft has denied earlier stories that it is working with the One Laptop Per Child project to make dual-boot (with Linux) laptops. They want separate Windows laptops instead.

Sony music will be selling without DRM via Amazon, which sounds much more reasonable than the ridiculous plan they made to sell it themselves earlier in the week. (You have to go to a music store, buy a card, scratch off the back, hope you can read a code, and enter it on the website. If you've gone to all that trouble, why didn't you just buy the CD? Also, they only had 37 albums available.)

Despite protests from the ACLU and at least 17 states, it looks like Homeland Security has passed their Real ID requirement. Argggh.

There is talk about Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End coming to the big screen.

Best books of 2007 according to writers.

DVRs for tonight (Wow! It is actually a full lineup):
Flash Gordon
Stargate Atlantis
8pm Ghost Whisperer
9pm Moonlight & Monk
10pm Numb3rs & Psych

Thursday, January 10, 2008


There's an article about Torchwood season 2, complete with interview snippets and TV guide level synopses of the first 5 episodes.

DVR for tonight (all final episodes):
8pm My Name is Earl
9pm CSI & Grey's Anatomy

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Strange Horizons has posted their 2007 recommendations for books, TV, etc.

The Philip K. Dick nominees have been announced (nothing to do with writing like him, it just honors SF books 1st published in paperback in the US). I already want to read 3 on the list, but I've never heard of the other 3.

The upcoming USB version 3.0 was shown (but not demonstrated) at the Consumer Electronics Show. They have an article with pictures here. It will be backwards compatible with current USB 1.1 and 2.0 by placing the connectors deeper and allowing the other connections in front.

DVR for tonight:
10pm CSI: NY

Monday, January 7, 2008


Cool science article of the day: An archeologists' best new tool seems to be Google Earth. Using infrared and ultraviolet satellite imaging, archaeologists have discovered new Mayan cities (not to mention French, Roman, etc. sites), as well as how some cities were used or abandoned.

The Cable TV industry is actually moving forward to standardize their equipment before the FCC forces them into it.

Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPs) held a contest for the best Saturn images. CNet has a slideshow of some of the winners, or you can go to the CICLOPs page to see them all (larger and including videos). This is the winner of the favorite image (it looks better larger).

Scientists have developed a way to transform CO2 into fuel, effectively reversing the combustion process. Using solar heat, they picture transforming 45 pounds of CO2 that would go into the air at a coal-powered plant into 2.5 gallons of methanol or gasoline.

The Golden Globes may not air on TV. They haven't reached an agreement with the Writers Guild, so there will be no script and no film clips. The Screen Actors Guild has said they won't cross the picket line, so there will be no actors as presenters or attendees (even the nominees). The Hollywood Foreign Press is pressuring NBC to cancel, so that actors can attend a small, non-televised event (it wouldn't be picketed if it weren't televised). NBC will announce today if they are going to cancel or attempt to postpone.

From a group who has made an attempt to read ALL of the 2007 short fiction, here is a list of their recommendations. has put every episode from the first 3 seasons of Lost up on their website in HD. They will be available to view until January 31st, so you can catch up before 4th season begins if you don't have the dvds but do have a good internet connection.

DVR for tonight:
10pm Medium (4th season premiere)
Daily Show and Colbert Report also return tonight, but without writers.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Mr. Book Stacks is a new reviewer who is posting his 13 books he recommends (it is actually 13 authors, with significantly more than 13 books) so people can determine if they agree with him. Nice, and I've read (and enjoyed) 8 out of the 13, which makes me want to read the others.

Since the Hugo nomination period is now open, the Science Fiction Awards website is starting to collect pimping threads (posts where people list their eligible works).

Hotels for the 2008 Worldcon have been announced. Reservations can't be made until 1-21, so I still have a couple weeks to decide which one I want to stay in.

The movie of Inkheart will no longer premier in March. They have pushed back the date and not yet announced a new one. Too bad, the trailer actually looked good.

If you heard about the new battery limitations on flights and thought you'd never be able to travel with electronics again, CNet has clarified the rules, and they aren't quite as bad as they sounded.

Intel is leaving the One Laptop Per Child project.

The Battlestar Galactica season 3 dvd set (being released on March 23, probably after the new season starts) will include the online webisodes.

DVR for tonight:
Flash Gordon
Stargate Atlantis
9pm Women's Murder Club

Thursday, January 3, 2008


According to this AP article, a new vaccine for cocaine is currently in clinical trials. According to an earlier linked article, they are working on one for nicotine too. I've never heard of using vaccines to fight addictions instead of diseases. Strange idea.

To promote the new show, Fox will be streaming the pilot of The Sarah Connor Chronicles for free on Yahoo ( It will be commercial free and have an intro from the main actress, but will only be available for 24 hours starting this Friday at 9pm. The episode will air on TV on January 13th and 14th.

Netflix is developing a set-top box with LG that will allow you to download movies and watch them on your TV.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


BBC7 Radio has audio dramas online for Blake's 7 (new stories!) and Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Unfortunately, it looks like only the current stuff is available, so we may have missed the start of the stories.

Todd McCaffrey is doing an online book signing. In other words, if you order from the right place, you can get the new Pern book pre-autographed at cover price.

Fox has changed their TV lineup yet again.

Tis the season for end-of-year lists of good books we might have missed. There are lots of them, some I might even agree with.

If you use Office 2003 and ever want to open old files (archived documents you wrote on an earlier software version or received from someone who did), don't install service pack 3 without reading the documentation carefully. It disables old file formats by default. That is a reason for me to use OpenOffice instead. I don't want all my old files to suddenly become disabled.

Licensing the music of the Beatles is being relaxed when performed by other artists, but they are still limiting the original recordings from use in advertising.