Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Researchers have found a way to get buttons to pop up on touchscreen surfaces.

Retirement of the space shuttles might be delayed.

Small Beer Press is having a huge sale.

SF Gate has an article about why some books still aren't available as ebooks.

TNT has announced start dates for their original programming. The Closer returns June 8th, Leverage returns July 15th, and they've added new shows I'm not going to be watching.

New evidence suggests that dinosaurs in some areas survived up to 500,000 years after the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous era.

There are some good new images of Mercury taken by the Messenger spacecraft at and Wired.

Artificial Intelligence as an aid for archeologists? Check out this Wired article.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Amazon just bought the company that makes Stanza (the ebook reader I use on my iPhone). I wonder about what this will mean for Stanza functionality, although they say there won't be any changes. I mainly use Stanza to read books I purchased at Fictionwise (which was recently purchased by Barnes & Noble). Sources: SF Gate, CNet, AppleInsider, PC World, Lexcycle announcment. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see the CNet review of Stanza's most recent version update to see what it is.)

RIP Tom Deitz. The author died yesterday of heart failure.

Locus Award finalists have been announced. The winners will be announced in June. Sources: SF Signal, John Scalzi

I've loved the last 2 episodes of Chuck this season (and there better be more next season). I'm going to share some Chuck-related posts I've found:
* Review of finale episode by What's Alan Watching
* Reviews of last week's episode by What's Alan Watching and SF Scope.
* 2-part interview with Chuck's co-creator: Part 1 was 3 weeks ago, Part 2 was last night
* SciFi Wire interviews Scott Bakula at the 20th anniversary of Quantum Leap (and asks about Chuck and Enterprise too).

The largest amateur model rocket was launched on Saturday. A 1/10 scale Saturn V rocket. See Rocketry Planet article for the pre-launch construction info & plans. See Popular Mechanics article for photos from the launch. Update: Wired now has a follow-up with video.

NASA is testing a full-scale mockup of their new "moonship" in the ocean for landing trials.

As I'm clearing through some old articles, I found io9 has 2 updates on Pushing Daisies comics (with potential story direction comments). First article, 2nd article.

Monday, April 27, 2009


RIP Bea Arthur. The actress who specialized in playing great acerbic & sarcastic women died of cancer at 86. Sources: BBC, Zap2It, What's Alan Watching blog

The Nebula Award winners have been announced. Sources: John Scalzi's blog, SF Signal, SciFi Wire

Check out SF Signal's Tube Bits for today to see Joss Whedon accepting the Bradbury award (also available at SciFi Wire), a link to an interview about Stargate Universe, a link to the Wired issue about JJ Abrams and Star Trek, etc.

Aardman Animations and Sony are planning 2 new animated feature films. Unfortunately, they won't be Wallace & Gromit.

Scientists in Spain were able to isolate a parasite causing honey bee colony collapse and successfully treat it. Other colonies will now be examined for that parasite. I hope they've managed to find the cause.

Wired has a gallery of amazing Hubble photos.

As part of the "Save Chuck" campaign, people are encouraging fans to buy Subway sandwiches and use the comment cards to indicate their sponsorship of Chuck was what brought them in. Following a convention in the UK, Zachary Levi & Adam Baldwin led 400 fans to the local Subway and Zachary Levi helped serve them their sandwiches. See SciFi Wire article or YouTube video.

Although NBC did renew Heroes, they did it for less episodes (18-20 instead of 25). Sources: SciFi Wire, TV Guide via SF Signal, io9

Heliotrope #5 is now available for download. It has stories by Neil Gaiman, Chris Roberson, and many others. More info in blog.

Rumor has it that Gillian Anderson may guest star as The Rani on Doctor Who.

The 3rd Twilight movie now has a director and a release date: June 30th, 2010.

Primeval might become a feature film next year.

CNet has had several informative articles on Firefox and its extensions recently:
* Gallery of 9 Add-ons to try (at least 3 of which I plan to add soon)
* 3 Add-ons to enhance Google searches
* 15 Add-ons for developers
* Google reader is now available as a popup extension
* An article stating that Firefox 3.0 has pulled ahead of IE in Europe

SF Gate has an article on the return of the electric car.

Scientists have found a way to multiply stem cells taken from bone marrow.

DVR timers for the week:
Mon 5pm Greek
Mon 8pm Chuck (season finale), Big Bang Theory & House
Mon 830 How I Met Your Mother
Mon 9pm Heroes (season finale) & 2.5 Men
Mon 10pm Medium
Tue 8pm Reaper
Tue 9pm Fringe
Tue 10pm Cupid
Wed 8pm Scrubs
Wed 9pm Lost
Wed 10pm CSI: NY
Thu 7pm Krod Mandoon
Thu 8pm Bones & My Name is Earl
Thu 9pm CSI & Supernatural
Thu 10pm Private Practice (season finale)
Fri 8pm Ghost Whisperer
Fri 9pm Dollhouse
Fri 10pm Numb3rs
Sat SYN Legend of the Seeker

Friday, April 24, 2009


Primeval season 3 starts on BBC America on May 16th, continuing until the end of July (10 episodes).

A new malaria microchip can determine from a blood sample if a patient has malaria and which strain it is, taking only about 30 minutes. This is much faster and more accurate than previous testing, which should allow for better treatment options.

Evan Rachel Wood will be playing the queen of Louisiana in True Blood season 2. Sources: Zap2It, Ausiello Files.

SciFi (which becomes SyFy that week) has announced premiere dates for Warehouse 13 (July 7th) and Eureka (July 10th - moving to Fridays).

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Zap2It has a breakdown of the pilots for NBC and drama pilots for Fox. None of these interest me from the info given.

ABC announced renewals for 12 more shows - with the remaining ones presumed to be canceled. No big surprises.

Will Smith is producing a movie for SciFi called "Unfinished Business" that could turn into a series.

There are rumors (which I doubt are real) that the 4th Twilight movie might not get made because they can't figure out a way to make the subject matter work on-screen. On a better note for the series, Zap2It has a picture of the wolfpack from the set of New Moon.

Space & astronomy photos & news:

BBC has an article on using e-book readers to keep newspapers alive.

Studies have linked vitamin A & C deficiencies to increased risk for asthma.

Listverse lists the Top 20 Films of the 90s. I've seen all but about 7 or 8 (#20 sounds familiar but I don't remember if I saw it or not) and some are come-upon-it favorites that I've seen over and over.

Wired had an issue specializing in puzzles:
Wired also has an interview with Neil Gaiman about his "love letter to Batman".

CNN has an article on the nutrient-rich Maya nut which grows in Central America and the woman who is showing natives how to find and prepare it.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Over at, Jo Walton has recently been reviewing one of my favorite series: Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. (Check out the comments threads for responses from Bujold.) If you're curious, here are the links (she reviewed in publication order): Shards of Honor, Warrior's Apprentice, Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms, The Vor Game, Barrayar, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Diplomatic Immunity, and the series overview. I'm feeling the need to re-read them now. Follow-up: She later added a review of Winterfair Gifts and an interview with Lois McMaster Bujold.

The Colo(u)r of Magic will be released on dvd in July.

If you liked the classic TV Guide description of the Wizard of Oz ("Girl journeys to psychedelic landscape, kills first person she meets then teams up with others to kill again"), then check out the Uncomfortable Plot Summaries at

Zap2It has "Up-isodes" to tease us or tide us over until the new Pixar movie.

YouTube is expanding
its selection of (legal) movies and TV shows.

DVRs for next week (since I probably won't post again until Wednesday):
Mon 5pm Greek
Mon 8pm Bones & Chuck
Mon 9pm Heroes
Mon 10pm Medium
Tue 8pm Reaper
Tue 9pm Fringe
Wed 8pm Scrubs
Wed 9pm Lost
Thu 7pm Krod Mandoon
Thu 8pm Bones & My Name is Earl
Thu 9pm CSI & Supernatural
Thu 10pm Private Practice
Fri 8pm Ghost Whisperer
Fri 9pm Dollhouse
Fri 10pm Numb3rs
Sat SYN Legend of the Seeker
Sat 6pm Ashes to Ashes

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Twilight: New Moon is now fully cast. This Zap2It article lists everyone if you're curious.

John Madden is retiring. Even though I don't watch much football anymore, I recognize the end of an era. Sources: Zap2It, What's Alan Watching. Follow-up: The Mercury News has an article on his impact.

Tonight is the sci-fi homage episode of CSI. If you don't usually watch CSI, this is probably the one to make an exception for.

Michael Chabon will be making some revisions to the John Carter of Mars script. Source: SF Signal

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


NASA decided to name the node Tranquility (basically ditching both of the top vote-getters). I like the way they named the treadmill Colbert by making it an acronym: Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill. I wonder if Serenity will end up being a name for something up there too.

Harry Potter 6 will now open 2 days early: Wednesday, July 15th instead of the 17th.

SciFi Wire reviews the renewal chances of 11 genre shows. Of these, I've heard today that Sarah Connor Chronicles is definitely dead, and Heroes has been renewed. I'll be really upset (and surprised) if Chuck gets canceled. Given this interview and their recent casting, I'd also be surprised if Fringe doesn't come back. I generally watch Dollhouse, Medium & Eleventh Hour, but it won't break my heart if they don't return. I'm actually surprised Reaper is still listed as having a chance after the staff they've lost (I liked season 1, but all of season 2 is still waiting on the DVR for me to catch up).

SciFi has announced additional guest casting for Stargate: Universe. Sources: Futon Critic, SciFi Wire

SciFi Wire has an article discussing plans for a Dr. Horrible sequel.

There is a new issue of Lone Star Stories Reader available for free in PDF form as well as from the usual stores in print form. Several good authors listed, including Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Jay Lake. More on this from

The LA Times has an article on the restoration of early NASA lunar images, which includes a gorgeous Earthrise image.

EETimes has an article on diatoms tripling the efficiency of solar cells.

SciFi Wire has an interview with Bryan Fuller about the final eps of Pushing Daisies and its future in comics.

A small study in India showed that injecting a patient's own stem cells improved mobility in cases of partial paralysis.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Gahan Wilson has made a short animated film from the Neil Gaiman short story "It was a Dark and Silly Night". Sources: Neil Gaiman, SciFi Wire (both sites have the 5 minute video)

SciFi Wire has a clip from the Doctor Who ep that aired in the UK over the weekend.

The Laurel K. Hamilton books are coming to TV on IFC. Somehow, I doubt these will be faithful adaptations.

Sony is planning another Men in Black movie.

Starlog magazine is going web-only. Other links for this: SF Signal, Locus

Marriott is going to stop wasting newspapers and only give you the paper if you ask for it (as opposed to my last several hotel stays, where I got the paper even after asking not to get it).

Monday, April 13, 2009


NASA will reveal the new name of Node 3 on The Colbert Report on Tuesday this week. I wonder what he'll say if they call it Serenity.

Ed Quinn (Eureka) has been cast in True Blood.

Michael Sheen has been cast as Aro in New Moon (the Twilight sequel).

DVRs for the week:
Mon 5pm Greek
Mon 8pm Chuck & Big Bang Theory & House
Mon 830 How I Met Your Mother
Mon 9pm Heroes & 2.5 Men
Mon 10pm Medium
Tue 8pm Reaper
Tue 9pm Fringe
Tue 10pm Cupid
Wed 8pm Bones & Scrubs
Wed 9pm Lost
Thu 7pm Krod Mandoon
Thu 8pm Bones & My Name is Earl
Thu 9pm CSI
Sat 6pm Ashes to Ashes

Friday, April 10, 2009


RIP Dave Arneson. The co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons died this week at 61. Sources:, SciFi Wire, Wired Game/Life, SF Signal

Zap2It reports on guest stars for Bones (Zach) & Dollhouse (Wash from Firefly) during May.

The Clash of the Titans remake is going to have a good cast. Liam Neeson & Ralph Fiennes just joined.

Sometime in the next 3 years, I need to make it back down to the Monterey Aquarium to see the Sea Horse exhibit they've added.

Cell phones that can connect to a satellite when there is no signal - coming sooner than I expected (although I may still need to wait for the price to drop).

In honor of the Easter weekend, Computerworld is listing the best Easter Eggs in software.

Want to look like a cross between Iron Man & Mantis? A Japanese company is making robotic body suits for people.

New Red Dwarf airs this weekend
in the UK. Now to find when we can see it in the US.

Stem cell advancements for MS.

They can now do cartilage transplants instead of replacing an entire knee.

Someone is about to build a functional replica of the first electronic computer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Why do people re-make movies they don't appreciate? A likely destruction of Topper is in the works.

Sanctuary has begun filming season 2, and SciFi Wire has a picture of the new cast member. has a new Hubble photo of a galaxy that looks like a dusty halo instead of a spiral.

The process of digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalog is complete. They will go on sale in September, but there is still no word when they'll be available online.

SciFi has announced casting of Riverworld (including Tahmoh Penikett from BSG and Dollhouse) and Phantom.

Leonard Nimoy has been cast as a recurring character on Fringe (as Walter Bishop's former lab partner who now heads Massive Dynamic). He will appear in the season finale and an arc next season (which I guess means they're getting renewed). More info at SciFi Wire.

Ausiello Files interview about this week's shocking House episode. (DO NOT READ until you have seen the episode.)

New discovery may end the need for immune-suppressing drugs following a transplant.

Alyx O'Laughlin (Moonlight) has 2 upcoming movies as well as a new show for CBS.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Jo Walton reviews Ventus by Karl Schroeder at since he now has it as a free ebook on his website. I read this a few months ago and loved it. If you haven't read it, you should.

The UK is bringing out a mythological creatures stamp collection, with art by Dave McKean and a short short story by Neil Gaiman for each creature. Sources: Wired (best pics) and Neil Gaiman's blog. lists the Top 10 Moments in Astronomy. has an amazing photo of colliding galaxies taken by the Hubble telescope after it won a poll as the next target. They also have an article about plans to grow flowers on the moon.

According to John Scalzi, Audible is offering Metatropolis for free for a limited time because of the Hugo nomination.

The founder of Other Change of Hobbit (one of the best bookstores I've been to) talks about the early days.

Zap2It has a description of Fox's potential new comedy shows. Nothing here I have to see from what they say.

Richard Dean Anderson will guest star in a couple episodes of Stargate: Universe.

SciFi wire has interviews with James Marsters about 2 projects: Moonshot (about Apollo 11), and High Plains Invaders.

The final Pushing Daisies episodes finally have a timeslot (although a horrible one): Saturdays at 10pm starting May 30th.

Another sign that Reaper will be canceled - the creators are leaving the show for a new commitment with Fox.

Last week 6 volunteers sealed themselves into a capsule that will mimic the conditions of a trip to Mars. Sources: BBC, Telegraph

A new DNA test may replace the PAP smear since it was dramatically more effective at diagnosing cervical cancer in a recent 8-year study.

The BBC has an article on using stem cell injections to treat damaged bones.

DVRs for the week:
Mon 5pm Greek
Mon 8pm Chuck & House
Mon 9pm Heroes
Mon 10pm Medium
Tue 8pm Reaper
Tue 9pm Fringe
Tue 10pm Cupid (assuming I like the 1st one which is still on the dvr unseen)
Wed 8pm Scrubs
Wed 9pm Lost & Life
Wed 10pm CSI:NY
Thu 7pm Krod Mandoon & the Flaming Sword of Fire (COMEDY - see review at SF Signal)
Thu 8pm Bones
Thu 9pm CSI
Fri 8pm Ghost Whisperer & Sarah Connor Chronicles
Fri 9pm Dollhouse
Fri 10pm Numb3rs
Sat 6pm Ashes to Ashes
Sat 6 & 8pm Nora Roberts Tribute (LIFETIME)
Sun all day marathon of earlier Nora Roberts movies in case you missed them

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Zap2It has a non-spoiler interview with the producers of Life on Mars about tonight's series finale.

A sequel to the new Star Trek movie is already being planned.

SF Crowsnest has a Doctor Who-themed April Fool's Day joke. (At least it better be.)

DVD release dates have just been announced for Pushing Daisies season 2 (July 21st) and Eureka season 3 (June 30th).