Wednesday, July 22, 2009


RIP Harve Presnell. The actor/singer died of cancer at 75. I remember his great singing voice in the 2 movies he made as a young man (he was mostly on the stage) and being glad when he made a comeback as a character actor in 1996.

The Middleman will be released on dvd next week, and has video clips from it. If you never saw this show, check out what you were missing.

They've started to rebuild Hobbiton (follow link for pics) in preparation for filming The Hobbit, even though they haven't finalized the script yet. There were extensive rumors (prompted by comments from Guillermo del Toro) that the casting of Bilbo was down to 4 finalists (speculated as including David Tennant, Daniel Radcliffe, and James McAvoy) with a choice to be announced at Comic Con this weekend, but Peter Jackson has denied the timing of the announcement.

SyFy has announced premiere dates for Stargate: Universe (October 2nd) and Sanctuary (October 9th).

It appears that something hit Jupiter and left a scar. Sources:, SF Gate, and (care of Slashdot) Bad Astronomy blog and the blog of an Australian astronomer (this one has the best pictures).

Amazon is acquiring Zappos.

Yesterday there was a full solar eclipse in Asia. The AP has some good pictures. has new pictures of the Eagle Nebula. Also, the comments thread led me to this high resolution expanded version of the main picture.

Israel News (care of Slashdot) is reporting that scientists have found a cure for radiation sickness. Now if only this was a more reputable source...

Monday, July 20, 2009


RIP Walter Cronkite. The "most trusted man" in television journalism died on Friday at 92. It seems sad that he died during the anniversary of a news event that left him "speechless". Sources: CBS News,, CNet

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk. Lots of articles & retrospectives can be found today.
* Ars Technica article: Many Small Steps Led to Apollo 11's Giant Leap
* Wired: Your Apollo Anniversary Experience, NASA Maps out the Future, This Day in Tech
* CNet: Apollo 11 Photo Gallery, Other Apollo Moon Landings Photo Gallery
* BBC Slideshow
* Yahoo: New photos of the moon show Apollo leftovers is celebrating the joint one year anniversary of their site and the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing with lots of giveaways and retrospective posts from an amazing number of writers. Included (not even close to a full list): Kage Baker, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Geoffrey A. Landis, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, David Weber

Also in honor of the anniversary, Google has added a complete map of the moon to Google Earth. Sources: PC World, CNet

Jorja Fox is returning to CSI for multiple (how many is that?) episodes. Sources: Futon Critic & Ausiello Files

DVRs for the week:
Mon Torchwood pt 1 & special (BBCA), Closer (TNT) & moon documentaries (History & Discovery)
Tue Torchwood pt 2 (BBCA) & Warehouse 13 (SyFy)
Wed Torchwood pt 3 (BBCA) & Leverage (TNT)
Thu Torchwood pt 4 (BBCA), Burn Notice (USA) & Royal Pains (USA)
Fri Torchwood pt 5 (BBCA) & Eureka
Sat Primeval finale (BBCA) & Being Human pilot (BBCA)
Sun Doctor Who (BBCA), Merlin (NBC) & True Blood (HBO)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. Lots of good articles and retrospectives are online. Some I found:
* CNN article: From Doughnuts to Liftoff...
* NYT photojournalism blog featuring photos from the day of liftoff.
* BBC article: The Magic of Apollo
* BBC article: Weaving the Way to the Moon
* NewScientist feature: Why the Moon Still Matters
* NASA has released newly restored video footage of the moon walk. Additional info on the restoration process (since NASA erased the original tapes) at Yahoo, Reuters, CNet, and BBC.
* National Geographic interview with Buzz Aldrin.
* CNet has a listing of resources to help you commemorate the anniversary.

The Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning. There were an amazing number of nominations for shows I wouldn't watch if you paid me to, but there were some good bits too. Highlights to me: How I Met Your Mother up for Best Comedy, Jim Parsons (Sheldon on Big Bang Theory) up for Lead Actor in a Comedy, Neil Patrick Harris for Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and Kristin Chenoweth for Supporting Actress in a Comedy. (Other than Lost and House, they pretty much ignored every drama I watch.)
* Complete list of all nominees
* NYT Arts Beat listing of the top categories

Wired lists the Top 10 Endearing Habits of a Geeky Spouse. Is it wrong that I would rather have the geeky spouse than be one? (Yes, I know several of those habits fit me, but I still deny #2.)

Lou Anders is asking for book suggestions on fantasy books every library should have (specifically the non-obvious ones). I'm not sure if I'll add to the list or just let the idea of which I would pick percolate in my brain, but it is interesting to look at the comment thread to see what other people have suggested. Some I've enjoyed, some have been in my TBR pile for ages, and some I may need to look for. See more at Lou Anders' blog or the SF Signal post that led me to it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


4 of the 5 surviving Monty Python members are going to reunite on stage for a musical adaptation of The Life of Brian to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

Joss Whedon wrote a 4-page online comic of Buffy having a nightmare that has me laughing. Sources: Slice of Scifi, CBR article about why this is at Dark Horse, the actual comic.

Tim Minear was interviewed about Alien Nation.

There have been a bunch of interesting articles on ebook readers recently:
* Bookstores developing their own readers to compete with Amazon.
* Why most ebook readers are only available in black and white.
* Article on design complaints for current ebooks.
* Review of a new Steampunk magazine released for the iPhone that answers the design complaint.
* Amazon patent hints at the possibility of getting free (ad-supported) ebooks when you buy a print book.

Monday, July 13, 2009


RIP Charles N. Brown. The co-founder and editor of Locus died in his sleep yesterday at 72. The science fiction field is a sadder place today. Sources: Locus, SF Site,, io9

NBC will be pushing Parenthood to midseason while Maura Tierney gets medical treatment. No word yet on the replacement show. Sources: Futon Critic & Ausiello Files.

ABC will air a 13-part Canadian space thriller called Defying Gravity starting August 2nd. Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers, Standoff) leads the international cast. Sources: Futon Critic, article, io9 article, io9 trailer (which I haven't seen yet).

Wired has pictures of yachts designed by an architect. I see these as the next location spot for a science fiction film. Very cool design.

Never piss off a bard is true, but it seems United is learning from their mistake. Sources: Zap2It, Techdirt.

There have been lots of rumors lately about the next device (tablet/netbook) coming from Apple. It's starting to look very interesting. Sources: Idealog, CNet Crave, CNet News from 6/16, CNet News from 6/1

Moisture traps from Dune may soon be a reality on Earth.

DVRs for the week:
Mon 6pm The Closer
Tue 6pm Warehouse 13
Wed 6pm Leverage (season premiere)
Thu 6pm Burn Notice & 7pm Royal Pains
Fri 6pm Eureka
Sat 6pm Primeval
Sun 6pm True Blood & 8pm Merlin

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Two recent articles provide hope for Alzheimer's treatment:
* Wired article on the Nun Study showing early language skills protect against symptoms.
* Bayer test is proving effective at early detection.

Wired lists 100 Essential Skills for Geeks, which I think proves that I'm not actually a geek. (I haven't counted through the whole list, but I think only about 15-20 apply.)

CNet has peeks at future technology: your phone as a video projector, an augmented reality app, and uses for multitouch screens. The 2nd reminds me of the scene in Ventus where tourists are walking down the street wearing VR goggles and reading information about the places they see.

Rumors are that iPods will be getting cameras soon (not just the iPhone/iTouch), and Wired has an article about what that might mean for small cameras.

Great images at Wired:
* A gallery of flower photographs taken with a really interesting electric effect.
* An amazing shot of the Swan Nebula from the New Technology Telescope in Chile.
* A gallery of Low-Tech Computing devices from Prehistory to "Today" (except they only get up to 1947).

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Amazon has launched a trade-in area for DVDs. Send them movies & TV shows on DVD for store credit. It looks easier than trying to sell them myself.

Tim Minear will be working on a new version of Alien Nation for SyFy. Good news: it isn't Fox (where every show he's worked on has been killed early). Bad news: it's a reboot of a story I didn't think needed a reboot when I'd rather see what original stuff he could do.

Pandora has managed to make an agreement as to royalty payments for streaming music. The result: it will no longer be free for 10% of users (those who listen to >40 hours per month). More comments on the issue at Techdirt.

David Tennant will appear in 2 episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures next season.

Fox is pushing back the premiere of Dollhouse season 2 one week to make room for an encore of a Glee episode. Not an auspicious beginning. Also Dollhouse related, tvshowsondvd has a video of Joss Whedon inviting people to his Comic Con panel on Dollhouse and showing a clip of the unaired episode he'll show there.

The Paperback Writer blog lists lots of places for finding free ebooks.

Health news:
* New stem cell research guidelines will finally allow new lines from discarded IVF embryos.
* Nano cells targeting cancer cells for chemotherapy and leaving other cells alone.

Scientists now how turtles evolved to develop their shells. has:
* a video with Apollo astronauts reflecting on the meaning of Apollo and what might be next for the moon.
* first photos from the Herschel telescope.
* news on a contest from Guiness that will give someone a trip to space.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

7-5-09 Catch up post

RIP Karl Malden. The actor died at 97. Sources: CNN, Zap2It, BBC, Yahoo

The Locus Poll Award winners were announced. Neil Gaiman's response to best YA novel.

Facebook is eliminating "Private by default", so this is the time to check your settings. More on this at SF Gate or CNet.

There may be a winner for the $1 million Netflix prize (for improving their recommending engine by >10%). Sources: Wired, Slashdot

Goodbye Kodachrome. Kodak is no longer making the film that inspired one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkle songs. Sources: CNet article, CNet photo gallery, Wired

Another rule change for the Oscars. Best Song nominees will now get a score from 6 to 10, and no award will be given if they all don't get at least 8.25. So, unless all the nominees are considered to be "worthy", nobody wins.

Firefox 3.5 has been released, and everyone is commenting. Check out PC World, Wired, Slate, and several articles at CNet: New CSS rule for fonts, slideshow of 3.5 images, add-ons which work and don't work in 3.5, visual history of Firefox, and other improvements under development.

Also Firefox related, Technology Review has an article about their approach to preventing scripting attacks.

Pandora has changed its submission process and now accepts only music from bands that have a physical CD listed on Amazon.

CNet Crave has an article on making the iPhone into an even better gaming device.

SciFi Wire has an interview with Colin Morgan about his role in Merlin, which I'm actually enjoying.

SF Gate has an article about a new device that may help patients stabilize and survive long enough to receive a liver transplant.

Apple has joined other manufacturers in agreeing to the micro-USB charger standard for cell phones.

Caffeine may help reverse Alzheimer's memory loss.

Futon Critic has more info on the new Noah Wyle & Steven Spielberg project for TNT.

DVRs for the week:
Sun 8pm Merlin
Mon 6pm The Closer
Tue 6pm Warehouse 13 (2-hr series premiere)
Thu 6pm Burn Notice
Thu 7pm Royal Pains
Fri 6pm Eureka (3rd season premiere)
Sat 6pm Primeval
Sun 6pm True Blood
Sun 8pm Merlin