The Covenant and the Cargo Cult, Part 1   



Sir Ridley Scott's long-awaited prequel to Prometheus opened this week in certain countries and is set to open in America next week. For those waiting for a continuation of the storyline from the last movie- when crew member Elizabeth Shaw and the head of android David taking off to invade the Engineer homeworld- well, I hate to say it but you're out of luck. 

The Prometheus story is referenced only as exposition, apparently.  I hope I'm not giving away any spoilers (it feels like half the movie has already been posted to YouTube in the form of trailers and excerpts) but it is what it is.



Of course, the bit with Elizabeth and David's disembodied head from Prometheus is yet another one of those bizarre and inexplicable references to John the Baptist that tentpole sci-fi movies are so fond of. Remember that John's mother was named Elizabeth*, who had her own covenant with an extraterrestrial entity (the Archangel Gabriel, in this case). 

But I digress. If you've been following the previews and the various puff pieces in the media you'll suss out that Alien: Covenant is more like a remake of the first Alien film than a sequel to Prometheus. In much the same way as the JJ Abrams' Star Wars it's meant to act a jumping-on point for the Alien franchise for post-Millennials:
If Star Wars: The Force Awakens led the way in merging fan-service universe-building with fresh heroes, stories and themes for a new generation, Alien: Covenant grabs the reboot ball and runs with it. 
Director Sir Ridley Scott has said himself how much he was impressed by Disney's handling of Star Wars' renaissance, and it's clear to see why this similarly iconic '70s sci-fi world is equally ripe for a life-extending overhaul.
The film apparently references the AAT of Prometheus but also taps into the current anxieties over AI and robots and their potential to do away with the rest of us, kind of like a more ambitious HAL 9000. Scott apparently 86'd the idea of more direct sequel to Prometheus after reading some of the negative reviews dumped on the film, which he called "a mistake":
What changed was the reaction to ‘Prometheus’, which was a pretty good ground zero reaction. It went straight up there, and we discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated. They wanted to see more of the original [monster] and I thought he was definitely cooked, with an orange in his mouth. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong’.
Well, somebody thought Scott was wrong, "somebody" almost certainly being a Fox accountant or three. However, one SF fansite accused Scott of "selling out" by not following up on the Prometheus story and I'm sure a lot of other fans will disappointed the story was dispensed with so easily. Either way, Scott continues to make eyebrow-raising comments about aliens in the press, referring to them recently as "superior beings."
Alien creator Ridley Scott has said that he is convinced that there are extra-terrestrials out there – and one day they will come for us. The veteran director said he believed in higher beings as he prepared to release the sixth episode of the sci-fi horror series, Alien: Covenant, next month. 
“I believe in superior beings. I think it is certainly likely. An expert I was talking to at Nasa said to me, ‘Have you ever looked in the sky at night? You mean to tell me we are it?’ That’s ridiculous.” 
“So when you see a big thing in the sky, run for it,” he joked.“Because they are a lot smarter than we are, and if you are stupid enough to challenge them you will be taken out in three seconds.”
Which makes you wonder about the whole "Covenant" thing, doesn't it? 

The term is essentially religious ('contract' is more commonly used to describe written civil agreements), dating back to the Old Testament.  And seeing how that covenant was made with a god who flew around the sky in a pillar of smoke and light, and needed a special environment built in order to interact with his subjects, you do start to wonder what the implications of all this happen to be. 

Well, start with this. Like Jack Kirby (whose Eternals so inspired the first Alien film),  Scott seems to have been bitten by the ancient astronaut bug and bitten hard. I don't know what the current status is on the project but back in 2014 it was reported that Sir Scott was developing an AAT series for HBO called Pharaoh:
Scott has signed on to serve as the executive producer and director for this project, which was created and sold to the premium cable channel by David Schulner. The Hollywood Reporter explains: 
The drama explores an alternate explanation for the foundation and ascent of the ancient Egyptian empire — one in which greatness was bestowed upon us by beings from another world, calling into question what it means to be a “god.” The project was co-created by Giannina Facio and Colet Abedi, who will exec produce alongside Scott and David Zucker for Scott Free. 
His film Prometheus was partially inspired by the writings of Swiss author Erich von Daniken who is known for his books like Chariots of the Gods? and Gods From Outer Space. Von Daniken is also a regular talking head on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens.
Again, I'm not sure where Pharaoh stands today but according to an October report from Omni the project was still on. It may be why the planned Stargate reboot was reported as being put into turnaround in November. Which, if so, strikes me a bit curious. The mighty Devlin and Emmerich nosed off their turf by Sir Scott? Huh.


But there's an interesting little visual cue in one of the trailers that suggests that Scott takes AAT very seriously. The Covenant crew lands on an alien planet and discovers a familiar sight. From io9:
This alien planet that looks untouched by human hands is growing recognizable wheat, which very much has been touched by human hands. This plays into the Alien mythos that there was a race of “Engineers” that were the progenitors of humans—they’re similar to us, why wouldn’t their food be similar? And if they were traveling around, why wouldn’t they carry seeds like we do?
Why is wheat so significant in the context of the Prometheus teleology? The late Lloyd Pye explains: 
Many have "wild" predecessors that were apparently a starting point for the domesticated variety, but others--like many common vegetables--have no obvious precursors. But for those that do, such as wild grasses, grains and cereals, how they turned into wheat, barley, millet, rice, etc. is a profound mystery. 
No botanist can conclusively explain how wild plants gave rise to domesticated ones. The emphasis here is on "conclusively". Botanists have no trouble hypothesising elaborate scenarios in which Neolithic (New Stone Age) farmers somehow figured out how to hybridise wild grasses, grains and cereals, not unlike Gregor Mendel when he cross-bred pea plants to figure out the mechanics of genetic inheritance. It all sounds so simple and so logical, almost no one outside scientific circles ever examines it closely.
Modern wheat is one of those innovations that scientists revert to ontological arguments to explain. The wheat we know obviously exists so it simply had to have been the product of long-term domestication. How exactly the domestication of an essentially-inedible wild grass was domesticated into a modern foodcrop-- over the span of centuries, mind you, if not millennia-- by illiterate Stone Age farmers is never exactly made clear. Pye again:
 On the other hand, those New Stone Age farmers who were fresh out of their caves and only just beginning to turn soil for the first time (as the ”official” scenario goes), somehow managed to transform the wild grasses, grains and cereals growing around them into their domesticated ”cousins”. Is that possible? Only through a course in miracles! Actually, it requires countless miracles within two large categories of miracles.  
The seeds and grains were maddeningly small, like pepper flakes or salt crystals, which put them beyond the grasping and handling capacity of human fingers. They were also hard, like tiny nutshells, making it impossible to convert them to anything edible. Lastly, their chemistry was suited to nourishing animals, not humans. So wild varieties were entirely too small, entirely too tough and nutritionally inappropriate for humans. 
They needed to be greatly expanded in size, greatly softened in texture and overhauled at the molecular level–which would be an imposing challenge for modern botanists, much less Neolithic farmers.  
Despite the seeming impossibility of meeting those daunting objectives, modern botanists are confident the first sodbusters had all they needed to do it: time and patience. Over hundreds of generations of selective crossbreeding, they consciously directed the genetic transformation of the few dozen that would turn out to be most useful to humans. And how did they do it? By the astounding feat of doubling, tripling and quadrupling the number of chromosomes in the wild varieties! 
Domestic wheat and oats were elevated from an ancestor with seven chromosomes to their current 42–an expansion by a factor of six.”
Remember that the cultivation of wheat brought about the rise of the Sumerians, who had oddly intimate relationships with their gods (the Anunaki, of course). The ancient Greeks were certain that wheat was the gift of a god; Demeter, in this case. It was the final "mystery" in the dramas put on at Eleusis. The Egyptians credited wheat to Osiris, the star-sailor.  So its inclusion in this film hardly seems incidental. On the contrary; it looks as if someone were doing their homework.

Now, longtime readers of The Secret Sun realize that nearly every major SF franchise of the past 50 years (starting with 2001: A Space Odyssey) is centered around ancient astronaut theory in one way or the other. 

Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars (arguably), Battlestar GalacticaAlien (of course), Stargate, The X-Files, Transformers, Indiana Jones and the entire Marvel and DC Universes all established their creation myths, in varying degrees, as the work of advanced extraterrestrial interlopers. Does that seem coincidental to you? It certainly does not to me.

There've also been a ton of less-visible but still-signficant TV shows and movies that have done the same, like Jonny Quest, The Phoenix, The Man from Atlantis as well as Childhood's End, Cocoon, Hangar 18, countless American and Japanese cartoons (even the hugely-popular cardgame/anime property Yu-Gi-Oh). So much so that you can't help but wonder if there's not a very powerful cargo cult at work behind the scenes in Tinseltown.


Bearing all that in mind, as well as the Ancient Aliens cable show (now in its 12th season), researchers might be forgiven for believing this was all part of some long-running conditioning program. You know, kind of like the one suggested by the Brookings Institution report back in 1960. 

Or exactly like it, actually.

Researchers would be especially forgiven in light of this recent blockbuster news story:
Was our solar system once home to an advanced civilization other than our own — perhaps one that predated humanity by hundreds of millions of years before being wiped out by an asteroid impact or some other cataclysm? 
There's no evidence for such a pre-human indigenous technological species, though people have been speculating about one since ancient times. But a respected space scientist points out in a provocative new paper that if the existence of home-grown intelligent space aliens has never been established, it's never been ruled out either. 
And if a race of smart and perhaps spacefaring aliens did make their home in our solar system, traces of their lost civilization might still be out there somewhere in the system just waiting for us to find them.
Quite a "synchronicity," don't you think?

UPDATE: Check out Gordon's review on Alien: Covenant on Rune Soup.



TO BE CONTINUED...

* Elizabeth is often traced to Elisheba but you can also frame it as a contraction of Eloah-Isis-Beth, or "House of Isis, the Goddess."

          Sternenregen!   
Nicht vergessen, wenn Ihr die Möglichkeit habt, heute Nacht mal romantisch werden und gen Himmel blicken - es werden Träume wahr, es heißt doch, wenn man eine Sternschnuppe sieht darf man sich etwas wünschen und der Wunsch geht dann in Erfüllung.   Heute Nacht (Dienstag auf Mittwoch) soll es ca. 100 Sternschnuppen pro Stunde "regnen", da unsere Erde wieder einmal einen Asteroidengürtel kreuzt.
          CURSO 2012/13---TEMA 1.-EL UNIVERSO Y EL SISTEMA SOLAR   

TEMA 1.- EL UNIVERSO Y EL SISTEMA SOLAR

INDICE
1.- LA EVOLUCIÓN DE LAS IDEAS SOBRE EL UNIVERSO
2.- EL ORIGEN DEL UNIVERSO
3.- LAS  GALAXIAS
4.- LAS ESTRELLAS
5.- LOS PLANETAS Y LOS ASTROS MENORES
6.- EL SITEMA SOLAR

1.- LA EVOLUCIÓN DE LAS IDEAS SOBRE EL UNIVERSO
Universo. Es el conjunto de toda la materia que existe. Se ha comprobado que el Universo se encuentra en expansión continua. Según la teoría de "la gran explosión" (Big Bang), hace 15 000 millones de años todo la materia y energía se encontraban concentrados en un único punto que explotó.
Astronomía.- Estudia el origen y la evolución del universo, los fenómenos que suceden en él y los materiales que lo componen.
§         Teoría Geocéntrica. Esta teoría propone que la Tierra es el centro del Universo y que los planetas y el Sol giran alrededor de ella describiendo circunferencias. Se fundamentaba en la observación diaria de la salida y puesta del Sol. Se remonta al siglo III a.C. Posteriormente, en el siglo II d.C, el griego Ptolomeo (90-168 d.C) observó que en determinadas épocas del año los planetas se veían más brillantes y el Sol parecía más grande. Para explicar todo ello sin contradecir que las órbitas eran circunferencias Ptolomeo propuso que el Sol y los planetas seguían pequeñas órbitas alrededor de un punto el cual a la vez describía una gran circunferencia alrededor de la Tierra. Cuanto más observaciones hacía más circunferencias subordinadas había de imaginar, y así llegó a proponer hasta 39 de estas circunferencias. Es el denominada modelo de Ptolomeo.
RESUMIENDO:
-La Tierra es esférica y está inmóvil en el centro del universo.
-El Sol, la Luna y los planetas giran en torno a la Tierra en trayectorias circulares.
-Las estrellas están fijas en una esfera muy lejana que gira, a su vez, alrededor de la Tierra.


§         Teoría Heliocéntrica. En esta teoría se propone que el Sol está en el centro y que es la Tierra y los otros planetas los que giran alrededor de él. Se remonta al siglo III a.C. y fue recuperada por Copérnico (1473-1543 d.C) en el siglo XVI, mejorada luego por Kepler (1571-1630) al demostrar que las órbitas no eran circulares sino elípticas y finalmente confirmada por Galileo (1564-1642) mediante observaciones con el telescopio que él inventó.
§         RESUMIENDO:
-El Sol está inmóvil en el centro del universo.
-La Tierra gira sobre sí misma y la Luna lo hace asu alrededor.
-La Tierra y los demás planetas giran alrededor del Sol a distintas velocidades y en círculos concéntricos.
-la esfera de estrellas que rodea este sistema no se mueve.



2.- EL ORIGEN DEL UNIVERSO

La Teoría del big-bang.- Toda la materia y la energía del universo estaban concentradas en un punto infinitamente pequeño y extremadamente caliente. Después de una gran explosión que dio origen al universo, el big bang, la materia salió impulsada con gran energía e todas las direcciones; después de mucho tiempo, se fue agrupando y concentrando en algunos lugares del espacio, dando lugar a las primeras estrellas y galaxias.
Escalas y medidas en el universo
Año luz.- Es la distancia que recorre la luz en un año. Como la luz se mueve a 300 000 Km/s es una longitud enorme. Se utiliza para expresar la distancia entre las estrellas
Unidad Astronómica.- U.A. Unidades Astronómicas, 1 U.A. = 150. 106 Km. Distancias de los planetas al Sol. Entre la Tierra y su estrella hay una Unidad Astronómica (unos 150 millones de km); Neptuno se encuentra a 30,1 UA.
Medidos de observación del universo: Actualmente disponemos de numerosos recursos tecnológicos que nos permiten observar y explorar el espacio:
-Observatorios astronómicos
-Telescopios en el espacio
-Sondas
-Vehículos robotizados

The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky (Hazard) produced a video program comparing the science and techniques used in coal mining to that used in space exploration. A mining engineer (Bob Zik, TECO Coal) and a retired NASA astronaut (Bill Readdy) discuss the similarities of their jobs with two students (Derrick Stacy and Maddie Sluss).

Earth mining and moon and asteroid mining comparisons will be much discussed later in the 21st century as each contribution new knowledge to the other. Zero gravity and lunar gravity mining will be significantly different compared to Earth mining activities.

          What's Up For February 2014?    

See all the planets, plus mission updates from comet and asteroid missions Dawn and Rosetta, notes Jane Houston Jones from NASA JPL.

          Boomerang MMU   
Here’s my concept for an MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) which I've named Boomerang. It’s meant for long distances and asteroid exploration.



           Backwards asteroid orbits sun in the opposite direction    
Asteroid 2015 BZ509 orbits the Sun in the opposite direction to the planets and takes 12 years to make one complete orbit around the Sun - roughly the same time as Jupiter travelling in the opposite direction.
          Hayabusa: Japaner sind zäh   

Die Chancen auf die Rückkehr der japanischen Asteroidensonde sind weiter gesunken, da nur noch ein Ionentriebwerk voll funktionsfähig ist. Die JAXA hat das wissenschaftliche Material der Mission im Internet frei gegeben.

File Download (6:46 min / 6 MB)


          Dawn wurde wiederbelebt   

Bis letzte Woche sahen die Chancen für die Dawn Mission schlecht aus. Die Mission sollte zu den großen Asteroiden Ceres und Vesta fliegen, die größten Asteroiden im Sonnensystem. Die Mission wurde am 2. März 2006 gestrichen, aber die NASA Techniker konnten die Verantwortlichen davon überzeugen, dass Dawn ein voller Erfolg werden kann.

File Download (3:38 min / 3.3 MB)


          Neues von Hayabusa   

Die japanische Weltraumbehörde JAXA meldet, dass bereits seit dem 23. Januar wieder Kontakt mit der von Pannen gebeutelten Asteroidensonde besteht.

File Download (4:40 min / 4.3 MB)


          NASA streicht die Mission DAWN   

Die NASA hat die Mission DAWN komplett gestrichen. Die Sonde hatte das Ziel, zwei Asteroiden zu besuchen. An der Mission sind auch deutsche Wissenschaftler beteiligt.

File Download (4:48 min / 4.4 MB)


          Explicación al misterio del asteroide que circula en sentido contrario   
   El peculiar asteroide 2015 BZ509, conocido como Bee-Zed, comparte la órbita de Júpiter pero se mueve en la dirección opuesta a la del planeta gigante. Ahora, se ha establecido una teoría que lo explica.
          ¿Por qué el 30 de junio es el Día del Asteroide?   
   Este 30 de junio se celebrará, por primera vez oficialmente, el Día Internacional del Asteroide, con el que la ONU quiere concienciar del peligro del impacto de los asteroides en la Tierra.
           AsteroidsВ®: Gunner + for Iphone 1.00    
Blast your way through deadly asteroids fields and alien war ships to become the most wealthy and powerful Gunner in space history
          Links for 2011-09-14 [Digg]   
  • Katie Piper, What an inspiration: Acid attack victim shows how far she's come at TV Choice Awards 2011 (pics)
    In 2008 her world was shattered and she was left with severe facial disfigurement following a violent acid attack arranged by her ex-boyfriend. But Katie Piper demonstrated just how far she has come over the past three years as she stepped out at the TV Choice Awards last night. The 27-year-old, who now runs her own charity to help people living with disfigurement, looked stunning as she arrived at the Savoy hotel amongst a whole host of TV personalities.
  • Woman Strip-Searched After 9/11 Flight Landed - CBS News
    Passenger with Middle Eastern appearance led away in handcuffs from flight that received fighter-jet escort on 9/11 anniversary
  • Microsoft has plenty of growth left, Ballmer says
    The software giant's chief executive tells analysts that its upcoming version of Windows, as well as bets with mobile phones, gaming, and productivity, offer huge revenue potential. Read this blog post by Jay Greene on Microsoft.
  • 2011 Frankfurt Automobile Exhibition In Germany : Picture
    These are the pictures from the IAA Frankfurt Auto Show, September 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany. The IAA will be make public to the from September 17 till September 25. The new-fangled Fiat Panda is on exhibit throughout the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. The fair unlocks its doors to the community from Sept. 15 through Sept. 25, 2011.
  • NASA SLS: Space Launch System Will Take Humans To Mars
    NASA announced on Wednesday the design of the Space Launch System, or SLS, a rocket that will carry humans to destinations that include asteroids and Mars. "This new, heavy-lift rocket will be America's most powerful since the Saturn V rockets that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a video released before the announcement.
  • Microsoft Still Loves Yahoo, Even Without Bartz
    Nothing to worry about.

          Download Quis Parampa    
Quis parampa adalah quis yang menguji otak kita . Quis ini ada 100 level.
Berani coba ?


  

langsung saja 
DOWNLOAD : click here!



mau juga kunci jawabannya ?
INI LOO. . . . 



1. Level 1 Klik tulisan mulai
2. Level 2 G=A (kata orang ini soal kunci-kunci gitar. Karna ga ngerti ngikut aja deh)
3. Level 3 Titik dihuruf i!
4. Level 4 Tulisannya dibalik. Pertanyaannya Apakah bisa anda baca? Jawabannya ya. Pilih AY!!
5. Level 5 Huruf kelima dari “ALFABET” adalah B
6. Level 6 gerak-gerakin aja mousenya sampai ketemu tulisan yup! Warna hijau
7. Level 7 Jali (kurang ngerti kenapa)
8. Level 8 Perhatikan tanda tanya yang persis seperti soal
9. Level 9 Ingat semua urutan warnanya. Kalau sudah hafal klik OK!!
10. Level 10 ini pribahasa. B… hidup bercermin bangkai
11. Level 11 Kata kuncinya death = mati. Gerakan mouse menuju tulisan mati di matemika sampai tulisan matinya berwarna merah
12. Level 12 jawabannya d. X
13. Level 13 Hasil dari pertanyaan matematikanya adalah 13. Klik angka 13 pada level 13 di pojok kiri atas
14. Level 14 Klik hafalan warna di level 9 tadi berurutan. Merah, biru,kuning,merah,hijau
15. Level 15 Tekan space pada keyboard
16. Level 16 Langsung lari kepojok kanan atas sampai keluar gambar tangan pada kursor mouse
17. Level 17 Lewati jalan sempit itu sampai ke tanda panah. Jangan sampai menyentuh warna hitam
18. Level 18 Clue nya gambar panda. Klik huruf-huruf yang ada dipilihan menyusun tulisan PANDA
19. Level 19 Pelajaran derat jawabannya 21
20. Level 20 Perhatikan keyboard anda L-K-J-H-G-F- selanjutynya huruf D
21. Level 21 Jawabannya E, gue juga kurang ngerti. hehe
22. Level 22 Cut the wire! Potong pita merahnya! Ingat, pita merah bukan kabel merah!
23. Level 23 Klik angka 23 kolom ke 3 baris ke3
24. Level 24 Ingat lagi hafalan warna tadi. Jangan dibaca. Tapi sesuai warnanya
25. Level 25 Jangan menyentuh warna hijau. Caranya alihkan mouse melingkari,melewati menu bar,toolbar yang . so pasti ga nyentuh warna hijau donk?
26. Level 26 Jangan berkedip. Lihat yang warnanya hujau. 3 kota lain warna merah (kiri bawah)
27. Level 27 Gerakkan mouse dibawah hati-hati tanda nyawa kita. Ntar ketemu sama si cicak di level 17
28. Level 28 Dilevel ini, kita musti ngelewatin asteroid. Biar aman arahkan kursor mouse ke pojok kiri atas ampe ke menu bar juga boleh. Sampai pesawat kita ga keliatn lagi. Setelah semua asteroid lewat. Masuk ke cahaya pink.
29. Level 29 Susun puzzlenya! Lalu klik tanda titik di kiri bawah. Ikuti tanda panah tulisan click here
30. Level 30 Klik kabel merah
31. Level 31 Jangan sentuh warna merahnya. Cara menyeberanginya. Klik kanan tahan mousenyasampai nyeberang ke lingkaran next levelnya
32. Level 32 Klik TDAJ, ga ngeti juga kenapa.
33. Level 33 Pelajaran TIK kelas 1 SMA. Hehe. Angka binary 33 = 100001
34. Level 34 Klik hati-hati tanda nyawa kita.
35. Level 35 Hafalan warna lagi. Klik berurutan. Warna-warna di bom itu. Musti buru-buru sebelum bomnya meledak
36. Level 36 Tulisan Level 36 nya di klik tahan, trus di drop kebawah. Eh, ketemu deh sama tombol merah. Klik aja!
37. Level 37 He is. zibba
38. Level 38 Tembak si cowo. Jangan cewe. Tembak kepalanya.
39. Level 39 Aduh level berapa yak? Ya level 39 atuh
40. Level 40 Tekan panah arah kekanan di keyboard
41. Level 41 Klik titik ditanda seru. Nanti bakal tampil, seakan kita udah game over. Saba raja. Itu cumin becanda sih. Tunggu aja, bentaran kita lanjut lavel!
42. Level 42 Nanti bakal tampil, seakan kita udah game over. Sabarnaja. Itu cuman becanda sih. Tunggu aja, bentaran kita lanjut lavel!
43. Level 43 Klik pulau Lombok dipeta
44. Level 44 Klik angka 1 di 1=5
45. Level 45 Klik angka 45 di tulisan level 45. Karna jamnya membentuk sudut 45 derjat
46. Level 46 Gambar telur. Berarti EGG. Klik d tuts pianonya. Kalau ga ngerti tangga nada. tanya ke yang ngerti. Tapi kalau males . Klik yang pertama tuts ke 3 dari kiri 1 kali. Lalu tuts ke 5 dari kiri 2 kali
47. Level 47 Nah ini, nembak cowo di level 38. Sama kok posisinya. Suman kan rada gelap. Good luck
48. Level 48 Kurang ngerti juga. Jawabannya 11
49. Level 49 klik terus menerus mouse pas ditulisan run!! Biar kepitingnya lari. Musti cepet-cepet. Sebelum bomnya meledak
50. Level 50 Tekan 1 di keyboard
51. Level 51 Hindari rintangan-rintangan itu. Jangan sampai nyentuh. Sampai nyampe di gambar gembok. Masukin kuncinya.
52. Level 52 Drag tanda kurang (-) pilihan 7x-5y, ke tengah-tengah angka 52. Di tulisan level 52. 5-2= 3 kan? hehe
53. Level 53 Tekan huruf S di keyboard. Si abk kapal bilang. Kapten Awas!! Ada eS!
54. Level 54 Ada 5. K,A,C,M,dan T
55. Level 55 Jawabannya = tulisan ini. Ketik di keyboard” tulisan ini
56. Level 56 Geser aja tulisan bulannya ke bawah. Eh ada jawabannya!
57. Level 57 Rub artinya gosok atau geser. Gerak-gerakkan mousenya dititik danda serus secara cepat.
58. Level 58 komplementer, ga ngerti juga. Jawabannya kuning
59. Level 59 kebalikan sebelumnya. Hujau-orange-ungu-hijau-merah
60. Level 60 klik dihuruf-huruf pilihan nama penyanyinya “BONO” hehe
61. Level 61 Nicholas cage c-a-g-e, 1-6-5-3
62. Level 62 Do nothing. Ya ga ngapa-ngapain. Diem aja
63. Level 63 Lawannya adam= hawa, hawa-eve. Klik eve di tulisan lEVEl
64. Level 64 si parampaa donk!
65. Level 65 masih inget hapalan warna? Nah.. inget tokoh-tokoh itu warnanya apa. Mr.crab, smurf,the Simpsons,mr. crab,parampaa
66. Level 66 INDONESIA SATU. Berati ONE, ketik di keyboard o-n-e
67. Level 67 end this day. Klik titik setelah kata day! Lalu, klik matahari, yang terkhir klik pohon.
68. Level 68 FIFA tekan F1F4 di keyboard
69. Level 69 Huruf tengah dari HEART berarti A. klik A
70. Level 70 jawabnya 10
71. Level 71 Tekan shift + 6 agak lama
72. Level 72 Tangkap angka 2 dari angka-angka yang berjatuhan. Drag ke sebelah angka 7.
73. Level 73 urutannya disket besar,disket kecil,cd,usb,harddisk
74. Level 74 Jangan pilih yang kotak,kecil dan menangis. Berarti pilih lingkaran,besar dan tersenyum
75. Level 75 Klik her!
76. Level 76 Klik kanan layar, lalu klik kiri. Arahkan mouse ke huruf O “mouse” Nanti akan keluar sinar hijau. Ikuti arahnya klik diujung arah panan hijau.
77. Level 77
78. Level 78 Drag tulisan mouse ke kotak smile disamping kiri yang otomatis muncul
79. Level 79 Tulis “Try Again”
80. Level 80 Tulis “The Cranberries”
81. Level 81 Pilih jawaban 13
82. Level 82 KLik Ok. Drag bomnya lalu klik huruf G
83. Level 83 Tunggu hingga detik “ke-3″, akan ada tulisan “S7OP”, klik tulisan S7OP-nya
84. Level 84 Tekan tanda Tanya (?) di keyboard
85. Level 85 Ketik “level 85″, ketik “”, ketik “you’re welcome”
86. Level 86 Klik “bagian tengah lingkaran bagian bawah pada angka 8″ tulisan “level 86″
87. Level 87 Tunggu kuncinya masuk. Lalu tekan enter
88. Level 88 Tekan F8 di keyboard lalu pilih safe mode
89. Level 89 Klik buku berwarna “Biru-Ungu-Kuning-Ungu”
90. Level 90 pilih lambing omega dan 69
91. Level 91 Hanya bermain, menuju tanda panah (lewat kesebelah kanan dulu) .
92. Level 92 Klik warna “hijau-merah-kuning-biru-merah”
93. Level 93 Hitung dengan tepat dan cepat jumlah bola merah!
94. Level 94 Klik budi
95. Level 95 Tunggu latar sampai berwarna hijau. Dan klik lanjut?
96. Level 96 Klik “mata, bintik tangan, duri di kepala, latar merah, rumput” secara berurutan
97. Level 97 Klik semua tombol merah yang ada disetiap bom
98. Level 98 Butuh kecepatan tangan dan koordinasi mata yg baik. Arahkan kursor mouse kelingkaran yanga da. Ikuti jalan lingkaran itu.lingkaran terkecil ada di antara “level & 98″.
99. Level 99 masuk aja twitternya (twitter.com/masova), liat arah jam 3
100. Level 100 dan lihat apa yang kamu dapatkan.


          Daniel Cano / Julian Lage   
DANIEL CANO QUINTET
Don't Touch the Blue
(Blue Asteroid DCQ-012154)

Cano (tp, fh, comp), Pedro Cortejosa (ss, ts), Wilfried Wilde (g), Paco Charlín (b), Jesús Pazos (d).

Recorded on February 15-16, 2014. Total time 50:15

With the blessings of fellow trumpeters Chris Kase and Paolo Fresu, UK-based Spaniard Daniel Cano brings about his own take on 21st century hard-bop. As a composer — 8 originals, 1 standard — he's comfortable in Monk's shadow (as in "Don't Touch the Blue" and "Buenordías", where he also sneaks in a quote of the "West End Blues" cadenza). The rhythm team provides an unobtrusive pulse — even in a busy tune like "Plutón", especially bright when Charlín sticks to the vamp — which is, helped by the absence of a piano, the perfect fold for the unhurried and thought-through work of the soloists. Minor cavil, perhaps: a few more sprinkles of the fire shown on the closing "Canción carpiana" might have enhanced the end result. Worth catching live (they're in Seville, Spain, tomorrow 24).

Available on Spotify

~ ~ ~

JULIAN LAGE
World's Fair
(Modern Lore Records)

Lage (acoustic guitar)

Recorded March and June, 2014. Total time 38:02

Julian Lage. He may be the sweetest interviewee ever, a true unassuming laid-back Californian; his playing may sound effortless, as if there were no merit to what he does. But don't let all that mislead you. If you listen to this recording, you may well be hooked by second #4 (0:04), and that doesn't happen with lightweights. Lage, in fact, is a monster guitarist, one of the most extraordinary musicians we have today. The fact that he's been playing since he was a child and that he loves the instrument puts him in a different category way past instrumental virtuosity rendering it invisible. You can also forget about styles and genres, although annotator and fellow guitarist Matt Munisteri's "post-Internet folk" sounds like an apt definition: even if it has a certain local flavour, despite the acoustic instrument and current trends this is not an "Americana" album (phew!). With tunes like "Peru" and "Japan", this is rather Lage's own worldview. His tale is, at times, very evocative, pensive but not sombre, energetic and joyful, with moments of ridiculous guitar-playing (his sonic palette with the acoustic guitar is astonishing). Lage's only apparent limitation is his own imagination, and at the moment, it seems far from drying up.

Available on BandCamp, YouTube and Spotify
Website: www.julianlage.com

          Mokslininkas: iš kosmoso mums nuolat gresia rimtas pavojus   
Daugiau nei prieš šimtą metų, kai Tunguskos sprogimo banga apskriejo visą planetą, žmonės apie kosminius pavojus dar nemąstė, nors sprogimo jėga buvo tūkstantį kartų didesnė už Hirošimos bombos. Taip LRT KLASIKAI sako geologas, Vilniaus universiteto profesorius dr. Gediminas Motuza. Bet, pabrėžia jis, kosminiai smūgiai gali pasikartoti – vien XXI a. keliolika asteroidų pralėkė tarp Žemės ir Mėnulio (nors jie nebuvo ypač dideli, bet tai labai arti).
Skaitykite daugiau...

          These Federal Aviation Administration Regulations Are Why We're Not Going To Mars   
If the FAA regulates commercial space activities the way it regulates drones, we're not mining asteroids or going to Mars.
          Ceres Coming Into View   
It's begun!  Dawn is on approach to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, and is starting to resolve features. We have now seen two sets of images, one on January 11 the other on January 26.  Indistinct curved marking and subtle shadings are apparent.  Some markings look like craters, others like fracture or fault scarps.  The fact that these features are not obvious at this point is intriguing.  Perhaps they will prove to be like features we are familiar with on icy satellites of Saturn, the objects most similar to Ceres in size and composition.  Perhaps not.

The best Ceres images from January are at best ~20-22 kilometers resolution.  Lots of features are hidden to us at this scale.  Nonetheless here is a reprojected version one of the new images, one unmarked, the other marked by what appear to be scarps or topographic features, all of which at this point seem to suggest a chain of craters or an elongate trough.  We should know by mid-February whether that is correct.
A simple sketch map, likely to be wrong, of some basic features on a reprojected map of the 26 Jan image of Ceres.  Is that curved feature real?  A comparable map of Tethys is shown to right.
February will be revealing.  We should have a fair idea by the end of this month of the basic nature of Ceres' surface and a crude outline of its geology, at least if our experiences with Voyager and Cassini at Saturn are any guide.  As the images of Saturn's moons show, we can learn some basic facts from the expected Ceres images, which will be as good as ~4 kilometers per pixel by the end of the month.

To get a sense of what the new images in February might tell us about Ceres, I've dug up some Cassini images of Saturn's icy moons.  Take Tethys.  Famous for its really large and deep impact basin Odysseus and nearly globe-girdling fault valley Ithaca Chasma.  Odysseus is ~430 km wide and at least 8 kilometers deep.  Several other deep craters make Tethys a useful comparison.  Ithaca Chasma is a prominent fracture system 75 to 115 kilometers wide, several kilometers deep and nearly circles the globe.  Both features are prominent and possible analogs for what we might see on Ceres.

Inspired by a posting on UMSF, I put together a montage of Tethys images at resolutions and viewing geometries roughly comparable to what we expect at key points in the approach to Ceres this February (These are not exact duplicates but close enough to give a sense of what we might see).
The great tectonic trench Ithaca Chasma would be visible in the 12-Feb images, and possibly on the 3rd.  The large impact basin Odysseus is the large circular feature in the 19-Feb scaled image, but it is interesting that even thigh more than 8 kilometers deep, it does not convey a sense of enormous depth in these views.
What will we be doing with these February data?  The most obvious thing will be an inventory of the types of features we can identify with confidence.  This will give us a sense of the type of work we can do when mapping really starts in April.

After the rush to Ceres in February we enter a month-long period where our mapping will not improve.  During all of March Dawn will perform an intricate celestial dance as it maneuvers toward its first high-altitude mapping orbit.  This first "Survey Orbit" will allow us to map at ~1.3 km/pixel but it will take most of April to get there as we slowly spiral in.   [See Chief Engineer Dr. Marc Rayman's blogs detailing Dawn's trajectory and mapping phases. ]  With these mapping data in hand we can start cataloging and measuring geologic features to test our hypotheses of Ceres' geologic and thermal history and its internal composition.  Is there evidence of internal heat, either now or in the past?  Is Ceres partly made of water ice and is that ice found mostly in the upper mantle?  Compositional mapping will also start.  We should also get our first indications of the gravity field of Ceres, but the real work of gravity mapping must wait till be get to lower altitudes.

Tethys at 1.3 kilometers/pixel (Cassini), roughly equivalent to Survey Orbit mapping quality.  

During March, however, Dawn will be a little bit further from Ceres than we are on 25-February.  We will also be returning fewer images.  These will include some high-phase crescent images, though, which will be better suited to searching for outgassing and vapor clouds around Ceres (if any are to be found).  These are the type of images that show off the Enceladus jets so well.

All this is great fun, but the real action begins in late April when we start global mapping of Ceres at scales comparable to the other icy worlds of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, and begin to resolve the smaller-scale geologic features that tell us about impact, volcanic, tectonic and erosional processes going on at Ceres.  It seems appropriate that we should begin our mapping of Ceres, named for the roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, in the springtime (at least in the northern hemisphere).  We should then be mapping features 1 to 1.5 kilometers across, similar to Voyager 2 mapping of much of Ganymede and Triton.






          Year of the 'Dwarves': Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due   
Is it irony or just poetic incongruity that at a gangly 6'4" I should devote much of 2015 working on the two missions that will be mapping the first icy 'dwarf planets' in our Solar System to be explored, Ceres and Pluto?   Having spent the last 30 years using Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini images to map and understand the icy worlds orbiting the giant planets that we have visited so far, you can imagine I'm quite pleased to be involved with the first missions to explore the two largest icy worlds orbiting the Sun!  In 2013 I was nominated and added as a new Science Team member to New Horizons on its way to Pluto, and then this winter asked to continue working on the Dawn Project as we approach the icy asteroid/planet Ceres.

This year we achieve the first exploration of these curious but fascinating objects, but I am still struck by the fact that we are 57 years into the Space Age and we are only now getting to these two bodies, diminutive in size compared to giant Jupiter but large in stature.  These are chief among a group of objects that are smaller than our Moon, orbiting the Sun, and large enough to be planetary in nature but sharing their 'orbital zone' with other similar objects.

iPhone captures of my observations logs of Ceres (bottom left) and Vesta (bottom right), through a 2.4" refractor in 
Buffalo, Summer 1978, a year out of High School and 9 months before Voyager at Jupiter.  
Did I contemplate exploration of either body those cool summer nights?  I'm sure I pointed the thing at Pluto, too, 
knowing it was well out of its range, hoping to record a 'Pluto-photon' on my retina.

The architecture of our Solar System seems to be more complex with each passing year.  In 1992 we discovered that Pluto was not alone and in fact part of a vast belt of smaller icy objects. The Solar System can be said to be constructed of 5 major zones: the rocky Inner Planets, the transitional Asteroid Belt, the Middle Zone of ice and gas-rich giant planets, the Outer Zone of the Kuiper Belt objects, including Pluto, and an Outer-Outer Zone of the Oort Cloud of comets. (We probably need some better names but this gets the point across.)

Ceres and Pluto are the dominant bodies of their two respective regions of the Solar System. Teeming with thousands of small objects, both the Asteroid Belt and the Edgeworth-Kuiper (or just plain Kuiper) Belt are key regions of our celestial neighborhood.  The Asteroid Belt, home of icy Ceres which holds fully 1/3rd its total mass, is the key transition zone between the (relatively) water-poor inner planets and the water-rich outer planets.  Ceres may also be carbon-rich.  Kuiper Belt objects have lots of carbon-rich material and exotic ices, like the methane, nitrogen and carbon monoxide that cover Pluto's surface.  This outer zone will tell us a lot about how the Solar System formed.
Ceres, second from the bottom, just above recently visited Vesta, is traditionally
placed among the Inner Planets (many of which are shown above),
but is ice-rich and is a transitional object.
Orbit of Ceres (in blue) within the Asteroid Belt population.

Asteroids visited to date, including Vesta, Dawn's mapping target in 2011.
Ceres is a lot darker than Vesta, as shown here. We will be able to use Dawn imaging rather soon!
The Voyager/Galileo/Cassini missions to the giant Outer (or Middle Zone?) Planets looked at their icy moons in close-up, revealing towering fault scarps, smooth ice volcanoes, impact craters flattened and 10-km-deep, disrupted ice rafts, and jets of water vapor and ice crystals venting into space (all the subject of numerous previous blogs).   When Dawn and New Horizons reach their targets this year, we will see up close for the first time ice worlds not orbiting large planets but orbiting the Sun.  This is a rather important distinction.  We now know that gravitational tides, like the ones that affect Earth's oceans but much more powerful, can radically change an orbiting body's geologic history.  This was a key discovery of the Space Age.  Examples of how tidal forces change worlds include the famous volcanoes wracking Io, but also the faulted and disrupted icy shell of Europa, the complex geology and interior of Ganymede, the icy fractures and vents of Enceladus, and the volcanoes, diapirs, and geysers of Triton.  All three of these icy bodies (and maybe a few more) are believed to be harboring liquid water oceans beneath their frigid surfaces.  Maybe we will find evidence of the same at Ceres, Pluto or both.  A key difference is that tidal forces are weak or negligible at both Ceres and Pluto.

Ceres is most similar in size to several of Saturn's icy moons and may be similar internally as well, being composed of 25% water ice by mass.  Dione is a pretty good match to Ceres, at least in basic properties of size and bulk density.  Dione has signs of past geologic activity in faults and volcanic resurfacing but is not active now.  One thing we have learned exploring the Solar System is to be prepared for anything.  Ceres is unlikely to be another Dione, but Dione will be useful as a benchmark of comparison when we do map Ceres.

Comparisons of Ceres with other prominent icy objects.  Dione is Ceres' closest twin in size and mass.
Pluto and the Moon are shown above for comparison. 
Global map of Dione
How the limited/negligible tidal heating will affect Ceres is unknown, but Ceres is closer to the Sun and warmer than the other ice worlds. This heat combined with radioactive heating and other sources may have resulted in internal convection, surface erosion or other internal activity.  Ceres also looks to be occasionally venting water vapor into space, as detected by the Herschel Space Observatory.  It is theoretically plausible that Ceres may have a liquid water ocean as well.  Whether the venting of water vapor is related to this ocean is unknown, and that would be rather exciting.  What might be hidden within such an ocean would be even more uncertain.  The first priority to to simply assess the geologic history of Ceres and to determine the origin of the venting.  Is it related to volcanoes, fissures, impact craters, or just warm ice vaporizing under the heat of the Sun?  It might be similar to the venting we see on Triton or Enceladus.  Maybe it's something we haven't thought of or seen yet.  We can only find out by mapping the geology, topography, and composition of the surface at high resolution.  We are about to do just that.

DAWN AT CERES

Dawn and New Horizons are two very different missions.  I will talk more about New Horizons next month, but in short, the Pluto encounter will be more than 6 months long but will be very fast, much like the Voyager encounter with Neptune in 1989.  Dawn will arrive at Ceres first, beginning in January, and this approach will be quite leisurely by contrast.   Orbit 'capture,' when Dawn is firmly under the gravitational influence of Ceres, will occur around March 6.  Dedicated mapping operations will start some time in late April at resolutions of ~1.5 kilometer per pixel.

Don’t expect lots of images during approach to Ceres, however.  To reach Ceres, the spacecraft must continue ion thrusting all the way in, and we can only point the cameras when the engines are turned off for brief intervals to peak at our target.  That's why we won't be seeing pictures every day!  We can't actually take pictures every day and still get to our target.  We should be getting a set of images once every 1-2 weeks during approach, though, and the science team and those watching with us will be most eager to see what those images tell us as we near our target.  

Once in orbit, we will map Ceres in stages, going down to progressively lower altitudes.   Resolutions will increase from ~400 meters to 140 meters to partial mapping at 35 meters!  Our best map of an icy body is that for Enceladus, which has recently been completed in color at 100 meter resolution, by the author.  For Dione we have a similar map at 250 meter resolution.

[See the series of seriously excellent Ceres blogs by Marc Rayman that describe in detail Dawn's approach and mapping plans.  Kudos to the Mission Team for the fabulous job of getting us to Ceres (and Vesta)!]
Simulated views showing the sorts of things we might see on approach to Ceres this winter.
I will be assisting in the geologic investigations of Ceres in a supporting role, as will many others on the Team.  I was first brought on board Dawn for the Vesta mapping phase in 2011-2012 and led the effort to understand the giant Rheasilvia impact basin discovered by HST at the South Pole, which I discovered was actually two overlapping basins.  (I will also be working to map Pluto and construct topographic maps from stereo images, though for Ceres I will just be using stereo for geology.)   

From a science perspective, I will be most interested in (and my main role) the nature of impact craters on Ceres.  Impact craters record many things about a planets history and its structure.  Impact craters can excavate material buried below the surface and eject it onto the surface to see.  Craters also record the thermal evolution of the interiors of icy bodies.  Ice can creep (that is, deform) if it is too warm, in much the way ice sheets move slowly downhill on Earth.  The warmer the ice layer, the more it will flatten or 'relax.'  Measuring the topography of craters will thus tell us how warm the interior has been.  But first we must go there and see if any craters have indeed relaxed.  Impact craters might also reveal if there is/was an ocean deep inside.  For all of these questions my experience mapping impact craters on the icy satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus will come to bear.  Comparison with craters on Ganymede, Dione and other moons will be telling.  Crater shape and morphology statistics for the Jovian and Saturnian moons are complete and in hand, ready for use when we map Ceres' craters!

Some of the craters of Dione - the largest is 85 km wide.
Craters also tell us about the population of bodies that formed them.  In both cases, but Pluto and Charon especially, the sizes of the craters we see may tell us the numbers of small bodies that populate the zones both the Asteroid and Kuiper Belts.  I will be assisting on this effort, too, though not leading it.  Much of the crater work comes later when we have mapping orbit data in hand, but first order of business will be to survey the situation on dwarf planet 4 Ceres as we move in and assess what type of craters we see and how they have altered or been altered by the surface.

Color HST image showing dusky marking and a faint bluing near the poles. (STScI)
A new mapped version of the HST color images, compiled by Phil Stooke.
There are some artifacts, such as the curved streaks, but there might be
some 'bluing' at the poles, perhaps due to frost???
We don't know much about Cerean geology at this point.  The HST and Keck images show dusky markings of various shapes, including some dark spots and a bright ring which could be impact basins.  None of these features can be classified yet, however.  The few bright spots might be recent impact craters, but perhaps not (they tend to be craters on icy moons).  Ceres has quite an orbital inclination, almost 11°, but its axis is inclined only a few degrees, and as a result has almost no seasons.  How will the affect the evolution of the surface?  We don't see any obvious polar caps, but we might see some frost deposits in shadowed polar craters.  Speculations among the geologists run towards craters being relaxed, and the possibility of convection in the interior, which might lead to fracturing of the surface.  And of course, what is the source of true venting of water vapor?  It's not nearly as vigorous as Enceladus, but the source should still be mappable on the surface.  Lots to look for!
HST image showing possible bright ring (between 9 and 12 o'clock).
Is this an impact basin or maybe a tectonic feature like the coronae on Miranda?
Circular dark features in other areas may also be impact features, or . . . ?  (STScI)
Movie of HST images of Ceres shows a variety of faint markings. (STScI)
A future post will look at New Horizons and its encounter with Pluto this summer and its family of 5+ moons, including the relatively large Charon.  

          The Planets at 50   


The metallic dragonfly known as Mariner 2, a derivative of the then-struggling lunar Ranger series and modified for interplanetary cruise and launched in August 1962 toward the planet Venus.  With a wingspan at just over 5 feet (almost 2 meters), this dragonfly would have outsized even its Jurrasic cousins.

2012 is an important year for celebration, at least in the semi-arbitrary sense of human numerology.  The fact that we have ten digits, count our personal anniversaries on the basis of seasonal revolutions of the Earth about the Sun and measure our life spans in decades dictates that decadal anniversaries are regarded of some importance, and century anniversaries in particular.  August 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first successful interplanetary explorer, Mariner 2, which lifted off from Cape Canavaral in August 1962 and encountered Venus in December that year.  This marked the first successful interplanetary* exploration in human history.  This event also marked what can be considered the true beginning of the current revolution in our understanding of our Solar neighborhood, including fundamental revelations about how our own planet came into being and evolved.  With this in mind and the imminent Venus transit on June 5th, it's a good time to look back on that half century and see what we have accomplished and what we have learned, scientifically and as a species.

To celebrate that achievement, I will be posting an extended discussion of those 50 years, the first pioneering voyages, the major milestones, where we have been and what we have learned from it all.  The plan is to publish these articles in a series of 5 or 6 posts over the next few weeks.  It all begins today with an assessment of where we stood 50 long years ago on the eve of launch . . .

*Planetary in this case referring to beyond the twin Earth-Moon system, and is focused on the "debris" currently orbiting the Sun (as such Sun-focused exploration will not be addressed).

1958-1962:  In The Beginning . . .

Today we have an international armada of spacecraft (below) orbiting or on their way to (at last count) one comet, three dwarf planets (in both the Kuiper and Asteroid Belts), and to every planet except Uranus and Neptune (hey NASA, ice giants are key members of the Solar System too!).  We have in the past decade or two also visited 4 other comets, at least a dozen asteroids, and had a virtual armada in orbit or on the surface of Mars since 1997.  That is indeed an impressive state of affairs, considering that as recently as 1988 we had but two interplanetary spacecraft at all beyond the Earth-Moon system (that being Voyager 1 & 2).  But in 1962 we considered ourselves fortunate whenever vehicles made it into Earth orbit, and even then surviving as a functioning robot until planetfall was an eventful ride.  It is still not a risk-free endeavor as the Phobos-Grunt, Mars Polar Lander and Akatsuki experiences remind us.  


Olaf Frohn's chart showing the fleet of interplanetary spacecraft currently in operation (as of April 2012).  Courtesy of Emily Lawdawalla's blog.  The chart would be empty in Summer 1962.

IGY and the Space Race
It is useful to remember the context in which all of this started.  Post World War II, the United States and Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War, with its subsidiary competitions the Arms Race, Missile Race (or Gap), and of course the Space Race.  Beginning in 1957 it had suddenly become very important for national prestige to be the first to do something or go somewhere in space.  The Space genie had been let out of the bottle so to speak in the late 1950's, when plans were put in motion to finally launch the orbiting satellites long dreamt of by novelists, artists, and scientists alike.  The impetus to do so in earnest was the Int'l Geophysical Year (IGY), a cooperative scientific agenda or program focused on investigating Earth geophysics, including its interior and its interactions with the space environment.  This program and the prestige associated with it (which was quote pronounced for its time) motivated the superpowers to push their advancing rocket technology to place a satellite into orbit, preferably with science instruments aboard.  Even the official emblem for IGY (below) featured a then-nonexistent Earth-orbiting satellite, symbolizing the scientific hopes attached to space.  While the Soviets reached orbit first, it was the americans who did so first with instruments dedicated to IGY, leading to fundamental and radical discoveries about the radiation belts and the solar wind, among other things.  These were among the first real indications of the vast unknowns awaiting us in our own solar neighborhood.



The lunar landing initiative launched by Kennedy in 1961 focused our early efforts to understanding the Moon in preparation for Apollo, at least for the 1960's.  The Moon's close proximity and relative ease of access (despite the low rate of early success) also made it the obvious first target.  Despite this, NASA's charter (http://history.nasa.gov/spaceact.html) was specifically written in 1958 to say, among other things, "(c) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:  (1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;".  The fact that this objective is listed first may be regarded as more than a coincidence, but it is a broadly defined objective, and our planetary neighborhood has been a major component of NASA's exploration program since inception.  

Despite the lunar focus, Venus and Mars remained on the menu, and the first realistic opportunity arose during the 1961 conjunction with Venus.  There have always been strong academic communities genuinely interested in science and outer space and at least in the US of A, where control over space programs was handed over to the civilian sector, they have been allowed to at least partially drive the planning and design of much of our planetary program.  The planets were obvious and convenient targets as the outer space frontier opened up, the race to reach them first was on.  The Soviets launched the first missions to both Venus and Mars that year but each attempt failed either during launch or from in-flight failures long before reaching their targets.  Both sides would have to wait for 1962 to try again.


1962: STATE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM  

Before we look at the first flight to Venus and how far we've come generally, let's review where we stood in the summer of 1962.  

Since the heady first discoveries of Galileo and Cassini and others (the men, not the machines), the Solar System had become something of a backwater, relegated in the early 20th century to off peak hours at the telescope in favor of the more glamorous nebular and galactic branches of astronomy.  Planets and especially asteroids were "vermin of the sky", interfering with more "profitable" observing.   In the decades leading up to the Space Age, planetary observations were limited to photometric studies or similar endeavors, as true spectroscopy was still in its infancy and adaptive optics were a mere concept if that.  Our nearest neighbors in space, Venus and Mars, were fuzzy tennis balls or enigmatic spheres with tantalizing but hopelessly cryptic dusky markings.  There just wasn't much to say about our planetary neighbors.

Literature on the planets in the late 1950's had a quality that reminds one of the shrouded mysteries of the North American continent evoked by the sketchy and grossly incomplete (and often inaccurate) maps of the 16th and 17th century.  Together with the tall tales coming back from early explorers, the lure of that (not quite) virgin  land mass was irresistible for some.  Similarly for the unexplored and largely unknown Solar System visible in our own back yard as bright lights in the sky.  Articles in Collier's and books by Willy Ley and Arthur Clarke, among others, often accompanied by illustrations by Chesley Bonestell and Ludek Pesek, among others, evoked alien landscapes constrained only by the imagination and by a few meager (and sometimes erroneous) facts.

Books on the Solar System in 1962 could be 100 pages long and still be complete, reflecting how little was known about the Solar System and its members.  Even plate tectonics did not fully exist as yet as a coherent theory of how our own planet works (the IGY contributed fundamentally to this but it would be nearly a decade before all the pieces could be put together to understand the big picture).  Indeed, large section of these texts, especially popular books, were given over to speculations.  Much of that speculation focused to Mars, the nearest body for which we could resolve any markings, and hence the one believed tobe most Earth-like and most rife with possibilities.  We were still uncertain of what the atmosphere of Mars was made of or how dense it was, however, but those cryptic and changing dark markings gave seed to many an interesting idea (more on that later).


Cover of the book "All about the Planets," published in 1960 and resident of many a youngster's book shelf in the early 1960's, including my own.  The serene cover artwork portrays a Solar System of static order and tranquility, yet one shrouded in mystery and wonder, not unlike the North American continent in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1962, the Solar System was a static, well-ordered place where, aside from a stray comet, not much happened, a view in stark contrast to our present understanding (which I will describe in some detail next month).  It was thought "there may or may not be planets beyond Pluto."  "Certainly we shall have stronger evidence in a few years and then be able to say whether the changing seasonal colors on Mars are due to vegetational responses, or are just the result of sand storms."  A paragraph was sufficient to describe all we knew then about the amazing planet-like Galilean satellites of Jupiter.  It was believed even back then that the inner two, Io and Europa, were Moon-like but that the outer two Ganymede and Callisto had significant quantities of ices, but other than the unusual brightness of their surfaces, little else was known.  The size of Neptune's largest moon, Triton, could not be reliably ascertained until 1989, when Voyager 2 observed the disk of this frigid orb directly.  

Even some of the most basic properties of neighboring planets, such as the rotation periods of Venus and Mercury, were incorrectly estimated.  The innermost planet was described in one book as "a bare ball of rock and metal, with 'light areas" and "dark areas," none of which could be reliably correlated from one observer to another or one apparition to another.  Such were the mysteries that abounded in the cryptic void of hard information.  Such were the uncharted terrains described in books a young lad would read in the dawning years of the space age.

Prelude to Venus
So then, on the eve of the launches of Mariner 1 and 2, what did we think was going on at Venus?   Only slowly did the veil lift from the Mother of Loves, brightest star of the evening and morning skies.  Little more than a dusky bright white disc for centuries, its atmosphere was not confirmed until the transit of Venus across the Sun in 1761.  Indeed, it was these transits that first indicated the similarity in size between the Earth and Venus, giving rise to speculations about twin planets and all that that loaded comparison might suggest for life on our nearest neighbor.  But it would require another two ceturies for more secrets to be revealed.  CO2, the first atmospheric component to be reveled, was not confirmed until 1932.  Microwave observations in the 1950's hinted at a warm surface, possibly several hundred °K.  The cloud composition was still uncertain, as was the rotation period (finally pinned down by Earth-based radar observations beginning in 1962).  


One nightmarish vision of a windswept Saharan Venus.

Even though the composition of the clouds was not known till much later, the dense cloud cover gave rise to visions of dank steamy swamps and coal beds across Venus, not unlike conditions in the Jurassic on its twin, Earth.  By the time Patrick Moore wrote his book on "Venus" in 1958, that view was considered unlikely, and a hot dry Sahara-like Venus was gaining some popularity.  The thick carbon-dioxide rich atmosphere gave rise to informed speculations about trapped heat and "greenhouse effects" on Venus (and subsequently on Earth) championed by Carl Sagan in some of his first scientific work.  But even Sir Patrick, in his otherwise fine book, gave some final speculative thoughts to life on Venus, concluding that a near Cambrian Venus, with primitive life forms slowly developing in a warm oxygen-poor atmosphere, was possible, wistfully awaiting new knowledge.  Confirmation of life-threatening hot surface temperatures would have to wait for close examination by spacecraft, as would the presence or absence of radiation belts and a shielding magnetic field.  The stage was set for the Mariners . . .

. . .  Next week:  First to Venus, First to Mars

Comments and additional recollections are welcome!

          Vestal Directions   
Two weeks ago I received the news that, after a rigorous competition, I was selected to be one of a several new members of the DAWN mission to Vesta and Ceres!  Woo Hoo!  It's really a pleasure and honor to be part of this flight, the first detailed exploration of what are now termed "dwarf planets," which is just another name for the larger members of the two belts of small planetoids that orbit between Mars and Jupiter and beyond Neptune.  (I am also part of the New Horizons mission to "dwarf planet" Pluto in 2015, so maybe this is fitting.)  I will be working on cratering studies of Vesta, which is of some importance because several small asteroids and the eucrite meteorites all appear to have been knocked off of Vesta in impact collisions in the past.  We won't get to Vesta until next summer, so I won't have much to report on until then, when we start getting high-resolution images.  But there is always something exciting about seeing a world for the first time, and while the new images of the asteroid Lutetia we saw on-line last month are excellent, this will be the first time we will see the larger asteroids, worlds that may have been capable of generating molten rock and volcanic flows on the surface.  Should be exciting indeed.


NASA/ESA views of Ceres and Vesta from the Hubble Space telescope.  Not much surface detail except for the patches of bright and colored materials, some of which are likely impact craters, and the distorted shape of vesta, due to the large south polar crater that has been identified there.  

Dawn mission website:  http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/


          Comment on Links Related to Philip K. Dick by David Keller   
Gregg Margarite of LibriVox, Iambik Audio, The Drama Pod, and SFFaudio has died. An announcement of this sad news is at http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=38286 Two of Gregg Margarite's last ten uploaded recordings were stories by Philip K. Dick according to his "blog", Acoustic Pulp ~ audio books by Gregg Margarite (http://greggsaudiocatalog.blogspot.com/). SFFaudio podcast #153 is his reading of "Small Town" followed by a discussion which I strongly reccomend. Latest uploads - The 10 most recent recordings are: Small Town - Philip K. Dick Eight O'Clock In The Morning - Ray Nelson Gods of the North - Robert E. Howard Accessory Before the Fact - Algernon Blackwood Couch - Benjamin Parzybok Adjustment Team - Philip K. Dick Thought You Were Dead - Terry Griggs Make Mine Homogenized - Rick Raphael Fables in Slang - George Ade Asteroid of Fear - Raymond Z. Gallun
          Comentario en Carta de protesta sobre el artículo de gizmodo.com referente a los nuevos nombres de planetas menores por Bitacoras.com   
<strong>Información Bitacoras.com</strong> Valora en Bitacoras.com: El pasado día 17 de febrero la IAU (Unión Astronómica Internacional) dio a conocer los nombres de 17 planetas menores (cuerpos que están en órbita alrededor del Sol como asteroides, planetas enanos, objetos trans-neptuni...
          Comentario en Descubiertos compuestos orgánicos en la superficie de Ceres por Bitacoras.com   
<strong>Información Bitacoras.com</strong> Valora en Bitacoras.com: La sonda Dawn ha encontrado en Ceres, el cuerpo más grande del cinturón de asteroides y también el único planeta enano que se encuentra en esta zona, evidencias importantes de la existencia de compuestos orgánicos en el ...
          evolucion para dummies II   


Uno de los aspectos que menos se entiende es que el azar es una parte importante del proceso de la evolución. Y quizás el que menos se entienda. De hecho la evolución no es solo garras y colmillos, si no también el azar. Estamos aquí por pura suerte, un proceso de decantación de eventos aleatorios, nos han llevado hasta aquí. Asteroides que han arrasado a casi toda la vida, erupciones gigantescas como la de Siberia que cubrió más de 3 millones de Km cuadrados.
 Sin esas grandes extinciones, quizás el genero homo nunca hubiese aparecido. Los dinosaurios vivieron por más de 150 millones de años y un buen día se acabaron. Igual nos puede pasar a nosotros.
 Hasta ahora no hemos demostrado nada. Apenas tenemos unos 200,000 años, y solo hace unos 9000 años que aparecieron las primeras civilizaciones y solo unos tres mil años que existe la escritura, gracias a la cual podemos conocer algo de nuestro pasado, de hecho nuestra memoria es desde que existe la escritura.
 Antes solo existe el mito y algunas suposiciones de cómo vivíamos. El azar es la parte que a las personas, algunas muy inteligentes y muy preparadas les cuesta asimilar.
 El astrónomo Chandra Wickramasinghe que declaro en el tribunal de Arkansas en 1981 sobre la pertinencia de enseñar la evolución como una teoría científica que se enseñe en los colegios dijo “Las posibilidades que ocurra la vida es casi tan probable, como que un tifon pase sobre un deposito de chatarra y se cree un Boeing 747” haciendo alusión a la metáforade su colega Fred Hoyle a la creación de un 747 por un tornado.
 Ambos en su campo, la astronomía eran personas excepcionales que realizaron grandes descubrimientos, nadie puede decir que eran tontos, pero los que les molestaba de la teoría de la evolución era su carácter aleatorio.

 Eso los llevo a  descartar la evolución como el mecanismo, haciendo más probable que un ser superior la creara en algún momento.
 En ese mismo juicio, fue llamado a declarar Jay Gould, el si había estudiado el tema y se baso en la misma hipótesis del 747 para explicarla y dijo que mas acertado seria decir que un millón de tornados pasen por un millón de depósitos de chatarra, luego elegimos los depósitos de chatarra mas prometedores y hacemos un millón de esos depósitos y luego hacemos pasar un millón de tornados, y hacer lo mismo de nuevo y de nuevo hasta que aparezca algo digno de volar.
 Esa es la mejor analogía, ya que ciertamente, un ojo es algo muy complicado, pero vemos el producto terminado y no vemos los millones y cientos de millones de años que tomo hacerlo y los miles de millones de seres que tomaron parte en crear ese producto terminado. De hecho los ojos han evolucionado independientemente por lo menos 14 veces.
 La base de la aleatoriedad esta en la meiosis que es común a todas las especies que se reproduzcan con sexo.
 Una manera sencilla y muy simplista de explicarla seria que la madre tenga 26 cromosomas, y esos cromosomas sean las cartas negras, por ejemplo tréboles y picas y el padre tenga las rojas; corazones y diamantes, y comenzamos a barajarlas, pero estas son unas cartas mágicas y cuando las barajamos también se unen las figuras, y entonces aparece una Rey de diamantes con una figura de diez de pica o cualquier combinación posible, incluso alguna de las cartas tendrán la mitad la J de corazones y la otra mitad el As de pica. Esa es la parte que es totalmente al azar
(*Ciertas restricciones aplican)

 Ese proceso produce mutaciones, que el medio ambiente se encarga de elegir las que van a sobrevivir.
 Esto es la selección natural. Podemos imaginarnos a un tiburón, que para cazar tiene que ser muy rápido, pero el proceso del azar le produjo dos manos en vez de aletas, esto hará que sea mas lentos y lo mas probable es que muera de hambre antes de llegar a la edad de reproducción. O los humanos que nacen sin piernas,  con las piernas unidas como el síndrome de sirena, o más común los gemelos siameses, en el mundo natural, esto es hace 20,000 años, ellos no pasarían de la niñez y morirían. El caso de los siameses no tiene nada que ver con la meiosis, pero si con la embriología, ya que en cada paso esta presente el azar.
 Un ejemplo de una mutación favorable es la de un tiburón, que gasta menos energía y nada más rápido. Esta mutación se esparciría en la población, ya que es mas eficiente a su forma de vida, pero un hecho aleatorio del mundo natural la podría acabar, que lo pescaron o que un cachalote se lo comió cuando aun era bebe.
 El medio ambiente aun cuando es menos aleatorio que la meiosis, aun juega. Y duro.
 Esto significa, que si la vida comenzara ahora daría un resultado totalmente diferente. Algunos creen que la inteligencia también es inevitable, como los ojos, y puede ser que aparezcan en algún momento, pero esos seres inteligentes que aparezcan serán totalmente diferentes a nosotros.
 Naturalmente los seres voladores tendrán siempre menor peso que los terrestres y los animales acuáticos tenderán a ser hidrodinámicos. Esto es que se mantendrá en líneas generales, los diseños para el medio ambiente.

 Un ser inteligente volador seria muy improbable ya que el cerebro más grande pondría mayor resistencia al vuelo, ya que pesa mas.
  Pero el medio ambiente, no es solo la ecología, o la geología del lugar, es también la manera como se relaciona con los de su misma especie. La psicología particular.
 Por ejemplo, algunas ratas en ciertas condiciones solo se dedican a masturbarse sin relacionarse con las hembras, a pesar que  son más grandes que el promedio, no se reproducirán. O un hombre fuertemente misógino, seria muy raro que se reproduzca. O que tengan un comportamiento aberrantemente antisocial, o apático.
 Cuando se habla del medio ambiente este abarca muchas cosas, y son esas cosas que eligen entre las mutaciones exitosas. Y estas se decantan en el tiempo. Y un millón de año es mucho, mucho tiempo, la vida apareció hace unos 3600 millones de años, es algo que no podemos imaginar, nosotros solo somos el resultado de ese millón de tornados sobre el millón de depósitos de chatarra, una y otra vez durante 3600 millones de años. Y el medio ambiente eligiendo los mejores diseños.
 Obviamente, algo bueno tenía que salir





          ตรวจจับโลหะ รีไซเคิล นอกโลก   

ตรวจจับโลหะ  รีไซเคิล นอกโลก

 

ตอนนี้ญี่ปุ่นกำลังระดมสมองเกี่ยวกับการสร้างสนามใหม่ที่อาจจะนำโลหะรีไซเคิลมาใช้รวมถึงวัสดุอื่นๆ อีกไม่ว่าจะเป็น อลูมิเนียม, แก้ว และไม้ เพื่อลดต้นทุน ที่ประเทศญี่ปุ่นจะเป็นเจ้าภาพจัดมหกรรมกีฬา โอลิมปิก ปี 2020 ระหว่างวันที่ 24 กรกฎาคม ถึง 9 สิงหาคม ผุดแนวคิดเด็ดเกี่ยวกับสิ่งแวดล้อมที่ยั่งยืนนี้อาจจะใช้เหรียญรางวัลที่ทำจากโลหะรีไซเคิลและสนามใหม่ที่อาจจะนำโลหะรีไซเคิลมาใช้

เกือบหนึ่งร้อยเปอร์เซนต์ของโลหะส่วนใหญ่สามารถนำมารีไซเคิลได้ การแยกโลหะและระบบคัดประเภทจะให้เศษส่วนของวัสดุโลหะขาวดำออกมา ในขณะที่วัสดุอื่นๆอีกมากแสดงการเสื่อมสภาพที่ชัดเจนเมื่อนำจะกลับมารีไซเคิลใหม่ การรีไซเคิลเศษโลหะแบบซ้ำไปซ้ำมาจะให้ผลทางผลิตภัณฑ์นั้นมีคุณภาพที่สูงเหมือนกัน ช่วยลดต้นทุนที่จะหาวัสดุที่นับวันจะมีจำนวนลดน้อยลงและหมดไปจากโลกนี้
       
ด้วยเหตุนี้ ฝ่ายจัดการแข่งขัน โอลิมปิก ปี 2020 ประเทศญี่ปุ่น เสนอแนวคิดเมื่อวันพฤหัสบดีที่ 14 มกราคมเกี่ยวกับสิ่งแวดล้อมที่ยั่งยืน ดังนั้นจึงต้องการทำเหรียญรางวัลจากโลหะรีไซเคิลที่ได้จากโทรศัพท์มือถือและคอมพิวเตอร์ที่ไม่ใช้หรือตกรุ่นแล้ว อย่างไรก็ตามต้องส่งให้คณะกรรมการจัดงานพิจารณาช่วงปลายเดือนม.ค.เพื่อขออนุมัติอย่างเป็นทางการ แต่ความคิดนี้อาจจะเปลี่ยนไป ถ้าหากมนุษย์เราสามารถหาทรัพยากรธรรมชาติได้ใหม่จากลูกอุกกาบาตที่ล่องลอยอยู่ในระบบสุริยะของเรา

เริ่มมีอีกแนวคิดหนึ่งที่อาจช่วยแก้ปัญหาการขาดแคลนทรัพยากรธรรมชาติประเภทแร่ธาตุโลหะต่างๆ ได้ระดับหนึ่ง ซึ่งต้องลงทุนมาก แต่ให้ผลตอบแทนมหาศาล นั่นคือการไปทำเหมืองแร่ในอวกาศ หรือพูดอีกอย่างคือ การไปขุดเอาแร่ที่มีมูลค่าสูงจากอุกกาบาตที่ล่องลอยอยู่ใกล้โลกนั่นเอง ก่อนอื่นต้องทราบรายละเอียดเกี่ยวกับอุกกาบาตสักนิดว่า เขาจำแนกเป็นกี่อย่าง อะไรบ้าง

นักวิทยาศาสตร์บอกว่าอุกกาบาตที่ล่องลอยอยู่ในระบบสุริยะของเรานั้นล้วนแต่มีองค์ประกอบคล้ายคลึงกับดาวเคราะห์ต่างๆ ที่เป็นบริวารของดวงอาทิตย์แทบทั้งสิ้น เพียงแต่มีความหนาแน่นที่ไม่เท่ากันเท่านั้น ซึ่งองค์ประกอบเหล่านั้นสามารถแยกออกได้ 3 กลุ่มใหญ่ คือ

กลุ่ม C (Carbon) อุกกาบาตที่มีองค์ประกอบส่วนใหญ่เป็นธาตุคาร์บอนนั่นเอง กลุ่ม S (Stone) จากชื่อก็คงเดาได้ไม่ยากว่าอุกกาบาตกลุ่มนี้ก็คือก้อนหินดีๆนี่เอง องค์ประกอบหลักของมันจึงเป็นแมกนีเซียม ซิลิเกต และ กลุ่ม M (Metal) อุกกาบาตกลุ่มนี้มีองค์ประกอบเป็นโลหะนานาชนิดที่ตรวจจับได้ด้วยเครื่องตรวจโลหะ (Metal Detector) ตั้งแต่โลหะที่ไม่ค่อยมีราคาเท่าไหร่ไปจนถึงโลหะที่หายากมีราคาสูงมาก เช่น ทองคำ แพลตินั่ม ฯลฯ อุกกาบาตกลุ่มนี้จึงเป็นที่หมายปองเป็นอันดับแรกของนักลงทุน

เมื่อไม่กี่เดือนก่อนหน้านี้มีอุกกาบาตก้อนหนึ่งเคลื่อนเข้ามาใกล้โลกเรา ในระยะห่างประมาณ 1.5 ล้านไมล์ หรือราว 6 เท่าของระยะทางจากโลกไปดวงจันทร์ อุกกาบาตที่มีรหัสว่า 2011 UW-158 ก้อนนี้มีความกว้างราว 800 เมตร ซึ่งมันคงไม่น่าสนใจอะไรมากนักหากมันเป็นเพียงหินอวกาศขนาดใหญ่มากก้อนหนึ่ง แต่ค้นพบด้วย เครื่องตรวจจับโลหะ (Metal Detector) ว่ามีโลหะมากมายอยู่ในนั้น

แต่จากเทคโนโลยีสำรวจอวกาศที่มีในปัจจุบัน ทำให้นักวิทยาศาสตร์ทราบในเบื้องต้นว่าอุกกาบาตก้อนนั้นประกอบไปด้วยอะไรบ้าง (เหมือนกับการวิเคราะห์หาองค์ประกอบของดวงดาวที่อยู่ไกลออกไปมากๆ และยานสำรวจยังไปไม่ถึง) และผลจากการวิเคราะห์เชื่อหรือไม่ว่าหินก้อนนี้มีมูลค่าประมาณ 3.5 ล้านล้านปอนด์ เพราะเนื้อในของมันนั้นมีโลหะที่มีค่าซ้อนอยู่ สามารถตรวจได้จาก เครื่องตรวจจับโลหะ (Metal Detector) คือทองคำขาวหรือแร่แพลตินั่มที่ราคาสูงลิบบนโลก อุกกาบาตก้อนนี้จะเคลื่อนเข้ามาใกล้โลกอีกครั้งในอีกสามปีข้างหน้า

ปัจจุบันนี้มีอุกกาบาตราว 9,000 ก้อนที่ล่องลอยอยู่ใกล้กับโลกและสามารถเข้าถึงได้ง่ายกว่าการไปลงบนดวงจันทร์ด้วย นอกจากนั้นผู้เชี่ยวชาญด้านอวกาศของบริษัท ยังบอกว่า การหาโลหะทรัพยากรธรรมชาติจากอุกกาบาตนั้นเป็นทางออกที่ดีสำหรับมวลมนุษย์ เพราะยังมีอุกกาบาตอีกจำนวนนับไม่ถ้วนที่อยู่ห่างออกไป โดยเฉพาะบริเวณที่เรียกว่า แถบดาวเคราะห์น้อย (Asteroid belt) ซึ่งอยู่ระหว่างดาวอังคารกับดาวพฤหัส

จริงอยู่ อุกกาบาตที่ล่องลอยอยู่ในห้วงอวกาศหรือดาวดวงใดดวงหนึ่งในจักรวาลย่อมไม่มีใครเป็นเจ้าของ แต่อาจมีคำถามว่า การที่มีนักดาราศาสตร์หรือองค์กรใดเป็นผู้ค้นพบและตั้งชื่อมันจะบอกว่าเขาย่อมมีสิทธิ์เหนือดาวหรืออุกกาบาตนั้นๆได้หรือไม่

ในปี 1967 มีสนธิสัญญานานาชาติฉบับหนึ่งที่แทบทุกชาติได้ลงนามร่วมกัน สาระสำคัญของสนธิสัญญาฉบับนั้นระบุไว้ว่า ห้ามไม่ให้ชาติใดครอบครองวัตถุที่มีอยู่ก่อนแล้วในจักรวาล เช่น ดวงดาว อุกกาบาต ฯลฯ แต่ข้อตกลงฉบับนั้นไม่ได้ระบุรวมเอาเอกชนเข้าไปด้วย ซึ่งอาจเป็นเพราะในเวลาที่ลงนามร่วมกันนั้น ผู้นำแต่ละชาติในเวลานั้นคงไม่มีใครคิดเผื่อไว้ว่าในอนาคตเอกชนก็อาจจะส่งยานและมนุษย์อวกาศออกไปนอกโลกได้

เมื่อเร็วๆนี้ เกิดบริษัทเอกชนในสหรัฐฯ ขึ้นมาสองบริษัท วัตถุประสงค์คือเพื่อการไปหาแหล่งทรัพยากรประเภทแร่โลหะมีค่าต่างๆ และน้ำในอวกาศ เมื่อหาพบก็เก็บเกี่ยวนำมาขายเพื่อสร้างผลกำไรให้บริษัทและผู้ถือหุ้นทั้งหลาย บริษัททั้งสองคือ Planetary Resources และ DSI หรือ Deep Space Industries Planetary Resources ตั้งขึ้นมาเมื่อปี 2012 เพื่อการหาแหล่งแร่ธาตุโลหะในอวกาศโดยตรง

บริษัททั้งสองนั้นเกิดจากการรวมตัวของมหาเศรษฐีชาวอเมริกันทั้งสิ้น อาทิ ลาร์รี เพจ ผู้ก่อตั้ง Google, ปีเตอร์ ไดอาเมนดิส เจ้าของบริษัท X Prize, เจมส์ คาเมรอน ผู้สร้างและผู้กำกับภาพยนตร์ชื่อดัง และอดีตผู้บริหารระดับสูงของบริษัทยักษ์ใหญ่อีกหลายคน โดยมีซารา ซีเกอร์ นักดาราศาสตร์จาก MIT เป็นที่ปรึกษา

การมาของอุกกาบาตมูลค่าสูงกว่ามูลค่าเศรษฐกิจโดยรวมของญี่ปุ่นทั้งประเทศครั้งนี้ แม้จะไม่สามารถนำโลหะทองคำขาวที่อยู่ข้างในนั้นออกมาได้ แต่ก็เป็นโอกาสดีอย่างยิ่งที่บริษัทจะได้ทดสอบเทคโนโลยีที่มี ว่าจะสามารถไปหาแหล่งแร่โลหะสำคัญๆในอวกาศได้หรือไม่

ดังนั้นทางบริษัทจึงส่งดาวเทียมรหัส Arkyd-3R ดาวเทียมดวงนี้มีขนาดเล็กพอๆกับขนาดขนมปังปอนด์ก้อนหนึ่ง ออกจากโลกไปรอไว้ที่สถานีอวกาศนานาชาติตั้งแต่เดือนเมษายนปีนี้ เพื่อคอยให้อุกกาบาตเป้าหมายผ่านเข้ามาในระยะที่ต้องการ แล้วจึงค่อยส่งดาวเทียมดวงนั้นออกไปอีกครั้งในเดือนกรกฎาคม เพื่อโคจรรอบโลกเป็นเวลา 90 วัน

ระหว่างนั้นมันจะทำการทดสอบบางอย่างสำหรับงานในอนาคต ตามแผนดาวเทียม Arkyd-6R จะถูกส่งตามไปภายในปีนี้ บริษัทกำลังพัฒนากล้อง โทรทรรศน์ขนาดเล็กแต่มีกำลังสูง ซึ่งจะปล่อยออกไปไว้นอกโลก เพื่อใช้สอดส่องหาอุกกาบาตที่ต้องการในอวกาศรอบๆโลกเรา กล้องตัวนี้ชื่อว่า LEO

แม้ว่าเมื่อเริ่มก่อตั้งบริษัทขึ้นมานั้น Planetary Resources อาจมุ่งไปที่ การเอาแร่โลหะในกลุ่มแพลตินั่มเป็นหลัก (กลุ่มนี้ประกอบด้วย platinum, palladium, osmium และ iridium ปัจจุบันใช้ผลิตเครื่องมือแพทย์ เครื่องกรองไอเสียในรถยนต์ เซลล์เชื้อเพลิงสำหรับรถยนต์สำหรับอนาคตที่ไม่ใช้น้ำมัน และอุปกรณ์สำหรับรีไซเคิลพลังงาน) จากอุกกาบาต เพราะมีโลหะราคาพอๆกับทองคำ

แต่ปัจจุบันเป้าหมายเริ่มเปลี่ยนไปแล้ว เพราะพวกเขาเห็นว่าต่อไปการออกไป สำรวจอวกาศจะมีมาก และสิ่งมีชีวิตก็ต้องการน้ำ แค่สถานีอวกาศที่มีมนุษย์อวกาศหมุนเวียนกันไปทำงานที่นั่นก็ต้องใช้น้ำตลอดเวลา ดังนั้น หากสามารถสกัดน้ำออกมาและสำรองไว้ขายในอวกาศ ก็สามารถทำเงินได้มหาศาลเช่นกัน

นอกเหนือไปจากนั้น บริษัทนี้ยังมีแผนที่จะตั้ง “ปั๊มน้ำมัน” หรือศูนย์บริการเติมเชื้อเพลิงและน้ำให้แก่ยานอวกาศอื่นๆ ที่จะเดินทางไปมาระหว่างดวงดาวต่างๆในอนาคต รวมทั้งพวกที่ต้องทำงานอยู่ในอวกาศต่อเนื่องเป็นเวลานานด้วย การตั้งฐานขุดเจาะบนอุกกาบาตที่อาจเกิดขึ้นจริงในอนาคต

ตามแผนที่อาจเกิดขึ้นในอนาคต ยานอวกาศที่ทำงานได้คล้ายหุ่นยนต์จะถูกส่งไปยังอุกกาบาตที่เป็นเป้าหมาย เพื่อจับมันแล้วเปลี่ยนทิศทางหรือลากมันไปไว้ในระยะพอๆกับดวงจันทร์ของเรา เพื่อให้งานขั้นต่อไปทำได้ง่ายขึ้น  ไม่แน่ก็ได้ว่าเราอาจจะมีสนามโอลิมปิก ที่ได้วัสดุโลหะจากอุกาบาตนอกโลกก็เป็นได้

ทางด้าน DSI นั้นแม้ปัจจุบันยังไม่ได้ปล่อยยานสำรวจหรือดาวเทียมออกไปสู่อวกาศแต่อย่างใด แต่ก็เปิดเผยแผนในอนาคตที่ค่อนข้างจะเป็นแผนเชิงรุกออกมาให้ทราบแล้ว แผนที่ว่าคือ ขั้นแรก สร้างยานชื่อ Firefly ขึ้นมา ยานลำนี้เป็นยานสำรวจขนาดเล็กและมีต้นทุนต่ำ เพื่อส่งออกไปสำรวจหาอุกกาบาตที่มีคุณสมบัติ คือมีแร่ธาตุโลหะตามที่ต้องการ เมื่อพบอุกกาบาตเป้าหมายแล้ว ก็เริ่มแผนขั้นที่สอง คือ ส่งยานขนาดใหญ่ที่มีชื่อว่า Dra– gonfly ออกไปแล้วไปเก็บรวบรวมเอาอุกกาบาตนั้นมาไว้ยังจุดที่ต้องการ เพื่อขุดหรือแยกเอาแร่ธาตุโลหะนั้นๆออกมา

ในอนาคตการเดินทางไปมาระหว่างโลกกับดาวอังคารอาจเป็นเรื่องที่เห็นได้ในทศวรรษหน้า และหากนักลงทุนคำนวณดูแล้วว่าคุ้มค่าที่จะทำจริง การทำเหมืองแร่โลหะที่อุกกาบาตก็น่าจะเกิดขึ้นได้ในเวลาไล่เลี่ยกัน ถึงเวลานั้นก็จะถึงยุคที่มนุษย์บางกลุ่มต้อง “ไปทำงานต่างดาว” ไม่ใช่ “ไปทำงานต่างประเทศ” อีกต่อไป ส่วนจะเกิดกระแสต่อต้านจากผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับโครงการซึ่งอยู่นอกโลกนี้มากน้อยแค่ไหน ก็คงต้องรอดูกันต่อไป.

Cr.ไทยรัฐ


          A.A.A. Cacciatori amatoriali asteroidi cercasi   
Mentre la NASA lancia un nuovo algoritmo per aumentare le possibilità di individuare asteroidi da parte di astronomi dilettanti, quello che potrebbe essere un grande meteorite si è schiantato ieri sera in Svizzera dopo aver illuminato a giorno il cielo di mezza Europa. Così, mentre l’Agenzia Spaziale Americana continua nella ricerca di partnership anche ‘amatoriali’ visti gli ottimi risultati dell’Asteroid Grand Challenge, un bolide infuocato si è andato a schiantare vicino all’LHC.
          Asteroid in less than 100 events   

Asteroid in less than 100 events

Asteroid in less than 100 events es un juego de marcianitos al más puro estilo Asteroids   Divertido juego basado en el clásico Asteroids pero en una versión modernizada a nivel gráfico. Tu misión en Asteroid in less than 100 events es muy simple: a bordo de tu nave espacial tendrás que destruir con el cañón láser todos los asteroides que tengas a […]

La entrada Asteroid in less than 100 events aparece primero en Juego GRATIS en jugarmania.com.


          From Dinosaurs To Dust   

It seems a million years ago I could roam the earth with such confidence and glory. But since the year has gone by, the world I see is spiraling down a dark path.Who knew my world could change so fast, just like the asteroid came and passed- Except it didn't. I face it every day. I face the struggles of hunger and pain. I face the worry running through my brain. Wondering which day will be my last because I lost everything that kept me going. The asteroid didn't just pass- it smashed into the earth.


          The Universe Just Keeps Trying to Kill Us   
“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.” -Roger Zelazny It’s always the ones you least expect that get you the worst, it seems. I went to bed last night excited that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 200,000 ton asteroid, was going to pass within just 28,000 km (or…
          Shoving elephants out the airlock.   
To round off Jose's debate with Charlie about whether or not we should be pursuing manned or unmanned expeditions in space I wanted to consider the incentives driving the push outward. During the first period of space exploration the incentive was that of national pride, of competition between the two sides during the cold war to get the first satellite in orbit, the first man in space, the first to walk on the moon. Science at this stage, the search for knowledge, was a marginal incentive at best. After the Apollo program became prohibitively expensive (and boring for the viewers at home) science began to provide the primary incentive; our desire for discovery and exploration, to find out what is up there, (and also to spy on what is down here) started to drive the space program, but it was always and will always be at the mercy of those who control the purse strings. The third set of incentives, which started with the first commercial telecommunications satellites and has continued with G.P.S.(Yes I know it was a military project at first, but it is one of the few that has repaid its initial investment) etc., was the commercial incentive; the desire to make money out of space, and it is this I would argue, which will drive the next phase in the space programme, the exploitation, rather than exploration, of space.

On the blog Joe Haldeman mentions that it is only when "cislunar space offers goods and services that can't be had more cheaply on Earth," that we will see the next phase in technological development, such as space elevators or their equivalents, thus allowing us to lift large masses cheaply and truly begin the manned exploration of the solar system. Well what type of goods and services can we expect space to offer us? On the services side the nascent space tourism industry provides an incentive for research into manned space flight. There are an awful lot of jaded billionaires and multi millionaires out there who will gladly pay for the chance to see the curvature of the earth and while this will undoubtedly be a minority pursuit for quite some time, the need to make money out of such ventures will help guard against the traditional bureaucratic excesses and wastages of which NASA is famously guilty. While scientists may shudder at the thought of the ISS being used as a glorified hotel for the hyper rich, if we are honest is it currently being used for anything more worthwhile?

The question of goods however is a tricky one. There has been much speculation over the years about whether or not zero G manufacturies might be able to produce goods that are simply impossible to make on earth, such as novel drugs or crystals whose molecular structure requires a freefall environment. While this is perfectly possible, the thought that these could be produced in large enough quantities to justify the time and expense of setting up such manufacturies and providing them with raw materials from earth is rather dubious at the moment. So what are we left with? The debate about where to go next has tended to focus on the nearest planets, the Moon and Mars, and while the moon's gravitational well doesn't pose too much of a problem to a returning expedition, Mars's does, not to mention the time it would take to get there and back.

Why not first explore and exploit Near Earth Asteroid's (NEA's)? These are resources that are easy to get to, easy to return from, and which potentially contain extremely valuable resources. In addition if a space elevator were ever to be built, the logical thing to do would be to grab an NEA, move it into earth orbit, and then spin out the elevator from it. While this process was ongoing the asteroid could be mined, used as a space station and base for instruments and telescopes, and could be studied, telling us a lot about the formation of the solar system. The key here is bootstrapping, finding ways to make each step along the path towards the ultimate goal of man's colonization of the solar system as profitable, or at least less unprofitable, as is possible. The desire for knowledge about our solar system or national pride will only take us so far, and as long as the desire for knowledge or national pride, is what drives the space program, it will always be a political football, kicked hither and yon by the powers that be. But as soon as someone finds a way to make money out of space, and especially out of manned space exploration, then we will see a massive acceleration in the rate of technological progress and the scientific discoveries that go along with it.
Perhaps therefore instead of asking whether we should invest in manned or unmanned space exploration at the moment perhaps a better question is, what is the best way of making money out of space? If we concentrate our investment in those areas, providing seed money and incentives such as the X-Prize, to those who think they can make a profit from the void, then perhaps we can accelerate the current glacial progress of technological progress when it comes to launchers and finally move beyond von Braun to something a little more efficient.

While the desire to make a fast buck may not be as noble a motive as the desire to expand the sphere of human knowledge, we should not forget that the history of exploration and colonization here on Earth is the history of mercantilism and exploitation, albeit often with savage consequences for those who have been exploited. At least in space we shouldn't have that problem. Manned and unmanned space exploration go together, hand in glove, and we shouldn't rule out one in favour of the other. The real question is what is the most efficient way of getting out there, and the answer to that is to take the project out of the hands of the bean counters, bureaucrats and politicians and into the hands of those driven by that most basic of human desires, greed. While businessmen and corporations may not be paragons of human virtue, at least they have a tendency to get things done, because if they fail they cannot hide behind walls of bureaucracy and political manoeuvring, instead they go bust, and the technology and patents they have developed are snapped up by their competitors to be used again, rather than disappearing into the governments' archives, never to be seen again. We will get out there someday, but as long as the space program is a slave to the whims of government, of national expediency, of the military, and indeed of science, it will be a long, long road with many switchbacks, reversals and pauses, and I for one could do with rather less white elephants sitting in the middle of the road.

          Xordox – Neospection (2017)   

Artist: Xordox Album: Neospection Released: 2017 Style: Electronic Format: MP3 320Kbps Size: 124 Mb

Tracklist: 01 – Diamonds 02 – Antidote 03 – Corridor 04 – Pink Eye 05 – Alto Velocidad 06 – Sheep Delta 07 – Destination Infinity 08 – Asteroid Dust DOWNLOAD LINKS: RAPIDGATOR: DOWNLOAD TURBOBIT: DOWNLOAD


          Co kogo boli(d)?   

Kirił Żurenkov, Sergiej Mielnikov, Władimir Tichomirov – o psychologicznym efekcie upadku czelabińskiego meteorytu.

 

Eksplodujący w Czelabińsku meteoryt nie tylko przyniósł miliardowe straty oraz spowodował traumę u ponad tysiąca ludzi, ale i rozbudził w społeczeństwie nowe fobie. „Ogoniok” zbadał ów fenomen.


Mało kto o tym wie, ale czelabiński meteoryt wybuchł równo 100 lat po innym unikatowym wydarzeniu astonomicznym – „wielkiej procesji meteorytów 1913 roku” – z niewielką różnicą wynoszącą sześć dni: „wielka procesja”, kiedy to po niebie nad północną półkulą przemknęły dziesiątki meteorytów, miała miejsce 9 lutego, a czelabiński meteoryt spadł 15 lutego. I tak, w owym 1913 roku, „Ogoniok” poprosił pisarzy i malarzy Sankt-Petersburga, aby opowiedzieli o tym, czego się najbardziej obawiają. W rezultacie wydany został „straszny” numer – prawdziwa encyklopedia fobii początku XX wieku: Wrubel i Wasniecow narysowali wodników i diabły, a Gieorgij Iwanow napisał opowiadanie o zjawie złego Birona, która nawiedziła Petersburg. Co ciekawe, w numerze nie było ani słowa o rzeczach naprawdę niebezpiecznych – ani o przyszłych rewolucjach i wojnach, ani o katastrofach w kosmosie. Łatwo to wytłumaczyć: na początku ubiegłego stulecia nauka wpajała ludziom spokój oraz pewność, tak jak wszelkiego rodzaju mistyka – strach przed niepojętym.

Fot. http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2120767
Dziś sytuacja zmieniła się o 180 stopni: wampiry i pozostała hołota przekształcili się w idoli nastolatków, natomiast osiągnięcia nauki wzbudzają u ludzi autentyczny strach. Okazuje się, że wraz z poszerzaniem naszej wiedzy na temat otaczającego nas świata poszerza się także i lista zagrożeń, przy czym wielu z nich zwykły człowiek, nie posiadający specjalistycznego wykształcenia, nie potrafi nawet ich sformułować. Nie rozumie, ale boi się. Wystarczy przypomnieć sobie masową histerię związaną z uruchomieniem Wielkiego Zderzacza Hadronów albo oczekiwanie na globalną katastrofę klimatyczną związaną z nieuchronnym końcem świata, spowodowanym upadkiem asteroidy, przepowiedzianym przez Majów. Nawet nanotechnologią, którą lansował pięć lat temu ówczesny premier, okazała się źródłem tajemniczego zła, niszczącego organizmy żywe na poziomie molekularnym. Dodatkowo wspólnym lejtmotywem wszystkich tych niepokojów stało się przekonanie, iż „uczeni nas okłamują”. Jak widać, czelabiński meteoryt spadł na dobrze przygotowaną glebę.

Gdyby coś podobnego miało miejsce w czasach sowieckich, na wybuch w atmosferze nikt nie zwróciłby uwagi, jak zdarzyło się to w lipcu 1949 roku, kiedy na niebie nad Czelabińskiem wybuchł jeszcze jeden, kunaszakskij, meteoryt. Wtedy w gazetach zamieszczono maleńką notkę, obywatele pomruczeli i zapomnieli. Albo, na przykład, czy ktokolwiek pamięta o tym, że 15 lat temu na niebie nad Syberią wybuchł bolid, a moc wybuchu wynosiła 20 bomb atomowych, zrzuconych na Nagasaki? Jednak obecny czelabiński wybuch ludzie zapamiętają na długo, a to wszystko dzięki kamerom samochodowym, które nagrały zdarzenie we wszystkich możliwych ujęciach. Nagrania trafiły do Internetu, w ślad za tym w sieci pojawiły się żarty i przeróbki na temat meteorytu - całymi wiekami ludzie, starając się uchronić przed strachem, wyśmiewali jego przyczynę - a potem jedna za drugą rodzić się zaczęły "teorie spiskowe". "Informacja od Ministerstwa Sytuacji Nadzwyczajnych: to nasz bombowiec, - pisano na czelabińskich stronach internetowych. - Pilot doleciał do przedmieść, a sam zginął w powietrzu". Dlaczego meteoryt zostawiał za sobą ogon, podobny do ogona paliwa rakietowego? - pytała pewna gazeta federalna. - Dlaczego wybuch meteoryta podobny był do wybuchu rakiety samolikwidującej?" Dziennikarzom na swoim blogu wtórował także członek Rady Dumy Państwowej Władimir Żirinowski, przypuszczający, iż na Czelabińsk napadli Amerykanie. Wkrótce na temat utworzenia niejakiej nowej obrony przeciwmeteorytowej wypowiedziano się i na korytarzach rządowych.

Wystraszeni ludzie nie przyjmują argumentów uczonych, objaśniających to, że ludzie, z zasady, nie mogą kontrolować nawet 90% asteroidów i komet, przelatujących w bezpośredniej bliskości od nas. Oto kilka liczb: każdego miesiąca w atmosferze Ziemi mają miejsce wybuchy - z energią do 300 ton trotylu - niewielkich bolidów. Raz na 10 lat do atmosfery planety przedostają się meteoryty z energią 50 kg trotylu, natomiast takie obiekty, jak asteroidy lub podobne tunguskiemu meteorytowi, odwiedzają nas raz na tysiąc lat.

Tak więc, patrząc na cały ten informacyjny szum wokół meteorytu, warto zapytać samego siebie: czy aby nie oszukujemy się, tak jak nasi przodkowie 100 lat temu? Może bać się trzeba nie kamieni spadających z nieba, ale czegoś bardziej realnego, co już stoi u naszego progu?

Tłum karmi się pogłoskami. Ekspertyza

Wydarzenia ekstremalne, w rodzaju upadku meteorytu w Czelabińsku, na które ludzie nie są całkowicie przygotowani, wyzwalają, oczywiście, nastroje paniczne. Uwidacznia się to w pierwszej kolejności w tak zwanych zagrożonych grupach ludności i ich stanie fizycznym: zaostrzają się choroby chroniczne, zwiększa się liczba samobójstw, wśród ludzi niezrównoważonych psychicznie nasilają się objawy maniakalne. W podobnych przypadkach rozpowszechniają się także różne wieści, na przykład tak zwane pogłoski-straszaki oraz pogłoski agresywne, jak miało to miejsce w Czelabińsku. Upadek meteorytu objaśniano nie tylko przyczynami naturalnymi: utwierdzano się w przekonaniu, że jest to dzieło - jednym razem - rosyjskich żołnierzy, a innym - amerykańskich. Tego rodzaju wiadomości pokazują "paniczny tłum", w którym reakcja następuje po kręgu - ludzie zarażają się nawzajem emocjami. Nieprzygotowanemu człowiekowi trudno jest przeciwstawić się takim nastrojom: może będzie mu później do śmiechu albo wstyd, ale w momencie reakcji kolistej zachowuje się irracjonalnie. Jeśli pogłoski zaczynają się intensyfikować (co w tym przypadku, na szczęście, się nie zdarzyło), to "paniczny tłum" może przekształcić się w "agresywny", którym kieruje już nie strach, lecz gniew. 

Aby zapobiec pojawieniu się "panicznego" lub "agresywnego tłumu", należy zniszczyć pogłoski w zarodku - nazywa się to odstrzałem pogłosek. Takie coś mogłoby przydać się i w Czelabińsku. Można, powiedzmy, zorganizować dowolny atak na pogłoski: wprost ogłosić, że informacja nie jest zgodna z rzeczywistością, ale nie zawsze prowadzi to do oczekiwanych rezultatów. Lepiej działa atak skrzydłowy, kiedy, nie wspominając o pogłosce albo jej temacie, oferuje się ludziom informację przeciwną ze względu na treść. Dla przykładu, w 1986 roku w stolicy jednego z bliskowschodnich krajów rozpowszechniła się pogłoska o tym, że przy państwowej granicy zebrały się wojska wroga. Aby zniszczyć pogłoskę, grupa dziennikarzy, współpracująca z psychologami, zrobiła serię reportaży, w których ukazywano pomyślne życie ludzi rejonów przygranicznych. W ten sposób, poprzez transmisję pośredniej pozytywnej informacji, pogłoska o nieprzyjacielu została "zdławiona".

Ciekawe, że formowanie się "panicznego tłumu" w niewielkim stopniu zależy od nacjonalności oraz kultury. Strach warunkowany jest raczej epoką historyczną - na przykład, w średniowieczu masową panikę wywoływały czarownice. Dzisiaj lęki są inne: jest, dla przykładu, lęk przed skażeniem radioaktywnym, katastrofą lotniczą albo przed asteroidami, które jakoby mogły zderzyć się z Ziemią. Wraz z upływem czasu zmieniają się także źródła pogłosek: jeśli wcześniej upowszechniali je, powiedzmy, taksówkarze, handlowcy albo babcie, siedzące w bramach, tak dzisiaj to informacja z Internetu przyczynia się do "wciągnięcia" do paniki czy agresji. Na nią ludzie na razie nie mają odporności, wszak Internet to stosunkowe nowe medium. Miejmy nadzieję, że z czasem taka "odporność" się wykształci.

Strach jak pandemia. Doświadczenie

W przeciągu ostatnich lat ludzkość cierpiała naraz na kilka ogólnoświatowych fobii.

Problem 2000





W przededniu nowego tysiąclecia użytkownicy komputerów na całym świecie obawiali się tak zwanego "problemu 2000". Rzecz w tym, że w starym zabezpieczeniu programu było przyjęte oznaczać rok nie czterema, lecz zawsze dwiema cyframi (na przykład, nie 1991, a 91). Wielu więc martwiło się, iż daty w komputerach po prostu się wyzerują - mogłaby to być sytuacja krytyczna, na przykład, dla programów finansowych. W niektórych krajach na rozwiązanie "problemu 2000" wydano ogromne pieniądze. Jednakże później specjaliści krytykowali pomysł i nawet przekonywali, że problem nie był wart takiego rozdmuchania.
 
Świńska grypa
 
Masowy wybuch tej choroby miał miejsce w 2009 roku i zmusił WHO do zwiększenia stopnia groźby pandemii do maksimum - 6. stopień. W ten sposób epidemia grypy stała się pierwszą pandemią (czyli epidemią w skali całego kraju lub nawet kilku krajów) od 40 lat. Cały świat obiegła panika: w niektórych państwach i regionach wprowadzono nawet stan wyjątkowy. Jednak później, kiedy strach zmalał, WHO zarzucono rozdmuchiwanie niepotrzebnych lęków oraz to, że całe partie zakupionej szczepionki zostały niewykorzystane.  
 
Koniec świata

Jedna z najbardziej masowych fobii owładnęła światem pod koniec zeszłego roku: na 21 grudnia (według drugiej wersji - na 23) został "wyznaczony" koniec świata. W mediach powoływano się na kalendarz Majów, który akurat kończył się na tym dniu. Wielu z tych, którzy uwierzyli w przepowiednię, próbowali nawet schronić się w specjalnych miejscach na Ziemi - w szczególności na szczycie Bugarach we Francji (z powodu niezwykłej formy  uważany jest przez zwolenników mistycznych prądów oraz ufologów za bazę UFO). Uczeni, w tym specjaliści od Majów, wszystkie te pogłoski obalili, a koniec świata nie nastąpił.

Azbest

Fobia antyazbestowa na świecie zaczęła się jeszcze w latach 70. XX wieku i od tamtej pory nabiera obrotów. Dla przykładu, w 1999 roku Komisja Europejska przyjęła dyrektywę, zgodnie z którą w krajach UE zakazywano używania azbestu oraz wyrobów z azbestu, począwszy od 1 stycznia 2005 roku, a w Londynie nawet dzisiaj działa "Ruch na rzecz zakazania azbestu". Eksperci jednakże uściślają, że istnieją dwa rodzaje azbestu. Pierwszy, amfibolowy, w rzeczywistości jest niebezpieczny i zakazany, a drugi, chryzotylowy (który zresztą wydobywany jest w Rosji), nie przynosi szkody - oczywiście, przy kontrolowanym używaniu.

Briefing

Tahir Bazarow, psycholog, profesor MGU

Ludziom potrzebne są wydarzenia. Sam chciałbym zrozumieć, jak to możliwe, że w epoce sieciowych organizacji i wykształcenia nagle takie zainteresowanie względem końca świata. Według mnie, ludzie potrzebują cudów, ale dobre cuda nie przychodzą do głowy. Chciałoby się cudów takich armagedońskich, apokaliptycznych, coś kończących. Mam pewną hipotezę: rzecz w tym, że zakończenie jest zawsze najbardziej skomplikowane, ludzie umieją zaczynać, podoba im się zaczynać cokolwiek. Ale naprawdę niewielu udaje się zakończyć, tak więc oni oczekują tego, aż się samo skończy.

Źródło: kanał telewizycjny "Дождь".
 
Set Godin, autor książek o marketingu

Ludzie działając, zasadniczo orientują się na strach, nadzieję oraz miłość. Każdy marketingowiec z sukcesami, w tym także i politycy, czerpią korzyści co najmniej z jednej z tych podstawowych potrzeb. Na prykład, Rudolf Giuliani (eks-mer Nowego Jorku, który otrzymał stanowisko dzięki hasłom walki z przestępczością) był, niewątpliwie, kandydatem, pracującym ze strachem. Ciekawie jest zastanawiać się nad tym, jak określone kategorie są związane z różnymi emocjami. I tak, lekarze, otrzymujący pieniądze za obserwacje medyczne, pracują w biznesie, zbudowanym na strachu, podczas, gdy onkolodzy sprzedają nadzieję.




Źródło: prywatny blog Seta Godina.
 
Michaił Winogradow, psychiatra
 
Obserwuje się duże rozpowszechnienie aerofobii w związku ze znaczną ilością katastrof lotniczych. Są też natręctwa - lęk przed zarażeniem się wszelkiego rodzaju chorobami, strach przed ciemnością, zamkniętymi pomieszczeniami, wysokością. Lęk przed samotnością zaczął się wysuwać na przód, ponieważ ludzie zaczęli tracić więzi rodzinne oraz wartości i duża liczba starszych ludzi pozostaje w starym miejscu zamieszkania, podczas gdy młodzież wyjeżdża. Strach przed otwartą przestrzenią. Oczywiście, fobie transportowe w dużych miastach, a zwłaszcza w Moskwie - strach przed jazdą metrem.
 
Źródło: "Komsomolskaja prawda".
 
 
 
Autor: Kirił Żurenkov, Sergiej Mielnikov, Władimir Tichomirov.
Źródło: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2120767 (wgląd: 17.03.2013).
Data publikacji: 25.02.2013.


          Asteroid Day Will Offer a Crash Course (and Other Events) on Space Rocks - Space.com   

Space.com

Asteroid Day Will Offer a Crash Course (and Other Events) on Space Rocks
Space.com
More than 700 events are scheduled to take place in 190 countries across the globe for this year's Asteroid Day celebration on Friday (June 30). If you can't make it to one of these events, don't worry: there's a live, 24-hour webcast that will feature ...
Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?Forbes
Are asteroids humanity's 'greatest challenge'?Phys.Org
Scientists 'can't rule out' collision with asteroid flying by Earth in 2029Fox News
Astronomy Magazine -PR Newswire (press release) -Daily Star -Straight.com
all 22 news articles »

          No Illusions - Rick's Picks 2010 - The Best Radio You Have Never Heard Vol. 150   

NEW FOR JANUARY 15, 2011

For the fifth time, Rick From New York has wrangled the controls of BRYHNH to compile the best tracks from all the episodes from 2010 into the annual Rick's Picks year in review.
And for the fifth year, Rick has nailed it.
And this year, without drama.

He gave me the good list straight off . . .
:-)

Here's what Rick had to say this year:

OK . . . so it wasn't the worst year in the history of the world. As Dave Barry aptly points out,
"There have been MUCH worse years. For example, toward the end of the Cretaceous Period, Earth was struck by an asteroid that wiped out about 75 percent of all of the species on the planet. "
. . . that year was worse.
But even a cursory overview of the events of 2010, however, makes for some unsettling reading. Without even touching on Politics and World Affairs, which have been "year-ended" to death (and are SUPER DEPRESSING!), let's just take Pop Culture for instance . . .
Television- The Returning Champion of the Vapid Wasteland.
People, there is nothing on . . . don't debate me on this, just put down the clicker and go outside or something.
Books- Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom."
The most beloved (see Oprah) book of the year turns out to be about...Nothing.
Film- (Coen Bros., special category . . . doesn't count.)
Otherwise, Oscar Buzz is furiously buzzing for Buzz Lightyear 3-3D, with the runner-up being a movie about a rich, white Royal Guy who overcomes a speech impediment (Oh, the Humanity!).
Music-
There is always great music being produced year after year, but what rises to the top is rarely the cream. Witness Taylor Swift and Susan Boyle.
WWW-
I'm sure there are marvelous things being done on the Internet, but it's hard to imagine that they are happening on Facebook or Twitter.
"OMG . . .had awesome Tex-Mex, headed for the toilet now...I'm just sayin'"
And what do you suppose all the massively high-tech computing resources and uber-smart people of Google have enabled us to access through their amazing search engine as the top searches of 2010? Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Chatroulette.
However . . .
Standing in stark contrast, BRYHNH listeners had a fabulous year, with a smokin' new website, BRYHNH Merchandise and the unflagging attention to detail provided by Mr. Bax and the boys that we have all come to expect . I'll tell you, it sure gives me something to look forward to in 2011 . . .
Hell, I might even buy a T-Shirt . . .

Rick From New York

And without further ado. I proudly present to you:

No Illusions - Rick's Pix 2010 - The Best Radio You Have Never Heard Vol. 150


1. National Ransom - Elvis Costello Buy From iTunes
2. Burn It Down - Los Lobos Buy From iTunes
3. Oil and Water - Incubus Buy From iTunes
4. First Flash Of Freedom - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Buy From iTunes
5. Route 66 - Depeche Mode Buy From iTunes
6. You Wanted A Hit - LCD Soundsystem Buy From iTunes
7. What Have I Done To Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys w/ Dusty Springfield Buy From iTunes*
8. Sprawl II - Arcade Fire Buy From iTunes
9. Thirteen - Big Star Buy From iTunes
10. Money Shuffle (acoustic demo) - Richard Thompson Buy From iTunes*
11. Local Girls (live) - Graham Parker Buy From iTunes*
12. Seed In The Ground - Jason Spooner Buy From iTunes
13. Watching The Wheels (demo) - John Lennon Buy From iTunes
14. A Hard Days Night (take 7) - The Beatles Buy From iTunes*
15. Time Won't Let Me - The Smithereens Buy From iTunes
16. Moonlight Mile - Alvin Youngblood Hart Buy From iTunes


The Best Radio You Have Never Heard.
Giving new meaning to "reload . . ."
Accept No Substitute.


          U.S.A Propaganda?   
Mystery Flash and Big Boom Rattles Virginia
Buzz Up Send
They don't know what did it, but they're pretty sure it is from Russia?




Play Video 13 News, WVEC Hampton Roads – Unknown light and loud boom over Hampton Roads SPACE.com staff

SPACE.com Space.com Staff

space.com – 1 hr 23 mins ago
Editor's Note: This article has been updated. The flash and boom was likely a Russian space rocket. Click here for the update.


A mysterious flash of light and loud boom occurred over the skies of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., on Sunday night, but just what caused the phenomenon is still unknown.




Calls from local residents to 911 began coming in at around 9:45 p.m. EDT, with some people reporting their doors and windows rattled when the boom went off, according to reports from WVEC-TV.




Similar reports in the past often have turned out to involve meteors, which can explode in the atmosphere to create a loud noise and bright flash of light that streaks across the sky. However, often times the source of events like this are not determined.




In a recent scientific first, meteorite fragments of an asteroid that was spotted in space before it exploded over the African desert in October were recently recovered and examined by scientists.




The jury is still out as to what caused Sunday's event.




Local National Weather Service meteorologists have been in touch with the U.S. Navy, Air Force and NASA, but have not heard back these sources and don't know whether they are actively investigating the cause of the boom, said Wakefield NWS forecaster Jeff Lewitsky.




"The only thing we know for sure at this point is that it wasn't meteorologically related," Lewitsky told SPACE.com.




Lewitsky said meteorologists have looked back at their radar and lightning strike data during the time period and didn't find anything that could explain the event. He also said they had received no more reports on the incident and no photos of the light streak have come in.




Officials at Norfolk International Airport had received reports of the light and explosion, but hadn't observed anything out of the ordinary at the airport, according to WVEC-TV.


The National Weather Service told WVEC-TV that the reports of the light and the bang were coming in from Maryland to North Carolina.


The National Weather Service released a statement at 11:17 p.m. Sunday:


"Numerous reports have been called in to this office and into local law enforcement concerning what appeared to be flashes of light in the sky over the Suffolk/Virginia Beach area. We are confident in saying that this was not lightning ... and have been in contact with military and other government agencies to determine the cause. So far ... we have not seen or heard of any damage from this and will continue to inquire as to the cause."


Video: A Meteoric Tale
Meteors and Meteor Showers: The Science
Images: Perseid Meteor Shower
Original Story: Mystery Flash and Big Boom Rattles Virginia

          The Asteroids and the Feminine Revolution   
As science and astronomy develop, we get to know of more celestial bodies. Astrology now takes into account features such as the Center of the Galaxy, the location of some fixed stars such as Regal and Antares, the comet Chiron and more. Amongst these celestial bodies that have crossed the lines between astronomy and astrology, […]
          Atari Video Game Systems: Reliving the Best Games of the 80s   
Atari developed one of the most popular and the most best selling gaming systems in the world. In 1977 Atari successfully launched a gaming system that almost everyone in the world wanted. The Atari Video Computer System or VCS created a new way to entertain the young and old alike in the late 70s to the early 90s.

If you played Atari before, you know how crude and simple the graphics were in this gaming system compared to the 3D state-of-the-art graphics with the latest technology in gaming consoles introduced today.

The popularity of Atari lasted for many years. However, with the introduction of a more realistic gaming system today, Atari became a relic. In the 80s, Atari game systems and its game cartridges flew off the shelves of stores worldwide. You can even compare Atari’s popularity with the Christmas season craze that you may experience with other popular gaming consoles available in the market today.

However, because of overproduction of gaming cartridges, the market for video games crashed. Even with Atari’s success, it was affected by the declining demand in the video game market. By the fall of 1986, Atari gaming systems wasn’t available in most retail stores in the US.

However, even after all these years, Atari games are still fun to play. Even old games like Pac-man, Asteroids, Missile Command, and other popular titles Atari produced were still widely available in the video game market. Although it wasn’t really available in cartridges like before, it is, however, still being played in the internet.

Today, Atari is now a game developer for PC games and other popular gaming consoles out in the market. They now develop games that can compete with the standards that people are searching for in a game. Popular Atari game titles, such as Neverwinter Nights, Test Drive Unlimited, Age of Pirates and others are now available for PC, Xbox, PlayStation 2 and others.

These games also have the stunning advanced 3D graphics that most people look for in a game today. With great sound effects and realistic graphic quality, Atari games can really make you want to play their games over and over again.

Atari games are also available in different genres. They have Role Playing Games or RPG, strategy games, action games, first person shooter games, driving games, simulation games, online games, fighting games and they also develop games for kids.

With the different kinds of games available that Atari produces, you can be sure that you will never run out of great game titles from Atari. If you get tired of an Atari game, you simply have to go out and buy another popular title developed by Atari.

However, fun as all the new games Atari is developing now, the old games, such as Missile Command, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Tempers, Battlefield and other popular game titles back in the 70s and 80s are still fun to play with. People who grew up in the Atari era have searched for the old gaming titles in the internet and play it online.

These games can still be played in your PC by just having an active internet connection and logging on to www.atari.com. Or, you can purchase the old Atari Video Computer System or VCS in the internet. Today, the game system still exists and people still buys them. Even the cartridges are for sale.

If you want to play old video games the old school way, then purchasing an Atari Video Computer System is the best way to do it. Relive the 80s and play hundreds of different games developed by Atari.

All you need to do is plug the Atari VCS to your TV, plug in your favorite Atari game cartridge and play like you did when you were a child. If you have children, try to let them join the fun by letting them play too.

Atari games are widely available for download in the internet. Old games can be downloaded and played in your computer. But, if you want to play with these old and simple games like in the 70s and 80s, purchase an Atari VCS gaming console in the internet.
          Countdown to Yuri's Night: The Ultimate Space Music Collection, CD2008-2   
It's the "ultimate" because this trip through music, space, and time keeps growing. More than 2,700 music tracks organized chronologically, spanning more than a century, plus voice clips from space missions and other historical events. More than 200 hours of musical exploration... and counting.

SelectionTitlePerformerRelease
Year
1 Sleeping Satellite (Junior's Club Version) KLC Aurora feat. Michelle / Junior Caldera 2008
2 We All Come From Outer Space Erik Van Vliet 2008
3 Непокоренный космос Unbowed space Фиги Figi 2008
4 Галактика Galaxy Геннадий Торгов Gennadij Togrov 2008
5 Asteroid Gerry Joe Weise 2008
6 Космос нас зовёт Space Calls Us Конструцторр Constructorr 2008
7 Soyuz 11 Ghosts in the Clocktower 2008
8 Man Alone Phenomenauts 2008
9 Soyuz TMA-12 - Undocking From ISS Mission Audio 2008
10 Sleeping Satellite (Ka la Cuard Mix) KLC Aurora feat. Michelle 2008
11 Walk on the Moon Great Big Sea 2008
12 Космические танцы Space Dance Группа Неформальные Грёзы Informal Group Dreams 2008
13 Surfing the Rings of Saturn Hovmod 2008
14 Я - космонавт I Am a Cosmonaut Индие Небо Indie Heaven 2008
15 Space Cowboy (Rob Loveridge Remix) Jamiroquai 2008
16 Звездная река Stellar River Кар-мен Kar-Men 2008
17 Out of Space Kasabian 2008
18 Spaceman (Bimbo Jones Radio Edit) Killers 2008
19 Star Trek Larry Willis 2008

Index to Countdown to Yuri's Night: The Ultimate Space Music Collection
          Babylon 5 Rewatch: Setting the Scene - The Babylon Project   
Ahead of my upcoming Babylon 5 rewatch, it may be useful to set the scene of what is going on in the B5 universe when the series pilot episode opens. This information is not strictly necessary, but it may be helpful in reminding people in what space empire did what to whom and when.

The first article focused on the major races and alliances. This second focuses on the B5 station and some of the underlying concepts of the show.

Click for a bigger version. 

The Babylon Project
When humanity was spared annihilation at the hands of the Minbari, it resulted in a more tolerant and less aggressively militaristic attitude taking root on Earth. Newly-elected President Luis Santiago was voted into office in 2248 on a mandate of keeping the Earth Alliance out of war and also encouraging peaceful relations with other races.

One idea that had been proposed was a version of the League of Non-aligned Worlds writ large, the creation of an interstellar forum for peace and diplomacy that could also act as a centre for trade. Just as trade had helped keep Earth out of a global war for over 140 years during the 20th and 21st centuries, it was hoped it would also create new links between the major and minor powers of local space.

The original Babylon Station shortly before its destruction in 2250.

The result of these discussions was the Babylon Project. Its goal was to build a large space station, much larger than anything Earth had attempted before, which would act as a centre for trade and diplomacy. It was modelled on the League of Nations and United Nations of old Earth, before the major powers consolidated into the Earth Alliance in 2085.

It is likely this plan would have foundered if it wasn’t for the goodwill that Earth had engendered among the League of Non-aligned Worlds for its intervention in the Dilgar War of 2230-32, as well as the sympathy it had built up during its war with the Minbari. Startlingly, the Minbari themselves agreed to send a representative to the station, which added considerable kudos and interest to the project.

Earth Alliance diplomatic station Babylon 4. Considerably larger than the later Babylon 5, it remains the largest space habitat ever built by humanity. Taking over three years to build, in Sector 14, Epsilon Eridani system, it disappeared without a trace in late 2254 with over 1,300 construction workers and Earthforce personnel on board.

It was decided to build the station in the Epsilon Eridani system. Located fourteen light-years from Earth* in neutral space, the system was close enough to permit relatively fast travel from Earth, Narn and several of the non-aligned homeworlds (and somewhat more distant from Centauri Prime and Minbar, although still only a few days’ trip). A vast construction site was set up just outside the orbit of Epsilon Eridani III, three hours from the local jump gate, and construction got underway in earnest in 2050.

Just a few months into construction, with the forward docking sphere completed and the main hull taking shape, the station’s superstructure collapsed and exploded. Most of the construction material was saved and rebuilding began immediately. The same thing happened again, and then again. Officially the failures were the result of substandard building materials and problems with the advanced technologies being used to build the station, the largest artificial construction ever attempted by humanity. Unofficially, at least two of the collapses were linked with extremist, anti-alien terrorism.

Protected by much stronger security measures, Babylon 4 was finally completed in 2254. The immense station was operational for just 24 hours when it abruptly vanished, disappearing in a flash of light with over 1,300 construction crew still on board. No explanation has ever been provided for this incident.

The Earth Alliance prepared to cancel the Babylon Project, judging it an enormous waste of time, resources and political capital. To their surprise, the Minbari Federation stepped in and offered a substantial amount of funds to help build a fifth station. The Centauri also donated a significant sum and the Narns and non-aligned worlds somewhat less. The fifth station would be significantly smaller and less grand in scale, but it would still serve the purpose originally intended for the project. It was also decided to move the construction site into orbit around Epsilon III, much closer to the system’s jump gate with significant cost savings (despite concerns over security, being much closer to an attack through the gate).

Babylon 5 was completed in the summer of 2256. It went online in the autumn, with the station’s command crew and ambassadorial staff arriving shortly after that. Against the odds, the Babylon Project had succeeded in getting on-line. Now it would be the job of the crew and diplomatic staff to make the actual diplomacy work.


Babylon 5
Babylon 5 is located in orbit** around the planet Epsilon Eridani III (commonly referred to just as Epsilon III), close enough so that several times a day it enters Epsilon III’s shadow. A hyperspace jump gate has also been constructed in orbit, allowing smaller, non-jump-capable vessels to travel to the station. The gate is located far enough away from B5 for hostile ships to be identified and intercepted, but close enough so that travel from the gate to the station is fast and smooth. Thrusters on the jump gate allow it to maintain a constant distance from B5.

The station is approximately five miles long*** and at least half a mile wide. The station resembles a long rotating cylinder, held in place by a non-rotating framework. The spinning cylinder, or carousel, contains all of the station’s living spaces, including quarters, diplomatic meeting places, commercial districts and recreation areas. It rotates at 60mph, which generates a simulated gravity field of 0.9G. A “bulge” in the hull in Green Sector represents an elevated section of the station which can actually be spun at different speeds, to allow areas in the station for species from higher or lower-gravity worlds to dwell in greater comfort. However, no such species has yet arrived on the station in sufficient numbers to justify such a change to the station’s configuration.

At the front end of the station is a large spherical structure. This is the docking sphere or Blue Sector, which contains the station’s docking bays, Command and Control (C&C) and Earthforce military facilities, as well as crew quarters. The station’s Cobra bays, from where the fighter wings launch, are located at the rear of this section, on the arms which connect the sphere to the rest of the carousel. Ships dock through the axial launch and recovery bay, from where they are carried to one of several dozen bays located around the sphere. There is a secondary bay located directly above the sphere, along the zero-gravity forward “arms” of the station, where larger ships can dock.


The carousel is divided into four distinct sectors. Red Sector, located behind the docking sphere, is the station’s primary residential, commercial and entertainment hub. It contains restaurants, hotels, casinos, conference facilities and the station’s main shopping market, known as the Zocalo. The rearward part of Red Sector opens out onto The Garden, a large section of the carousel’s interior which is effectively hollow. The part of the Garden in Red Sector contains sports facilities and some very expensive hotels.

Green Sector, located rearward from Red Sector, contains the station’s diplomatic and ambassadorial wings, as well as residences for many of the station’s non-human population and the so-called “Alien Sector”, which contains rooms where the atmosphere can be changed for the comfort of the residents. The Garden extends through Green Sector and several public parks are located in this area, such as the Zen Garden and areas designated for diplomatic functions.

Brown Sector, colloquially known as “Downbelow”, is located rearwards from Green Sector, behind the Garden. Originally planned to be a second commercial area, it suffered from the budget cuts in the planning of the station and was left only partially developed, with considerably less security infrastructure than much of the rest of the station. Almost inevitably, this part of the station has attracted an underclass of citizens, including even homeless people. Brown Sector tends to be at the centre of some of the less-savoury activities on the station, including crime, prostitution and the drug trade.

Grey Sector lies rearwards from Brown Sector, at the far rear end of the carousel. Grey Sector contains a lot of industrial areas, heavy machinery and fabrication plants. This sector of the station is heavily automated, with relatively few people working in it despite its significant size. The low population of this sector, combined with its strange noises, have led it to being dubbed the “Babylon Triangle” by some of the more superstitious station residents.

Yellow Sector is the term given to the station’s non-rotating, zero-G facilities. These include the station’s fusion reactor (located at the extreme rear of the station), atmosphere processors, the large radiator fins, the cargo pods, the zero-G docking bay and the forward cargo stabilisers. Due to the sensitive nature of its facilities, Yellow Sector is off-limits to all non-Earthforce personnel.
The station’s sheer size can be overwhelming, but relatively rapid travel can be achieved thanks to transport tubes, which provide rapid transit between floors, and the station’s Core Shuttle, a high-speed monorail which runs the length of the station from Blue to Grey Sector just underneath the main axis. As it’s located near the spin axis, the Core Shuttle is a low-gravity environment and travellers must take care when boarding and exiting the cars.

Although designed primarily for peaceful purposes, Babylon 5 is also armed for defence. The station has two fighter wings of 12 fighters apiece, designated Alpha and Delta Squadrons, along with a number of spare fighters to replace any lost in combat. These are launched from the Cobra Bays located along the arms connected the docking sphere to the carousel, and recovered via the main docking bay. The station also employs a number of shuttles (including atmospheric shuttles and zero-G ones), hazardous material-recovery ships and automated camera and cargo pods.
The station also has several dozen pulse array cannons located along its length. Most of these are located along the zero-G spine of Babylon 5, but some are mounted on the rotating section to provide coverage along the underside of the station. These cannons are designed primarily for anti-fighter operations but in concert could inflict significant damage on capital ships. Earthforce and the diplomatic corps have clashed over plans to fit more significant weaponry to the station, the former feeling that B5 is far too vulnerable to a concerted assault and the latter countering that adding such heavy weapon batteries to the station runs counter to its mission of peace.

Babylon 5 is run by a crew of 6,500 Earthforce personnel, who provide the station’s administration, security and defence forces. In addition to this, there are 1,500 dockworkers on the station and thousands more permanent civilian residents who work on the station and keep its businesses and other amenities running. There are also well over 100 ambassadorial staff on the station, with each ambassador usually attended by a senior aide/chief of staff and other assistants.

The construction of the Babylon 5 jump gate has also provided a handy junction point for hyperspace routes leading between the Earth Alliance, Narn Regime and several of the non-aligned worlds. This has made the station a hub for both travel and commerce. The station has a total population – residents and transients combined – of around 250,000 at any one time.

Hyperspace as it appears from the "inside".This image is taken from the Conflict of Loyalty 2 mod for Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, since the series shots of hyperspace are not great in quality.

Hyperspace
In the 20th Century it was said that travelling faster-than-light is impossible. Technically, that is correct. It is not possible for any spacecraft to exceed the speed of light, which is why the first few interstellar ships launched from Earth travelled at achingly low speeds, taking decades to cross a single light-year, the crew cryogenically frozen until they reached their destination.
However, it is possible to get around the limitation. There are multiple layers of reality nestled within one another. Many millennia ago, ancient civilisations discovered how to create wormholes – jump  points or vortexes – linking our universe to the one next door, known as “hyperspace”. Every point in hyperspace corresponds to a point in normal space, but hyperspace appears to be many orders of magnitude smaller. Enter hyperspace, travel for a few hundred thousand miles and pop back out in normal space several light-years from where you were.

This sounds much simpler than it is in practice. Hyperspace does not have any stars, planets, black holes or other phenomena like our realm, but it does have immense gravitation eddies which ebb and flow. Some areas of hyperspace are utterly impassable due to such phenomena, creating obstacles which ships have to take long detours around. These tides can also sweep unsuspecting ships off course without warning, leaving them stranded with no frame of reference on how to get back home.

To this end, the first ancient civilisations which explored hyperspace began building a network of beacons. These beacons are anchored in real space, but with signals that penetrate hyperspace (and thus remain fixed and immobile from the perspective of ships in hyperspace). Over the course of millennia, other species have joined the interstellar community and added to the beacon network.

Today tens of thousands of beacons link the disparate worlds of known space together. Even hostile species have hesitated over destroying the beacons, since without them entire sections of the galaxy could be cut off before the painstaking work of rebuilding them was attempted. Network beacons can be shut down, however: during the Earth-Minbari War, the hyperspace beacons for the Sol system was disabled once the Minbari overran the outer colonies, delaying the Minbari advance for many months until they located Earth by other means.

An exit vortex or jump point leading from normal space to hyperspace.

Passing from real space to hyperspace or back again requires vast quantities of energy, far beyond the capability of most small ships to generate. Smaller ships require the use of free-standing jump gates to pass from hyperspace to real space and back again. Jump gates take the form of massive, multi-pronged constructions which charge up and generate a jump point between their prongs. More advanced species, like the Minbari and Centauri, have gates with three prongs, whilst Earth and many of the non-aligned worlds use four-pronged gates. The gate prongs can usually be adjusted to allow extremely large ships to enter or leave hyperspace, but a galactic standard size exists which makes this almost never necessary. Jump gates require colossal amounts of energy to operate, with multiple fusion reactors built into them along with failsafes and redundancies. The destruction of a jump gate – aside from being a crime on a par with disrupting the beacon network – releases titanic amounts of energy in both hyperspace and real space. It is strategically unsound because it is impossible for any ship to get out of range of the explosion (since it propagates in both realms simultaneously) once the detonation has begun. Trying to open one jump point inside another has the same effect.

Many species have large vessels which spend months exploring the fringes of the network, building new jump gates and beacons and expanding the limits of known space. The Earth Alliance delegates this task to its largest vessels, the Explorer­ class. More than two miles long each (although most of that space is given over to cargo), each Explorer has enough resources to build multiple gates and beacons before returning to the core systems for resupply. Earth only has a few of these ships and the programme is expensive, but it maintains it because of the goodwill it engenders with smaller races and the positive impact it has on trade.

Larger ships can generate their own vortexes through the use of a jump drive. Jump drives are extremely expensive to construct and fit to a ship, and the energy requirements are quite startling. The Centauri have developed quite impressive jump drive technology, later sold to Earth and stolen by the Narns. Minbari jump technology is superior still, with the Minbari both able to fit jump drives on ships smaller than even the Centauri have managed and also able to precisely target the departure jump point in real space from beacon coordinates. During the Earth-Minbari War the Minbari would open jump points in the midst of Earthforce flotillas, destroying several ships before the Minbari ships even arrived.

A four-pronged jump gate (probably of Earth construction) and an entry vortex leading into hyperspace.

Due to the gravitational inclines and eddies in hyperspace, not to mention the disorienting visual distortions (the source of which remains unknown; according to instrumentation, hyperspace should be completely black) which make following a target almost impossible, space combat is rarely attempted in hyperspace.

Because of hyperspace distortions, travel times in hyperspace do not always scale linearly to distances in real space: it is a two-day jump from Earth to Babylon 5, for example, covering just 14 light-years, whilst from Babylon 5 to Centauri Prime, over 75 light-years distant, takes just over three days. There are also hyperfast gravitational currents in hyperspace which can carry ships to parts of the galaxy thousands of light-years away in just a few days, but the use of these currents is highly dangerous and is not advised, due to the unreliable nature of the beacon network in these areas and the fact that the destination regions are completely unexplored. Exploration vessels attempting to use these currents often disappear and are never seen again.****

The superstitious sometimes claim that there are alien creatures native to hyperspace which do not take kindly to intrusions from our realm. However, there are several species which have had hyperspace technology for over a thousand years and these have never turned up a single shred of evidence to support such claims, and they must be dismissed as fanciful.

Notes 
* More recent, more accurate measurements suggest that Epsilon Eridani is actually 10.5 light-years from Earth and have confirmed that it possesses two significant asteroid belts, one gas giant and one smaller planet (not directly observed but inferred from the stable orbits of the two belts).

** Publicity material for Babylon 5 and occasional official comments suggest that B5 was actually not in orbit around Epsilon III but located at the planet’s Lagrange 5 point with respect to its moon (presumably not Epsilon Eridani itself, as that would be located around 5 million kilometres from Epsilon III and the planet would be barely visible). This is not borne out by the show itself, where B5 is said to be in direct orbit around Epsilon III several times.

*** The Babylon 5 station was originally designed to be one mile wide and eleven miles long: only the centrifuge (the main rotating cylinder, containing the Garden and Green and Red sectors) was going to be 5 miles long, with the forward command sphere and the rear power section and the front cargo arms adding the remaining length. However, in-episode dialogue constantly refers to the whole station being five miles long. This creates inconsistencies since the CGI in the Garden sequences (particularly the end of the episode The Fall of Night, the Season 2 finale) clearly shows a much wider station than the 0.45 miles it would have been to keep the scaling correct.

**** This is a retcon needed to explain how Z’ha’dum can lie on the “Galactic Rim”, which is at least 20,000 light-years from Earth, and still be reachable from known space in just a few days whilst everyone else takes days just to travel a few dozen light-years across explored space. This explanation was required when Z’ha’dum moved from being on the “Rim of Known Space” to the “Galactic Rim” between the third and fourth seasons.

Thank you for reading The Wertzone. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. The Cities of Fantasy series is debuting on my Patreon feed and you can read it there one month before being published on the Wertzone.

          Specieswatch: The Cybermen   
The Cybermen are one of Doctor Who's most popular and endearing foes, making their first appearance in the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet and making return appearances right up to the present day.


Fictional History

Millions of years ago, Earth had a twin planet. Named Mondas, it shared Earth's orbit and, for reasons not entirely understood, the two worlds were mirror images of one another in the layout of their landmasses.

At an unknown point in time, Mondas was flung out of its orbit. According to some reports, this was the result of the arrival of the Moon in Earth's orbit, the perturbations causing Mondas to be ejected from the Solar system (and the native sentient species on Earth, the Silurians, to take shelter in vast underground caverns).

According to most histories, Mondas wandered to the outskirts of the Solar system over the course of millions of years. As it receded from the Sun, Mondas became less and less habitable. The planet's dominant intelligent species were humans evolved in parallel to those on Earth, although some suggest they actually evolved at a much faster rate (due to the worsening environmental conditions). Like humans on Earth, the humans of Mondas developed an industrial civilisation. However, unlike Earth which became divided between squabbling factions, Mondas was united, its people working together to survive as the habitability of their world decreased and the planet grew colder.


The Mondasians turned to both cybernetics and space travel to try to save their race. At one point in time they were able to make contact with a formidably advanced humanoid species and were able to procure the use of a 400-mile-long, 100-mile-wide colony ship to help evacuate tens of thousands of people from the planet. The details of this chain of events remain unclear, but it is known that the would-be colonists perfected cybernetic transformation and created the first human/machine hybrids, or Cybermen. Simultaneously, the people on Mondas itself were able to create their first AI systems. The combination of the two phenomena resulted in the creation of a new species, enhanced humanoids utilising biological brains welded to formidable computing power and cybernetically-enhanced bodies. This came at the cost, however, of emotions and imagination.

Calling upon their scientific knowledge, the Cybermen halted the movement of Mondas away from the Sun and began the slow, multi-millennial task of returning it to its original orbit. They also utilised FTL technology (possibly ransacked from the alien colony ship) to settle planets in other systems. The most successful of these colonies was located on the planet Telos but others were scattered across the galaxy.

During Mondas's return to the inner Solar system, the Cybermen detected signals from Earth and learned that the humans of that planet had forged a significant industrial civilisation. They sent a scouting force to invade Earth circa 1975, but this was defeated by machinations of the Gallifreyan Time Lord known as the Doctor.

The original Cybermen in The Tenth Planet.

Eleven years later Mondas drew close to Earth and the Cybermen mounted an assault on the planet, storming the planet's Space Command in Geneva and a major base in Antarctica to forestall any space-borne attack on their homeworld. The Cybermen's plan was to absorb energy from Earth to replenish their dying homeworld, convert the population of Earth into Cybermen to replenish their own ranks and finally destroy the planet with humanity's own weapons of mass destruction to prevent any resistance being mounted against them by any surviving humans. However, the intervention of the Doctor (shortly before his very first regeneration) saw Mondas absorb too much energy and disintegrate, killing all of the Cybermen present (reliant on energy from Mondas).

With Mondas destroyed, it fell to the colonies outside the Solar system to mount renewed attacks: these invasions were designed to either conquer Earth as a new homeworld, forcibly convert the population into Cybermen or both. An attack was mounted on Earth in 2070 via the planet's Moonbase and another attack via a station located deep in interplanetary space. Both attacks were thwarted by the Doctor in his second incarnation, ending the threat of the Cybermen for several centuries.

An iconic shot from The Invasion.

The Doctor was also present when an Earth exploration team inadvertently awoke the main Cyberman colony on Telos in the 25th Century. This sparked a renewed period of hostility by the Cybermen towards Earth, culminating in the Cyber Wars. Humanity discovered that the Cybermen had a weakness to gold, which could corrode their internal systems, and swiftly made use of this to defeat the Cybermen en masse. An attempt to use a space freighter to destroy Earth in the early 26th Century was thwarted by the Doctor in his fifth incarnation, albeit only at the cost of the life of his companion Adric. Later, the Sixth Doctor aided the Cryons, the natives of Telos, in destroying the Cyber colony on the planet and reclaiming their homeworld.

These defeats reduced the Cybermen to tiny remnants in deep space, on remote colones or on ships in flight. Several centuries after the end of the Cyber War, the Doctor, in his fourth incarnation, helped thwart a renewed Cyber offensive using Space Station Nerva and the Voga asteroid, the source of much of the gold used in anti-Cyberman weaponry. One group of Cybermen apparently discovered a time-travel capable vessel and travelled back to mount an attack on Earth in 1988, but was halted by the Doctor in his seventh incarnation.


The Cyberman threat appeared to have been contained, with the Cybermen playing no role in the Time War. However, the course of history was altered when it was discovered that, in an alternate timeline, a more aggressive race of Cybermen had been created. These alternate dimension Cybermen invaded our universe and were halted by the actions of the Tenth Doctor, the Torchwood organisation and a squad of Daleks known as the Cult of Skaro. Another faction of these Cybermen breached the dimensional boundary to invade London in 1851 with a huge war machine, but were again stopped by the Tenth Doctor.

The Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors confronted several renewed threats to the galaxy from the Cybermen, who appeared as a resurgent threat in the far future. The Twelfth Doctor also stopped an attack on Earth in the early 21st Century by Cybermen working in concert with "Missy", the regenerated incarnation of his old enemy, the Master.

The Doctor, along with his companions Bill and Nardol and an apparently rehabilitated Missy, then encountered the Mondasian Cybermen on a massive colony ship they were apparently using to flee their dying homeworld. The Doctor discovered, to his horror, that a previous incarnation of the Master had apparently helped create the Cybermen and that his companion Bill, who had been "converted" as per the Master's instruction, may have become the very first Cyberman.


Behind the Scenes
In the mid-1960s Dr. Christopher "Kit" Pedler, a medical scientist and parapsychologist, with an interest in science fiction, was recruited by the BBC to lend expertise to several of their television programmes, most notably Tomorrow's World. The Doctor Who production team recruited him because they wanted to do more stories about real science and harder SF concepts, as these seemed to be resonating more with audiences.

Pedler's first contribution became the story idea for the story The War Machines. Gerry Davis, the show's script editor, was impressed by Pedler's talent to find a good story and they decided to collaborate on a script. Pedler had an interest in the growing field of cybernetics and transplant surgery, and told Davis about a conversation he'd had with his wife about how many of a human could be replaced by machinery before they were no longer human. This led to the creation of the Cybermen.

The Cybermen were cyborgs like the Daleks, but the Daleks had been forced into their state by the need to survive a nuclear war and were no longer recognisably human. They had also discarded positive emotions, but retained negative traits such as hatred, prejudice and rage. The Cybermen were much more recognisably humanoid and were completely emotionless and amoral. Whilst the Daleks wanted to exterminate all other lifeforms, the Cybermen were keener on converting other races to become like them, a more horrific concept.

The Cybermen were a huge hit, with their first story, The Tenth Planet, being one of the most popular stories from the black and white era of Doctor Who. The story also saw the Doctor regenerated for the first time, with William Hartnell replaced by Patrick Troughton. The producers had found a replacement for the Daleks - who were being retired at the end of the fourth season following licencing issues with creator Terry Nation, who was trying to launch a spin-off series in the States - in the nick of time. The Cybermen returned for four further adventures in rapid succession: The Moonbase later in Season 4, Tomb of the Cybermen and The Wheel in Space in Season 5 and The Invasion in Season 6 (which also introduced UNIT).

The design of the Cybermen changed several times. In their first appearance the Cybermen were still recognisably human, with their faces covered in a type of close-fitting cloth, human hands and moving mouths. Although some considered this eerie and frightening, some fans felt it wasn't particularly scary. For their second appearance in The Moonbase their suits became much more robotic. The Invasion added large panels to either side of the head. The one constant in their appearances has been "handlebars" on their heads.

The Cybermen as they appeared in Earthshock.

The Cybermen did not appear during the Jon Pertwee era, apparently as the production team couldn't come up with a good story for them. They did return in Revenge of the Cybermen in Season 12, Tom Baker's first season on the show, but after this did not appear again until Season 19 in 1982. Producer John Nathan-Turner wanted a big action "blockbuster" story for Peter Davison's first season as the Fifth Doctor and script editor Eric Saward was really keen on bringing back the Cybermen.

A significant amount of money was spent on this story, which pitched the Doctor and a team of space marines against the Cybermen for control of a huge space freighter. Interestingly, considering it was made four years before the movie Aliens (to which it has some superficial similarities), the story had a link to that franchise in that some of the Nostromo sets and props were re-used in this story. This story also killed off the companion character of Adric, played by Matthew Waterhouse, who was not popular with fans (at least not until he was killed off!). Adric remains the only long-term Doctor Who companion to have ever been killed off, with the previous fatalities (Katarina and Sara Kingdom, both in the 1965 serial The Dalek Masterplan) having only been companions for a few weeks before dying.

The return of the Cybermen was extremely popular with fans, so they were brought back in Season 20's The Five Doctors (where three squads of Cybermen menaced both the Doctor and the Master on Gallifrey) and Season 22's Attack of the Cybermen. Less successful was their return for the 25th anniversary special, Silver Nemesis. The story was bitty and unsatisfying, with some poor writing and acting. It compared unfavourably to the season opener, Remembrance of the Daleks, which was later taken by fans to be the real anniversary story.

After the show's long rest, the Cybermen was reintroduced by Russell T. Davies in 2006. Fearing their backstory was too confusing, Davies deliberately had these new Cybermen hail from a different origin on an Earth in a parallel universe. After Davies's departure, new producer Steven Moffat quietly shifted back to using the Cybermen of the original timeline (albeit using a very similar design).

After Peter Capaldi was cast as the Twelfth Doctor, he asked Moffat if there was a way of bringing back the original 1966 Cybermen from Mondas, as he considered these to be the scariest and most disturbing version of the creatures. Moffat complied in two of his three final scripts for the series, World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls.


Appearances
The Tenth Planet (1966)
The Moonbase (1967)
Tomb of the Cybermen (1967)
The Wheel in Space (1968)
The Invasion (1968)
Revenge of the Cybermen (1975)
Earthshock (1982)
The Five Doctors (1983)
Attack of the Cybermen (1985)
Silver Nemesis (1988)
Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (2006)
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (2006)
The Next Doctor (2008)
The Pandorica Opens (2010)
A Good Man Goes to War (2011)
Closing Time (2011)
A Nightmare in Silver (2013)
The Time of the Doctor (2013)
Dark Water/Death in Heaven (2014)
World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls (2017)


Thank you for reading The Wertzone. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. The Cities of Fantasy series is debuting on my Patreon feed and you can read it there one month before being published on the Wertzone.
          COWBOY BEBOP live-action TV show in the works   
Critically-acclaimed Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop is being adapted into a live-action TV series.


Set in 2071, the original series was set in a Solar system colonised in the wake of a devastating accident that left Earth uninhabitable. Humanity has scattered across the Solar system's moons and asteroids and the rule of law is precarious. Bounty-hunters known as "cowboys" help bring in criminals in return for rewards. The series follows the two-man, two-woman and one-genetically-modified dog crew of the spacecraft Bebop as they bring in criminals, explore their own pasts and set out to find their own destinies.

Based on a manga written by Cain Kuga and released in 1997, Cowboy Bebop originally aired as a 26-episode anime in 1998, with a stand-alone, follow-up movie in 2002. It has received blanket critical acclaim for its writing, voice acting, animation (from Sunrise Studios) and characterisation, as well as its highly-acclaimed, jazz-influenced soundtrack by Yoko Kanno. The show has been cited as a forerunner of both Firefly and The Expanse (for its relatively near-future Solar system setting).

The live-action version is being helmed by Tomorrow Studios, a new collaboration between the UK's ITV network and Marty Adelstein, the producer of Prion Break and Tru Calling. ITV Studios already have a large stake in the US reality TV market and this project, along with the Snowpiercer TV series, marks their first foray into scripted drama in the US. Sunrise Studios is on board as a production partner. It is unknown if the show will retain the skills of Yoko Kanno as a composer (although many fans are already citing this as a dealbreaker).

Tomorrow Studios are looking for a network to help bring the show to the air.
          Comment on Adcade Closes over $1.5M in Seed Funding by Roger Adamson   
This is a games company with a knock-off of the old asteroids game. Very fun: http://adcade.com/blastroid/
          Happy Astreoid Day (June 30)   
David Reneke notes that June 30 is Asteroid day

and the guy who is behind the celebration is a rock star (literally).


A celebration of asteroids in space Friday, June 30th has a rock star behind the international awareness that one day the sky will be falling with Solar System interlopers promising, “We will rock you!” Asteroid Day is a United Nations sanctioned event world-wide that had its start in 2014 with the help of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Brian May of the British group Queen. Guitarist May, 69, is an astrophysicist with a PhD from Imperial College, London, completed during 30 years of studying the dust in our Solar System we can see as zodiacal light.
Dr Brian May, CBE, PhD FRAS, is a founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer, also a Doctor of Astrophysics



why June 30? It is the anniversary of the Tunguska event. which could have been from a rock meteor air burst or a comet fragment.

This post shows a comet, not a falling star/meteorite, but aside from that it is true:





          Hyakume-hitode for taxon Copidaster japonicus Kogure & Kohtsuka, 2014   
Vernacular "Hyakume-hitode" for taxon Copidaster japonicus Kogure & Kohtsuka, 2014 has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2014-10-14T20:42:41+00:00
          Numeri-itomaki-hitode-zoku for taxon Disasterina akajimaensis Saba, Iwao & Fujita, 2012   
Vernacular "Numeri-itomaki-hitode-zoku" for taxon Disasterina akajimaensis Saba, Iwao & Fujita, 2012 has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2013-01-31T01:57:35+00:00
          slime stars for taxon Pteraster Müller & Troschel, 1842   
Vernacular "slime stars" for taxon Pteraster Müller & Troschel, 1842 has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2009-02-14T05:45:45+00:00
          pink stars for taxon Pisaster brevispinus (Stimpson, 1857)   
Vernacular "pink stars" for taxon Pisaster brevispinus (Stimpson, 1857) has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-12-29T07:51:57+00:00
          ochre stars for taxon Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt, 1835)   
Vernacular "ochre stars" for taxon Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt, 1835) has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-12-29T07:51:57+00:00
          sea stars for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "sea stars" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-10-18T02:23:40+00:00
          estrella de mar for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "estrella de mar" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-10-18T02:23:40+00:00
          Luzon seastar for taxon Echinaster luzonicus (Gray, 1840)   
Vernacular "Luzon seastar" for taxon Echinaster luzonicus (Gray, 1840) has been added by Wim Decock via the MS Access interface on 2008-10-02T05:36:12+00:00
          étoile de mer commune for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "étoile de mer commune" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by Wim Decock via the MS Access interface on 2008-08-28T05:55:13+00:00
          astéries for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "astéries" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by Bruno Danis via the webinterface on 2008-06-11T12:57:51+00:00
          étoiles de mer for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "étoiles de mer" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by Bruno Danis via the webinterface on 2008-06-11T12:57:51+00:00
          crown of Thorns starfish for taxon Acanthasteridae   
Vernacular "crown of Thorns starfish" for taxon Acanthasteridae has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-01-26T04:29:56+00:00
          reef starfish for taxon Stichaster australis (Verrill, 1867)   
Vernacular "reef starfish" for taxon Stichaster australis (Verrill, 1867) has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-01-19T09:31:50+00:00
          seven rayed star for taxon Astrostole Fisher, 1923   
Vernacular "seven rayed star" for taxon Astrostole Fisher, 1923 has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2008-01-19T09:31:50+00:00
          sea daisy for taxon Concentricycloidea   
Vernacular "sea daisy" for taxon Concentricycloidea has been added by Christopher Mah via the webinterface on 2007-12-18T03:49:24+00:00
          red starfish for taxon Echinaster sepositus (Retzius, 1783)   
Vernacular "red starfish" for taxon Echinaster sepositus (Retzius, 1783) has been added by Edward Vanden Berghe via the webinterface on 2007-06-08T22:54:21+00:00
          rosy starfish for taxon Stichastrella rosea (O.F. Müller, 1776)   
Vernacular "rosy starfish" for taxon Stichastrella rosea (O.F. Müller, 1776) has been added by Edward Vanden Berghe via the webinterface on 2007-06-08T22:54:21+00:00
          Bloody Henry starfish for taxon Henricia oculata (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "Bloody Henry starfish" for taxon Henricia oculata (Pennant, 1777) has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2007-01-19T13:34:11+00:00
          green slender sea star for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776)   
Vernacular "green slender sea star" for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776) has been added by Leen Vandepitte via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-27T08:58:57+00:00
          étoile solaire for taxon Solaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767)   
Vernacular "étoile solaire" for taxon Solaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          crachat d'amiral for taxon Solaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767)   
Vernacular "crachat d'amiral" for taxon Solaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          étoile palmée for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "étoile palmée" for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          anséropode for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "anséropode" for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          pied d'oie for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "pied d'oie" for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          patte d'oie for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "patte d'oie" for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          étoile de mer sanguine for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776)   
Vernacular "étoile de mer sanguine" for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          étoile de cuir boréale for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776)   
Vernacular "étoile de cuir boréale" for taxon Henricia sanguinolenta (O.F. Müller, 1776) has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          étoile de mer for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "étoile de mer" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by Cibran Camba Reu via the MS Access interface on 2006-07-18T06:32:47+00:00
          negenvoeter for taxon Solaster endeca (Linnaeus, 1771)   
Vernacular "negenvoeter" for taxon Solaster endeca (Linnaeus, 1771) has been added by Ward Appeltans via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-16T09:59:42+00:00
          zonnester for taxon Crossaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767)   
Vernacular "zonnester" for taxon Crossaster papposus (Linnaeus, 1767) has been added by Ward Appeltans via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-16T09:59:42+00:00
          zonnesterren for taxon Solasteridae Viguier, 1878   
Vernacular "zonnesterren" for taxon Solasteridae Viguier, 1878 has been added by Ward Appeltans via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-16T09:59:42+00:00
          ganzenvoetje for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "ganzenvoetje" for taxon Anseropoda placenta (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Ward Appeltans via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-16T09:59:42+00:00
          kamster for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "kamster" for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777) has been added by Ward Appeltans via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-16T09:59:42+00:00
          Tiere for taxon Animalia   
Vernacular "Tiere" for taxon Animalia has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          étoile-peigne for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "étoile-peigne" for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777) has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          nordischer Kammstern for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "nordischer Kammstern" for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777) has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          sand star for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "sand star" for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777) has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          kleine kamster for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777)   
Vernacular "kleine kamster" for taxon Astropecten irregularis (Pennant, 1777) has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          astérie for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "astérie" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          gemeiner Seestern for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "gemeiner Seestern" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          common starfish for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "common starfish" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          zeesterren for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "zeesterren" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          zeester for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758   
Vernacular "zeester" for taxon Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          starfish for taxon Asteroidea   
Vernacular "starfish" for taxon Asteroidea has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          animaux for taxon Animalia   
Vernacular "animaux" for taxon Animalia has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          echinodermaten for taxon Echinodermata   
Vernacular "echinodermaten" for taxon Echinodermata has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          animals for taxon Animalia   
Vernacular "animals" for taxon Animalia has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          echinoderms for taxon Echinodermata   
Vernacular "echinoderms" for taxon Echinodermata has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          stekelhuidigen for taxon Echinodermata   
Vernacular "stekelhuidigen" for taxon Echinodermata has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          dieren for taxon Animalia   
Vernacular "dieren" for taxon Animalia has been added by db_admin via the MS Access interface on 2005-09-06T09:34:45+00:00
          Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are? - Forbes   

Forbes

Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
Forbes
Actually, it's Asteroid Day that's coming on Friday, June 30, and you want your children to be paying attention. You, too. Seriously? As if climate change, Brexit, Trump, North Korea, potential trade wars and all the rest weren't enough, we have to ...
Asteroid Day Will Offer a Crash Course (and Other Events) on Space RocksSpace.com
Are asteroids humanity's 'greatest challenge'?Phys.Org
Wave the red flag: Friday's Asteroid Day and the threat is seriousOrlando Sentinel
Fox News -Astronomy Magazine -PR Newswire (press release) -Daily Star
all 23 news articles »

          NASA Reveals Plan To Redirect Asteroid Chunk Into Moon’s Orbit   
NASA revealed its plans Wednesday to fly robotic spacecraft to asteroids by the end of the decade.
          How do you make a bird? Shrink a dinosaur for 50 million years   

Large flesh-eating dinosaurs evolved into small flying birds, but it did not happen overnight.

An international team of scientists on Thursday described an extraordinary evolutionary process that unfolded over a period of 50 million years in which a lineage of carnivorous dinosaurs shrank steadily and acquired numerous traits that led to the first appearance of birds.

The researchers, using techniques developed by molecular biologists to reconstruct virus evolution, examined 1,500 anatomical traits in 120 different dinosaurs from the theropod group. These bipedal meat-eaters included giants like Tyrannosaurus rex and Giganotosaurus as well as the lineage that produced birds.

"Our study measured the rate of evolution of different groups of theropod dinosaurs," said lead researcher Michael Lee, a paleontologist at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum.

"The fastest-evolving group also happened to be ancestral to birds. So, ultimately, the most adaptable dinosaurs proved to be the best long-term survivors, and surround us today in their feathered splendor," Lee explained.

The earliest known bird was the crow-sized Archaeopteryx, which lived in Germany 150 million years ago. It was characterized by primitive traits like teeth, a long bony tail and the absence of a bony, keeled sternum where flight muscles attach, as well as some attributes shared with modern birds.

"What was impressive was the consistency of the size change along the dinosaur-to-bird transition - every descendent was smaller than its ancestor. The lineage was continually pushing the envelope of life at a smaller body size, little by little, over 50 million years," Lee said.

The researchers completed a family tree of this dinosaur lineage and their bird descendants. These dinosaurs decreased in size from about 440 pounds (200 kg) to 1.7 pounds (0.8 kg) in 12 discernible steps.

Aside from sustained miniaturization, this lineage also benefited from new traits such as feathers, wishbones, wings, shorter snouts and smaller teeth. The study found that this lineage acquired evolutionary adaptations at a rate four times faster than other dinosaurs.

"The dinosaurs most closely related to birds are all small, and many of them - like the aptly named Microraptor - had some ability to climb and glide," said study participant Gareth Dyke, a paleontologist at Britain's University of Southampton.

The decrease in body size may have helped dinosaurs in the lineage that evolved into birds to take advantage of certain ecological niches that would have been off-limits to their larger relatives and to experiment with unique body shapes.

"It would have permitted them to chase insects, climb trees, leap and glide, and eventually develop powered flight," Lee said.

The changes may have helped these creatures to survive the cataclysm that doomed the other dinosaurs - an asteroid that struck Earth 65 million years ago, Lee said. Flight, for example, would have allowed them to cover vast territory in search of suitable habitat, and warm-bloodedness would have buffered them against climate changes, he said.

The study was published in the journal Science.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Gunna Dickson)


          A Good Day For Airplay - Episode 155   

10.11.2014 - New Podcast! Featuring: The Lees Of Memory, Sounds Like Sunset, Mike Doughty, Death From Above 1979, Interpol,, Weezer, Ty Segall, Braid, Field Mouse, Honeyblood, Zoot Woman, Chromeo, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Faded Paper Figures, Perfume Genius, Tricky Feat. Blue Daisy, Caribou Feat. Jesse Lanza, Thom Yorke, Owl John, Blonde Redhead and My Brightest Diamond.


          A Good Day For Airplay - Episode 136   

02.25.2012 - This week: School Of Seven Bells, I Break Horses, Grimes, Body Language, Clams Casino, Feeder, Epic Ditch, The Life And Times, A Place To Bury Strangers, Danny Brown, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire Feat. Maffew Ragazino, Freestyle Fellowship, Band Of Skulls, Pack A.D., The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, The Well Wishers, We Have Band and Marie-Pierre Arthur.


          A Good Day For Airplay - Episode 129   

06.25.2011 - This week: Friendly Fires, Digitalism, The New Division, Daedelus Feat. Inara George, Def Sound, Cave In, Nada Surf, To Dissapear, Colourmusic, The Sunshine Factory, The Asteroid No. 4, The Vandelles, SPC ECO, Fonda, Viva Voce, Bachelorette, The Express and Eddie Vedder.


          Indie Game Sneak Peek Report   
We recently had an event where we could go and show the public games that we've been working on.  We had a great time there and found that the time passed all to quickly.  We saw a lot of interest in our games and we're happy that we got to go.  Usually when there is an indie get-together, either Jay Barnson or Greg Squire will do write-ups.  I didn't see either of them, so I figured I might as well do the write-up this time.  Here we go!

Magnetic by Nature
by
TripleSlash Studios

Magnetic by Nature is a game about magnets.  You play as a robot and aside from basic movement and a jump button, you have a attract button and a repulse button.  I had a lot of fun with this one, as there was a good sense of movement and momentum.  If I saw this on Steam's Greenlight I'd totally vote for it.  The screenshot above doesn't really do it justice because it's from the older XBox LIVE Indie Game version.  The current one looks better but I can't seem to find any screenshots of it!  They recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign and are working on the PC, Mac and Linux builds.  They are the ones that set up the event, so a big thanks to them!  

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Company Site  |  Company Facebook  |  Kickstarter (Funded)  |  Buy on XBLIG

Siphon Spirit
by
Califer Games

Hopefully it should be no surprise that we were showing Siphon Spirit.  For those of you new to this blog, Siphon Spirit is an action-puzzler where you use a holy orb to absorb and purify energy from smaller demonic orbs.  You need to be careful with your energy.  Getting hit by blasts or running into enemies will permanently decrease your energy.  You'll need that energy to defeat larger demonic orbs as well as cast spells.  Plenty of people enjoyed it, so we're excited.  We're hoping to have a Kickstarter set up soon so we can pay for music, voice acting, and porting to different systems.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Windows Demo  |  Facebook

Spirits of Elduurn
by
Califer Games

This was fun for me, as I hadn't played a version of it in a while and Peter's made some big changes and cleaned it up a lot.  This is a puzzle game where you control a light and dark spirit to destroy demons and create a world.  Spirits of Elduurn is going to be a free flash game which we will be using to promote Siphon Spirit.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

March to the Moon
by
Califer Games

March to the Moon is a fairly silly top-down shooter/RPG.  You stoically march forward, killing everything in your path as you try to solve the quest of rats in a cellar which gets out of hand quickly.  Soon after stopping the rat infestation you are fighting goblins, then aliens, then end up in a massive battle on the moon.  There are twelve different skillsets you can choose from, and you can learn two skillsets per character.  Want to be a Necromancer/Paladin?  Sure thing.

I didn't think that I'd be showing this one too much since it has already been out for a year, but a lot of people wanted to play it and really enjoyed it.  I may just dive back into the March to the Moon universe after our current projects are done.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Buy on XBLIG  |  Facebook

Japanese Arena: Kana
by
Califer Games

Japanese Arena: Kana is a game for learning how to write the two basic Japanese character sets.  It also has a few hundred words so that you have a reason to remember the characters.  It also has battles where you fight traditional Japanese monsters with traditional Japanese weapons and armor.  This got some good reception as well and I was able to figure out a few things I can do to make it better.  It's still really early on so there were some crashes but no one seemed to mind, thankfully.

                                                     Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Momentum
by
Projectile Entertainment

Momentum is a game where you use the controls to twist and rotate the path so that the ball can travel along it.  It looks great, but I didn't actually get a chance to play this one.  From what I did see, it's pretty hard.  Seems like half the time I looked over the ball was falling from the path.  Maybe it just takes some time to get used to (which is something that you don't really get at a show like this).



Halfling Wars
by
Chondrostrike
Unfortunately, they'd already left by the time I got it into my head to do this.  I didn't get a chance to play it.  From talking around, it sounds like it's a fairly complicated game.  Stuff like RPGs or strategy games have a hard time at these kind of things where people want to just walk up and play something.  It's apparently pretty good since it was either a winner or a finalist for the Utah Game Wars.  I'll just have to let their pages do the talking for them.


Disaster Mage
by
Disaster Mage Team
Disaster Mage is a phone game where you need to use your wizard to shoot fireballs at the rocks falling towards the village.  It's fairly early still, and the screenshot above does not have final art.  They're planning on adding more enemy types as well as more spells to fight off the upcoming disaster.  Planned for Android and iOS.

Flame Warrior
by
Eidolon Games
Flame Warrior is a space-faring combat and trading game.  I didn't see the trading, but the combat works mainly by momentum.  If you are in range of the enemy the ship will fire it's laser, and the opponents will do likewise.  Your job is to steer the ship by basically setting a waypoint and making sure that you don't send your ship into a bunch of other ships or an asteroid.  Peter played it a bit and I watched (we just kinda hoped all our stuff would still be at the table when we got back).


Equalize Math   
by
Rainblade Studios

The best way to think of Equalize Math is to think of math Tetris.  Each row has a goal you need to hit and you can change whether the falling number is positive or negative.  To keep it from being too darn confusing there is a 'total' column as well so you know how far off you are from finishing the row.  It's been recently released on both iOS and Android.

Game Site  |  Buy on iTunes  |  Buy on Google Play


Untitled Co-Op
by
Mount Olympus

First off, sorry if there are any artifacts in the image.  The file he sent me was massive so I rescaled it. As the missing title may have led you to believe, this is a co-op game.  One player plays as the girl, and the other plays as the boy.  They must get through a series of traps by helping each other to get all the coins and then get inside the tree.  The game doesn't look like the image above yet, but that's the plan.  I just want to know what's inside the tree to make it WORTH fighting through net guns, tenacious fireballs and who knows what else!
Twitter  |  Blog

Draw Space
by
Alex Johnstone

I totally missed this one.  Their table was right across from ours, but by the time that I had gone through the other games in the U shape they had packed up and left.  I heard that it was more of a toy than a game.  If you want to know more, stop by their Facebook page and ask them what it's all about.

Facebook

Zen Boat & Side Effect
by
RegionSyx

I would have done these separately, but I can't find any images anywhere.  Zen Boat is a game where you draw a current on the screen with your finger to move the boat along.  It's pretty early still and I ran out of water, so I used the current to fling the poor boat off the screen.  Side Effect was a simple game where you tap a square and it changes the color of the surrounding squares.  Eric Hurst (the developer) correctly deduced that I had played a number of games with the exact same mechanics.

Twitter

Firefighter & A Game for Two
by
Vince Betteridge


Darn it, another set of games that I can't find any images for. (Edit: Vince commented with a link to some screenshots)  Firefighter is a game where you are a firefighter and you need to go and save people.  There is also a cat that you can save as a bonus, but I had a hard time not getting the bonus because KITTY.  He's working on making the tutorial a little easier to understand and adding in challenges.  It was fun, but what I really enjoyed was his other game.

A Game for Two really threw me off.  When I saw that it was multiplayer, and that the controls were both on the keyboard I was kinda okay with that.  Then I saw that the movement keys were right next to each other (Player 1: A,D; Player 2: Z,C) and the jump keys were also right next to each other (Player 1: J; Player 2: U).  Vince told me I should get a stranger to play with me.  I'm actually pretty shy so I said I'd just write some notes for this post.  As I was scratching it out, he brought someone to team up with me.  After figuring out how we could both use the keys without cuddling, we got going.  And we had a BLAST.  This was probably my favorite game (that I didn't make) at the Sneak Peek.  If you've ever played Thomas Was Alone (Vince hadn't, to my surprise), this game was Thomas Wasn't Alone.  It played nearly identically, but with a multiplayer element that allowed you to get through puzzles faster than if you were playing single player and just switching between blocks.  It was only 3 levels long, but I really enjoyed it.

Company Page  |  Blog  |  Newgrounds


P.S. To the developers who attended: Sorry for getting this up so late.  Things were pretty crazy for me the last few days.  This took a lot longer than I thought, trying to find screenshots and company info.  If I do this again in the future I will ask participants to send me info.  Also, I went home with more pens than I came in with.  If you are missing a pen please email me the description and I will send you a hostage photo.

          My House   
My house day time:


Mommy are there pink grapes? Magenta? What does the word future mean? Why aren't there any asteroids crashing into the earth right now? Can you make something lava proof?

Me: Honey lets take a question break just for a little while.

Mommy what's a question break mean?

Me:Its when you stop asking me questions for a little while

Oh....... How many seconds are there in a little while?
My house night time:
That's it! The next one who gets out of your bed gets a consequence.
What if I have to go potty?
You just went
What if there's a fire?
There wont be a fire
What of a robber comes and says he'll rob us if we don't come out of our bedroom?
There's no robber
What if I have an disease and the only way to get better is to sleep in the living room
That's it one more word and consequence
NOOOOOO!!!!



I gotta go potty



          If you couldn't make money in space, Bezos and Musk wouldn't be interested in it   

Apparently the US government is awash in new license requests for companies who anticipate business opportunities on the moon, or at least in space somewhere.

Humans haven't exploited the lunar resources because presumably it's too expensive for any single nation to undertake and until now, there hasn't really been a market for it. But with Bezos and Musk pouring money into the moon and Mars respectively, there's a lot of commercial interest.
 
There needs to be a multi-national mission to conquer the moon and Mars. Obviously I'm not a one-world government guy, but like the ISS, a cooperative effort by lots of nations would limit costs for each and the mission would be what it has always been in the movies and our imaginations.....just humans striving to live and conduct commerce somewhere beyond Earth.....and of course make it profitable by mining H3, the asteroid belt, low-grav manufacturing for more distant travel, manned outward-looking, "ground-based" telescopes, etc., and at some point, pleasure travel from Earth......
 
For instance, all inclusive vacation trips to "Hedonism XV: Lunar Love" (come for the Tang and a hyper dose of solar radiation, stay for the low-grav sex with strangers.......what happens on the moon, stays on the moon). Heh heh heh.

          Underworld (Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi, #3)   
Underworld (Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi, #3)
author: Jude Watson
name: Thomas
average rating: 3.95
book published: 2005
rating: 3
read at: 2017/04/05
date added: 2017/04/06
shelves: 2017, juvenile, science-fiction, star-wars, star-wars-legends
review:
Underworld takes us below the towering spires of Coruscant, below the lower levels of the city, down beneath the crust to where the underground oceans are, and where the Erased live. The Erased are people who have eliminated all traces of themselves and live off the grid, where the Empire doesn't notice them. Ferus Olin finds his way down to the underworld in his attempt to find more Jedi to hide on his asteroid, in his hopes to form the seeds of a rebellion against the Empire.

There's a lot of action in this book as Ferus travels lower and lower through Coruscant, and he runs into characters who have been established in Watson's previous series, as well as other characters from the Expanded Universe. I've griped about this kind of thing before (the Force allows for too many coincidences), so I won't rehash it here, but I will say the action keeps the story moving forward. It's a risk, narratively, since it means there's not much space for character development, but like in her other series, Watson takes the approach of developing her characters over multiple books. It works for characters who appear in all the books (Ferus and Trever are especially well-drawn), but for characters who appear only briefly, and in only one or two books, like Malorum, it doesn't. We know Malorum is an antagonist, but we don't get much insight into why he's like he is.

Speaking of characters, Obi-Wan doesn't feature in this book; in fact, he doesn't even appear in it. I think this is a first for Watson, since the other books in the EU that preceded this one all feature him in one way or another. I don't mind his exclusion (it helps answer my question of how Obi-Wan is supposed to keep a low profile while fighting Boba Fett with a lightsaber, after all), but it's noteworthy. I figure he might make another appearance further into the series, but it makes sense for him to be offstage.

Underworld is a solid juvenile novel in the Expanded Universe. It will appeal to fans, and to readers who are already familiar with Watson's work in the EU. It doesn't break new ground, nor does it fill in a lot of the blanks that exist between the movies and shows, but it's an enjoyable read.

          JumpJet Rex   
A 2D platformer where players take control of a Tyrannosaurus Rex with extraterrestrial jump boots; players must save dino-kind from extinction by a giant asteroid.
          News Briefs 29-06-2017   

We ain't 'fake news'. We are WTF! news.

Thanks to Charles and Bohemia IPA.

Quote of the Day:

"Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."

˜Rabindranath Tagore.


          33 Science Facts We Didn't Know At The Start Of 2016   
33 Science Facts We Didn't Know At The Start Of 2016:

buzzfeed:

1. Gravitational waves exist.

2. There’s an Earth-like planet just four light years away.

3. It’s possible for a computer to beat a human world champion at Go.

4. The Zika virus does indeed cause microcephaly, a medical condition in which the brain doesn’t develop properly.

5. It turns out there are actually four species of giraffe, not just one.

6. Some red squirrels in Britain carry a strain of leprosy seen in humans in the Middle Ages.

7. There’s a 54 billion cubic feet reserve of helium gas in Tanzania.

8. There’s an underwater “lost city” off a Greek island that is actually just a group of naturally-formed weirdly uniform rocks.

9. There’s a mysterious, slow-moving deep-sea shark that has been found to live for nearly 400 years.

10. Human penises might have lost their baculum, aka penis bone, when our species became monogamous.

11. The largest prime known prime number is 274,207,281 − 1. It’s 5 million digits longer than the previous record prime number.

12. There might be a ninth planet in our solar system, 10 times bigger than Earth and orbiting 20 times farther away than Neptune, on average.

13. Earth has got a sort of second moon (more accurately, a quasi-satellite) with the catchy name (469219) 2016 HO3.

14. Ninety-nine million years ago a little dinosaur got its tail trapped in amber, and its tail feathers were preserved.

15. Pluto’s atmosphere is more compact and cold than we previously thought.

16. And around the dwarf planet’s famous heart-shaped region, there’s a huge variety of terrains.

17. A bunch of stars went supernova close to Earth 3.2 and 1.7 million years ago.

18. The lost Philae spacecraft’s final resting place on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is in the shadow of a boulder.

19. There is a giant planet with three suns 320 light years away.

20. Ducklings can recognise the concepts of “same” and “different”.

Continue reading.


          Deep Time and Shallow Thermodynamics   
Full Title: 
Deep Time and Shallow Thermodynamics: How we know the age of the solar system
Presenter: 
Britt, Dan
When: 
2 Feb 2011 - 19:00 - 20:30
Venue: 
Taste
Where: 
Taste
Street:
717 W. Smith Street
City:
Orlando
,
Province:
Florida
Postal Code:
32804
Country:
United States

The age of the solar system (and Earth) has had a long history of contentious debate, most famously in the last decade of the 19th century between Lord Kelvin and his one-time assistant John Perry. Today radiometric dating has the precision to detail events during the formation of the solar system and the geochemical evolution of the Earth. Dr Britt will review how we know the ages of the Solar System and the Earth and how that knowledge has changed our understanding of their formation and evolution.

Dr. Daniel Britt is an Associate Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences in the Department of Physics at UCF. He was educated at the University of Washington and Brown University, receiving a Ph.D. from Brown in 1991. He has had a varied career including service in the US Air Force as an ICBM missile launch officer and an economist for Boeing before going into planetary sciences. He has served on the science teams of two NASA missions, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1. He was the project manager for the camera on Mars Pathfinder and has built hardware for all the NASA Mars landers. He currently does research on the physical properties and mineralogy of asteroids, comets, and Mars under several NASA grants. Honors include 5 NASA Achievement Awards, election as a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, and an asteroid named after him: 4395 DanBritt. He was recently elected President of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. Slides of the presentation are available. MSFT PPT / ODP / PDF


          Meteorite Stories   
Presenter: 
Britt, Dan
When: 
6 Jul 2011 - 19:00 - 20:30
Venue: 
Taste
Where: 
Taste
Street:
717 W. Smith Street
City:
Orlando
,
Province:
Florida
Postal Code:
32804
Country:
United States

Meteorites are pieces of the cosmos that literally fall out of the sky into our lives. They are scientifically invaluable as samples of asteroids, our Moon, and the planet Mars. How they are recovered is the subject of some very human stories of luck, random chance, and lively entrepreneurial spirit. Dr Britt will relate some of the more interesting (or larcenous) meteorite recoveries and teach the audience to keep their eyes open for random rocks from the sky.

Dr. Daniel Britt is a Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Department of Physics, University of Central Florida. He was educated at the University of Washington and Brown University, receiving a Ph.D. from Brown in 1991. He has had a varied career including service in the US Air Force as an ICBM missile launch officer and an economist for Boeing before going into planetary sciences. He has served on the science teams of two NASA missions, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1. He was the project manager for the camera on Mars Pathfinder and has built hardware for all the NASA Mars landers. He currently does research on the physical properties and mineralogy of asteroids, comets, the Moon, and Mars under several NASA grants. Honors include 5 NASA Achievement Awards, election as a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, and an asteroid named after him; 4395 DanBritt. He was recently elected President of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. He lives in Orlando with his wife Judith. They have two sons, ages 15 and 20.


          Asteroids, Water, and Life on Earth   
Presenter: 
Campins, Humberto
When: 
9 Jan 2013 - 19:00 - 20:30
Venue: 
Taste
Where: 
Taste
Street:
717 W. Smith Street
City:
Orlando
,
Province:
Florida
Postal Code:
32804
Country:
United States

Note, this is one week later than usual, so as to avoid the day after New Years’.

The recent discoveries of water ice and organic molecules on two asteroids, 24 Themis and 65 Cybele, are transforming current views of the delivery of water and organic molecules to Earth by asteroids, and the origin and evolution of life on Earth. These discoveries also have important implications for the three current asteroid sample return missions: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, the European Space Agency’s Marco Polo-R mission and the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa-2 mission.

In August 2002, Dr. Campins joined the UCF faculty as Provost Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy and head of the Planetary and Space Science Group. Dr. Campins’ research area is astronomy. He studies comets, asteroids and other small bodies in the solar system using a variety of ground based, airborne and space based telescopes. This research is funded by NASA and by the National Science Foundation.


          Space-Faring Civilization   
Full Title: 
The Urgent Need to Become a Space-Faring Civilization
Presenter: 
Metzger, Philip T.
When: 
5 Jun 2013 - 19:00 - 20:30
Venue: 
Taste
Where: 
Taste
Street:
717 W. Smith Street
City:
Orlando
,
Province:
Florida
Postal Code:
32804
Country:
United States

Kardeshev classified civilizations in terms of energy: a Type-I civilization is one that uses all the energy of a single planet, a Type-II uses all the energy of a single solar system, and a Type-III uses all the energy of a single galaxy. These energy levels represent barriers in the sense that we cannot grow a civilization beyond those levels unless we make radical changes in the very nature of the civilization. For example, at the limit of a Type-I civilization, we suddenly discover that we must bring the rest of the solar system into our economic sphere. Unfortunately, the distances between the space resources and the Earth are vast, the transportation costs are high, the environment is harsh for human bodies, and the technologies that are needed to accomplish this have not been developed for any prior economic purpose. Compared to expanding across the globe, even across the oceans, it is much more difficult to expand across interplanetary space. Thus, the Kardeshev classification represents natural barriers that we will hit, waypoints in civilization that require unusual sacrifices, new investments, and extraordinary political will. Business-as-usual driven by the familiar forces of economics will not work — by definition — when we reach one of these barriers. This puts humanity’s global challenges into the correct historic perspective as well as suggesting how they must be addressed. We are presently concerned about global warming, peak oil, resource depletion in general, overpopulation, resource wars, and so on. Rather than thinking of these as separate problems, we should recognize them as elements of the first Kardeshev barrier. If we want to address any of these global challenges effectively, we need to recognize them for what they are and address the basic problem behind them. We need to bring the solar system into Earth’s economic sphere. This talk will discuss the challenges and provide a strategy for getting over the first barrier affordably within our generation. This strategy incorporates the OASIS concept developed by this year’s International Space University plus the Affordable Rapid Bootstrapping concept for lunar and asteroid industry, developed by the speaker.

Philip T. Metzger, Ph.D. works at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as the lead research physicist and founder of the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab, part of the Surface Systems Swamp Works.

Phil has worked in the space program since 1985. He was a part of the Space Shuttle launch team and later with the International Space Station Program testing and assembling spaceflight hardware. For the past 10 years, he has performed research and technology development for solar system exploration (Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc.).

He earned a B.S.E.(electrical engineering) from Auburn University in 1985, a M.S. in physics from the University of Central Florida in 2000, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Central Florida in 2005. His doctoral work focused on the theoretical statistical mechanics of granular materials with applications to the mechanics of lunar and planetary soils.


          Solar System   
Full Title: 
Tour the Solar System
Presenter: 
Demeter, Derek
When: 
7 Jul 2014 - 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: 
downtown library
Where: 
Orlando Public Library
Street:
101 E Central Blvd
City:
Orlando
,
Province:
Florida
Postal Code:
31801
Country:
United States

Come along for an interactive guided tour of the inhabitants of the solar system, featuring the sun, eight major planets, asteroid belt and dwarf planets (like Pluto), as well as the innumerable objects that orbit around the sun from billions of miles away. Your journey is guaranteed to be the most exhilarating 5-billion-mile trip you’ll ever take! Presented by Derek Demeter, Director, Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College.


          2017 MY4 - MPEC 2017-M89   
Key info includes, small asteroid, H = 23.7, roughly 62m in diameter. Picked up on 23 June by PS1, observing it at June 23.41-44p3 at w = 22.1-4. Dated 0151 UT, noted at 0336 UTC. - [direct]
          2017 MB5 - MPEC 2017-M92   
Key info includes, small asteroid, Earth MOID = 2.5 LD, H = 22.6, roughly 102m in diameter. Picked up on 26 June by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), observing it at June 26.34-35p4 and 26.40p4. Dated 0205 UT, noted at 0336 UTC. - [direct]
          2017 MA5 - MPEC 2017-M91   
Key info includes, small asteroid, H = 25.8, roughly 23m in diameter. Picked up on 25 June by Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1), observing it at June 25.54-57p4. Dated 0203 UT, noted at 0336 UTC. - [direct]
          Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?   
Planetary defense is a very real and necessary concept. Seriously.
          ‘Apophis’ asteroid makes first Earth pass this week   

The 900-foot asteroid is set to pass by the Earth this week before making a closer pass in 2036.

The post ‘Apophis’ asteroid makes first Earth pass this week appeared first on GateWorld.


          On This Day in Math - June 29   


Jeannie, Happy birthday.

The 180th day of the year; 180 can be formed with the only the first two primes... 180 = 22 x 32 x (2+3) *Prime Curios

180 is the sum of two square numbers: \( 12^2 + 6^2 \). It can also be expressed as either the sum of six consecutive primes: 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41, or the sum of eight consecutive primes: 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37.

Beautiful trigonometry, arctan1 + arctan2 + arctan3 = 180o


EVENTS

In 3123 BC, a Sumerian astronomer saw a devastating asteroid, perhaps a half-mile wide, according to an interpretation of a clay tablet, made by researchers from Bristol University, reported in The Times on 31 Mar 2008. The ancient date was indicated by a computer recreation of the night sky using symbols on the tablet recording the positions of constellations The Planiform tablet found by Henry Layard at Nineveh, likely a 700 BC copy of the astronomer's notes, described in cuneiform a "white stone bowl approaching" that "vigorously swept along." The asteroid probably crashed into the Austrian Alps, leaving a swath of cataclysmic damage such as, for example, the Genesis destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.*TIS

1456 According to one story that first appeared in a 1475 posthumous biography and was subsequently embellished and popularized by Pierre-Simon Laplace, Callixtus III excommunicated the 1456 apparition of Halley's Comet, believing it to be an ill omen for the Christian defenders of Belgrade from the besieging armies of the Ottoman Empire. No known primary source supports the authenticity of this account. The 29 June 1456 papal bull of Callixtus III calling for a public prayer for the success of the crusade, makes no mention of the comet. By 6 August, when the Turkish siege was broken the comet had not been visible in either Europe or Turkey for several weeks. *Wik

(John Francis Rigaud, 1785)*Wik
1785 Letitia Ann Sage became the first British woman to fly. From St George's Fields on the south side of the Thames, Vincenzo Lunardi and his partner Biggin, with two invitees, Mrs. Sage and a Colonel Hastings were supposed to make the flight, but the Hydrogen balloon wouldn't take off because of the weight. (Mrs Sage, a actress and model was also a somewhat large woman, rumored to weigh appx 200 pounds.)  Lunardi and Hastings stepped down, and the balloon took off with Biggin and Mrs. Sage. It landed 90 minutes later, near Harrow, where the two aeronauts had to be rescued by a group of boys from Harrow School from the angry farmer whose crops were damaged. *Wik (There were even suggestions that rather more amorous events had occurred in the flight.)

1799 The Royal Charter for the Royal Institute is promised. Ever since its founding year the Royal Institution has maintained close links with the Royal Family. On 29 June 1799, George Finch, Earl of Winchilsea (1752-1826), the President of what had until then had been called simply the “Institution” reported to a meeting of its committee of Managers ‘that he had had the Honour of mentioning this Institution to his Majesty [George III], and that his Majesty was graciously pleased to honour it with His Patronage and to allow it to be called the Royal Institution’. The actual charter was presented on January 13 in 1800. *Royal Institute web page

1803 An open letter to the public, and the Congress of the United States on the topic "Of The Construction of Iron Bridges" is posted by Thomas Paine. Paine had discussed this work with President Jefferson in a letter while he was in England. *The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, (Washington, DC) Wednesday, June 29, 1803; Issue CCCCXIX;

1877 After proving that the points in a square can be put in one-to-one correspondence with the points on a line segment Cantor wrote his friend Dedekind “Je le vois, mais je ne le crois pas.” (I see it, but I don’t believe it.) [Dauben, Georg Cantor, p. 55]*VFR

1927 Gellivara 1073: Minor planet discovered September 14, 1923 by Johann Palisa at Vienna. Named for the small town  Gällivare in Swedish Lapland where in the year 1927 astronomers from several countries observed the Total Solar Eclipse of 1927 Named by the astronomer J. Rheden and endorsed by Anna Palisa.*NSEC
A Poster advertising viewing of Solar Eclipse from London, Midland, and Scotland Railway *GreatAmericanEclipse ‏@AmericanEclipse

In 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission, by a vote of 4 to1 decided against reinstating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's access to classified information. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 required consideration of  "the character, associations, and loyalty" of the individuals engaged in the work of the Commission. Substantial defects of character and imprudent and dangerous associations, particularly with known subversives who place the interests of foreign powers above those of the United States, were considered reasons for disqualification. The Commission regarded his associations with persons known to him to be Communists exceeded tolerable limits of prudence and self-restraint, and lasted too long to be justified as merely the intermittent and accidental revival of earlier friendships.*TIS

1956 The interstate highway system was signed into law by President Eisenhower. Even (odd) num­bered roads run East–West (North–South) with the numbers increasing from South to North (West to East). Roads with three digit numbers are loops around cities (when the first digit is even) or spurs (first digit odd); In either case the last two digits are the main road number.  *VFR
Eisenhower had seen the speed and efficiency in moving troops and equipment on the four-lane autobahns in Germany during WW II. The idea of federal support of interstate limited-access routes in the U.S. had begun with a study under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938. Little progress was made on building these roads while federal funding was low. When the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 committed federal funds to the States for 90% of the cost, construction began in earnest for the System of Interstate and Defense Highways having at least four lanes with no at-grade railroad crossings. *TIS

2016 - My Jeannie is celebrating her birthday today, and I'm celebrating having her in my life... all the good I ever do is a reflection of a single sun.


BIRTHS

1716 Joseph Stepling, (29 June 1716 in Regensburg; 11 July 1778 in Prague) His fields included astronomy, physics and mathematics. At the age of 17 he documented with great accuracy the 1733 lunar eclipse. Later Euler was among his long list of correspondents. He transposed Aristotelian logic into formulas, thus becoming an early precursor of modern logic. already adopted the atomistic conception of matter he radically refused to accept Aristotelian metaphysics and natural philosophy. In 1748, at the request of the Berlin Academy, he carried out an exact observation of a solar and lunar eclipse in order to determine the precise location of Prague. During Stepling's long tenure at Prague, he set up a laboratory for experimental physics and in 1751 built an observatory, the instruments and fittings of which he brought up to the latest scientific standard.
Even though he passed up a professorship in philosophy in favor of a chair in mathematics, Empress Maria Theresa appointed him director of the faculty of philosophy at Prague as part of the reform of higher education. He was very interested in cultivating the exact sciences and founded a society for the study of science modeled on the Royal Society of London. In their monthly sessions. over which he presided until his death, the group carried out research work and investigations in the field of pure mathematics and its appiication to physics and astronomy. A great number of treatises of this academy were published.
Stepling corresponded with the outstanding contemporary mathematicians and astronomers: Christian Wolf. Leonhard Euler. Christopher Maire, Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, Maximilian Heli, Joseph Franz, Rudjer Boskovic, Heinrich Hiss, and others. Also, Stepling was particularly successful in educating many outstanding scientists, including Johann Wendlingen, Jakob Heinisch, Johannes von Herberstein, Kaspar Sagner, Stephan Schmidt, Johann Korber, and Joseph Bergmann. After his death, Maria Theresia ordered a monument erected in the library of the University of Prague *Joseph MacDonnell, Fairfield Univ web page

1818 Pietro Angelo Secchi (29 June 1818 – 26 February 1878) Italian Jesuit priest and astrophysicist, who made the first survey of the spectra of over 4000 stars and suggested that stars be classified according to their spectral type. He studied the planets, especially Jupiter, which he discovered was composed of gasses. Secchi studied the dark lines which join the two hemispheres of Mars; he called them canals as if they where the works of living beings. (These studies were later continued by Schiaparelli.) Beyond astronomy, his interests ranged from archaeology to geodesy, from geophysics to meteorology. He also invented a meteorograph, an automated device for recording barometric pressure, temperature, wind direction and velocity, and rainfall. *TIS

1868 George Ellery Hale (June 29, 1868 – February 21, 1938) born. American astronomer known for his development of important astronomical instruments. To expand solar observations and promote astrophysical studies he founded Mt. Wilson Observatory (Dec 1904). He discovered that sunspots were regions of relatively low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Hale hired Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble as soon as they finished their doctorates, and he encouraged research in galactic and extragalactic astronomy as well as solar and stellar astrophysics. Hale planned and tirelessly raised funds for the 200" reflecting telescope at the Palomar Mountain Observatory completed in 1948, after his death, and named for him - the Hale telescope.*TIS

1893 Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis FRS[1] (29 June 1893 – 28 June 1972) was an Indian scientist and applied statistician. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, (a statistical measure of the distance between a point P and a distribution D, - a multi-dimensional generalization of the idea of measuring how many standard deviations away P is from the mean of D. ) and for being one of the members of the first Planning commission of free india. He made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute, and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys *Wik

1893 Eduard Cech, (June 29, 1893 – March 15, 1960) Czech topologist born in Stračov, Bohemia (then Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic). His research interests included projective differential geometry and topology. In 1921–1922 he collaborated with Guido Fubini in Turin. He died in Prague. *Wik

1904 Topologist Witold Hurewicz (June 29, 1904 - September 6, 1956) born. Hurewicz is best remembered for two remarkable contributions to mathematics, his discovery of the higher homotopy groups in 1935-36, and his discovery of exact sequences in 1941. His work led to homological algebra. It was during Hurewicz's time as Brouwer's assistant in Amsterdam that he did the work on the higher homotopy groups; "...the idea was not new, but until Hurewicz nobody had pursued it as it should have been. Investigators did not expect much new information from groups, which were obviously commutative...". *Wik He died in 1956 when he fell off a pyramid while attending a conference in Mexico.

1942 K. Jon Barwise (June 29, 1942 – March 5, 2000) an American mathematician, philosopher and logician who proposed some fundamental revisions to the way that logic is understood and used.*Wik


DEATHS

1895 T(homas) H(enry) Huxley (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist , known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his promotion of Darwinism which led him to an advocacy of agnosticism (a word he coined). At the age of 12 he was reading advanced works on geology, and by early adolescence he recorded the results of simple self-conducted experiments. As a ship's assistant surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake he studied marine specimens by microscope. During the 1850's he published papers on animal individuality, the cephalous mollusks (ex. squids), the methods of paleontology, and the methods and principles of science and science education. *TIS

1924 Robert Simpson Woodward (July 21, 1849–June 29, 1924) was an American physicist and mathematician, born at Rochester, Michigan. He graduated C.E. at the University of Michigan in 1872 and was appointed assistant engineer on the United States Lake Survey. In 1882 he became assistant astronomer for the United States Transit of Venus Commission. In 1884 he became astronomer to the United States Geological Survey, serving until 1890, when he became assistant in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. In 1893 he was called to Columbia as professor of mechanics and subsequently became professor of mathematical physics as well. He was dean of the faculty of pure science at Columbia from 1895 to 1905, when he became president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, whose reputation and usefulness as a means of furthering scientific research was widely extended under his direction. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1896. In 1898-1900 he was president of the American Mathematical Society, and in 1900 president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1915 he was appointed to the Naval Consulting Board. He died in 1924 in Washington, D.C.*Wik




Credits
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell
          Pixeroids   

Guide your spaceship , hit and destroy asteroids without colliding with them ! SHOOT ! This is Pixeroids.

The post Pixeroids appeared first on Juegos Friv.


          Zűrállomás - 2010.07.23. - DJ Corp. & Suzuki Samurai on air   
itunes pic
Zűrállomás - 2010.07.23. - DJ Corp. & Suzuki Samurai on air tracklist >> 01. Data - visitor 02. ST Files - weight down 03. Spinline - groove scam 04. Rockwell - full circle 05. Sceptical - transfer 06. Strago - anemona 07. Pacific & Psidream - spacecase 08. Break - get up 09. Brookes Brothers - rework 10. Cyantific - kung fu express 11. American Werewolf - you & me (Furlonge remix) 12. Culture Shock - bad red 13. DC Breaks - halo 14. Rareform - reconstruct the future 15. Noisia - my world 16. Proktah - daydreams VIP 17. Marky & S.P.Y. - time moves on 18. Icicle - still u 19. State Of Mind - back to the jungle 20. A Sides - travellin' man 21. Trei & Dose - hot foot 22. Break - crunchy 23. MAV & ASC - retract 24. S.P.Y. - elite squad 25. Sabre - one hundred teeth (Strago Remix) 26. FD & Script - cougars 27. Zero T & Rockwell - bone structure 28. Nu:Tone - beatnik 29. Mindscape - vibrations 30. Bcee - Mr. bidigan (Total Science remix) 31. Calibre feat DRS - judgement day 32. Electrosoul System - asteroids 33. All Thieves - stars (Zero T Remix)
          Three Years of NEOWISE Asteroid Data   



This animation shows asteroids and comets observed in infrared by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission.




          New Radar Images of Asteroid 2014 JO25   



This movie of asteroid 2014 JO25 was generated using radar data collected by NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California on April 19, 2017.




          Radar Imagery of Asteroid 2014 JO25   



This movie of asteroid 2014 JO25 was generated using radar data collected by NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar in California's Mojave Desert.




          What's Up - February 2017   



Use Venus and Mars to find the Zodiacal Light, plus two comets and the brightest asteroid.




          Two Years of NEOWISE Asteroid Data   



This movie shows the progression of NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) investigation for the mission's first two years following its restart in December 2013.




          Flyby Comet Imaged By Radar   



Radar data of comet P/2016 BA14 taken over three days (March 21-23, 2016), when the comet was between 2.5 million miles and 2.2 million miles from Earth.




          Halloween Asteroid   



JPL scientist Marina Brozovic explains how radar will be used to study asteroid 2015 TB145 when it safely passes Earth on Oct. 31, 2015.




          How to Explore the Surface of a Comet or Asteroid   



A robot concept called Hedgehog would explore the microgravity environment of comets and asteroids by hopping and rolling around on them.




          Radar Movie of Asteroid 1999 JD6   



Movie made from radar images of asteroid 1999 JD6, obtained on July 25, 2015. The asteroid is approximately 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) on its long axis.




          Radar Movie of Asteroid 2011 UW158   



A rock outcrop dubbed "Missoula," near Marias Pass on Mars, is seen in this image mosaic taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on NASA's Curiosity rover.




          Asteroiden: Keine regelmäßigen Einschläge auf der Erde   
Schlagen Asteroiden in regelmäßigen Abständen gehäuft auf der Erde ein und verrät sich dadurch gar ein bislang nicht nachgewiesener Begleiter der Sonne? Diese Frage beschäftigt Astronomen schon seit Langem. Die Analyse von Einschlagkrater, die in den letzten 500 Millionen Jahren entstanden sind, ergab nun jedoch keinen Hinweis auf regelmäßige Einschläge. (8. März 2017)
          Erde: Wie unsere Heimat ein blauer Planet wurde   
Wie kam das Wasser einst auf die Erde? War es von Beginn an vorhanden oder haben erst Kometen oder wasserhaltige Asteroiden unsere kosmische Heimat zu einem blauen Planeten gemacht? Planetologen glauben nun, aus der Analyse von Meteoriten eine Antwort geben zu können: Das Wasser gelangte bereits früh während der Erdentstehung auf den Planeten. (30. Januar 2017)
          Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are? - Forbes   

Forbes

Asteroids Are Coming: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
Forbes
Actually, it's Asteroid Day that's coming on Friday, June 30, and you want your children to be paying attention. You, too. Seriously? As if climate change, Brexit, Trump, North Korea, potential trade wars and all the rest weren't enough, we have to ...
Asteroid Day Will Offer a Crash Course (and Other Events) on Space RocksSpace.com
Are asteroids humanity's 'greatest challenge'?Phys.Org
Wave the red flag: Friday's Asteroid Day and the threat is seriousOrlando Sentinel
Fox News -Astronomy Magazine -PR Newswire (press release) -Daily Star
all 23 news articles »

          El principito   
  Se trata de un hombre pequeñito, no es un niño ni tampoco un adulto. Vive en su propio planeta, el Asteroide B612 y dando vueltas por el universo llega de casualidad a la Tierra, donde se encuentra en el desierto con un aviador cuyo avión se ha estrellado. En medio de la urgencia del […]
          Beyond this Horizon   
Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond

No one is more pleased than I am that the new Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond (2016, directed by Justin Lin) is head and shoulders better than any of the last six Star Trek films. You have to go back to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country to find a film as satisfying as this one. Star Trek VI came out more than a generation ago. It's been a while.


The plot catches up with the Enterprise somewhere in the third year of their five year mission to explore the galaxy, seeking out new life and new civilizations and whatnot. The film opens with Kirk acting as an ambassador at the conclusion of a war between two alien races, bearing to one race, the Teenaxi, the gift of a relic of a never-activated doomsday weapon. The Teenaxi perceive the gift as a threat and Kirk is obliged to beat a hasty retreat and place the relic into a storage bin on the Enterprise. Kirk is getting bored with his mission and has applied for a position as an vice admiral. The Enterprise at the space station, Yorktown, for refitting and shore leave, where Star Fleet probes Kirk's intentions. Spock, too, is at a crossroads. His mentor, Spock Prime, has died, leaving him with questions about his place in Star Fleet. He is considering resigning his commission to help the now scattered Vulcan  diaspora recover something of their former glory. Unbeknownst to Spock, Kirk has recommended him as his replacement. Meanwhile, a survivor from a science expedition to a nearby nebula arrives requesting aid for her ship and crew. The Enterprise is on hand, so they get the job. But all is not as it seems. Once they penetrate the asteroid field in the nebula's halo, they are set upon by a swarm of small ships that seem to know the Enterprises every weakness. The enemy board the Enterprise even as they continue to destroy it in search of the relic Kirk has lately stored on board. The crew takes to the life pods as Kirk defends the relic and are captured as they descend to a planet at the heart of the nebula. Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and a handful of others manage to land without capture and must now rescue their crew from Krall, the warlord who set the trap for them. They are aided in this by Jaylah, a refugee from Krall's work camps, who lives in the wreckage of another Federation ship. Meanwhile, a captured Uhuru discovers Krall's plans for the relic, which is indeed the key to a doomsday weapon that Krall intends to use to attack the Federation, starting with Yorktown...


Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond


One of the main problems with the previous two films in the Star Trek reboot has been the feeling that the characters weren't quite themselves. Really, only Karl Urban's Dr. McCoy was recognizable as the same character from the original series. The others? They all seemed off. Kirk was less competent than Shatner's Kirk and more of a callow and reckless asshole. Spock seemed uncharacteristically hostile. The others were various shades of different (though, in those films' defense, they went out of their way to give Uhuru more things to do). This film, perhaps because it's not burdened with either convincing anyone that it IS Star Trek or with living up to the story beats of Star Trek II, relaxes a bit and lets the character BE the characters. As a result, this feels right. This is Star Trek, five year mission and all. Moreover, this is a Star Trek that doesn't ask the audience to believe in colossal stupidities. I mean, sure, this is mainly an action film, but it's an action film that doesn't suspend the laws of physics in an overt and risible manner (as the previous two films did). I attribute this to a change in screenwriters and director. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung and Justin Lin are a significant upgrades from Roberto Orci and J. J. Abrams. Indeed, Simon Pegg is enough of a nerd himself that you can feel the love for the characters he brings to film in the small things that Orci, mercenary scenarist that he is, never could. The interchange between Kirk and McCoy over Chekov's confiscated Scotch, for instance--"Here's to good eyesight and a full head of hair"--is the kind of touch and gentle ribbing that the previous films either never got or blundered over. Chekov's insistence that Scotch was invented by a little old lady in Russia is another. But lest one think that a fondness for the characters consists of call-backs to the original cast, this film develops the characters in new ways, too. The choice to cast Sulu as a gay man is famous now, of course, but the film is never flagrant about it. It's almost subliminal, as if it's a non-issue (which is exactly how it should be in Roddenberry's radically diverse utopian vision of the future).


Zachary Quinto, Sophia Boutella, and Karl Urban in Star Trek Beyond

There's a spark of creativity here that has been absent in previous films (and even previous series) too. There's a joke in fandom about how all aliens in Star Trek are really just humans with weird noses and foreheads, but that's not necessarily an accusation you can make against this film. The aliens here are alien enough to read as not human even though practical necessity gives us bilaterally symetric bipeds. The Teelaxi at the beginning are really the first Star Trek aliens to take good advantage of the possibilities offered by contemporary special effects to render something really off the human model, and various other Enterprise crewmembers are similarly alien. But beyond that, this Star Trek gives us new environments that we haven't seen before. The space station Yorktown is the kind of sci fi megastructure that only used to appear in books by writers like Larry Niven or John Varley. Now they can be rendered on film, and Star Trek Beyond is among the first films to really imagine plausible human engineering on this scale. The weirdly variable gravity on Yorktown lends the film's inevitable climactic fistfight completely strange, as if it were being fought in Thunderdome, where up and down lose their meanings. The fistfight to end the movie is a stock trope for Star Trek. This film manages to make it seem new.


Star Trek Beyond

I wish this outbreak of creativity had spread to the main storyline. The actual plot that animates this film is as safe and as cliche-ridden as most big budget tentpole movies. Krall's motives for attacking the Federation are the same as the motives of the villain in Interstellar, to name one recent example, and the film finds a status quo at the end, promising further Star Trek films with Kirk and Spock et al. This is a product, of course, and when Chris Pine lamented in the press that "You can't make a cerebral Star Trek movie in 2016," he's not necessarily referring to what an audience will accept, but rather to what a marketing department at a film studio will accept.  Obviously, cerebral science fiction films are still being made, but they aren't being made with $175 million dollar budgets. Big movies like this one are so seldom good anyway that its maybe unreasonable to demand that they be cerebral. It's probably enough that they provide thrills without insulting the audience's intelligence. This is harder than you might think, from the evidence at the multiplexes. That Star Trek Beyond manages this feat is no small accomplishment.







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          Hands On With Project Spark, Xbox One Beta Live Today   

Last week, we got hands-on time with Team Dakota’s world-building platform Project Spark. Not only did we experience some of the creations that people have been building in the PC beta, but we saw the Xbox One version in action.

After a short video featuring many community creations, executive producer Saxs Persson and designer Claude Jerome took us through some of what players have been building since the beta began in December 2013. To date, there are 55,000 beta participants with over 6,000 creations available on the service.

These include game prototypes like a pinball table made of logs, a long stovepipe plunger, and various other pieces of the fantasy tool kit. We also played a devilishly difficult Super Meat Boy style platformer called Blaze Jumper, requiring precise wall jumps and countless deaths on spikes.

There are also concept pieces like Colour. This artistic experience takes players across a watercolor landscape just to see the sights. As you might expect when players get their hands on a toolkit like Project Spark, there are also homages and recreations.

Game of Thrones fans can walk through a replica of King’s Landing. Fable fans can relive the opening moments of the original title’s Oakvale childhood sequence, complete with quests and dialog. There are action RPGs with steampunk flare and even an Asteroids clone with an option to enable the traditional vector graphics. 

When Project Spark’s Xbox One beta goes live today, all of these creations will be available for players to download. You can also provide feedback, leave comments, follow creators, and mark your favorite levels for a quick return. 

Project Spark makes use of the Xbox One’s Internet Explorer app, and you can move back and forth between the two easily, including launching creations from the website. Persson and Jerome tell us that creations are often handed off from player to player. 

For instance, one person might take a town square as far as he/she wants. Others can download it, remix it, and make their enhanced version available. Users are starting to specialize in different type of creations, further enhancing Project Spark’s utility as a toolkit.

One thing that hasn’t been possible before the Xbox One beta are custom animations and voice overs. Using the Kinect camera, players can add personality to characters. As an example, Jerome loaded up a dance party and selected a character template for me. 

As terrible a dancer as I am, the Kinect picked up subtle movements like a jutted hip, raised eyebrows, and open mouth. Where the original Kinect would get confused as hands passed over one another, the new camera was able to mimic my pathetic disco moves perfectly.

Animations can then be edited for optimal looping, and different movements can be tasked to different controller buttons. Persson and Jerome also showed the value of props. For instance, the Kinect won’t pick up a chair, so sitting on one and moving can easily be made to look like falling as the model appears to be floating.

The duo also shared some tricks. For instance, attaching props to a human skeletal form can be used to create monsters. Recording sound effects from a phone, for instance, through the Kinect can help create roars, gurgles, and unearthly screams. Project Spark makes a better case for Kinect as a gaming device than most of what has been released for either version of the peripheral.

Just as people are creating gameplay and environments, the Xbox One beta will give a crop of character creators a chance to more fully develop elements for others to use. Nothing will be wiped, so all of the creations in progress now will be available in perpetuity.

Project Spark will be free to play, with the fantasy toolset part of the initial download. Other kits, including the deserts, castles, snowy terrain, and more are available for purchase now. These building sets run between $1.50 and $10. The team likens these to digital LEGO sets. 

There is also an in-game currency that is earned through building and playing. It’s possible to acquire all of the themes just by playing. “It’s like LEGO, but with frequent flier miles,” Persson tells us.

Team Dakota expects to quickly ramp up participants from 55,000 to 1 million. If you haven’t yet received a beta invitation, chances are there will be more opportunities soon as the population grows twenty-fold. 

Project Spark does not have a narrowed release window yet, but you can expect it some time this year. Since there’s no NDA and Twitch support is coming to Xbox One soon, even if you don’t get in the beta, expect to see more soon.


          Let's Use Data And Tech To Create A Government That Works   
Breakthroughs in medicine, data science, online education, renewable energy, and satellite navigation have changed the world. From smartphones to PET scans, from pest-resistant seeds to asteroid landings, the list of extraordinary, ingenious, life-changing achievements is almost endless. But from a public policy perspective, the pace of improvement is harrowing. Governments around the world need to find mechanisms that simultaneously enable greater opportunity for their social entrepreneurs as well as better protection for citizens. The new structures will need to use data more wisely, make decisions more quickly, and regulate more fairly. They will also need to provide data to collaboratively achieve performance-measured outcomes, and better engage communities and civil society’s participation in the process.
          College for Kids 2016   

Once again my kids were privileged to participate in UW-Milwaukee's College for Kids program for two weeks this summer. 




This is fake outrage (again), as she had a big grin before and after the pictures. 





All are now old enough for full roaming privileges on the campus. 



They each had three classes. 








Here are some of LuLu's art pieces. 






And some Photoshop examples from YaYa - the latter was featured on the CFK website. 





YaYa and friends.



Pottery by Junie. One day the power went out on campus, and they couldn't use the kiln. For three weeks we tried to co-ordinate a pickup of the items - only to discover they all fit in the palm of my hand! (the last pic)







 She also earned a white belt in Tae Kwon Do, and broke some boards during her test!



Smiley's work was an asteroid-like video game that I obviously can't post here, but he had a blast doing it!


          Rameses B: Asteroid   
In honor of reaching 40,000 likes on his Facebook page and summer, rage your face until it melts completely off, in the air. The melodic dubstep sensation known as Rameses B is giving his brand new track, "Asteroid," away for free!
          A Rich, Dense Fossil of the Immediate Present   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Jay Sekulow, the creepy guy from the religious-right group the American Center for Law and Justice, and now a Trump lawyer, has reportedly directed more than $60 million donated to another nonprofit right into his and his family’s bank accounts. Jon Swaine at The Guardian reports:

Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a “sacrificial gift”. ... “I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks”. 

Outrageous, but not surprising. But hey, playing on poor people’s sincerely held beliefs in order to enrich yourself? I think we have a new term for that: Sekulow Humanism, a philosophy that says other humans are just there for you to feed off of.

Raheel Raza represented CFI at the UN Human Rights Council last week, delivering a statement on combating FGM around the world. The video of her statement is here, and she recounts some of her experiences in Geneva at the Clarion Project blog. 

Sarah Palin, who, in a simpler time, was our biggest worry, sues the New York Times for defamation for when the paper ran an editorial connecting the rhetoric of her PAC to the shooting of Gabby Giffords. 

The EPA was going to ban a Dow Chemical pesticide that is incredibly dangerous to the brain development of fetuses and babies, but that was, again, in a simpler time. The “EPA” under Scott Pruitt does things differently. After a meeting with Dow’s CEO, Pruitt ended the push for a ban. Michael Biesecker at the AP reports:

“There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women,” the [American Academy of Pediatrics] said in a letter to Pruitt. “The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.” 

New Hampshire State Rep. Brandon Phinney, the only Republican atheist legislator in the country, leaves the GOP for the Libertarian Party.

Erwin Chemerinsky, of UC Irvine’s law school, writes at SCOTUSblog about the “crumbling” wall of separation resulting from the Trinity Lutheran decision, noting, “the distinction between what an institution is and what it does is inherently arbitrary.” 

Amy Harmon at NYT rounds up the responses she got from teachers dealing with the challenge of teaching about climate change to students who doubt the science.

Hey, how will YOU spend your Asteroid Day? I’m not kidding, June 30 is Asteroid Day, when the world, um, “celebrates”(?) the anniversary of the asteroid impact in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908.   

Bertha Vazquez of our TIES program announces three new teacher workshops coming in October. 

Ellen Duffer writes about the Democratic Party’s uphill battle to “salvage the votes” of anti-abortion women who don’t like Trump, but also feel alienated by the party’s increasingly firm pro-choice stance.

A federal court rules that a Florida Catholic school is allowed to deny admission to kids who haven’t been vaccinated.

Also in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott (who also played Mr. Homn on Star Trek: The Next Generation) (I’m kidding) signed SB 436, that really awful “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act.”  

Given the news that “no religion” is now the largest “religious” group in Australia, according to its census, Hugh Harris writes, “It’s high time [Australian] politicians abandoned the fallacy that religious outrage is a vote changer,” and that nonbelievers deserve to have representation in government and the media that reflects their numbers. (Always remembering, I think, that “no religion,” like “nones,” does not necessarily mean “atheist.”)

Here we go again. Yet another Ten Commandments monument is placed on the grounds of yet another state capitol, this time in…[checks]...Arkansas. 

Bigfoot Project Investments (sigh) is offering a $1 million bounty for Bigfoot in Crawford County, PA, “dead or alive.” 

Oh boy. Rob Lowe is going all ghost-hunters on us

An 80-year-old Buddhist woman throws coins in an airplane engine as a kind of prayer, which of course delayed the flight. Interestingly, the tossed coins represented the first time in decades that an airline turned a profit. (Sick airline industry burn!) 

Quote of the Day:

Apparently, fidget spinners labeled with the Holy Trinity are heretical, according to some in the Catholic Church. Whatever. More to the point, I love this concluding paragraph from Liz Raiss at The Outline:

Ultimately, the fidget spinner is a toy. It does not merit think pieces. It does not merit sermons. It does not merit The Atlantic’s characterization as “a rich, dense fossil of the immediate present.” It will not save the world, cure your ADHD, or explicate confusing theological concepts. A trendy, tactile plastic toy will not lead children to associate Catholicism with coolness, no matter how hard young, trendy priests may push. And it certainly won’t send anyone to hell.   

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta

 


          Tremaster mirabilis! Five things I have learned about a Fantastic Starfish!    
Baker Island
Back in 2008 I wrote a post about a great looking starfish that I wanted to know more about, a weird looking deep-sea star called Tremaster mirabilis!  

Its a striking looking animal and its not unusual for odd looking animals to have some kind of story attached to it..and as we learn more about it, the more intriguing it becomes! 

The species name "mirabilis" is Latin for "wonderful" or "to marvel at" and as we'll see the genus name Tremaster has an equally appropriate descriptive etymology! 

Since I wrote that introductory post in 2008 not only have I learned more about it-but we've now seen it ALIVE all over the Atlantic and  the tropical Pacific thanks to the livestream videos of Okeanos Explorer!

Brief Introductory Details: Tremaster is a starfish in the family Asterinidae, that puts in the same family as "bat stars" and a bunch of other sea stars you probably recognize from shallow waters and home aquariums. Go read this account on this huge and diverse group, which I wrote a while back...
Bat star
image via Flickr by Ed Bierman
But one of the people I/we owe the MOST to is a diligent and smart-as-a-whip young researcher named Ms. Katie Gale (more at her website here) who was working in the deep-sea biology/ecology & reproductive biology lab of Dr. Anne Mercier at Memorial University in Canada! 

Katie published this great paper on feeding biology and ecology of deep-sea asteroids collected off the coast of Canada in the North Atlantic in Deep-Sea Research in 2013.  I blogged it up here.

During the course of Katie's research she collected a fair amount of cool "anecdotal data" which amounts to singular observations and some other stuff which furthers the "natural history observation" of a starfish about which we know very little!   So her observations along with some further observations from the 2017 research legs of the NOAA Okeanos Explorer, some further homework on my part and voila!

Let us learn MORE about the weird starfish Tremaster mirabilis!

1. It eats coral (possibly)
Probably one of the BIGGEST questions I had for such a strange looking sea star! As we'll see, this species is seen quite a bit and yet one of the most immediate questions about it seemed elusive!

Fortunately Katie Gale was quite lucky and was able to capture and image of this specimen of T. mirabilis taken by the fine people who operate the Remotely Operated Vehicle ROPOS/DFO. Gale's paper cites this image showing our mysterious starfish feeding on CORAL! 

Specifically the octocoral Acanthogorgia!  
Tremaster mirabilis occurs widely around the world and of course, its always possible that there is variation in feeding or that possibly the animal in the picture has somehow been caught doing something completely else that we have no clue about-BUT our best guess is that its feeding. So, we continue on with that notion..

BUT we have THIS image taken on Whaley Seamount during Leg 3 of the Okeanos Explorer mission at 875m!

Could its location on the rock surface be because its near a yummy food source? Another coral predator to add into our understanding of deep-sea coral ecosystems???


2. Time lapse movement and?? 
This probably seems like a common sense thing-we KNOW starfish move albeit VERY slowly. and can actually show some behavioral complexity (here) 

Katie nabbed some of this GREAT video showing this species moving around its aquarium and more importantly NOT attacking this sea anemone in the aquarium.

This is actually an important point because we know MOST starfish CAN move but they often don't.

So, ACTUALLY capturing it doing so gives us some insight into what they do when we aren't watching them..
Tremaster mirabilis and Flabellum
Katie for example caught THIS unusual variation in posture:  Could this be avoidance of the bottom somehow? Filter feeding? Some kind of stress response? 
Tremaster mirabilis
Note in this image that the "skirt" is lifted compared to the in situ Okeanos images below where the animal is flush with the bottom..
Tremaster mirabilis
What is it doing?? This is a bit of a A mystery. 

and on Pau Pau Seamount and elsewhere Tremaster  is CRAAZY abundant! Are they moving around to feed? to reproduce?  How does all of this come together??? These behavioral bits add to our understanding but also to the mystery!

If we sped the movement of this "constellation" of Tremaster mirabilis up, would we still see no movement? or  is it a Times Square of Deep-Sea Starfishes??? 

3. One species lives in at LEAST THREE Oceans?
It USED to be that everything we knew about this species was taken from museum specimens and indeed we are STILL dependent on samples from throughout the world for new records of where many species live.

There is some question about whether or not this one species "Tremaster mirabilis" is actually one species or possibly several 'cryptic' species disguised by the fact that all the individuals observed all appear to be the same.

 The external characters vary only slightly and its not unusual for a widely occurring species to demonstrate some... variation throughout its range. However, when we examine dead museum specimens we are often missing data such as color and behavior which can be important.  Especially when its range where it lives is at least THREE oceans!

Tremaster is a moderately occurring deep-sea species.. occurring roughly between 200 and 600 m

Thanks to submersibles such as Okeanos Explorer we now have VIDEO and ON SITE (in situ) observations of LIVING animals!

Tremaster mirabilis is supposed to be one species..but as you can see there is a SLIGHT difference in body form..

North & Central Atlantic: An image from Nygren Canyon (top) and the lower image from Puerto Rico. Note there's more of a "skirt" around the edge versus the Pacific ones.
Throughout the tropical Pacific
Here's a brilliant deep-orange one seen on the recent Okeanos leg from Jarvis Island..

And interesting brick colored one from Pau Pau seamount
and this interesting lighter colored individual from Baker Island..

Other Records show this species in New Caledonia and throughout the Pacific. I've not yet seen it from the Indian Ocean however..

Another place where Tremaster shows up? Antarctica and nearby...

4. There are Jurassic Fossils
As if dealing with living animals weren't enough, these intriguing beasts show a CLEAR relationship to at least TWO Jurassic fossils!

Bear in mind that the Jurassic is quite a LONG time ago. These sea star were living in the world's oceans while dinosaurs roamed the Earth!

AND like its modern descendents-these were quite spread out. Antarctica versus Switzerland!

Here's Protremaster felli, from the Jurassic of Antarctica! Described by Andrew Smith and T. H. Tranter in Geology Magazine 1985


and YET another "Tremaster" like fossil sea star, described in 1981 from the Jurassic of Switzerland: Mesotremaster  zbindeni described by famed Swiss paleontologist Hans Hess!
Image from the Wikipedia file: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mesotremaster_felli.jpg
Close up of the plate detail showing a familiar pattern for "Tremaster" like asteroids...


4a. Interesting Evolutionary History...  I had also mentioned briefly in my account of the importance of the family Asterinidae (here)  And well, Tremaster is possibly VERY important to the evolution of starfishes. It has a history showing them in the Jurassic.. and to those in the know.. these show a close resemblance to several weird deep-sea species! 


5. What does "Tremaster" actually mean? And"brood chambers"??
FINALLY! What does the genus "Tremaster" actually MEAN anyway? "aster" is obviously "star" but it turns out "Trema-" refers to "aperture" or OPENING!

When Addison Emery Verrill described this genus in 1880 he made allusion to these FIVE openings present in each interradius! These were one of the distinctive characters he used to diagnose his (then) new genus!! and "mirabilis" of course refers to "wonderful"

Here's a photo of the underside of a Tremaster specimen.. the openings are indicated by yellow circles!
So, as it turns out if you look more CLOSELY at these openings, they are actually OPENINGS into chambers present INSIDE and THROUGH the body wall and open up on the TOP:


Here are images of a dissected individual from the underside showing these openings (i.e. these are close ups of what's in the yellow circles above)
According to the author who described this species (and subsequent literature), there are actually BROODED young in these chambers! Its not clear to me if they are simply embryos or actual juvenile individuals. Strangely enough, these have not been documented..at least not in the literature that I could locate. and I have yet to actually spot them. But perhaps I've simply not been looking at the right ones...

Thus, the openings appear to provide an opening for water to circulate into these chambers which could serve any number of purposes.. Possibly to aerate the "brood" chambers? Or perhaps they assist in the degree of arching the dome-like shape is capable of??  Filter feeding? Predation??

One of the great things about science is how it marches on! Its been 9 years (!!) since I wrote that first post and I LOVE that what in addition to what I've learned from reading, there has ALSO been genuine progress in learning NEW information on the biology of these animals..  And one of these days we will more FULLY understand it and its strange signficance!

Also GREAT to see that animals like this INSPIRE! Here is a GREAT illustration of this species by "Cartoon Neuron" on Twitter...

          Starfish Guide for the Philippines: How Many Species Can We Get from Flickr?    
Photo by Matt Kiefer via Wikipedia: 
Greetings! Yes. I have been posting less frequently. Busy with various projects and winter season stuff!

Today's post is a kind of response to a fairly common request I get via email: "Can you help me ID this species of starfish from the Philippines?" (paraphrased)

A question I get from divers, photographers and students who actually live in the Philippines. And strangely enough I get it quite frequently and there are surprisingly few resources to help people with pictures.

In the past I have done variations on this by crowd sourcing images off places like Flickr and YouTube and its been awhile since I've done an "on line field guide." So I thought it would be a good time for another one!

With the exception of Acanthaster brevispinus (above), EVERYTHING below is taken from Flickr and recorded as being from the Philippines by the photographer.

The Philippines has a rich, RICH diversity of sea stars (as well as many, other marine animals) and so this "guide" won't be complete, but it includes several of the most frequently encountered species which are photographed and put on the web. 

If you are looking for professional taxonomic monography of Philippine sea stars a good place to start is the work of Walter K. Fisher at the Biodiversity Heritage Library. HERE. 

There are many, MANY published ID guides to the Indo-Pacific area and I've identified species in many of those books. But these days, images of sea stars and other marine animals are so prolific, it became clear that it really wouldn't take much to curate a collection of these to provide help for people who want to know what the animals were who didn't have expertise to the published accounts..

Another place to look for a nice crowd-sourced inventory of sea stars from the Philippines or anywhere is at iNaturalist! Go HERE. Identifications are not always from experts but its a good place to start.

I always like to remind folks when actually in the field.. look but don't TOUCH (or at least put it back!)

So here we go in reverse alphabetical order....

Pterasteridae
Euretaster attenuatus. This species belongs to the family of sea stars which are best known as "slime stars" in cold-water habitats. There's only been one account of the tropical species using "slime" as a defense and it wasn't really in a scientific journal.

This species has a distinct hole in the center of the disk called an osculum which allows water into the surface of the disk which is kind of like a circus tent that covers over the ACTUAL surface of the animal underneath (see the blog link above).

Its a species we know very little about. Another species, Euretaster insignis is usually what gets encountered in the Philippines. This image however most resembles E. attenuatus which was first described from New Caledonia. This is possibly a new record!
Seastar

Oreasteridae: This is by far the most prominent family of sea stars that is encountered in the tropical Pacific. They are big, heavy and slow and usually have very distinctive spines or other ornamentation. Most are microalgae feeders. They are often taken for the pet trade or more frequently as tourist baubles which is something that is likely NOT good for their ecology.  and here.

Choriaster granulatus Although this species is flesh colored and appears soft, it is quite solid to the touch and has a fairly thick and dense skeleton. 
Sea Star (Choriaster granulatus), Sabang, Puerto Galera

Culcita novaeguineae: This is a species that occurs widely throughout the Indo-Pacific from Hawaii and Japan down to New Caledonia and in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. I've written a short guide to telling apart this species and others here.

It varies widely in color and has a huge diversity in appearance. Some are covered with more spines..others with more ganules. Culcita spp. are predators on corals but aren't known to take the huge amount of corals that the Crown of Thorns eats. They are important to ecosystems in that they likely help control the structure of a coral reef based on the species it eats.
Cushen star (Culcita novaguineae)
Cushion star

Its worth pointing out that when Culcita is VERY small it has a more cookie shaped appearance which is quite different from the adult! You can see this change in this picture.. from a blog I wrote a few years ago


Halityle regularis-unfortunately no image of the top surface of this cushion star which is similar to Culcita novaeguineae. But you can see a short account I've written about this one here. There are many differences but the pattern around the mouth is a sure fire giveaway...
Starfish shrimp on a cushion sea star / マンジュウヒトデの上のヒトデヤドリエビ

Note about Pentaceraster: Beware all those who enter here! Species are many and often poorly defined! Caution is required... I have a brief post about telling it apart from Protoreaster and other oreasterids here.

Pentaceraster tuberculatus:Distinguished by the absence of spines around the lateral edge (on the superomarginal plates), as well as the spines and other armament on the disk.

There seems to be some variation in color as well..
Blue Starfish
Pentaceraster alveolatus
Thorny? Star
Pentaceraster alveolatus (but close to(P. multispinus) These two species are very poorly distinguished from one another. But both have spines on the superomarginals near the middle to end of the arm (should be few to none interradially) as well as spines on the abactinal surface on the disk.

Color seems to vary for this species...
*
Knobbed starfish on the ocean floor
*
Red Speckled Starfish 200309
These are more like Pentaceraster multispinus with the many, MANY spines present on the disk and along the superomarginal plates (i.e. along the edge).. But they overlap with Pentaceraster alveolatus type things above...
Knobbed starfish on the ocean floor
StarfishRed222
Dotted Blue Starfish 191108

Do YOU see a new color or species of Pentaceraster?? Let me know!!

Pentaster obtusatus Here's another frequently encountered species. It has the distinctive orange with white highlights. Low bumps cover the surface, etc. 
Starfish

Protoreaster nodosus: This is BY FAR one of the most commonly encountered sea stars in the Philippines and adjoining areas.  More on telling apart Protoreaster from Pentaceraster and other species here. 

Basically- no spines are present on the edge of the animal (aka the superomarginal plates). P. nodosus is often found in shallow waters around mangroves and on sandy bottoms. They feed on microalgae and other tiny organic nutrients in the sediment.

Starfish
Starfish
Stars invasion
(note-many of these pictures are artificially arranged for photo shoots! but they are useful for showing diversity. High density like this is not necessarily common)
A Group of Starfish

Ophidiasteridae: This is probably the second most frequently seen group of sea stars other than the Oreasterids..especially the "blue Linckia" which is heavily "fished" by the aquarium and gift/shell trade. Most have long arms and small disks..

Gomophia aegyptiaca A species covered by strongly expressed bumps often with nipple-like tips!

This species occurs widely around the Indo-Pacific, extending into the Indian Ocean with many, MANY color variations. Food, biology, etc. are poorly known.
20050310_2788_Jeff_adj
Linckia guildingi? While this looks to me like Linckia guildingi, the truth is that I'd need to look at the underside to make a positive determination.
Snake Sea Star- Malapascua - Philippines
Linckia laevigata As I've written about before here, this is one of the most heavily fished sea stars in the Indo-Pacific. Not just for tourist baubles but also for the aquarium trade. Its a handsome species and frequently gets "volunteered" for tourist pictures, beach moments, and aquarium scenes.
20151107-Philippines Malapascua - Gato Island-8.jpg

This is most likely the orange color morph of L. laevigata but could also be L. guildingi. Hard to be sure without a better look at the details on a specimen. 
sea star

Nardoa frianti The genus Nardoa is named for the Italian naturalist Giovanni Nardo as I discussed in a post WAAAY back in 2008

There are MANY species. And they are often quite complicated. Even this one with its distinctive tubercles (the bumps) is conceivably part of a broader species complex. To make things even more complicated, you will sometimes see Nardoa species with these big bumps in the genus Gomophia.
Seastar
Warty sea star

Nardoa sp. similar to "N. novaecaledoniae" This one has flattened or at least, MORE flat plates relative to Nardoa frianti (above).

The exact species ID for this animal can't be made from a picture like this because we need to see the underside in order for the precise details. It LOOKS like a species that I would call Nardoa novaecaledoniae but there are several other possibilities. Close up on the underside would be necessary.
Hangin' Out
Sea Star (Nardoa), Sabang Point, Puerto Galera 
Ophidiaster. Here's another species that would require a full specimen (or at least better pictures) to correctly identify. At least one book id'd this as Ophidiaster granifer but I'm not sure that's correct (or incorrect) because there's not enough info...
starfish

Mithrodiidae
Thromidia catalae: These are usually MASSIVE starfish. They can get up to 2 feet across! They tend to occur in deeper water (lower end of SCUBA depth).

They have relatively solid surfaces with spiny surfaces. There is relatively little known about their general biology.
SEA STAR (15 cm)
Sea Star

Luidiidae. There's only one genus in this family, Luidia and I've written about the general biology of the group here. The genus named after Edward Lhuyd, a Welsh naturalist. 

Most members of Luidia are 5 armed..but for whatever reason, the ones in the tropics are often BIG and have more than 10 arms!

Luidia avicularia?Interesting to see this one since it doesn't usually occur at shallow depths. But the color pattern matches.
Sea star

Luidia maculata This is a fairly large predatory starfish, often found buried below the surface of the sand.
Luidia species
Goniasteridae This is the group that I've done the most work on since I finished my PhD. Some of my recent genetic work has also contributed to the re-classification of two species below (Fromia heffernani and F. monilis) to this family.  They had originally been placed in the Ophidiasteridae (above) until my work showed otherwise...

Fromia (formerly Celerina) heffernani (probably) This species and the one below have been the cause of some confusion for many years. Although I'm fairly confident the pictures show the animals correctly identified, the only way to be sure that the species are 100% correctly identified is to look at the UNDERSIDE.  I've discussed the problem with these species before in this post (here). 
Fromia nodosa
Fromia monilis (probably). Yes. the colors are slightly different.. but when these individuals are preserved they very closely resemble one another making it difficult to tell apart.

ADD to that? The colors can vary.. Yes. it will probably make someone a nice PhD thesis someday...
Starfish
Iconaster longimanus. A gorgeous species of goniasterid with almost surreal colors and very striking patterns.

We know very little about it.
Iconaster longimanus

Echinasteridae
Echinaster callosus I've seen this species often mixed up with Nardoa frianti, above. The big difference is in the texture of the "puffy" structures on the surface. Nardoa's bumps are just that- hard bumps covered by granules.

The surface of Echinaster callosus is covered by a bunch of big colorful puffy pin cushions. The big blobs are soft and each surround a sharp spine. When dead, they often deflate.

Colors are quite pretty and variable...
star
Seastar
WARTY SEA STAR (20 cm)
Echinaster luzonicus This is a distinctive species that is soft to the touch and often displays 6 uneven arms.

This species appears, at first to be fairly non-descript but a lot of things are going on with this species. In addition to the asexual reproduction and arm regeneration, this species is also often the host to benthic comb jellies! You can read more about that here. 
Echinaster luzonicus

Astropectinidae: I've written about Astropecten on past blogs. This one summarizes some stuff about them.   Long story short: predators. They dig into sediment and look for clams and such.

Honestly, these are a pain the keister to identify even WITH specimens in hand Working off pictures is often difficult. But there's easily two species that I've observed off Flickr. the most common name encountered is Astropecten polyacanthus, which also happens to be quite variable..but there are a few other species that show similarities and are often overlooked because people don't do the work. 

Astropecten sp. 1
Comb Star
20100531_6364_adj
Astropecten sp. 2
Seastar
Seastar Burying Itself

Archasteridae

Archaster is kind a weirdo. they ALSO dig into sand and sediments but do so with different kinds of features.

Seastar
friendly sea stars

Acanthasteridae 
Acanthaster planci (or A. cf. solaris). The notorious Crown of Thorns starfish has recently been studied using molecular techniques and revealed to actually be SEVERAL species. The one occurring in the Pacific has been referred to an older name, Acanthaster solaris. But presumably there are still several details to work out..
Crown Of Thorns214
Acanthaster brevispinus There is actually ANOTHER species of Acanthaster other than the one traditionally identified as A. planci. This one has relatively short spines (hence the name brevispinus). 

And yes.. there are many MORE species known.. but for the moment, that's what Flickr gives us!


          Gorgeous Closeups of Australian Starfishes!    
Seastar Detail - Bateman's Bay
Greetings! This week, I thought I would share some GREAT closeups of the textures and plates on some sea stars from one of my favorite places in the world-AUSTRALIA! 


These were all taken from images on Flickr, and so the original photographers can be found merely by rolling over the image itself. What's great about them, is that the images were taken from LIVING animals, and so their colors remain vibrant! Nothing here is photoshopped.

Contributions herein by photographers:  Bill, Tony Brown, Beth Heap, Leander, Richard Ling,  Lox Pix, Morley Mason, Andrew Newton, Matt Nimbs, Valguille and especially SASpotato! 

An asterinid, Patiriella I think?
Asteroidia | Asterinidae | Patiriella calcar [Variegated Sea Star] - Flat Rock, Ballina, NSW
Cushion-star  Patiriella calca
They look knitted
STARFISH - THE BAY OF FIRES - TASMANIA - AUSTRALIA
Here is a close up of the papulae or gills on Plectaster decanus 
271104 Seastar Close-up Long Bay
Mosaic Starfish
The rest of the animal looks like this. Gorgeous.
Mosaic Sea Star
Some goniasterid beauties! Pentagonaster dubeni
Steps Red Seastar
Pentagonaster pattern
Lovely plate architecture on Tosia australis
Biscuit star detail

From above, these are the surface plates of the goniasterid genus Nectria
Seastar Detail - Bateman's Bay
Any guesses what these are?

and here's what the rest of the goniasterid Nectria looks like!
Eden
image by Peter Southwood, via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goniasteridae#/media/File:Nectria_ocellata_P2133340.JPG

A stunning yellow one!
P1019523c

The very distinctive button like plates on Asterodiscides sp. 
Firebrick Sea Star
P1015682
and from the same animal, the large penultimate marginal plates, which are distinctive of the genus.
P1015662

Some nice spination from what looks to be Coscinasterias
Sea star detail
Uniophora granifera! One of my favorites!
Beaded Seastar

          HYMENASTER Deep-Sea Slime Stars from the Atlantic and Pacific!    
From 2001. Hymenaster pentagonalis from the Hawaiian Islands region. Image by H. Reiswig
Probably one of my FAVORITE deep-sea starfish, other than brisingids has to be these enigmatic and bizarre deep-sea "slime stars"! aka the genus HYMENASTER in the family Pterasteridae!  I've talked about these briefly in a prior account of shallow water slime stars in the genus Pteraster here. 

My first exposure to LIVING Hymenaster was back in 2001 when I was working with Craig Young on an expedition to study glass sponges in the Hawaiian Islands (see pic above)

I got an opportunity to collect a bunch of deep-sea asteroids at that time and saw my FIRST deep-sea slime star!!

and a few minutes after, I discovered for the first time that, just like their shallow-water cousins, Hymenaster could emit mucus just as effectively!!  In other words SLIME!
Image by H. Reiswig.
Hymenaster is a WEIRD animal. The entire surface has evolved into a strange soft covering, This varies in different species. In some the body is membranous and kind of leathery, others, sometimes soft and in others, almost completely gelatinous. In those latter gelatinous species, almost the entire body, save for the tube foot grooves, mouth frame and various other structures are nearly all soft and squishy. Very little in the way of "hard parts"

The name Hymenaster translates from the Greek into "Hymen" and "aster" or "Membrane Star" which as we shall see is pretty fitting.

The body is almost transparent. You can see the five radiating tube foot grooves plus the mouth and some spines and etc. in the surface areas which you can sort of see through.
 Hymenaster sp. from Maro Crater (Hawaiian Islands)
Hymenaster's translucent body draws an analogous comparison with many deep-sea sea cucumbers such as this one observed at 4800 m in the Hawaiian Islands... So perhaps there is an adaptive advantage to having this gelatinous body wall?

Hymenaster occurs all throughout the world: Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian and Antarctic (i.e. the Southern) Ocean. The genus includes approximately 60 species.

Hymenaster lives primarily in very DEEP water (1000-8400) with some species occurring in the DEEPEST of ocean depths, setting records for starfish deep-sea occurrence (here). The deepest known Hymenaster was recorded from 8,400 meter depths aka the ULTRA abyssal!!  But some, such as the shallow Hymenaster pellucidus take advantage of the cold water in the Arctic and can occur in as shallow as 128 meters.

The problem with many of these deep-sea pictures is that the diagnostic characters used to ID them are from characters that are either on the underside, along the tube foot grooves or actually INSIDE the body. Color, shape and surface texture all seem to vary..so it can be difficult to "nail down" which species is which..

Unfortunately, these animals don't hold up well after collection. Here's one after the delicate touch of a robot submersible. Think about what what a delicate animal like this looks like AFTER a trawl net has dragged it for about an hour on the sea bottom!
It depends on the species of course, some of the tougher species are pretty tough. This one looks like its in pretty good shape. Still weird but the features are all there...

One of the most complicated aspects of studying these animals is "matching up" the examined, often damaged specimens from above with the living animals. And lately there have been a LOT of images of living animals!

There is nearly NOTHING known about the biology of these animals. What do they eat? What is the slime used for? What is the gelatin-like body an adaptation for?  Where do the species live? Are they separated by depth? How have they evolved?

ALL of the observations below have screengrabs via the Okeanos Explorer program!!

PACIFIC OBSERVATIONS
The deep Pacific is a VAST area. Images below are mostly from North Pacific observations..undoubtedly there remain many MORE species further south.  

A Pink One from the southern region of "Bank 9" in the Hawaiian Islands region

here was an ENORMOUS one from the Hawaiian Okeanos that was HUGE about 20 cm across!

This one nicely illustrates the osculum, which is that big center hole on the surface which is how water enters the cavity surrounding the body surface thus bringing water/gases to the papulae (i.e. the gills) within..
 It gave us a nice show with its opening and closing osculum!


This is what I previously identified for HURL as H. pentagonalis..but it doesn't seem to match the orange one at the top of the post above in terms of color or texture. So, possibly something else.

From East Necker Seamount in the Hawaiian Islands region. A different color from H. pentagonalis.


and yet ANOTHER Hymenaster species (I think??)  from Salmon Bank in the Hawaiian region. White with flyffy surface texture!

A recent image of Hymenaster sp. from McDonnell Guyot in the Wake Island region. Same genus but the surface texture is VERY different..

Here is yet ANOTHER species from Barkley Canyon off British Columbia.. Again, very different body shape, surface texture and color..
Deep-sea Slime Star

ATLANTIC OBSERVATIONS
Its also entirely POSSIBLE that SOME of these Atlantic species might actually be the SAME ones as the Pacific ones.. There are some similarities below with the ones above..

From Puerto Rico

From Atlantis II Seamount (North Atlantic)


From the Atlantic, Mytilus Seamount (via Okeanos). On top of everything else, the surface membrane is "ballooned" up... which is more mysterious behavior.

From Physalia Seamount (North Atlantic). Honestly, this one might be something else entirely. The surface texture is unusual. 

Big goopy starfish! The mysteries remain! 

          Pycnopodia Watch! Cautious Optimism about Sunflower Stars!    
The Starfish Wasting Disease was first documented on the west coast of North America in 2009 and began to hit really hard in 2013 as I blogged about here and it became suddenly noticeable by MANY scientists on the west coast from Canada to California.  Due to a massive population explosion there followed a catastrophic die off in British Columbia which I documented here, with pictures courtesy of Jonathan Martin. 

In the intervening years, the Starfish Wasting Disease "event" had taken on a HUGE stage. UC Santa Cruz now monitors the health of west coast asteroids on their website (here). 

The first Sea Star Wasting Symposium was held earlier this year in Seattle. A meeting which I attended and reported on here

Perhaps one of the most significant losses following the massive starfish wasting disease epidemic that hit the west coast of North America (and possibly parts of the east coast) was the apocalyptic loss of the iconic sunflower sea star, Pycnopodia helianthoides.
When I was growing up on the west coast, there were sunflower stars that were HUGE!!  Tall tales would  report them reaching two and a half, then THREE feet across! But most were a good dinner plate size.

These animals were voracious predators and for starfish, moved quickly across the intertidal and subtidal...

Sunflower Stars are an ecologically important species. 

Unfortunately, populations of this species were DEVASTATED by the starfish wasting disease epidemic. More so than almost any of the other species, the sunflower stars were more often than not, completely removed from local areas along the coast.

Ecologically this has had VERY significant ramifications. Recent ecological studies, such as this 2016 paper in PeerJ by Schultz et al   have indicated that green sea urchin abundance in British Columbia has increased FOUR FOLD!

This has agreed somewhat with anecdotal observations by naturalists on Twitter observing sea urchin abundance in California...
The exact reason is not clear. Possibly because the sunflower stars are not around? and the animals have just come out of hiding? Or have the stars been controlling the population structure of the urchins?  But it DOES seem to be related to the absence of the once abundant and mighty sunflower stars.

But Sunflower stars are also an ICONIC species..
In addition to be an ecologically important part of the intertidal and subtidal ecosystem, there's a lot to be said for how they really represented the North Pacific. Pycnopodia is an endemic, found nowhere else in the world.. and was often used as an example of the special and diverse fauna on the west coast of North America..

Some of the individuals which had been on display in public aquaria died within days. Some of these individuals had been around for over 20 years. Suddenly? Gone.

Those of us who are most familiar with the West coast fauna.. divers, naturalists, scientists, citizen scientists, beach goers, students, fishermen, anyone with an intertidal or subtidal ID guide was suddenly NOT seeing this species. It was and still is a significant and sad loss.

And so.. observations of THIS species have had a SPECIAL significance..

BUT today, a colleague of mine, Ms. Brenna Green observed THIS. A juvenile Pycnopodia helianthoides in Northern California!! According to her, one of the first she's seen in a good long while!!
A small individual. Only a few inches across. But still...

I was directed to iNaturalist which has been monitoring observations of ALL asteroids on the west coast.. There were only 60 observations of Pycnopodia since 2014!!- so only about 20 per year that are reported  Note also-some of those observations were from areas that are distant from the primary Sea Star Wasting Disease areas (such as Alaska).

Make no mistake, that's a very low number... but surprising considering that they were considered completely gone from some areas..

But they ARE still out there. And are still popping up..

An anecdotal skim of Flickr and Twitter shows that small sunflower stars have been popping up over the last year or so...
From Titlow, Tacoma, Washington from February 29, 2016
Sunflower Sea Star
Weir's Beach, British Columbia by Laura Verhegge (taken April 21, 2015)
Pycnopodia helianthoides

Recent accounts (such as this one) have documented a resurgence in populations of sea stars hit by starfish wasting disease (based on this paper).

But I would like to think that is SOME good news, even if this doesn't mean a full and immediate recovery..

Another significant issue? SIZE of the observed individuals
Here's one of the most critical parts of these observations: Most are consistently SMALL. Many of the "adult" individuals we were used to encountering were easily dinner plate size or larger have not really been encountered.. or if so, not regularly. 

Are the small sized ones a sign that they simply grow very slowly?  Or more ominously,  do they die as they reach a certain size??

On the upside, I have heard SOME anecdotal observations of adult (~40 cm) sized individuals being seen in Washington and in other localites...

Stay tuned! Research continues. 

In the meantime, for further news check out:



          Echinoderm Research at Museum Victoria! So long and thanks for all the Starfish!    
Tropical brittle stars (2)
In the same way that a particular class of echinoderms is made up of diverse members, so are the research labs which study them!  So, in my last installment of #EchinoblogInAustralia I thought I would do a brief profile of researchers doing various kinds of echinoderm research at Museum Victoria in the Marine Zoology Department!

I've done similar profiles for the researchers in Paris at the Museum natioinal d'Histoire naturelle (here)! I think this gives everyone a bit of insight into the many different crew members which staff the various roles in the big research seen in scientific papers. And Dr. Tim O'Hara's lab has had a good week for "big research paper drops" with more to come!!

Just as a refresher though.. Here's a pic with the BIG project that Tim O'Hara's lab has been working on for the last several years: the BIG ophiuroid (aka the brittle and basket star) phylogeny! aka the "family tree" of the ophiuroids!

As I've mentioned previously, the new phylogeny is a BIG deal. It involves a group with over 2000 species which has been a taxonomic headache to scientists for over 100 years. Their research has literally turned this whole field on its head! (if brittle stars had a head!)

The tree clarifies which groups show support for being "real" and elaborates on how different brittle star and basket groups are related to one another.  It will almost DOUBLE the number families!!!
The tree itself is HUGE. Here it is below printed out and mounted on the wall for easy reference. You can see that it extends from that lower bookshelf to the that top shelf-so the printout is easily 6 feet tall (or two meters)!!

The tree was made using a phylogenomic data set. This is different from a lot of the molecular trees made in the last 20 years because it includes a whopping 425 genes and over 60 taxa! (other trees generally use only 3 to 10)  You can see the big paper as published in Current Biology here.

The Echinoderm researchers at Museum Victoria includes a diversity of workers!

1. Dr. Andrew Hugall
Where Tim O'Hara provides the "Ophiuroid Taxonomy and context", Dr. Hugall is the phylogenetics and analytical guru part of the "Big Ophiuroid" team. Although he is currently working on marine invertebrates, he worked previously on birds, discovering "Accelerated speciation" in highly colorful birds, a paper which was published in Nature in 2012. You can see that here. 
Dr. Hugall worked on the analytical aspects of the project and, in conjunction with Dr. O'Hara, cleaned up the genetic data in order to make it ready for analysis. He also provides a good complement to the "natural history" side of the lab with a powerful analytical background.

2. Lupita Bribiesca
Lupita is a PhD student at the University of Melbourne and got her undergraduate degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She's not only very proficient in computer coding and analysis but she's already a prolific author in echinoderm systematics! Especially in anchialine cave echinoderms!
In Mexico, Lupita worked on echinoderms which lived in submarine caves fed by the ocean. Some of her work can be found




3. Skipton "Skip" Woolley

Skip is a relatively new name on the echinoderm scene! But started out in grand fashion! His name of course headlines last week's BIG NATURE paper on ophiuroid deep-sea diversity! (here)

He's been doing analytical work looking at "big picture" diversity patterns in ophiuroids. His prior paper looked at biogeographical subdivisions in Western Australia in the journal Diverstiy & Distributions

4. Dr. Kate Naughton
I featured Kate Naughton's work on the blog back in 2009 when she and Tim O'Hara discovered a brooding "cryptic" species of the Australian Biscuit Star Tosia using molecular tools to understand the relationships of Tosia australis along the Australian coast. (see this story here)

Since then Kate has received her PhD and continued to do her awesome work combining ecology, taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics at Museum Victoria.
These days she's been working a LOT on feather star (i.e., crinoid) taxonomy and diversity in Australia. It turns out that there's a LOT of these in Australia that remain to be discovered and what's known requires a lot of work. 

As with many of us, she seeks a good job, funding for her research and all of life's finer things!

She HAS however also been working on new species of brittle stars in the genus Ophionereis
photo by John Keesing

















5. P. Mark O'Loughlin and Deep Sea Sea Cucumbers
One of the most established echinoderm researchers at Museum Victoria was actually Tim O'Hara's original mentor!  

Mark O'Loughlin has been a fixture of the "marine invertebrates" scene in the Melbourne/Victoria area of Australia for decades. He's published a huge volume of work on echinoderms,  including sea stars and sea cucumbers. Here's his profile at ResearchGate! 

here's a sclerite from a new species of "sea pig" (Family Elpidiidae) that Mark is currently working on from the the Great Australian Bight (979 m)
Mark has been working steadfastly into his 80s but has assisted by many student workers (one of which is seen here)

My thanks to the Museum Victoria for my visit! About 1000 specimen lots identified! 
Until NEXT TIME, Melbourne!! 

          NASA Celebrates International Asteroid Day with Special Broadcast   
Artist’s concept of a near-Earth object. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Click for a full size image   NASA Celebrates International Asteroid Day with Special Broadcast NASA will mark the worldwide observance of International Asteroid Day at 9 a.m. PDT (noon EDT) Friday, June 30, with a special television program featuring the agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office ...
          Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!   
3... 2... 1... fontBomb! Detonate your favourite websites in stylish fashion with this experimental bookmarklet by Philippe-Antoine Lehoux. Bonus games:
          GoPro with the Lowepro