Of Comic Books and Christmas Stockings

Of Comic Books and Christmas Stockings

Next week, all across America, we will go through a ritual holiday weekend. There is Thanksgiving Thursday; Back Friday, Bloated Saturday, and self-hating (still bloated) Sunday. For many, this is the weekend of eating way the [expletive] too much, watching football, putting up a Christmas Tree and starting Christmas shopping. For me, it means I’m not going anywhere near a shopping mall at anytime between next Wednesday and after New Years. For me, Christmas shopping is something happening right now. While clicking randomly through Etsy & ThinkGeek, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one already looking for a stocking stuffer or two, and maybe we can help each other out in this search. (I keep typing “stalking stuffer”, which...

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A Morning of Phoenix

A Morning of Phoenix

(disclosure: I left my cellular internet dongle in my room, so I’m twittering sessions live and posting blog entries on a semi random basis when I can go out and find internet) I’m leaning against the back wall of a packed ballroom filled with the brim with silent and attentive geophysicists who are absorbing all they can about the Mars Phoenix Lander. This fairly large (5,5m or 18 ft long) and heavy (350kg or 770lb) spacecraft parachuted to the surface of Mars on May 25, 2008 and poked, prodded and dug into the surface until it froze to death on November 10. While this seems like a short period, the original plan was to wind up operations in August, so the craft had been living on borrowed time. While it is unexpected that the craft will be able to...

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Of Superheros and Conservation of Energy

Of Superheros and Conservation of Energy

So it is premier week and my husband’s Window’s Media Center (his, not mine), is jubilantly happy at all the new material it has to record. We just finished watching the first new episode of one of our favorite shows, Heroes (no spoilers ahead), and I have to say that this voice in the back of my head keeps yelling – Where’d all the energy come from? – every time someone does something extraordinary. I know, I know, how can I set aside my disbelief and get caught up in shape shifting, alchemy, flying, regeneration and all the like and get upset about energy. Well, um… The voices in my head aren’t consistent, ok? Seriously though, I can sorta kinda get on board with things like regeneration and electric pulses, where the...

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Ringworld: When Good Sci Fi Gets Old

Ringworld: When Good Sci Fi Gets Old

04orbit_pr.jpgIt’s summer, and that means I get to read fiction. The time I spend preparing for class during the semesters prevents me from often getting to enjoy the simple luxury of a book that I’m not either teaching from or reviewing. With my grades turned in, it times time to find a good paperback. Wanting to be a properly educated geek, I turned to Larry Niven’sRing World“. While I’m only a little way’s in, I already have this feeling of “Wow, this was great science once, but that was a long time ago.” Just as astronomy text books can go out of date, science fiction books based on science can go out of date.

No significant spoilers ahead.

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