The Big 2011 Update!
It's been nearly a month since the last post, and there's lots to report.
First off, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the season treated you all well both emotionally and, perhaps, materialistically if you do that sort of thing. I myself wound up with a happy evening with my lady-love (WIN), complete Farscape box set (WIN!), a continuation of my sponsorship of the wolf Ayla at Wolf Park (WIN), Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1 (WIN), and a Kindle (WIN). So yeah, you could say I did pretty well.
Scorpie in a Box!
The Farscape box set was an unexpected surprise. The series was near and dear to me while it was on, and I still have a bad taste in my mouth for what is now syfy (or however they're spelling it, the bastards) for canceling it when it was the #1 rated show on that network. I guess it was a sign of things to come (SGU, Caprica just when it was getting good -more on this later), but I took it very hard at the time. They did make up for it somewhat with the movie (which i just ordered, remarkably hard to find btw. I have to wait 9-12 days now for Amazon to locate a copy, apparently), but I will never forgive them for cutting off my supply of quirky, awesome, science fiction. I'm looking forward to watching each and every episode with my lady. Hopefully by the time we get through them all the movie will have arrived.
Der Kinder... er... Kindle
Also of note here is the Kindle. I was extremely skeptical of non-paper media until very recently. This primarily stems from the rapid exhaustion I suffer when trying to read text-heavy documents on computer screens. To say it more succinctly and accurately, I hate doing it. I had assumed that the Kindle experience would be much the same as the one I suffer on a computer. I held this opinion right up until a co-worker of mine brought her Kindle along one day and showed me what the text actually looked like.
The first thing I was struck by was how easy it was on the eyes. The text was clear, and didn't make my head hurt at all. She operated the device a bit, showing me how the pages turn and so forth, and that got me curious. Fast forward a few weeks and I found myself asking for one from mom. I was still hesitant, but the free world-wide 3G coverage really made the final decision for me to at least try it. I have not been disappointed.
Since receiving my Kindle I've spent quite a lot of time hunting up content for it. Not only can I now have the New York Times and the Onion delivered to my little device, but Asimov's Science Fiction, the Asahi Shimbun (English edition of a Japanese newspaper I read while living in Japan), and a blog called MBrane have joined them. I've also downloaded a few of the many free books available for the device, and am gearing up to start my paid digital library soon. It's not only easy to read, but fun to operate as well. I foresee a lot more time spent with this new literary instrument.
As most of you must know by now, Caprica, SyFy channel's Battlestar Galactica spinoff-prequel, was canceled in the same breath that they canceled SGU. Personally, I wouldn't have cared much. I found the few episodes I watched last year to be boring in the extreme. The format, as I perceived it, was a basic drama with some science fiction going on in the background, and the connection with the successful space-drama was a bit tenuous. I wouldn't have even bothered to check out the last episode, but for a co-worker who asked me to watch it so that I could render my opinion to him.
I have to say, the last episode drew me in. I actually enjoyed watching it. It had everything the previous episodes were missing. Strong science fiction elements, good action, and a story that I found involving. Too bad this wasn't the case for the previous episodes I watched. I would have watched the next season, if only SyFy hadn't canceled the show... like they do everything they have that's good... /sigh.
Oh and to answer your question in a spoiler-free way (you know who you are), I didn't think there were any continuity problems, but let me know what bothered you specifically.
This one I cared about. Granted, I really didn't like much of the last season (as you can see from previous entries here), but I was looking forward to seeing where the show was going. I'm guessing that the ratings weren't so great, and putting on crappy non-sensical episodes is not the way to keep a highly intellectual fan-base, but since SyFy is now going to be all about "I hit you with folding chair, har har har, you fall down now; follow script" I'm not as broken up about it as I could be. I do hold out something of a hope that, much like what happened with the last season of Babylon-5, some other network (with better writers) will pick up the show. It'd bring something of a circular closure to have Showtime do it, but I won't hold my breath.
The last 10 episodes of SGU will be airing in the nebulous "Spring 2011". I can only hope the show goes out with a bang instead of a "well that sucked."
ANTI-MATTER ON EARTH!
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!
(okay, no need to run)
NASA recently announced that their Fermi sattelite, designed to detect gamma ray emisions from high energy events in the universe, had detected anti-matter in the form of protons being generated by Earth's natural lightning storms. This antimatter takes the form of positrons (+ charged electrons) being shot into space in a stream from these electrically intense events.
Photo courtesy NASA
Fermi registered these antimatter streams as gamma ray bursts within its own structure as the beams struck (-) charged electrons within the satellite. The news is quite exciting. Personally, I have always thought of antimatter as something that existed only in the depths of the galactic core, or for moments during CERN experiments, but never as something that was generated by relatively low level energy reactions within our own atmosphere.
The electron-positron anihilation reactions produced half a million volts per event on Fermi. I have to wonder if one day the process of their generation could be made artificially, and turned into an alternative, green power source. Time will tell.
Find the original article here.
And that's all for today! Be well all!