31 May 2010

The International Federation of Trekkers Relaunch









I am glad the International Federation of Trekkers will relaunch their website because I never saw the first one! The countdown clock they have is very cool and as I write this there are 14 days left until it is up and running. From the article:

The International Federation of Trekkers (IFT), a Star Trek fan club, was first organized in 1984. A nonprofit corporation, IFT’s purpose, is “To promote the humanistic philosophies and ideals portrayed in the Star Trek myths in a realistic fashion conducive to the continued existence and responsible advancement of human kind. To provide, promote, and support education and positive legal activism in the area of human rights, racial and sexual equality, environmental causes, and space exploration. To promote a more positive impression of Star Trek fans as intelligent, socially conscious, active individuals who are aware and concerned about the real world today.”

Well, it looks like they have a lot of work to do in promoting their very positive ideals with an oil spill destroying the Gulf of Mexico, many wars currently being fought, and massive unemployment due to a global economic crisis. While a lot of the ideas are nice in the Federation, I doubt it would work and it sounds too much like one world government. I do not know if humans could evolve to the point of leaving greed for money and power behind, like the Vulcan species suppressed their violent emotions in exchange for approaching life with pure logic, and be able to handle a Federation that involves working with and getting along with other species when we cannot even get along on Earth with other races.
Here is a link to the article about the website.
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28 May 2010

Would You Like To Be Infected With A Computer Virus?










If you would like to be infected with a computer virus, you would first need to have implanted in your body a chip, and I discussed that topic in a previous post. A scientist who has a chip implanted in his hand decided to infect it with a computer virus. From the article:
The virus, infecting a chip implanted in Gasson's hand, passed into a laboratory computer. From there, the infection could have spread into other computer chips found in building access cards.
All this was intentional, in an experiment to see how simple radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips like those used for tracking animals can host and spread technological diseases.
Gasson had a relatively simple chip implanted in the top of his left hand near his thumb last year. It emits a signal that is read by external sensors, allowing him access to the Reading laboratory and for his cell phone to operate.
He and his colleagues created a malicious code for the chip. When the lab's sensors read the code, the code inserted itself into the building computer database that governs who has access to the premises.
"The virus replicates itself through the database and potentially could copy itself onto the access cards that people use," Gasson said.
The experiment showed that implants which wirelessly communicate with other computers can infect them and vice versa.
He also goes on to explain that bionic medical devices such as a heart pacemaker, for example, may receive a malicious code to stop it from working properly thus endangering the patients life. Cochlear implants and brain stimulators used for patients with Parkinson´s disease also face interruption by a malicious virus.
My interpretation of this study is skeptical, but then again I usually am when it comes to research that looks at the nefarious uses of technology. Why choose to do research on how a computer virus can infect an implant unless in the future, an implant will be required for business, identification, and money transactions. Of course this is the science fiction, tin foil hat wearer in me, but I still wonder about this type of research.
You can read the entire article at LiveScience.com at the link below.
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24 May 2010

"The Rikers" from Star Trek: The Next Generation

The actors Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes who played Deanna Troi and Will Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, did an interview talking about many things including an idea about a sitcom called The Rikers, a half hour comedy about the Rikers in space. If they are serious, that show would be extremely funny, because the two of them talking together had me laughing non-stop. It is fun to hear them remembering their time acting in Star Trek and about the conventions they attend, and I will post the video, it is a little over 9 minutes, but I could have listened for an hour, they are that much fun.
You can read more about the interview on TrekToday. From the article:

In the video, the pair, whose characters married in Star Trek: Nemesis, talk about their Star Trek days as well as what they would do if they could make their own half-hour sitcom.

“We have this idea for a sitcom,” said Sirtis.

“A half hour, the Rikers in Space,” added Riker, “their wacky uncle Data, their little dog Worf. Two of us, on like the Titan probably, being funny. And we’re dead serious.”

I would watch that show, it sounds original and funny!



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19 May 2010

V (1983 Miniseries) and V (2009 TV series)


I watched the miniseries V in 1983 and enjoyed the story very much, but I was not 100% into it, however I did like the idea and execution of the story, but I have never been a big fan of aliens that come to conquer the Earth unless there are good aliens to help us poor humans defend against them, ha!
I do like the new television series or as they say, re-imaged version of V, because I like the main actors, the story is still good, and the special effects very interesting. I am glad they are making a second season of the show because so often science fiction gets axed very quickly without giving the story and actors time to get into a rhythm. I suggest giving the show a try, it is good and here is a cool clip from the show.



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17 May 2010

Artificial Gravity on the International Space Station


NASA is working on artificial gravity for the International Space Station and possibly for space craft as well. Now this feels like it is right out of science fiction! I have been watching some episodes from Star Trek:Deep Space Nine and I always have in the back of my mind that the station is in space while everyone walks around as if they had the gravity of a planet holding them down because everytime I see pictures from the ISS, they are floating around as the astronauts try to complete their daily tasks. The astronauts also need to exercise regularly and take medication to curb bone loss, from the article:

New plans for artificial gravity tests in space using centrifuges may hold the key to helping future astronauts ward off the debilitating loss of muscle and bone due to weightlessness on long missions to asteroids or the moon under NASA's revised space exploration plan.
Space station residents currently rely upon different exercises to keep themselves fit for the eventual return to Earth. But a spinning centrifuge device could create artificial gravity, which simulates the gravitational tug a planet, like Earth, has. The giant spinning device will give astronauts a healthy break from the weightlessness of space."You can try to treat each of the effects of weightlessness system by system, with certain pills for bone loss and certain exercise regimens for the muscles," said Laurence Young, an aeronautics and astronautics engineer at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. "Or you can treat the root cause of weightlessness by restoring gravity."

Artificial gravity sets the stage for long term visits to the ISS but if implemented into a craft that could travel long distances in space, could imply longer trips into the solar system as long as fresh air, food supply, and water, can be available for that same amount of time.
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15 May 2010

The I Inside and Stay

The I Inside

Two movies you can check out, if you are interested in speculating on what may happen to you if you reach the threshold between life and death, are The I Inside (2003) and Stay(2005). The I Inside centers more on the character shifting back and forth in time trying to correct a mistake, and Stay is more about relationships and actually being at the threshold between life and death. I would not consider either movie an "A" movie, but both are entertaining and interesting if you want a relaxing evening with popcorn and soda and a comfortable couch.




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12 May 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis Visible this Weekend

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – After sunset, Spa...

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will be visible in the early evening sky over the weekend. Remember, this is the last year of the manned space shuttle program by NASA, so try to take advantage of any opportunity to see the shuttle in action:

Skywatchers across the continental United States will get a fine opportunity this weekend to watch as the space shuttle Atlantis — on its final scheduled mission into space — chases and ultimately docks with the International Space Station (ISS).

Both the shuttle and space station will be visible as separate entities, each appearing as bright "stars" sailing across the evening twilight sky on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday evening, Atlantis will be docked to the ISS, and both will appear as a single bright moving "star."

During Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, both Atlantis and the ISS will make a number of favorable passes across the contiguous U.S. Their respective ground tracks will take them on northwest-to-southeast paths. With a very few exceptions, between one and four crossings of both the shuttle and the ISS will be visible.


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10 May 2010

Moscow Photo From the ISS !









There is a fantastic photo taken by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi of Moscow at night. He took the photo from the International Space Station on the day Russia celebrated Victory Day. From the article:
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi took the stunning Moscow portrait while flying over Russia at night. The space station was flying about 17,500 mph and nearly 220 miles above Moscow at the time, likely making the city a tricky target.
Noguchi posted it Friday to his Twitter page, where he has been chronicling his six-month mission to the space station under the name Astro_Soichi.
"Golden rings of Moscow, Russia," Noguchi wrote. "Happy Victory Day weekend!"
Victory Day in Russia is May 9 – which also happens to be Mother's Day in the United States. It is a holiday that commemorates the end of World War II when Germany surrendered. American troops will take part in this year's Victory Day parade in Moscow for the first time in history, according to the New York Times.
The Russian holiday will likely see a multinational welcome aboard the International Space Station.
The photo reminds me of one of the scenes from the movie Contact with Jodie Foster after she has traveled through several wormholes and stops at an intersection and looks down to see a city on a strange planet somewhere in the galaxy and the layout was similar to the Moscow photo. Very cool!

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07 May 2010

Alexander Siddig Comments on Star Trek

I liked the character of Dr. Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but he was not one of my favorites I have to admit. I find his comments on the changes made to his character interesting:

In the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, after having had his own mental idea of who his character was, had to readjust his thinking about Dr. Julian Bashir. Siddig was not pleased when he saw the script for Dr. Bashir, I Presume and made that displeasure known as best he could after the first shock wore off.“He was a man of science; he was like half good looking, rubbish at pulling girls. I mean it was all the wrong kind of archetypes. And so they kept trying to do things to make it happen. Eventually they did the Bond thing – they did the Bond thing before that actually. And that kicked it off. I have to say that I’m still pretty angry. Well, not angry“Well, it was a bit cynical at the end of the day. But I just fluffed the lines; well I didn’t fluff them completely I literally pinned the lines on the back of someone’s shoulder once, reading them. I wasn’t bothered even to learn them. I just pinned them around the office as if they were lines needed for daily modification. And they got the message and dropped it kind of.”I do understand the frustration he felt about the character because myself as a viewer of the show had to go back and ask, well, did he find a vaccine to the Quickening because he was just smart or genetically enhanced? Were all of his medical accomplishments because he was dedicated and smart or basically his parents cheated him with the enhancements? Either way, I feel it added depth to his character and I never felt like he was a pseudo Spock by any means. Deep Space Nine still remains one of my favorite series in the Star Trek saga and my favorite episode with Dr. Bashir is the Quickening.
You can read the entire interview in TrekToday.

05 May 2010

Space Weapon Being Tested









As reported on Space.com, the U.S. Air Force is testing a space glider and I imagine the little money left for NASA was diverted to this kind of project. It is one thing in a science fiction show to have space craft and weapons to DEFEND yourself from other sentient aliens who have similar technology and there are no provocations, and it is another thing to build space craft to attack right here on planet Earth to provoke hostility one county against another. WOW!

A U.S. Air Force space plane and a failed hypersonic glider tested by the Pentagon represent the latest space missions to raise concerns about weapons in space. But while their exact purpose remains murky, they join a host of new space technology tests that could eventually bring the battlefield into space.Some space technology demonstrations are more obviously space weapons, such as the anti-satellite missile capabilities tested by the U.S. and China in recent years. India has also begun developing its own anti-satellite program which would combine lasers and an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle, as announced at the beginning of 2010.The U.S. military could even be using the cloak of mystery to deliberately bamboozle and confuse rival militaries, according to John Pike, a military and security analyst who runs GlobalSecurity.org. He suggested that the X-37B and HTV-2 projects could represent the tip of a space weapons program hidden within the Pentagon's secret "black budget," or they might be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

You can read the entire article here.
I wish people in their personal lives, cities, states, and countries could live in peace and find peaceful solutions to problems, but I guess that is too much to ask. I have always enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation because solutions were sought through talk, treaties, meetings, peace, and fighting was usually the last resort. The entire concept of the Federation of Planets was to invite other worlds who desired a peaceful union working together. Of course there were conquering races such as the Klingons and Romulans, but there will always be a force to face that has interests opposed to your own, thus the ability to negotiate peacefully is vital.


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03 May 2010

Oil Spill in the U.S. Gulf Coast Affects NASA

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the explosion of an oil rig is harming fragile animal, plant, and sea life in what was a beautiful area of water. I have personally visited the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico and I have swum and snorkeled around coral and beautiful fish and it breaks my heart to think of all the destruction this continued leak of oil is causing.
I did not realize it also affects NASA:

The expanding oil slick has cut into the deep water route typically used by NASA barges and their tugs to haul the 15-storey space shuttle fuel tanks from their manufacturing site – the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans – to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to be attached to an orbiter for launch.

Space shuttle fuel tanks are built by Lockheed Martin and are too large to be delivered by train or truck. When fully fueled at the launch pad, they weigh about 1.7 million pounds (771,000 kg), counting the 535,000 gallons of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant.

I am sure other commerce has been disrupted and I cannot understand how this tragedy occured but I hope they end the gush of oil that is filling the water every moment.



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