Sunday, November 30, 2008

I like Barack Obama; I suspect his presidency will be a profoundly good thing for both the US and its allies. But Alex Grey's rendering strikes me as self-parodic and creepily messianic, the stuff of dystopian fever-dreams.

The International Space Station has never quite managed to excite me -- in part because it doesn't represent the kind of future I would have liked to live in back when I was in elementary school losing myself in the visions of Gerard O'Neill. Even so, there's real majesty to be found in the ISS, and these photos help to capture both the strangeness and cluttered familiarity of our species' first permanent space-borne home.
Mile-long secret tunnel in central London for sale

I'm adding this to my Christmas wish-list immediately.
45 Vintage 'Space Age' Illustrations

Until we all are living in outer space with flying automobiles and robot servants, we can pass the time with these 45 vintage illustrations of a space age tomorrow. Hopefully these beautiful and creative works of art won't bring back too many childhood disappointments.

Don't worry, you'll get your jetpack someday.
Found: UFO Debris

British UFO researcher Gary Heseltine, who edits a monthly UFO magazine in the UK, says that he has some of the debris that was collected by the soldiers, who saw the UFO slam into the Troodos mountain range in Cyprus in 1973. They were ordered to collect the debris and put it into black plastic bags, but Clarke managed to confiscate some small pieces of golden tinted foil (similar to the debris found at Roswell).

Does anyone know more about this case (assuming it is, in fact, an actual "case") . . . ?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

--J. B. S. Haldane

Corpus 2.0 by Marcia Nolte

Corpus 2.0 by Marcia Nolte is a set of seven portraits illustrating how the human body could adjust itself to the design of products, including a hole in the lips for smokers and an extended shoulder for holding a phone.

Other proposals include a ridge in the nose developed for wearing glasses, ears moulded to accommodate earphones, a thumb with an extra joint for sending SMS messages more efficiently and a foot adapted to create the same posture as wearing high heels.
William Burroughs shoots Amy Winehouse (as art)

Artist Marco Perego sculpted a lifesize scene of Amy Winehouse shot dead in the head. William Burroughs is holding the shotgun.

Ten of the Kinkiest Science Fiction Books You'll Ever Read

Not only have I read the late Octavia Butler's "Xenogenesis" trilogy, I actually met her in person.
Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down

A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday when "out-of-control" shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

Boy, they must have had some really good deals on PlayStations . . .
1st commercial ship sails through Northwest Passage

The Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that in a major first, a commercial ship travelled through the Northwest Passage this fall to deliver supplies to communities in western Nunavut.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tibetan Glaciers Melting at Stunning Rate

Glaciers high in the Himalayas are dwindling faster than anyone thought, putting nearly a billion people living in South Asia in peril of losing their water supply.
Sweet! Galactic Molecule Could Point to Alien Life

Glycolaldehyde has previously only been detected near the center of our galaxy, where conditions are extreme compared to the rest of the galaxy. But its discovery in an area far from the galactic center in an area known as 'G31.41+0.31' suggests that the production of this key ingredient for life could be common throughout the galaxy. This is good news in our search for alien life, because a wide spread of the molecule improves the chances of its existing alongside other molecules vital to life, and in regions where Earth-like planets may exist.
Yet another example of the erotic cyborg meme:

More at Cyberpunk Review.

Want more? Pink Tentacle's got the scoop right here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The space-age Aerohotel concept

The concept is applicable to freshwater or shoreline applications and consists of an outer ring membrane with an interlacing web of pedestrian roads connecting the hotel, cafes, a restaurant and garden areas. The Aerohotel would also include recreational activities on the water-line below and would be accessible via sea or built to accommodate airship docking.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible's camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and -- strangest of all -- "elbowed" Magnapinna squid.

(Via Futurismic.)

Now that's what I call an eldritch horror.
Return of the Neanderthals

Every serious scientist knows that we and other animals evolved from the same ancestors. The real question today is whether to put our DNA and theirs back together. Until now, that question has been raised in the form of human-animal hybrids made in labs for research. You can argue that these are somehow wrong because they're newfangled and artificial. But what can you say about Neanderthals? They were made by nature, not industry. In fact, we're the industrial villains who apparently wiped them out. They're as natural as we are.

Of course, just because "we" survived and the Neanderthals didn't doesn't necessarily entail that we're smarter. I actually suspect that Neanderthals were at least the equals of Cro-Magnons.

Maybe that's exactly what this planet needs right now: some good old-fashioned Neanderthal brains steering the ship.
New acquisition:

Meanwhile . . .

Greenhouse Gases Hit Record Levels Last Year

Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) touched new highs after more steady rises in 2007, and methane had its largest annual increase in a decade, the World Meteorological Organisation said.

"The major greenhouse gases -- CO2, methane and N2O -- have all reached new highs in 2007. Two of them, CO2 and N20, are increasing steadily and there is no sign of levelling off of those two gases," WMO expert Geir Braathen told a news briefing.
"Paranoid Android" (Radiohead)

Found Image #29

(Hat tip: Dedroidify.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Searching for Dyson Spheres

It could be argued, of course, that a ring made out of planetary material, a habitat so vast that it completely encircles its star, is actually one of the smaller Dyson concepts. It was in 1960 that Freeman Dyson suggested how a civilization advanced to the point of such astro-engineering might use everything it found in its solar system to create a cloud of objects, a swarm that would make the most efficient use of its primary's light. And as you keep adding objects, you point to the ultimate outcome, a Dyson Sphere that completely envelopes the star from which it draws its energy.
Blog of the day: Transmaterial
The eco machine that can magic water out of thin air

The company, Element Four, has developed a machine that it hopes will become the first mainstream household appliance to have been invented since the microwave. Their creation, the WaterMill, uses the electricity of about three light bulbs to condense moisture from the air and purify it into clean drinking water.

Even better:

The City Dehumidified

Over the years, say, tens of thousands -- even millions -- of these machines are installed in a humid city like New York, Tokyo, or London, achieving imperceptibly slow local climate modification. The city goes into a drought, with very little rainfall as humidity disappears -- and it's all because of a certain line of products that have been installed, gradually, home by home, over the course of a decade.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CNN'S American Morning to Feature UFO Week

Looks like more of the same drek to me. Next, please.
Why the universe may be teeming with aliens

As astronomers explore newly discovered planets and create computer simulations of virtual worlds, they are discovering that water, and life, might exist on all manner of weird worlds where conditions are very different from those on Earth. And that means there could be vastly more habitable planets out there than we thought possible. "It's like science fiction, only better," says Raymond Pierrehumbert, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago, who studies planets inside and outside of our solar system.

(Via The Anomalist.)
Philip K. Dick: A Day In The Afterlife

Yet despite these shortcomings, Dick embodies everything that I like about sci-fi, for while his characters and their interactions may be lacking, the worlds in which they dwell and the societies that run them are superbly realized. The conflicts which arise in these worlds are fantastic, oftentimes absurd, and yet they mesh flawlessly with the reality that he created. It was these aspects that defined the genre for Dick and, in turn, it was these aspects that he poured most of his efforts.
"Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?" (Morrissey)

Matter is actually just fluctuations in the quantum vacuum (Paul Raven)

Another classic case of the headline saying it all: physicists have confirmed that matter is no more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum. Everything is arguably illusory, including ourselves. All of a sudden I have a vision of Terence McKenna muttering Beatles lyrics to the hyperspace elves in between fits of gently manic laughter . . .
Scientists cloning endangered Amami rabbit

To produce the clone, researchers took a cell from the ear of a dead Amami rabbit and injected it into the unfertilized egg of an ordinary lab rabbit. After the egg developed into the cloned embryo, researchers inserted it into the oviduct of a lab rabbit surrogate. The clone will be born in the coming weeks if the pregnancy comes to term.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In which I share an existential moment while hotel-bound in Nova Scotia:

Friday, November 21, 2008

I've encountered dozens (if not hundreds) of examples of supposed NASA image tampering. These, if real, are unquestionably the most arresting.

(Thanks: The Keyhoe Report.)
I can't help but love this headline by Cliff Pickover:

World's sexiest women are now "alien" life forms, born with no belly buttons or constructed in secret Arctic labs, far from the scrutiny of ordinary men

Taken at O'Hare airport in Chicago.

(More photos, as always, right here.)
Cosmic Rays from Mysterious Source Bombarding Earth

"This electron excess cannot be explained by the standard model of cosmic ray origin," said Wefel. "There must be another source relatively near us that is producing these additional particles."
Evidence of vast frozen water reserves on Mars: scientists

Evidence of vast frozen water reserves on Mars: scientists
Ground-penetrating radar used by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals numerous huge glaciers up to one half-mile thick buried beneath layers of rock and debris. Researchers said one glacier is three time the size of Los Angeles in area.

"All together, these glaciers almost certainly represent the largest reservoir of water ice on Mars that's not in the polar caps," said John Holt, a geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a report about the discovery, which appears in the November 21 issue of the journal Science.

I just had the strangest sense of deja-vu.
Mac Tonnies sings while making breakfast before coming out as an Alien On Earth.

Nope, not me. But there's indeed a weird (if superficial) resemblance.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My new Loving the Alien column, "UFOs and Science Fiction," just went live.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good news -- "Darklore" (vol. 2) is out. If you're looking for an esoteric stocking-stuffer, this is the one. (Choose between paperback format or limited edition hardcover.)
I'm alive and well -- albeit very hungry -- in Halifax.

Twitter updates here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm up late surfing YouTube. This one's pretty good:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just a note that I'll be leaving for Nova Scotia tomorrow to help finish an astrobiology/SETI TV documentary (to be released in Jan.) My Net access will be limited until the 21st, although I plan to check in from my hotel.
Found Image #28

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Greg Bishop relates three curious "psychic" experiences.
Indian Tricolour Placed on the Moon on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Birthday

In a historic event, the Indian space programme achieved a unique feat today (November 14, 2008) with the placing of Indian tricolour on the Moon's surface on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday. The Indian flag was painted on the sides of Moon Impact Probe (MIP), one of the 11 payloads of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, that successfully hit the lunar surface today at 20:31 hrs (8:31 pm) IST. This is the first Indian built object to reach the surface of the moon.
Earth's Many Voices -- a Unified Theory for Pre-Earthquake Signals

Paging Michael Persinger . . .
By now you've probably read how Google can help pinpoint flu outbreaks based on search terms submitted by users. Could a similar technique be used to track "paranormal" activity?
Found Image #27

If only "Blade Runner" had featured UFOs . . .

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Floating 'Energy Islands' Could Power the Future

One of these hexagonally-shaped islands could generate 250 megawatts (enough power for a small city), Michaelis said. Even more power is possible by mooring together several Energy Islands into a small archipelago that could include greenhouses for food, a small harbor for ships and a hotel for tourists.
Gobekli Tepe: The World's First Temple?

To Schmidt and others, these new findings suggest a novel theory of civilization. Scholars have long believed that only after people learned to farm and live in settled communities did they have the time, organization and resources to construct temples and support complicated social structures. But Schmidt argues it was the other way around: the extensive, coordinated effort to build the monoliths literally laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies.

(Via Futurismic.)

Richard Boylan Warns of Nov. 15 Asteroid Strike

Oh, boy -- party time! I'm going to blow my savings on beer and hookers right now!
Two words: "lucid decapitation."

TV-B-GONE goes open source

That's the best new I've heard all day.
First fuzzy photos of planets outside solar system

It's only a matter of time before "we get a dot that's blue and Earthlike," said astronomer Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He led one of the two teams of photographers.
Less Than 20 Years Until First Contact?

Senior SETI scientist Seth Shostak said at an event in San Francisco Tuesday night that the array could become strong enough by 2025 to look deep enough into space to find extraterrestrial signals. "We'll find E.T. within two dozen years," he said.

No we won't, Seth. We'll be damned lucky to detect ET within 2,000 years and I can't help but think you know it.

Of course, having said that, I'll be more than delighted to have this post come back to haunt me.
If, like me, you consider the UFO photograph the preeminent subversive medium of the 20th century, you won't want to miss 140 years of UFO sightings - Part I.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rudy Rucker reminisces on the inspiration for his classic c-punk novel "Software."
J.G. Ballard wants a few words with you.

Virtual Webcam Girlfriend Is Entrancing, If a Little Perverted

From a technical standpoint, the Dennou AR Figures virtual 3D girlfriends, first announced a few months back, aren't much more impressive than PlayStation 3's Eye of Judgment. You install webcam software to that when your camera detects the special bundled cube onscreen, it fills a 3D companion into your environment. But when that 3D companion is a girl who can be dressed, tickled or, errr, spanked, the concept is born anew.

From an original short-story fragment:

Homeless people, many of them marred by cruel deformities, lined the defunct sidewalk, summoning vicarious charms from slates and projectors. A tiny naked woman with copious piercings writhed in mid-air, extremities flickering.
Scientists stop the ageing process

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Ana Maria Cuervo, blocked the ageing process in mice livers by stopping the build-up of harmful proteins inside the organ's cells.

As people age their cells become less efficient at getting rid of damaged protein resulting in a build-up of toxic material that is especially pronounced in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders.

The researchers say the findings suggest that therapies for boosting protein clearance might help stave off some of the declines in function that accompanies old age.
Speaking of flying cars . . .
UN: Clouds of pollution threaten glaciers, health

A dirty brown haze sometimes more than a mile thick is darkening skies not only over vast areas of Asia, but also in the Middle East, southern Africa and the Amazon Basin, changing weather patterns around the world and threatening health and food supplies, the U.N. reported Thursday.

The huge smog-like plumes, caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and firewood, are known as "atmospheric brown clouds."
Iran test-fires new missile, Israel within reach

Iran said it test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday and that the Islamic Republic was ready to defend itself against any attacker.

Iran's latest missile test followed persistent speculation in recent months of possible U.S. or Israeli strikes against its nuclear facilities, which the West suspects form part of a covert atomic weapons program, a charge Tehran denies.

Blog of the day: Little Boing Marks by friend and ufological co-conspirator Mike Clelland. Mike's drawings are delightful: R. Crumb meets Dr. Seuss.
Somebody give this woman a hand!

Eye-Cam Wanted

During our conversation she said she was looking for help in turning her artificial eye into a eye-cam. You know, a mini web cam inside an eyeball. It would capture live video and stream it to a memory somewhere and also perhaps eventually assist her own vision in real time. She confessed that she was not technologically adept enough to hack it on her own.

(Via Boing Boing.)
Pictured: The robot that can pull faces just like a human being

Scientists have created the first 'humanoid' robot that can mimic the facial expressions and lip movements of a human being.

'Jules' - a disembodied androgynous robotic head - can automatically copy the movements, which are picked up by a video camera and mapped on to the tiny electronic motors in his skin.

It can grin and grimace, furrow its brow and 'speak' as his software translates real expressions observed through video camera 'eyes'.

Well, they tried.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Better late than never: has posted my latest ufological what-if.
When Jim Kunstler blogs about the future, I listen.
The flying car

Without recent advances in flexible wing technology, the idea would barely have got off the ground. New aerodynamic profiles and materials make it possible to lift a vehicle weighing 1,500lb and passengers without dangerous instability.

"This thing will launch itself without any pilot input," says Cardozo. “You just open it up and it goes. The more power you put on, the faster you go until you come off the ground [at 35mph]. The wing will basically lock above you [once airborne] and stay there, without weaving, at speeds of up to 80mph."
Obligatory viewing for Posthuman Blues readers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Al Gore outlines five steps toward decarbonizing the US in ten years.
CGI invades Mars!

"I fucking hate robots!"

(Thanks, Justin!)
Firefighters' Manual Teaches First Responders to Deal with UFO Attacks

No, I'm not kidding: A recent ABC newscast focuses on how a commonly-used firefighters' manual from FEMA has an entire chapter devoted to UFO preparedness.
Mars Phoenix Lander Runs Out of Juice

Originally slated for a mere 90 days near the Martian north pole, clever NASA power engineers kept the Lander doing science for nearly two months beyond that goal. But now mission officials are certain: The lander has run out of power for its internal heater and is presumed to be frozen on the arctic plane.


Has Mars Science Laboratory Made the Discovery of the Decade?

NASA team leader Michael Mumma puts forward the idea that subterranean bacteria could be producing the noxious fumes, which periodically percolate to the surface in short lived bursts. But it could also be a geological source deep below the surface.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 Now Successfully in Lunar Orbit

Chandrayaan-1, India’s first unmanned spacecraft mission to moon, successfully entered lunar orbit on November 8. The spacecraft fired its engines to reduce velocity and enable the Moon's gravity to capture it; engines were fired for 817 seconds when Chandrayaan-1 was about 500 km away from the moon. Next up for the spacecraft will be to reduce the height of its lunar orbit to about 100 km.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"I'm already living in a controlled environment, Sam. Nothing can touch me here. I'm alone. I'm safe."

"Have you ever heard of insect politics"?

Unknown "Structures" Tugging at Universe, Study Says

The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger -- a multiverse -- and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's cat video time.

More here.


You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at!

Yeah, whatever.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Michael Stipe: you've marveled at his lyrics -- now wear the shirt!
Found Image #26

A Balloon in Titan's Skies

The balloon concept is particularly intriguing. You may remember reading about a 1983 NASA workshop at which the idea of seeding the atmosphere of Titan with floating laboratories was discussed. A large balloon or powered blimp would move through the skies while dispersing smaller balloons to operate between ten and 100 kilometers above the surface. The TSSM concept is not quite so grand but seems more realistic, with a pared down mission scenario that builds upon our experience with Cassini and Huygens.
My Top 10 Most Useful and Informative Twitter Users

What? I wasn't included? An outrage!

"What do you look like?"

"It depends on who's looking."

For those wondering (like me) what an Obama presidency might herald for science and the environment, here are some interesting links:

Obama promises new era of scientific innovation

Obama on science, in his own words

And for anyone seeking a level critique of the challenges in store, George Dvorsky (Sentient Developments) offers a welcome reality-check:

Obama may have paved through some unprecedented political inroads on election night, but the popular ranking between himself and John McCain was shockingly narrow. Obama's mandate is not as flamingly progressive as many have made it out to be. To go beyond it would not only be political suicide in a stubbornly conservative country, it would run contrary to his rather vanilla election promises.

Many Americans, I'm afraid, have confused his campaigning messages of "hope" and "yes we can" with that of actual progressive politics.
So Little Time, So Much Damage

President Bush's aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others -- few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball.

There's really only one word to describe the mind behind this, and it's most definitely NSFW.
First Hoagland, now Strieber: Will Obama Mean UFO Change?

To be fair, I agree with Strieber's recommendations for a disciplined empirical study, regardless if we're dealing with "visitors" or something else entirely.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The results from my first poll ("What do you think the UFO phenomenon represents?") are in. A total of 103 readers responded to the question.

Perhaps surprisingly, only 28 voters (27%) ascribed the phenomenon (or phenomena) to extraterrestrial visitors, mirroring the 28 voters (27%) who selected "Misidentification and/or the 'will to believe'" as the most likely culprit.

22 voters (21%) selected "Beings from a parallel world" while 18 (17%) opted for "An aspect of Jung's collective unconscious." A scant 13 readers (12% of the vote) selected "Time travelers" as a possible explanation.

But the "winning" vote went to "Other," drawing 36 readers and beating out "Extraterrestrials" with an in impressive 34%.

Terence McKenna on individuality and democracy's inherent tendency to atomize, cheapen and reject the human experience: "We have been infantilized by our cultural institutions to accept the notion of ourselves as citizens consuming these regurgitated scientific models which are then hashed through by Madison Avenue and then handed down to us by the organs of mass culture and this is supposed to be what we anchor our lives on."
Sentient Developments on the aftermath of Proposition 8:

Gay marriage, plebiscites, and the tyranny of the masses

Democratic governments should work to protect the rights of minorities not by querying the collective (who at the individual level tend to be ignorant of the intricacies of social justice, law and fairness -- not to mention their often prejudicial and reactive nature), but by having accountable institutions (like the Senate) recognize and enshrine civil rights and freedoms within the constitution or a bill of rights.

Otherwise, governments are enabling the majority to lord it over those who need to be protected from exactly that: the masses.
Moon craters may hold traces of early life

Ice deposits hidden in the Moon's darkest craters might contain traces of early life from meteorites blasted off the Earth by asteroids billions of years ago.

These remains could reveal clues about the origin and evolution of life on Earth or even contain remnants of life from other planets in the Solar System, such as Mars, said astrobiologist Joop Houtkooper, of the University of Giessen in Germany.
Suddenly, it may be cool to be an American again

When you're an American abroad, you can quickly become a whipping post. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you happen to be living and working overseas at a time when the United States has antagonized much of the world, you get a lot of grief.

You can find yourself pressed to be some kind of apologist for Washington. And you can wind up feeling ashamed and alone.

On distinctly funnier note, I just surfed over to Richard Hoagland's "Enterprise Mission" site on the hunch that he'd be milking Obama's election for imaginary Fortean relevance. I wasn't disappointed. Click to take in "The Hyperdimensional Election of Barack Obama . . . and 2012."
Maybe it's just me, but certainly seems like the word-verification ("weevie") spam-filters used by Blogger have become mostly pronounceable. I've even noticed actual words where once was pure gibberish.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Top 12 videos of creepy automata
Russia to deploy short-range missiles near Poland

"We will not retreat in the Caucasus," he said, winning one of many rounds of applause during the televised 85-minute address.

Talking tough, he fleshed out long-promised military measures in response to U.S. plans for missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, former Soviet satellites now in NATO. The Kremlin claims the system is meant to weaken Russia, not defend against Iran, as Washington insists.
If I ever direct a near-future science fiction movie, at least I know who to hire as costume designer.
British beekeepers seek help to save honeybees

Beekeepers swarmed Parliament and the prime minister's office on Wednesday, demanding more funds for research after the number of Britain's honey bees dropped by nearly a third in the past year.

The British bee losses have not been as dramatic as those in the United States, but beekeepers say it is getting worse.
Climate crank Michael Crichton dies at 66 (obituary with comments by Bruce Sterling)

As a voracious science fiction reader, I'm afraid I'll remember Crichton as one of the very worst writers in the field. His prose was so bad it was alarming.
Your host in a rare unguarded moment:

For more photos, see my Flickr stream.
On a less morbid note, Obama did, in fact, mention a few points in his victory speech that I found encouraging.

1.) He used the words "planet in peril." So at least it would seem he's aware there's a problem, presumably one that can be lessened by the application of "science and imagination" -- and yes, he used those words too.

2.) Although the context was purely historical, Obama made reference to the Apollo Moon landing. If reason prevails, there will be another . . . and it's not inconceivable that the groundwork could be essentially completed during his own presidency.

"Hope"? "Change"? I'm skeptical, but in the original, healthy sense of the word. I want to see what Obama can do, and I'm willing to offer him my support if his promise to dissolve the corrosive, masturbatory zeitgeist of the Bush debacle has teeth.

Obama's been criticized for waxing "messianic." But "messianic" is something I can handle; the wanton, unapologetic stupidity that defined the McCain campaign (especially in its desperate final months) is not.

Goodbye, Sarah Palin. Farewell, Joe the (sort of) Plumber and Officially Sanctioned Barometer of the American Psyche. You were never anything more than cynical fictions; take solace in your imminent plunge into obscurity.

For the moment, at least, the future belongs to the elitists.
Yeah, yeah, so perhaps things are looking up on the political front (although, if absolutely pressed, I'd still argue that the game is up, as far as humanity's continued reign as this planet's dominant land mammal is concerned).

But on a slightly more positive front, even as NASA's manned spaceflight program withers and convulses before our eyes, there's still reason to be excited about space. I'm with Stephen Hawking: if we can make it "off-world" -- and stay there -- there might be something to say for a human legacy.

If not, in 100 years no one's going to give a shit about Obama.

Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

More essential Onion coverage: Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress
Found Image #25

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I have seen the future -- and it's biodegradable.

Cardboard office by Paul Coudamy

Storyboard by Jan Van Hoof
Obama becomes first black president in landslide

Just in case you haven't heard.

Tired of givin' it away

"I'm sorry to be so agitated," says Peter Davenport from Harrington, Wash. "I'm at the end of my rope. With the government, with the press, with the American people. You've caught me at a strange time."

This week, on his National UFO Reporting Center Web page, the man who runs one of the world's busiest eyewitness databases announced he was on the brink of shutting down his live telephone Hotline.
Deadly New Virus Thought to Be Contained

A new virus that causes fatal hemorrhagic fevers has been discovered in southern Africa. It killed four people in South Africa and sickened a fifth, but health authorities believe the outbreak has been contained.
Scientists clone from frozen mice

Cloning has largely been done using just live donor cells, transferring their DNA to recipient eggs.

Using previously frozen cells runs the risk of ice damage to the DNA unless carefully handled.

The scientists in Kobe, Japan, said their technique raised the possibility of recreating extinct creatures, such as mammoth, from their frozen remains.
More messages from our sponsors.

Two intriguing items from Universe Today:

Mars Methane Mystery Still Beckons

And the mystery of how methane on Mars is being replenished has scientists continuing their observations in an effort to understand what's happening on Mars. Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland was one of the original methane discoverers. Observations he and his team have made over the last four years show methane is not spread evenly around Mars, but concentrated in a few "hotspots."

Can Cassini be Used to Detect Life on Enceladus?

McKay's paper suggests that the non-methane hydrocarbon to methane ratio needs to be lower than 0.001 for the methane to favour a biological origin.

This method was recently used on hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. A higher ratio of non-methane hydrocarbons were measured, indicating the gases emitted from the vents were non-biological in origin. This research suggests that Cassini's Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) can be used in a similar way to see if the organic compounds detected in the Enceladus plume can be attributed to biological processes.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Centauri Dreams returns to the prospect of detecting interstellar beacons. Have we already intercepted ET transmissions without realizing it?
10 Things 3D Printers Can Do Now!

The concept of custom manufacturing is exciting to nearly everyone, but it always seems to be something that will happen in the "future". Gibson was right and the following list of applications for 3D printers show the truth in the saying "The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet."

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This is perhaps the most wincingly delicious prank call I've ever heard.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Found Image #24

Fun fact: I own a copy of this very issue.
Is Greg Bishop being watched?

Paranoids are easy to create and feed if you know how to flatter their egos: "He picked me. I must be on to something." The basic level of fear created is helpful, since most of us like a scare, and if it seems to be real, the funhouse (or spookhouse) illusion is complete. All that is needed when this is accomplished is to keep the frightening "insider" info coming in small doses. At this point, your target is basically a puppet and mouthpiece, ready to infect others with carefully crafted disinfo, which of course is mostly true, but injected with a small amount of ear-tickling lies.

If paranoids are easy to create, consider how childishly simple it is to create a True Believer.