A round up of recent, and most important, scientific discoveries

Thursday, 9 April, 2015

A couple of scientific breakthroughs came to light last week, Wednesday, 1 April, as it happened. Given their significance, I thought I’d quickly highlight them.

First up, computations by some super computers, over what seems like an extended period, have revealed the meaning of life. I kept thinking the result of these calculations seemed familar. But that must have been on account of the media coverage the story would have received.

According to inside sources the answer given by the computer was “42”. What this means will be announced later according to a research representative.

Also, scientists at CERN discerned that the force, as seen throughout the “Star Wars” films, is in fact very real, and not, as previously thought, the stuff of science fiction:

Though four fundamental forces – the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity – have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. “Very impressive, this result is,” said a diminutive green spokesperson for the laboratory.

This I’ve long suspected. No, scrub that, known, but dared not discuss. Until now. For instance, there’s been many times I’ve uttered words like “you don’t want to sell me death sticks, you want to go home and rethink your life”, and whoever I was talking has taken off, vanished.

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The return of The X Files

Wednesday, 1 April, 2015

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are set to reprise their roles as Mulder and Scully in a six episode series of The X-Files, that goes into production in the next few months. Little else is known about the new episodes, as producers are remaining tight-lipped for the moment.

And so they should, the return of Mulder and Scully will make for more of an event that way.

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The best sort of science fiction novel? A fix up of course

Wednesday, 25 March, 2015

A “fix-up” is a science fiction book, or novel, written by an author who has created the work by stitching together a number of their earlier shorter stories. Some of these fix-up titles are in fact quite well known:

The “fix-up” is a novel that’s constructed out of short stories that were previously published on their own. And a lot of classic science fiction novels were “fix-ups.” Asimov’s I, Robot and Foundation were both published as groups of short stories before becoming books. There’s Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, too. There’s also Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, and Leigh Brackett’s Alpha Centauri or Die!.

I dare say fix-ups are not limited to sci-fi writing though.

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This is what happens when Daleks attempt to relax

Tuesday, 24 March, 2015

I guess if you’re a Dalek up against a foe like Doctor Who, you’d need a technique, or five, for relaxing after a hard day’s battle. And in what is surely a rare goodwill gesture, our favourite extraterrestrial mutant cyborgs have adapted these methods especially for humans.

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RIP Mr Spock

Monday, 2 March, 2015

Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock

Sad news this, the passing of Leonard Nimoy, or Mr Spock, of the popular “Star Trek” TV show and movie series, last Friday.

I’ve always been inspired by some of the show’s best known phrases, “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, even if I haven’t really gone anywhere at all, and “live long and prosper”. The galaxy is an emptier place without you Spock.

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A TARDIS eye view of its own travel through time

Monday, 23 February, 2015

Especially for fans of both Doctor Who, and time travel, a representation of the Time Lords’ time travel capable spacecraft, the TARDIS, as it moves through space-time from one time and place, to another, as seen from the perspective of the vessel itself, created by John Smith.

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Traffic is delayed on the freeway on account of a TIE fighter crash

Tuesday, 13 January, 2015

I guess if you were resident of the “Star Wars” Galactic Empire, or, as it may be now, the New Republic, the sight of TIE Fighters that have come to grief might just be a common sight.

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The “Star Trek” TV shows, ranked from worst to best

Monday, 12 January, 2015

Six hundred and ninety-five television series episodes of “Star Trek” ranked from worst to best by Jordan Hoffman. I’ve always considered myself a fan of the franchise, but aside from the movies, plus the Original Series, and Next Generation TV shows, there’s much of the “Star Trek” universe that I know next to nothing about.

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Movies set in space, take a bow

Tuesday, 16 December, 2014

Set to the music from the Interstellar soundtrack, “Mountains” by Hans Zimmer, and the words of Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night”, recited by Anthony Hopkins, Max Shishkin has produced an impressive tribute to movies set in space.

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The typography of Ridley Scott’s “Alien”

Wednesday, 10 December, 2014

I linked to Dave Addey’s analysis of the typography of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, earlier in the year, and since that time he’s written similar articles on “Moon” by Duncan Jones, and now Alien by Ridley Scott.

This title card from Alien is an example – possibly the Ur Example – of a popular sci-fi trope, the Foreshadowing Inventory. Seven crew, you say? Hmm. Seven. Let’s hope nothing disastrous happens to them, one by one. And their course is set for a return to Earth, eh? Well, I’m sure that’s the likely outcome for this particular story.

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