June 2007

Interstellar Conundrum: Is Stross Right?

June 19, 2007

Although people have been recommending that I read Charles Stross’ novel Accelerando for some time now, I haven’t found the time and now wish that I had. I recently read a fascinating speech that Stross gave at a Munich tech conference discussing, among many other things, how advances in computer storage will change our lives. […]

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Stross: The Interstellar Improbability

June 18, 2007

Science fiction writer Charles Stross, always an insightful voice when it comes to the future of technology, offers up an incisive look at the problems of interstellar flight in his The High Frontier, Redux. The article is in the queue for discussion here, but since I can’t get to it until tomorrow afternoon — and […]

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Geological Activity on Tethys and Dione?

June 18, 2007

Centauri Dreams doubts that most space scientists expected to find as much activity around Saturn as the Cassini probe has revealed. Enceladus was spectacular enough, with its geysers spewing material hundreds of kilometers above the surface. And now we find indications that two other moons — Tethys and Dione — are active worlds as well. […]

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A Possible Planet around Fomalhaut

June 16, 2007

Watching the motion of the stars they orbit has been how most of the planets beyond our Sun have thus far been discovered. Such radial-velocity methods are getting more precise all the time, but a likely planet around the nearby star Fomalhaut comes out of an entirely different line of research. Alice Quillen (University of […]

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Cramer’s Time Experiment Funded

June 15, 2007

When you’ve read Analog as long as I have — and I date back to the days when it was named Astounding — you develop a real fondness for some of the primary players. That’s one reason I’m glad to hear the good news about John Cramer’s time travel experiment, which has received enough private […]

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Musings on Planet X

June 14, 2007

My younger son Alec can be forgiven a certain amount of confusion over the term ‘Planet X.’ Back in the 1980s, I told him all about the marvelous Edgar G. Ulmer film The Man from Planet X, a favorite since my own childhood. Ulmer was a gifted director who is rarely talked about today (see […]

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Explosions Near Light Speed

June 13, 2007

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), those titanic explosions in distant galaxies that some consider to be the most powerful events since the Big Bang, can be more luminous than anything else in the universe, at least for a while. But their moment in the spotlight is brief, less than a second to as much as a few […]

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Pondering an Ocean Beneath Titan

June 12, 2007

An underground ocean on Titan? The apparent detection of low frequency radio waves makes liquid water beneath the surface of the huge Saturnian moon a possibility, according to research led by Fernando Simoes (Centre d’Etudes Terrestres et Planetaires, Saint Maur, France). Simoes and team have been studying what New Scientist is describing as an ‘enigmatic […]

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Transitsearch Ups the Ante

June 12, 2007

Buy a commercial telescope today, equip it with a CCD detector, and you’re arming yourself to enter the exoplanet hunt. A CCD, or charge-coupled device, is a sensor that proves far more efficient than photographic film at capturing incoming light. It wasn’t so long ago that such tools were available only at large observatories, but […]

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Michaud’s Contact with Alien Civilizations

June 11, 2007

I’m glad to see Universe Today‘s review of Michael Michaud’s new book Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials (Springer, 2006), since I haven’t gotten to it yet despite a promise early in the year. Those hoping for a thorough analysis of the Drake Equation are in luck, since Michaud evidently […]

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