Space Age Anniversary : 60 Years of Space.

The space age is 60 years old today.

October 4th 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth : Sputnik, sending it characteristic “beep-beep-beep” signal to Earth on 20 and 40 MHz.

The satellite weighed about 83 kilograms and sent the beeps till the battery ran out.

Here is a sample of how the signal sounded :

or this one : http://www.astrosurf.com/luxorion/Documents/sat-sputnik.wav

 

Re-watch of Star Trek TNG 1-2

Recently Netflix carries the Star Trek series where I live, so I decided to make a re-watch of Star Trek Next Generation.
Just finished the first 2 seasons, occasionally while doing some other stuff, like ripping some CDs.
Let’s face it, seasons 1 and 2 are not too strong, so I often found me leaving the episode running while changing CD (and editing the CDDB entry), but a few episodes did catch me.
Unlike some others I do like Q, episodes, sometimes for the sense of fun, sometimes for the challenges to characters.
Q Who? is my favourite until the end of season 2. What can compete with Q, Guinan … and The Borg ? For me that is a winner combination
One other season 2 episode is just excellent : “The Measure of a Man”
In season 1 I would also mention Datalore (yes, the introduction of Lore), and The Neutral Zone (The Romulans are back, and we get the indication of a new, very powerful adversary).
In season 2 I would mention Where Silence has Lease, Contagion (The Iconians make for a fun episode, once more with the Romulans), The Emissary (turning a disadvantage into an advantage – and Peak Performance.
Elementary, dear Data for the fun gets an honourable mention from me.
Yes, this is all my own experience, feel free to disagree.

 

Starting Season 3 it is clear that here is where some better episodes begin to appear. More on that later, and also a list of stuff I have watched and read since I moved back to Denmark. The list is not exactly short, and I may write some quick reviews of some of those at a later stage.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Before I did my removal I had started reading the Dresden Files books.

I like the writing, the books are page turners, but with an escalating story. I have finished book 9 “White Knight”, and I will continue, slowly over the months/years. I may, at some point, be in the same position as others who had read all the books out, waiting for more.
At least, Jim Butcher writes faster than some authors, so the waiting is not that long 😉

It has been good to see the growth of Harry Dresden’s character, from a “simple” detective wizard to a rather powerful one.

In the mean time I will read some other stuff, my list is quite long.

Brief Post on activities the last year.

The blog has not been active for a while. The removal, and rebuilding of my life has taken priority. Noth everything is about scifi 😉 .
However, I have had some scifi activities, such as :
– Fedcon 2015 and 2016
– Small local conventions like Dancon and Fantasticon
– The very first Copenhagen Comicon
– a bit of reading, mostly Dresden Files books
– watching some TV/HBO/Netflix series, such as Sense8 (rewatch)
– Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Game of Thrones, 12 Monkeys, and several others

More detail on some of it later.

Kepler Space Telescope Has Found a Strange Star.

The Kepler space telescope has discovered a most unusual star in its search for exoplanets a long time, but erratic dimming of the light, – up to 20% dimming, which is *a lot*, over a longer period.
There are several hypotheses investigated, including a swarm of comets, or …. just maybe …. a structure built by an alien civilization.

Now, I remember the buzz a few decades ago, when the first pulsars were detected, and some thought the precision of the pulses had to be artificial but – as it turned out – it was a natural phenomenon of a fast rotating neutron star.

I would not jump to the alien conclusion before every other hypothesis has been thoroughly investigated. It could, however become very exciting if all the “natural” hypotheses would have to be discounted …

The article can be found here :

 

A Brief Sense8 review (spoiler free)

Having a little bit more time available here are a few words on the original Netflix series “Sense8”.

Sense8 is created by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) and the Wachowskis, Andy and Lana (the Ws).

It had its premiere of all 12 episodes (season 1) in the beginning of June this year. I took time off from removal activities and watched all episodes on the premiere day.

This is a hard one to watch, single episodes at a time. It invites you to binge watch, and it  has been stated by JMS that it was intentional.

I am now into the second watch, this time much more slowly, and the re-watch value of this story is very high.

The story focuses on 8 characters, called “sensates” who, due to a tragic event, are suddenly linked telepathically, and they are hunted.

The story is more focused on characters and themes, and starts moving very slowly, introducing all 8 sensates and their immediate relations. We see the story unfold from their perspective, meaning that what they know we know, and no more.

Last Sunday I participated in The Sense8 Podcast discussing Episode 6 “Demons”, which is very packed and has a very widely discussed scene.

I consider making a set of commentaries, episode by episode, spoilerific and possibly non spoilery, if time allows.

The show does have some rather explicit scenes, but also rewards patience and attention, so I will recommend it if that is the type of story you prefer.

Busy, Busy, Busy …

I have been extremely busy – and will remain so for a few months more, but I wanted to give you all a life sign.

After that I can see a bit of more time to do stuff that I like to do. Scifi/Fantasy reading/watching/listening, Radio/Electronics stuff, Astronomy – and much more …

For now, no real reading, only a tiny bit of TV.

I am looking forward to the premiere of Sense8 on Netflix on 5th June. I hope I can make it at that time …

I will tell you more when the time is right …

Dresden Files – Books and TV series.

A while ago I started to read the Dresden Files series of books by Jim Butcher.

At present I have read the first 3 books of the series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I surely intend to read further in the series, and there is no lack of material. The series has, at present 16 books out, and the total series is expected to be around 25 books. Nor these books are not the massive tomes, such as the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, so reading a book at a time, mixed with other books, will be manageable. I have the first 12 books on the Kindle, so I don’t even need to buy them before I can read them 😉

Jim Butcher is the Guest of Honour at the Eastercon in Heathrow next year, and I am considering going there if time allows.

There is a TV series that ran for a single season, 12 episodes a few years ago. I found the DVD set and watched it the past week end.
Paul Blackthorne, also known from “Arrow” plays Harry Dresden, and I like his acting in this one, but I think he is better in “Arrow”.

I found the TV series quite entertaining, after a few episodes it started to find its feet. Harry Dresden is the only person in Chicago having his occupation in the phonebook stated as “Wizard”. He helps the local police out in the strangest cases that would normally have gone unsolved.
He is a rather powerful wizard, but has dabbled in black magic which was not too popular with “The Council”. He is under essentially constant surveillance and invariably accused of the worst of intentions.

The series follows him in a series of cases, the pilot episode “Storm Front” is relatively true to the first book in the series with the same title.

The TV series is “based on” the books, but after the pilot it deviates considerably from the books, so I should be relatively spoiler safe when I resume reading the book series.

I would rate the series at an enjoyable, slightly above average 7.5/10.

I rate the first 3 books a bit higher, at a solid above average 8/10

Story of a Bear

Sometimes fans can blow a particular story completely out of proportion.

 

This is what happened to the story of Peter David (PAD) who wrote 2 episodes of Babylon 5, in particular “There all Honor Lies”, where B5 should be, at least in a small part, be financed my merchandize.

JMS made a small re-write as a response to receiving a Teddy Bear from PAD as a gift. JMS has gone on record as not liking “cute”, so the re-write resulted in the bear being spaced by captain Sheridan.

Later PAD put a story of a spaced bear into another story, saying that it was done by a race called the “Straczyn”. There was a bit more back-and-forth, and suddenly the fans were blowing this up to be a feud between PAD and JMS.

The truth is that it was all a friendly tease between the two, as Peter David wrote on his blog in 1997.

Please read the above link for the full story. I found it quite amusing.