**No Spoilers** Harry Potter 7 short review

***NO Spoilers*** Just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , the finale of the story of the young wizard growing up.

The final year , not at Hogwarts but in a perilous adventure for Harry, Ron and Hermione – and everybody they know. Harry turns 17, and the protection, of his home, against the Dark Lord Voldemort is over.

The trio attempts to fulfill the task set out by Professor Dumbledore, and they have to do everything on their own.

The story is well written and has some very nice twists and turns, and shows the courage and resourcefulness of everybody, as they must solve the riddles they are left with.

There has been a lot of rumors/spoilers around, and I have avoided them until now.Finally, now I can go to the forums etc and discuss the story.

I would rate the book 4/5

Books to read, DVDs to get

Just got the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book and have started reading. Travelling a bit, so not that much time to finish it, but what I have read so far is promising.

In my book “queue” I also have some Babylon 5 books , the three trilogies :
Psi Core
and a few single books like “To Dream in the City of Sorrows”

Next on my list is getting the new “Babylon 5 – The Lost Tales” (TLT) on DVD. The official release in the US is 31 July , in Europe (Region 2) it is some time in September – I do not like the “regionalisation” of DVDs , spoilers are all over the place as soon as the DVD is release in just one place. This tempts many people to download the films (etc), even if they will buy the film in any case. I will buy it, but the delay is *very* annoying.

It looks like “The Babylon Podcast” will make August this year a “TLT” month, so spoilers are almost inevitable.

Edit (14 August) :The Babylon Podcast is indeed making August the month of “The Lost Tales” Last Wednesday they had an interview with Bruce Boxleitner (President Sheridan), and interviews with Tracy Scoggins (Colonel Lochley) and Peter Woodward (Techmomage Galen)

Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer

A movie based on the Marvel comic “Fantastic Four”

I went to see the movie today with some friends. *No Spoilers*

An unknown force (The Silver Surfer) arrives to Earth, threatening to destroy all life on the planet.

In my view, this movie comes out better than the first one. Lots of fun moments as I remember them from the comic, including the teasing and rivalry in the “family”. I loved the cameo appearance of Stan Lee. While I know many of the hardcore fans of the comic will be disappointed with the depiction of Galactus, to me it worked quite well on the big screen.

While the story may not be very subtle (after all it has its origin in a comic book) I found the unfolding fine – not dragging too long, actually the movie is relatively short. Still, one nice aspect, it is about having a choice , even at times you think that you do not.

Very nice special effects in creating the Silver Surfer

I would recommend go seeing it, even if you are a fan of the comics, in my book I would rate it 4/5.

PS. I have heard that the Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski is working on the script for a Silver Surfer movie, sounds interesting.

Pulsar Measurements – Radio Astronomy Podcast

Just heard this on the podcast “Mountain Radio Astronomy”. Their podcast of 8 October 2005 was an interview with pulsar hunter Scott Ransom at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville. Scott had – at the time of the interview – found about 30 millisecond pulsars in a globular star cluster called Terzan 5.

A pulsar is believed to be a quickly rotating neutron star, a supernova remnant, most of them rotating in less than a second. The pulsar has a rather small and directional radiating area that can only be registered when it is facing us.
A second type of even faster rotating pulsars – known as millisecond pulsars – rotating more than a 100 tomes per second, are found in globular star clusters.

The rotation period of the millisecond pulsars is extremely precise, approaching that of an atomic clock , and this means thatsome interesting measurements of pulsar orbits can be made.

About 20 minutes into the interview he talked about a measurement of a pulsar orbit with an accuracy that really surprised me.

The example here is the Hulse-Taylor star system two pulsars orbiting each other in an orbit smaller than the Sun.This can demonstrate Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the interaction between spacetime and gravitation and an indication of gravity waves.

One other of the pulsars, Terzan N is orbiting a massive companion in an almost exact circular orbit about the size of the Sun.there is a little eccentricity, that is difference in the long axis and the short axis of the orbit, is measured as 48 cm +/- 6 cm. Less than half a meter ! Measured at a distance of 20 000 light years. Mind blowing …

Science stranger than fiction …

Link to Mountain Radio Astronomy

Link to The podcast MP3 file