Moonwalker .

Today I had the opportunity to meet the 6th man to set foot on the Moon : Ed Mitchell.

Ed Mitchel and Alan Shepard Landed to Lunar Lander Module on Februry 5th, 1971 with Stuart Roosa in the orbiting Command Module.

They collected over 42kg of moon rock.

In Europe the opportunity to go see a Moon Walker is very rare, so when I heard about it from a fellow scifi fan it took less than 5 minutes to decide and and a few more to buy the ticket. Who knows if a living Moon Walker will ever come so close to where I live – about 1 hour’s drive.

Mitchell talked about his way to the Moon, from a farm boy with hay fever (ouch!) and a keen interest in flying machines, via a naval career to becoming an astronaut, and finally being selected as member of a backup crew on Apollo 10. Apollo 10 was a test flight for the Lunar Module, and it approached the Lunar surface until the height of just under 16km, at the time the closest any manned space craft had been to the Moon. No landing.

The Mitchell/Roosa/Shepard crew was intended to go with Apollo 13, but due to health risk Apollo 13 was launched with the backup crew. Most of us will know that Apollo 13 had an accident and could not land on the Moon, but they were – with many difficulties and a lot of expertise – brought safely back to Earth – by a very small margin. I still remember those days when a lot of people all over the world were biting the nails ….

The Apollo 14 mission went with very few surprises, we were shown lots of photos from the mission, including Al Shepard’s golf demonstration on the Moon.

Like essentially all astronauts who went to the Moon, He told us about what the view of Earth hanging in the sky, so far away did to him. The realization of how small and fragile it is, how thin the atmosphere is, the thing that provides us with oxygen, and, as important, a shield against Solar and cosmic radiation.

Briefly he mentioned his personal belief that aliens have visited Earth, and his interest in experiments and research in parapsychology. Since most of us came to hear about his journey to the Moon, we were quite happy with the balance of subjects in his talk, although it is apparent that the last two subjects are close to his heart.

All in all a very interesting afternoon. If another Moon Walker will come to a place near me, I shall take the opportunity again if at all possible.

Update : July 7 : Pictures added :


Ed Mitchell on his epiphany on the way back to Earth

Ed Mitchell

Ed Mitchell answering questions form the audience

Cosplay pictures from Fedcon 2014

At Fedcon in May/June this year I took a large amount of pictures of cosplayers, and here are two that I tried to edit a bit to emphasize the cosplayers, and leave the background more like a background.

Take a look and see how you like them .

Norse Gods at Fedcon 2014

Norse Gods at Fedcon 2014

Real Klingon

A real Klingon, right down to a battle injury 😉

New Pages and New Scifi Activities

I have been scifi active again.

On Sunday, March 18th I participated as a guest host on the podcast :

Downbelow : A Babylon5 Introcast

The podcast has two Babylon 5 veterans and two absolute novices, and is spoiler free up to the episode talked about.

I was on episode 11 where we dealt with season 1 episode 7 : “The War Prayer”.

I have previously, successfully introduced a few friends to Babylon 5, and avoided spoilers, so I was pretty confident that would not be a problem. But, after all, this was my first full participation in a podcast, so I was a bit nervous. Speaking over the other hosts is, after all, not polite.

Things went well despite some technical problems in the beginning and at the end, and I am on the list for another episode as guest host.

The next week end I was in Copenhagen for Dancon, a small local convention with 30 – 40 participants, where I had another first, holding a talk about Straczynski (JMS), the creator of Babylon 5 and writer of a vast amount of TV, comics and film, and more. This was done with a friend who knows the comics much better than I do, so he talked about comics and a bit of films, and I talked a bit about JMS and his TV writing career

The biggest problem was simply the vast amount of material. certainly not enough time for more than scratching the surface of the whole thing. We agreed that, after a bit of a pause, we should take a more limited subject and go deeper at a later convention.

so – within one week I got to do two new things in connection with scifi. It was fun, even if I was a bit nervous, and I will probably do it again.

In connection with the Downbelow Podcast I have created some Babylon 5 pages that will remain spoiler free for the newcomer hosts of the podcast. See links to the pages above.

Watching now : The Prisoner, Orphan Black, Farscape

A few days ago Netflix became available where I live.

Apart from an issue with a crashing Silverlight on a Mac Mini (probably due to overheating) Netflix runs nicely on a somewhat stronger machine (Quad Core i7).

The Prisoner (1967) :
This story of a secret agent who quits his job and finding himself “stranded” in “The Village” on a remote island is very good.
The story has a surreal feel to it, and I take it that it is part of the attempt to break down the sense of reality for this “Number 6”. His main antagonist is “Number 2”, and there is a good deal of psychological drama and warfare. The series lasted only 17 episodes and was created by Patrick McGoohan who also played the lead role.

Orphan Black (2013) :
I was recommended to check out this series, and I like it.
Season 1 started airing in early 2013 and has 10 episodes.Sarah is a witness to the suicide (jumping in front of a train) by her double, and takes over her identity.
It turns out that there are more “doubles” of Sarah, and that they are all clones.
As the mystery is slowly, but surely revealed, Sarah and her “Sisters” become involved in a drama of life and death.
The acting of Tatiana Maslany as the many clones is nothing less than spectacular.

From now on I will probably delve a bit more into Netflix and what is available here, before returning to the Farscape DVDs (The DVDs are not going anywhere, the Netflix selection changes all the time.)

The Lurker’s ratings :
The Prisoner : 8/10
Orphan Black : 9/10

Hugo Awards 2012

Last year I went to China, spending about 4 weeks on the trip – some of them will appear in my “A-Photo-a-Week” project. This left very little time to read the Hugo nominees.

This year I have stayed home – well gone to a few conventions, so I had a bit more time to read.
So – I took the supporting membership to the Chicon 7/Worldcon 2012, so I could vote.

I got a limited amount of reading done, but voted what I could :
Best Novel :
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Best Novellette :
The Copenhagen Interpretation by Paul Cornell
Best Short Story :
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
Best Dramatic presentation, long form :
A Game of Thrones TV series
Best Dramatic presentation, short form :
Doctor Who : The Doctor’s Wife written by Neil Gaiman.

Up’s and down’s of using Mac OS X

Having tried out Mac OS, Linux and Windows I find that they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Linux comes with a large amount of free and quite useable software, yet can be tricky with new or exotic hardware
Mac OS is very easy to use, but the selection of programs is more limited than the two others.
Windows has as many programs as you want, yet is so commonly in use that it is a target for Virus, Trojans and other malware.

I found a neat program for making and organising notes when using linux. Zim desktop wiki easily creates linked text files in a wiki-like way, yet it is on my own machine.
The Linux version is packaged for the most common distributions There is a Windows executable, so there it is easy, too.

Enter the Mac

Mac OS X is a Unix like system, much like Linux,yet with some quirks.installing Linux programs directly is not possible, so someone has made package installers available, compiling the source code and, mostly taking care that dependencies are installed.
Macports has Zim in its repository. However the version is an ancient one that possibly will cease running in a not so far future. The version is Perl based and no longer maintained. The latest version is written in Python, and here is the thing.
Some dependencies are not readily recognised because they are not in the “expected places”.
I have been looking into it the last week, and it looks like I have found a way to get it running. I want to make sure it is reproducible, and then I intend to write in the blog how I got it running.

Update : It looks like I got the install procedure running, nor I will make an attempt to simplify the procedure.

Review : Doctor Who : ‘Turn Left’

Hugo Nominee 2009 Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

This is Russell T. Davies’ writing at its best, aided by Graeme Harper’s directing. With all due respect for his team reviving Doctor Who Davies’ writing has not always been the best during the new Who era – probably due to the pressure of being the show runner.

While we have seen indications of inner strength in Donne Noble, this episode pulls all that to the fore. She has a little help from a friend she did not know she had : Rose. This is, for now, the culmination of the small glimpses we have had of Rose since the beginning of the season

The story finds Donna tricked into living a version of history where she did not meet the Doctor, and it is not a pretty picture. Guided by Rose from a different reality she finds her inner strength to change history back to what we know from the third season of the 10th Doctor.

The story has a good deal of fine drama, some fine character development of Donna, and a stunning conclusion, as a prelude to the two final episodes.

I consider this episode better than the two final ones, although I find those quite good as well.

This is certainly one of my favourites of the season, mainly rivaled by the double episode ‘Silence in the Library’/’Forest of the Dead’

9/10 on the lurker’s scale.

The End of Legal Security in Europe ?

In this SlashDot article it seems that the EU parliament passed a law new law regarding the “Three-Strikes” policy for people’s Internet access.

“…. Under the original text any restriction of an individual could only be taken following a prior judicial ruling.The new update has completely removed this, meaning that governments now have legal grounds to force Internet providers (ISPs) into disconnecting their customers from the Internet (i.e. such as when ‘suspected’ of illegal p2p file sharing).”

Mark the word SUSPECTED

Mark my words – we seem to be approaching the rule of the entertainment industry, as opposed to the rule of law.

Update : It appears thet the law was first voted on when almost everyone had left the building, and was later retracted at a fuller assembly. – but let this be a warning …. if this becomes law , everyone could have their Internet connection cut off, just due to an suspicion of doing something wrong.

Please let the lawmakers see reason.