Monday, March 31, 2008

A Quote for the Day

In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love--they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

-Harry Lime (Orson Welles), "The Third Man"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

Political tags--such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth--are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shuttle Endeavour Mission

STS-123, the mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station lasted 16 days. It landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Wednesday evening.

Video of Launch:

EVA 2 time compressed:

Video of Landing:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

We presuppose two things: that there is yet to be learned infinitely more than is now known, and that man can learn it.

John W. Campbell

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica returns to the Sci-Fi channel on April 4 for its final season.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Doctor Who

The new season of Doctor Who begins on the Sci-Fi channel on April 18. The BBC has been running this trailer in theaters in Britain to advertize for it:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life — much less intelligence — beyond this Earth does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime.

Arthur C. Clarke

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Quote for Good Friday

We deem it the central revelation of Western experience, that man cannot ineradicably stain himself, for the wells of regeneration are infinitely deep.

William F. Buckley, Jr., 1960

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories. Two-thirds of 2001 is realistic — hardware and technology — to establish background for the metaphysical, philosophical, and religious meanings later.

Arthur C. Clarke

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Room Temperature Superconducting Material? in an article by R.Colin Johnson, reports on a possible room temperature superconductor:
PORTLAND, Ore. — A new superconducting material fabricated by a Canadian-German team has been fabricated out of a silicon-hydrogen compound. Instead of super-cooling the material, as is necessary for conventional superconductors, the new material is instead super-compressed. The researchers claim that the new material could sidestep the cooling requirement, thereby enabling superconducting wires that work at room temperature.

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author.

Arthur C. Clarke, prefatory note, Childhood's End.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sad News About a Science Fiction Legeand

Arthur C. Clarke died today; he was 90 years old (Born December 16, 1917). Best known for 2001, A Space Odyssey.

Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.
Arthur C. Clarke, Maelstrom II, 1965

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

The dinosaurs died because they didn't have a space program.

Larry Niven

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dave Walker Cartoon

My wife Ruth found this British cartoonist:
cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rock Version of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major

I read about this in the LA Times this morning. Lim-Jeong-hyun of Korea has performed a very popular rendition of "Canon Rock," a heavy metal arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major by Jerry Chang, a Taiwanese guitar player. It has been viewed on YouTube nearly 40 million times.

Happy Pi Day!

Today, 3-14, is Pi day. See for more information. Today is also the 129th anniversary of Albert Einstein's birth.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things -- praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts -- not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.

Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavour in Orbit

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is safely in orbit. It took off on time. Here's the video of the night time launch:

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

To be an author, you must first be a writer; and while it's easy to be an author, being a writer is hard work. Surprisingly, it may be only hard work; that is, while some people certainly have more talent for writing than others, everyone has some. The good news is that nearly anyone who wants to badly enough can make some kind of living at writing. The bad news is that wanting to badly enough means being willing to devote the time and work necessary to learn the trade....

I am sure it has been done with less, but you should be prepared to write and throw away a million words of finished material. By finished, I mean completed, done, ready to submit, and written as well as you know how at the time you wrote it. You may be ashamed of it later, but that's another story.

Jerry Pournelle

Monday, March 10, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavour

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for launch tonight at 11:28 PM PDT (2:28 AM EDT). The weather is expected to cooperate, with a 90 per cent chance of clear skies. It will be carrying the first part of the Japanese contibution to the ISS, part one of the Kibo module, along with a robotic arm built by the Canadians.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Video of the Launch of the Jules Verne

Video of the launch, yesterday, of the ATV Jules Verne.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Jules Verne ATV Launched Successfully

The European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle, Jules Verne successfully reached orbit tonight. Here's a video describing what the ATV does:

Interview in the AV Press

Tuesday morning Lyndsay Hymas, a reporter with the Antelope Valley Press, interviewed me. A photographer from the paper also took a bunch of photos of both me and my book, The Bible's Most Fascinating People, which of course was the reason for the interview. The results of that hour long process appeared in today's paper.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening: nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.

Alan Moore

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better.

Michael Crichton

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions

In case you have excessive free time mixed-metaphorically burning holes in your pockets, check out Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions, where you can compare the sizes of various ships and creatures from a variety of science fictions movies, TV shows and books.

For instance, on this page from Russell's site, you can compare Serenity from FireFly with a Boeing 747 and the Pan Am Orion from 2001, a Space Odyssey.

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

Science Fiction has long been babbling about cosmic destructions and the ending of either physical or civilized worlds, but it has all been displaced babble. SF has been carrying on about near-future or far-future destructions and its mind-set will not allow it to realize that the destruction of our world has already happened in the quite recent past, that today is "The Day After The World Ended". ... I am speaking literally about a real happening, the end of the world in which we lived till fairly recent years. The destruction or unstructuring of that world, which is still sometimes referred to as "Western Civilization" or "Modern Civilization", happened suddenly, some time in the half century between 1912 and 1962. That world, which was "The World" for a few centuries, is gone. Though it ended quite recently, the amnesia concerning its ending is general. Several historiographers have given the opinion that these amnesias are features common to all "ends of worlds". Nobody now remembers our late world very clearly, and nobody will ever remember it clearly in the natural order of things. It can't be recollected because recollection is one of the things it took with it when it went...

R.A. Lafferty

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

Anything good that I have written has, at some point during its composition, left me feeling uneasy and afraid. It has seemed, for a moment at least, to put me at risk.

Michael Chabon

Monday, March 03, 2008

Science Fiction Author Quote of the Day

... the beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat.

Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys