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For Farscape fans in Chicagoland and the Great Lakes area.

Archive for the 'Science' Category

Rygel’s Bio-functions Not So Weird After All

January 22nd, 2012 | Category: Farscape,Farscape Characters,Science

Genetially Engineered Stomach Microbe Converts Seaweed to Ethanol

Traditional sushi eaters have a specialized gut bacteria that helps them digest sushi wrappers, which isn’t present in North Americans.  This discovery helped lead synthetic biologist Yasuo Yoshikuni and his colleagues to figure out how to modify a sPortrait of Dominar Rygel XVItrain of E. coli so that it turns the sugars in an edible kelp called kombu into ethanol. More importantly, this transformation takes place with the temperature between 77 and 86 degrees Farenheit, which means it doesn’t take extra energy to make ethanol this way. This strain of E. coli likes it warm, too, so it’s not likely to escape into the wild and start consuming seaweed on its own. Read more about this at Scientific American.

So….Rygel’s ability to turn tannot root into a fuel for Peacekeeper weapons isn’t so farfetched. However, the Helium farts, or somehow providing nourishment for a growing human/sebacean embryo? That’s another matter entirely. Still, nothing is stranger than real life, and you just cannot predict which places new discoveries will take us to. This is why I never worried too much about the “science” of Farscape. Just because something seems impossible to us now, doesn’t mean it is.

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Mahna Mahna

January 08th, 2011 | Category: Great Lakes Area,Science,slightly Farscape,Technology

I couldn’t think of a better way to chase away the mid-winter blues than by visiting the Jim Henson’ Fantastic World exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, which runs for the entire month of January.

Both are fine institutions guaranteed to provide loads of family fun.

Check out this article for more fun things to do this winter in Chcago.

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Deadline for Farscape Questions Gets Extended

A&E Home Video, the folks who will be releasing the new Farscape DVD set, have also extended their deadline for submitting questions to the Farscape panel at ComicCon.  The original deadline was two days ago, but you now have until Monday, July 20th to submit more questions.

If you have a question that you would like an answer to, go to A&E Home Video’s Facebook page and scrawl it on their wall.

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Okay, But Where Would You Go?

December 23rd, 2008 | Category: Science,scifi

Virgin Galactic Airlines is developing spacecraft to provide ordinary non-astronaut folks a means to take space trips.  Their test spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, has recently successfully made its maiden flight.  You can read more about this milestone here, and someone has posted videos of the actual flight, including takeoff and landing.

The airline’s earliest commercial flights, which only offer sub-orbital trips and provide six minutes of weightlessness to their passengers, are priced at $200,000.  (Yep, you read that right!)  After the first 500 passengers have flown, the cost of a flight will be reduced to a mere $20,000. 

Wikipedia has a nice entry that provides a succinct overview of what Virgin Galactic is all about.

Although one is tempted to sneer a little at this idea, let’s not forget that doing so is cheap, easy, and ignorant.   That’s not to say that a ChicagoScaper wouldn’t be above doing such things, but Farscape fans have learned to keep their minds open to the wonders of this universe.  At its core, this is a neat idea, and a visionary one at that.  Considering that so far there’s nowhere to actually go in space, Virgin Galactic’s founder seems to be taking aim at a bold new future that isn’t quite in sight yet. 

If I had a spare 20 large, I sure would sign up for a ride. 

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Space Wars and Cloaking Devices

August 16th, 2008 | Category: Science,scifi

What I like about science fiction is that in it, a future is imagined, and sometimes not too terribly long after, a version of that future comes into being.  That’s how it was with Jules Verne and his 80 Days Around The World, with Stanley Kubrick’s moonwalk and space station in 2001:A Space Odyssey, and many of the gadgets and gizmos on Star Trek.  Even the prognostications in Max Headroom are probably only 20 minutes away from happening.

Only a few short years after ‘Scapers were beguiled with tales from The Peacekeeper Wars, in which two vast superpowers engaged in a space war of mutual destruction, both the US and China experimented with shooting down satellites.  What is been less obvious, especially for those of us preoccupied with earthly affairs, is that this is only a tip of the iceberg of what the US (and, it is supposed, China, too) have been up to in the way of space weapons development.  The Atlantic Monthly has a rather alarmist article about these unseen developments.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, scientists seem to be one step closer to creating an invisibility cloak.

In the immortal words of Samuel Morse, “what hath God wroth?”

PS:

Evidently, I’m not the first one to think about scifi and inventions.  Take a look.

HAHAHAHA!  This just cracks me up (from the article):

“The problem, both with a ray gun and the light saber, the problem is a portable power pack. We see pictures of lasers blasting through objects, and we can do that now. But you have a nuclear power plant behind that laser. It’s impractical to go into a firefight with the Klingons with a hand-held ray gun, with a nuclear power plant behind you.”

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How Smart Do You Have To Be To Be a Rock Star?

July 31st, 2008 | Category: Science

Pretty smart.  Brian May, member of the former rock group, Queen, has earned a PhD in astronomy from Imperial College London.

Move over, Commander Crichton.  You’re not the only super star with a PhD.

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