Saturday, March 27
Boing Boing linked to L5 News, a space habitat site with nice pictures of orbital station designs. The Space Settlement site also has a nice gallery. The Space Studies institute is a great place to learn about the history of the idea. Here's Island One, a proposal for a Libertarian space habitat. Here's a design for an inflatable space habitat. And I was happy to learn that there is an International High School Space Settlement Design Competition.

Friday, March 26
Currently rippling through the blogosphere: Aerogel, a moldable, fire resistant solid just slightly denser than air. An accident with this stuff could result in a superhero.

In the future, hovering robots will vacuum your home; you will fly around on an Airbike; guns will sport artificial intelligence; and Earth will have a fleet of space probes plying the ether.

Recommended Readin': Lewis Wolpert of the Independent explains why science is the best and only way to understand how the world works.
David Whitehouse of the BBC and Seth Shostak of Better Humans chime in on the lack of extraterrestrial radio signals.
David Perlman of SF Gate tells us about a species that evolved without males.
And here's some updates on the future of the human body:
Gabe Romain of Better Humans looks at the development of robotic replacment arms.
David Pescovitz of The Feature tells us of possible breakthroughs in memory prosthesis.
Michael Fumento of Tech Central Station discusses the benefits of biotech.
Stephen Gordon of The Speculist ponders life extension's effect on marriage.

Thursday, March 25
Science Stuff: Carl Hoffman of Popular Science lists some possibilities for future mega-scale engineering projects, such as the Transatlantic Maglev or the Space Elevator.
Henry Sturman of Tech Central Station tell us the sordid history of Daylight Savings Time and how it is a product of the regulatory state.
Jo Twist at BBC Science shows us video games you control with mind.
Russell Blackford at Better Humans looks at the unfounded fears about cloning.

I'm having these damned geek thoughts again: I wonder if the current real-world outrage and indignation over human cloning will eventually be reflected in the Marvel Universe. We're talking about a world that has already seen viable clones of the Fantastic Four, Professor X, Cable, Thanos, and, most memorably, Spiderman and Gwen Stacy in the decades-long Clone Saga. The Marvel Universe has always sported a rather chilling U.S. Government that dictates genetic policies, controls genetic purity through the mass deployment of giant killer robots, and incites civil war in countries that dabble in genetics (all while ignoring nations with far more dangerous dictatorships). Throwing an irrational and oppressive cloning policy into the mix wouldn't be a big dramatic leap.
It should be noted that this same fictional Government experimented with military human enhancement during World War II. And you know the techies at DARPA just want to build cool toys like they have in S.H.I.E.L.D. or The Hulkbusters.
Given the heated conservative response to Marvel's recent Captain America stories about patriotism and racism, I'm surprised criticism over the proliferation of clones hasn't come up before. Leon Kass and company wouldn't approve. Hell, kids are learning this stuff.
Best not to let them know that on the Marvel Earth all human life, and its myriad various offshoots, are the result of genetic engineering.
I'm curious if the Marvel editorial staff has discussed this...
This concludes this libertarian fanboy rant. Please return to the real world.

Wednesday, March 24
The new Mondolithic Image of the Week is a tribute to artist Chesley Bonestell.

Recommended Readin':
Reader Doug sends this Wendy McElroy piece at Fox News about the nature of statistics.
Ian Murray at Tech Central Station says it's time for some sound science rules.
Brian Doherty at American Spectator pays his respects to Cerebus the Aardvark.
Keith Cowing of Space goes beachcombing on the shores of Barsoom.

I've been perusing some e-texts of old Tom Swift books. Contrary to popular belief they are not strewn with bad puns. Looking back, it was an impressive franchise of "boys' adventure fiction" spanning four generations. The stories were a bit formulaic, so much so that Book-A-Minute sums up the entire series quite succinctly. The early books were exciting (and had great covers), but I grew up on the Tom Swift Jr. space books, full of cool future hardware and threats to the planet. What I didn't know what that the only attempt at a Tom Swift movie starred Willie Aames, who (as you all know) went on to play Bibleman.

Assorted Items: It's March 24. As I write this, science fiction and comic fans in France are sitting in smoke-filled theaters watching Enki Bilal's Immortel. Fuckers.
Matthew J. Phillon of Comic World News makes a futile attempt to defend SF to snobs.
Jeff Foust of The Space Review looks at plans for space commercialization from the 60s.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong recently had some things to say about the future of the space program (via The Eternal Golden Braid, who's had a lot of good stuff lately)

Tuesday, March 23
Eye Candy Artgasm: Here's a gallery of Angus McKie's work. This Roger Dean gallery features Flash and Java slide shows. Here's a bunch of Paul Gulacy comic covers. Here's a page of Patrick Woodroffe paintings. This is a creepy gallery of Stephen Fabian paintings inspired by The Night Lands by William Hope Hodgson.
Here's a gallery of old Gold Key Turok covers.
And because I like women in capes, here's The Space Vixens from Venus.

I'm hunting for sites about floating cities. Nothing beats an aerial metropolis for overall sense of wonder. They've been essential to SF through the pulps all the way to Star Trek and Star Wars. I might make a section about 'em on the links page.

Assorted Items: It's official, this July there will be a 2nd Annual World Stupidity Awards.
Idle Type posted a link to Building Utopolis, a site about the construction of an entire city of modern architecture made out of Legos.
In his latest column for the print version of Asimov's, James Patrick Kelly points us to the Speech Accent Archive, which is chock full of drawls and broughs from the world over.
The Map Room points us to this neat Road Map of the Human Heart.
And because it is inevitable that eventually there will be a website for every possible subject, Weird Links send us to this gallery of pierced and tattooed librarians.

Monday, March 22
This Saturday in Toronto: The Ontario College of Art & Design Sumo Robot Challenge.

I am pleased (and mildly smug) to announce that both Gravity Lens and the Bad Day Links Page have been posted at the Locus Magazine Links Portal.

Weekend Blogospheric Sitings: Exclamation Mark points to The Ladies of Star Trek.
Cup of Chicha shows us Marginalia: A Gallery of Damaged Library Books
Grow A Brain links to this very creepy time-lapse video of a plant learning to climb.

Recommended Readin': Dave Barry looks at new tax laws.
Eddie Tabash of Free Inquiry says that atheism is a civil rights issue.
Lucy Rogers of the BBC reveals plans for the largest scale model of the solar system.
Cathy Young of the Boston Globe examines Spain's appearance of appeasment.
Ken Mondschein of Corporate Mofo remembers Max Headroom.
James Sallis of the Boston Globe profiles author Joe R. Lansdale while Tom Jackson of NE Craintech talks to science fiction writer Geoffrey Landis.
Boston's Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore will be closing in May. There's a sobering list of reasons why on their homepage.

Sunday, March 21
Steven Weinberg of the New York Book Review makes the case that we benefit more from unmanned space missions than from manned ones.

Saturday, March 20
A nude portrait of Monty Python's Terry Jones...

Word is spreading quickly that Christopher Eccleston has been tapped to star in the upcoming Doctor Who series. The news that isn't spreading very fast is that Fox's action uber-hit 24 is going to be a comic. No, I don't know how that will work.

James Randi defines, quite clearly, the difference between science and pseudoscience.

Modern Drunkard gives us a list of 40 Things Every Drunkard Should Do Before He Dies.

Friday, March 19
In honor of the Old Ones, here's The Cthulhu Lexicon, The Cthulhu Hymnal and a creepy-sexy Hot Box Designs sculpture called The Callgirl of Cthulhu.

Henry Bortman of Astrobiology Magazine interviews Christopher Chyba of the Seti Institute on the significance and history of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere and how it was toxic to early lifeforms.

The book roster for Free Comic Book Day 2004 on July 3rd has been revealed.

Thursday, March 18
Locus reports on the death of director Rene Laloux at the age of 75. Laloux made two of my favorite animated films: Fantastic Planet and Light Years.
MTV reports the death of proto video-jockey J.J. Jackson.
Also, Newsarama has posted Harlan Ellison's obituary for Julius Schwartz.
UPDATE: Neil Gaiman posted Alan Moore's comments about Schwartz.

In an act certain to inspire a movie, thieves have raided the Elvis Museum in Las Vegas.

Update on the War on Ignorance: Ronald Bailey of Reason reports on the rising belief in the psychic phenomena and the growth of parapsychology, while Chris Mooney of CSICOP looks at the lengthy anti-science record of the Bush Administration.

Wednesday, March 17
SciFi Webguide gives us sexy retro SF goodness with links to David Szondy's Future Past and the Hugo Gernsback Forecast. UPDATE: On a related note, SF Crowsnest informs us that the magazine Amazing Stories is returning from Paizo Publishing. This great periodical was started by Gernsback in 1926 and featured lots of great covers. It went strong until dying an ugly death in 1995, only to be revived briefly-but-admirably in 1998. I still blame the awful, schmaltzy Spielberg show of the same name for its demise.

More Comic Stuff: Jeremy Duns of The Independent interviews Alan Moore.
George Gene Gustines of the NY Times looks at the trend of literary authors writing comics.
Tony Whitt of Cinescape dissects the various factors that make comic book movies suck., a site that compiles religious statistics, has a pretty comprehensive science fiction literature section. You can look up the religious affiliation of major SF and fantasy authors by name or by faith (there's no section for atheists, although many are listed on the Author page). There's also an impressive list of comic book references in SF novels. and a page called, I kid you not, Amish Science Fiction.

Assorted Items: There's been some buzz around the blogosphere about the Oxford English Dictionary's Science Fiction Citations page. I especially like the fandom lexicon.
ScFi Weekly reviews the new hardcover collection of Adam Strange comics.
Here's a great gallery of EC Comic Covers like Weird Science.
John Fladd of The Hippo recommends Quirky New Gods of a Modern Religion.
Tim Cavanaugh of Reason gives us the political lowdown on new planet Sedna.

Tuesday, March 16
I was pleased to discover that, even in this newfangled modern world, S&H Green Stamps still exist, although they went electronic a few years back. I do, however, miss those signs in front of supermarkets. Andy Warhol would be pleased. So would Walt Kelly.

Recommended Readin': Jeremy Stangroom of Philosophers' Magazine counters claims that the Internet leads to cultural isolationism.
Carl Zimmer of Corante suggests that tumors are the best evidence for intelligent design.
Bertram Schwarzschild of Physics Today explains why opera is so hard to understand.

Monday, March 15
I can think of no situation where an American network, no matter how highbrow or quirky, would match the BBC's plans to host a book discussion where celebrities and fans pit the virtues of Philip K. Dick's Valis against those of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Serious discussion of SF is frowned upon in the U.S. as we're too busy talking about movies and exposed breasts.

James Randi looks at a recent Virgin Mary sighting in his weekly column, while Robert Roy Britt of reports on conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland's claims of a NASA alien coverup. I'm awaiting the assorted theories that will arise around the renewed possibility of a tenth planet (or ninth if you, like some people, don't count Pluto).

Recommended Readin': Laura Diamond of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells us about some modernized "translations" of Shakespeare making their way into schools.
Cartoonist Peter Bagge of Reason attends the Alternative Lifestyles Conference.
Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. of Tech Central Station looks at the state of the Blogosphere.

Blips from the Greater Blogosphere: Memepool links to The Octopus News, not to be confused with Monty Python's News for Parrots. Boing Boing informs us of the existence of rock band nesting dolls. I especially like the Pink Floyd model. Incoming Signals finds plush toys of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Fark points us to this column by Sean Coughlan at BBC, who is apparently shocked, SHOCKED, that after all the loud Government scaremongering, teenagers are still having sex.

Sunday, March 14
Well, the DARPA Grand Challenge ended without a winner. In the meantime kids in my neighborhood can pilot their radio controlled all terrain vehicle toys under my feet with surgical precision. I was hoping that halfway through the unmanned race Herbie the Love Bug would make an appearance...

Author Kim Stanley Robinson chronicles for the New York Times the history of Mars in both science and science fiction.

Friday, March 12
Time for an Eye-Candy Artgasm: Here's Michael Kaluta's illustrations for Metropolis, a slideshow of surrealist Sergey Poyarkov's work, a small gallery of SF illustrations by Heavy Metal veteran Caza, and Celtic paintings from The Book of Conquests by Jim Fitzpatrick.

Alan Lattimore of Geek Log points us to this excellent essay by Jamais Cascio about open source, access to future technology, and what paths to the Singularity are available to us.

The CBC asks the question "What will Music of the Future Sound Like?" The piece deals with how technology and downloading may shape pop music, but I've often wondered about this myself. I remember when director Wim Wenders made his film Until the End of the World in 1991, he asked the bands doing the soundtrack (U2, REM, Lou Reed, and others) to write their "hit single of the summer of 1999." Science fiction has given us wonderful visions of what the future may look like, but attempts to project the tunes of tomorrow have been limited to the hippies on Star Trek, the agonizing disco shit from Buck Rogers, and the techno-opera diva from The Fifth Element.

Thursday, March 11
Bruce Sterling writes at Wired about solar supplanting oil as the main export of Texas.

John Byrne (who is soon to relaunch DC's Doom Patrol, albeit without my favorite Grant Morrison-created character Rebis) writes for UGO Comics about the Fermi Paradox, alien races in comics, and the difficulties of finding intelligent signals in space.

Here it comes: orbital advertising visible from Earth. Nah, no way this could go horribly awry.

Fall on your knees, my children, and pray to the God Burger! informs us of the Toy Presidents line, 12 inch tall talking action figures of the nation's leaders. This, of course, gives one the ability to build their own little scaled down version of Disney's Hall of Presidents. Given their size, the figures can also gang up on the Osama Bin Laden figure, dress up in old Captain Action costumes, or, if they're feeling adventurous, "answer me these questions three!"
But why, I ask you, are there no figures of Robert Smigel's X-Presidents?

Rise of the Robots: The story of the crimefighting robot has been bouncing around the blogosphere the last few days. is it me, or does it look related to Rosie from the Jetsons?
Michael Kanellos of CNet News reports on the coming proliferation of domestic robots.
New Scientist tells about robotic construction workers that can "print" houses.
The DARPA Grand Challenge robotic road race is this weekend. A number of "Autonomous Ground Vehicles" will pull an unmanned Cannonball Run between L.A. to Vegas. Qualifying for the race has been tough. Here's a Nature article on the race with a slideshow of the competitors. also has coverage. I really wish NASA's inflatable Tumbleweed rover was competing.
UPDATE: Here's a BBC story about a horn playing robot.

Science Stuff: Ronald Bailey of Reason updates us on the war against biotechnology.
BBC Science reports the possible detection of the elusive Higgs Boson particle.
Freeman Dyson reviews the book Debunked! at NY
Sean Wallace of Locus explores the future of Publish-On-Demand technology.
Because we live in the future, you can now use science to write a hit song.
Astrobiology Magazine talks to biologist Omar Pensado Diaz about the exciting possibility of terraforming mars.

Because It's Cool: Check out this beautiful, wordless, seven page, fully-painted, self-contained Batman vs. Superman vignette at the site of artist Alex Ross.

Wednesday, March 10
David Brin has written a cool piece for USC Anneberg Online Journalism Review called 2020 VISION: Journalism the Day After Tomorrow. It echoes a lot of the urban tech and personalized cybernetics of Warren Ellis' semi-dystopian Transmetropolitan.

James Hughes of Better Humans looks at the history that has shaped the landscape of twenty-first century bio-politics.

Technology Review previews new Jetsons text display technology.

Tuesday, March 9
And now a moment of silence for Paul Winfield. Shaka, when the walls fell.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image is online today, and it's quite impressive. Astronomy Picture of the Day has put it up. Monster JPEG version is here.

Joseph Epstein of the Weekly Standard posted a great piece examining the futility of youth culture and the joys of adulthood.

I may be an adult, but me still likes me playthings. McFarlane Toys has released images from its upcoming Six Faces of Madness line of historical action figures. My favorites so far are Billy the Kid and bloody goth icon Elizabeth Bathory.

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