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Spring Movie Madness… and Science!

Can you believe the weather these days? Around Western New York it’s been in the high seventies for over a week. Most years we’ve had snow on the first day of Spring; this year we had record high temperatures; the flowers are blooming and leaves are popping out already! It never looks like this until late May around these parts. What’s going on?! We’ve been enjoying it immensely, but I’m afraid what may happen if we get snow in April!! Will it be in the nineties by May? Welcome to the future!

But right now I’ve run across a mess of movie trailers for upcoming films that are knockin’ my socks off! And I also have a couple of links to videos of my hero, Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tysonwhich I would like to share before the kids and I head out to enjoy another glorious day.

First up: Joss Whedon has made a new movie that at first looks like a horror story you’ve seem a hundred times; but which I’ve heard is something completely different and insanely original: Cabin in the Woods. Whatever Joss gets involved with, you can bet it will be thoughtful, mind-screwing fun! His other film, ‘The Avengers’ is also coming out shortly. Man, he’s a busy guy!!

There are a couple of movies debuting soon that are based on the ‘Snow White’ story. One of them; ‘Mirror, Mirror’ with Julia Roberts looks very fun. This other one looks incredibly creative and insanely cool: New ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Trailer is like Middle-earth with Dopey and Grumpy. And it stars Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman, who coincidentally stars as Thor in ‘The Avengers’, and is in ‘Cabin in the Woods’.  Talk about busy!

And speaking of creative and insane; Tim Burton is at it again, this time with a comedic re-imagining of my favorite soap opera of old: ‘Dark Shadows’. It stars Johnny Depp (of course!) as the sort-of lovable vampire Barnabas Collins in some truly outrageous make-up. New Dark Shadows Trailer. At first I was pissed that they weren’t doing a ‘serious’ remake; but this take on ‘Dark Shadows’ could be a stroke of genius. And the original was often rather funny, though not intentionally.

And if you haven’t heard about Ridley Scott’s sort-of re-imagining of his classic ‘Alien’ story, ‘Prometheus’, where have you been?! I’m very excited about this flick. I give you the European trailer, which is a bit less frenetically mind-numbing than the American one. Prometheus Trailer. I’m really looking forward to seeing this!

From Science Fiction to Science; I’ll leave you with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the Voice of Scientific Discovery for a New Generation. (He’s also going to be hosting a new version of Carl Sagan’s old show ‘Cosmos’)!

The Most Astounding Fact (Neil DeGrasse Tyson) 

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking at the U.S. Senate Commerce Hearing on the Future of Our Space Program.

One last thing I’d like to add. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve started a separate blog to focus on Linux and Open Source topics. Here’s a link to it if you are interested: The Fearless Penguin.

Enjoy the weather!

Gliese 581 g

October 3, 2010 3 comments

So have you heard the news? A few days ago astrophysicists discovered a new planet in the Gliese 581 star system, which, over the last few years, we already knew had five planets. This newly discovered one is a smaller, most likely rocky world that is smack dab in the middle of Gliese 581′s habitable zone. It’s the most earth-like exo-planet discovered so far. And “only” 20 light years from Earth. And there seems to be a good chance that liquid water and life as we know it could exist there.

At first I was really excited. But when I read that the planet is tidally locked, with one half always facing it’s sun, it seemed the chances of life evolving there would not be so good. But after looking at further articles (see links below) I’m excited again that with everything they know taken together it looks like the chances of a more earth-like habitable zone on Gliese 581 g (or Zarmina, that sure rolls off the tongue better) are looking more promising.

Anyone interested in this should read the articles, which explain a lot better than me recapping here, what’s known so far about the Gliese 581 system. This is a very exciting discovery! Especially so because we’ve just barely begun discovering how many stars in our galaxy have planets. This ain’t science fiction. This is real! And this discovery could mean that there may be A LOT MORE earth-like worlds out there. And one thing science has discovered in the past few decades is that wherever life can exist, it will exist. Even in the most incredibly inhospitable and extreme environments on Earth.

The one thing that frustrates me is that I’ll never live to know for sure who or what is out there! Unless we discover something like warp drive in the next few decades. But… who knows?!

The astrophysicist who discovered Zarmina describes life on “second Earth”

A Million Questions About Habitable Planet Gliese 581 g (Okay, 12)

Gliese 581 g (wikipedia)

And to finish off for now, here are a some links to another strictly science fiction series that I really like, Stargate: Universe, an upcoming film that looks like fun, and one more link about Fringe.

The Destiny crew answers your biggest SGU season 2 questions

Monsters defies sci-fi, horror conventions to tell invasion story

Want to get into “Fringe”? These are the episodes you need to watch


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