Friday, December 2, 2016

In space, no one can hear...

...well, maybe. Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei heard a "knocking" sound while alone in orbit - and a similar sound has also been reported by subsequent missions.

He's not alone. NASA astronauts heard this sound when on the far side of the moon, explained as some kind of radio interference. And this video is the song of Jupiter, which produces a lot of radio interference. The bit at the end sounds rather like the TARDIS.

The knocking, however, has not been explained, with the most likely theory being micro meteorite strikes - and something about the Chinese ship causing it to "ring" like a bell when struck.

Space, not quite as silent as we thought. (Although still no whoosh from passing ships ;)).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lunar Hoax - Really?

The Lunar X-Prize goes to the first commercial endeavor to put a rover on the moon. But one German group's goal has made me raise my eyebrow.

They plan on dropping one near the Apollo 11 site to "Prove the moon landings are not a hoax."

The thing is?

We already have that proof, unless you want to go seriously conspiracy theory.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - who's data the German team will almost certainly be using, has taken clear pictures of all of the moon landing sites. They even determined that the flags are still standing.

Here you are - from That's the Apollo 11 site. There are even better pictures of the other sites. The line you see going from the marked site to the crater is Neil Armstrong's footprints.

So, uh, find another target, guys, because people who don't believe this aren't going to believe you either.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Doctor Strange and Asian Representation

Got distracted from posting this due to the holidays.

There was a lot of controversy over Marvel's choice to cast Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. (In meta they said she's supposed to be "Celtic" but nothing is said in the movie to explain why a character that has always been Asian is suddenly white).

The director said he wanted to "avoid stereotypes" - but making the character female, alone, would have fixed that. (And then there are the people who think Disney/Marvel should have thrown away the entire lucrative Chinese market by sticking to comics accuracy and setting it in Tibet. Which is another issue).

But then there's the thing they did right.


Wong was ably played by uh, Benedict Wong (Sorry, I can't help but be amused at casting a Wong to play a Wong even if it's close to casting a Smith to play a Smith). The actor is a Brit of Chinese descent who also showed up in The Martian and played Kublai Khan in a Marco Polo TV series. He's not hugely famous - and I'd argue that's because of the lack of opportunities for Asian actors not any lack of talent.

In the comics, Wong is Stephen's manservant. He's mostly seen opening the door, making tea and occasionally fetching some requested book or item. He's two-dimensional and frankly a stereotypical Chinaman (he's supposed to be Tibetan, but...) And, of course he knows martial arts, because everyone in China knows martial arts.

Movie Wong? Movie Wong was something quite different.

We first see him taking over as the Ancient One's librarian after the previous librarian is murdered by the bad guys.

He is a master sorcerer in his own right, but not shown as being particularly powerful compared to some of the others. Instead, he is portrayed as a brilliant magical theoretician. If he doesn't know it, he knows which book you can find it in. Although reserved and, yes, a little bit inscrutable, he has a definite personality. And while he is not a martial artist, when the push comes to shove he's pretty handy to have in a fight. (He uses the Wand of Watomb, by the way, in the final fight).

In other words, the movie whitewashed one character - but also fixed another, which goes a long way towards making up for it.

(It was also quite fun but had some pacing issues. They overdid the training sequences. Ah well).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lost MST3K Episodes Found

Three episodes of the cult classic were literally lost. Two - Invaders From The Deep and Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars have now been found.

The master tapes have been located, and the episodes are available to backers of the kickstarter they launched to, well, find them. No word on when they'll be released widely, but with the rise in interest I'm sure they will be.

Monday, November 28, 2016


First of all, sold a flash piece, "Letting Go," to the new Canadian audio magazine Centropic Oracle.

I also have my contributor's copy of Cirsova #4, which has some absolutely gorgeous cover art. I haven't read the other stories yet, though. (I have read the article which has some interesting thoughts I'm not sure I agree with about the history of "strong" female characters in science fiction).

Friday, November 25, 2016


We still haven't found everything in Egypt - archaeologists just discovered an entire city! Furthermore, it's only 400 meters from the temple of Seti I, near Luxur.

Which just goes to show that we don't know everything about the past and that our ability to explore keeps improving.


Don't forget to get your copy of Falling Dusk for just 99 cents here, with coupon code BK72B.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

To my American readers. To everyone else - enjoy Fall (or Spring) and appreciate the change in seasons.