Monthly Archives: October 2012

November is National Novel Writing Month

Every November, hundreds of thousands of people around the country and around the world join in the challenge of National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel (about 175 pages) in just one month. It … Continue reading

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Book review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

On the original Star Trek television show, any time Captain Kirk beamed down to an uncharted planet, he would take along a couple of nameless ensigns clad in bright red for security. Inevitably somebody on the away mission would die, … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews

Italian scientists found guilty of manslaughter for failing to predict deadly earthquake

Today, an Italian court convicted six seismologists and one government official of manslaughter for failing to predict a magnitude-6.3 earthquake that struck the city of L’Aquila on April 6, 2009, killing 309 people. They have been sentenced to six years … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Geology

Yes, there is a planet at Alpha Centauri!

Science fiction fans the world over are vindicated as astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a super-heated planet in the Alpha Centauri system. Better yet, it’s almost the same size as Earth! Alpha Centauri is a triple … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Planets

Felix Baumgartner’s World Record Skydive

On Sunday, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner made a parachute jump from a high altitude balloon and became the first human to break the sound barrier unassisted as part of the Red Bull Stratos mission. Breaking the sound barrier isn’t that … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Space exploration

SpaceX makes first contracted delivery to the International Space Station

Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has successfully launched its Dragon space capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), completing the first of 12 resupply missions under its $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Dragon delivered replacement parts for the … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Space exploration

Trading stars

Astronomers have discovered a handful of planets orbiting the collapsed stars known as pulsars. Almost all of these confirmed or purported pulsar planets are small, only a few times the mass of Earth, and are thought to have formed out … Continue reading

Posted in Planets

Planets on the move

It was easy to detect planets around pulsars because of their incredibly steady rotation period, but that didn’t work for normal stars, like the Sun, and the astrometric method of watching a star’s position on the sky was not sensitive … Continue reading

Posted in Planets