Mathematician and codebreaking genius Alan Turing is the kind of guy who deserved his own theme song, for he is one of the reasons why the world exists as it does today. While there are no Turing-themed ditties in the above first full-length trailer for the historical drama The Imitation Game, there is more than enough drama and overwrought emotion to make this pic look like instant Oscar bait. Extremely predictable Oscar bait, but still.
When I first saw this story come up in my news feed, I automatically assumed it was a headline from the Onion or some other parody source. Outside of the descriptions for late night on Syfy, most of us don’t come across the term “supervolcano” all that often in our daily life. The next thing that came to mind was a scene in Roland Emmerich’s 2012, another thing that doesn’t come up with a great frequency for most people. Regardless of how sci-fi this sounds, the situation is very real, as tourists are being barred from parts of Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park because an underground supervolcano has grown so hot it is melting asphalt roads.
Park spokesman Dan Hottle says, “It basically turned the asphalt into soup. It turned the gravel road into oatmeal.” The road to Old Faithful, the park’s most popular attraction is especially dangerous at this point. Officials are also warning hikers not to venture into certain areas, because their outings could take a drastic turn into realms usually reserved for horror movies. While you’re walking along there is apparently a “high” level of danger that what you think is solid ground may actually turn out to be boiling hot water. That sounds terrible, strolling through the wilderness, basking in the glory of nature, only to submerge your leg up to the knee in scalding liquid.
Looking at this picture, what do you see? It resembles human muscle with the skin peeled off, or a close up shot from one of those Bodies exhibits. For a second you might even think it could be one of those balls made entirely of rubber bands, or a golf ball with the hard, dimpled rind removed from the outside. As you probably already knew, it isn’t of those things. This is an image of Jupiter’s moon of Europa, and those creepy looking red strands, the pieces that really do look like muscle, are rivers of blood red ice.
This image of Europa comes courtesy of NASA’s Galileo spacecraft which is exploring that particular region of space. The picture is a combination of “clear-filter grayscale data” from a single orbit (on November 6, 1997) of Jupiter’s satellite and lower resolution color data from another pass (taken in 1998). Those red threads that sprawl out throughout the picture are ice made up of water mixed with hydrated salts, which the scientists and NASA think could possibly be sulfuric acid or magnesium sulfate. They also believe that surface characteristics such as these—the ridges and chaotic surface—could indicate contact with a “global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.”
Guided bullets have figured prominently in a great many sci-fi films over the years. There’s all sorts of bullet-bending in movies like Wanted, and KISS bass player, and long-tongue-haver, Gene Simmons even puts them to use when hunting down Tom Selleck in the Michael Crichton-directed Runaway in 1984. They are also one of the latest genre inventions to make the leap from science fiction to science fact, and are another tool to allow people with less than stellar aim to become competent snipers right alongside of their more eagle-eyed comrades.
DARPA—of course it’s DARPA—is working on hard at work on a project called EXACTO, which, though it is a rather adorable acronym, stands for Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance. The full name sounds way more scary and sinister, and way less cuddly. These new projectiles will allow shooters to course correct bullets in mid-flight to account for any changes that may occur in the relatively short time span that elapses between muzzle and target.
Booze! Booze! Booze! We’re used to alcohol artists creating interesting potables for fictional properties like Star Trek, and we’ve seen some other pretty nifty space-based alcohol in the past few years. But I think I’m most interested in the upcoming promotion from the Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery, which will be rolling out a line of varied beers inspired by the orchestral suite “The Planets,” from English composer Gustav Holst. Doing a keg stand for Jupiter just feels natural, doesn’t it?
Here’s how brewery founder Larry Bell is rolling the products out, and what we can expect from each beer. Starting in August, Bell’s will put out one beer every two months, ending in July 2015. You’ll be able to find the goods in both six-packs and on draft, but only if you live within the 20-state distribution zone that Bell’s works with. (That means almost the entire east coast, D.C. included, plus some northern states and Arizona and parts of Southern California.) And if you’re wondering why there isn’t an Earth beer, that’s because our own planet wasn’t included in the suite; besides, almost every beer on Earth is inspired by Earth.
I went snorkeling in Belize with a lifelong resident of Caye Caulker. This guy, who actually screened people before allowing them on his boat and denied the trip to anyone he deemed unworthy, had an uncanny relationship with the sea creatures of the Caribbean. He once rescued a baby shark that got too close to shore, and said that shark would visit him frequently when he dove. I didn’t believe him until I saw it — he slipped into the water and sharks flocked to him. He wrestled with them as though they were dogs; he put a stingray on his stomach and floated on his back. He had photos of fish he saw again and again, who he referred to as his family. No water experience I’ve ever had, including scuba diving, has held a candle to that one. While on the boat headed toward shore, he lamented about the state of the reefs. In his 70 years diving in the Caribbean, he said he’d noticed a drastic change in the coral reefs — they were bleached and dying, and he was terrified about what would happen to the whole ecosystem. He had reason to worry — recent surveys indicate that 80% of the Caribbean’s coral reef cover has died over the past 50 years. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that only 1/6th of the coral cover remains in the Caribbean, and that those are likely to disappear in the next 20 years.