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We all knew they were out there, including indirect evidence of one at the center of our galaxy (the jury is still out on that one). Now there are actual images, and data, of a black hole sucking down a star. Chandra and XMM-Newton both pulled X-ray data and images of the event. Check these links for more!

The ESA’s XMM-Newton home page, links to the information there.

Harvard’s Chandra Observatory Center.

If anyone has links to reactions from David Brin, Larry Niven, or other astrophysics gurus who write science fiction (the people who live in both my worlds, in other words), please pass them my way.

There are many points where Science Fiction and Geekdom intersect. I know, because I live there *grin*.

But some of them make a lot more sense than others, and this one is something I never expected or saw coming. But I should have, because it rings so true.

The Author in this case was Jorge Lois Borges, a brilliant writer who combined poetry and fantasy to touch the deepest parts of the human soul. The Geeks were the team from the Open Source project “Borges: An Extensible Documents Management System”. The thing that tied them together was a shared vision of how information could be organized, and how it would impact the people involved.

If you are a Geek, the link to explain all this is at Borges . If you want to understand both the logic and the basic human reaction to it, the link to the story that inspired the project is The Library of Babel .

He didn’t write in English, and his works were banned for many years in many parts of America, by short-sighted people who were frightened by the depths of true human experience he was able to call forth. The few who got past that found a treasure beyond belief. To learn more about this author and read some of his works, check out the Garden of Forking Paths.

More Mars exploration, using more online tools. You gotta love the Net!

And the best one yet! This is a site using QTVR to put you on Mars, where the Rover is. Since they have minimum contact again with Spirit (but the Beagle2 is still quiet), there is hope they may patch the software and get it rebooted. While waiting, here is a world class VR of what it has already sent back to us.

Mars Surround

You may need to download an upgrade to your QT Plugin to see this one, but it is worth it, IMHO!

In the meantime, to get the latest data on Spirit, go to

Nasa Mars

And while the Beagle2 didn’t stay the course, the ESA Mars orbiter has gathered data beyond anything hoped for by anyone, including locations of water deposits and other things we will need once we get there in person. For details, hit:

ESA Mars Express

For those who don’t recognize the pattern here, let me spell it out: EVERY team who put together a Mars probe and orbiter are gathering useful data! Of course, every team and project has also had problems they wern’t expecting. Bottom line is, we learn more about how the tech works in different environments, and more about how to fix those problems at both the construction and deployment levels before sending it off a few million miles. And we learn a WHOLE lot more about how to fix those glitches at a distance, with a lag time measured in minutes rather than seconds.

Of course, if there are really little green men whacking the top of the landers with rocks to keep them from peeking in their bedrooms, a lot of this data becomes suspect. But that is the core of exploration; you never really know what you are going to find until you get there! LOL…

The Mars project continues to amaze me. Hopefully we will one day pull it off!

Mars continues to take the internet by storm, with a lot of people who are not normally aware there is a top to the atmosphere weighing in. The works out there from the Photoshoppers alone could fill a whole entry, and perhaps I will get that included here soon.

But for right now, there are still too many important and informative sites to list. This is another group of links to go with the last one, this time focused on Martian Blogs. OK, maybe I let one or 2 slip in just because they were too much fun; but if you have a serious interest in Mars, these are not to be missed!

Some of these are from the folks directly involved, some are about Mars because that is the buzz from Space right now and they are about all things Offworld, one or two may be well done jobs by serious fans. All of them are worth a visit; Enjoy!

This one includes the transcripts of the Nasa Press Briefings on the landers.
Adot’s Notblog

Susan is in the space biz, and this site should be on your Must Visit list.

James is also in the biz, and this is unofficial, but world class.
Mars Mission

How could I not include this group?
Louisiana Mars Society

Another person who worked on the project, and another Blog worth a regular visit!

A Canadian Fans Blog on all of this, again worth visiting.

OK, I couldn’t help it; here are a few Fun Mars Blogs:

The Beagle2’s own personal Blog, a fun read by a fan.

A SciFi Blog of the RedMars/GreenMars variety, one of my favorites.
Mars Blog

A lot of favorite Martian links here… as a resident Space Case, it is to be expected!

It’s that time again. We are once more making a major push to the red planet, and all kinds of information and reactions are available online. No real surprise, considering the combo of the massive space exploration budget cuts and the orbital dynamics (closest approach in 60 thousand years?), allowing the most cost-effective missions since we started space flight. There is even now (Finally!) a weak but potential chance of going there in person, tied to a possible permanent presence on the moon. So I thought a few links might be useful, click MORE to check them out. Here is the first, to get you started:

Nasa Mars Rovers

If you got here from a search looking for the band “Mars Everywhere”, sorry, this isn’t it. For the folks speculating that the Martians are shooting down the probes that will land downtown and letting the ones landing in the boonies through, this won’t cover anything but the facts. But you might still find something interesting in the lot, so read on…

The first link, from the intro screen, was the official NASA Mars Rover link at:

Nasa Mars Rovers

To watch any live developments as they come in, check out:


They have some great images already, but here is another great Mars Image site living at:

Best Mars Images

There are 3 probes currently in place or on the way. The first one, from the ESA, seems to have made it down and then been cut off. As of this writing, there is a chance it may yet re-establish contact, and the ESA is working its tail off to make that happen. For real-time info on the Beagle 2, use this link:

ESA: Mars

Speaking of real-time data, and a peek into potential future developments, do not miss:

Martian Soil

And another link into the future, as well as tracking the current situation in detail:

Mars Weather

These few should get you started, and I didn’t even mention the Planetary Society:

Planetary Society: Mars

If the other links here interest you, this is the one to add to your permanent collection!

Some Movie Reviews are just a matter of time and perspective…

You never know ahead of time how well a movie is going to do when translated from the book. However close they come with the movie version of this one, they have done a first-class job with the web site. If you write web pages, check the source code; this is a good combination of very functional JavaScript and Flash, with appropriate (if minimal) use of CSS.

I am going to approach the movie itself with my usual viewpoint of “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst”. The track record of Asimov stories converted to the screen is not as good as I wish it was, and only a fraction of what his work deserves. Hoping this will be one of the winners!

I, Robot