Carl Sagan videos

To follow up on my previous entry on the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan's death, here are some videos, most of which are clips out of Cosmos, one is a tribute video made to remember him.

Dudeanov is back

My World of WarCraft character has come back to life 6 months after the trial expired. If you're on the Steamwheedle Cartel realm drop me a line, we can hunt some orc.


Now I just need to wait for the Burning Crusade to come out so I can play with Catherine and a bunch of other people.

Game of the Year 2006 and Games of 2007

Well I'm starting to think about which games we're going to be including in the next episode of Gamercast, due on the 7th of January, in our Game of the Year and Games of 2007 segment.

I'll put forward Oblivion (overall) and Gears of War (best shooter). They've been my favourite games of 2006. Next year we've got Spore, Crysis, Halo 3 and Command and Conquer 3.

What's your favourite games of 2006 and what games are you looking forward to in 2007?

Appeal to Will Wright and Spore designers

Now many people and I will agree that Spore has the potential to be one of the biggest games of 2007. It is one I'm certainly looking forward to playing. But one thing has been bugging me this whole time.

When I first heard about building your own UFO I cringed. UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. How is it possible to build something that you can't identify?

Now I'm sure for the people at EA, their market research has identified that the acronym UFO effect on some minds wow cooool a UFO omg aliens cool. Of course UFO says nothing about aliens, if we knew it was aliens it wouldn't be unidentified. However some individuals in society associate the two where no association actually exists. Or it could simply of been a slip up by those on the Spore design team at Maxis.

Either way I'd like to see the UFO renamed to the Flying Saucer (if they want to maintain the woo woo crowd), or better yet the Spacecraft or Spaceship, for the reasons mentioned above. In my opinion this will drastically improve the game for me, and I'm sure many others who would otherwise be tempted to throw up at such poor usage of the language.

The most breathtaking astrophotograph to date

This one is incredible, even better than the ultra-high resolution shots of Orion. This one is of the Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, in the Large Magellanic Cloud a satellite galaxy about 170 000 light years away.

Taken by the European Southern Observatory the full image is 256 million pixels, and weighs in at 211MB! The whole image covers about 4 full Moons in size.

The Tarantula Nebula

This nebula contains about half a million times the mass of our Sun, if it was as close as the Orion nebula it will fill the entire constellation of Orion and be bright enough to cast shadows. Also framed within the picture to the right-hand border of the nebula is the remains of Supernova SN 1987A a star that exploded nearly 20 years ago, the Honeycomb Nebula can also be seen in the same area and to the left is NGC 2100.

The above image doesn't do the full thing justice so make sure to download the decent resolution ones from the ESO website, these two are the best to download to get the best of the image 3412x3000 JPEG (16MB) and 8952x7872 TIFF (211MB).

Space station visible from Ireland

This is a headline from the Irish Times, they go on to say:

David Moore of Astronomy Ireland said both craft [the Space Shuttle and the Space Station] could be seen as extremely bright star-like objects blazing across the sky.

"I have seen International Space Station being chased by a shuttle in the past and it is one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen - so we want everyone in Ireland to witness this rare and spectacular event," Mr Moore said.

He called on everyone to go outdoors each evening until January 3rd next to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. "Normal eyesight and a clear sky over the next 10 days is all you need," he said.

Now I think it is good that astronomy related topics get mentioned in the press, however, as per usual they're painfully lacking information.

In my experience people will go out one evening, have a look at the sky and see nothing. Why? Because they haven't been told what to look for. The important information in the article is this: Bright star-like object and outdoors each evening until January 3rd.

OK so what will people see if they follow this information? Nothing, they might see a star and think it’s the space station. Most people will regard it as being a waste of time, and worse children would be disappointed which could potentially sour their experience of astronomy forever.

What the article should do is publish more information, such as direction of travel and most importantly the time. You can get this information from websites such as Heavens Above.

Lack of information on topics such as this can only really be resolved once newspapers stop wasting time with astrology and hand that space over to more important things like a weekly, at the very least, astronomy column.

Update: Space Station and the Shuttle for August 2007

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