Saturday, March 17, 2012

Six Procrastinatory Links

Prepping for the April A-Z Challenge means that I'm not posting much this month, but I've been building up a list of interesting things to share.  So, it's time for another random table of links du jour...  Just roll your trusty d6 and click away...

1. In the "science imitates sci-fi" department, a physicist has discovered that it may really be possible for planets to have stable orbits around a black hole... inside the event horizon!  This paper discusses the details, and also speculates a bit about alien civilizations that may live on those planets.  Fans of David Zindell's Neverness novels may remember the Ieldra, an advanced alien race who "carked" themselves into the black hole at the center of the galaxy, but occasionally sent out messages...

2. Are you excited as I am about that new edition of a classic fantasy role-playing game that may be coming out later this year?  No no... not that one...  I'm talking about Dave Millward's 1979 game Heroes!  This is a link to a fellow blogger flying the flag for this effort, which I'm behind 100%.  It would be great to see a "lost classic" reborn.

3. Another cool scientific finding (that I was surprised not to see much mention of in the media) seems to be that the language of dolphins is being deciphered!  Those squeaks and clicks are encoded sonar "pictures" of things that one dolphin has sensed, and is communicating to another dolphin.  They tested this by showing a dolphin an object, like a bucket, and then unpacking the sonar sounds later made by that dolphin to show an image of that bucket.  (Skeptic alert: the web page linked to above is very pop-sci, PR-heavy... We should wait for actual, peer-reviewed scientific papers to be sure of any of this, of course.)

4. For maybe about 2 or 3 weeks in 1991, I was a fan of the extremely odd TV show Dark Shadows.  Although it's production values were low and it was probably fair to just call it a "re-skinned" soap opera, I still was fascinated that they built up a detailed 200+ year historical backstory for the characters.  Well... now it's a comedy starring Johnny Depp.  I'm sure the truefans are offended, but I think it looks kind of funny.

5. I never consider myself up-to-date on the rapidly moving world of online media and journalism until I go see what Jeff Jarvis has to say.  He's always interesting.

6. Last, a blind item.  Click here and scroll down to the picture.  Make your own caption.  Noting that it's 1st season, I think Stewart is saying "Oh, the writing's just so baaaaad..."


  1. Great material, the black hole planet one especially - thanks very much.

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  3. FYI, I commented that I wasn't sure if my "skeptic alert" should have gone into item 1, too... then deleted that when I looked closer and found that the black hole paper HAS been published in a real journal... ;)