I somehow totally missed the fact that the mid-season premier of Doctor Who will be August 27, in just three weeks! Yay!
Still, for us squeeing Whovians, that seems like ages. So why not fill this long, dark tea-time of the soul by looking over Bob Canada’s cheeky Doctor Who infographic? It’s pretty good, and has some solid stuff in it for newbies and Who veterans alike. He also has one for the 1960s and 70s era villains, too.
As for the premier, I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible — I haven’t even watched the trailer for the next series. The past two series have opened up a lot of questions that remain unsolved, but I’ve been a Steven Moffat fan for a long time (have you watched the adult sitcom "Coupling"? Brilliant!) so I know patience will pay off.
Duncan Kitchin is an amateur astronomer in Oregon. Like many of us, he has a telescope that’s kind of a pain lugging outside (my old ‘scope was the same size and shape as a water heater, leading to much hilarity as it sat in the living room). Duncan got tired of dragging it out when it was clear, then hauling back inside when the observing was done.
What’s a guy to do?
Well, if you’re an astronomer and a Doctor Who fan, the solution is obvious: pour a concrete pad, install the permanent mount for the ‘scope, and then make yourself a protective shell around the whole thing… shaped like the TARDIS!
FanTAStic. How flippin’ cool is this? It’s an excellent replica, and it’s functional (hmmmm). The side with the handles comes off, revealing the mount; the rest of the TARDIS is on wheels and can be rolled back, leaving just the ‘scope itself to bring out and install:
That makes for a much easier night of observing. Duncan notes it’s designed to keep water out. I hope it keeps water in as well, in case of any mishaps with the Doctor’s pool.
I want one of these (and that telescope, a very yummy Takahashi FSQ-106ED) SO BAD! And Who wouldn’t? After all, it may look small on the outside, but it has access to the whole Universe on the inside.
Images courtesy of Duncan Kitchin.
I’ve written a new article for Blastr, the news and opinion web portal for the SyFy channel. This one is "7 TV scientists that even real scientists approve of", and is essentially my Top 6 (with a tie for second place, bringing it to 7) favorite fictional scientists on TV. The picture here may be something of a spoiler for one of them. Whaaaa?
I originally wrote the article as my favorite astronomers on TV, but decided to expand it to all scientists. That didn’t change my list much; it just made it easier to include a couple of folks. The problem with a list like this is, first, keeping it short — there are a lot of potential candidates. I got around that by adding an Honorable Mention at the bottom of each section.
Also, it’s hard to remember everyone! For example, several commenters on the article point out I didn’t include Walter Bishop from Fringe, and I have to cop to that one. I really like Walter, and to be honest the reason I didn’t include him is because of my initial astronomer prejudice, plus I haven’t watched the show in a while! I still haven’t gotten around to seeing the season finale because I’m trying to finish out Stargate Atlantis and the latest Doctor Who episodes.
And, oh yeah, having a life, too. So much TV to watch! But the weather’s nice in Boulder, and my bike gets so lonely…
Anyway, go give it a read and leave a comment there if you love it or hate it, or want to chastise me for leaving off some scientist or another.
And maybe I’ll have to do this same thing for movie scientists, too. After all, Clayton Forrester is top man in nuclear and astrophysics! He knows all about meteors!
Two of my favorite things in the world are Doctor Who and My Close Personal Friend Adam Savage™. So what could be better than a video combining them, and throwing in two giant Tesla coils and a Faraday cage?
I think I have nothing to add to this.
With the new series of Doctor Who premiering today, why not poke a little fun?
It took me a second to recognize the voice as David Hyde Pierce, and the words are from "Treasure Planet", which I thought was actually quite an enjoyable movie.
But as an astronomer myself, I have to question the word "useless". Why, we have many uses! We help keep the coffee and polyester industries afloat, for one. And without us, people with no actual sense of humor wouldn’t be able to say "So, what’s your sign?" when they meet us, which, let me tell you, is awesomely hilarious every single time we hear it.
Anyway, if you’re expecting more out of me today, you don’t know me very well because I’ll be camped out in front of the TV waiting for the new series to premier.
Trust me. I am a doctor.
It’s too bad the Doctor doesn’t care for cats. Turns out they could’ve been a valuable ally.
Other possible titles for this post:
Seriously, though, anyone have the pedigree (harhar) for this picture? I found it via the tortuous path of Buzzfeed -> EpicPonyz -> BonnieGrrl -> Kimmi_Page, who doesn’t know where it came from. A google image search turned up, um, interesting results but no help in figuring out the original photographer.
[UPDATE: Original found on M E Faulkner's Flickr stream! Thanks, Tayster (#22 in the comments below).]
[UPDATE #2: I heard from the photographer, M E Faulkner and she has given me permission to use the photo. Yay!]
Pretty funny! Make sure you watch it in 720p, and stay with the credits all the way through; there’re some solid LOL moments there.
Tip o’ the sonic saber to Blastr.
One of the things NASA takes seriously is the goal of educating people about astronomy. Happily, while everyone takes the goal seriously, they’re not necessarily serious about how to achieve that goal…
Enter IRrelevant Astronomy: a series of educational videos about astronomy, leaning on the infrared aspects of it (because it’s created by folks with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which sees in the IR). These aren’t the bland, dull videos of yesteryear! The videos in this series are really, really funny — I mean laugh-out-loud funny — and frequently feature celebrities like Felicia Day and Sean Astin.
They just released a new one, "Destroyer of Worlds", and I bet you just might recognize the voice of The Physician…
There were many times I was laughing at this video. And not just at Wil Wheaton’s voice acting (though he’s really good at this). It’s got that perfect Warner Brothers cartoon zeitgeist: kids will like the zaniness, and the adults will get the jokes. I’m not sure if my favorite part is the insect-like spaceship near and dear to my heart seen several times, or The Physician’s ship itself. Either way, this is one of the best of the Spitzer videos. And the science, including binary stars disrupting their planets’ orbits, is pretty interesting and handled quite well.
Tip o’ the sonic screwdriver to Wil for blogging about this (and the link lurv).
[UPDATE: the comments are coming in so quickly the server is marking a lot as spam. Don't fret; if you get a message saying your comment is in moderation, I'll get to it and approve it. Please don't comment twice!]
Time for another giveaway contest! And this one spans both time and space: I’ve partnered with my friends at the BBC (!) and their PR firm Bender/Helper Impact to give away three Doctor Who Series 5 DVD or Blu-Ray box sets!
How awesome is this?
These retail for $50 or more, so here’s a chance to get a great early holiday present. This contest will be on the blog only, and all you have to do is leave a comment to enter.
So what are the rules to win this wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey box of stuff?