In the wee hours of August 6 (UTC that is), the Mars Curiosity rover will land on Mars, becoming the most sophisticated (and heaviest) laboratory ever put on the Red Planet. NASA/JPL has put out a great video describing this event, narrated by none other than my friend Wil Wheaton:
Cooool. I heard they got some other guy to make a video for them as well, but whatever.
I’ll have more news about this event very soon, including where and when you can watch it yourself or get your questions answered by experts about this important and amazing space probe.
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: It occurs to me after posting this entry that it might make more sense if you watch this first. My apologies for any confusion.]
This is for your own good, folks.
Yay! The return of Wil Wheaton!
Some people would correct me to say, "You mean Evil Wil Wheaton". But I heard he once phasered a man on Reno VI just to watch him die. So make up your own mind.
Just a wee reminder: This Saturday night, October 23rd, at 7:30 p.m. in the Boulder Theater is "w00tstock Presents" with Paul & Storm, My Close Personal Friend Adam Savage™, and me! There will be laughter, singing, stories, nerdery, more singing, astronomical naughty bits, and then singing. I might even sing.
Ticket prices were just reduced to $20 for General Admission. If you live anywhere near Boulder or even somewhere between here and UDFy-38135539, you should come. Get tickets here or get marginally more information here, and/or read my overly long slobbering praise of w00tstock here.
Note: Wil Wheaton won’t be there, as he has to be in Canada to film "Eureka". We will raise a toast of blood wine to him, then eat gagh.
The good news: I’ll be performing onstage at two w00tstock events: this Friday, September 17 at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and again in my hometown of Boulder on Saturday, October 23rd at the Boulder Theater!
Yay! I’m really excited about this!*
IMPORTANT! There are specific things to keep in mind for these two events, which follow:
The bad news: tickets are sold out for the September 17th San Francisco performance.
The medium news: there may be tickets available at the door, but you’ll have to go there that night to find out.
The other other good news: there will also be a performance in SF the night before, on Thursday September 16, and there are still tickets. However, I won’t be there (I don’t know if that’s medium news or bad news, so I’ll leave it as is. It’s just news).
As usual, Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and Paul & Storm will be there, as will singer Molly Lewis and magician Jamy Ian Swiss. There may be more special guests too!
I just found out that video of my talk at w00tstock has been posted on YouTube. The quality is a little shaky, since it was a handheld video taken from a distance back, so some of the pictures may be hard to discern, but I think it suffices to get the point across.
This may surprise you, but the content is pretty much Not Safe For Work. Yeah, I know: I’m not generally known for that. But hey– it’s an astronomy talk! What better place to go a little blue?
The video is in two parts; the first has the last couple of minutes of the warmup before my talk (I came on after the intermission), and the second part includes the premier of the trailer for my new TV show. The reaction of the audience was… well. It made me happy indeed.
Here are both parts. Part 1…
… and Part 2:
I have no real news here, except that one of my missions at Comic Con was to meet up once again with Zach Weiner, who writes and draws my favorite web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. My wife and I went over to his booth, and there he was! As this picture shows, I was overjoyed to see him:
I extremely nerded out and pleased and squeeified to announce that I’ll be at w00tstock! At Comic Con. On stage.
w00tstock, for those helplessly normal of you out there, is the premier nerd event in the Orion arm of the Milky Way. Hosted by singers Paul and Storm, Mythbuster and My Close Personal Friend Adam Savage™, and my long-standing and partially-requited nerdcrush Wil Wheaton, w00tstock is billed as "Three hours of geeks and music", which is apt enough. Everyone I know who has gone has raved about it.
I am a hardened geek, a nerd who strides across the planet with 20 km boots, a dork of such vastness that I can crush you into oblivion with my HP calculator before I even hit Enter.
Yet I was reduced to near-normalcy in comparison by listening to this [some brief NSFW language]. If you are a Trek fan, specifically of TNG, and are a fan of Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, and/or LeVar Burton, then you need to drop whatever you’re carrying — a Steuben crystal, a cooler with a transplant heart, your bowl of Quisp — and listen to that. These three men are all +20 for geekery.
And next year, by Grabthar’s hammer, I’ll try to go to Phoenix Comic Con.