I have never yet successfully watched Avatar, and this despite the fact that it was filmed in the city where I live, and its 3,862 sequels are being developed here right now. I tried watching it. Twice. And fell asleep both times. You can guess that I didn’t think too much of the movie. It … More Why I won’t be watching the Avatar sequels
I spotted a thread the other day on Facebook in which someone was screaming about the Moon landings being faked. ‘Wake up!’ this person insisted. ‘The Moon landings were faked.’ Why? Apparently we haven’t been back since 1972 and, according to this person, lack the technology to do so. Well, quite. It was one of … More How my favorite Napier icon proves the Moon landings really happened
Remember Pluto the planet? And then Pluto the not a planet? Well, it’s back. Possibly. Apparently an informal forum held the other week came down in favour of reinstating the ‘planet’ classification. Of course these things carry little weight with the International Astronomical Union. What interests me is the way that the debate over whether … More Pluto might be a planet again. Or not.
Some people I visited a while back had an Amazon Echo, the device that connects to Amazon’s Alexa AI. I won’t have one in my house. A microphone that’s always on – waiting for the ‘hey Alexa’ call – and thus potentially sending everything back to a database run by persons unknown (and, at times, … More Fun with an Amazon Echo
It’s been a hot week for science. Thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope, an algorithm created by 29-year old PhD graduate Katie Bouman, and a lot of hard work, humanity got its first photo of a black hole – M87 in the galaxy Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away. It wasn’t made with visible … More The science behind the awesome black hole photograph
I saw reports a few weeks back, suggesting that the pilot of the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed off Indonesia last year spent the last minutes of his life frantically looking through the operating manual to find out how to prevent the aircraft from diving, against their control inputs. Just the day … More What happens when we’re caught by ‘automation surprise’?
There’s growing evidence that not just our Earth but also the solar system we know and love is actually a rarity, as such things go. Many stars, we now learn, have planetary systems. But very few are like ours. That’s a change from even the mid-twentieth century, when we considered our solar system to be … More Our solar system may be unique – let’s look after it