Solar Flare 2nd of April 2014

solar flare

A stunning image of a flare that erupted from the sun today.

 

 

Musings about the movies Ender’s Game and After Earth.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

I might as well start with  After Earth because there was not much of a plot and what existed was very simple and not too deep, and to have Will Smith’s son starring in the entire movie was boring. I am not against child actors by any means when they can act well. The only thing I liked about the movie was the message about fear. Healthy fear keeps us alive but obsessive or irrational fear can  harm us.

I know a lot of people liked Ender’s Game because they liked the novels, but I am not a fan of teaching children how to fight battles. War games, theft games, fighting games, etc. in the form of videos and movies are ways to train a young mind to be battle ready. If people want peace in the world, and I mean really want peace, then playing peaceful video games or better yet getting fresh air outside and playing sports or playing board games indoors is a good start. This is just my opinion, but if people want to live in a less chaotic world, young minds had better start reading, using their imagination, learning to play a musical instrument, playing  word games, practicing visual arts, playing sports, and learning to write creatively. Of course in my experience with school systems in two countries, these very activities are the first ones cut due to budget concerns. We need to have complete human beings if we want fresh new ideas in the form of novels, short stories, poems, television, and movies, otherwise, we will nurture individuals who will continue to write the same old stale war novels or movies which reflect the real life battles over land and resources that create death and havoc in the world. I realize the novel and movie address the option of talking before fighting, but I am still against battle training and opt for training in critical thinking skills. I know I am in the minority here, but I really am against violence and its representation as entertainment.

I prefer a movie/novel like Contact by Carl Sagan any day over a movie like Ender’s Game.

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Star Shock Wave

star shock waveIf you thought shock waves  were only for science fiction movies, look again. JPL in Pasadena captured this infrared image of a shock wave created by a speeding star named Kappa Cassiopeiae. I have seen various movies and science fiction shows in which a star explodes and creates a shock wave that can destroy ships and space stations but to see an actual shock wave is pretty cool besides being quite beautiful.  NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is responsible for the image.

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The Space Station Passes Through The Pleiades Star Cluster

pleiades-iss

The Seven Sisters aka the Pleiades Star cluster had been a visible winter night sky object of curiosity for many centuries and have been the source of many tales and myths since at least 1600 BCE. It is interesting that modern technology( The ISS) meets an ancient sight in the night sky.

The International Space Station streaks through the night sky over Pisa, Italy, as the bright blue Pleiades star cluster glitters in the background in this amazing photo recently submitted to Space.com.

 

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Russian Satellite Kosmos 1220 to Hit Earth

 

 

 

Kosmos

The Russian satellite Kosmos 1220 is set to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere the 16th of Feb 2014 but the exact location is unclear.

The parts of the Kosmos-1220 satellite are expected to re-enter the planet’s atmosphere at high speeds, Russian officials have confirmed.

Most of the locations of where the fragments will land, still remain unknown.

“As of February 7, 2014 the fragments are expected to fall on February 16,” Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

They said this will pose a “very real danger”.

But Zolotukhin said the parts he thought the parts would plunge into the Pacific Ocean, but he could not confirm it.

“The exact impact time and location of the fragments from the Kosmos-1220 satellite may change due to external factors,” Zolotukhin said.

This uncertainty means the satellite could potentially fall anywhere on Earth.

You can read the rest at news.com.au

 

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Gravity, The Movie That is!

Out of this world: Gravity.

I am glad that I had the Earth’s gravity to keep me in my seat while watching this exciting movie. It is the first unique space movie I have seen in quite a while having been inundated with end of the world movies such as death by solar flare, meteor, earthquake, the core stopping, etc. Finally a movie in space that really captured my attention, a nice touch by keeping it in real time and dealing with the constraints of zero gravity. Do not get me wrong, I am a die hard fan of the Star Trek Franchise ( but not the JJ Abrams version, that is just wrong), I loved the Alien series with  Sigourney Weaver, and I enjoy all of the Stargate series. So I like artificial gravity and maybe that is why I found this movie interesting. The music was great and the events had me biting my nails and Sandra Bullock performed extremely well. It was fun to see someone else (Bullock) talking to themselves for a change, in fact, I found it very creative that she was trapped alone with no communication since we live in a world in which we have instant communication with anyone anywhere in and out of this world, so the idea she could not talk to the command center, and she needed to have basic understanding of two other languages, no not Klingon, but Russian and Chinese. When she picked up the radio transmission of someone speaking a foreign language at one point in the movie, again a nice point that she was alone, in silence, no gravity, and dealing with other languages. I liked that about the movie that with all the technology and ability to communicate, we still need to be able to think for ourselves and make decisions that will make our lives better or even more to the point  may save our lives without the need to rely on someone telling us what to do at each step of the way.Overall, it was time well spent which is a rare thing to say these days about the newest movies on the silver screen.

 

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Auroras Over Norway

aurora-norway-screengrab

This beautiful Aurora was seen in January of this year!

Auroras are created when showers of charge particles blown out from the sun are caught in Earth’s magnetic field. Some of these particles are directed toward the poles, where the strike neutral particles in the planet’s atmosphere, creating the colorful lights. The northern lights are called aurora borealis, while their southern counterparts are the aurora australis.

The full story is at Space.com

 

 

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Sochi 2014 Olympics

Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...

I have begun watching the exciting Sochi 2014 Winter  Olympics, I prefer the Summer Games, but I do enjoy the extreme talent and strength the athletes posses. I cannot imagine training and performing in such cold conditions because for me, 4C is very cold! I love the outfits and colors, it all makes me want to go out on my bike even in the rain and sport my colorful cycling gear, but afterwards, cleaning the bike is quite tasking. Anyways, these athletes to me are always superheroes and I enjoy their dedication. I cannot wait for the Opening Ceremony and subsequent competitions. I hope everything will be peaceful and fun.

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Happy Groundhog Day 2014!

Cover of "Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary...Every year I love to watch the movie Groundhog Day (1993) more than finding out if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not! (By the way, he did see his shadow
so it looks like 6 more weeks of winter.) I like the movie for many
reasons, one being that the main character(Bill Murray) is caught in a time loop.
While in the time loop, I enjoy watching  as Murray reacts to his
predicament, first with selfishness and letting his ego run wild, and as
that gets him nowhere, he tries to escape through suicide and that
fails so he tries being altruistic which then leads him to eventually
work on himself for his own sake. The movie questions free will and determinism,
but what I like most of all is the inner journey of improving oneself,
not some hokey new age thingy, but really working on oneself such as
reading, learning art, music, cooking, science of all sorts, sports,
bird watching, anything and everything about life and living in the
moment. It is a fun movie, well acted, and worth your time if you have
not seen it yet! Enjoy!

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Carrie: The 1976 Version Outshines The 2013 Remake

Carrie (1976 film)

Carrie (1976 film)

I decided to catch up on my blogging, after all, it has been quite a while since my last post and what a movie to kick-start the process than with the remake of Carrie. I have to admit that I am a big fan of the original version of the movie and the novel written by Stephen King in 1974 was his first published novel. On a side note, I am a big fan of many horror stories and movies of the 1970′s, even Halloween has a special mood that is scary and fun, but I digress from Carrie. I feel that it took either guts or no original ideas to film a remake of Carrie. I watched the 2013 version but all I could think about was the original and how good the acting was, and how many actors went on to make wonderful movies in the future. I believe the best part of the ’74 version was the psychological component, for example, when Carrie was at the Prom, she kept hearing the voice of her mother saying: ” They’re going to laugh at you!”, over and over and over, until Carrie really goes berserk. As well, the closet played a large part of the torture by this fanatical mother and yet the neighbors still interacted with her and buy the products she maked at home. These days a neighbor like that is avoided on the street and much less invited into the house in a cordial manner. People still treated each other as humans no matter how damaged or bullied. To bring up bullying, the media tries to act as if this is a new phenomenon, at least where I live, but it has been with us for hundreds of years. Returning to the movie, here we have a young girl who is different in that she has special abilities to move objects, start fires, etc, she is bullied at school and tortured at home and in the end she punishes everyone who has hurt her. I would skip the new version and watch the original. Not all remakes are failures, some work because they have good writing and change the original story to match the times, such a The Manchurian Candidate, and I liked both versions. I just hope they do not remake The Exorcist, another favorite of mine, that would be a travesty.

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