Tag Archives: science

Around the Tubes

It’s one of two new comic book days! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

Kotaku – Spider-Man Could Have Been An Xbox Exclusive – Intriguing. What could have been.

Book Riot – Graphic Novels About Science – What would you add?

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Games become real life in FICTIONAL SKIN – Free comics!


CBR – Mindset #1

Mindset #1

Around the Tubes

It’s a brand new week of comics! It was Toy Fair this past weekend. What stood out to you all?

Around the Tubes

CBLDF – CBLDF and Comic-Con International Launch Education Alliance During Will Eisner Week! – Very nice!

Science Mag – Here’s what happens when you combine science with hip hop, comic books, and zombies – Nice.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Guardians of the Galaxy #24

CBR – Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1

CBR – Nocturne: The Walled City Trilogy Volume 2

Talking Comics – Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1

The Beat – Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1

Talking Comics – Spider-Woman #4

The Guardian – Wrinkles

The Truth About Gamergate

SimAnt_SNES_boxYou might have heard about Gamergate. Its been in the news quite a bit lately, getting a lot of coverage from the mainstream media. But, those articles overlook the history of the term, which actually traces back to 1983, and was used in literature in 1984.

The term “gamergate” didn’t begin with Adam Baldwin’s Tweet about Quinnspiracy two months ago. The term didn’t begin two years ago concerning Rhode Island and 38 Studios either. Actually the term is a scientific term having to do with ants. Yes, ants.

In 1983 geneticist William L. Brown coined the term, and first appeared in scientific literature used by entomologists. The term actual means:

mated, egg-laying worker

The term is derived from the Greek words γάμος (gámos) and ἐργάτης (ergátēs) and means “married worker.” Say what?

Yes, gamergate is a term having to do with female worker ants that are reproductively viable. When an ant colony lacks a queen, what’s a colony to do? Well, this. A gamergate is a female ant that helps as a reproducer for their colony.

It’s about specific types of colonies of ants, some of which are actually queenless. Instead one worker, or a group of them, have active ovaries. Yup, for the colony to survive, the ant colony must rely upon the female ants.

This gamergate also has controversy attached to it. Some feel that the term “worker” should be applied to only ants that are part of the non-reproductive caste, while “queen” should be applied to all reproductively viable female ants.

It’s actually pretty fascinating stuff, and you can learn more here or the many scientific papers on the subject.

What does this have to do with this site? Absolutely nothing, I just learned all this last night, and found it a pretty fascinating look at a matriarchal society.

Whither the Circumstellar Habitable Zone?

sweetspotDynamite’s Flash Gordon is the most recent in the many attempts to revive the character and the franchise from its early days of pulp science fiction.  Although there have been other recent attempts at resurrection, this is the first attempt from Dynamite which has been so successful with a number of public domain properties. The jury is still out on how the series will progress as it is only one story arc in, but perhaps there are some aspects of the pulp past which can be left behind.

The pulp period of science fiction and comics was one of great imagination, and helped give rise in large part to the medium of comics as we know it today.  One of the problems with the early years of science fiction was that it was a lot more fiction than it was science. As we as a civilization were still decades away from reaching outer space, no one really knew what that entailed, and so the scientific rules of outer space were replaced by the made-up rules of the imagination of the writers. While this gave birth to some amazing concepts and stories, it also resulted in a lot of material which is often unreadable by modern standards, unless one is after only camp and not really after what passes for modern science fiction. A setting such as Flash Gordon’s is a little difficult to operate within because of this, as the modern science fiction reader expects a bit more realism, but it equally has to pay homage to the past.

Flash01-Cov-ShalveyAn obvious example of this is in the newest issue to hit the market, issue #5 (set to be released on August 27). After escaping the planet of Arboria, the trio of heroes is on the way to find Sky Planet. Dale Arden suggests to the professor and Flash that they need to find the sweet spot around the sun where they might find Sky World. This “sweet spot” is better known in astronomy and astrobiology as the Circumstellar Habitable Zone, and serves as the main area in which real life humans search for planets in outer space which might support life or our own race. The zone is a bit tricky to define, and that we only have one example of a planet in the Habitable Zone (that being Earth) does not help us much. Some astronomers have suggested conditions which might include Venus in this list, but Venus is very much not ready at all for any kind of habitation by any type of living creature.

As a scientific concept though it makes sense that they would look there for another planet, and this is an aspect of the good science behind this idea. What follows next is not so good. Flash states that they will use small Q-Jumps to follow the around through the habitable zone in the hopes that they catch up with the supposed planet. While this logic kind of holds in one sense it very much falters in another. Any planet which is that close to the center of the solar system is going to be reflecting light, a lot of light. Take for example Venus, it is easily the third brightest object in the sky, behind the sun and the moon, so much so that when it is at its brightest that it will outshine even the brightest star. Venus is equally visible from almost anywhere in the inner solar system providing of course that it is not directly in front of us or if it is behind the sun. This becomes the problem of being a planet chaser though and where this issue becomes pulpier than it is scientific.  The easiest way to find such a planet would be to fly above the orbitals plane and to look downwards. One Q-Jump might get them closer to a planet that was rapidly speeding away from them (the Earth for instance travels 108,000 kilometers per hour) but one Q-Jump above the plane would allow them to look down on the plane and to spot any planets easily based on their albido. That Dale is the one to figure this out is out-of-place as well, as the doctor knows much about science and Flash knows much about navigating in space. Presumably between the two of them, they would figure that the easiest way to find this planet would be to think in the three dimensions of outer space.

This is perhaps the biggest problem which writers face in writing both extraordinary and engaging science fiction. There are bigger filters on in the modern day for these observations and they have to balanced against the fantastical nature of these voyages.

Otakon 2014: Welcome Astronomy Educator Ray Villard

Ray_VillardOtakorp, Inc. has announced that members will explore outer space at Otakon 2014 with guest Ray Villard, News Director for the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). STScI operates the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope, whose discoveries are artfully communicated by Villard to media and the public. Villard’s appearance ties in with the overall theme of “space” that underlines this year’s programming.

Villard has specialized in communicating astronomy since 1974 and received several NASA service awards for his contribution to publicizing. He was previously associate editor for the popular magazine Astronomy. He has written a variety of freelance articles for magazines, encyclopedias and Internet blogs, and scripts for several syndicated science programs on public radio.

In 2004, Villard published an illustrated astronomy book on the discovery of extrasolar planets entitled Infinite Worlds. Villard co-wrote a video adaption of the book for the National Geographic Channel. That program, Alien Earth’s, was nominated for the 2010 Prime Time Emmy Awards.

Otakon 2014 will be held August 8-10 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD.

Around the Tubes

Yesterday was new comic day! What’d everyone get or do you plan on getting this week?

Around the Tubes

The Hollywood Reporter – Classic Indian Film ‘Sholay’ Gets Graphic Novel Treatment – Very cool.

The Beat – Teaching Physics Through Comics with The Newcastle Science Comic Team – I wish I learned this way.

The ComiChron – Comics close 2013 up 9%; Image has best-selling comic, graphic novel of year –  Some interesting stuff here.

Robot 6 – LaBeouf takes another swipe at Clowes, proudly posts C&D letter – What a douche.

The Augusta Chronicle – Man reports theft of 30,000 comic books – Ooph.

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Action Comics #27

Comic Vine – Afterlife With Archie #3

Talking Comics – Black Widow #1

Comic Vine – Bloodshot and H.A.R.D.CORPS #18

Comic Vine – Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #3

Comic Vine – Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #3

Comic Vine – Deadpool #22

Comic Vine – Earth 2 #19

Comic Vine – Green Lantern #27

Comic Vine – Li’l Vampi #1

Comic Vine – Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #4

Comic Vine – Savage Wolverine #14

Comic Vine – Sheltered #6

Firefly: Browncoats Unite Premieres on 11/11

After months of intense buzz and two blockbuster panels at both San Diego and New York Comic-Con, it’s finally time for the main event – Firefly: Browncoats Unite on November 11 at 10 PM (ET/PT), Science Channel reunites Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion and the entire renegade crew of the Serenity for the first time ever to provide the complete oral history on the franchise that continues to explode in popularity – despite meeting its end a decade ago.  The 60-minute special includes secrets from the set, exclusive cast interviews, and footage from this year’s colossal Comic-Con panel that dominated the pop culture conversation.  Joining Whedon and Fillion for Firefly: Browncoats Unite are Serenity crewmembers Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Jewel Staite; along with executive producer Tim Minear and executive story editor Jose Molina.

This summer, Firefly creator Joss Whedon triumphantly exclaimed to a crowd of thousands at San Diego Comic-Con that “the story is alive.” Legions of fans across the world couldn’t agree more, proving that a series which is comprised of only 14 episodes had endured the test of time.  Guided by Entertainment Weekly senior writer Jeff Jensen, Science Channel re-created the set of the Serenity for this epic gathering capturing the insights and memories of space’s most-rebellious flight crew – including the moment they realized they were canceled and where they believe the Firefly universe could live next.

Science Channel’s Firefly Sunday extravaganza begins at 7AM ET/PT with an all-day marathon of the series.  Then, at 10PM ET/PT, the event Browncoats everywhere have been waiting for – Firefly: Browncoats Unite premieres on Science Channel.

Firefly the series is set in the year 2517, in a new star system and follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship. The ensemble cast depicts nine distinct characters who, have all banded together for very different reasons.  Led by Captain Mal Reynolds (Fillion), who fought on the losing side of a civil war, viewers engage with characters who, are now living on the outskirts of society.

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