The second book in the Space Trilogy by CS Lewis. This book picks up several years after the last book (Out of the Silent Planet) ends and tells of the adventure that Edwin Ransom had when he went to Perlandra (Venus). It begins with how the first book ends with Lewis coming for a visit Ransom. The first two chapters are getting Ransom ready to go to Venus in his white coffin shaped vessel as well as what happened after he returned to Earth a year later. The rest of the book is Ransom recounting to Lewis and Humphrey what took place on Venus.

Once again it is wonderful to read of how Venus was seen in the past. Perlandra is a large ocean of a world that is dotted with rafts of vegetation like where most life on Venus lives. There is another place “Fixed Land” a regular island but it is a forbidden place to stay. Perlandra’s sky is golden and opaque it is dim during the day and you can’t see the stars at night. When Ransom arrives he splashes down into the large ocean and sort of can’t do anything although eventually he get onto a raft of vegetation. Then the story can begin. Ransom first meets a dragon-like creature who and it follows him around a couple of days or so later Ransom sees someone on another island waving. Eventually the rafts get closer and they can talk and Ransom meets the Queen of the planet. The Queen tells Ransom things about Maleldil (Jesus) and we learn that she and the King are the only inhabitants of this world.

One day while Ransom and the Queen are on Fixed Land the see a craft crash into the ocean of the planet and who is inside but Dr. Weston, if you remember him from the last book he was one of the antagonist, but here he is inhabited by the bent one. Weston tries to get the Queen to sleep on Fixed Land. It’s the Adam and Eve story told on Venus but this time it’s going to work out for the best at least that is the hope of the Oyarsa of Mars. According to the cosmology in the field of Arbor the inner planet are the newer ones and as you go out further the planets get older.

This book was a surprisingly great read for the season of Lent as it deal with a struggle with the devil. If you read the first book this one continues the story but it’s not like you need to read the first book to understand what all is going on. Once again it isn’t that overly religious and deals with the idea that the legends and myths of our world are things from other worlds and/or the past. It is a rather short read like the first book and now I’ve got to read the final book in the series.

Aging limits and expectancy

This was an interesting article from The Guardian and Gizmodo about life expectancy. In a recent study published in Lancet and funded by UK Medical Research Council and the US Environmental Protection Agency indicates that by 2030 there will be some places with big increase and other with more modest gains. In 2030, girls born in South Korea will have an expectancy of 90.8 years and boys will be about 84. These were the highest points and if accurate we will be seeing many more supercentarians, those over 110, in the years to come. This points towards the advances in health technology that have happened and the ease of access to it. These were the reasons that the United States was given modest gains, with several problems including obesity and general violence. The article notes “Not only does the US have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups.” Hopefully, Trump and the Republican can do something to fix what they call the “awful” Affordable Care Act other than just changing the name to not Obamacare. With an increase Life expectancy more people should be living into their 100 or so, these might help us figure out how long a human life span is, as many scientist think that it’s about 122-125. As the oldest living person lived until 122 and no one has lived longer since. If more humans are living into their 100s space travel and manned expedition that last for years like of Mars seem logical and perhaps eventually to some exoplanets as we have decades which we previously didn’t have.

Star Trek and Wars begin production

CBS has released a video announcing the beginning of filming of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s a cool thing and hopefully CBS will realize that putting it only on their Watch CBS app might not be a smart idea. Air it on the network sometimes or place it on the CW, I for one is am not going to pay 6 dollars to watch a show. Now this show is going to have to do something to make people want to watch it as there hasn’t been a Star Trek television show since 2005 and that was Enterprise. Sure the rebooted film series has been a huge success but this is show is set a decade before the Original Series and isn’t connected with the film universe in any way as far as I know.

The other cool news is that the Han Solo movie has also begun production. This is that film about Han Solo that is being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the minds behind Clone High, The Lego Movie and other such films. This movie will be about Han Solo and Lando hanging out, perhaps some Han being a smuggler (Kessel Run and Jabba) and will perhaps feature Han winning the Falcon off of Lando in a game of Sabacc. I like how this is the one thing that I really hope makes it into the Han Solo Movie. Perhaps this will lead to some set of cards coming out so I can own a deck.

2017: a Look forward

What to expect in this upcoming year, we’ve got a Trump Presidency, the UK beginning the process to leave the EU formally, a World Expo in the Summer. The Kennedy assassination document will be released to the public and placed in the US Archives.

In the World of sport 2017 will mark the 100th year of the NHL. We will get the Fourth World Baseball Classic, this is the biggest baseball tournament since the Olympics dropped Baseball and Softball, however with the reintroduction of the event in the 2020 games hopefully it will become like a World Cup for Baseball.

There are some really cool space things happening this upcoming year as it will be the first time since the Revolutionary War that a solar eclipse will have the track of totality only in the United States.  Cassini will end its mission and crash into Saturn but we will be getting some wonderful information about the rings and other Saturn stuff.

Among the movies and television shows that are coming out we’ve got a mixed bag. Sure on TV we will get a new Star Trek show, which many have been waiting for. Netflix has been saying that they will double their original programing this year. We will have three installments from the Marvel Universe in Iron First, The Defenders and The Punisher; second seasons of Voltron, Love and Master of None. Bill Nye, MST3K and Twin Peaks are both coming back as well. Movie-wise there is the latest installment of Star Wars, Dunkirk which looks amazing, a third Wolverine movie, the Live action Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and a Blade Runner sequel. These are just the highlights of what’s to come as a bunch of Netflix programs haven’t been given release dates and we can only hope that the film will be released when they say they will

News Roundup

Space X: Space X has announced a crazy plan to go to Mars and even farther, here’s the video. How any of this will work and when it will happen but Elon Musk has been planning for a Mars mission in the mid 2020s.

Movies: Martin Scorsese’s latest film based on Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence has a release date. It is about the Japanese persecution of the Catholics in the 1600s. The film will come out in selected places on December 23 and later on across the country. This is so that the film qualifies for this upcoming years Oscars. I’m looking forward to the first trailer as this movie is one that I will be going to see this winter along with Rogue One.

The August Wilson play Fences is also coming to the screen. This will be the first of Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle to be made into a film and hopefully this film is successful. If it brings all ten of the show on to the screen it would be amazing as Wilson’s works are wonderful. He is one of a few playwrights to win two Pulitzer Prizes and most of the others are considered among the pantheon of American Drama (Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill, George S. Kaufman, Thornton Wilder, and Tennessee Williams). It would be wonderful if more people went to see plays but if they were made into movies that would fix the problem as well.

News Roundup

Space: Remember the Electromagnetic Propulsion thruster which could if it works cut down travel time  from the roughly six months to a year to Mars to a more manageable 70 days. The EM Drive is about to be launched into outer space, although no date has been set for launch it could come within six months, to see if it really does what scientists have said it roughly does here one Earth. The drive works by using microwaves as fuel to propel, if this works it will be a major leap forward for space travel however it will throw a big kink into Newton’s Third Law. I hope that this happens soon as it would help lower to cost of space travel by a whole bunch since we won’t have to carry any fuel to get anywhere, and this seems like the first steps to a hyperdrive.

Star Wars: Someone had some free time and drew up an info graph about how much a AT-AT would cost to build and surprisingly it is even less than what the US has to pay for a B-21 bomber, but far more that a simple tank.

SpaceX: This is a cool article about Elon Musk’s company and how it’s using a similar plan that Boeing used that made air travel a regular occurrence. If Musk succeeds this could be a wonderful thing and would even perhaps begin to lower the cost of space travel.

News Roundup

Weird Al: This fall there will be a show with Weird Al . It’s called Milo Murphy’s Law and will be on Disney XD. It looks interesting but that’s about all I can tell from the theme song that’s been released so far. Disney 😄 also has Star Wars Rebels and a bunch of Marvel animated shows as well. It come on in October so I will check out a couple of episodes.

NASA: Here’s a nice feel good story as NASA has found and re-established contact with a probe that it lost two year ago. The probe it found is the STEREO-B one of the pair of probes used in the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission which looked at the sun and we’ve gotten a whole bunch of information from this mission including a complete picture of the sun.

Top Gear: So the most recent series of Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc has been regarded as a huge miss and Evans himself resigned from the show after the season was over. There are some rumors that perhaps the BBC might be pulling for another new host, but there are also rumors floating around saying that the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond might return. However they have that Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour coming some time in the future. So it seem like only a distant dream from the BBC as it would get a huge hit back with them coming back to Top Gear.

News Roundup

Election 2016: Trump opened his mouth again and it ended disastrously as he said that “Second Amendment” diehards can take care of Hillary so that she doesn’t get to the White House he continued saying the same about a potential Supreme Court Justice. Now he’s not outright advocating that some gun nut go out there and shoot the Democratic nominee or anything like that at least that’s what we all hope he’s saying. Yet this is the guy how said he could shoot a someone on fifth Avenue in New York and he wouldn’t lose any votes. So I’m not sure what to believe what this all means, but you know how he likes to joke about things like this.

Smoking: Ann Arbor, Michigan has voted to push the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21. This is the first in Michigan and will be enacted in January 2017. It is interesting to see that there is a push across the country to raise the smoking age citing that raising the drinking age to 21 has done wonders to curb high school aged kids drinking and they want to do the same for smoking as it’s not the most healthiest thing in the world. Look at what the Colorado and California have done/ are planning to do with their cannabis laws, it’s legal for those 21 and older. It seems reasonable  for wanting this to be done as smoking currently kills like one in five people a year.

Space: This sounds cool as Deep Space Industries is going to be sending out ships to mine asteroids. If they are successful think of how we will be able to mine and refuel from like asteroids instead of having to send up rocket full of fuel for future space missions. The first mining mission isn’t expected until the end of the decade but that is rather soon. They will launch an exploratory mission in 2017 and space exploration is going to be getting better from here on.

News Roundup

Election 2016: This is huge news as Sanders $15 minimum wage a central part of his campaign has been incorporated into the draft of the Democratic platform. This is important for the simple fact that the current wage of 7.25 an hour isn’t enough to live on and we can see this by simply looking around the nation where over half the states have a wage higher many around $9. Washington DC is one of the places with the highest wages currently at 11.50 an hour and by 2020 if a bill is passed DC’s minimum wage will be 15 and tipped wages will be 5 an hour as well then they would inflate with the economy after that. It’s a smart idea but some people would rather have a basic income provided by the government however this is a more radical idea. It’s a smart idea and something that the Republicans are not going to be touching at all.

Architecture: This is a unique story as it talks about graffiti from the middle ages. In churches around England and I assume Europe there is graffiti on the walls depicting the life of the commoners from a time period when most of us think of Knights and Kings.  The article also gives a new look at graffiti as most of us have only encountered the spray painted things by the likes of Banksy but graffiti was commonplace in the ancient world even more so than it is today as everyone was leaving a mark to say they visited the sites of Europe.

Space: Juno has successfully made it’s way into orbit around Jupiter. This mission should help expand our knowledge about the planet. This is pretty cool since we don’t really know much about what’s underneath the clouds on Jupiter. I look forward to hear more information when ever NASA releases it.

News Roundup

Netflix: has crunched the numbers and Netflix subscriber saves themselves about 158.5 hours of commercials per year. By not having ads it is remarkable how much time that is. It is also that some cable networks are toying with the idea of cutting advertising time Time Warner tested this on TruTV in the fall. As many Millennials are watching less ads using DVRs along with streaming services to watch most of their shows.

Obama: This is cool news.  President Obama will become the first President to visit Hiroshima since the bomb.  This follow the lead of Secretary of State John Kerry who recently visited. Obama’s visit will be tied to the G7 summit in Shima, Japan at the end of May. This visit will as the White House press release says will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”.

Musical Theatre/Tony Awards: The Wall Street Journal sets out to answer what does an Orchestrator do. Sure they get a Tony but what for all to often it seems like whatever wins Best Score takes home Best Orchestration as well. The article seems to put it as they take the piano music that a composer writes and breaks it into parts for the orchestra in a way that helps the music support the singers. It is an interesting subset in the world of music and offers some understanding why sometime revivals sound different.

There are also reports that Tom Hooper will be bringing Cats: The Musical to the silver screen. How will this happen it still up in the air, and there are good reason to go in either direction CGI, live action, animated, puppets. Hooper who directed Les Miserables will direct and produce and it looks like the production will being in late 2017or 2018.

Space: This is amazing as it combines Space and Archaeology. A teenager from Quebec used ancient star chart and has discover a lost Mayan city. William Gadoury has been interested in the Mayan civilization since 2012 and wanted to figure out why the Mayans built cities in unlikely sites far from river and fertile land. As it turns out when placing the Mayan constellations over a map of sites they lined up. One of the constellations wasn’t complete and Gadoury scoured Google Earth and got the idea that he might have found the location of an unknown site. He requested the help of the Canadian Space Agency to get a better look at the location and the images have added weight. The only way to really determine if it is a site is to go and explore.