Goreified – Now we have the Mormon’s declaring the end of the world?

Okay, all these end of the world stories are share came home this weekend.  Now there is a story out there that the Mormons think the blood moon or Super-Moon combined with an eclipse tomorrow night signifies the end of the world.  Great!  Now I can’t go to church tomorrow.

For those familiar with Mormonism beyond the wild anti-Mormon legends and the misconception that the splinter groups are in fact the mainstream of that religion realize this is a bunch of Goreification.  Nonetheless, it grew to a point where LDS Church leadership actually responded to debunk the panic.

Meanwhile, come out from under the beds; no need to duck, roll, and cover.  Rather go out tomorrow night if your skies allow it (Sunday night) and enjoy a sight we won’t see again for about 18 more years.


Comic Con Salt Lake Continues high on a mountain top

Comic Con continues into its second warm day in Salt Lake City, with one day to go.  Dean Gorman, the good looking dwarf from The Hobbit and the Weasley twins from Harry Potter are running the entire marathon for three days, but Friday brings us the Winter Soldier himself from Captain America.  But Saturday brings us Agent Carter, Captain America himself, and Falcon.  If that’s not enough I can’t resist making another plug for the Utah Symphony Concert tonight featuring its Sci-Fi spectacular featuring Marina Sirtis from Star Trek Next Generation.  The show starts at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow night.  Best show of the symphony with the possible exception of the 1812 Overture in Deer Valley.

Comic-Con Salt Lake City

Aloha – Welcome back to Salt Lake City, ComicCon.  If you’re stuck in lines with nothing to do, feel free to download a free copy of the sci-fi novel, Demeter at Amazon this weekend only


The Utah Transit Authority is offering extended hours for of operation for TRAX trains headed into Salt Lake City.

Something of special interest if you aren’t aware is that Friday and Saturday night the Utah Symphony is doing it’s annual Science Fiction concert at Abravanel Hall at the other end of the block.  I’m missing out on the Conference, but will definitely be making it to the Concert this weekend.


Supersize it Sunday night – The SuperMoon is upon us

Aloha – For many in North America, this Sunday will be the opportunity of the generation.  We have a SuperMoon Lunar Eclipse coming to North America.  The next one is scheduled for 2033; the last one was in 1982.  For many in my generation, this will be a last chance to supersize it.  It will kick off about 6:30 pm Mountain Time and wrap up about 9:30 pm Mountain Time… check local listings for a SuplerMoon near you.

The Moon’s position to light and angles to the Sun will actually make the Moon appear 14% larger than normal.  We may get a blood moon situation from the eclipse that will certainly panic a certain percentage of the population who might miss this news.

The question for me is where to watch it.  I could enjoy it from by 300 sf treehouse, or to avoid the city lights I might take a trip up a local canyon.  For me the verdict is still out.  For you?  Remember, next opportunity is 2033.


Goreified news – End of the World Updates 8 trillion microbeads a day

Aloha – For a couple of years now I’ve made fun of a former politician, and enjoy tagging tidbits of news trying to scare us about the end of the world.  That does not mean that we don’t have hazards and don’t cause hazards, it just seems to fit into the model of perpetual efforts to terrify the masses.  Ergo, I have finally coined (if it has not already been coined) my term of the year, “goreified” meaning expanding a real or imagined problem in order to terrify the population.

We have a couple of good ones today.  Apparently evil manufacturers are placing tiny plastic beads in soaps and scrubs at a rate of 8 trillion a day.

In other end of the world news, we have 3.3 million people killed every year from air pollution.  and scientists say that global warming, beginning to cool, was only a vacation along the way to our mass extinction.

More goreification coming soon if we don’t all die first.


Haumeahan Pirates? National Talks like a Pirate Day fun

Aloha – It is National Talks Like A Pirate Day.  Usually for such an auspicious occasion I’d share some sort of pirate humor or speech, but today I decided to share Chapter 24 of Haumeah instead, Pirates.  Enjoy, Doc

Chapter 24  Pirates

Ryder spluttered, “Pirates?  You think we’re pirates?” he demanded more than questioned.

The Haumeahan junior officer physically backed away, “Well, at first we thought you were a Perv invasion fleet because of the analytics we derived of your ship.  When we reported to headquarters they asked what kind of fools we were because there was no way for a Perv invasion to approach from the far interior of the system.”  The young man stuttered.

The officer in charge was slight of build as were the entire contingent of the Haumeahan guard.  He was perhaps five and a half feet tall, had green eyes, and there were strands of curly brown hair escaping his cap.  He continued, “Then it became apparent.  You had to be part of the pirate fleet that has been harassing production and transportation in this region.”

“I see,” Ryder replied agreeably.  “So how many ships are in the pirate fleet?” he inquired noticing that the squadron seemed more curious than alert.  “How large is your militia defending this area?  Are you the only regular defense officer on the base?”

“The pirate fleet?  Intelligence reports suggest that the fleet is comprised of a dozen or more fighters, three or four freighters converted to frigates, and one light cruiser.”  The officer hesitated, “I’m not sure I should be telling you this.”

“When did you realize we weren’t pirates?” Ryder smiled.

The young officer looked, then pointed at the ship, “No pirate ship would be painted like that,” then he moved forward, “Are you part of a circus?”

Ryder turned and laughed.  The layer of the ship that was intact was the purple and silver bubble paint job that Debbie, Becky and Zaina Wepesi had done on the inner layer of the Sara that was intended to remain under the other layers of the fabric.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the other layers of the fabric were gone or in tatters.  He smiled, although he noticed that Barry and Joel were both turning a bright red shade of mortified.  “No, this is the banner colors of the House of Ryder,” Ryder invented on the fly.  “We are here to negotiate with the Haumeahan government, but got lost on the way in.  I am Ambassador William Joshua Ryder, and you are?” he paused expectantly.

“Subaltern Midelka,” the young man replied.

“All right Subaltern, we need whatever repairs you can offer.  We also need to open a private communications channel with the Council and Chairman,” Ryder began, but stopped when he saw the pained look on Midelka’s face.

“I’m afraid our communications network is down now.  We’re the last of the Nehal frontier mining operations still holding out.  We’re pretty much cut off,” Midelka frowned.

“What about reinforcements from Vodot?” Ryder posited as he started pacing with his hands behind his back.

“I am the reinforcements,” the young lieutenant seemed in pain.  “I was the most junior officer of the task force sent to contain the problem.  Our intelligence was inadequate.  We arrived with a light cruiser and a squadron of fighters.  The cruiser was destroyed in an ambush, along with all but four of the fighters.  That was two weeks ago. ”

“Why don’t you evacuate to Vodot?” Ryder paused in his pacing.

“Our orders are to maintain Cius at all costs.  I’m not sure what the commander would have done.  He was killed aboard our cruiser.  All I know is that we are to hold Cius, with four fighters and the thirty men of my engineering platoon.”

“Thirty?” Ryder looked around the chamber.

“Oh, two of these men are on my staff, the other seven are from the Nehal militia.  My men have been shielding, and manning the cannon batteries we were sent here to install.”  The ensign’s lips began to tremble, “I’m really not sure what to do.  My father will be dishonored by my failure.”

Ryder looked at the young officer, and then felt a determined and stubborn wave sweep over him.  “You haven’t failed yet.  Don’t give up.  How many cannon do you have?”

“We have five twin-action batteries with us.  Four are fully installed, we are still working on the fifth.” the young man reported.

Ryder started pacing again.  “What about the militia?  Weapons?  Points of attack?  What infantry do the pirates have?  How are they armed?”  He stopped when Joel took his arm.

Lieutenant Midelka’s eyes were growing round and large and he seemed to be gasping for air, “Ryder, I think you’re sending the kid into shock,” Joel whispered.  “I saw this in the caverns during the Perv invasion.”

Lieutenant Midelka was beginning to shake, and his lips had turned white.

One of the fully uniformed members of the Haumeah reception committee stepped forward, “Shamus, we’re okay.  You’re doing fine.”  Then looking at Ryder he explained, “Lieutenant Midelka hasn’t eaten or slept in two days sir.”

Ryder stepped forward and took Lieutenant Midelka’s other arm.  “Let’s get your commander somewhere that we can sit down, eat something and work out some details then.”

The Sergeant nodded, and they moved Lieutenant Midelka toward a nearby passage.  Joel and Barry followed close behind.

“Hey,” Debbie yelled as the militia began to disband.  “Who’s in charge of these repair facilities?”

Two of the men, pointed at a third member of the group, who slouched defensively as the others pointed.

“I need some help getting the Sara repaired, let’s talk,” Debbie laughed.

Ryder left the hangar confident that Debbie would get whatever she needed even if Cius didn’t have it.

Five minutes later they were sitting in a well-stocked, but dingy cafeteria.  The tables and chairs were metal.  The table tops and floors were sticky and covered with food crumbs.  Along the way, Ryder learned that the Sergeant’s name was Kresslein.  The sergeant dismissed the third member of the security force to check on the progress of the installation of the fifth cannon battery.

After getting Lieutenant Midelka a warm drink and bowl of soup, Kresslein took over the conversation.  “The lieutenant is doing his best sir,” the middle-aged NCO almost boasted.  “He’s not really suited to sending men to their death, it’s eating at him.  He lost a close friend on one of the six remaining fighters.”

“I thought he said there were four fighters,” Ryder sat on the sticky metal chair, while Joel and Barry stood nearby.

“The lieutenant ordered a counterattack to try to support the task force.  Two of the six fighters he sent out didn’t make it back.  Afraid he took it hard.” the sergeant finished.

“So what is this all about anyway?” Ryder asked.  “I didn’t know you had any pirates in Haumeah.”

“It’s been building for the last several years sir.  The Nehal mining cartel took over the Sochal cartel ten years ago.  The two cartels had been doing exploration deeper into the Belt.  Anyway, the Nehal cartel began laying off workers when Slick demand for some of the precious metals fell.  That was inevitable.  But, it seems that all the lay-offs were former Sochal workers including members of the Sochal family.  That was Nehal’s biggest mistake.  A brother and sister of the Sochal family hijacked two Nehal freighters and converted them to raiding vessels.  Things just grew from there.”  The sergeant exhaled slowly.  “So here we are, trying to settle another Council squabble.”

So how many people are actually here on Cius?  How many militia?  What’s their training?  Ryder tried to stop barraging questions that would help him analyze and strategize.

“All told, including families, about twenty thousand.  The militia?” the old sergeant laughed, “Depends.  When all is peaceful, and it functions like a club, about five hundred, I’m told.  Right now it’s hard to turn out a hundred, not that it matters.” The sergeant laughed.  “Useless group of rock suckers.”

“Weapons?” Ryder asked.  “Any K-units?”

“K-units?” the sergeant snorted.  “None out in the frontier.  They’re all on display on Vodot.  I’m not sure anyone even knows how to use them.  Plenty of light weapons, and plenty of powerpaks.  In fact, converting mining powerpaks to weapons powerpaks is fairly simple.  We could fire light weapons without stopping and never run out of power.”

Ryder stood, although he felt his pants sticking uncomfortably to the debris on chair as he rose.  In corners around the room he spotted slow moving rodent-like creatures that were nibbling on scraps from the floor.  “What are those?” Ryder asked suddenly.

Sergeant Kresslein laughed.  “Those, are Haumeah ndezi.  They were brought to the system by our progenitors.  They started out as pets, now they’re everywhere.”  The sergeant put his hand down to the floor with a scrap of a vegetable from the table and cooed quietly.  A long-haired furry creature about the size of the palm of Ryder’s hand approached, hopping across the floor.  The creatures  were covered with a thick coat of white and brown fur and created a crown on their head that half covered their eyes.   It’s ears stuck upright on its head like a couple of thumbs.

As the ndezi nibbled the vegetable, Ryder decided it was a very small rabbit, or a very hairy rat.  “Cynthia would love one of these,” he murmured.

“What was that sir?” Kresslein asked as he sat back up.

“Nothing,” Ryder stood and started pacing again.  “What about the four fighters?  What condition are they in?  Training of pilots?”

“I’m not sure about the pilots.  Can’t be too bad to have gotten back from the ambush, unless they just turned tail and ran away,” the sergeant stopped and his eyes grew distant for a moment, “No, I don’t think they would do that.  Brave lot of youngsters.  Not a lot of experience.  Haven’t had much need in the last several decades.”

“What about the pirates? or Sochals?” Ryder stopped as he calculated.

“Well, same story.  They aren’t that experienced.  Most are civilians.  They are certainly crafty though.” The sergeant spoke in a half-admiring voice.

Ryder paced back and forth for several minutes.  Sergeant Kresslein followed the movement with growing concern.  Joel approached the sergeant and in a low voice, “Not to worry, when Ryder is thinking all is well.  It’s when he stops that you have to worry.”

As if hearing Joel’s warning Ryder stopped in front of Lieutenant Midelka.  “Lieutenant.”

Midelka looked up tiredly.

“As ambassador of the Orion Spur government I offer my assistance in putting down the pirate menace.  I have a plan.  Get some sleep and then we’ll talk.”

Two Black Holes are closing in on each other and the explosion should be enough to…

Aloha – When I first ran across this story I thought it was going to be another end of the world tale, but it looks like we’re safe on this one.  Apparently we have two black holes pulling into one another and the expected collision will be comparable to several Earth sized planets of TNT exploding.  It could potentially destroy one or more galaxies.  The good news is that these two black holes aren’t in our galaxy…. whew.  In astronomical distance they are pretty darn close, only about a light-week away from each other and closing fast.  Still, the explosion isn’t expected to occur for about a hundred thousand years.  I guess Al Gore-ites will have to panic about something else.  Doc

Double whammy

Aloha – I’ve been out of action, replacing both computers that were not doomed by a virus or a worm, but by sheer operating system misfortune.  Doom saying continues to be in the news.  A more upbeat story was this recent theory that we had to cataclysmic asteroid impacts almost simultaneously 458 million years ago.  Sounds like Robert Duvall’s mission was ancient history rather than a reasonably good movie overshadowed by Armageddon the same year.  This also fits nicely into what happened to my computers.

Meanwhile, let’s see what horrible theories are out there this week to frighten us:

  1. Scientists in Great Britain warn that our vacation from global warming is over and we’re back on track to fry baby fry.
  2. Using up all the fossil fuels is going to cause the oceans to rise another 50 meters, putting most of the world under water.  (I still struggle with the notion that more water surface means higher temperatures.)
  3. Snow packs in the Sierra Nevada range has reached a 500 year low
  4. The sage grouse may be added to the endangered species list

Now this last one makes me laugh.  A long time ago, after he retired, my dad worked part time (mostly for fun) with the US Fish and Game.  What was he doing?  Raising sage grouse to release for hunting.  I think wildlife that is often bred in captivity should be a fairly safe population for keeping off the endangered species list, unless Obama cut sage grouse reproduction grants.

Well, good to be back.  Don’t worry, I’ll find more news articles to terrify and make you want to hide under your bed from our reliable news services.


NASA says that Edgar Ulmer may be right and that there is a Planet X

The Man from Planet X

Aloha – Even before I was born (barely) Planet X had caught the imagination of truly B-movie level production enthusiasm.  With such household names as; Edgar Ulmer and Robert Clark, not to mention the mother of Sally Field a mysterious planet enters our Solar System and happens to land a space ship right at the observatory where that particular phenomenon was being studied… in Scotland for those not familiar with the movie.

Sounds like a cheesy sci-fi movie from the 50s and it was, but now NASA is saying that we may indeed have a mysterious planet lurking in the Kuiper Belt.  Fresh off its successes visiting Pluto, the New Horizon probe is now probing for aliens in the Kuiper Belt in hopes of finding…. (dramatic pause) …. Planet X.  It may be time for us to start our own Plan 9 for outer space.  Doc

How big is the Sun compared to other stars

Aloha – Yesterday I found an interesting shot of the Earth in the Sun’s shadow so to speak.  Today I add to that, our Sun in comparison to some of the other well known stars.  We seem to be in the minor, minor leagues out here in the Orion Spur.  Look close and you can see the speck that represents Jupiter.  As noted, Earth is so small on this cale that it doesn’t merit a single pixel.  Doc