The Day After Mars

October 31, 1938 was the day after Martians encountered planet Earth, and everything was calm. Reports of the invasion were revealed to be part of a Halloween radio drama, the now famous broadcast based on H.G. Wells’ scifi novel War of the Worlds. On Mars October 20, 2014 was calm too, the day after its close encounter with Comet Siding Spring. Not a hoax, this comet really did come within 86,700 miles or so of Mars, about 1/3 the Earth-Moon distance. Earth’s spacecraft and rovers in Mars orbit and on the surface reported no ill effects though, and had a ringside seat as a visitor from the outer solar system passed by. Spanning over 2 degrees against stars of the constellation Ophiuchus, this colorful telescopic snapshot captures our view of Mars on the day after. Bluish star 51 Ophiuchi is at the upper right and the comet is just emerging from the Red Planet’s bright glare.
Image Credit & Copyright: Rolando Ligustri (CARA ProjectCAST)

What Earth Might Look Like In 200 Million Years

Find out about a new super continent in the making, called Pangaea Ultima (also called Pangaea Proxima, Neopangaea, and Pangaea II). According to the Pangaea Ultima hypothesis, The break up of Pangaea beginning around 100 million years ago set the stage for the world we know, with its particular mix of continents and oceans.

Geologists have been able to piece together the history of Earth’s continents by looking at where and when mountain ranges formed, and by studying magnetic signatures that link rocks found in disparate locations.

They have found that plate motions have been accelerating. Over the last two billion years, the rate at which continents have collided or shifted their positions has doubled. What new patterns are emerging now in the volcanoes and earthquakes that rattle our planet from year to year?
The continents we know today will fragment and recombine as they have in the past. Plants and animals will continue to evolve as they have for hundreds of millions of years. Will mammals dominate the new supercontinent? Or will another life form take over? Will humans still live on Planet Earth?

A Spectre in the Eastern Veil

Frightening forms and scary faces are a mark of the Halloween season. They also haunt this cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. While the Veil is roughly circular in shape and covers nearly 3 degrees on the sky in the constellation Cygnus, this portion of the eastern Veil spans only 1/2 degree, about the apparent size of the Moon. That translates to 12 light-years at the Veil’s estimated distance, a reassuring 1,400 light-years from planet Earth. In the composite of image data recorded through broad and narrow band filters, emission from hydrogen atoms in the remnant is shown in red with strong emission from oxygen atoms in blue-green hues. Of course, in the western part of the Veil lies another seasonal apparition, the Witch’s Broom

Symphony of Science – the Quantum World!

mp3: A musical investigation into the nature of atoms and subatomic particles, the jiggly things that make up everything we see. Featuring Morgan Freeman, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Brian Cox, Richard Feynman, and Frank Close.“The Quantum World” is the eleventh installment in the ongoing Symphony of Science music video series. Materials used in the creation of this video are from: for downloads & more videos!

Richard Feynman – Fun to Imagine
BBC Visions of the Future – the Quantum Revolution
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Brian Cox TED Talk
BBC What Time is it
BBC Wonders of the Universe
BBC Horizon – What Is Reality

Special thanks to everybody who’s donated to keep the project alive and to those who helped track down the materials used in this video.

*Please note that dark matter and dark energy are considered to make up a majority of the universe, in addition to the 12 particles and 4 forces.

Goat Simulator joke has just gone far enough

goat simulator ios android
For the very few of our readers who don’t know, there exists a game called Goat Simulator. The game exists for the sole reason that the internet thought the joke was too hilarious not too exist. I use the word “game” in the loosest sense of the term, because the developers stated outright that they were going to leave all non-game breaking bugs in it. So now there exists a thing where you run around as a goat, headbutting things, licking things, and eating things.
And now, there’s going to be a Goat Simulator update that makes it simulate a fantasy style MMO.
I can’t tell if this is the greatest thing, or the dumbest thing. Goat Simulator was already fairly dumb to begin with, but it was that kind of dumb that wrapped back around into hilarious. The various bugs and glitches the game had actually added to the enjoyment factor, and I’d be lying if I said it was the worst ten dollars I’d ever spent.
At the same time, something like this may be gilding the lily, so to speak. The promised update looks utterly ridiculous, but will it be the right kind of ridiculous? Or will it be the straw that breaks the goat’s back, showing once and for all that the bearded emperor has no clothes?
You can see the video for yourself, and come to your own conclusions.

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby animated segment is Kawaii!

pokemon alpha sapphire
Prepare for something that will melt your heart. Nintendo has released a new commercial for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby in Japan that is probably one of the most precious, Pokemon-related things you’ll see all week, if not all year. To prepare people for the practically worldwide,November 21, 2014 launch date, an original animated segment has been released starring the trainers from the games.
Though I’m referring to this as a Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby commercial, it’s more of an incredibly brief OVA. Players get to see the male and female trainer waking up with their Mudkip, Torchic, and Treeko. There’s some frolicking, but then we get glimpses of the two trainers as they go around the Pokemon world, fighting and seeing all of the new Mega Evolutions. Don’t let the fact that it’s in Japanese scare you, as there’s very little talking and it’s mainly about seeing animated versions of various pokemon.
The section at the 25 second mark where the Mudkip and Torchic are playing in the pool is the best part. Really, that’s all you need to see.
This really is quite a successful promotion tool for Nintendo, don’t you think?

Vainglory MOBA now available for iOS

You may recall when Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 back in September and they used this rather amazing looking MOBA game to show off it hardware and software optimizations? Well, that game—which was and still is called Vainglory—is finally available as a free download.
The company behind Vainglory—Super Evil Megacorp—comprises core-game developers from the likes of Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment who are focused on bringing core-gaming experiences to touch devices. As such, Vainglory is “… an unapologetically core MOBA that immerses players in a vivid world where they become powerful heroes with unique abilities. Built with Apple’s most advanced technology and the company’s proprietary E.V.I.L. engine, Vainglory brings a new class of ultra-high fidelity graphics and control responsiveness to touch devices.”
And does it ever.
As for the gameplay:

Vainglory features fast-paced, 20-minute online multiplayer matches in which players across the globe battle it out in teams of three. Players become powerful heroes, each with their own lore and special abilities. More features and content are added to the game on an ongoing basis. Players experience intuitive, precision controls that effectively translate — and in some cases even improve — how MOBAs are traditionally played on PC.

For more information on Vainglory, visit

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Coming to PC

The middle chapter of Square Enix’s core Fabula Nova Crystallis trilogy, Final Fantasy XIII-2, is coming to PC this winter.
A Steam page reveals an enhanced version of the game that will run at 1080p resolution and 60 frames-per-second. Unlike the original Final Fantasy XIII which was locked in at 720p. Those that may not have experienced Final Fantasy XIII-2 the first time around will get to enjoy all new locations and time periods as time travel was central to the storyline. The sequel also features enhancements to the battle system with the Cinematic Action sequences, “an innovative battle clock that will either reward or punish players.”
final fantasy xiii-2Final Fantasy XIII-2 is better than its predecessor in almost every way even if the story got lost within its time traveling confusion. The cliffhanger ending can only ensure that the final chapter in the trilogy will come to PC as well.
As is the case with all Steam games, achievements and trading cards will be unlockable.
If you haven’t played Final Fantasy XIII, it is available now for $16 on Steam. Square Enix announced a new update that will bring the resolution settings up to 1080p.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is available for pre-order at 10% off on Steam, making for a pretty good deal at $18, and will release on December 11.

Welcome to a Comet, from Lander on Surface

The Philae lander of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two images from the lander’s CIVA camera confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The view is a two-image mosaic taken on Nov. 12, 2014.

The lander separated from the orbiter at 09:03 UTC (1:03 a.m. PST) for touch down on comet 67P seven hours later.
Rosetta and Philae had been riding through space together for more than 10 years. Philae is the first probe to achieve soft landing on a comet, and Rosetta is the first to rendezvous with a comet and follow it around the sun. The information collected by Philae at one location on the surface will complement that collected by the Rosetta orbiter for the entire comet.
Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space Agency, Rome. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.  Rosetta carries three NASA instruments in its 21-instrument payload.
Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA via NASA

Descent to a Comet

Yesterday, the first soft landing on a comet took place some 500 million kilometers from planet Earth as the Rosetta mission lander Philae settled on the nucleus of this remarkable image snapped by Philae’s ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) camera. Taken from a distance of about 3 kilometers the image has a resolution of about 3 meters per pixel at the surface. After Philae’s release from the orbiter, its seven-hour long descent was made without propulsion or guidance. Following its descent the lander is in place, though its anchoring harpoon system did not fire. For 2.5 days the lander is intended to conduct its main science mission returning extensive images and data. An extended surface mission may be possible if sunlight and dust conditions allow solar panels to recharge Philae’s battery.
from NASA