ellestra: (cosima)
Today in bizarre American date writing system is 3.14 which makes it Pi Day (3.1416 is a rounding of Pi). It's a day to celebrate it, admire its many graphical representations, write "pi-kus" and "piems". Happy Pi Day.

Today ExoMars mission has successfully launched. It's an European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos mission to hunt for signs of alien life on the Red Planet. The mission’s 2016 phase includes a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) that’ll search for methane and other compounds of possible biological origin in Mars’ lower atmosphere, and a Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing module, which will demonstrate complex landing technology for a larger, ground-based ExoMars rover slated to ship off in 2018. Already on Mars Curiosity is switching to a new mission. It's going to look for signs of life too.

Today is also the day when we are only month away from new Orphan Black episode (it's going to be on Thursdays now) and we have a new trailer.
ellestra: (slingers)
The one good thing about CW shows killing many cool secondary characters is watching the actors go for better things.

I was very happy to learn Tracy Ifeachor is going to be on new ABC show Spark (since it's only been written about on Deadline and for some reason Livejournal hates that site and flags any link to it as spam you have to just believe me - or replace @ with a in this url http://de@dline.com/2016/02/tracy-ifeachor-cast-abc-pilot-spark-brianne-howey-the-exorcist-1201708583/). But there is finally a little more known about the show and io9 picked up the story so I can link to that. The lead will be played by Antonia Thomas (Misfits) and the show is to be set in alternate Steampunk universe.

Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, the drama centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires.
...the drama centers on the battle for power between two rival families and Pin (Thomas), a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires. Thomas’ Pin is the smart, driven, fiercely independent young woman whose mission it is to bring back electricity to the masses no matter the cost.

Lincoln is still alive but Ricky Whittle has been announced to be the lead on Starz's adaptation of American Gods so his death can't be far off (it seems like the actor actually quit because he was fed up of being sidelined to 5 seconds in prison every 2 episodes and disagreements with the producer). Ian McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday. He was pretty popular fan choice and I can see his Kings character when I think about this.

In more news about British actors finding work - Finn Jones, the guy who plays Loras on Game of Thrones, has been cast as Danny Rand the title character in Iron Fist. This of course means a great disappointment to everyone who hoped they would change his race. Hard not to agree - it's not like MCU has a shortage of white guys from all over the English speaking world so one less wouldn't make a difference. On the other hand, while there are some Asian women in MCU the only male, non-evil one is also an alien. Marvel seems to want to placate fans by adding supporting characters some of whom are Asian. Also Mike Colter has announced the premier date for Luke Cage - it's coming to Netflix on September 30. Daredevil is of course dropping this Friday.
ellestra: (tiger)
The biggest story this year so far is the discovery of gravitational waves. This just confirmed Einstein was right and will allow for a new ways to observe the universe. But here let Brian Greene explain it - he does it much better:

(This is official so probably geolocked - sorry :( )
ellestra: (root and shaw)
I wrote about the things I'm waiting most for this year but that was just the things I could remember from the top of my head. But now io9 (or should I say gizmodo?) has complied both the list of genre (and genre-adjacent) films and the TV series (at least for the first half) coming this year. I completely forgot Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was coming out next month and I had no idea there is going to be The Little Prince film. It also reminded me I wanted to see Lucifer and maybe also Damien (devil is all the rage now on TV) and how much I love The 100 (I though it'd be a forgettable teen series but it turned out awesome and I can't wait to see what Errica Cerra is up too). Oh, and there's a X-Men TV series coming form Fox some time - Legion.
ellestra: (lightning)
So today is the Winter Solstice and the days will finally start getting longer. I'm hoping that this is the reason behind me being so sleepy and tired all the time. This and the weather change. The season started with pouring rain and the beginning of heatwave (for winter). It's 10 pm and it's still 16oC (60F) outside and it's only going to get warmer. Also coming - more thunderstorms. I need to decide witch summer dress to wear for Christmas Eve. Tomorrow, I'm thinking capris since I'm going to spend 3 hours in the cinema (yes, I'm finally going to see Star Wars) and it might be cold inside. How is global warming treating you?

The third episode of The Expanse is on Syfy today but you can watch it and the 4th one on the Syfy website today. I saw all 4 of them and I love it so far but I'll write down the details after it shws up on TV. Also the shows you can see early are the occupied LA of the future drama Colony and Frankenstein-inspired cop drama Second Chance. I'm glad we are no longer playing the "leaked" pilot game and they just officially put them out early to get people interested in the shows (NBC Universal cable channels especially). It turns out that if you give people a way to watch thing legally that what they'll do - Netflix took over torrent as the main internet traffic hog by far this year. But this is still just US solution - the rest of the world is still left catching up on that other internet. Unless you don't care that much and wait for it to show up on TV. I remember that for shows I liked but didn't care to stay current on AXN channels, Fox and Universal were doing pretty decent job on staying current.

Meanwhile on real Mars Curiosity has drilled some more holes. We got detailed pictures of the real Ceres; some even in 3D (almost as pretty as Pluto). And Yutu shows that the Moon is more geologically complex than we knew. And here on Earth the robots are slowly taking over... raindeer jobs. Lucky us they don't fly yet or Robot Santa would come for us all.

Binge on

Dec. 19th, 2015 11:48 pm
ellestra: (winged)
Outside there is a second night of freezing temperatures in my 3 day break from heat wave but from Monday the temperatures are to rise again and the Christmas weather forecast says 24oC (75oF). My family asks if I'm going to spend it by the pool and I just roll my eyes but I do plan wearing summer clothes (after all if not for short days and bare trees that's just like Poland at the end of August). And they don't have much of a winter either. There was snow for 15 min on Tuesday but from now to the end of Christmas weekend it's going to be 10o and no chance for white Holidays. This is just an El Nino year here but climate change underlies the frequency of this. We are all doomed no matter how well the guys in Paris were able to lie to themselves (I'm just too old and cynical to believe they'll actually fulfil their promises).

On the short scale we binge on whatever resources we have left and stream the TV. And I'm as guilty as anyone and it doesn't look like it'll stop any time soon. It was just announced that The Man in the High Castle (along with some other shows) has been renewed for the second season by Amazon (best present from Amazon this year). Then there is all the Netflix MCU stuff coming (I'm pretty sure Jessica Jones will get second season 2 so add 1 more thing to that). And all the other stream series (I'm also big fan of Alpha House for example).

And then there is the regular TV. TNT just gave me a Christmas present by announcing the renewal of Major Crimes and The Librarians for another season (they also cancelled bunch of shows I didn't care about so whatever). Let's party as if electricity comes from renewable source.
ellestra: (lightning)
It was 24oC today (75F) and I was overheating in jeans so I dug out some of the summer clothes. I wasn't the only one - people in shorts and sandals where everywhere. If the days weren't so short you can almost believe it was spring. I know I'm far south but this is still 10o warmer than normal for this time a year and the North is asking where's their snow (apparently going to California). And my parents say there hasn't been much winter weather in Poland either but they do seem to have snow on the horizon. Here the very warm weather is supposed to last till the next weekend.

Today is also the peak of Geminids - the biggest meteor shower of the year. With nice warm weather like that I decided to go and take a look. I managed to see few but there is too much light pollution everywhere near, especially in the direction the meteors are coming from, so I could only spot the brightest ones. This meant they were far in between and I never managed to get a photo. But the warm days and cool nights also mean fog. A lot of fog. It made the sky even more fuzzy but it also makes some cool effects. And at least you can see Orion.
ellestra: (anomander rake)
I walked a lot on Halloween and then it rained for the first 3 days of November (oscillating between rain and drizzle) and finally was mostly cloudy today with only late night drizzle. In other words exactly how I imagine November only warmer. But all of this combined with the time change made me want to sleep all day long (which I would if I didn't have to go to work . But today I saw sunshine for few moments today and it looks like we get summer for couple of days (tomorrow 26 oC) so I'm trying to at least write down the important things.

Because I am kind of excited. Underneath that sleepy thing. This is because of some films coming in 2017.

Luc Besson is making a Valerian and Laureline movie - Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It's based on the French science fiction comics series by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres about temporal agent Valerian and Laureline (name they made up but now it's pretty popular in France) who originally was peasant from middle ages but became an agent tooafter being rescued by Valerian. They travel through time and space and have a lot of adventures - the movie is to be based on two of them Bad Dreams and The Empire of a Thousand Planets. The series has really nice graphics and a lot of cool ideas. Some of them can be easily recognised by any Star Wars fans as the movies have some striking resemblances to the comics.

There is also a new The Witcher film coming. You probably don't know it but there was already a movie (and a TV series) based on the books in Poland (it's translated as The Hexer to make it more confusing*) but it wasn't very good. They tried to put together too many of short stories to make any coherent plot. This one is supposed to be based on only two of them - The Witcher and Lesser Evil which means no supporting characters from the books. The film will be produced by Sean Daniel Company (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Expanse TV series and the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur) and Platige (polish computer praphics and advertising company behind Ambition and Witcher games animations) and will be directed by Tomasz Bagiński (who is also behind the intros of to the game and you can see his short movies in the tag).

*Well, it was Sapkowski's preferred translation but everyone else liked Witcher better and here we are.

And for something closer - there is an all female Ocean's Eleven film coming next year staring Sandra Bullock.

And a new trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass
ellestra: (winged)
Syfy announced the fate of the other two shows that just recently finished their seasons - Defiance and Dominion - and they are both dead. As I mentioned before Defiance had a great series ending. In fact it's hard to imagine how they would reset that if there was a next season so I'm OK with that. Dominion on the other hand left me angry and I kind of wish for a movie that would solve that but then I don't trust it to do it right. So I imagine it turned out Noma wasn't evil, Uriel is alive and was scheming with Rafael (her sister) and they took over Gabriel's army and they actually know what to do with Alex.

These two, of course are joining the other cancelled shows - the ones going through the soft death with one last season - Continuum, Haven, Lost Girl. It's nice that they have this ability to give the series an ending. It's a nice thing of Showcase and Syfy to do that for their shows. I would be sad but I have high hopes for the replacements - The Magicians, The Expanse, Hunters and The Childhood End mini are coming and the trailers look good.

In more happy news we now know that Under the Dome has been cancelled but now CBS announced it did the same thing for Extant. Luckily for us even Amazon money wasn't enough to save these two. Also cancelled - Rookie Blue (I used to like it a lot but it went downhill in the last season), Graceland (couldn't care enough to keep up with it) and Proof (nice characters, awful concept).

It also looks like Minority Report isn't long for our TV screens - the production has been halted. But it looks like Quantico and Blindspot are doing pretty well if you care. And proving once again that I know nothing about TV - Rosewood is getting full season pick-up.
ellestra: (skye daisy johnson)
Marvel has delayed Captain Marvel once again. This time it's to make space for the Ant-Man sequel. At least it will be Ant-Man and The Wasp this time. Also the Internet is buzzing with Kevin Feige comments about fan-casting, especially in the context of casting Carol Danvers. Many think it means he wants Ronda Rousey to play the role but I think he just means the they like to look at what fan propose for ideas but it daoesn't mean they will agree. They do sometimes (Chris Evans was a massive favourite for Cap) but in the end they will pick whoever they like (and even if that's not going to be your favourite it's going to be fine - most actors are going to be fine in those roles).

The Charity DubsmashWars between Team Carter and Team SHIELD has posted it's last round. It's all about group effort and I'm sorry to say that it looks like SHIELD is still being infiltrated by HYDRA. Team Carter on the other hand is backed by Disney. We all know who has the better chance at world domination (All Hail the Mouse).

Here is Jessica Jones' day from waking up till working till early. In teaser trailers.

ellestra: (tiger)
It's Wednesday at the beginning of October so it means all the science Nobel Prize winners have been announced. So here they are the winners of this year award for Medicine, Physics and Chemistry.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites" and the other half to Youyou Tu "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria". The diseases caused by parasites are still killing and maiming people. Roundworms cause disfigurements that are stuff of nightmares (and a clickbait for the countless website showing you worms in eyes and scrotum dragging behind a man - no link here you can google it if you think you can take it the BBC article is bad enough) and malaria is infecting hundreds of millions and killing hundreds of thousands every year (and those who die are mostly children). Anything that helps to fight these diseases makes our world markedly better. Ivermectin kills the first larval stage of the roundworm parasite and artemisinin is active during the stage when the parasite is located inside red blood cells. Both helped millions and continue to do so still but as always the danger of resistance looms so the research for new ways to get rid of these parasites is still crucial. Youyou Tu's discovery also shows that when something works it's no longer alternative medicine - it's just medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 was awarded jointly to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald "for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass". This is for discovery that neutrinos can change flavours (this is how neutrinos types are described) and the ability to do that explained why we observed different quantity of each flavour than expected. It also meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. I always liked how they hunted for neutrinos in those underground caves and the man who had the idea how to do it and that neutrinos have flavours and can switch between them was a Cold War spy.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 was awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair". I've been working in DNA repair most of my science career and one of the laureates work at the same university (and another one just next door) so I feel especially close to this one. This is the award for research on 3 main pathways of DNA repair - BER, NER and MMR. The first one is Base Excision Repair - if the DNA bases are damage (by for example oxydation) and change their properties the DNA cannot function properly so special enzymes remove the bad base and replace it with another. Nucleotide Excision Repair works in the very similar way but excises the whole nucleotides. The difference between base and nucleotide is that the base is just the A, T, C and G by themselves. Nucleotide includes also sugar that forms the structural skeleton of DNA. NER usually removes larger part of the DNA strand and then rebuilds it because the damage (like UV dimers) was so extensive it caused the deformation of the DNA structure. Mismatch Repair happens when the wrong type of base is incorporate into DNA. The bases always pair A with T and G with C. If the wrong base is incorporated then MMR comes to fix it which corrects polymerase errors and reduces replication errors 1000-fold. I'm not sure if I explain it simple enough. I spent so many years staring at the schematics of this pathways that everything seems to simplified to me. Sorry.
ellestra: (tiger)
The Martian crew worked pretty closely with NASA (including the interface design) and NASA now compares the science in the movie to the real thing on their tumblr. Another, more detailed look, at he science in the movie is on io9. Mika McKinnon gives grades to the different parts of movie science. Of course the big thing is the storms as with the book but some of the problems came with the changes they made for the movie. And here's the Rich Parnell manoeuvre in detail. And just saved for last here are some real pictures of Mars - straight from Curiosity.

And if you have enough of Mars here are photos from the Apollo program. Right there with Earth rising over the horizon and footsteps in the dust. Makes you wish this was something that's still happening, doesn't it?

Red globes

Sep. 28th, 2015 11:21 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
The biggest news today is free flowing water on Mars. Google has a doodle already. And it's been on all the websites and news and late night shows. In perfect timing all of those also run the commercials for The Martian. It's almost as if that movie PR planned it for the marketing campaign.

It was suspected before with a photos that looked like a streams but we needed to be sure.
This time we knew where and when to look and here it is. Multiple photos and spectral analysis. Just like previously suspected it is very high in salt which is why it stays liquid in Mars cold atmosphere.

And for those of you who like me couldn't see it or were just asleep last night here are photos of the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse. It's pretty in red (although the previous ones I remember and in my dads description from Poland it's more brown in real life) but all I could see through clouds was this:
ellestra: (lightning)
I was supposed to write about Doctor Who but there is something more important happening tomorrow night - Lunar Eclipse. This is the last on of four happening in the two year period and this one will hit over the Atlantic so people living on both sides of the Atlantic will see it in full (Western Europe and Africa, The whole of South America and Eastern half of North America. The people in Eastern Europe and rest of Africa and most of North America should see the full length of total Eclipse of the Moon but will miss some part of the end or beginning of the eclipse. Unless like me you are in the third day of non-stop rain and there is no hope of a break in the cloud cover. I really wanted to see this one - it will be Supermoon Eclipse so the moon looks slightly larger then usual full moon and the total eclipse hit US East Coast at very reasonable hour - just before 11 PM - so no need to wake up in the middle of the night. It woud've been perfect. But with this weather I will have to watch it online - like west Pacific coast people (don't worry Japan, Australia - you'll get your own lunar eclipse in January 2018).

And if you don't care bout any of these here something else to wait for (my dad says Netflix should start services in Poland by December).

It's almost as if she sleeping off the night spent watching lunar eclipse.


Sep. 9th, 2015 11:27 pm
ellestra: (aeryn)
Both LHC and KEK got some weird results in two different experiments that suggest possibility of new particles outside standard model. They also don't fit into the Supersymetry theory. Right now the best guesses are some new type of Higgs boson or leptoquark.

Queen Elizabeth II has become the longest reigning British monarch in history today (she just beat Victoria). It's been just over 63 years, seven months and two days since the coronation and her rule is almost at the retirement age itself.

The 10 best experiments of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's according to blastr. They use the word scientific accuracy there but we can all agree that it only works in Muppet Labs. Science is universe specific unfortunately which is why we can't just adapt the technology that put pigs in space.

I wondered what could match Miss Piggy cameo but then I saw Team SHIELD effort and I lost it at the last one. Dubsmash battle continues.

Unfortunately only one of these isn't true. Which reminds me to have my existential crisis this week - "why am I even doing this?"
ellestra: (skye daisy johnson)
The greatest thing that came out of SD Comic-Con was the Dubsmash battle between Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg (sometimes helped by the rest of MAoS cast) and Hayley Atwell and James D'Arcy (with some special guest helpers). There was some great use of Queen and Chloe's own music (from her Chinese pop-star days) and the final stab with Dirty Dancing (Jennifer Grey is Clark's wife) but I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won this one. Mostly because of the final one where Clark Gregg cries in Agent Carter's trademark suit because it should've been Coulson kissing Captain America as it was exactly how it would've happen in universe.

So now they decided to use it for good and fight to the death for charity.

The first one is already up and already the guest stars are even better than before.

In other Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. news the rumoured spin-off will actually happen after all. It will be called Marvel’s Most Wanted and will star Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse and Nick Blood as Lance Hunter. So 3 shows an ABC and 4-5 on Netflix, right? Plus the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon.

BTW, here is some information about new characters coming to Luke Cage series with Alfre Woodard probably being bad (I hope they will actually call her Black Mariah because the currently proposed name is pretty unfortunate in Polish) and another antagonist played by Mahershala Ali and the newest addition is someone who is probably Misty Knight. And Rosario Dawson will be in all Netflix Marvel stuff.

And here are some teasers for the next seasons of Agent Carter and Daredevil.

And here's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Teaser Trailer


May. 19th, 2015 11:51 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
On May 20 Planetary Society is sending the first test solar sail into Earth's orbit. You can watch the launch here tomorrow.

This first one is destined to burn in the atmosphere but this is the prototype for a actual launch next year. But they still need to secure additional founding so they have their own Kickstarter. They already almost 3x their goal but when both Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are asking nicely how can you not donate. Especially for something this awesome. It's like making science fiction happen yourself.

ellestra: (tiger)
So this is the time we learn who lives and who dies and what is coming next.

Orphan Black has already been renewed for another season. No long wait this time. CBS renewed Person of Interest, Elementary and The Good Wife (along with lots of other unimportant stuff) which means that (with all the ABC picks) I got to keep everything I wanted. CW kept everything except for Heart of Dixie and Messengers (you know that show about angels that only started a second ago and already crashed - it wasn't horrible but had problem with pacing and explaining what it was about). Also cancelled - Constantine but there is a large campaign already to save it and it has some famous backers. The full list is here.

And then there are trailers and descriptions for the new series coming next autumn. They seem to show a certain pattern. There will be Lucifer based on another DC comic book but mostly rewritten into another crime procedural with supernatural twist. Then there is Minority Report that also has a a guy with special powers pairing with female cop but this time it's in the future and so the precogs are science fiction. (Fox trying for another Sleepy Hollow?). And then there is The Frankenstein Code about man brought back to life trying solve his own murder (and many others I assume). They don't look bad (especially the Minority Report one) but I predict neither will last. It's Fox after all. NBC tries this in search for another The Blacklist. With much less genre but they have Jaimie Alexander. In Blindspot she is amnesiac woman with the tattoos pointing at dangerous crimes and a lot of special skills (fighting, languages). Looks like another superhuman on her resume (not a bad type casting). I just feel bad for her all her make-up hours. Also coming to NBC is a restart (?) of Heroes - Heroes Reborn and a new end of the world comedy that actually sounds pretty fun - You, Me And The End Of The World. And speaking of old series coming back - The X-Files miniseries got airing date. CBS will make shows based on Limitless and Rush Hour (they are digging deep into movies this year to make a police procedural, don't they) and try another shot at angels in comedy form this time - Angel From Hell. Lets see if that one will survive.

If you just want to watch all of those trailer in one place:

ellestra: (telamon)
The winner of this year Clarke Award has been announced. The award goes to Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Somewhere out there Puppies are very Sad now.

So Syfy is really getting into the whole science fiction thing. There are already many new series coming and a lot of them are adaptations of popular book series (serieses?) but the newest one is true classic. Along with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment they plan to adapt Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as a miniseries.

Large parts of Internets are hyperventilating because Martin Freeman has been cast in Captain America: The Civil War. No one knows who he will play but the most prevalent hypothesis (aside from Spiderman) is that he will be set up as a foe for Dr. Strange. Or people just want to see him share the screen with Cumberbatch again.

In more good news CBS as officially ordered Supergirl to series and iZombie got renewed for second season.

Here's the preview for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and we finally know the release dates - on 17th of May in UK and on June 13 in US.

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