Archive for June, 2010

Fantastic Voyage

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the 1966 Sci Fi film classic “Fantastic Voyage” with the all star cast of Stephen Boyd as Grant, Raquel Welch as Cora, Edmond O’Brien as General Carter, Donald Pleasence as Dr. Michaels, Arthur O’Connell as Colonel Donald Reid, William Redfield as Captain Bill Owens and Arthur Kennedy as Dr. Duval.

For those of you who are viewing this film for the very first time you are in for a visual treat. So prepare to be miniaturized to microscopic dimensions as we take a Fantastic Voyage into the inner space of the human body.

Here is the basic plot line without any major spoilers:

The United States and the Soviet Union have both developed technology that allowed matter to be miniaturized using a process that shrinks individual atoms, but its value is limited. Objects only stay miniaturized for a limited amount of time depending on how much miniaturization the object undergoes.

Scientist Jan Benes, working behind the Iron Curtain, has figured out how to make the shrinking process work indefinitely. With the help of the CIA, he escapes to the West, but an attempted assassination leaves him comatose, with a blood clot in his brain. To save his life, Charles Grant (the agent who extracted him, played by Stephen Boyd), pilot Captain Bill Owens (William Redfield), Dr. Michaels (who is later revealed to have a fear of small spaces, played by Donald Pleasence), surgeon Dr. Peter Duval (Arthur Kennedy) and his assistant Cora Peterson (Raquel Welch) board a specially designed nuclear submarine, the Proteus, which is then miniaturized and injected into Benes. The ship is reduced to one micrometre in length, giving the team only one hour to repair the clot; after that, the submarine will begin to revert to its normal size and become large enough for Benes’ immune system to detect and attack.

For those of you who enjoyed this movie and would like to explore the Sci Fi concept of miniaturization further allow me to suggest the following:

Isaac Asimov’s novelisation of the film classic and the novel “Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain”, also written by Isaac Asimov as an attempt to develop and present his own story apart from the 1966 screenplay. This novel is not a sequel to the original, but instead is a separate story taking place in the Soviet Union with an entirely different set of characters.

By far my most favorite novel in this series is Kevin J. Anderson’s “Fantastic Voyage: Microcosm” which is a third interpretation of the Fantastic Voyage Universe published in 2001. This version has the crew of the Proteus explore the body of a dead alien that crash-lands on earth, and updates the story with such modern concepts as nanotechnology (replacing killer white cells).

A comic book adaptation of the film was released by Gold Key Comics in 1967. Drawn by industry legend Wally Wood, the book followed the plot of the movie with general accuracy, but many scenes were depicted differently and/or outright dropped, and the ending was given an epilogue similar as that seen in some of the early draft scripts for the film.

A 3D remake of this “Fantastic Voyage” is slated for release in 2013.And now without further adieu we present the 1966 Sci Fi film classic Fantastic Voyage!!!

Fantastic Voyage (1966) You can view the movie via this link!!!

Primaries for Australia?

The two American political parties usually select their candidates through open primaries, where ordinary voters not just party members, get to vote. Recently their has been experiments with primaries in Australia. The Labor Party in Kilsyth, Victoria and the Nationals in Tamworth NSW.
I’m open minded n the subject. I can see considerable advantages, more democratic, likely to get a wide range of nominees and a candidate that the electorate will like. However I have concerns over cost and that the opposing party could shaft you by sending its supporters to vote for the worst candidate.
Having said that I will be watching developments with interest and would like to see all parties doing experiments with primaries.

Through The Wormhole – Is Time Travel Possible?

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the third episode of a new documentary series that premiered on the Science Channel in the United States on Wednesday June 9th entitled “Through the Wormhole” and hosted by veteran actor Morgan Freeman.

In the third installment of this exciting new series we explore the exciting possibility of travelling through the fourth dimension of time and take an odyssey into the deep distant past and into far-flung futurity.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity says that time travel is perfectly possible — if you’re going forward. Finding a way to travel backwards requires breaking the speed of light, which so far seems impossible. But now, strange-but-true phenomena such as quantum nonlocality, where particles instantly teleport across vast distances, may give us a way to make the dream of traveling back and forth through time a reality.

Step into a time machine and rewrite history, bring loved ones back to life, control our destinies. But if we succeed, what are the consequences of such freedom? Will we get trapped in a plethora of paradoxes and multiple universes that will destroy the fabric of the universe?

Copyright: Science Channel

Through The Wormhole – Is Time Travel Possible?

Through The Wormhole – Is Time Travel Possible? Also on YouTube.

How the Earth Changed History – Water World

Today on Discovery Enterprise we are presenting a brand new series entitled “How the Earth Changed History” hosted by Iain Stewart with the first episode entitled “Water World”.

National Geographic Channel first aired “How the Earth Changed History: Water World” on Sunday June 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. ET. This was the first of five episodes debuting between June 20 – 22, 2010. National Geographic Channel is taking viewers from deep beneath the crust of the earth to the skies to look back at how Planet Earth has helped shaped human history, and how history has shaped the earth.

How the Earth Changed History: Water World is the first of five episodes of the series. The other episodes include Beneath the Crust, The Skies Above, the Gift of Fire and The Human Era.

Water is the planet’s essential lifeblood. Water is constantly transforming itself, shifting between guises and from place to place. Of all our planet’s forces, perhaps none has greater power over us. Our struggle to control it has been behind the rise and fall of some of our greatest civilizations throughout history.

In Africa the show rediscovers how early communities found water underground in the desert, and how this guided their food supply and economy. Viewers joined Prof. Stewart on a trek to Cherrapunji, India, where average annual rainfall approaches 40 feet, to see how an overabundance of water has created the need for an engineering partnership between man and nature in the form of bridges grown from the roots of trees. These beautiful and ancient constructions take hundreds of years to grow and only get stronger as they grow older.

In Iceland, the viewer follows the never-ending cycle of water as it rises from the oceans to clouds from which it rains down and forms rivers, then is bound up as ice or stored below the Earth’s surface, only to return to the oceans and repeat the cycle again.

How the Earth Changed History – Water World

The X-15: America’s first reusable Spaceplane

Neil Armstrong with X-15 ship 1960

I have posted a few articles on spaceplanes recently so its a good time to remember the mighty X-15, America’s first spaceplane.

In Search of Eden and the Beginnings of Civilization

Today on Discovery Enterprise we are going to take a trip back in time in Search of the mythical Garden of Eden and the beginnings of civilization. Whether or not you believe in the veracity of the biblical account, both of today’s video features contain a wealth of information concerning the origin of the first civilization to emerge on our planet – The Sumerians.

Time Life Lost Civilizations – Mesopotamia: Return to Eden

Mesopotamia “land between the rivers, ” is a name for the Tigris-Euphrates region in the eastern Mediterranean, largely corresponding to Iraq, as well as northeastern Syria, some parts of southeastern Turkey, and some parts of the Khuzestan Province of southwestern Iran. Widely considered as the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumerian,Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. In the Iron Age, it was ruled by the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire, and later conquered by the Achaemenid Empire. It mostly remained under Persian rule until the 7th century Islamic conquest of the Sassanid Empire.

Time Life Lost Civilizations

Actor Sam Waterston hosts this ten-part series that revisits ancient cultures on four continents. Dramatic re-enactments recall key historic events, and attractive location footage provides viewers with interesting information about the featured cultures. This episode examines the culture of the ancient Sumerians, who once lived in an area that’s now part of Iraq. Some historians believe that these people built the world’s earliest civilization.

Mysteries of The Garden of Eden

In the Bible, the Garden of Eden is an earthly paradise taken away as punishment for the sins of humankind. But, is it possible that scientific evidence can prove that the Garden really existed?

Now, DECODING THE PAST devotes its authoritative resources to exploring the true nature behind this legendary place. According to the Bible, Eden is located east of Israel, where the Tigris, Euphrates, Pison, and Gihon rivers meet. The latter two rivers have long been considered mere fable; however, recent satellite photography suggests they did in fact exist in Iraq. In this captivating program, learn how traditions of a paradise lost are surprisingly common and consistent across many cultures, and sift through the scientific evidence to determine whether today s technology can go as far as proving the Garden s existence.

Featuring cutting-edge satellite imagery and interviews with renowned scholars, MYSTERIES OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN decodes an age-old story about how paradise was lost, and where it might be found.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present another delightful and informative documentary concerning the enduring legend and quintessential Renaissance man – Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo was a man who came from humble beginnings who sort to remake, and redefine his life. In a very violent world he sort to create beauty and master the forces of nature.

Today’s hour and half documentary “Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By” recreates the world, the historical epoch and political milieu, with all its intrigues and assignations, of Leonardo society with magnificent vivacity.

The program covers some of the major events and influences in Da Vinci’s life. This not only served to humanize this great historical figure but also chronicle the formation of a great genius. Da Vinci was 1452, the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary named Ser Piero and Caterina, a poor farmer’s daughter. As the boy grew to manhood a new intellectual endeavor was to take hold, humanism, a study of every aspect of man. Science, philosophy and art would begin to displace the dark ages. His prospects for life where bleak, as a bastard child he would not inherit any financial security, business or even a family name. For most illegitimacy was a dead end, a sentence of poverty. Young Leonardo had something few had, imagination, and that is what made a difference.

Leonardo started life in a world of violence. Men wore armor under their fine clothes. Bodyguards and food tasters surrounded the rich and powerful. For the lower class life was cheap. Leonardo sought to associate with a guild, but his dubious birthright would bar him from that way out. Only his artistic talent could possibly save him. It was here that Da Vinci learned that artist had access to the powerful. The rich and prosperous would commission paintings and statues. A talented man could make a name for himself among the power brokers of the day. He could work on art destined for the leading family of Florence, the Medici.

The show also has an excellent recreation of the Easter Sunday attack on the infamous Medici family in Florence. The young Da Vinci saw warfare first hand resulting in several of his early innovations. The young man became infatuated with the mechanics of war which lead to his designs of what would now be called SUCBA gear and reinforced tanks. While working with the master artist, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo learned the self disciplines that would make him a perfectionist. He also sees that although his master is not high born he is treated with respect among the powerful. At twenty years of age he has finally earned the rights to join a guild but opts to remain with his former master. Although gifted beyond his peers Leonardo had doubts of working on his own. The young man refused to eat meat, he felt that nature was the ultimate in engineering and art and refused to devour any living creature.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By