Missed the recycling of planet earth or the 2012 apocalypse as predicted by the Mayans? How about the Rapture? Or even the millennium bug? Well, fear not, those of you who look upon the destruction of the world with the eagerness of a 1999 Star Wars fanboy looking at the first trailers of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sir Isaac Newton says you'll finally get to act out your juvenile Road Warrior fantasies in the year 2060.
Sir Isaac Newton predicted the world would end in the year 2060, scribbling the date on a piece of paper, according to theories uncovered by academics in Jerusalem.
Hey, this was the guy who pretty much laid the groundwork for physics, so it must be true! Never mind his other occult interests.
Meanwhile, we've come to the point where the spectra of exoplanets have, in the words of Ars Technica, become "boring." But a boring spectrum "doesn't mean boring results."
In the case of GJ 436b, the hot Neptune, there are two possible explanations for the lack of observed features in the spectrum: either the planet has an atmosphere that's nearly devoid of hydrogen, or it's covered in a layer of high clouds. Right now, the error bars of their measurements encompass models of both of these options, but they say that some additional observation time will allow them to rule one or the other out.
Something tells me the late Hal Clement would love this data. Such exotic atmospheres would make Mission of Gravity look like a child's physics primer.
Here's a list of of 20 underrated science fiction movies. On the whole, there's a lot I like about it, though some are blind spots for me. (Nicolas Roeg's adaptation of Tevis's fine novel The Man Who Fell to Earth is unwatchable, I think.) I have no idea how I ever missed Rainer Werner Fassbinder's World on a Wire, which sounds like something I'd eat up with gravy ladles. And I take issue with the term "underrated" for some of these. Based on conversations I've had with genre fans, things like Sleeper, Brazil, and Solaris seem to be among the best science fiction has to offer. I also wish some lesser-known titles like The Quiet Earth and Strange Days made the cut. Still, I have to give props to any list that suggests Dark City or La Jetee.
Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. A member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, his work has appeared in The Horror Zine, Tell-Tale Press, Skull Fragments: A Skelos Sampler, Rick Klaw's Rayguns Over Texas!, Nova Express, Moving Pictures, Her Majesty's Secret Servant, and Revolution SF. His film column "Watching the Future" appeared each month at Hugo Award-winning SF Signal.
He lives in Central Texas.