This is pretty entertaining: "Armchair astronaut" David Martines claims to have discovered a mysterious structure on the surface of Mars by using Google Earth (well, Google Mars). His YouTube video of the "station" has racked up 852,000 views so far; in it, he claims to have discovered the anomaly while examining Mars using Google's handy tool, and estimates its size to be 700 feet by 150 feet. Check out his simulated voyage to Mars in the vid:

Perhaps this suggests why so many missions to Mars were destined to fail.... Here's what it looks like:

Click the image to see the Daily Mail article.

One news source points out the "red and blue painted stripes" on the station's structure. Hm. Last I checked, NASA hasn't yet responded to the announcement, but we can expect to hear from them soon. If not... I say silence = knowledge! ;-)

Secret alien science station, secret Space Defense Services outpost, or something more mundane? So: A poll!

[Poll #1749585]
PS: Is it just me, or are many people experiencing failures of the interwebs - specifically, I can't see iframes, videos, and many images, including descriptions on eBay. I use IE7 and Firefox on Windows 7, and both are experiencing the same failure... perhaps something to do with Mars Station?

Over on Facebook, I got myself involved in a debate on religion. I know, I know; I should know better. But it's fun, y'know? Anyhow, what prompted the debate was this article on the BBC about how relgions go extinct. Good stuff.

Anyhow, it got me thinking about my interactions there and over here, and I'm curious about my friends' religious beliefs. Am I just living in an insulated bubble as described in that article, or are those national polls on religion just manipulated? So, a poll!

Here it is, a Google Docs poll so anyone can use it: Are you religious? What social networking tools do you use?

I'm in the midst of planning for my spring "Science, Technology, & Society: Examining the Future Through a Science Fiction Lens" course, and was researching a bit for interesting material. Here's some of what I found.

Are you the very model of a singularitarian?

Speaking of transcendental or catastrophic change, this book on Armageddon Science looks interesting. Here's an interesting interview with the author, discussing various end-of-humankind scenarios.

[Poll #1659680]
Later: How do we avoid such scenarios?

In related news, have you seen the Google Ngram Viewer? Interesting tool for seeing word usage in the books that Google has scanned. Note how "natural philosophy" reaches peak usage in the early 1800s, while "fuck" saw its peak usage from the late 1600s to the early 1700s, appearing almost not at all from the early 1800s through the 1960 or so. "Extinction" doesn't see much regular use until the late 1700s, becoming more popular ever since. What can we learn from these trends? Just sayin'.

Singularitarianly yours,
Howdy! In less than two weeks is the launch of my novel, Transcendence, and I need to figure out where to hold the post-bookstore-event party, how many might be coming, what I should prepare, and so forth. Help!

[Poll #1636331]
If you have any other ideas or comments, I'd love to hear 'em in comments. Thanks!
In case you missed my book-research poll last week, here are the results.

Interesting and useful information for writers, though not entirely surprising. Looks like most people (from my LJ-friends survey pool) still much prefer print books, and recommendations from friends (and others, per Amazon's method) are still how we usually find new books and authors.

The most interesting observation I made (to be borne out by experiment, of course) is that giving away books with a means to get donations from downloaders might well bring in more revenue than selling ebooks. Ponder that for a bit.

Thanks to all who contributed!

Hi folks -

So I have a book coming out in late October or early November, so it's time to start thinking about how to prepare. I plan to give away the book electronically via my website, plus it'll be available as a Kindle book among other formats. When it hits the shelves, I plan to partake in a book tour or two, with readings and signings and more, and give away signed copies and so forth... but I'm unsure how much of this would actually be useful without knowing more. So: A poll!

[Poll #1600753]

Yesterday's big news was all about Stephen Hawking's warning against seeking out aliens. Why? Because they're likely to turn out to be Space-Vikings intent on stealing our land and pillaging our women! Or something like that.

Click the image to see the story.

The opposite view is that any species advanced enough to travel interstellar distances will have needed to learn cooperation on a massive scale, would have survived internal conflicts long enough to do so, and would have likely passed through the technological Singularity. What do you think?

[Poll #1556972]

This is just too cool. Had to share (from Richard Wiseman's blog):

Click the image to see the blog entry.

[Poll #1446409]
[Poll #1403385]

If you need a hint, click the image to see the full story.

Give up? click for a hint! )
mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (can't take the sky from me)
( Jun. 15th, 2008 02:14 pm)
I just finished reading an article about women voters, and though I agreed with many of the premises, it also seemed to ring untrue in other ways. (I'll post a link later; don't want to influence your voting.)

So, a poll! The results are locked, so you can be honest with your answers without worrying about becoming a social outcast for your choice. I'll post anonymous results early in the week.
[Poll #1205282]
Okay, there's a new getting-to-know-you meme going around, and I filled one out, so I agreed to share it here. Plus, y'know, I like getting to know you.

It doesn't matter if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Just copy the list and paste it into a comment, then answer there. Short and sweet is fine. Oh, and feel free to add one you think is missing. Then go and post the list yourself on your own LJ.

I'm screening comments, but will unscreen if you'd like. So, the questions!
the questions )
Hey, folks: Who's interested in seeing The Golden Compass this evening? Say, at 6:50 or 7:30?

Gosh, sounds like time for another poll! *g*

[Poll #1102283]
mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (star-forming nebula)
( Dec. 7th, 2007 09:21 am)
Thanks to everyone for voting in the "Astro-image of the day" poll from yesterday. Results are 24:5 for not putting the images behind an LJ-cut, so they'll remain visible as they've been so far. Also, a slight majority preferred bigger versions of the images. However, because some people's LJs cannot support image widths over 500 pixels and in defernce to the five who would rather not see these images in their LJ friends list, I'll not be upping the image size to 600, instead leaving them at 500 with links as before to the original page(s) that usually contain much larger versions if people choose to view those.

So, after all that, I'll not be changing my AIotD posts at all! Hm. There you go: Sometimes a poll just verifies that you're doing the right thing.

Thanks again!
In my most recent "Astro-image of the day" post about Mars, I used a 600-pixel-wide image instead of 500, as I've used for months. This makes a larger, prettier image, but might mess up people's LJ Friends view. On the other hand, people might like even bigger images! So a poll:
[Poll #1101676]
To help you decide on your favorite image width, below are a variety of examples of this same image in different sizes. click to see the different sizes of image )
After thinking a lot about [ profile] jaylake's recent political posts, I got to thinking about liberalism and conservatism and how most people really don't know what those terms mean any more. So I made up this poll to get a feel for where my LJ friends stand in real liberal or conservative terms. This is pretty general, and just covers the highest level of the social and fiscal arenas.
[Poll #837007]


mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Default)


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