Archive for September, 2010

Congrats, Smallville—you have outdone yourself! For the show’s 10th and final season, producers have scored perhaps their biggest (maybe even the biggest possible) casting coup: They’ve snagged erstwhile Lois Lane Teri Hatcher to play mom to Erica Durance’s Lois Lane!

I know what you’re thinking: But Lois’ mom, Ella, is dead! Follow along now…

In episode 8, titled “Abandoned,” Lois discovers old videotapes of her mother. I think you can figure the rest out for yourself. Am I right?

As you know, Hatcher spent four years playing Superman’s soul mate on ABC’s The New Adventures of Lois and Clark. The fact that the Desperate Housewives star was game to do this speaks volumes about her appreciation for that role (and the role it played in her future career). I’m sure they’re also paying her well, too. Source:

On October 31st 2010, AMC will launch it’s 90 minute debut of The Walking Dead. This tv series is sure to make zombie fans groan for more.

‘Teenage Spaceman’ video making competition winning entry directed by: Matthew Harris

An artist rendering shows the four inner planets of the Gliese 581 system and their host star.

Gliese 581g may be the new Earth.

A team of astronomers from the University of California and the Carnegie Institute of Washington say they’ve found a planet like ours, 20 light years (120 trillion miles) from Earth, where the basic conditions for life are good.

“The chances for life on this planet are 100 percent,” Steven Vogt, a UC professor of astronomy and astrophysics says. “I have almost no doubt about it.”

The planet is three times the size of Earth, but the gravity is similar.

Dr. Elizabeth Cunningham, planetarium astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, says the discovery is a huge deal.

“It could have liquid water on the surface,” she said. “That’s the first step to find life.” Continue reading

In 2002, Volkswagen designed a concept car that could go 100 kilometers on 1 liter of fuel, equivalent to about 235 mpg. This year, Volkswagen shows off the second generation of the 1 liter concept, the L1, with the intention of production by 2013. Using an extremely light and aerodynamic body and a diesel-electric parallel hybrid power train, the new L1 falls short of its fuel efficiency goal, requiring 1.38 liters of diesel to cover 100 kilometers, or 170 mpg. Still, not bad.

The L1's cabin uses virtual rearview mirrors and instruments.

 Volkswagen designers looked at glider design to evolve the L1 concept, resulting in a narrow body with two seats in tandem, the single passenger consigned to a rear seat. Access to the L1 is through a hinged canopy, which should inspire Top Gun fantasies for the driver. Furthering those fantasies are the camera-based rearview OLEDs, offering a 180 degree view behind the car. In keeping with the high-tech cabin, the speedometer and other instruments are all virtual. Although we didn’t see a stereo in the cabin, there are volume controls on the steering wheel.

However much the cabin might inspire feelings of piloting a fighter jet, the performance will make the driver envy scooter riders. The L1 takes 14.3 seconds to get to 62 mph. However, the top speed is a reasonable 99 mph. To power the L1, Volkswagen developed a new .8-liter version of its TDI engine with only two cylinders. The driver can select between Eco and Sport modes: in the former, the engine produces 27 horsepower, while in Sport it peaks at 39 horsepower. Being a diesel, its torque is much higher, hitting 74 pound-feet at 1,900rpm.

Although narrow, the L1 sits on four wheels.

Where Volkswagen gets really clever is incorporating a hybrid system into its seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). The DSG transmission uses two computer-controlled clutches to provide automated shifting with manual transmission performance. A 13 horsepower electric motor situated between propeller shaft and transmission supplies additional power to the car. The motor is powered by electricity from a lithium ion battery pack in the front of the car. As a hybrid, it has a start-stop system, shutting down the engine when stopped in traffic. With its 10 liter fuel tank, Volkswagen estimates a range of 416 miles.

Although the L1 may not seem all that practical, the research that went into designing it, including engineering the hybrid system into the DSG, could be applied to other cars, increasing their efficiency.

Source: CNET

Librarian Blogs worth looking at

One of the best things that a blog can do right, whether it is a library blog or a personal blog, is be relevant, informative and current. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Burns maintains one of the main blogs for the School Library Journal called “A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy”. She is employed by SLJ, but does not hesitate to clearly voice that her opinions may not represent her boss. She demonstrates that this is the place to stay in tune with news regarding young adult books. If you are looking for reviews and alternative blogs written from other perspectives, you can find links to blogs that are written by teenagers, librarians, teachers, reviews, critiques…etc. Some of her most recent discussions include banned books week titles and reviews of new YA novels. I have found her to be a valued contributor for me in learning about young adult resources that are available. For example, I was introduced to this website which enabled me to get a virtual cornucopia of perspectives on various librarian blogs. Here is a list of some of the typical blog links that are posted: Continue reading

Set in the not-so-far future of 2015, Michael J. Fox’s time traveling adventure “Back to the Future 2” features some seriously cool futuristic gadgets — perhaps none more sought after than the hoverboard.

But while the hoverboard may still be a few years off, another impressive invention straight from the Hollywood’s future could be coming to a shoe store near you within months: the self-lacing Power Laces shoe.

Developed by amateur tinkerer Blake Bevin, the Power Laces Shoe (version 2.5) was inspired by the classic ’80s movie and was created in less than five months, with no formal electronics training. Continue reading

What the heck is Web 2.0?

Before I started the 747 class this semester I had never heard of the term “Web 2.0” In fact when I searched for “Web 2.0″ on Google I had  nearly 100 million search results. So what is it really? Can you tell by looking at it that it is definitively Web 2.0? And what difference does it make? In this post I’d like to examine some of  these questions, but to properly frame the discussion, we must ask what was Web 1.0?

The Internet Now and Then

Back in the early days of the Internet, everything was text. Browsers weren’t exactly what we think of them today. In fact, the internet was accessed via command lines, which were not practical for the standard user. Everything changed when hypertext was introduced and navigation became a point and click task and an easier operation for the common user. Hence the World Wide Web came into existence. Continue reading

Publishers Weekly

This sequel to Shiver is a bridge book through and through, designed to push the story forward, presumably to the third and final installment of Stiefvater’s bestselling series about werewolves. But whereas Shiver was tight as a drum in its focus on the intense, star-crossed romance between werewolf Sam and Grace, the ordinary girl who loves him, this book meanders. Again Stiefvater switches points of view, but between four characters now: Sam and Grace, still in love and still facing threats to said love; Isabel, who recently lost a brother to the wolves; and Cole, newly a werewolf. Sometimes these switches occur multiple times within the same chapter, which can make for confusing reading with respect to who is doing or thinking what. Stiefvater expands the story to include complications with Grace’s health and her parents, Sam’s reluctance to care for new werewolves, and Isabel’s growing connection to Cole even as he desperately seeks escape from his old life. While this book does not stand on its own, it sets the stage for an explosive third installment. Ages 13-18.

The BBC has announced that John Barrowman and Eva Myles are set to return to their roles as Captain Jack Harness and Gwen Cooper for a fourth ten part series of Torchwood.

Having secured additional funding from an American cable network, Starz Entertainment (the station behind the lavishly violent Spartacus: Blood And Sand), the series will reportedly expand upon its Cardiff confines and will, according to the BBC, “include locations in the US and around the world.” Continue reading