A Heavenly Menage à Trois

Jupiter and Io captured by space probe Cassini

Jupiter and its moon Io

A couple of weeks ago, Jupiter had a lovely menage à trois: a spectacular triple eclipse. Three of its big moons — Europa, Callisto, and Io (shown above) — passed in front of the huge planet at the same time….and like dedicated voyeurs do, the Hubble Telescope got it all on camera. Gas giant Jupiter has 62 moons, so eclipses aren’t exactly a special occasion, but having three of its four superstar moons show up at the same time IS a special occasion. Only Ganymede (my personal fave) couldn’t stay for the fun. Imagine: if you had been standing on Jupiter, you would’ve peeped three solar eclipses at once. Side note: the moon Europa is kind of a big deal. Astronomers think that there’s life in the incredibly deep oceans under its icy surface….life as we know it, that is.

See it happen! At 00:07 look for the shadows of the 3 moons on Jupiter’s surface.

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This Is Not Science Fiction

From May to November of this year, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst was on the International Space Station. While hanging out in the stratosphere, he took thousands of snaps of Planet Earth with ultra-high-def cameras….and when he got back, he did what most techies eventually do: he made a video. But Gerst’s video is not your everyday mash-up — he edited 12,500 images of what the cameras saw from space into a stunning (and we mean stunning!) timelapse video. And he gave it a dope soundtrack.

This is Earth as extraterrestrials might see it.

SIDE NOTE: from 3:11 to 3:31, there is footage of space that is MIND. BLOWING. To say that it puts everything happening down here in perspective is an understatement.

GODSPEED: Catch the Vibe

We are moving ever forward with the sci-fi feature film called Godspeed. It’s not your grandmother’s science fiction but this project is coming together quite nicely.

We’ll let the pictures do the talking.

GODSPEED: an independent sci-fi feature film. Celia C. Peters, Writer + Director, Gina Charbonnet, Producer.

Women. Who Needs ‘Em?

BLOG_no way-sexist_tiger rugMisogyny….it’s so tired, so neanderthal — so repulsive, so useless. Yet and still, unlike the extinct pint-sized sub-species, misogyny and it’s little brother, male chauvinism, continue to live. This post could go anywhere, but we will focus on how this cancer keeps contaminating one of our fave things in the world: film.

It’s hard to believe, but in this day and age, there are still those who are seriously selling the B.S. line that a woman should not/cannot carry a film. Films like the sci-fi flick “Gravity.” Not long ago, director Alfonso Cuarón revealed that he was pressured to change the gender of the lead character of “Gravity,” played by Sandra Bullock, to be male. ( And let’s be clear: Cuarón wrote the “Gravity’s” script about this woman character with his son.)

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Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone in “Gravity” (2013)

Enough already.

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Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in “Alien” (1979).

Enough of this ridiculous knee-jerk assumption that stories of adventure, intrigue, daring or importance are testosterone territory. One of the most memorable characters in contemporary science fiction, Ripley from the “Alien” film franchise (rocked out by Sigourney Weaver), was written as a man, but director Ridley Scott thought the movie would be more interesting if Ripley was a woman. Now imagine how much less memorable “Alien” would’ve been as yet another sci-fi flick with a male protagonist battling aliens in deep space.  See how that works?

Clearly, some people (and by ‘people’, I mean pathetic men and the pea-brained women who let these dudes shape their thinking) are very resistant to the reality that women and men are equal. Not the SAME, but equal in value. Everything in science, nature and divinity confirms this. And no amount of misogyny, chauvinism, male worship or plain old wishful thinking is ever going to change that fact….so for the love of God, deal with it and stop trying to derail great storytelling with your intellectually impotent nonsense. Here’s a 21st century news flash: like so many other things once thought to be the exclusive domain of men (voting, driving, running one’s own sex life, being boss, having a bank account, and yes….even acting), the jobs of lead actor and (gasp!) even film director, have both fallen into women’s greedy little hands. And guess what? We’re not going anywhere.

After Earth: A New Day in Sci Fi?

Even though it’s still nearly a year from release, buzz is brewing about the new M. Night Shyamalan-directed, Will Smith-produced sci fi project, After Earth. The film is about a father and son who crash land on Earth a thousand years after humans have abandoned it. After the narrative fiasco called Prometheus, we desperately, desperately need new hope for American (big budget) sci fi film. After Earth actually has an interesting, novel premise — and the way that it’s come together in terms of talent, chances are (!) it won’t be the usual delusional, cliché- and stereotype-ridden Hollywood fodder. The fact that black characters will be central to a story that’s not about racism is not only unspeakably refreshing, but hopefully it’s a sign that maybe (just maybe) not everyone in Hollywood is paralyzed by an insatiable need to pander to obselete, nonsensical racial and sexual caricatures….and an exclusion of women of color as attractiveinteresting characters. (Did I mention Prometheus?) Then again, Will Smith is producing — thank heavens for high-end DIY.

In addition to starring Will Smith and young Jaden Smith, the lovely and talented Sophie Okonedo (left, Dirty Pretty ThingsHotel RwandaSkin) and equally lovely and talented Zoe Kravitz (right, Mad Max: Fury RoadX-Men: First ClassYelling to the Sun) are now also starring. This should be interesting.

SYNOPSIS:
One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

Last but not least, prolific screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana, NYPD Blue ) was  brought on board to whip the script into shape.

Good signs all around.

Check out the video teaser

LeVar Burton gives up the goods on Geordi’s sex life. Wait, what sex life?

Trekkies know the name right off the bat. For all you lay people, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge was the character rocked out by LeVar Burton (formerly Kunta Kinte on the miniseries “Roots”). Burton played Geordi on the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and in films based on the series. But what you probably don’t know is that Burton also directed many Star Trek episodes — in fact, he’s directed more episodes than any other cast member. Nice one.

But on to the sex. Burton recently (finally!) addressed the major problem that plagued Geordi throughout the series: A crap sex life. (Glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed that Geordi got no play.)

The Reading RainbowNot only is Burton a talented actor and director, but those with a good memory (or kids) know that he also hosted and executive produced “The Reading Rainbow,” a children’s reading show that was on PBS for 23 years. In June 2012, Apple released a Reading Rainbow iPad app developed by Burton and his company that became the #1 educational app within 36 hours. Damn.

On that note, this spastic ode to LeVar Burton is slightly historic, but worth revisiting. It’s hilarious and on the money: LeVar Burton is most definitely a multi-talented MF. Take that all you haters who laughed at Geordi’s VISOR.

Truth is Stranger than (Science) Fiction

Saturn and its moon, Titan

Earth is about twice as big as Titan (the little one), so imagine how massive Saturn is. Click on the photo to see them in motion.

This très cool, spooky-beautiful video by filmmaker Chris Abbas stars the planet Saturn and its moon Titan. All of these images were taken by NASA’s Cassini satellite while orbiting Saturn in 2007. (The haunting score is by Nine Inch Nails.) Every time I watch this mysterious little clip, I expect to see some alien spacecraft zip into the frame…..

SATURN AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT

By the time the Cassini spacecraft started sending these pictures back, it had been in space over 6 years. Each image took over 48 hours to reach Earth, and check it: what you see was shot more than 2 billion miles from wherever you are right now.

For more on what Cassini is up to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm