Writing for Los Angeles Family Magazine – New Science Column!

The October 2008 edition of LA Family Magazine, where my new space column features!
The October 2008 edition of LA Family Magazine, where my new space column features!

So what does Astroengine.com and Denise Richards have in common? Well, usually not a lot, but today my writing appears in the October 2008 edition of LA Family Magazine with Denise Richards featuring in the leading article. Admittedly, there’s 36 pages separating Denise from me, so the link is a little tenuous, but great nonetheless!

I was asked to become a regular columnist in this leading parenting magazine in an effort to communicate space science topics to parents and their kids. And what better way to begin than by writing about flying to the Moon!

After writing a very popular article about “How Long Does it Take to get to the Moon?” for the Universe Today, I thought this was a good place to start. The next article will tackle a bigger project, a trip to Mars…

Have a look at this month’s edition of Los Angeles Family Magazine and have a read of “Hey, Kids! Want to Go to the Moon?” (page 54)

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2012 Doomsday Debunking Article Makes Slashdot

Just a quick bit of news: my “2012: No Geomagnetic Reversal” article over at the Universe Today was posted on Slashdot.org today! This is fantastic news, as on Saturday it became “popular” on Digg.com and hit the front page. Internet traffic has therefore been a little busy for Fraser’s server of late…

Thank you to everyone who is supporting my work, these 2012 doomsday scenarios are finally being exposed for what they really are. Although some may have a dash of scientific reasoning, most are born from scaremongering and greed, so it is very good to know that the scope of this article’s readership has expanded exponentially 🙂

I am working on my next couple of articles now, so expect the completed text soon…

Cheers!

New 2012 Article Published: No Geomagnetic Reversal

The 2012 doomsday scenario: geomagnetic reversal. Not in our lifetime...
The 2012 doomsday scenario: geomagnetic reversal. Not in our lifetime...

Universe Today: 2012: No Geomagnetic Reversal

After a long four-month break, I’ve finally written my next in the “No Doomsday in 2012” series of articles. This time we tackle the prediction that the world will end on December 21st, 2012 after being subject to a massive internal disturbance, effectively weakening the Earth’s magnetic field and flipping the magnetic dipole on its head (i.e. the north magnetic pole will be shifted to the geographical South Pole and vice versa). While this makes for a cool plot for a disaster movie, the doomsayers theory is only half-baked. Yes, geomagnetic reversal has happened in the past, and it will happen again. However, any geomagnetic shift in the future will not happen in four years, it probably won’t happen for a few thousand years. It appears to be a rather chaotic system, and all the (scientific) indications suggest our strong magnetic field wont be doing anything dramatic any time soon…

The series so far:

2012: No Geomagnetic Reversal Now Available in Spanish

With a special thanks, once again, to Manuel Herman, my most recent 2012 article has been translated into Spanish. Thank you Manuel for all your hard work!

Here’s the series (so far) in Spanish:

Meet Mrs Astroengine

Deb and I in the Vegas sunlight on Saturday (Image by Colette O'Neill)
Deb and I in the Vegas sunlight on Saturday (Image by Colette O'Neill)

In case you were wondering why I was being a little quiet on Astroengine and the Universe Today recently, it’s because I got married on the weekend! Those of you who know me personally, you’ll know Deb, but if you don’t, I wanted to introduce her. So this is Debra O’Neill, my soul mate and love of my life.

We had a rather spontaneous wedding, but fortunately most of the family was able to make it, including my own from the UK. Friends as far afield as New York were able to change their plans and make it to Vegas. Thank you to everyone who made the event so special; it was a fun, entertaining and an emotional roller-coaster. Also a big thanks goes to my best man and fellow physicist, Mario, who made sure everything went smoothly (if you ever need anything organized, Mario is your man!).

So, I’m off to enjoy married life, but I’ll be sure to post more pictures of the weekend once I sort through the thousands that were taken!

Viva Las Vegas!

Astroengine is Now Bulletproof: Upgrade to WordPress 2.6.2

WordPress released a minor upgrade today for any blog running version 2.6. Although it’s not a huge deal, it is worth doing if your WordPress installation allows open registration. Although this isn’t necessarily a security risk, there is the possibility that a hacker could exploit a WordPress function to reset admin passwords to a randomly generated one, therefore freezing the administrator out of their website. The hacker doesn’t know the new password either, so this loophole is more of a frustration than anything else. Still, it would be a bugger if that happened, so Astroengine is now bulletproof with v2.6.2…

Once again, I used the automatic upgrade plugin created by Keith Dsouza and it performed flawlessly, backing everything up and then installing the whole lot over the top. Superb.

Astroengine 2.0 Launches!

Astroengine v2.0
Astroengine v2.0

After much deliberation and planning, I made the decision to give Astroengine.com a complete facelift. Although the black-background/off-white text had served me well, I noticed that the dark colour scheme was ageing pretty quickly (and giving some of my readers eye strain!). As the traffic has increased 100-fold in the last six months, I thought it was a good time to launch a brand new image, using a professional template that I could easily customize…
Continue reading “Astroengine 2.0 Launches!”

Astroengine is Now Vibrating at a New Resonance: Upgrade to WordPress Version 2.6.1

Not a huge announcement this one. Not even news worthy. Just upgraded Astroengine to WordPress 2.6.1.

The only reason I mention it is because it took me three minutes to backup the database, all the files, switch off the plugins, display the “site under maintenance” page, upload all the new files, unpack them, install them, fire up all the plugins and verify the whole lot is ticking along as it should. I used to put aside a couple of hours to do an upgrade, catering for all unforeseen eventualities, sometimes crashing the whole site and bugging the WordPress forums for advice. But not today! WordPress 2.6 has a crispy-neat automatic upgrade function that does everything (and more), ensuring I had a trouble-free upgrade. It was like having a little electrician rewiring the house in record time with no fuss over getting paid.

Superb, thanks Keith Dsouza for developing the WordPress Automatic Upgrade! It made Astroengine.com very happy.

Anyhow, that’s me for the night, I’m off to see the huge lightning storm outside…

Astroengine Data Gathering

Astroengine needs your input
Astroengine needs your input

Astroengine.com has been in operation for a few years now, but since I began doing some serious space writing in late 2007 the site underwent a major facelift and became what you see today: A space science news blog. As time goes on I will be increasing the frequency at which I update Astroengine – it might be a lot of writing but it will be worth it. During my time researching space articles for Astroengine and my science writing for the Universe Today, I try to find as much original stuff as possible, but often settle of interesting news that is already out there. This is where you can help. If you have anything you would like me to write about, feel free to drop me a line. I recently did this for a regular Astroengine reader who wanted something written about the Higgs boson, a topic I hadn’t thought about addressing. The article was then Dugg like crazy, killing the server more than once! So if you have an idea and want to have a chance at overwhelming Astroengine with traffic, contact me with your idea and I’ll see what can be done.

So, after eight months of space news, I’d like to get your feedback about how Astroengine is shaping up and how you think it could be improved. After all, Astroengine is driven by you, so your views are very important…
Continue reading “Astroengine Data Gathering”

Want to Keep Up with Astroengine Articles? Why not Sign Up for Regular Email Updates…

As Astroengine.com grows, I’ve noticed a lot of returning visitors. I update the site daily with new research from various institutions, popular space science news and stories that wouldn’t normally see the light of day on the Internet. With the help of Feedburner.com, Astroengine.com sends out daily emails (one per day) so you can have any updates delivered directly to your inbox. If you want to sign up (at no cost and free of spam), click on the following link and follow the instructions.

I’ll look forward to seeing you soon!

Sign me up for the daily email from Astroengine.com

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Thank you for stopping by!

Ian (Astroengine editor)

Astroengine Goes to Hollywood: “Fly Me to the Moon” Premier

Legendary astronaut and second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin. A really nice chap (© Ian O'Neill & Astroengine.com)
Legendary astronaut and second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin. A really nice chap (© Ian O'Neill & Astroengine.com)

In a very fortunate chain of events, I was asked by Fraser to go to the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Blvd. (LA) for the “Fly Me to the Moon” movie premier. I can’t review the film as yet (we have to wait until the film opens on August 15th for that), but I can give a run-down of who was at the premier and what the new animated feature is all about. Personally, I had a great day, fulfilling my dream of meeting legendary ex-astronaut Buzz Aldrin and legendary British actor Tim Curry…
Continue reading “Astroengine Goes to Hollywood: “Fly Me to the Moon” Premier”