Astroengine.com Upgrade to WordPress 2.6

The newest version of WordPress was released today with loads of new features (including the long overdue wordcounter! I’m easy to please…). Most of the upgrades will make life a bit easier for me when posting new articles on Astroengine, so hopefully that will be reflected in the quality of my writing. If you want to learn more about WordPress and why this upgrade is pretty awesome, check out the online video from the developers of WordPress Version 2.6 (a.k.a. “Tyner,” after jazz pianist McCoy Tyner)…

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2012 Doomsday Article Now Available in Portuguese

A Mayan pyramid, but did the Mayans really forecast doomsday?

With a special thanks to Nisia Chaves at Chá de Camomila, my original “No Doomsday in 2012” article published on the Universe Today has been carefully translated into Portuguese. This is great as it extends the readership to countries such as Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Chinese S.A.R. of Macau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. Alas, my Portuguese is a bit rusty, so this might be a good chance to learn some important phrases from the 6th most popular language in the world. So lets start with “Nada de Juízo Final em 2012” – No Doomsday in 2012 😉
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Terra Chat Show Hosted by Colin Knight Now Online

If you missed Coln Knight’s Terra Chat (at Blog Talk Radio) show last night with me as his special guest, the hour-long interview is now online ready to be listened to at your leisure. You can navigate to Terra Chat and find out the details there, and then play the archived mp3.

Be sure to check out Colin’s efforts, he has a wide range of subjects open to discussion and you and participate by calling in and posing your own questions.

Thank you Colin for inviting me to Terra Chat, I had a great time discussing the Mayan Prophecy and all the details surrounding the science and the myth.

The mp3 file is available on Astroengine for download.

Upcoming Radio Interviews!

Monkey is very excited about his radio debut

I have two interviews coming up in the next few days. I was approached by Terra Chat on Blog Talk Radio (Canada) to have a chat on Colin Knight’s show on Sunday June 8th. Then on Tuesday June 10th, I’ll be on Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack (USA). These great invites came in response to my articles on the Mayan 2012 Prophecy and the various doomsday ideas that have been seeded from the worry surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar. Although this isn’t my specialist subject, I’m sure it will generate a good discussion! Be sure to check out the links below, hopefully you’ll be able to listen live, or even call in!

Broadcast details:

Thank you to both presenters for inviting me on their shows!

Astroengine is Back and Refreshed After a Week’s Break

The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK - Inside the Mediterranean biome

After a week on the Lizard in Cornwall, I’m back from an inspiring trip. It was great to spend some quality time with Mum and Colette and a great opportunity to take in the stunning sights of this wonderful part of the world. Naturally I spent some time finding any chance to research some stories for astroengine and managed to wander around the Goonhilly Earth Station. There is a great article to be written about this historic location, so I’ll be getting onto that soon. Also, as we’d never been, we spent today at the Eden Project near St. Austall. There are some parallels with my work with the Mars Foundation, so expect an article about this superb project too (with some interesting applications to Mars colonization)…

For now, sleep!

Daily Roundup: From Pancake Stars to Suspended Animation for Astronauts

As I’m going to be away for a week, Astroengine is going to be quiet for seven days. I’m heading down to Cornwall, UK where I hope to go to Goonhilly Earth Station (on the Lizard) to try to get some more information on its shutdown. Last year I was shocked to hear that the station and its operations were being moved to the South East, so the majority of the satellite dishes will be dismantled. This is such a shame; those dishes are synonymous with the Cornish countryside. When they’re gone it will be like a good old English cream tea, but without the scone… but hey, everything changes, but I want some answers, so I intend to get some!

So, to keep you occupied, I’ll give a rundown of my picks of the stories I’ve done for the Universe Today in the past few days…
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Astroengine.com Roundup and Opinion

It’s been a while since I last posted as I’ve been flying from the US to the UK and have only just gotten my office up and running. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing. On the Universe Today, I’ve posted quite a few articles ranging from quite an elaborate April Fools story (but not quite as elaborate as Virgin and Google’s Virgle prank), to a black hole hiding in the middle of Omega Centauri, to rocks rolling around on Mars… here’s a round up of the most interesting…
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Upgrade to WordPress 2.5

Keeping up to date with the upgrades, astroengine.com has been successfully upgraded to version 2.5. Apparently v2.5 has been in the making for six months, and I must say, everyone has done a great job. The Administration section is especially nice. Let’s see if the upgrade converts into an increase in speed…

Ouch, a few plugins are now dead, but I’ll be sure to find replacements. Feel free to point out any problems with the site as you go, sending a message to ijo@astroengine.com.

More to come…

UK Physics and Astronomy in Danger

Color composite adaptive optics image of the planetary nebula M2-9 using the ALTAIR adaptive optics system on Gemini North. Image credit: Gemini Observatory/Travis Rector, University of Alaska Anchorage

My true aim for astroengine.com is to post advanced (but interesting) space physics concepts on an informal stage. But when news like this comes along, I feel compelled to say something. In a nutshell, the UK physics and astronomy community has been hit with a series of harsh and ill thought-out budget cutbacks in recent years. Things have gotten worse since April 2007 (when the two main research councils PPARC and CCLRC merged) when all UK physics and astronomy funding started being managed by The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It would appear the main focus is to find ways to plug the £80 million funding deficit it has inherited and not to find ways to protect research projects.

So, physics and astronomy in the UK is facing cutbacks on a scale that defies intelligence. Why is a nation, as scientifically gifted as the UK, making cutbacks to research that will shape the most exciting era of science mankind has ever seen?
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