The Western Lines

August 24, 2010

Travelling Through Time

Time travel has been the staple of science fiction novels, television programs and major motion ever since H.G. Wells first penned his classic prototypical scientific romance “The Time Machine” in 1895.

However, when time travel appears in Sci-Fi there is usually very little description of how the time machine actually works or the science underlying the principles of its operation. In reality there is a scientific basis to the notion of voyaging through time and it is firmly rooted in the physics of both special and general relativity as revealed by Albert Einstein in the miracle year of 1905 and during the war torn year of 1915.

In pervious postings in Discovery Enterprise we have presented the work of American physicist Ron Mallet and others who have been inspired by Einstein’s work to look at the possibility of time travel as a serious proposition.

Einstein revealed to us that the space-time continuum, in which our universe is embedded, is malleable and that both space and time may be interchangeable physical structures.

In today’s instalment of the acclaimed documentary series “Sci Fi Science” host Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist by profession and Sci Fi fan at heart, looks at the possibility of taking the seemingly impossible physics of time travel out of the realm of science fiction and into dominion of scientific and technological reality.

Sci Fi Science How to Travel Through Time


July 30, 2010

Weekend Science Fiction Line-up: Dark Skies

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Conspiracy Theory,Dark Skies,Science Fiction,UFOs — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Frank Bach (J. T. Walsh) shows John Loengard (Eric Close) alien technology

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the first in a series of weekend Science Fiction features. We begin our focus on a television series that had the potential to be the greatest government UFO conspiracy theory based television dramas of all time – Dark Skies, soon to be released on DVD in the United States and the United Kingdom.

This series had the potential to exceed even the X-files in popularity. Yet it was cancelled after just one season.

Much of what follows comes from an article posted on Wikipedia concerning the series an accompanying episode guide.

Dark Skies aired during the 1996-1997 season for 18 episodes, plus a two-hour pilot episode. The success of The X-Files on Fox proved there was an audience for genre shows, resulting in NBC commissioning this proposed competitor following a pitch from producers Bryce Zabel and Brent Friedman. The series debuted September 21, 1996 on NBC, and was later rerun by the Sci-Fi Channel. Its tagline was, “History as we know it is a lie.”

The history of the twentieth century, according to the series, as we know it is a lie.

Aliens have been among us since the late 1940s, but a government cover-up has protected the public from such knowledge. As the series progresses, we follow John Loengard and Kim Sayers through the 1960s as they attempt to foil the plots of the alien Hive. The Hive is an alien race that planned to invade Earth through a manipulation of historical events and famous figures, including most notably the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In addition, the pair must stay one step ahead of a covert government agency that has mixed motives, the infamous – Majestic 12.

The show featured a number of real-life 1960’s personalities in the plot, such as The Beatles, Robert Kennedy, Jim Morrison, Carl Sagan and J. Edgar Hoover.

Although the last episode produced provides some form of closure for the series, the show’s creators had originally hoped to create five seasons, as indicated by the show’s “Bible” or major planning document. According to Zabel and Friedman’s original plan, the pilot and first season (given the overall title “Official Denial”) would cover the period from 1962 to 1969, the second season (“Progenitor”) 1970 to 1976, the third season (“Cloak of Fear”) 1977 to 1986, the fourth season (“New World Order”) would cover 1987 to 1999, and the fifth and final season (“Stroke of Midnight”) would break from the decade-spanning format to encompass the apocalyptic final conflict against the invaders, taking place from 2000 to 2001.

The Hive

The series depicts The Hive as an alien species who are covertly invading Earth. They are a parasitic race of small multi-legged spider-like beings that can take control of host bodies, by attaching themselves to the brain. They do this by entering through orifices on the head, commonly the mouth, though they are also shown to enter by squeezing through the nose and ears, with great discomfort to the host. Due to the way they attach themselves to the brain’s ganglion regions, the series’ protagonists dub the creatures “Ganglions”.

Various stages from Alpha to Delta occur which show varying degrees of the infection.

Initial symptoms of take-over include drastic mood swings, behavioural abnormalities, and nervous breakdowns, as the parasite adjusts to taking control of the person’s mind. Past medical records of a nervous breakdown are a tell-tale sign that someone may have been taken over. The Gamma and Delta stages are where the Hive organism takes total control over the host which becomes nothing more than a shell for the invading organism.

Not all humans make acceptable hosts for the Ganglions. Due to certain genetic factors, a minority of humans are incompatible with the Ganglions’ biology: these have been dubbed “Throwbacks”. There are several cases where a group of people were abducted and taken over by Ganglion parasites, but a Throwback in the group wasn’t infected and simply returned (often because it would be too conspicuous to kill them). Captured Ganglion parasites have been injected with the blood of Throwbacks, causing them to die in agony. The Hive is running various experiments to try to either eliminate Throwbacks or develop more humans who are easier to control, such as growing cloned human babies in cows.
Some time ago, the Ganglions invaded an advanced alien race, dubbed the “Greys”: the typical depiction of a Roswell Grey Alien. The Greys were a race not unlike humans though they possessed technology making them capable of interstellar travel. The Ganglion parasites invaded them in much the same way that they’re trying to invade Earth now, and by the time they realized what was happening it was too late. Thus the “Grey aliens” seen abducting humans are really just as much a slave race or “shells” for the Ganglions as the infected humans are.

The Hive’s language, Thhtmaa, was developed by Reed College linguistics professor Matt Pearson.

When the Ganglions were evolving, apparently before they took over other animals as hosts, they did have a natural predator: slug-like creatures called “buzz worms”. They have actually brought samples of the buzz worms along with them with their ships, using them as a particularly gruesome means of executing their own kind.

View an exciting preview of the entire series before purchasing the soon to be released DVD set which is sure to be a major collector’s item in years to come.

Author’s Note: Dark Skies is an unfinished saga which offers great potential in reviving this series through the efforts of fans world wide via the media of fan fiction and motion picture. You, dear readers can make that happen.

Dark Skies Intro – UFO Sci-Fi TV Show
Carl Sagan character in Dark Skies

July 15, 2010

Real Terminator Robots

Robots that think, move like humans and fight our wars. Imagine a world where Real Terminator Robots really exist and have abrogated Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.

At leading universities and covert government labs, robots are now being developed in man’s image; cyborgs with superhuman strength, machines that may eventually be able to make decisions, even kill on their own. But will these very robots designed to protect us ultimately turn on their masters?

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present another episode of the highly acclaimed series “That’s Impossible” – Real Terminators narrated by Jonathan Frakes. According to the show’s producers these nightmarish possibilities may very well be just on the horizon.

That’s Impossible – Real Terminators

The Sad Passing of Science Fiction Author James P. Hogan

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,James P Hogan,Science Fiction — ralphbuttigieg @ 4:45 am

We at Discovery Enterprise would like to bid one last farewell to James P. Hogan, one of the twentieth century’s great science fiction authors who passed away last Monday, July 12, 2010. And, I know that my fellow writers at Discovery Enterprise – Dennis Chamberland, Ralph Buttigieg and Michael Lombardi share with me a great sadness at his sudden passing.

James P. Hogan was the author of “Inherit the Stars” and thirty other hard science fiction novels. Three of his highly acclaimed novels “Inherit the Stars”, “The Multiplex Man” and “The Two Faces of Tomorrow” are available at the Baen Free Library for download in various e-book formats.
All of us at Discovery Enterprise would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Hogan’s wife, Sheryl, and his six children.

In the great fandom of science fiction we all look forward to an epoch when humanity will indeed inherit the stars, due in part, to the guiding vision of James P. Hogan.

July 7, 2010

Is Invisibility a Real Possibility?

Much of what today we consider commonplace was once the stuff of science fiction in a bygone age. Many of the technologies we take for granted today, such as space travel, transcontinental passenger aircraft, submarines and almost instantaneous global communication, once existed in the realm of speculative fiction. How many of the technologies which exist only in the realm of our best loved Sci-Fi motion pictures and television series will eventually become the reality of tomorrow?

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present “That’s Impossible” a television series on the History Channel that examines seemingly impossible technologies based upon stories and inventions in history, and detailing exactly what is needed to turn them into reality. The show premiered on July 7, 2009 and is narrated by veteran actor Jonathan Frakes, best known for his portrayal of Commander William T. Riker in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

One appalling fact is continuously driven home in this series, that many of our greatest scientific and technological feats have in part been driven forward, in leaps and bounds, by military necessity.

Will humankind’s quest for invisibility lead to a major human catastrophe and tempt us to wage war and unimaginable acts of barbarism?

The great Greek philosopher Plato uses the tale of the “Ring of Gyges,” which confers invisibility, in The Republic as a thought experiment to argue that a person with such a ring, whether previously just or unjust, would use it to commit as many crimes as necessary to get what they want. Plato does not agree with this. The argument of the rest of the Republic, consequently, is that the just man would not be tempted by invisibility to commit crimes, because he would know that crime itself makes one unhappy and that he is better off to remain just.

H.G. Wells’ novel “The Invisible Man” however, ends tragically when its central protagonist, Griffin successfully develops a method to achieve invisibility, but cannot become visible again, and is driven to insanity and becomes a pathological killer.

Which aspect of our human nature will prevail? We at Discovery Enterprise would very much like to hear from you. Join us and, please express your views in our forums section.

That’s Impossible Episode 1 – Invisibility Cloaks

The Invisible Man (1933) Trailer

July 3, 2010

George Pál’s Destination Moon

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Destination Moon,George Pál,Science Fiction — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we will be featuring one of the greatest science fiction film classics of all time – Destination Moon.

Destination Moon was released in 1950 and directed by the legendary film director George Pál, who later produced other great science fiction film classics as “When Worlds Collide”, “The War of the Worlds”, and “The Time Machine”.

Pál commissioned the script by James O’Hanlon and Rip Van Ronkel. The film was directed by Irving Pichel, was shot in Technicolor and was distributed in the USA by Eagle-Lion Classics.

Destination Moon was the first major science-fiction film produced in the United States dealing seriously with the prospect, problems and technology of space travel. This movie was not the first such to hit the screens, however; Rocketship X-M stole its thunder.

The eminent science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein contributed significantly to the script and served as a technical adviser. Heinlein also published a novella of the same name based on the screenplay about the same time as the release of the film.

The film also fore shadowed many of the space milestones Apollo era and other space projects.

Much of the technology depicted in Destination Moon (such as nuclear propulsion and single-stage rockets) and other aspects like industry-driven project development vs. government driven, contrast with the eventual Apollo and Soviet Luna programs. However, in many aspects, the movie predicted elements of the Apollo Lunar missions and other first space flights. But, under President Barack Obama’s new space policy goals industry- driven space projects may indeed become a reality. But, time can only tell. In the meantime, and without further adieu dear readers we present – Destination Moon.

Destination Moon is available for free download at the Internet Archive.

Destination Moon (1950) also on YouTube

July 2, 2010

Mission to Mars

Painting of Pyramid and Face the Cydonia region of Mars © Corina Chirila

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the science fiction movie “Mission to Mars” which was released in the year 2000 and directed by Brian de Palma about a rescue mission to Mars following a disaster during the first manned voyage to the planet. The film was partially inspired by the Disney Attraction of the same name.

This is one of the few movies that surround the “mysterious humanoid face” in the Cydonia region of Mars. Well unfortunately science fact caught up with this movie and the proto-sciences of Extraterrestrial Archaeology and Paleo-SETI will have to until we actually find a bona fide extraterrestrial artifact is actually found before they emerge from the realm of pseudo-science.

In the meantime enjoy – Mission to Mars.

June 30, 2010

Fantastic Voyage

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Fantastic Voyage,Science Fiction — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the 1966 Sci Fi film classic “Fantastic Voyage” with the all star cast of Stephen Boyd as Grant, Raquel Welch as Cora, Edmond O’Brien as General Carter, Donald Pleasence as Dr. Michaels, Arthur O’Connell as Colonel Donald Reid, William Redfield as Captain Bill Owens and Arthur Kennedy as Dr. Duval.

For those of you who are viewing this film for the very first time you are in for a visual treat. So prepare to be miniaturized to microscopic dimensions as we take a Fantastic Voyage into the inner space of the human body.

Here is the basic plot line without any major spoilers:

The United States and the Soviet Union have both developed technology that allowed matter to be miniaturized using a process that shrinks individual atoms, but its value is limited. Objects only stay miniaturized for a limited amount of time depending on how much miniaturization the object undergoes.

Scientist Jan Benes, working behind the Iron Curtain, has figured out how to make the shrinking process work indefinitely. With the help of the CIA, he escapes to the West, but an attempted assassination leaves him comatose, with a blood clot in his brain. To save his life, Charles Grant (the agent who extracted him, played by Stephen Boyd), pilot Captain Bill Owens (William Redfield), Dr. Michaels (who is later revealed to have a fear of small spaces, played by Donald Pleasence), surgeon Dr. Peter Duval (Arthur Kennedy) and his assistant Cora Peterson (Raquel Welch) board a specially designed nuclear submarine, the Proteus, which is then miniaturized and injected into Benes. The ship is reduced to one micrometre in length, giving the team only one hour to repair the clot; after that, the submarine will begin to revert to its normal size and become large enough for Benes’ immune system to detect and attack.

For those of you who enjoyed this movie and would like to explore the Sci Fi concept of miniaturization further allow me to suggest the following:

Isaac Asimov’s novelisation of the film classic and the novel “Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain”, also written by Isaac Asimov as an attempt to develop and present his own story apart from the 1966 screenplay. This novel is not a sequel to the original, but instead is a separate story taking place in the Soviet Union with an entirely different set of characters.

By far my most favorite novel in this series is Kevin J. Anderson’s “Fantastic Voyage: Microcosm” which is a third interpretation of the Fantastic Voyage Universe published in 2001. This version has the crew of the Proteus explore the body of a dead alien that crash-lands on earth, and updates the story with such modern concepts as nanotechnology (replacing killer white cells).

A comic book adaptation of the film was released by Gold Key Comics in 1967. Drawn by industry legend Wally Wood, the book followed the plot of the movie with general accuracy, but many scenes were depicted differently and/or outright dropped, and the ending was given an epilogue similar as that seen in some of the early draft scripts for the film.

A 3D remake of this “Fantastic Voyage” is slated for release in 2013.And now without further adieu we present the 1966 Sci Fi film classic Fantastic Voyage!!!

Fantastic Voyage (1966) You can view the movie via this link!!!

June 20, 2010

Real Life Time Travellers

April 26, 2010

The Coming Magnetic Storm

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present a scenario the sounds like the central plot of a Sci-Fi blockbuster motion picture. Deep within the core of our planet, where the constant spin of Earth’s liquid metallic core generates an invisible magnetic force field that shields our planet from harmful radiation in space, something has affected the spin of this planetary dynamo and has slowed it down and there are signs that it may shut it down completely.

Gradually, the field is growing weaker. Electrical and electronic devices suddenly shut down and people with pacemakers suddenly and inexplicably drop dead, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate in seemingly lose their way and circle aimlessly above skies of Trafalgar Square and begin crashing into buildings, parked cars and people. Countless pods of whales and other aquatic mammals beach themselves. Navigational devices go awry effecting cargo ships, passenger aircraft, telecommunications satellites and computers on NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour sending it far off course and forcing the its Astronauts to land in the Los Angeles River basin .

Is there a factual basis for such a plot line? Could we be heading for a demagnetized doomsday that will leave us defenseless against the lethal effects of solar wind and cosmic rays? Today’s documentary “Magnetic Storm” takes a close scientific look at such a horrific scenario.

Scientists studying the problem are looking everywhere from Mars, which suffered a magnetic crisis four billion years ago and has been devoid of a magnetic field, an appreciable atmosphere, and possibly life ever since, to a laboratory at the University of Maryland, where a team headed by physicist Dan Lathrop has re-created the molten iron dynamo at Earth’s core by using 240 pounds of highly explosive molten sodium. The most visible signs of Earth’s magnetic field are auroras, which are caused by charged particles from space interacting with the atmosphere as they flow into the north and south magnetic poles.

Magnetic Storm

You can watch the Motion Picture The Core via Goggle Video.

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