Science Friday: Reality Is Stranger Than Fiction Edition

Kayla is still in mourning over LCROSS, so this week your humble editor will take a crack at Science Friday with a look at a few events over the last week, which show that reality can be stranger than fiction, even science fiction. We got a real space ribbon, a seeming alien attack in the skies of Moscow, and insectoid robots. Plus, only in sci-fi would someone pay $300 for a fan.


Space Ribbon discovered at edge of solar system
Star Trek Generations introduced us to ‘The Nexus’, or a giant ribbon flying through space sucking up captains of the Enterprise. Well this week NASA announced that by combining data from their IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft and their Cassini spacecraft, they had detected a ‘bright ribbon of hydrogen atoms’ at the border of the Solar System, where the solar wind runs into the interstellar wind. No word yet on if a certain white haired Kirk-killing scientist was spotted in the vicinity

Generation’s Nexus and the real life ‘energy ribbon’ at edge of our Solar System

If you want to know more, here is the hour-long NASA presentation. 

”Alien Sky’ Freaks out Moscow
On Tuesday residents of Moscow, Russia looked up and thought that they just might be the site of an alien invasion, not unlike those portrayed in Independence Day. This was due to a very strange ‘optical effect’ which looked like a circular cloud formation. A meteorologist explained "Several fronts have been passing through Moscow recently, there was an intrusion of the Arctic air too, the sun was shining from the west – this is how the effect was produced"…or at least that is what they want you to believe. 

ID4 alien ship and Moscow sky

Here is an English-language report from Russian TV covering up the alien attack, discussing the meteorological phenomenon.

Insectoid Robots Are Coming
If we have learned anything from science fiction, it is that it is only a matter of time before mankind is overtaken by robots, and one step towards that future will be the emergence of creepy insect robots, like those seen in the movie Minority Report. This weeks brings news and a video of the mad scientists at Case Western University who have taken a big step forward in creating autonomous insect bots. Thanks guys, how long until you get Skynet online?

"Minority Report" insect-bots and Case Western’s prototype

Find out how they did it, in the video below:

Gadget of the week: Dyson Air Multiplier
As if all that wasn’t terrifying enough for you, how about the notion that someone thought it was a good idea, in this economy, to put out a household electric fan that costs $300, and to pick October as the month to roll it out. The "Air Multiplier" is the brainchild of Sir James Dyson (of Dyson Vacuums) who has figured out how to make a fan without any blades. Finally, the nightmare of those blades is over.


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Wow, First?

That fan will never catch on.

If I looked up at the sky and saw that rooskie cloud formation, I would have shat myself. Fo. Sho.

Looks like someone is trying to ripoff’s writing style… and failing. Buuuurrrrn!!

James James James James James…invent something useful! Put your mind to defence contracting or something…

…that said your hand dryers are the best in the world…and the fan is pretty cool!

Very cool design for that fan. I can barely wrap my brain around how it works. I’d get one if they weren’t so extraordinarily expensive.

gee whiz i liked anthonys tongue in cheek brief(non-verbose) punchy journalistic style!

Back in the eighties my friends and I used to ask of each other rhetorically, “How does it feel to live in the future?”.

Well, it’s kinda cool, I have to say.

Though, I’m still waiting for the jet-pack and flying car that were “promised” to me back in the sixties.

#7 – I used to want jetpacks and flying cars in my future, but now I don’t. Do we really want the skies littered with drunks and cell phone texters crashing into power lines and creeps peeping and breaking into high rise windows? The horror.

Scott B. out.

Not every thing invention wise is always totally new, some things are just more efficient or use less electricity.

I’m assuming you’ve drunk a can of pop or beer, how would you like to still be using the version invented back at the end of the 19th Century.

The Space Ribbon video I’ll have to add that video DVD to the Star Trek Generations box for sci-fi becomes real. Did the script authors know of the first hints some 15 years ago, or was it just a guess of an idea.

It would be nice to have the authors watch the video and then hear their comments, and then ask questions about how the came up with the concept. And if the information ever reachs the public that could be another 20 years or so. I wonder what Paramount will do with proof their is a space ribbon.

And I just remembered that in TNG this concept is kind of hinted at in the story of Warp speed is limited to Warp 10 in either the 6th or 7th season of TNG.

I’d say the author of this weeks column deserves being promoted to at least commander (aka #1’s post) but since the author is the five star general hear that would be a rank demotion.

Uh, I was off-planet during LCROSS so what happened with it that sent Kayla into mourning? Did they miss the intended crater or something?

The Moscow cloud-ring looks like a movie effect.

In any case, you can be sure they’re covering up something.

#7) crazydaystrom, why no jet pack, simple the 60’s verions only lasted less than a minute, and the early 21st Century ones only go 8 minutes. But time is not what is holding them back. And that word back us the answer when you add the word up to it. Jet Packs have no safety back up. If you engine dies when your up in the air you end up looking like that bug (grease spot) on your cars windshield.

As for the flying car their are prototypes in the works, and even expected to go 200 to 600 mph. But they all are using propellers. In other words a reformatted Plane. What you want is what the Jetsons had Anti Gravity.We have yet to have solid proof there is a Gravity particle. Then the search for an Anti Gravity particle will begin. And if and when found your car is not far off.

To find a Anti-Gravity particle I bet it will be in the Sub Atomic Particle area, and we have just opened the door to Nano tech, so unless a break thru happens I’ll bet Warp Drive will come first. So your great great grand kids may be buying a anti grav car but you’ll miss getting one.

opps … not be far off, lost a word. sorry

The Robots seem to have well hidden CPU systems, because none really stick out. Or the legs are controlled by neomonic logic electronics, thats simple analog circuits that make electronic controlled actions repeat endlessly over and over and all you need is a on/off switch.

This is how Nanobots will be programmed and controlled so you can live to be 300 to 500 years old, and that gallon of ice cream will never land on your hips.

Stick your head in it, Dyson!

See, this is what I mean. A fan without blades! Who would have thought that was possible?

And you say that friggin brewery engine room with huge valves and pipes and nuts and bolts is realistic for the 23rd century!

The best I can figure on how the fan works is the tube the air travels through has strips od electrical conductivity that via eletro-static charge infulance the air in the cylinder to create a spinibg action and then if you move this static rotating ring down the tube. Through the resulting empty space left behind air will migrate to fill the vacum. Thus replenishing the air expeled out the front.
\It’s weakness I’d guess is the drier the air the less chance of it being effected by a electric-static charge

Unless he has figured a new way to get a static charge to generate on the plastic surface. It will be like using a 150watt Mercury Vapor light as a night light. When a simple 200 milliwatt LED would do the job.

I do not think creating a Warp Bubble to travel fast than light will run off a watch battery ether.

Fan looks cool to me. Get it? COOL? AHAHAHAHAH. Ahaha. aha.

That fan is intrugiung. And safe for little kids and curious pets. Safe! Now they need to perfect the price tag. And all would be great

Is this the same dyson that posulated now famous star trek Dyson’s Sphere

Dyson’s fan works by suckin’ air outta’ a fracture in space and time that tha’ dear Dr. Soren… I mean Dyson! created o’er Moscow.

JOHN: “Honey, this new fan is great! But why does it smell like Uranus in here?”

JOAN: “That’s where the air comes from, dear!”

JOHN: “Uhhhhhh… I guess that’s alright since my auto smells like Saturn, the dog smells like Pluto, and this thermometer smells like Mercury. Doesn’t taste too good, though… what else do we have to eat?”

JOAN: “Oh, honey- don’t eat that candy bar before dinner!”

JOHN: “But it smells just like yummy Mars!”

JOAN: “Hmmmm…. dear… you smell like some sort of Venus has been all over you. Do you have something you want to tell me?”

JOHN: “Uh… well… it’s just my secretary’s perfume! Yeah… Uh… some sort of sea breeze that smells like Neptune. Stinks up the office. Ummm… here- forget about that and have a martini… it smells like Jupiter berries…”


The robot bugs look like the ones in 9 :O

I tried to dry my hands with the Dyson thingie, but couldn’t pick off the goose feathers fast enough. Had to throw the whole thing into the Hudson.

Bugbots? Why would I pay money to get more bugs in my house? Whatever…

Anyway, Thanks Anthony. Hurry back, Kayla.

When ye’ got geese, ye’ need ta’ call an exterminator afore they get oota’ hand… Maybe one o’ them robo Borg crabs could take down tha’ foul fowls..

Ever heard of the internet? You can look things up on it. Type “air multiplier” and you will eventually (in about 2 seconds) find Dyson’s website and see how it works. It has nothing to do with whatever you were trying to say.

A ribbon at the end of the universe? Wake me when they find a restaurant. :)

But what happens when the s&!t hits THAT fan?

Hey anthony great job on reporting. I think that actualy was a Space ship of some kind over Moscow. But just my little opinion. Can I get a ride to the Nexus. Kool Fan by the way. Maybe we can use that to fight the Aleien Invasion.Hmmm. Could it be that we are once again creating the Cylons. Hey it has only been 150,000 Years.

I heard o’ tha’ bloody interweb! And I looked up that thar’ Dyson fan… it runs on hot air from obby-noxious posts made on Soren’s… I mean Dyson’s webbypage. So, I typed in a comment sayin’:

“Iffi I stick me vanga-ba in tha’ air void, will it cause me expense at tha’ hospital?”

I tried ta’ deep fry one o’ them Borg crabs. Tastes a good deal like me Buick did.


I thought Dyson just blows at you from the other side.

Note to scientists: when inventing robots, if you want to make a positive impression, make sure they don’t like GIANT FRAKING CREEPY CRAWLIES. Thank you.

(I wish we had italics.)

Hey. Is this the same Dyson that came up with the idea of the Dysons Sphere that Scotty came across in the 23rd and 24th century aboard the U.S.S Janolon.

i think the energy ribbon in the oort cloud is eating up all of our messages that we send into space which is why none of the other intelligent aliens have responded to us yet

OK, let me get this straight: if V’Ger 1 and V’Ger 2 collide with that energy ribbon, does that mean that Jeffery Hunter reappears from the Nexus as a Borg Captain Pike, and we have to escape into the past through that Guardian of Forever thingy that was built by the guy who they named Dyson Spheres after, so we can kill Edith Keeler before she ruins network television with eight years of ‘Dynasty’ on prime time? Or am I missing something here?

“Yes, Keptin, strange cloud formations were inwneted by little old lady from Leningrad”


I could have sworn it was Freeman Dyson who had come up with the Dyson Sphere.

#25) Someone, have you ever studied static electricity, and it’s effects. The better question might be do you ever look at what newly invented and try to figure out how it can be done.

I have researched some what in that area, for Nitrogen LASERs creating Ionic tunnels in the air to channel static electrical charges into storage devices (i.e. tunneling lightning into oil tanks full of metal plates and oil for later sale to the power grid for profit. This is getting free electricity and making money from it. Oil tanks make far better capacitators than a sheet of metal plates held 6 to 10 feet above a fairly level farm field where 2.4 sq. miles is needed. but if built correctly it could become a giant solar panel or solar water warmer.

But to invent you need to know how things work, not be told how they work.

Thats what science classes use to do, now it seems to only tell you that the United States is hear to destroy the world and steal everything before others can misuse the product for even worse world harm.

So #35) The Angry Klingon (without a trenchcoat) were did you hear that one from, could it be from the great grandfather of Lt. Chekoff

#36. I think you are right. Any chance they are related.

#36) BesterGirlyou are correct, and I think Freeman passed away in the late 70’s or early 80’s, but I’m not 100% on that thought.

And was their not a Dyson that back engineered the fragment of a Terminator chip to start the whole Terminator Spiel. May be Dyson is becoming a popular name.

#40) Anthony Pascale (this sites 5 star General) I’ve heard of the site in either PC Mag or World mags. Do not think of it as an insult, but as a complement stating great minds think alike. It’s not who thought of it first, it’s that two great minds thought of the same great idea.

Hey Anthony. You will always be our faveroite Geek here.#41. Yes it was a Dyson that did the Termanator thing with the chips that were found. Hmm. Dyson can be a great name or a realy bad name.

I named me goose “Dyson.”

Come supper time I will be slicin’ that Dyson.


I think Dyson should consider helping with the development of the Moller flying car… which has been ‘coming soon’ for years now. If Dyson’s new fan tech could be applied to this car both the noise factor and the danger of large exposed spinning blades would probably be eliminated.

Maybe Avery Brooks could finally get his flying car!

See the Moller Skycars here:

listening to that nasa video… and people think star trek has too much technobabble!

That Mollar flying car has been on several shows on Discovery for the last two years. Every time it looks like the car is nearing the finish line, some one discovers some new and more efficent method so the car needs redesigned to use it. It may make the car better and more efficent, but here is an idea finish the old one and the new technology can give you a newer upgraded system. Then we can start creating the electron freeways in the skys.

And as for NASA sounding technobabblish, that is only a revelation that you have no hope of one day comprehending the concepts. I admit I did not know every word or ideas, but that is what the film is for. To educate yourself so you can become smarter. With what I’ve herd lately it’s only proof that modern public education is aimed at dumbing down or removing the desires to learn or even how to educate yourself.

I’m not saying I’m smarter than others, I just know how to self educate myself from simple things like everyday news. If America is going to be the creators of a future Federation, we need to educate the dim minded ones of today how to self educate and learn from things of everyday

Our galaxy is pixelated alright. Disappointing.

I found the Star Trek Sequel Bad guy:

“Dangerous blades”.

a large, super interligent fan is out to kill the federation

It’s name is ” Super Interligent