Live long and prosper: Vulcan wins vote to name Pluto moon
March 1st, 2013
04:24 PM ET

Live long and prosper: Vulcan wins vote to name Pluto moon

By Henry Hanks, CNN

Score one for Trekkers everywhere.

When two new moons were found near the dwarf planet Pluto, the SETI Institute asked the Internet to put it to a vote: What should they be named?

One of those names was Vulcan, best known in pop culture as the planet and alien species of Spock on "Star Trek."

Original "Trek" stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy took to Twitter to ask fans to vote for Vulcan.

According to the recently-posted results, it appears that Vulcan won by a wide margin. However, the final winner has not been officially announced.

Assuming that this vote total holds, we'll be looking at a real-life Vulcan orbiting Pluto in the next couple of months.

Are you excited by this most stellar event in "Star Trek" history? Let us know in the comments.

Post by:
Filed under: In Space
Bee species named after 'Big Bang Theory' catchphrase
January 3rd, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Bee species named after 'Big Bang Theory' catchphrase

If you watch "The Big Bang Theory," you probably laugh every time Sheldon Cooper says the B-word: "Bazinga!"

Now, in one of those amusing science-imitates-art moments, "bazinga" has been officially dubbed a species of a bee.

The writers of the hit comedy probably never imagined that the persnickety physicist Cooper's favorite word would be immortalized in actual science.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: News
Superman's 'Krypton' found
November 9th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Superman's 'Krypton' found

Superman has had an eventful few weeks. First he quit his job at the Daily Planet, and now he has discovered the location of his home planet Krypton.

In "Action Comics" No. 14, released on Wednesday, the iconic superhero is summoned to an observatory where he's met by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. In real life, Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Tyson in the comic pinpointed Krypton, 27 years after it exploded. On that very night, its destruction is visible from planet Earth.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Discoveries • In Space
'Fringe' star examines real weird science
August 21st, 2012
11:50 AM ET

'Fringe' star examines real weird science

John Noble may be best known as scientist Walter Bishop on "Fringe," but his interest in strange scientific stories extends into the real world.

The actor – recently back to work after seeking treatment for a sleeping disorder – delves into these stories on the Science Channel series, "Dark Matters: Twisted but True."

"It's kind of tongue in cheek or Orson Welles-ish," said Noble of the series. "Some of the (stories) are quirky or weird. We're telling stories from all over the place."

Noble's performance on "Fringe" informed his role as host.

"Playing Walter Bishop, I had to read pretty widely to make sense of what he was talking about," he said. "It seemed to segue very easily into this. It's probably the reason I'm hosting it, to be honest with you."

Despite his voracious thirst for knowledge, the show has sometimes presented him with things he was not aware of. "There were things I knew vaguely but hadn't put into place. There are so many curious, wonderful stories."

Now that he has one foot in science fiction and another in fact, how does he think the two relate today?

"It's very difficult for science fiction writers to stay ahead of science fact, because of the rate of change today," he said.

"People are dreaming up ideas, not unlike the times of Jules Verne. Now, sometimes by the time it's been published, something has happened to change the face of science fiction. Science fiction has proved to be a good indicator of where we're going. There is a blending with fantasy, which has sort of taken over. Fantasy is also a very valid and interesting area to explore."

Noble believes that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg for scientific advancement.

Noble spoke of a scientist friend who recently proposed a new theory on black holes. "He was so excited that this was a big breakthrough. This is happening all the time, and these things breed more and more invention. This is probably the most exciting time in science since – there was the Renaissance period, and the Industrial Revolution – I think this is the third, and I think, the most exciting period of science."

Post by:
Filed under: News • Scientific mysteries
UFO believers vs. skeptics: A great geek divide?
May 29th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

UFO believers vs. skeptics: A great geek divide?

I was surprised, leading up to this weekend's top grossing movie"Men in Black 3," that paranormal phenomena such as UFOs, the Roswell Incident and, yes, the mysterious Men in Black themselves  were conspicuously missing from the zeitgeist.

When the popular sci-fi franchise launched 15 years ago, it was all anyone could talk about. The first "MIB," along with "Independence Day," "The X Files" and "Roswell," brought aliens and government cover-ups their biggest pop culture moment in a generation.

While my geeky friends and I were rabid science fiction fans, excited about the proliferation of these movies and television shows, we scoffed at the idea that any of the aliens or UFOs we saw on screen had any basis in reality.

FULL STORY from CNN's Geek Out

Post by:
Filed under: In Space
Bad time travel in pop culture
April 17th, 2012
01:48 PM ET

Bad time travel in pop culture

Let's be upfront about it: Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch aren't scientists.

But the friends definitely have a love of the science of time travel, which they poured into their new book, "So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel."

Hornshaw and Hurwitch have seen way too many bad time travel movies and they have the same questions as other sci-fi fanboys and fangirls: "It’s hard to walk out of a time travel movie and not go, 'How do these things sync up?'" Hornshaw told CNN Geek Out.

FULL STORY from Geek Out

Post by:
Filed under: Voices
Cloaking experiment draws comparisons to 'Harry Potter'
October 18th, 2011
02:18 PM ET

Cloaking experiment draws comparisons to 'Harry Potter'

Researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas say they have discovered a form of "invisibility cloak," but don't think you'll have "Harry Potter" powers quite yet.

But, is it true that J.K. Rowling's fictional wizardry could become scientific fact? CNN Geek Out spoke with Dr. Ray Baughman, Director of The Alan G MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute there at UT Dallas, to find out.

CNN Geek Out: How did this experiment come about and how does it work?

Baughman: It started after Chinese researchers discovered that our carbon nanotube sheets can be used as thermo-acoustic loudspeakers. Loudspeakers of this type have been known for a long time. You heat up a material and it causes air surrounding the material to expand and you get soundwaves.

FULL STORY from CNN's Geek Out

Post by:
Filed under: Discoveries

Contributors

  • Elizabeth LandauElizabeth Landau
    Writer/Producer
  • Sophia DengoSophia Dengo
    Senior Designer