Blather Oddities

National Clock Fiddling

In Israel we make a fuss because the Haredim pushed to end Daylight Saving Time before the holidays, so they can have an easier time on Kippur (or before Kippur, or whenever. We don’t need to know the fine details to know it’s a stupid thing, because, Haredim+politics = bad).

But maybe they didn’t go far enough: The Egyptians (like the rest of the Arab and Muslim world – including Israel’s own sizable Palestinian population) observe Ramadan, where for a whole month they have to fast from dawn to dusk – so early sunset is even more helpful. But the Egyptians don’t stop there – once the thing is over, they set the clock back to DST, so they can benefit from it some more:

Daylight saving time (DST) will end in Egypt on Wednesday August 11, 2010. Egypt’s Cabinet recently decided that the country’s DST schedule for 2010 will end before the start of Ramadan. However, DST will resume in Egypt after the month of Ramadan on Friday, September 10, 2010. Egypt will be back from DST on Friday, October 1.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Gliese 581g: a Goldilocks planet

A team of planet hunters has announced the discovery of Gliese 581g, an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star’s “habitable zone,” where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface.

via Gliese 581g: the most Earth like planet yet discovered – Telegraph.
20 light years away, the right size, in the habitable zone. Although it’s tidally locked, so it has a day side and a night side, which means the “not too hot, not too cold” Goldilocks thing is a global, not local property.

Blather Science Fiction and Fantasy

Blasphemous Texts: My ICon 2010 events

The events at ICon I’m involved in start tomorrow. I’m chairing two lecture panels, one dealing with soul-blasting, blasphemous texts and the other with the works of HP Lovecraft.

Specifically, on Monday 27/09/2010 from 17:00 – 19:00 at the animation school hall, the first one about Fanfiction, and on Tuesday 28/09/2010 from 19:30 – 21:30 at the Cinematheque balcony, a panel about Lovecraft and Cthulhu. I’m also doing a promo talk for that event together with Dicky Samban earlier on the day, at 17:00 in the library.

On the subject of ICon, here’s a short promo film for it, directed by Shir Comay:


UN to appoint Earth contact for aliens

When the aliens come, who you gonna call? The Embassy? The ETIA?


The United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa)…

Here’s their site: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

Today’s the day for NSFW content, isn’t it? Because nobody works on Yom Kippur, all you want to do is curl up in a quiet corner with a book.
And by curl up, I mean…

Found after a mention in this Facebook comment thread.