Seattle Scientists Find Brain Area Linked To Motivation To Exercise


Seattle scientists have zeroed in on a part of the brain that seems to have an interesting job: motivating the brain’s owner to exercise. The findings could have implications for understanding depression and weight loss. Read more at NPR’s KPLU.


Cosplay at the 2014 Vegas Star Trek Convention

Note: This article is authored by Randy Jennings from the convention floor at Star Trek 2014 Las Vegas. He’s attended and reported on numerous ST and Comic conventions worldwide. Follow Randy at his tumblr

This year’s high level of cosplay, at the largest dedicated Star Trek convention, was a great hit for one and all. Creation Entertainment, the company running the convention, put an added emphasis on cosplay this year, most likely with the growth of cosplay itself as well as various reality TV shows high lighting the cultural phenomenon. Saturday marked the best day to see and be seen as cosplayers showed off their hard work for the attendees plus for that night’s costume competition.

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Here we enjoy convention favorites Paul “Spock Vegas” Forest and the ever lovely Joanie Frerichs. Both appeared in numerous costumes throughout the convention and were always happy to pose with fans for photo ops.

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The Borg Collective was more than represented by an awesome drone, 7 of 9 in serious need of a shave, our Queen, and Data on the verge of finding himself in the Hive.

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The Nibirans were out in force as they proudly represented their primitive yet fierce people for all to see. Later on Karl Urban was kind enough to bless a Nibiran baby at the behest of the village elders.

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Sadly the annual zombie crawl of Red Shirts resulted in Garrett Wang being devoured immediately after this picture was taken. RIP Harry Kim.

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These fantastic and hand crafted costumes from The Wrath of Khan demonstrated the attention to detail and hours of hard labor put in by these two cosplayers.

The highlight of the night was the highly competitive yet friendly Costume Competition. With close to 2,000 cosplayers taking attending the convention on Saturday, Creation Entertainment had to make the first logical cut by not allowing “regular Starfleet costumes” in the contest. That afternoon, there was first round of the costume contest where the 100 plus contestants were reduced to a more manageable 42. Because of a tie vote amongst the judges, there were two 1st prize winners portraying Balok from the original Star Trek Series and a great Borg queen with her drone. This photo shows some but alas not all of the dedicated cosplayers who made it into the Saturday’s final round.

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Just geeky

U.S. Astronaut Leroy Chiao: America Should Embrace China For Mars Missions

Leroy Chiao

In a short Q&A interview with Forbes Magazine, Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao advocates embracing China, rather than shunning it, in the new space race to Mars . He also talks about the recent spying charges USA and China are batting back and forth and what that should mean wrt better cooperation in space.

Leroy also touches on the current Russia/USA relations and gives a little insight into the impact it’s having on the shared space exploration efforts onboard the International Space Station.

I totally agree with Leroy on the China+USA collaboration to get to Mars. We’re both highly motivated countries regarding space exploration. China in particular may be willing to foot more of the $$$/RMB cost if there’s more sharing of technology between us. I think we stand a better chance of pulling off this huge effort working together, rather than in isolation.

Head on over to Forbes for the interview.

Check out Leroy’s personal site with videos he’s appeared in, links to his op-eds and more.

China, Science

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water that is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle of this century. Storms thus have the potential to create Arctic swell – huge waves that could add a new and unpredictable element to the region.

A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. The results were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“As the Arctic is melting, it’s a pretty simple prediction that the additional open water should make waves,” said lead author Jim Thomson, an oceanographer with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

Read the rest of the article from University of Washington, originally reported by Hannah Hickey


STAR TREK Convention Beams Back to Las Vegas This Week with a Galaxy Full of Stars


Klingons, Andorians and Vulcans will be joined by humans as fans from around the world beam into Las Vegas on July 31-August 3 for the world’s largest Star Trek Convention.   This decade long tradition in Las Vegas, is expecting over 15,000 attendees to convene at The Rio Suites Hotel.

With over 105 celebrities making appearances over four days, Creation Entertainment is putting on the biggest Star Trek convention yet. Besides all the great actors and actresses, they’re hosting themed parties at night including Saturday night the Nevada Pops Orchestra will be on hand for a Salute to the Music of Star Trek.

NASA is hosting two panels on the topics of “Living in a Crowded Universe” on the findings that we’re not the only solar system in the universe and “To Boldly Go” which addresses NASA’s vision for deep space exploration.

Tickets are available, you can get them at the door or online @

Just geeky