I'm going to take another break before I wrap up my China adventures to tell you of a couple of National Geographic Channel premieres coming this Sunday August 23rd at 9 and 10 pm EDT.
First off at 9:00 pm EDT Alien Earths. Join a team of astronomers and leading scientists in the search for alien earths, another place we could call home. So far they have discovered around 350 planets, all of which you wouldn't want to live on. too hot, too cold, oceans filled with gas ect. With the aid of CGI animations you'll journey to these unbelievably strange and odd worlds, the stuff of sci fi. You'll also see what they are doing to hunt for worlds much like our own using Kepler, the first spacecraft of it's type able to discover earth size and smaller planets capable of supporting life as we know it. Of all the strange planets and oddities you'll discover my favorite is the Planemo, a poor little planet that has been thrown out of it's solar system into space. It wanders in the darkness of space, looking for a new home. I'm surprised no sci fi shows or books have been done using the Planemo as a story line, work with me on this one people.
A little planet gets the boot from it's solar system through a freak of gravity of a larger planet, gets captured by another system, maybe even a double star system, the planet develops a highly intelligent life form capable of light speed and they hear through the space grapevine a planet is being invaded by beings from the same planet that jostled them out of their solar system millions of years before, the planet being invaded is Earth. They come, rid us of the invading aliens and give us the technology to build holodecks.
Next at 10:00 pm EDT Hawking's Universe. Stephen Hawking is probably one of the most famous scientists in the word and you'll learn a little of his early life before he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, meet his daughter, find out some of his major contributions to the field of astrophysics and learn of his quest to find the theory of everything. His goal in life, and I quote, "My goal is simple, it is the complete understanding of the universe, why it exists the way it is and why it exists at all". Hawking first put forth the theory that black holes are not completely black, that they give off radiation and are slowly evaporating through radiation, what we call "Hawking Radiation", named after him. His theory says that just before it goes into nothingness it gives off energy, depending on the size of the black hole, unspeakable energy, is this what caused the Big Bang? The preview dvds I received look real good, something you won't want to miss, again this Sunday starting at 9:00 pm EDT. Unfortunately these programs are only available in the US. Previous NGC shows I have mentioned here are slowly making their way to Canada through the Canadian Discovery HD Channel and the Canadian NGC, if you live in Canada just keep an eye open for them on those channels.
Now, I'd like to leave you with a video I took on my adventure in China, it is a ride on the Maglev, the worlds fastest railway in commercial use. We took the Maglev from the financial district in Shanghai to Shanghai's Pudong Airport, WOW, what a blast!! The 30 km distance took less then 7 minutes to cover, top speed 431 km and hour. Note at five and a half minutes into the ride a Maglev going in the opposite direction passes within feet of us scaring the crap out of me and a traveling partner, also notice at seven and a half minutes into the ride you'll see the Shanghai's 2010 World Expo mascot "Haibao". I'm thinking he looks a lot like Gumby, everybody thought I was crazy, especially the people that asked what a Gumby was, what do you think?