A Deliciously Dreadful Christmas

So I realized today that I had somehow neglected to put anything up yet for Christmas anything not Doctor Who related and missed my usual Christmas celebrating. Jeeze, I even forgot to decorate the place! So tonight, on the eve of Christmas Eve, I present a deliciously dark version of Neil Gaiman's poem Nicholas Was.

39 Degrees North: Christmas Card 2010 from 39 Degrees North on Vimeo.

Maybe not quite the Christmas-y cheer that one would expect being this close to the Big Day, but hey, I like Neil Gaiman.


10 Days Till Squee!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Doctor Who fan - *huge* - which is why the long-ish waits between seasons is pretty intolerable. Luckily it is a Christmas tradition for the beeb to have a special Christmas episode each year...

... and I'm super stoked for this year's outing. Probably more stoked than I have been for previous outings. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Tennant specials, just this is going to be the first time that we have had the same Doctor with the same companion, and in all honesty the interplay between Matt Smith and Karen Gillian is probably the best we've had in the new series. And besides, they're getting all Dickensian on us so yay!

As an extra present I dug up this British Kit-Kat commercial which is absolutely hilarious. Mostly just the beginning and the end, but still, hilarity!


Now For Something Different

In the last little while NASA has really been ramping up its search for habitable planets outside of our solar system and, by extension, for extraterrestrial life. Today NASA held a panel which has had some serious buzz around it. Lets be honest here; you bring together some astrobiologist, an organic chemist and to talk about a major discovery that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life and people are going to get really excited. So what was it all the buzz about? A new way to view life.

Or rather, an exception to our rules regarding what makes up life. What they have discovered is a microbe which can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in its basic, molecular make-up. That may not sound like such a big deal, but when you consider that all life we know of so far uses carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur as its basic building blocks, and that phosphorus is essential in forming DNA and RNA, you can see the kind of paradigm shift which biologists are facing and the potential opportunities for the discovery of life on planets and moons which we may not have considered before.

It is still the very early days for this kind of study and there are a lot of questions which still need to be asked, but the implications of this discovery are huge.
via NASA

Also, io9 has a really nice summary of the findings and the whole event today