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Apr 142014
 

GoogleglassNot, it’s not a typo, and it’s not April Fool’s, either. On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, Google is opening sales of the coveted Google Glass to anyone who is over 18 years old and is a U.S. resident with a U.S. shipping address, and, of course, has $1,500 (plus tax and shipping) to spend. The sales event will be open to the public only on April 15, starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT (6:00 a.m. PDT).

Google Glass posted on their Facebook page, “Over the past several months, we’ve been trying out different ways to expand the Explorer program. Some of you signed up at Google I/O, some told us what you would do #ifihadglass, some were referred by a friend, some joined through their school or university. Our Explorers are moms, bakers, surgeons, rockers, and each new Explorer has brought a new perspective that is making Glass better. But every day we get requests from those of you who haven’t found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too. So in typical Explorer Program fashion, we’re trying something new.”

They also note that based on feedback from current Explorers, Glass now comes in different frame styles and colors. And just to whet your appetite, they’ve just posted that Glass now has more photo sharing capabilities,and it now runs on Android KitKat, which offers better battery life and stability, easier updates, and it will be easier for developers to write more apps for it.

So, $1,500 to be a beta tester for what is arguably one of the coolest ideas of a generation. What do you think, Kryptonians? Are getting up early and jumping into the wild world of Google Glass? Let us know in comments!

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Apr 142014
 
Photo courtesy of NASA

Photo courtesy of NASA

by Nur Hussein, contributing writer

When my editor asked me to do an article on today’s “blood moon” eclipse, I joked with her about it heralding the first night of the Cyborg Monkey Uprising of 2014, tongue firmly in cheek.

Jokes aside, there are a few superstitions and legends surrounding eclipses. People from ancient times often thought of it as a sign of an impending apocalypse. A Mongolian myth tells us of a dragon named Arakho who chases the sun and moon, and when he catches either of them an eclipse occurs.

As science fiction and fantasy fans, the term “blood moon” sounds fanciful and ominous and might be good inspiration for poetry or a few good fantasy stories, but in real life an eclipse is just the earth’s shadow passing over the moon.

Tonight’s eclipse will be a total lunar eclipse, which means the moon will pass entirely into the earth’s umbra (if it only passes partially into the umbra, we have a partial eclipse). However, the moon does not completely disappear from sight; some light still gets refracted through the edges of the earth’s atmosphere, rendering the moon a dark, deep red. That’s how it gets the name “blood moon.” There isn’t anything magical about it, every total eclipse gives you one.

Today’s eclipse is the first of a series of four total eclipses that will occur this year and in 2015; the next one is scheduled for October 8th 2013, and then another on April 4th of 2015, and yet another on September 28th 2015. These series of total eclipses is called a tetrad.

Today’s eclipse will be visible throughout the entirety of North and South America. The show begins 1:58 a.m. EDT (April 15) or 10:58 p.m. PDT (April 14) and will last over three and a half hours. If the weather permits, you’ll see the moon turn a deep, blood red by 3 a.m EDT.

So if you’re in the Americas, stay up and watch the skies, and perhaps put on some Creedence Clearwater Revival as in the accompanying video to this article (which has killer space monkeys, an occurrence that is assuredly not going to happen during the eclipse).

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We’d love to see your photos of the blood moon! Tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr (#kryptonradio), or email us.

Apr 142014
 

Western Steampunk Fun at Calico Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town

by Robert Seutter, Krypton Radio Columnist “The Voice of Legend”

The genre of Steampunk has many facets. One of the more prevalent ones is the Old West genre, which does pretty well out on the west coast. Europe may have its castles and halls, but we out west have some very interesting sites ourselves.

One of the best is the Calico Ghost Town. This weekend, April 12-13, 2014, saw the return of the Wild West Fest, a two-day Steampunk event at an old silver rush boom-and-bust town out in the high desert of California. If you want the old west atmosphere, you could hardly ask for better. In fact, if you look at the history of old west mining, the madcap technology of that time makes for a very good fit for our modern Steamers.

Calico is just north of Barstow, California, and was founded in 1881. At one time, there was a thriving mining and industry town, complete with a thousand or so miners and their families. During its heyday, they pulled over eighty-six million dollars worth of silver out of the mountains and another forty-five million dollars in borax. But when the silver ran thin, the town went bust and the desert began to reclaim it.

In 1951, the city was restored by Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry farm fame), and in 1966, it was donated to the County of San Bernardino. It has been an old west tourist attraction ever since. It is the real deal, with many of the buildings restored to something approximating their original conditions from back in their booming silver days.

Noele Wayne, special events coordinator

Noele Wayne, special events coordinator

A few years ago, Noele Wayne, special events coordinator for the County parks, reached out to the Steampunk community. And so far, the event has been a great success. According to the personnel who run the event throughout the year, they love the youth and creativity of the Steampunk crowd, and find them charming and very well behaved.

I was surprised to find out that unlike many conventions where one fan-organization usually spear-heads and acts as an umbrella for themed events, Noele had reached out to many groups and helped to create the event out of whole cloth. She manages seven special events at Calico throughout the year (as well as elsewhere), and as she put it, “has been delighted with the camaraderie and support of the Steampunk community both with groups and merchants.”

With the lovely old-west ambience, the Steampunk crowd delighted many of the regular tourists, some who were visiting from Korea and Germany and who had no idea that the Wild West Fest was ongoing. Ladies in bustles with bright parasols strolled the dusty streets accompanied by dapper gents on a sunny and slightly windy day. Mind you, some of those strolling had sophisticated clockwork sidearms and ether-powered back-packs, and there may have been an automaton or two.

Steampunk aficionados representing a wide variety of classes and cultures had a great time exploring the displays and old shops. Scheduled gun-fights happened next to costuming classes, and old cowboys enjoyed chatting with Steam Powered Giraffe fans, some of them who were silver or gold mechanoids awaiting the concert that evening.

The site itself features tours, mines, and a small railway, as well as reconstructions of an old bath house, saloons, school houses, a jail, and a mystery shack. For the festival, there were some new attractions in town. Among them were the “Gypsy Time-Travelers Storytelling” where Christy Horne told traditional stories as her partner Michel Olson hammered out iron dragons in the background on anvil, all the while standing in Florence, their “incredible Recreational Castle Stage and Blacksmith Shop.”

Pop-Lock Holmes

Pop-Lock Holmes

Farther down the road, there was professional magician Dyno Staats doing “scientific demonstrations” of magical proportions, guaranteed to go horribly wrong, and Dr. Solar’s good time, Sunshine Traveling Medicine Show. Music was everywhere including the BillHilly band, Chap-Hop rapper Pop-Lock Holmes, and even a Steampunk parade band E-Steam De Corps. Gunfire erupted throughout the day as various double-dealing, owl-hoot varmints shot it out with the constabulary, to the great applause of the audience. And a large automaton named DAGON wandered about, shaking pincers in a friendly way.

I had a chance to speak with some folks from the San Diego Steampunk community, and asked them if there were any misconceptions about the Steampunk genre. They happily obliged with the following.

  1. They really wish there were another term besides Steam “Punk” because their genre is not all that “Punk” in the Sid Vicious-Sex Pistols frame of mind. It’s more about alternative histories and creativity, less about mosh-pits.
  2. It’s not all about English or Old West alternative histories. New styles like Asian- or Indian-influenced steam alternatives are just a few of the more recent innovations. There is also more to Steampunk events than just conventions. There are hosted picnics and tea-duels, and even just going out for a costumed carousel ride can be interesting.
  3. The Steampunk community is exceedingly glad to welcome new people who only have to exhibit an interest. People can come and play, even in T-shirts and jeans, and the Steampunk community can help folks find ways to put together costumes and personae, without costing a fortune. Everyone started somewhere, they are glad to help.

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I would have to say that, as a community, from the merchants to the players young and old, they all seemed remarkably fun-spirited and had a great sense of humor. I asked one young lady around seven or eight years old what she liked best about the event. She said, without missing a beat, “No ghosts.” In fact, the only complaint I heard about the event was that there was not enough advertising, and the people who said that just wanted more folks to come and join the fun.

As the day turned into evening, people headed to cafés and restaurants for cold sarsaparillas or a cup of decent tea, while others lined up for a concert in the Silver Bowl, featuring the much-loved Steam Powered Giraffe. The western sun was gleaming red gold over metallic automatons and jewel-toned Victorian dresses, and songs and laughter filled the air. Calico may be a bit of a drive but, for a Western Steampunk event like no other, this reporter heartily hopes that this event continues for many years.

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Photos by: Robert Seutter and RJ Ryan-Seutter.

We’d love to see your photos from Wild West Fest! Tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr (#kryptonradio), or email us.

Apr 142014
 

kittyoKrypton Radio would like to give our hearty congratulations to the winner of our Kittyo giveaway:

Carrie Craig, you won! Hooray!

We hope you and your feline friend(s) will have hours and hours of fun with this amazing gadget! We’ll be contacting you by email shortly to get your shipping information, so please check your email!

For those of you who didn’t win, don’t worry, there are still lots of opportunities to get a Kittyo! The Kickstarter campaign for Kittyo starts on April 21st, and they will be offering discounts for people who pre-order during the campaign.

Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to our friends at Kittyo for helping us bring our audience such a cool giveaway!

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