Illustris: Incredible New Universe Simulation Built with Supercomputer


Using a supercomputer, scientists have built a 3-dimensional model of how the universe evolved after the big bang. Apparently, the model is so complex that a normal desktop computer would have required 2,000 years to do all the calculations.

It is a breathtakingly beautiful and detailed model, allowing viewers to find galaxies and dive into them. It shows the spreading of cosmic gasses, the distribution of both dark and ordinary matter, and the formation of galaxies. No such model has ever been built before. It’s the result of a collaboration known as the Illustris Project.

1964 Bell Labs Film About How to Make Films with a Computer


This fascinating film was produced at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1964. It was made by Ken Knowlton to describe the use of computers to make animated films. The film itself was created entirely on a computer. This is a glimpse into the groundbreaking work that led to the computer graphics we all enjoy so frequently today. Knowlton was both an artist and a computer graphics programmer who developed several programming languages for producing bitmap animations.

Interestingly, Ken Knowlton worked closely with pioneering experimental filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek at the Bell Labs on many early computer animations. Vanderbeek is the subject of my prior post about his short film, ‘Science Friction.’


SpaceX Dragon Capsule Docks with International Space Station

The Dragon capsule from SpaceX has become the first privately operated spaceship to dock with the International Space Station. Early this morning astronauts aboard the ISS used the station’s robotic grappling arm to snag the capsule after its successful close approach. The arm then pulled the capsule in to berth with station’s Harmony module. This is another incredible achievement in space and should begin a new era of private space travel and support for the ISS.

You can watch video of the robotic arm capture.

Worldwide Protest as U.S. Government Threatens to Censor Internet

Today Candlelight Stories joins with other sites to protest two proposed laws in the United States, called SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act. On January 24th, the U.S. Senate will vote on the PROTECT IP Act to censor the Internet, despite opposition from the vast majority of Americans. These laws give corporations the ability to sue any web site they feel threatens their copyrights in some way. They could essentially shut down any site simply by pointing a finger. So corporations would use this power to harm smaller competitors. The U.S. government could shut down any site or blog it had the slightest problem with. Censorship as practiced in places like China would suddenly become the norm here in the United States. China is a nightmare. We don’t want to do things like they do.

A free, open, uncensored Internet is a basic and fundamental right that must be preserved here in the United States if it is to have any chance at all on a worldwide basis.

Join us to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.

Here’s a massive list at the Center For Democracy & Technology of organizations, companies, web sites, blogs and individuals who are opposed to the censorship bills.

At the links below you can send your protest to Congress and learn much more about these bills and how they seek to end the open Internet.

Take action by contacting Congress via the Electronic Frontier Foundation. has a large selection of ways you can take action and black out your web site in protest.

Take action by contacting Congress via Google.

Congressional Effort to Censor the Internet

The ‘Protect IP’ bill before Congress would give corporations and the government the power to completely shut down internet sites without any due process just for posting a single copyright infringing link. So for a site like Facebook, if a single user posted a single copyrighted something or other, the government could simply pull the plug on Facebook and turn it off.

But chances are the law would be used to stifle expression and ideas from smaller sites. The government would simply have to accuse a site of being engaged in piracy and that site would be effectively terminated.

That’s a terrifying abuse of power. It would complete destroy the internet and anything resembling freedom of communication. This is a glaring example of how a small number of large corporations have taken total control of the Unites States government.

You can sign a petition and learn more at