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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG Beta Goes Live

by Ken Newquist / August 29, 2007

After months of tinkering, the new version of is online. The updated site features a new look, a new WordPress back-end, and the ever-entertaining "Random News" block. Berin's also been working on a variety of other projects, including the long-discussed Imagination's Toolbox, so you can look for a steady stream of coolness emanating from over the next few days/weeks.

Space Westerns: Green River Rain

by Ken Newquist / August 29, 2007

"Green River Rain" by John M. Whalen is the latest short story up on Whalen's work has also appeared in Ray Gun Revival.

Jake Bracken never liked the rain. It always seemed to bring him bad luck. It rained that night back on Earth when Holly left him. Took off with a pharmaceutical salesman from Abilene. It rained the day he came home from the Terror War and saw that the Qaeda had burned his ranch to the ground. It was raining now, as he pulled his Hover Jeep up to the boardwalk in front of the Green River saloon.

Can Preshoolers Get Drunk on Hand Sanitizer?

by Ken Newquist / August 28, 2007

Can a prescooler get drunk and even die from drinking hand sanitizer? The short answer is ... yes, they can. The following e-mail describes swallowing a squirt of hand sanitizer was enough to make a four-year-old loopy and while it gets some of the specifics wrong -- namely that the child couldn't have had an 85% blood alcohol level, since .10% is enough to kill you, and she probably had a lot more than one quirt -- the general warning is valid. Most hand sanitizer contains a large percentage ethyl alcohol, which can be intoxicating and even deadly if swallowed.

Dates for Next Three MEPACONs Announced

by Ken Newquist / August 26, 2007

The dates for the next three MEPACONs have been announced by the staff of the mid-eastern Pennsylvania game convention. The dates are:

  • Fall 2007: 2-4 November
  • Spring 2008: 11-13 April
  • Fall 2008: 7-9 November

All three conventions will be held at the Holiday Inn in Dunmore, Pa. You can learn more about the convention by visiting its web site at

Mars to Earth: You Missed Your Big Close-up (Again)

by Ken Newquist / August 25, 2007

An e-mail claims that Mars will soon be looming so large in our skies that it will rival the moon. The truth is that while Mars did get very close to Earth a few years ago, that merely turned it into a slightly brighter red star in the sky. If it actually did get as close as the email claims, the Earth would be wracked by high tides and thrown out of its orbit.

Here's the email.

Captured 8/24/07

Two Moons on 27th, August 2007*

*27th August; the day the Whole World is waiting for .....

CNN: Many parents now get domain names for kids too young to type

by Ken Newquist / August 24, 2007

Parents are buying domain names for their newborns, partly to make sure the address doesn't get bought up by someone else, partly to provide friends and family with an easy way of getting photos/news and partly because hey, they are geeks. Well, not all of them -- one of the points of the story is that the practice is happening beyond geek circles, with others seeing the value of parking their kids' domain name from day one.

There are privacy concerns -- some folks aren't locking down their kids sites, others are concerned that being able to easily guess a child's domain name (e.g. first name, last name, .com) is an invitation to unsavory types.

GenCon Day 4: Sundered Skies and Chessex Dice

by Ken Newquist / August 23, 2007

As the morning sun shone on the final day of GenCon I arrived at my last game of the convention, a Savage Worlds game taking place in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting called Sundered Skies. After liberating a dragon from the deathly bonds of necromancer, I returned to the exhibition hall to complete one final quest: the search for a new set of dice.

CNN: Google Earth to launch Sky for stargazers

by Ken Newquist / August 23, 2007

Google is launching a virtual stargazing program called Sky. It will allow users to explore millions of stars, and will support layers for things such as views from the Hubble Space Telescope. One has to wonder how long it will take the Trekkers to start mapping out Gene Roddenbury's universe in this thing...