Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
A brief history of space concept art—Norman Rockwell, Chesney Bonestell, Robert McCall, Pat Rawlings, David Meltzer …all the classics.
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
Moonscape is a free and freely shareable high-definition documentary about the first manned Moon landing. Funded and produced by space enthusiasts from all over the world, it shows the full Apollo 11 landing and moonwalk, using only the original audio, TV and film footage and the original photographs, rescanned and restored from the best available sources, with full English subtitles (other languages will follow).
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
A profile of Chesley Bonestell. It’s amazing to think how much of his work was produced before we had even left this planet.
Sunday, March 6th, 2016
A brief history of lunar sci-fi.
No matter how much we want the science fiction dream to come true – and personally I would love it – the reality is that a lunar colony is very unlikely to ever be financially viable. It would be no surprise if we saw more expeditions to the moon, but all those wonderful visions of the high frontier recreated in space are more likely to apply to destinations with a better long-term future, like Mars, rather than the moon.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
Saturday, October 17th, 2015
A short story by Ian McDonald set in the same universe as his new novel Luna: New Moon.
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
We’re going back to the moon. With a robot. So we can take sublunarean samples.
You can help fund it on Kickstarter.
Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Rhea and Titan, as seen by Cassini.
Friday, October 24th, 2014
A warm-hearted short story about a moonshot. By Tom Hanks.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Icon fonts, unicode ranges, and IE8’s compatibility mode
While doing some browser testing this week, Mark come across a particularly wicked front-end problem. Something was triggering compatibility mode in Internet Explorer 8 and he couldn’t figure out what it was.
Compatibility mode was something introduced in IE8 to try not to “break the web”, as Microsoft kept putting it. Effectively it makes IE8 behave like IE7. Why would you ever want to do that? Well, if you make websites exactly the wrong way and code for a specific browser (like, say, IE7), then better, improved browsers are something to be feared and battled against. For the rest of us, better, improved browsers are something to be welcomed.
Shockingly, Microsoft originally planned to have compatibility mode enabled by default in Internet Explorer 8. It was bad enough that they were going to ship a browser with a built-in thermal exhaust port, they also contemplated bundling a proton torpedo with it too. Needless to say, right-minded people were upset at that possibility. I wrote about my concerns back in 2008.
Microsoft changed their mind about the default behaviour, but they still shipped IE8 with the compatibility mode “feature”, which Mark was very much experiencing as a bug. Something in the CSS was triggering compatibility mode, but frustratingly, there was no easy way of figuring out what was doing it. So he began removing chunks of CSS, reducing until he could focus in on the exact piece of CSS that was triggering IE8’s errant behaviour.
Finally, he found it. He was using an icon font. Now, that in itself isn’t enough to give IE8 its conniptions—an icon font is just a web font like any other. The only difference is that this font was using the private use area of the unicode range. That’s the default setting if you’re creating an icon font using the excellent icomoon service. There’s a good reason for that:
Using Latin letters is not recommended for icon fonts. Using the Private Use Area of Unicode is the best option for icon fonts. By using PUA characters, your icon font will be compatible with screen readers. But if you use Latin characters, the screen reader might read single, meaningless letters, which would be confusing.
Well, it turns out that using assigning glyphs to this private use area was causing IE8 to flip into compatibility mode. Once Mark assigned the glyphs to different characters, IE8 started behaving itself.
Now, we haven’t tested to see if this is triggered by all of the 6400 available slots in the UTF-8 private use range. If someone wants to run that test (presumably using some kind of automation), ’twould be much appreciated.
Meantime, just be careful if you’re using the private use area for your icon fonts—you may just inadvertently wake the slumbering beast of compatibility mode.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
A handy walkthrough of using icon fonts. The examples here use the excellent IcoMoon service
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Best. Chrome extension. EVER!
Paul’s Chrome extension replaces every instance of “the cloud” with “the moon” (something I do in my head anyway).
It’s forked from an extension that replaces every instance of “the cloud” with “the clown.”
Oh, and Ben has written a version for Safari …forked from code that converts every instance of “the cloud” to “my butt.”
Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Gorgeous colour-processed images from NASA probes. I could stare at the fountains of Enceladus all day.
Friday, November 2nd, 2012
This is a great free service for generating small subsetted icon fonts. Launch the app and have a play around — you can choose from the icons provided or you can import your own SVG shapes.
Nice touch: you can get the resulting font (mapped to your choice of unicode characters) base-64 encoded for your stylesheet.
Friday, December 23rd, 2011
A masterplan for the moon as a global cemetery. Launch the ashes of your loved ones to the moon (leaving the buckyball container in lunarstationary orbit). Given enough ashes and enough buckyballs, the result is a fertile surface and a atmosphere-trapping layer of fullerine. Terraforming via recycled humans.
Or, if that’s too long-term for you, you can buy a scale-model moon jewel.
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
This blog by the visual effects supervisor on Moon is packed full of wonderfully geeky sci-fi movie stories.
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
The dream of SSI is of a humanity free of the constraints of the Earth. In expanding outward into space, we can not only help to preserve our present biosphere, we can also seed other independent biospheres elsewhere, ensuring the continued survival of life despite any kind of planetary disaster.
Monday, July 20th, 2009
Celebrating the Apollo 11 anniversary with Seb's 3D lunar lander game.
Saturday, July 4th, 2009
Add your moonwalk to the collection.