"I like the format of Super Massive Blackhole because I can flip through the comic easily. The one-panel per page format and the dialogue on the bottom gives the entire comic a cinematic feel. The sci-fi elements are futuristic, but the look is black and white and classic."
I've asked my webcomic author peers to say something nice about A*, in return for which I'll link to their own comic when I post the quote, so that's what's going on up there. Response so far has actually been quite good, so this could go on for a while. Hopefully this little indulgence of mine won't be too annoying, but you just might find a link to a nifty webcomic you hadn't seen before!
And just to prove this won't distract me from my usual tumultuous forays into science news and beyond, here's a bunch of stuff!
I came across a NewScientist.com article highlighting a black hole simulation program that shows how the hole's gravity would bend light around itself, distorting the view of distant stars:
You can even download the program, written by two fellows from the University of Stuttgart. I couldn't seem to get its OpenGL renderer to work on my computer, drat the luck.
Innovation News Daily ran an article recently about the Navy's test of their "Maritime Laser Demonstrator," a ship-mounted prototype of a laser weapon. It isn't all that powerful, but in the tests they've been able to use it to burn through outboard motors after a second or two, as is supposedly shown in this video:
It isn't just the Navy shooting lasers these days, though--even green fluorescent protein ("GFP") is getting into the act, according to this LiveScience.com article: scientists working at Massachusetts General Hospital, it says, using genetically engineered kidney cells containing the protein (which normally occurs in some fluorescent sea creatures) and a pair of tiny mirrors to generate a laser from the green light the protein emits.
They came up with the idea because GFP emits its light along very specific wavelengths, which is exactly what you need a laser to do! So they were able to use the tiny mirrors to gather the light emitted by the protein, and focus it into a beam, albeit a pretty weak one.
Neat! Now they've just got to move that from kidneys to something a little more accessible, like say fingertips or eyeballs, and we'll be in business! Or at least, we'll have some cool natural super-hero special effects. :P And maybe the Navy could harness herds of fluorescent jellyfish to take out pirate speedboats!