Science Behind the Sci-Fi Newsletter: July 2014

I: Introduction

Hello my friends, and welcome to the July edition of the Science Behind the Sci-Fi newsletter! July brought us our first new installment of the new video panels, which we’ll talk about in a moment, and we’re already working hard to bring you an excellent lineup of panel topics for the rest of the year. With that said, let’s dive in!

II: Science Behind the Sci-Fi

Earlier this month, Broken Crown Games CEO Tyler Yohe moderated a panel entitled, “Episode 1: Space Exploration – Past, Present, and Future”. Joining him on the panel were Amy Teitel of Popular Science, Micah Walter-Range of the Space Foundation and Michael Paul of the Penn State GoogleX Lunar Lions. It was an excellent and spirited discussion that discussed the exciting past and future of space exploration from a wide variety of angles. You can watch the video below or go to YouTube directly!

For August, we’re working on a panel we’re tentatively calling, “Stresses in a multi-planet society,” and are currently working on the guests and other details for that. As soon as we know the who and then when, we’ll let you know, so stay tuned!!

III: Fun Science News!

There was some fun sciencey news over the last month, so let’s take a look!

Finally, if y’all don’t mind me embellishing a bit, I got to visit an honest to goodness Space Shuttle recently, namely the Endeavour at the California Science Center here in Los Angeles. I was so moved by the event I wrote a little something about it, which I hope you enjoy. 🙂

That’s it for this installment folks. Be sure to tune into us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to keep up with the latest developments on our ebook releases, future Science Behind the Sci-Fi panels and more! Thanks for reading folks, and have a wonderful day/month! 🙂

November 2013 Science Newsletter

We hope all of our American readers had a great Thanksgiving.  Its also an extremely rare Hanukkah which coincided with Thanksgiving this year (won’t happen for another 77,798 years) which is pretty cool.  So to those that celebrate Hanukkah, we wish you a Happy Hanukkah as well!

With the best wishes out of the way, for the November season anyway :-),  let’s move onto the science!

Science Behind the Sci-Fi Panel Overview

This Month’s “Random Science News”

This month I have one awesome piece of Random Science News, which was actually submitted by one of your fellow fans (and a volunteer army member of the Escaping Titan development team), C. Garig:
  • Dr. Frankenstein in real-life?  OK, not really.  ABC likes to exaggerate, but still an amazing scientific advancement by the researchers at Yale and Harvard.
  • Have you heard of some cool science news that you think we should share?  Reach out via the comments section below and let us know!

That does it for this month’s newsletter – short and sweet.  We here at Broken Crown Games want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season this upcoming December month!

Best wishes,
-Tyler

October 2013 Science Newsletter (WITH SPECIAL COMPANY UPDATE!)

Happy Halloween everyone!

This month went by incredibly fast for us.  For those of you that might not have already heard, our sister company, Broken Crayon Games (notice the family relation), released their very first game, Wizardous: An Apprentice’s Betrayal.  It’s an incredibly fun (although at times frustrating – by design) mobile game.  You can pick it up for all of the major mobile devices.

The game is FREE until Nov. 1st (NO ads, NO in-app purchases… just free) in order to give those who show us early support something in return!  The version in stores currently is only a Promo version and is missing the final levels, however if you download it now while it’s FREE, you’ll be updated to the final complete version on Nov. 14th!

Here are links to the game in stores:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wizardous-apprentices-betrayal/id719287441?ls=1&mt=8

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.botfgames.wizardous

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wizardous-broken-crayon-games/1117075416

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Crown-Games-LLC-Wizardous/dp/B00FP23JJ2

Though there are a lot of great things I could talk about with this game, it’s a bit off-topic for this newsletter.  If you’d like to learn more, feel free to check out the Wizardous website.

Alright, so enough about Broken Crayon Games and Wizardous — you’re all here because you support Broken CROWN Games and Escaping Titan, which is all about getting the science behind our sci-fi right.  So onto the science!

Science Behind the Sci-Fi Panel Overview

FEATURED GUEST PANEL:
  • Science Focus: Physics
  • Author: David S. Latchman – David holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago with specialization in Environmental & Medical Physics. David is a freelance science writer whose work has appeared in Next Door Magazine. His blog, The Quantum Tunnel, focuses on the science featured in popular movies and TV shows. He can be found on Google+ and on Twitter.

This Month’s “Random Science News”

We’ve got a range of topics for this week, including Saturn and Titan updates, Mars news, and a cancer-related “vaccine” (cell therapy really).
That about does it for this week’s Broken Crown Games science newsletter.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Have a safe and Happy Halloween, but before you go out on that candy grab, don’t forget to check us out on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, for the latest in Broken Crown Games’ news!
 -Tyler

September 2013 Newsletter

The leaves are changing color here in State College, Pennsylvania, the place of our new home office, which means another September has come and gone.  We’re all settled in here after a few bumps and bruises this month, but the rest of the team around the country has been keeping things running smooth for us!  Here is a quick peek at what has been happening on the science front this month:

Science Behind the Sci-Fi Panel Overview

FEATURED GUEST PANEL:
  • Science Focus: Astronomy – The Fermi Paradox
  • Author: Andrew Rushby – A PhD student at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the United Kingdom, Andrew’s research is based in the Laboratory for Global Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry (LGMAC), and is broadly focused on planetary habitability and modelling the biogeochemical processes taking place both on the Earth and extrasolar planets. He also writes about exoplanets and astrobiology at several sites across the web, and was short-listed for the Guardian and Welcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2012.

This Month’s “Random Science News”

Though it’s been a crazy month, I made sure to find time to peruse the internet like always and find some cool science news for all of you keeping up to date with our posts.  Here’s what I’ve found:

  • I’ve been working on the short stories for the Escaping Titan Sourcebook, coming out in a few months, which had me thinking about the validity of a few of my sci-fi Mars construction ideas which then had me out searching the internet for some science to support my sci-fi.  Here are some awesome posts from this month that support some of the construction you’ll see in our sci-fi!  Article on 3D printing of subsurface houses on Mars.
  • And speaking of Mars, I wanted to keep everyone up to date on the Mars One mission since I discussed it a few months back when they first started taking applications.  To see how their effort to colonize Mars is going, check out this update on Space.com.  But with everyone trying to colonize Mars lately, this article discusses the chance of the crews on Mars going crazy!

Well, that should be enough articles to keep you reading for awhile, so I’ll let you get to it.  Hope you enjoyed this month’s newsletter, and don’t forget to check us out on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

 -Tyler

August 2013 Newsletter

After last month’s poll, it seems most of you enjoy the image based posts more, so I’ll keep that trend going with this month’s newsletter.  We’ve also addressed a few issues that were preventing the newsletter from getting out to everyone, so hopefully more of you will be receiving this one!

Finally, since we hopefully have everyone’s attention, we just wanted to ask that you:

  1. ‘Like’ us on Facebook
  2. ‘Follow’ us on Twitter

By do this, it really helps us see who is out there, and also gives you a better way of keeping up to date on what we’ve been up to.  I’d love to keep talking because I’m awesome like that, but honestly, this week’s panelists came up with some great topics, and I just don’t think I can come up with anything to top them.  Though for the most part this month’s topics are a bit more ‘sci-fi’ oriented than usual, the science these guys bring to the table is still 100% there to back up what they are saying.  So without further rambling from me, enjoy as our scientists cover topics including the possibility if mind control in real life and the math behind the real potential of alien life!

Science Behind the Sci-Fi Panel Overview

Jamie-Boyer-PhD,Photosynthesis-Synthesis,-August1-2013
Robert-Hampson-PhD,-Who-s-in-control,-Aug-8-2013
Jacob-Haqq-Misra-PhD,-Seasons-on-Titan-,-Aug-15,-2013
Amitai-Bin-Yun,EMP-Weapons-End-of-Civilization-or-Just-a-Lot-of-Fizz,-Aug-22-2013
FEATURED GUEST PANEL:
Ed-Trollope,The-search-for-life-the-Drake-Equation,-Aug-28,-2013

This Month’s “Random Science News”

A heard some great direct feedback about the videos from last week as well, so I thought I’d keep that trend going this month as well.  So with out further adieu, here is your ‘Random Science News’ for August!

  • Think video games don’t have a place in real science?  Tell that to NASA’s JPL team, which took the Occulus Rift (Broken Crown owns a developers kit for this by the way!!) and used it to allow their team to simulate walking on Mars using images from the Curiosity Rover.  Here’s a video of it:
  • Video games weren’t the only form of entertainment to blend with science this month, as the two met on the big screen in ‘Europa Report’.  Many are saying this is one of the most scientifically accurate sci-fi movies in recent memory.  Here’s the movie’s trailer:
  • Perseids meteor shower occurred this month!  For those of you following us on social media, we through out a quick warning so you wouldn’t miss it.  If you did, here is a quick video of what you missed (skip to 5:18 in the video to get a good shot of the shower at its peak):

Share your thoughts!

I really appreciated the feedback from last month, so I thought I’d come back for more again.  Its about that time to start the search for new panelists if we are going to change things up, but before we do, we want your thoughts on what to keep and what to change up.  If you select that you’d like new topics, please feel free to offer up subjects or people you’d like us to contact about being next year’s annual featured panelist.

Thanks for reading,

 -Tyler

July 2013 Newsletter

Another month gone by way too fast!  As I’m sure many of you will notice, we’ve made some changes to the newsletter to make it more visually stimulating, so we hope you like it! (Please leave us your give us your thoughts through the poll at the end of the post)  With that said though, I don’t want to keep you from the new layout any longer, so enjoy.

Science Behind the Sci-Fi Panel Overview

Jamie - Upright Botanical Brigade
Robert - Hypothalamus SSI - Self Healing
Jacob Haqq-Misra - Titan Underground Oceans
Amitai Bin-Nun - A Star is Born
FEATURED GUEST PANEL:
  • Science Focus: Archeology and Science Outreach
  • Author: Scott Viguie J.D., PhD
  • Up Next Month: Ed Trollope, a UK Space Engineer and Director of http://www.ThingsWeDontKnow.com, comes in to discuss the Drake Equation (equation looking at the possibility of life on other planets).

This Month’s “Random Science News”

I decided to change this section up a bit this month.  Just like the purpose of our games will be to expose players to science that wouldn’t usually learn about through main-stream media, I decided I wanted to change this section a bit to do the same and showcase some of the random science news I come across each month.  And as another twist, I decided it’d probably be a bit more fun this month if every news bit had video. 🙂

  • 3D Printing is gaining legs!! (couldn’t resist the pun)  But the major point here is, with 3D printing, technology is able to grow faster and more ‘production’ based as this toy robot can now be quickly manufactured.
  • SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is working on landing technology for their delivery rockets, helping to overcome one of the major cost setbacks of launching items into space.  To learn more & even see it in action, just fast forward the video below to 0:50.
  • Gearing the news a bit more around the home world for our upcoming game, Escaping Titan, take a listen to this month’s ScienceCast from NASA
  • And finally, here is an awesome article about work Harvard is doing to allow humans to control the thoughts of mice!  This research parallels with the SSI brain implant technology that will be found in the game and which has been spoken of in Robert Hampson’s Science Behind the Sci-Fi posts each month.  Although this article does also include a video, I didn’t want to include it as it does include animal testing and some readers here may be sensitive to that content.

Share your thoughts!

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy some of this month’s content.  If you are liking what you hear though, we’d love to get your feedback, so if the poll above didn’t give you enough room to express your thoughts, feel free to comment below, or feel check out our forums and start sharing through threads of your own!
That’s all for this month, ciao.
 -Tyler

June 2013 Newsletter

Welcome back to another edition of our Science Behind the Sci-Fi newsletter!

With 6 month’s now behind us, we wanted to thank all of you for your support over as we got the Science Behind the Sci-Fi section of the company off the ground!  Our mission of making science accurate games is important to us, and we really want to share the science behind them with our fans.  So it really wouldn’t mean anything without people like you. Our audience group continues to grow due to all of your efforts to share us with your friends.  Please help continue this by tweeting about us and sharing news from us on Facebook.

To all the first time readers out there, the goal of this newsletter is simply to highlight the science related activity behind the creation of the Science Fiction video games being developed by Broken Crown Games.  We really appreciate everyone taking the time to read our stuff, and encourage everyone to jump on our forums and help in the effort of making science accurate games by simply chatting in our general discussion section.  So without further delay, lets get this newsletter started!

Continuing with the trend from the last two newsletters, lets start with some special news:

  • First off, let me name drop a little, and say I had the chance to have drinks with Buzz Aldrin this month!  The unique opportunity came about during a black tie event in Washington, DC, which was put on by the Federation of Galaxy Explorers.  And let me say, Buzz has some style!  Sporting a maroon suit with a bow tie made of twisted metal – very cool.
  • Also, our Astrobiology panelist, Jacob Haqq-Misra, has been working closely on the Lone Signal project, which after much effort has finally launched this month.  So congratulations to all that contributed to that project, and for those of you that haven’t heard what it is, go check it out.  The project gives anyone and everyone the chance to create a customized message that gets sent into space!
  • Another cool update is that Robert Hampson, our Neuroscience panelist, is at it again!  This month he was interviewed by podcast The Future and You.  Take a listen!

‘Science Behind the Sci-Fi’ Panel Overview

  • Science Focus: Paleobotany
  • Author: Jamie Boyer
  • Overview: Jamie takes a look at the root systems of early plant life on Earth in order to explain the important role root systems will play when attempting to grow plants on other planets.
  • Up Next Month: How Plants Survive, Part 1: Leaves & Stems
  • Science Focus: Neuroscience
  • Author: Robert Hampson
  • Overview: Robert continues to the second of three posts on the hypothalamus.  This month, he breaks down the hypothalamus into its different regions and their respective functions.
  • Up Next Month: Hypothalamus SSI: The Self-Healing Ability
  • Science Focus: Astrobiology
  • Author: Jacob Haqq-Misra
  • Overview: In our sci-fi story, Saturn’s moon of Titan has become a habitable planet.  So this month, Jacob focuses in on what is necessary to make that possible.
  • Up Next Month: Titan’s Subsurface Oceans
  • Science Focus: Astrophysics
  • Author: Amitai Bin-Nun
  • Overview: In the Broken Crown universe, human civilization decided to spread out across numerous worlds to prevent a species extinction due to a single cosmic event.  This month, Amitai continues his ‘Dangers of Space’ posts with a focus on the potential dangers of asteroids and other near-Earth-objects (NEOs).
  • Up Next Month: Dangers of Space: Stellar Life Cycles
GUEST PANEL:
Life on Mars (on Earth)

  • Science Focus: Physics and Science Journalism
  • Author: Kate Greene
  • Overview: Join Kate as she describes her experiences from inside the HI-SEAS, after 2 months in seclusion with only her 5 other crew members.  Listen to her story as she tells you what its like inside a Mars simulation experiment.
  • Up Next Month: Scott Viguie, also know as Dr. Geek, uses his PhD in Archeology and applies it to the science behind our game’s science-fiction!

This Month in Science

Just like last month, there are a ton of great things to showcase, and so few spots to highlight it all.  Here are our selections for this week’s featured science news:

  • After Amitai’s post above, I thought it was worth showcasing this article, which talks about NASA’s new mission to find ways to prevent asteroids from killing live on Earth, and their asking for your help.  Help NASA stop killer asteroids!
  • Just 22 light-years away (fairly close), scientists discovered 3 new planets in a stars habitable zone!
  • One cool bit of news from our friends over at Astronaut.com is a video of flight engineer Karen Nyberg (currently on the International Space Station) talks about here work, as well as how her work effects her family.
  • As a biomedical engineer with a degree in nanofabrication as well, this last bit of news is something I’m extremely excited about!  All that ‘hypothetical’ organic chemistry has finally been proven correct after scientists uncover a way to see atomic structures!

That’s all for now!

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy some of this month’s content.  If you want to hear more from us, follow this newsletter, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter.
Cheers,
-Tyler