Friday 13 March 2009

Spooky mindreaders, space games and a cherry on top of Jodrell Bank

Jodrell Bank is evidently putting its nose out of joint to be as silly as possible for Red Nose Day. If you ask me, it looks like an iced cake. If you're quick you can catch all their ghastly puns on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Tom and Stellar just eerily answered my post whinging out into the ether for a galaxy merger game. They've found Galaxy Crasher, where you alter the size of the galaxies, their number of stars, their angles relative to each other and whether or not they have frictional forces or a dark matter halo. Apparently some people have managed to make collisional rings, which just goes to show they're better at it than me! Check Stellar's blog for how it works.

On the subject of space games, it's surprising how many there are. Many months ago, Edd showed us Orbitrunner, where you choose the position of the Sun to keep planets and moons in a stable orbit (otherwise - BOOM!!!). It has haunting music and is highly addictive, especially on a computer such as this Mac which doesn't run it too fast (my PC laptop ran it so fast I didn't have time to think and got nowhere). Orbitrunner is particularly illustrative of the slingshot effect, which Mariner 10 used extensively to get around and for which there's another game here. I started by crashing the spaceship with Jupiter!

Heading back to the 1970's (apparently), there's also the old favourite Asteroids, certainly containing the least physics and realism, but no less fun. With the four or five relevant keys, bangs and whistling alien spaceships, there's something wonderfully addictive about these super-simple old games. I wonder when they'll be saying that about 2009 ones? (Christmas 2009, I expect.)

If that's enough games for you, more serious stuff will come later, I promise.


Anonymous said...

Glad you liked our "cherry" on top. I thought up the idea on Tuesday night as something light-hearted to do for Comic Relief. I donated more than normal for the red nose given that it is - virtually at least - considerably bigger than usual.

I picked the best jokes I could find and, as you can see, the quality of the world's astronomy jokes leaves a lot to be desired. ;-) Still, a lot of people seemed to enjoy the bad jokes. Hopefully some donated to Comic Relief as a result.

Hmmm... now I must go buy some Cherry Bakewells.

Alice said...

I love those jokes, Stuart. There is the most appalling set of jokes on Galaxy Zoo. If I'd seen what you were up to I would have sent in some. In fact I will send you a few now, even though it is after midnight . . .

By the way, we visited Jodrell Bank last July and had a brilliant time! :D

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Tim was able to show you all around. I was supposed to do it but was in Belgium at the time of the trip.

Alice said...

(In between fighting with these wretched comment settings . . .) Oh so that was you! :D Good to "meet" you - fancy you stumbling upon one of my least good or serious blog posts. Ah well we had a great tour with Tim, maybe we'll have another zooite meet-up at Jodrell and meet you then. We really enjoyed ourselves.

And I also got a massive kick out of that "Save Jodrell Bank" youtube thing last year! I hope Jodrell is safe now!