Sunday, December 5, 2010

JAPAN HERITAGE Matsushima: A seascape that left poet Basho at a loss for words


Legend has it that even Matsuo Basho, the celebrated 17th-century haikuist and travel writer, was at a loss for words when he first gazed at Matsushima.
The locale that so moved the man who perfected the art of haiku is about 14 kilometers from east to west, and 12 kilometers north to south. It encompasses a scenic coastline and 270 or so islets, all covered in pine trees, in Matsushima Bay, in Miyagi Prefecture.
photoAn aerial view of Matsushima Bay off Miyagi Prefecture (ASAHI SHIMBUN FILE PHOTO)
Matsushima is considered one of the country's top three coastal scenic spots, along with Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture and Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture. Since the Edo Period (1603-1867), Matsushima has been a favorite theme of both writers and artists.
It is within easy access of Sendai, the capital of the prefecture--less than a half-hour train ride.
Matsushima's charms are not seasonally challenged. It is a destination for all seasons--cherry blossoms in spring, beautiful leaves changing colors in fall, swimming and fishing in summer and a crystal view of the bay in winter. And regardless of the time of year, history fans will find much to see, do and learn.
Of course, Matsushima is noted for its seafood, including "anago" sea eels in summer and oysters in winter. There is no reason a visitor cannot try them at various restaurants, many of which offer great views of the bay.
After lunch you might want to hop aboard a tour boat for a bay trip. The boats follow predetermined times and routes to see the best the bay has to offer at just the right times of the day.
Hot tip: The lookout point at Otakamori on Miyatojima island in eastern Matsushima is considered the best spot to watch the sun go down.
For early risers, people say the best place to view the sun making its appearance is Saigyomodoshi no Matsu Park on the coast near Matsushima-Kaigan Station.
The station also provides access to Zuiganji temple, the most famous Zen temple of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism in the Tohoku region. It is believed to have been built in 828 and reconstructed in 1609 by warrior lord Date Masamune (1567-1636). Its main hall, corridors and even its Zen kitchen are designated national treasures.
Nearby is the small island of Ojima, once a training center for different Buddhist sects. It all began, so they say, when the ascetic Kenbutsu took up residence in the 12th century and spent the next dozen years reciting sutras all day long. Naturally, this much effort was rewarded with great spiritual power.
For those seeking more earthly pleasures, there is aquarium Marine Pia, noted for its waddling penguins, and a music box museum, Matsushima Orgel Museum. Both are within walking distance of Matsushima-Kaigan Station.
* * *
Take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Sendai Station and transfer to JR Senseki Line. It's a 25-minute ride to Matsushima-Kaigan Station.
From Sendai Station, the JR Tohoku Line is also available. Get off at Matsushima Station.
Sightseeing boats are available from a pier near Matsushima-Kaigan Station.
Visit ( and (

Monkeys ecstatic as hot spring opens


About 100 Japanese monkeys eagerly clambered into a hot spring, stretching their limbs and getting loose on Wednesday, the first day their pool was filled at Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden in Hokkaido.
The primates chattered appreciatively--especially the creaky oldsters--as they slipped into the soothing water. The day was a cold one, with temperatures sliding below zero.
The primates will be able to loll about in the bath until the season ends in early May.
According to garden officials, Japanese monkeys, much like Japanese themselves, tend to be fussy about water temperature.
The monkeys demand the water be heated to 41 degrees and won't get in the pool if it isn't, the officials said.
photoJapanese monkeys relax in a hot spring bath at Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden in Hokkaido on Wednesday. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

Mario 25th Anniversary Book Coming To Japan [Amazon Japan Listing Mario Anniversary Book For $10, Features Mario Soundtrack, Manga & Stickers]


Posted December 4th 2010 by Kevin Schram

This year is the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros’ first gracing our Nintendo NES consoles all those years ago. Nintendo hasn’t passed up the chance for a celebration, and they’ve released special game consolesheld parties and decorated buses. Now in Japan, they’re selling a special book that looks back on the 25 years of Mario.
Mario 25th Anniversarg Commerative Book
A ‘commemorative book’ was included with the purchase of “Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition”, but this looks to be one of those collectible one-off magazine deals. It’s being published by Enterbrain and Amazon Japan is asking just ¥840 ($11) for the magazine.
What does it include? An interview with Shigeru Miyamoto (we suspect it will be the same Miyamoto-Itoi interview that Nintendo published in October on their website – still a great read), some Mario manga, stickers, a poster, and a CD containing Mario music from the Press Start Symphony of Games. All-in-all, this tome comes to about 144-pages long.
The special 25th anniversary edition gear that was released in Japan also eventually made its way to Europe and North America – but that being said, I don’t know if this will make it out of Japan. Some folks have announced that they’ll be importing it from Japan via Amazon Japan. Expect to pay about $30 in shipping, the little birdies say.

Read: Mario 25th Anniversary Book Coming To Japan [Amazon Japan Listing Mario Anniversary Book For $10, Features Mario Soundtrack, Manga & Stickers] » TFTS – Technology, Gadgets & Curiosities 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Satellite to launch with air of intrigue about true mission


By Pam Benson, CNN National Security Producer
September 24, 2010 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT

  • New satellite will detect and track man-made objects in space
  • Of about 21,000 objects in space, most are debris
  • In space, even small pieces of debris can cause serious damage
  • Some suspect satellite will spy on other country's satellites
Washington (CNN) -- Getting around town with your GPS, watching your favorite program on satellite TV, tracking hurricanes in real time, communicating with the warfighter on the battlefield -- any one of those activities could be in jeopardy if a piece of the growing mass of orbital junk traveling through space at supersonic speeds smashes into a satellite.
That's why the Air Force is launching a new satellite Saturday night that officials say will have the capacity to better detect and track the more than 20,000 man-made objects in space, most of which is debris.
The managers of the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) program said the satellite will help make U.S. space assets safer and more secure. SBSS commander Col. J.R. Jordan told reporters that "this satellite is going to revolutionize how we track objects in space by not being constrained by weather, the atmosphere or the time of day."
The heart of the satellite is a camera with an unobstructed view of three quarters of the sky, a valuable wide angle that avoids having to expend the time and fuel to reposition the spacecraft.
Currently, space objects are tracked by ground based systems -- radars and optical telescopes -- which can be blinded by adverse weather conditions, clouds and daylight.
The new satellite has other potential missions. It can provide a closer eye on the satellites and space objects of other nations. The Air Force officials participating in the news briefing would not discuss missions or priorities.
"There are a lot of objects out there that we have lost track on, and there are a lot of objects we think we can observe that we haven't been able to observe previously," Jordan said.
"We're going to improve the actual tracking on a daily basis," he added.
"SBSS will track the relative position of satellites and debris to enable the Joint Space Operations Center to protect the nation's assets in space," a spokesman for the Air Force Space and Missile Center said.
Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer who worked on space operations, said the new satellite makes it feasible to observe and collect information on objects at much higher altitudes in deep space. The satellite "may very well have imagery capabilities" beyond what has been made public, said Weeden, who now is an analyst for the Secure World Foundation.
"Think Hubble," said Weeden, a reference to the space telescope which provided more detailed images of the universe at greater distances.
John Pike, who follows satellite developments for, is more conspiratorial about the satellite's mission. He maintains one of the key purposes of the new satellite is to learn more about the characteristics of debris fields in order to make satellites more stealth -- n other words, to disguise top secret U.S. satellites as debris. Pike said space junk is a concern, but ground systems are able to keep track of most of the space clutter that could impact key U.S. assets.
Weeden disagreed. He is skeptical of the feasibility of developing stealth technology based on observing debris.
Although Weeden acknowledged there may be some elements in the U.S. intelligence and military who want such research, he believes the physics is too hard. Unlike debris, satellites give off a physical signature -- heat, light and other indicators.
"If a satellite is stealth, how do you know where it is, especially if you should lose contact with it?" Weeden posited.
He said the new tracking satellite does provide a far better ability to detect, track and inspect objects in space. One of the motivations for the tracking satellite, Weeden said, is the fear that another nation might have a dormant anti-satellite device in orbit, waiting to be turned on. Although there is no indication such a device exists, Weeden said the new satellite will give the United States better situational awareness in space.
Michael Krepon, a space expert for the Stimson Center, said the new satellite provides needed additional capacity.
Within the past few years, he said, there have been "three wake up calls to say there is a huge problem," with space clutter.
Thousands of pieces of debris were generated when, in 2007, the Chinese intentionally destroyed one of its own satellites with a ballistic missile. In early 2009, a Russian satellite and a U.S. satellite collided in space, and later that year a Russian intercontinental missile blew up during a test flight.
Krepon pointed out that even a marble sized piece of debris "travels with the energy of a one-ton safe dropped from a five story building. If you get hit with that marble, you're having a really bad day," said Krepon.
The Air Force Space Command's mission is to track and chart the path of anything orbiting the earth that is 10 centimeters -- approximately the size of a baseball -- or larger. Of the approximately 21,000 objects currently being followed, 1,000 are active satellites or other payloads such as the international space station and the shuttle.
The Air Force has spent $858 million on the development and production of the new tracking satellite, which is expected to be operational for five and a half years.

Ham Radio Operator Talks To Space Station


Texas Man Shocked When He Got Reply From Astronauts

POSTED: 7:46 am PDT September 23, 2010
UPDATED: 8:29 am PDT September 23, 2010

Trying to contact the International Space Station from home is no easy task.
But an East Texas man used his ham radio to pull off the nearly impossible feat.
Darryl Young sent out a message 250 miles away to the space station one night, and was shocked when an astronaut heard and replied.
"Out of Pittsburg we've got ya, loud and clear," the astronaut is heard saying.
Because the space station moves so fast -- about 17,000 mph -- radio operators have only a two-minute window to make contact, Young said.
"When I made contact the first time it was on top of a 20 foot pole," he said. "There's a guy that has all this fancy antenna with tracking and everything else been trying for three years."
John Yembrick with NASA said it's not uncommon for people on the ground to contact the space station and speak with crew members.
"It's bragging rights," Young said. "Hey, I talked to the space station."
Next time, Young would like the astronauts to slow down so they can carry on a conversation "and say when's the last time you played golf or something."

'Social Network' Goes to Harvard


It's unusual that film premieres have their after-parties in such perfect locations as "The Social Network." David Fincher's much-hyped film, which, by all means, lives up to its hype, very classily opened the New York Film Festival Friday night. The movie chronicles the creation—and the various disputes around the creation—of Facebook among a group of classmates at Harvard University.
To celebrate, Sony Pictures, which is releasing the film on Friday and apparently has very high Oscar hopes for it, took over the entirety of the Harvard Club on 44th Street. (The company also hosted a press junket there this weekend.)
WireImage/Getty Images
Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that the rooms and the furniture were stuffy. There was taxidermy, including of a real elephant, on the wall. The food—large sliced cheese plates, pasta with red sauce, old-school carving stations—was mediocre at best, as most food at universities and their alumni clubs tend to be. But the ambience was just right, not to mention a perfect match for a film that captures the strange Neverland of what it's like to exist at an Ivy League institution.

"This is the closest I've come to being accepted to Harvard," said Aaron Sorkin as he nursed a soda. Mr. Sorkin, a graduate of Syracuse with a degree in musical theater, is the creator of "The West Wing" and also the writer of the snappy dialogue in "The Social Network." At least, for the moment, his screenplay seems the one to beat.
The evening brought out an especially high-brow crowd. Princess Firyal of Jordan was there. So were Stephen Daldry ("The Reader") and several American independent film darlings who have all had films premiere at the Film Festival: Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale"), Wes Anderson ("Rushmore") and Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler"), in his now trademark scarf.
Most of the cast was there too, including Jesse Eisenberg, who plays the piece's hero slash villain Mark Zuckerberg; Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Saverin, the friend he betrayed; Justin Timberlake, who plays Napster founder Sean Parker, and Rashida Jones, who plays an attorney, and, for trivia purposes only, in real life actually graduated from Harvard. (Much of the film was filmed at Johns Hopkins.)
Of course, talk in general was about how terrific the film turned out. But if you took a poll of guests at the Harvard Club for—let's go ahead and use a Facebook term, why don't we—their "status updates," many of them would be: "Is wondering how Scott Rudin lost all that weight."
It is perhaps interesting to note, now, the slight irony of Mr. Rudin, one of the film's lead producers, and Mr. Fincher making a film about Harvard and celebrating it at the Harvard Club. Neither, it seems, graduated from college. But Mr. Fincher has spoken about his kinship with his anti-hero. In New York magazine, the director said he has "an enormous empathy for" Mr. Zuckerberg and knows "what it's like to be 21 years old and trying to direct a $60 million movie … you have to have not only a great deal of drive, you have to have an unshakable, freakish confidence."
Less has been made of the parallels with the famously volatile Mr. Rudin, who was president of production at Fox at the age of 29. It is not surprising that he, too, was attracted to a project about a slightly misunderstood, uber-successful genius who can be brash, difficult and hot-tempered.
But we lost the plot for a moment. By all reports Mr. Rudin has recently shed a remarkable 70 pounds. How, by Harvard, did he do it?
"By not eating," Mr. Rudin said, and he returned to his conversation with Sony's Amy Pascal.
Write to Marshall Heyman at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anime Cine Experience In Delhi


Cine Darbaar, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, Directorate of
Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of
India, Japan Foundation and Asian School Of Graphics And Animation
[ASGA] as knowledge partners is organizing a 3-day Animation film
festival at Siri Fort auditorium on the 20th, 21st & 22nd August,
It’s the first time that a festival will be celebrating
Japanese-Anime, Manga (Comics) and Pop-culture in India. Anime Cine
Experience will be bringing the great anime works of Japan with films
like The Girl who leapt through time, Grave of the fireflies, 5cm per
second, Voices of Distant Star and The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
“To give the audience a wider understanding of Anime, the festival will
have workshops and special discussions will be conducted by Shubham
Mauria and Kshitiz Anand’’ informed Sandeep Marwah, President of Marwah
Studios and Director of Asian School Of Graphics And Animation.

Apart from these workshops, festival is also organizing a short-film
competition. A Short Anime corner will screen the 10 best short films
and the top three films will be awarded. The festival will also have a
photography exhibition on Japan.
A film journal Indian Auteur will be publishing a special issue on Anime for 

the festival with the help of Japan Foundation and knowledge partners 
Asian School of Graphics and Animation.The Festival is supported by 
International Film And Television Club, International Children’s
 Film Forum and Radio Noida.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday the 13th Superstitions Rooted in Bible and More


This year Friday the 13th superstitions get a break—luckily for triskaidekaphobes.

The Last Supper, after restoration.
Legendary traitor Judas (fourth from left) is said to have been the 13th guest at Jesus' Last Supper.
Painting by Leonardo da Vinci via Getty Images

John Roach
Updated August 13, 2010
They date back to at least ancient Roman times, but Friday the 13th superstitions won't be getting much of a workout this year. Luckily for triskaidekaphobiasufferers, today is 2010's only Friday the 13th.
That must come as a relief, after 2009's nine Friday the 13ths—the maximum possible in a year, at least as long as we continue to mark time with the Gregorian calendar, which Pope Gregory XIII ordered the Catholic Church to adopt in 1582.
"You can't have any [years] with none, and you can't have any with four, because of our funny calendar," said Underwood Dudley, a professor emeritus of mathematics at DePauw University in Indiana, and author of Numerology: Or, What Pythagoras Wrought.
The calendar works just as its predecessor, the Julian calendar, did, with a leap year every four years. But the Gregorian calendar skips leap year on century years except those divisible by 400. For example, there was no leap year in 1900, but there was one in 2000. This trick keeps the calendar in tune with the seasons.
The result is an ordering of days and dates that repeats itself every 400 years, Dudley noted. As time marches through the order, some years appear with three Friday the 13ths. Other years have two or, like 2010, one.
Curious Calendar Encourages Friday the 13th Superstitions
"It's just that curious way our calendar is constructed, with 28 days in February and all those 30s and 31s," Dudley said.
When the 400-year order is laid out, another revelation occurs: The 13th falls on Friday more often than any other day of the week. "It's just a funny coincidence," Dudley said.
Richard Beveridge, a mathematics instructor at Clatsop Community College in Oregon, authored a 2003 paper in the journal Mathematical Connections on the mathematics of Friday the 13th.
He noted the 400-year cycle is further broken down into periods of either 28 or 40 years.
"At the end of every cycle you get a year with three Friday the 13ths the year before the last year in the cycle … and you also get one on the tenth year of all the cycles," he said.
2009, for example, was the tenth year of the cycle that started in 2000.
Friday the 13th Superstitions Linked to Triskaidekaphobia
Friday the 13th superstitions are rooted in ancient bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday, said Donald Dossey, a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun.
The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.
Dossey traces the fear of the number 13—aka, triskaidekaphobia—to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, Norse mythology's heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous god Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
"Balder died, and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day," Dossey said.
There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. (See "Lost Gospel Revealed; Says Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him.")
As for Friday, it's well known among Christians as the day Jesus was crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by his brother Cain on Friday the 13th.
Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.
In modern times, many triskaidekaphobes point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
Thomas Fernsler, an associate policy scientist in the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware in Newark, said the number 13 suffers because of its position after 12.
According to Fernsler, numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus.
In exceeding 12 by 1, Fernsler said 13's association with bad luck "has to do with just being a little beyond completeness. The number becomes restless or squirmy"—not unlike some folks with triskaidekaphobia today.
Paralyzed by Friday the 13th Superstitions
Some people are so paralyzed by Friday the 13th superstitions that they refuse to fly, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip, for example.
"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," said Dossey, the historian, who is also the founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.
Among other services, Dossey's organization counsels clients on how to Friday the 13th superstitions, which fuel a phobia that he estimates afflicts 17 to 21 million people in the United States.
Symptoms range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. The latter may cause people to reshuffle schedules or miss an entire day's work.
When it comes to bad luck of any kind, Richard Wiseman—a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England—found that people who consider themselves unfortunate are more likely to believe in superstitions associated with bad luck.
"Their beliefs and behavior are likely to be part of a much bigger worldview," he said. "They will believe that luck is a magical force and that it can ruin their lives."
Triskaidekaphobia'as Architectural Effects
Triskaidekaphobia can even be seen in how societies are built. More than 80 percent of high-rise buildings lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 1/2. In France socialites known as the quatorziens ("fourteeners") once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
DePauw University's Dudley said nobody really knows why Friday the 13th has spawned so many superstitions.
"You've got to have something that is unlucky, and somehow they hit on 13," he said. "But all these explanations are just moonshine."

Monday, August 9, 2010

IISc opens doors to Undergrads from 2011


By Staff Reporter       Published: August 09 2010 

Good news for all students who are looking for a good undergraduate program, IISc is planning to introduce a UG course that can help take the first step towards success.
One of Bangalore's premiere institutions Indian Institute of Science or IISc. Established back in the year 1909, it has become one of the top ranked institutes in the country. The degrees offered by this institute can be divided into two categories, Degrees by coursework and Degrees by Research and from 2011 the institute shall also offer undergraduate courses . All major universities across the world have proper UG courses that help students take the right step towards their future but in India, students do not have as many options therefore IISc is making a conscious effort to bridge the gap in education. 

Once the program gets the green signal, the institute shall offer a four year interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science programme. Taking inspiration from the program being offered at the California Institute of Technology, this particular proposal seeks to create human resources that can make positive contributions to industry, in the field of medicine or in research institutes. The UG course will combine both science and engineering although the primary focus would be on science.  

Also, the report presented by the committee, led by Yash Pal - a noted academic, has suggested that it be made mandatory for all the universities in the country to offer weighty undergraduate programmes. This particular proposal seeks to develop a much needed connection between undergraduate and postgraduate programs. In addition to the basic sciences, the interdisciplinary programme will also include the humanities namely philosophy and history.  

The institute shall probably witness growth and expansion in regards to the infrastructure along with human resources once the course is introduced.  
A professor says, ““The problems we face today are very different from those that needed to be addressed 100 years ago when the IISc began — we have issues such as environment and energy to contend with. These problems can only be solved through an interdisciplinary approach.” 

Although it was assumed a while back that the campus in Chitradurga would probably house the programme, it has been recently reported that the existing IISc campus would offer the undergraduate programme. Each batch comprising of about 50-200 students, the programme will most probably be small. Since the changing world calls for a mix of science and engineering, this UG course seeks to provide exactly that so as to make the students capable of contributing both in industry as well as in research. The program would be started in a number of fields including Physics, Biology, Math etc. It would also allow students to pick the minors and major after about three semesters.   

Prof Yash Pal had this to say about the course, “marvelous news and a move in the right direction.” He dismissed doubts and worries about losing research time and resources, “If you’re teaching an undergraduate programme, you’ll find that you will come across a certain energy and even questions that will widen the horizons of your research too. It is very valuable, and that is where you will get your best material from.”    

As you are already aware the admissions into the institute is no piece of cake but with loads of hard work and determination, it is possible for you to become a part of the world renowned institute.  

Indian Institute of Science

No.259, Iisc Campus,
Malleswaram, Bangalore -5600012 Map
91-80-2293 2004/2228/2001

Abandon Earth or Face Extinction, Warns Stephen Hawking


Jan. 14: Stephen Hawking speaks via satellite during a Science Channel presentation in Pasadena, Calif.

It's time to abandon Earth, warned the world's most famous theoretical physicist.
In an interview with website Big Think, Stephen Hawking warned that the long-term future of theplanet is in outer space.
"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet," he said.
"I see great dangers for the human race," Hawking said. "There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future."
"But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space," he said.
That said, getting to another planet will prove a challenge, not to mention colonizing it for humanity. University of Michigan astrophysicist Katherine Freese told Big Think that "the nearest star [to Earth] is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away. That means that, if you were traveling at the speed of light the whole time, it would take 4.2 years to get there" -- or about 50,000 years using current rocket science.
Still, we need to act and act fast, Hawking stated. "It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space."
Hawking has become quite outspoken in recent months. In April, he warned of the dangers of communicating with aliens, telling the Discovery Channel that extra-terrestrials are almost certain to exist -- and humanity should avoid contact with them at all cost.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”
The answer, he suggests, is that most of alien life will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals -- the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history -- and they could pose a serious threat to us.
In May Hawking said he believed humans could travel millions of years into the future and repopulate their devastated planet. If spaceships are built that can fly faster than the speed of light, a day on board would be equivalent to a year on Earth. That's because -- according to Einstein -- as objects accelerate through space, time slows down around them.
“Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a crank," he said in Stephen Hawking's Universe.
"These days I’m not so cautious.”