Red Room: authors’ book discussion

I found out today about Red Room, a social networking site for authors that launched in December. From the site: "the official home of the world’s greatest writers. Through original, author-generated content, we offer a trustworthy and creative social network unlike any other. Here, you can connect with your favorite authors, access current industry news, and comment on engaging features. By fostering true community between authors and readers, Red Room showcases esteemed writers and inspires the next generation. We also give back to the community we aim to nurture with our commitment to the causes we support."

Just another social networking site? Not sure, yet. There is an article about Red Room in SF Gate here, describing it as "one of the more ambitious online communities for writers to date and perhaps the most timely, aiming to capitalize on the current potential for profitability of social-networking sites. It features 150 authors (with 400 more to come), ranging from Amy Tan and Salman Rushdie to Edinburgh Castle Pub owner Alan Black; Graham Leggatt, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, who moonlights as a sci-fi writer; and local mystery writer Cara Black."

SF Gate spoke to Amy Tan: "What’s not to like?" said Tan, who shot to fame with the 1989 novel "The Joy Luck Club" and who recently wrote her first blog on Redroom – a self-described "virgin-blogger moment" about a ski trip and the importance of word games. "Redroom said they would maintain a free blog and give money to charity. I just thought, ‘Well, yeah, sure, I’ll do that.’ "

The Red Room main blogs page is here. I wonder if Red Room will fulfil its goal of becoming "the Internet’s premier site for authors and the discussion of books and ideas"?

Popular astronomy quiz

Cross-posted from Nautilus

Alex Witze (currently at AAS) passes on some questions for "sci/pop culture buffs":
In what popular movie does Daryl Hannah play an astronomer? (Answer.)
- What Japanese car company is named after a well-known star cluster? (Answer.)
- What science fiction story, written by an astronomer under a pseudonym, features a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of stellar evolution? (Answer.)
- Can you recite the most famous neutrino poem, and name the poet? (Answer.)
And here’s really geeky one I haven’t a clue about – if you know, comment below please!
- What rock group had its members’ names included in a reference in the Astrophysical Journal, unbeknownst to the editor? (Answer is provided here, with additional story by Oliver Morton).