Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Trivia Thursday

  1. Who said, “Science fiction that sells well in comics is action rather than ideas”?
    A) Harry Harrison
    B) Stan Lee
    C) George Lucas
    D) Harlan Ellison
    E) Neil Gaiman
  2. Who started the magazine Amazing Stories in 1926?
  3. Who was Reep Daggle?
    A) Bouncing Boy
    B) Lightning Lad
    C) Chameleon Boy
    D) Tommy Tomorrow
    E) Cosmic Boy
  4. What does the “T” in “James T. Kirk” stand for?
  5. What novel won the first Nebula award in 1965?
  6. Which of the Babylon stations mysteriously vanished 24 hours
    after coming on line?
  7. Georges Melies’ 1902 “Le Voyage Dans la Lune,” (A Trip to the Moon), is generally recognized as the first science fiction film. On whose novel did Melies base his film?
  8. Isaac Asimov’s book The 1,000 Year Plan is better known by what title?
  9. What Federation outpost did V’Ger “zap” at the beginning of
    Star Trek: The Motion Picture?
    A) Memory Alpha
    B) Epsilon 9
    C) Space Station K7
    D) Tau 0
    E) Babel
  10. Who is King of Planet Doom and archenemy of Voltron on Voltron: Defender of the Universe?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in News June 30th, 2011 by Chip
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This is Rather Charming

I love the vintage-50s vibe of this Stormtrooper getting ready for work.


I found this at Super Punch, where it was uncredited except for a note that it was found at Reddit. If you know who the artist is, let me know in the comments.

Posted in News May 9th, 2011 by Chip
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Vintage Films of the Early Space Race Cut Into Music Video

via BoingBoing Submitterator

Chiptune band Beta to the Max created a music video by cutting together animated, public domain clips from vintage Department of Defense films produced during the space race

I’m completely awed. WOW!

Posted in News April 15th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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New Cell Phone Will Stare Into Your Soul

ElfoidLast year roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University unveiled the Telenoid, a toddler-sized robot designed to “transmit the presence” of a person remotely. The idea is to have webcams track a user’s face and head movements and then have the robot mimic those movements, which is supposed to increase the “humanness” of the interaction despite the fact that the thing falls smack into the Uncanny Valley.

Ishiguro and his colleagues have now shrunk the Telenoid into the Elfoid, a prototype cell phone that allows callers to “feel each other’s presence.” So you call somebody, and their Elfoid wriggles to life in their shirt pocket, and after they’re finished pissing themselves they can totally bask in your telepresence.

Please join me in being utterly unsurprised that this thing is Japanese.

Anyway, the designers feel that a more humanoid design (which will ultimately be able to exhibit facial expressions and make gestures) will overcome some of the limitations of voice-only communication. It’s an interesting idea, and I can already foresee all sorts of interesting customizations being possible. I can also foresee these things being a major plot point in at least one horror movie in the next five years. Yeesh.

(Cross-posted at The Art of Darkness)

Posted in News March 8th, 2011 by Chip
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826 Stores

Mortal TerrorI first encountered the 826 stores a couple of years ago in the form of some photos of The Echo Park Time Travel Mart. The link was presented without any sort of background, so I was left scratching my head as to whether it was some kind of temporary art installation, an actual store, or perhaps an elaborate work of private whimsy.

I recently ran across some photos of products from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, and with a combined sense of déjà vu and WTF decided to investigate further.

The names of the stores come from the address of their first location, the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia in San Francisco. Proceeds are used to fund the 826 National writing program, which tutors kids ages 6-18 in expository and creative writing. The stores are works of creative genius all by themselves, consisting of (in addition to the Time Travel Mart and the Pirate Supply Store), the The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company, The Boring Store, the Bigfoot Research Institute of Greater Boston, and The Museum of Unnatural History.

Inspired by the 826 program, a group in the UK created (with the founders’ blessing) the Ministry of Stories. They are responsible for the Hoxton Street shop, and perhaps we’ll see additional locations in the future.

If I have one quibble, it’s that the various stores don’t have extensive online catalogues. The relatively new Museum of Unnatural History happens to be near me (and I’m already planning an excursion there), but I may never get to sample Golden Horde brand powdered horse milk or pick up a couple of cans of A Vague Sense of Unease.

Fortunately, there’s also a book about the stores: Essentially Odd features photos of products from the various stores, plus anecdotes and design notes from the artists and designers responsible.

If you’re looking for some fantastic creative inspiration, the 826 product lines are an incredible resource.

(Cross-posted at The Art of Darkness)

Posted in News March 7th, 2011 by Chip
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520-day flight simulation nears ‘landing’ on Mars

via Physorg

members of the Mars 500 crew

Members of the Mars500 crew wave before being locked into the isolation facility in Moscow, 2010. Three men will simulate walking on Mars next month as part of a project that has seen a multinational crew locked up inside a mock Moscow spaceship since June.

After 233 days in a locked steel capsule, six researchers on a 520-day mock flight to Mars are all feeling strong and ready to “land” on the Red Planet, the mission director said Friday [2011.01.18].

The “landing” is scheduled for Saturday, 2011.02.12. The project is designed to help real space crews deal with the confinement and stress of extended duration space travels in the future. The living quarters are designed to simulate the quarters available to a real space crew, and there is a module attached that will simulate the Mars landing site.

So far, the Mars 500 crew are all still committed to the project (no one is ready to opt out).

Posted in News February 4th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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Metallic glass stronger than steel


David Teeghman, Discovery News

metallic glass 6x2 grid

Glass has a lot going for it: it’s easy to clean and you can see straight through it. The only problem is that it’s fragile and brittle, and that means it breaks easily. That’s why researchers have created a new type of glass that is stronger and tougher than steel.

In fact, this new type of damage-tolerant glass has actually demonstrated a durability greater than any known material.

Reminds me of “transparent aluminum” [Star Trek, the Voyage Home]

Posted in News February 2nd, 2011 by ceejaydp
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Earth may soon (?) have a second sun

via io9

betelgeuse supernova

The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is getting ready to go supernova, and when it does Earth will have a front-row seat. The explosion will be so bright that Earth will briefly seem to have two suns in the sky.

NOTE: " the conversion from stellar to human terms is pretty extreme, as Betelgeuse is predicted to explode anytime in the next million years."

Posted in News February 1st, 2011 by ceejaydp
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In praise of the sci-fi corridor

via Motherboard
Martin Anderson, Den of Geek

Saturn 3

There’s a moment in every geek’s life when one goes for the ‘communal hug’ on a pet-subject and finds oneself unexpectedly out in the cold.

The piano player stops playing. The landlord shakes his head as his eyes head heavenward, and he slinks away to rearrange the crisps. The lonely sound of a misdirected dart is all that haunts the otherwise silent pub. And it’s definitely time to get your anorak.

“You like what…?”

Corridors in science-fiction movies. I love them.

Posted in News January 25th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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Go Ahead, Call Yourself a “Cyborg” Now

via Motherboard
Alex Pasternack

The argument that Amber Case makes at TEDxWomen (video above) may be more about semantics than about technology. Yes, we know we’re augmented; arguably we’ve been so since the invention of the plow. The difference with digital is that we can exist in multiple worlds simultaneously, and we don’t even have to be sitting at a desk to do it. Does that make us cyborgs? …
In any case, here’s a question: once we’ve become cyborgs – and let’s say “digital cyborgs” – should we keep our original names? Do we have a right to, when we’re no longer the biological entity we were when we were named? What kinds of markets might emerge to distribute names? Will there be a scarcity, like domain names? Can we use old screen names? What if I just add 9000 to my name? Maybe we need an app for this.

Posted in News January 24th, 2011 by ceejaydp
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