Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

The Rise of the Machines

News at Seven is a scary-smart automated news project from Northwestern University. It pulls news stories in from RSS feeds, finds related video and still images, and then composes a story that’s “read” by a video-game character from Half-Life. It even cuts away to a different reader narrating posts from blogs related to the day’s story.

Totally autonomous, it collects, parses, edits and organizes news stories and then passes the formatted content to an artificial anchor for presentation. Using the resources present on the web, the system goes beyond the straight text of the news stories to also retrieve relevant images and blogs with commentary on the topics to be presented.

Who wants to bet that within a decade or so, our nightly news programs are automated like this?

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet, News October 31st, 2006 by Chip
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Snow Crash Comes to the Metaverse

Penguin Books has launched an in-game publishing venture in the virtual world Second Life, leading with Neal Stephenson’s wonderful Snow Crash. Which is nice, since the book’s Metaverse was the inspiration for the Second Life game.

Penguin worked with the London-based virtual world design agency Rivers Run Red to create an in-world version of the book – this offers readers excerpts of the text, an audio clip and a link which clicks through to a dedicated Second Life page on the Penguin website, complete with the opportunity to buy the book at a discount. They are now developing a virtual bookshelf of other Penguin titles for the Second Life resident.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Books & Authors, Computers & Internet October 30th, 2006 by Chip
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Really Short Stories

Wired Magazine challenged authors to write SF stories in just six words. Some of these are surprisingly evocative.

Internet “wakes up?” Ridicu – no carrier.
– Charles Stross

It cost too much, staying human.
– Bruce Sterling

It’s behind you! Hurry before it
– Rockne S. O’Bannon

I’m your future, child. Don’t cry.
– Stephen Baxter

1940: Young Hitler! Such a cantor!
– Michael Moorcock

Link (via BoingBoing)

(p.s.: Somebody hit David Brin. He’s stuck.)

Posted in Books & Authors, Humor October 27th, 2006 by Chip
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Locus Magazine Reviews The Prestige

Two reviews of the new steampunk movie starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are up on the Locus home page: One by Gary Westfahl and one by Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person. The movie also stars David Bowie as Nikola Tesla, which brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Posted in Movies & TV October 26th, 2006 by Chip
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Isn’t This Pretty Much Why Rome Fell?

The article title is, “Eyelash transplants set to sweep nip tuck world.”

“Longer, thicker lashes are an ubiquitous sign of beauty. Eyelash transplantation does for the eyes what breast augmentation does for the figure,” said Dr Alan Bauman, a leading proponent of eyelash transplants.

Link

Posted in News October 25th, 2006 by Chip
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Jack-o’Lanterns, Klingon-Style

Just in time for Halloween.

Behold! By placing a few glowing boulders, ignited red-hot by the blast of a phaser, the klingon lantern comes alive for the first time. (or you can use tea lights).

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Ephemera October 24th, 2006 by Chip
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Jobs of the Future: Virtual World Tour Guide

Synthtravels is a tour operator that arranges for guided visits to virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life, providing “native guides” for people who want to get the lay of the land. There’s a job description I bet no SF writer ever saw coming.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet, Ephemera October 23rd, 2006 by Chip
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Complete Works of Darwin Online for Free

About half of Darwin’s works are now online, with the rest slated to be up by 2009. The material includes one of his Galapagos notebooks, stolen in the 1980’s, which has been reproduced from a microfiche copy made several years previously.

Link

Posted in News, Science October 20th, 2006 by Chip
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Romulan Careers in Science

A team of American and British researchers has made a Cloak of Invisibility. Well, OK, it’s not perfect. Yet. But it’s a start, and it did a pretty good job of hiding a copper cylinder.

Scientists create cloak of invisibility

Posted in News, Science October 19th, 2006 by Chip
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DNA Computer Masters Tic-Tac-Toe

A computer that uses strands of DNA to perform calculations has mastered the game tic-tac-toe.

MAYA-II, developed by researchers at Columbia University and the University of New Mexico in the US, uses a system of DNA logic gates to calculate its moves.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet, News October 18th, 2006 by Chip
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