Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Virtual Economies Attract Real-World Tax Attention

Gamers have long had to worry about virtual death in the form of being eaten by a grue. Now it looks like they may have to worry about virtual taxes.

Users of online worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft transact millions of dollars worth of virtual goods and services every day, and these virtual economies are beginning to draw the attention of real-world authorities.



Posted in Computers & Internet, News October 17th, 2006 by Chip
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Beware of Squid

Road SquidWe all know what a pain those pesky road squid can be. Now you can have the international Road Squid warning sign on a T-shirt or coffee mug, thanks to Barry.

Posted in Ephemera, Squid October 16th, 2006 by Chip
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Dammit, Where Are the Flying Cars?

Two pieces on MSNBC today explore predictions about the future that never quite got off the ground.

Some predictions about the future remain forever etched in history: Lord Kelvin’s 1895 declaration that “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” or Digital Equipment Corp. head Ken Olson’s 1977 statement that “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” But far more predictions and visions of the future are forgotten long before the future actually happens.

And come to think of it, the heck with the flying cars. Where’s the babysitting robot?

The future isn’t what it used to be
Seven flights of fancy that fizzled
(via Jinkies!)

Posted in Ephemera, Science October 13th, 2006 by Chip
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Wil Wheaton Reviews ST:TNG

Wil Wheaton (yeah, him) has started doing reviews of Next Generation episodes over at TV Squad.

The mood on the bridge is tense. Rumors about the Ferengi are numerous, and include some terrifying suggestions: they eat humans, they’re big and scary, and they have really huge wangs.



Posted in Humor, Movies & TV October 12th, 2006 by Chip
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Historic “All Sky” Map

COBE All-Sky Map

This historic all-sky map is based on the first two years of data from NASA’s COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, launched in November of 1989. The map shows minute temperature variations (red is hotter) imprinted on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation by structures in the early Universe.

Link (via Neatorama)

Posted in News, Science, Space October 11th, 2006 by Chip
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IceWeasel, Even Freer Than Firefox

IceWeasel LogoIceWeasel is a version of the Firefox browser created for use in “free” operating systems like Debian which try to eschew any element that can’t be freely reused by anyone, for any reason. Iceweasel was developed because Firefox and the Firefox logo are trademarked, and because some of the default Firefox plugins can’t be freely redistributed. (I like the idea of free-as-the-air software, but mainly I wanted to blog this because it gave me an excuse to use “weasel.”)

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet October 10th, 2006 by Chip

We’ve Got Lots of Company

As our ability to detect smaller extrasolar planets gets better, we’re finding that our galaxy “teems” with Earthlike planets.

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a trove of fast-moving “candidate” planets in a narrow region near the very center of the Milky Way, and astronomers say there must be billions more of them — including many like Earth that orbit their suns in so-called “habitable” zones.

I’m willing to bet that few of them are inhabited by aliens who look just exactly like humans except for forehead ridges or pointy ears, though.


Posted in News, Science, Space October 6th, 2006 by Chip
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Scientists Teleport “Large” Molecule

Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second.

But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter.

“It is one step further because for the first time it involves teleportation between light and matter, two different objects. One is the carrier of information and the other one is the storage medium,” Polzik explained in an interview on Wednesday.

The experiment involved for the first time a macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms. They also teleported the information a distance of half a meter but believe it can be extended further.


Posted in News, Science October 5th, 2006 by Chip
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For the Man who Has Everything

This year’s Neiman Marcus holiday catalogue offers gift seekers the perfect idea for the loved one who wants to get away from it all: a space trip that includes a spectacular view of Earth and a chance to experience weightlessness. For a mere $1.76 million you can charter a private space flight for six passengers including medical assessments, training, a ride on the Virgin Galactic spaceship and an after-party at Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson’s private-island retreat in the Caribbean.

Link (via

Posted in News, Space October 4th, 2006 by Chip
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Robert Anton Wilson Needs Our Help

He’s in the process of dying, and on the brink of poverty. See this article over at BoingBoing to see how you can help.

Update: It looks as though fans were more than generous. Yay, SF community! Link

Posted in Books & Authors, News October 3rd, 2006 by Chip
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