Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Logic Goats–Uh, Gates…No, Goats

Logic GoatsHere’s a papercraft project that I find much more amusing than it probably ought to be. Teach kids how logic gates work by way of goats.

The central processing unit lies at the heart of every computer, a vast collection of microscopically small switches and logic-gates. Now, through the power of paper we bring you those same logic gates in goat form.

Presented here are the and-goat and the or-goat. The and-goat will nod his head only in you press the right button AND the left button. The or-goat nods his head if you press the left button OR the right button OR both buttons.

I like that there’s both an AND goat and an OR goat. I’ve been trying to think up a subtle way to work in a reference to a NAND-y goat, but unfortunately there’s no way to make something that geeky at all subtle. (Of the approximately six people who read this blog, one just chuckled.)

Anyway, Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet, Ephemera January 18th, 2007 by Chip
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For GRRM fans


17th January 2007

12:20pm: HBO Options A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

Yes, it’s true.

Yes, this is the Big News that I have been hinting at.

No, the Big News was not the pizza crawl, or the delivery of the new WILD CARDS book, though of course I’m excited about those as well.

VARIETY broke the story this morning. Instead of rehashing what they said, let me just point all of you toward:

Posted in Books & Authors, Movies & TV January 17th, 2007 by Gandalara
1 comment

Sci Fi to Produce Diamond Age Miniseries

Neal Stephenson’s Hugo award-winning The Diamond Age: Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is being made into a six-hour miniseries for the Sci Fi Channel.

When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world. Stephenson will adapt his novel for the miniseries, the first time the Hugo and Nebula award winner has written for TV.


Posted in Books & Authors, Movies & TV January 17th, 2007 by Chip
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Stop the PERFORM Act, Save the Ability to Record Radio

Congress has reintroduced the PERFORM Act, a broadcast flag for radio. If it passes, you can wave goodbye to the idea of recording digital radio or Internet radio. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a Web page to help you write to your Congresscritter to protest this.

This bill aims to hobble TiVo-like devices for satellite and digital radio. Such devices would be able to include “reasonable recording” features, but that excludes choosing and playing back selections based on song title, artist, or genre. Want to freely move recordings around your home network or copy them to the portable player of your choice? You’ll be out of luck if PERFORM passes.

This bill would also mess with Internet radio. Today, Live365, Shoutcast, streaming radio stations included in iTunes, and myriad other smaller webcasters rely on MP3 streaming. PERFORM would in effect force them to use DRM-laden, proprietary formats, so you can say goodbye to software tools like Streamripper that let you record programming to listen to it later.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Note to readers who are now shouting at their screens, “Hey, this post’s not about science fiction!”: 1) Stop shouting at your screen. It’s unseemly, and scares the cat. 2) This kind of legislation not only affects what you’re allowed to do with your computer, it will have a major chilling effect on new technology innovation. The corporations in favor of this kind of bill are trying to prop up their obsolete business models instead of looking for ways to harness these new revenue streams. That kind of corporations-squashing-individuals is ripped right from the pages of cyberpunk, and if you don’t want your next pizza delivered by Hiro Protagonist you should take an active interest in the Digital Rights Management issue. See? It’s science fiction after all.

Posted in Computers & Internet, News January 16th, 2007 by Chip
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Edible Squid-Flavored Postcards

Squid PostcardLet loved ones know you’re thinking of them by sending them an edible postcard made of squid jerky. That may be one of the most surreal sentences I’ve ever written.

Produced by the Susami fishing cooperative, Surumail postcards consist of dried surume squid (Todarodes pacificus), the local seafood specialty. The squid jerky is flattened and vacuum-packed into the shape of a postcard, and an adhesive label is included for the postage, delivery address and a short message.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Squid January 15th, 2007 by Chip
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And all I got was this silly T-shirt …

From . . . The winning entries in the New Year Competition. The challenge was to compose a text message of no more than 160 characters, sent home by an alien who has just arrived on our planet. Here, then, in no particular order, are the 10 winners, as chosen by a ballot among staff at the magazine.

*Arrived safely. Weather chilly, but improving steadily over the next century or so. Found out why Aunty didn’t come back from her Roswell trip.

*Arr. Earth. Dominant species “car”. Colorful exoskeleton and bizarre reproduction via slave biped species. Aggressive but predictable. Intelligence uncertain.

*We followed the wormhole, and have now discovered the source of the wet socks (of the singular kind) which are spontaneously materializing on our planet.

*See pic. This one will look good on veranda. We can come back for the ones with rings.

*Send help! Under attack, lost half fleet already. Attackers are huge, armored, 6 legs, well organized, show no mercy. All attempts to negotiate unsuccessful.

*No need to exterminate, they’re doing it themselves. Radiation level increasing nicely, prospect of large increase imminent. Warm and getting warmer. Come soon.

*Source of electromagnetic pollution located. Initiating steps to turn it off. Will ensure solution is permanent.

*Parallel evolution of intelligent life. One carbon based, one silicon based. Carbon form domesticated by silicon form to feed it with all its needs.

*OMG you have to see how they procreate.

*Our assumptions were wrong. Their diet is so full of unhealthy chemicals they don’t taste at all like chicken. Even their chickens don’t taste like chicken.

Posted in Humor, Science January 13th, 2007 by Gandalara
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Robert Anton Wilson, RIP

Robert Anton Wilson passed away early yesterday morning. From his final blog post:

I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.

Please pardon my levity, I don’t see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.


Posted in Books & Authors, News January 12th, 2007 by Chip
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William Gibson Radio Interview

Says BoingBoing:

Here’s a great radio interview with author William Gibson, recorded three years ago, but recently replayed on the This Week in Science radio show/podcast. The interview starts about 31:49 minutes into the MP3.


Posted in Books & Authors January 12th, 2007 by Chip
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“Look, You’re British, So Scale it Back a Bit.”

Eddie Izzard notwithstanding, Britain has announced that it may plan a couple of solo moon missions. Entitled, of all things, “Moonlight” and “Moonraker.”


Posted in News, Space January 11th, 2007 by Chip
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We’ll Avoid the Obvious “Out of This World Jewelry” Title

A long-standing geological mystery about the origin of black diamonds has apparently been resolved: They’re from outer space.

Brookhaven National Laboratory used infrared-detection instruments to analyze the hydrogen in some black diamond samples and found that the quantity indicated that the mineral formed in a supernova explosion. It’s theorized that the diamonds–which are never found in normal diamond deposits–may have been inside meteorites which struck Earth billions of years ago.

So if you’re looking to propose to a lover of science fiction, it looks like a black diamond ring is the way to go.


Posted in Space January 10th, 2007 by Chip
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