Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Lost in Space Robot star May dies

“Veteran actor and stuntman Bob May, best known for donning The Robot’s suit in the hit 1960s TV show Lost in Space, has died at the age of 69.”

Bob May

Posted in Movies & TV January 19th, 2009 by Gandalara
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It’s a Major Award.

Major AwardSo I was bipping around through my RSS feed last week and ran across a post by The Crotchety Old Fan, noting that he had been awarded the Prémio Dardos (Dart Prize). It’s an award given “for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

One of the requirements of the prize is to nominate 15 other blogs for inclusion. Now, if you’ll allow me to date myself:* Remember that shampoo commercial from the 70s, where the tagline was, “they’ll tell two friends, and so on…and so on…and so on?” On the one hand, the fact that the prize grows exponentially every time it’s awarded might seem to dilute it a little. On the other hand, the COF is a highly respected blogger and being mentioned by him is an honor. And on the gripping hand, the O*W*C was one of the blogs that he passed the award along to and we’re suddenly rubbing shoulders with John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, and SF Signal.

So screw that old shampoo commercial.** We couldn’t be more thrilled.

To continue the tradition, let me tiptoe through my blogroll and share a few of my favorite sites:
Award Logo
Dark Roasted Blend
The Presurfer
Big Dumb Object
Evil Mad Scientist Labs
Neatorama
Posthuman Blues
Cynical-C
The Website at the End of the Universe
xkcd
Dabbled
Defective Yeti
Indexed
Museum of Hoaxes
Skepchick
Twenty Sided

Most of these are at least tangentially related to SF or science; a few just make me happy. Thanks to all of these sites for making the Web more interesting!


*I tried to date myself once before, but my parents made me break it off. They said I was no good for me.

**It was Faberge Organics. I had to look it up because it was driving me crazy.

Posted in News January 19th, 2009 by Chip
3 comments

Support Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day–named after the first programmer–is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. The event was originated by Suw Charman-Anderson, who runs a blog devoted to “bringing women in technology to the fore.”

To support this event, all you have to do is pledge to publish a blog post on March 24, 2009* about a woman in technology you admire. (And then, y’know, actually publish something on that date.)

You could even double up and post something about scientists who also write science fiction, like Catherine Asaro or Joan Slonczewski.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for topical blog fodder. This idea sounds like a winner to me. Go sign the pledge!

*I’m a little fuzzy on why March 24 was chosen; it doesn’t seem to correspond to any major date in Lovelace’s life. But whatever.

Posted in News January 16th, 2009 by Chip
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Night Sky Delight

(Which is not a thing like Afternoon Delight, but now I’ve got that song running through Shadow’s head so my work here is done.)

Scienceray has a neat roundup of some very cool interactive animated astronomy Websites, including a solar system visualizer, history of NASA, and a Mars explorer. I especially like the Amazing Space site, since it includes a monthly calendar of what’s going on in the sky.

Link (via The Presurfer)

Posted in Space January 15th, 2009 by Chip
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Khaaaaaan!!!

Ricardo Montalban has passed away at the age of 88.

Link

Posted in Movies & TV January 14th, 2009 by Chip
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Five Years of Mars Exploration

Spirit landed safely on January 3, 2004, and Opportunity followed on the 24th. None of the NASA researchers who cheered at their landing expected them to still be sending back data five years later.

And they’ve still got plans for the rovers’ future.

Link

Posted in News, Space January 14th, 2009 by Chip
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The Creepiest Idea I’ve Heard in a While

The U.S. Department of Defense has published a research proposal “To develop a highly interactive PC or web-based application to allow family members to verbally interact with ‘virtual’ renditions of deployed Service Members.” The purpose is to let small children interact with “Mommy” or “Daddy” over a webcam, even when the real parent is deployed and unavailable. The software is supposed to have enough AI capability to have simple conversations with the child.

On the one hand, this might be comforting to children missing a deployed parent, similar in intent to the Daddy Dolls that are custom-printed with a soldier’s photograph. On the other hand, the fact that the software is intended to fool children into thinking that they’re speaking to the real parent puts this on a whole ‘nother plane of wrongness. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable knowing that Shadowboy was chatting with an AI and thinking it was me.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Computers & Internet January 13th, 2009 by Chip
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It’s Probably the Old Ones Snoring

Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have discovered a strange “roar” coming from distant space that’s six times more powerful than all other space radio sources combined. They have no idea what it is, and say that “something new and interesting going on in the universe.”

This makes me unaccountably nervous.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in News, Space January 12th, 2009 by Chip
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Snow Crash Imagined as a Video Game

Responding to a roundtable topic at Man Bytes Blog asking for what a favorite book would be like if it had first been a video game, Shamus Young chose Snow Crash. Instead of just describing what the game would be like, he wrote a whole review about it.

The first section of the game is a driving sequence where you have to deliver a pizza before the time runs out, while dodging cars that change speed and lanes more or less at random. There is also a skateboarder named YT darting around in traffic. She’s supposedly fifteen or so, although if they wanted us to think of her as a kid they should have given her more clothes and a much younger voice actress. Not since Rikku has a game been so confused about whether we’re supposed to want to date or adopt a female character.

You have to keep her from grabbing onto the back of your car, because apparently in the future cars will be so feeble that the weight of a 90 pound girl will cut their speed in half, and thus you will not deliver the pizza on time, which results in a game over.

Link

If you like videogames, be sure to poke around the rest of the site as well. Shamus is a clever, pithy writer and is also the author of the wonderful DM of the Rings Webcomic.

Posted in Books & Authors January 9th, 2009 by Chip
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In Case You’ve Ever Wondered

This somehow seems a natural followup to yesterday’s post:

According to the Big List o’Saints*, the patron saint of the Internet is St. Isidore. Despite having lived around 600 AD, when broadband really wasn’t widely available, he was nominated as the patron of computers, computer techs, and the Internet in 1999.

Here’s one of his Readings:

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.

I think we should demand some kind of a recount. Anybody who’s overly concerned about purity has no business running the Internet.

*Not its real title.**

**Although, frankly, given that there’s patron saint of knife-grinders and a saint you’re supposed to pray to for in-law problems, it’s hard to think of it by anything grander.

Posted in Ephemera January 8th, 2009 by Chip
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