I was in high school, and they announced the disaster over the PA system. The teacher stopped class and we watched a replay on the news.
I specifically recall a voiceover by somebody in the control room who didn’t see the explosion but noticed that his equipment was registering some kind of mechanical failure saying, “Obviously, a major malfunction,” and thinking that he had just won the Understatement of the Decade Award.
Where were you when it happened?
Posted in Space January 28th, 2011 by Chip Comments Off on A Moment of Silence
This famous book about the collapse of technology and society on a generation starship sent to Procyon ends as the ship begins to split apart. What is its title?
A) Orphans of the Sky
B) Between the Strokes of Night
C) Tau Zero
E) The Diamond Age
What is the name of the cursed ship in Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers?
“Doc” Savage is known as the Man of…
What was John Carpenter’s first feature film, which began as a student project at USC?
The Web Between the Worlds and The Fountains of Paradise are both books about the creation of what technology?
What is the title of a 1966 John Brunner novel about overpopulation?
A) Make Room! Make Room!
B) Stand On Zanzibar
C) The Stand
D) Ninth Gate
E) Shockwave Rider
Who is the main character in James Blish’s classic novel Doctor Mirabilis?
Colin Wilson’s novel Space Vampires was turned into what movie?
In The Matrix, what is the name of Morpheus’ ship?
In March of this year, NASA’s MESSENGER probe will enter the orbit of Mercury. What was the only other U.S. mission to Mercury?
A) Ranger 4
B) Mariner 1
C) Mariner 10
D) Venera 2
E) Mercury 10
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. FULL STORY
Posted in News January 25th, 2011 by ceejaydp Comments Off on In praise of the sci-fi corridor
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 Comments Off on Go Ahead, Call Yourself a “Cyborg” Now
via Technology ReviewThe value of the cosmological constant suggests that the laws of nature could not have been fine-tuned for life by an omnipotent being, says a cosmologist
One of the more curious debates in science focuses on the laws of physics and why they seem fine-tuned for life.
The problem is that the laws of physics contain various constants that have very specific, mysterious values that nobody can explain. These constants are balanced in such a way that life has evolved at least once, in one small part of the Universe.
But why do the constants have these values? Various scientists have calculated that even the tiniest of changes to these constants would make life impossible. That raises the question of why they are so finely balanced
One explanation is that this is pure accident and that there is no deeper reason for the coincidence. Another idea is that there is some deeper law of nature, which we have yet to discover, that sets the constants as they are. Yet another is that the constants can take more or less any value in an infinite multitude of universes. In ours, they are just right, which is why we have been able to evolve to observe them.
Artist Sean Hartter has created an astonishing collection of posters for “movies from an alternate universe,” featuring popular titles seen through a looking glass.
The vintage-60’s artwork is fantastic, and the posters all hint at storylines that I’m sort of disappointed I’ll never be able to see. Kill Bill starring Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne, an R-rated “cult classic” version of Masters of the Universe, Alfred Hitchcock’s treatment of Halloween, yes please.
11″x17″ prints of the posters are for sale at the site. These would be a fantastic gift for a film buff with an odd sense of humor.