Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Link Dump

Five Sci-Fi Children’s Books – College Humor reimagines popular SF in the style of classic children’s books.

Steampunkr – “Daily steampunk inspiration.”

Encyclopedia Astronautica – Comprehensive space travel reference site, including information about technology, vehicles, astronauts, and flights.

The City – Haunting, incredibly detailed dioramas depicting a post-apocalyptic world.

A Space Wardrobe – Neat gallery of photos and X-rays of various spacesuits.

Ghostbusters Cake – Ridiculously detailed wedding cake, complete with light-up proton streams.

Posted in Ephemera January 31st, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on Link Dump

A Moment of Silence

Smoke PlumeToday is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

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

Trivia Thursday

  1. 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
    D) Non-Stop
    E) The Diamond Age
  2. What is the name of the cursed ship in Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers?
  3. “Doc” Savage is known as the Man of…
  4. What was John Carpenter’s first feature film, which began as a student project at USC?
  5. The Web Between the Worlds and The Fountains of Paradise are both books about the creation of what technology?
  6. 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
  7. Who is the main character in James Blish’s classic novel Doctor Mirabilis?
  8. Colin Wilson’s novel Space Vampires was turned into what movie?
  9. In The Matrix, what is the name of Morpheus’ ship?
  10. 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

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ephemera January 27th, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on Trivia Thursday

This Should Be in Every Textbook

SMBC

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Posted in Ephemera January 26th, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on This Should Be in Every Textbook

In praise of the sci-fi corridor

via Motherboard
Martin Anderson, Den of Geek

Saturn 3

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

Go Ahead, Call Yourself a “Cyborg” Now

via Motherboard
Alex Pasternack

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

The Chase

Intel created this video to illustrate the performance capabilities of its new chip. I like it.

(via Dark Roasted Blend)

Posted in Computers & Internet January 21st, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on The Chase

Trivia Thursday

  1. Who is Iron Trilobite’s cyber deity?
    A) Rorqual Maru
    B) Steppin’ Razor
    C) The god machine of Gor
    D) Imhotep 217
    E) Hiro Protagonist
  2. Wedge was the only Rebel to make it through all three of the original Star Wars movies. What was his last name?
  3. In what novel by Kurt Vonnegut does he raise the possibility of an as-yet undiscovered form of water, terming it “Ice-nine”?
  4. The child -sized aliens of Lusitania in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series are named what by the human inhabitants of the planet? (It’s Portuguese for “little children,” if that helps)
  5. What irascible SF legend made a cameo appearance as a Psi Cop on TV’s Babylon 5?
  6. Who wrote of the 3500-year reign of the Tyrant?
    A) J.R.R. Tolkien
    B) Charles Sheffield
    C) Ray Bradbury
    D) Arthur C. Clarke
    E) Frank Herbert
  7. The Grey Mouser hangs out with what barbarian?
  8. Superman says “Up, Up and Away,” what does Atom Ant say?
  9. Who was the Stainless Steel Rat’s mentor?
  10. The word “grok” is fairly well-established in the English language. In which seminal Robert Heinlein novel of the 1960s was it coined?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ephemera January 20th, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on Trivia Thursday

Evidence Emerges That Laws of Physics Are Not Fine-Tuned For Life

via Technology Review

The 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

KFC 01/18/2011

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.

FULL STORY

Posted in News, Science, Space January 19th, 2011 by ceejaydp
Comments Off on Evidence Emerges That Laws of Physics Are Not Fine-Tuned For Life

Movies From an Alternate Universe

TronArtist 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.

(via BoingBoing)

Cross-posted at The Art of Darkness

Posted in Ephemera January 18th, 2011 by Chip
Comments Off on Movies From an Alternate Universe