Category Archives: Sci-Fi Science News
Man I love Nerds. I haven’t completely figured out my own official designation yet. I am a hybrid, perhaps leaning into Nerd a bit from my previous mostly Geek. Doesn’t really matter though. We both rule the world. So you plan on vacationing on HOTH, the icy, desolate and cavey Rebel base last featured in “The Empire Strikes Back”. You’re asking yourself, if I get caught outside the base after sundown and I’m feeling a bit chilly, how do I keep frost free until morning? Well, you slice open your faithful Tauntaun companion and crawl inside. Smelly, but toasty warm. How warm will it be inside this creature exactly is the question asked over at Wolfgnards. The question was posed and answered but what is really fun is the comments correcting the original post on the mistakes in the logic and biology of the answer. This is Nerd at it’s most epic brilliance. Here’s a couple of comments: 1) The… Continue Reading »
Normally I’d be reluctant to admit this, but I’ve spent a completely abnormal amount of time considering the probability that Captain Kirk’s desert made diamond cannon in the episode “Arena” would have been more likely to kill the good Captain or simply to have fizzled out. Shortly thereafter of course our scaly friend Mr. Gorn would have eaten Kirk’s face, either in the pieces that were left on the ground or, while still attached to James after the Gorn had finished hunting and skinning him. The intrepid Nerds at Mythbusters have also obviously been considering the possibility that the thing was never going to work or that perhaps diamonds aren’t scattered on the ground like acorns. Rocks would probably have done the job if you hit the Gorn straight in the beak. Thank Spock that in the end our trusting Gorn waddled straight into the approximately one degree firing arc of the little cannon. Gorns can go straight apparently but… Continue Reading »
Since most of your Sci-Fi movie and television news makers are busy sacrificing virgins or puppies or practicing whatever religion allows them the supernatural powers to get rich and famous, mostly producing crap, Sunday can be a desert planet of news, barren and lifeless. But all is not lost. Remember, it’s called Science-Fiction for a reason. And so, since our readers have neural networks with a few more connections than are necessarily needed for prepping for Steelers-Bengals or finally putting that load of laundry in the dryer that you put in the washing machine on Tuesday, I bring you your Sunday Sci-Fi Science Fix, a column chocked full of nerd with hopefully cinematic themes of aliens, exploration or mass destruction. Exoplanetary Hunters Find Easy Way To Seek Out Alien Worlds Up until now, astronomers have been using the (maybe) slightly uncertain technique of detecting planets around other stars by measuring a planets mass effect on the movement of the parent… Continue Reading »
As a part of the lovely system of things that underlies and ultimately controls this holographic illusion we call reality, the Quantum Mechanics, Many Worlds theory is plum and ripe with delicious Sci-Fi goodness. You can’t swing a bagful of tribbles around without striking a Sci-Fi movie or book that deals with the tricky alternate universe plot-line. The latest Star Trek extravaganza? Spock with a goatee? Nuff said. Boffins at Stanford, Andrei Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin (awesome scientist names) have calculated just how many universes humans or other conscious entities can observe and therefore ruin. The number of the beast is 10^10^16. This number is smaller then it could have been and its limitations have to do with the amount of information a human brain can gobble. It’s a finite number because there are a finite number of things in the universe and therefor a finite number of quantum states. Infinity (and real random numbers) are impossible in a closed… Continue Reading »
You knew it had to happen. The essential component has been missing. Sure, we are well on our way in creating and building giant, speedy and hungry, spine chewing, skull stomping, gear stuffed agents of Armageddon. The problem has been, once we give them autonomy, they’ll still be singular soldered soldiers of human hunting doom. To really exterminate properly you need an all knowing, all evil, silicon Uber mind to really get us fleshy types on the screaming run. And so, propellerheads with very poorly developed senses of irony have begun to program an artificial intelligence specifically engineered to be evil. Yes, that right. The industrious nerds at the Rensselaer AI & Reasoning laboratory or RAIR as they like to say when they are trying to pick up chicks at the local beer garden, are all the way up to version 4 of the code collection they call “E”. Selmer Bringsjord, a logician, philosopher and chairman of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s… Continue Reading »
As the day approaches when you are forced to live in your boarded up basement, clinging to your last can of cat food while reliving the bittersweet memory of having to pummel Uncle Stan to death after he tried to gnaw off your foot, you might be considering a little high end, nerd style computation to help improve the odds of making it at least as far as starvation. Math nerds at the University of Ottawa have developed a formula for helping you determine just how fast a given population will succumb to the bloody thirst for the living. See the formula below. According to this, a city of 500,000 will see it’s Zombie population exceed the breathing population in 3 days. Your strategy? The more Zombies you can kill with grandad’s shotgun or Mom’s garden implements, the better the chance of you reaching the Mad Max level of post apocalyptic civilization decay. Remember kids, a slide rule makes a… Continue Reading »
In the science guys ever vigilant search for new and interesting ways to kill their neighbors, comes this most recent and terrifying addition to our future killer robots arsenal of destruction. Once satisfied to just mow us down with heavy weaponry, swiss cheesing us in a massive hail of depleted uranium, robots now have the luxury of impossible to follow except on slo-mo cameras, hummingbird like, manual dexterity. There’s a video down there below to be watched in open mouthed horror. Hide your Ginsu knives Sci-Fi citizens because once your neighborhood red eyed titanium toothed jogging death dealer gets equipped with this new technology you’ll be sliced, diced, shredded and julienned. It’s just over. Thanks to Popsci for the fruitless but considerate warning.
Recently, I wrote a little post about a DARPA funded robot project that featured some Sci-Fi drama queen embellishment. One of the principal propeller-heads behind the project has written us to set the record straight. EATR does not in fact hunt and eat humans. EATR is a peaceful, grazing kind of robot, quietly treading the fields and green of our beautiful planet, munching happily on the occasional dead twig, soft and fuzzy moss or recently raked pile of leaves. EATR is nothing to fear. If you see EATR in your neighbourhood, do not be afraid. Give it your compost and let’s all be friends. Thanks very much MrRobot0 for urging me to get the facts straight. Head on over to MrRobot0′s blog for the full, bunny safe, scoop on EATR.
Once again, just because we have the money to build these things and the dark and evil inner thoughts to conceive them, doesn’t mean we should be building them. Science Fiction writers have for years been telling horrific tales of our machines deciding that mankind is no longer needed thank you. It’s as if money guys go to see Terminator and say, gee, we could build that! What a cool idea! In their latest folly, soon to haunt us all as we run screaming from it, arms akimbo, is the EATR robot under construction by the spectacularly well funded DARPA. EATR powers itself by eating flesh, either plant or animal. It rumbles along merrily using it’s steam based engine and when it gets hungry it scoops up Grandma or Aunt Flo in it’s giant maw and several muffled screams of agony later and now topped up, it continues barreling along doing worse evil. If that’s possible. I suppose they want… Continue Reading »
A new study called, get ready Nerds, “A thermodynamic basis for prebiotic amino acid synthesis and the nature of the first genetic code,” compiled by Ralph Pudritz and Paul Higgs at McMaster University in Canada is claiming that life in the Universe may be inevitable where there are the basic chemical building blocks and that the code for life, D.N.A. is built into the very basic physical laws of the universe. I wrote that sentence before coffee! Life is built on 20 amino acids and the most basic first 10 are all that is required for basic pre-biotic life. The first 10 seem easy to cook. The laws of thermodynamics seem to apply to the formation of these amino acids and therefore life. If life is a natural evolvement from simple to complex states given the right chemistry (now found to be even more common) and based on the universal law of thermodynamics then life is likely to be all… Continue Reading »
In Raleigh, North Carolina, something wet and writhing, fresh from a B or C or even D Sci-Fi midnight movie madness is lurking in the sewers. We have the video. You’re thinking as you watch this,“Dude, this cannot be real”, as you make funny faces and fight the volcanic re-emergence of your lunch. As a Sci-Fi fan and veteran to the myriad gross-outs common to this genre, you read this post with a cynical eye. You’re immune to the blobulous, squishy and oozy. But let me tell you dear reader that there’s a big difference between special effects and real life. The real deal can’t be dismissed after the credits roll. Real gets under your skin. Down deep in Raleigh, North Carolina, this thing lives still. It grows. Perhaps all the evils of organic chemistry, flushed and forgotten have finally come back to haunt us, speed evolving this gelatinous gob into something that may eventually be able to morph into… Continue Reading »
In the past, if you wanted to go to Space, the word was study, study, study. In addition, you had to be virtually physically perfect or had to be teacher of the year or something like that. In the past, the inky blackness of the final frontier was beyond the hopes and dreams of a mere mortal like myself. All that has changed kid. All you need now is cash sweet cash. The first commercial spaceport has now begun construction for Virgin Galactic in the wilds of New Mexico in the beautiful U.S.A. This isn’t a NASA style, big concrete box kind of place. Someday, flights will leave from this spaceport with other spaceport destinations in mind, not just a return trip to New Mexico. It’ll be the 7 a.m. flight to Tokyo, or London. Travel time will be really short and partially weightless. Like I said, current flight prices are for the millionaires only. That will change and eventually… Continue Reading »
In the category of “Oh My God What Are They Thinking”, science comes this dreadful and frightening advance into figuring out just what is floating around in the human mind. An unveiling of tech at the World (Mad) Science Festival in New York reveals just how close we are to digging into thoughts that are none of your damn business. Here’s how the mind meld thing works. It’s called functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and measures neural activity by measuring the change in the blood oxygen level in the brain. High levels in different parts of the brain are then mapped and the white coated Igor type with the eye tick at the controls can then link this map to words and images you might be thinking of, such as plotting against Dear Leader or boffing the receptionist. Obviously, this technology is just starting to get going but the scientists in the field are amazed at how far they have come… Continue Reading »
Intellectual curiosity is a wonderful thing. It has brought us happily out of the caves. The problem with scientists and their curiousity is that there is no off switch. No one has the power to impose wisdom. If an experiment is illegal or unpopular in one place, scientists just do it someplace else. As we get more advanced, the Sci-Fi concept of “The Big Mistake” gets more and more likely. The issue is this. Scientists make predictions about the outcomes of experiments that they haven’t attempted yet and use their predictions as their understanding of the experimental dangers. Of course, the reason we do scientific experiments is the discovery of the unknown. I would imagine that the large majority of experiments result in unanticipated results. So, about those Russian scientists. Way down under in Antarctica, the Russians are about to make their final effort to drill into Lake Vostok, a lake that hasn’t seen the light of day or the… Continue Reading »