First the sublime:
After months of work, the Metaverse Roadmap Overview is now available for download. Written by Jerry Paffendorf, John Smart and Jamais Cascio, it is an attempt to synthesize current and emerging social, economic and technological trends around virtual worlds, immersive networks, and ubiquitous information. Smart stuff! (So to speak.)
To the Worrisome:
Many of you know I’ve been trying to get some large group like the AAAS to sponsor a discussion of the issue of whether humanity should “shout into the cosmos” in an attempt to draw attention toward us from “others out there”... instead of keeping to the classic SETI program of quietly listening in order to learn more about the cosmos, first. Now, in the excellent British journal THE INDEPENDENT, astronomer David Whitehouse (author of “The Sun, A Biography”) writes an excellent of why it might make sense to discuss the matter, before yelling “yoohoo!” into an unknown wilderness.http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
To the encouraging:
I’ve mentioned the recent flurry of attention given to SIGMA... the “think tank” of scientifically trained science fiction authors. Now listen to a short interview (on NPR naturally) with Arlan Andrews, founder of SIGMA (and mentioning yours truly.)
Speaking of which, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show interview with Greg Bear is now available.
To Free Stuff!
Download a recent Escape Pod and be patient through an amusing host editorial, to reach a podcast-reading (pretty good) of my short story “The Giving Plague.”
And now the ridiculous:
Adding insult to injury: Instead of simply letting their hold on www.thepostman.com expire gracefully, Warner Brothers re-assigned the name/URL to “Pokemon3-The Movie. “ Aren’t the names similar?
But it gets better when people start worrying about black holes (little teeny ones)falling into the Earth. (Sound familiar?)
See where your petrol dollars are going. At least this one sounds interesting and forward-looking. An "Underwater Resort" being built in Dubai? They're calling it Hydropolis. It's an interesting idea, but I wonder how feasible it is.
Another “saw it here first. Cell Phone Bomb Detectors Discussing whether the cell phone can become a biological and radiation detector.
Speaking of which, the Age of Amateurs has sprouted radiation-seeking hobbyists.
Stimulating the brain with a magnetic coil appears to promote
growth of new neurons, possibly leading to treatments for brain
Along similar lines, The LA Police Commission on Tuesday approved a proposal to buy a software program that would allow witnesses with cell phone cameras to take pictures of accident and crime scenes and transmit the images to 911 call centers.
A fascinating article about the edges of transparency, in which the professionals actually behaved with a slight tilt toward looking like adults.
Taking the “Age of Amateurs” to its next level.... Public donates to UW scientist to fund backward-in-time research. Experiment may be 'weird,' but donors think it's pretty cool. “A University of Washington scientist who could not obtain funding from traditional research agencies to test his idea that light particles act in reverse time has received more than $35,000 from folks nationwide who didn't want to see this admittedly far-fetched idea go unexplored.”
As it turns out, the researcher, Dr. John Cramer is a friend and colleague and a very “for real” physicist. Naturally, I enjoy his wild and well-founded ideas. I even stop talking for a while! Still, what’s reallky fascinating this time is the grassroots support. Almost grudgingly, the new era is grinding into being.
(See the link for “how to donate”!)
Here’s another nifty thing. Micro-sculpture! Alas, this kind of thing will soon seem less impressive as ultra-microscopic manufacturing techniques become capable of manipulating one molecule at a time. Inevitably, some techies will start to use the methods for art. For a sense of scale, imagine the figures made by Willard Wigan that stand inside the eye of a needle. Imagine one of them HOLDING a needle of his own, peering at tiny figures inside THAT eye...
...and those tiny figures hold needles with tiny figures inside them... And repeat this another couple of times. That’s our brave new world.
A breakthrough textile made from carbon nanotubes could make lighter
bullet-proof clothing, wiring for aircraft and more efficient power
See an inspiring article about Prof. George Slusser’s long, uphill struggle to turn UC Riverside's library of science fiction, fantasy and horror books into the world's largest and a necessary trek for scholars. To get there, George had to overcome sabotage and the vicious narrowmindedness of the cult of postmodernists who have taken over most English Departments, all over America.
The Google Trends home page now has a section named "Hot Trends," which
shows the hottest queries for the day. The trends history also shows
data by country, state, and city, worldwide.
This guy got his solid-state tesla coil to generate tones by pulsing its arcs at high frequencies. They're still trying to decide whether to call this a "Zeusaphone" or a "Thoramin"
Scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute have for a U.S. patent on a minimal bacterial genome that they built themselves. According to the patent application, it's "a minimal set of protein-coding genes which provides the information required for replication of a free-living organism in a rich bacterial culture medium."
Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (such as Notre Dame cathedral) scraped from around the Web, this short video demonstrates Photosynth (based on Seadragon) technology to create multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. It permits a composite visual image of something to be assembled by creating what are essentially content-based hyperlinks between all the images of the item (person/place/thing) available throughout the internet.
Hubble’s “Image Tours” show you Hubble pictures through an astronomer's eyes, pinpointing and explaining key features. Point and click through these interactive images to add understanding to the joy of cosmic sightseeing. Take an armchair tour of the Tadpole Gallaxy, the Helix Nebula, the Eagle Nebula and six others; the beauty of the universe is astonishing.
A device that specifically targets rapidly growing cancer cells with intermediate frequency electrical fields, called Tumor-Treating Fields (TTFields), has doubled the survival rates of patients with brain cancer. It uses electrical fields to disrupt tumor growth by interfering with cell division of cancerous cells, causing them to stop proliferating and die off instead of dividing and growing. Healthy brain cells rarely divide and have different electrical properties than cancerous brain cells.
The landmark U.S. law to fight water pollution will now apply only to bodies of water large enough for boats to use, and their adjacent wetlands, and will not automatically protect streams according to the U.S. government.
Scientists from Spectrolab, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing, have recently published their research on the fabrication of solar cells that surpass the 40% efficiency milestone—the highest efficiency achieved for any photovoltaic device.
Physicists at Harvard University have found that individual carbon-13 atoms in a diamond lattice can be manipulated with extraordinary precision to create stable and a small quantum processor, also known as a quantum register, operhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifating at room temperature.
Medium-duty work trucks powered mainly by electricity may be only five to 10 years away, with the development of more efficient and cost-effective battery storage.
Russia has banned the shipment of medical specimens abroad, threatening hundreds of patients and complicating drug trials by major companies, the national Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday. kommersant attributed the ban to fears in the secret service that Russian genetic material could be used abroad to make biochemical weapons targeting russians. Yeesh, I had this idea for a thriller 20 years ago. Thought it too cheesy.