Useless Wings January 28, 2015 Useless Wings Cecil Castellucci Of insect dreams and breaking hearts. Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story.
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Showing posts tagged: Science click to see more stuff tagged with Science
Tue
Jan 27 2015 12:17pm

The Most Brutal and Most Beautiful Snow Planets from Sci-Fi and Fantasy

snow planets ice planets Hoth Star Wars

Back in 2011, when our little corner of the universe was covered in snow, we asked our Twitter followers to name as many snow planets as they could. Four years later, with another Snowpocalypse upon us, we’ve had time to think up even more icy worlds (including our own, depending on who you ask).

Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back is an easy one, but what else is out there?

[Your cursor will freeze before you reach the first marker!]

Thu
Jan 15 2015 4:12pm

Annalee Newitz to Institute Future Initiative at Gizmodo, Charlie Jane Anders Taking Over io9

Gawker Media has just announced that io9 Editor-in-Chief Annalee Newitz will replace Brian Barrett as Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo and that Newitz will merge the editorial programs of both io9, Gizmodo, and its Kinja offshoots into a “Future Initiative.”

From the announcement:

Now it's time to bring them together, and build a habitat for slipstream journalism that combines speculative wonder with skepticism and hard truths.

I'll be serving as the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo, and Charlie Jane Anders is going to become editor-in-chief of io9. The two sites, along with Sploid and our diagonals, will be collaborators within the greater universe of the Future Initiative.

Interesting stuff! The initiative will focus on more scientific and explanatory research pieces going forward. Check out the full details in the announcement!

Thu
Jan 15 2015 1:38pm

If Science Fiction Can’t Be the Enemy, Then Your Movie Doesn’t Deserve Recognition? On the Interstellar Oscars Snub

Interstellar Oscar snub

The 2015 Oscar nominations are out and everybody is delighted and upset. Some actors, like Selma’s David Oyelowo, were obviously slighted just as some actors, like Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, were honored. Meta-fictional genre-blending film Birdman also got plenty of nominations, which should make people happy who love movies about Raymond Carver and comic books. But there's a planet-sized hole in the nominees list and that is the exclusion of one of the best and most heartfelt science fiction film in years: Interstellar. The reason why this movie didn’t get nominated for anything other than “Original Score,” is because mainstream media gatekeepers and a big portion of audiences still don’t really care for a science fiction movie about science fiction.

[Read more]

Thu
Jan 8 2015 10:13am

Neil deGrasse Tyson Gets His Own Star Talk Late-Night Talk Show!

Neil deGrasse Tyson late night TV talk show Star Talk National Geographic

Science is coming to late-night TV in the form of your favorite cosmologist and science communicator (yes, that’s an actual job) Neil deGrasse Tyson! If you’ve thought that the man should be on TV all the time and not just for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, yet you don’t want to miss out on his long-running podcast Star Talk, then National Geographic has achieved your wildest dreams: Tyson will host Star Talk, based on his radio show. As Nat Geo’s first late-night talk show, it will aim to bridge the gap between pop culture and science.

[It gets better]

Sun
Jan 4 2015 2:00pm

Ten Fossil Mammals as Awesome as Any Dinosaur

Amebelodon

Dinosaurs are great. They dominated the world for over 170 million years, and one line has survived to the present day as birds. But they’re hardly the be-all and end-all of prehistory. In the wake of the mass extinction that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals proliferated into a variety of astounding forms that were just as fantastic as those of the dinosaurs they succeeded. Instead of letting them be persistently overshadowed by dinosaurs, it’s time to give fossil mammals their due.

[Read More]

Mon
Dec 8 2014 10:00am

How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.

how fast Millennium Falcon

So how fast is the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive, anyway?

We know—unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi, seriously wizard don’t you read SmugglerFeed?—that this is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But we also know that a parsec is a measure of distance, and since Han doesn’t specify how long it took the Falcon to make this sub-12 parsec shortcut, we don’t actually get an idea as to how fast the ship can go.

Oh, but she’ll do “.5 past light speed” which...doesn’t tell us much either. Obviously ships in the Star Wars galaxy can go faster than light speed otherwise there’d be no movie, but how fast is .5 on their hyperdrive scales in terms of light years traversed per day?

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 2 2014 10:00am

Naked Singularities and the Art of Science Writing: A Love Letter to Kip Thorne

Kip Thorne Interstellar

You don’t need to read another review of Interstellar, so thank god this isn’t one!

Okay, so, as the guy from True Detective escaped the dust bowl, went into outer space with Fantine, two redshirts, and some not-killer robots, skipped through a wormhole, had a fistfight with Somewhat Moist Jason Bourne, the whole time excitable fourteen-year-old-Max was in the back of my head shouting:

10 I AM WATCHING A MOVIE EXECUTIVE-PRODUCED BY KIP THORNE

20 WHAT IS THIS WEIRD WONDERFUL FUTURE I INHABIT

30 GOTO 10

[Read more]

Tue
Nov 25 2014 10:00am

The Science of The Three-Body Problem and How it Ties Into Self-Worth

Three-Body Problem art by Stephan Martiniere

A covert military project. A secret war revealed as the worst fight that humanity has ever faced. Baffling mysteries. A series of ultra-science weapons, each more powerful and fantastic than the last, including one technology described as more important than nuclear bombs. Aliens that may be saviors, or invaders, or both. All this and more feature in Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, the first book in a science fiction trilogy that is wildly popular in China (read a firsthand account of the series’ fame) and is now finally making its way into English.

Let’s take a look at the science that the story is built upon. Spoilers ahead for those haven’t yet read The Three-Body Problem.

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 13 2014 9:00am

Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?

Interstellar love speech

While some of the characters in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar grapple with the concept of quantifying and manipulating gravity, others posit that even when understanding of the physical forces of the universe fail you, love remains greater than everything else. Anne Hathaway’s character Dr. Amelia Brand says as much, in the movie’s most polarizing speech:

Love isn’t something we invented. It’s observable, powerful, it has to mean something... Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.

Various outlets are deriding Brand’s second-act exhortation as “hippy,” (sic) “goofy,” and “preposterous.” Some blame Hathaway’s delivery, while others think that making Interstellar about love just as much as it’s about time, space, and gravity was a huge misstep on the Nolans’ part.

But why do we have such an adverse reaction on the concept of love as a force in science fiction?

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 13 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Get to the Foy-ahhh!

Hey, do you like Predator? Like, really a lot? Cause if so, Blastr’s found the perfect house for you! Apparently a homeowner in Sweden has put their terrifying Predator-themed house on the market. It only costs $327,000, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal. As long as neither a Xenomorph or Arnold Schwarzenegger move in across the street...

Morning Roundup brings you further news on the comet landing, a look into Guardians of the Galaxy’s creative development, and terrifying yet helpful cockroaches!

[read more]

Mon
Nov 10 2014 12:30pm

Stephen Hawking Biopic The Theory of Everything Is a Guiltless Pleasure

The Theory of Everything movie

If this year’s Oscar-bait films are any indication, the thing to do next year will be to play a black hole. For now, the big movies are content with talking about black holes a lot—McConaughey and company in the epic Interstellar—or more conventionally down-to-Earth; Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in the Stephen Hawking/Jane Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.

If you’re a science fiction fan or science enthusiast, you might assume (like I did) that The Theory of Everything is a saccharine, manipulative tear-jerker of the Lifetime original movie ilk, and you’re probably not wrong. Which is exactly why you should see it.

[Read more]

Mon
Nov 10 2014 10:00am

To Explore is to Take Care of Us All: Interstellar

Interstellar

Once Interstellar came to an end and the lot of us walked back out into the light of the world, I wondered: what was the rest of the audience thinking at that moment? My own head was ringing with mono-syllabic exclamations stretching to infinity. I was happy. I was bursting. I was still there in the world of the film.

But I am an easy catch for this film. I adore astronomy and identify heavily with those who seek to bridge the chasm of awareness between the forces of the heavens and our day to day lives. Interstellar is a reinforcement of those desires, a widening of the bridge, but I would argue that I am in the minority in that regard. For most of the audience, Interstellar will be the first inkling they have that understanding space and overcoming the obstacles of travel within it is vital to our well-being here on Earth.

Was this the case? What were they thinking right now?

[Read more]

Sun
Nov 9 2014 8:00am

Carl Sagan Lived His Life Believing Science Belonged to All of Us

Carl SaganIt’s difficult to put into words the kind of impact Carl Sagan has had on fans of genre fiction. The combination of his enthusiasm for science education, his patience, and his outreach made him the unique man that we honor today, and if I wrote non-stop for a year I doubt I would be able to find a way to encapsulate that.

Which is when it occurred to me that I didn’t need to do that. At the 2013 New York Comic Con I was lucky enough to get to sit in on the panel for Cosmos and heard Sagan’s wife Ann Druyan and host Neil deGrasse Tyson speak of the man they loved, the man who set the example for what they were trying to accomplish. What they spoke was deeply thoughtful and brazenly passionate, and I’d like to share that with you now.

[“...he believed that science belonged to all of us...”]

Fri
Oct 24 2014 7:00am

Morning Roundup: Jim Henson’s Kitchen Nightmare Babies

Chef Gordon Ramsay has finally met his match! George Takei shared this picture, which we’re assuming was shot during the most important culinary summit of our time. We’re just hoping that Ramsay appreciated the Swedish Chef’s Shredded Wheat and Cranberry Sauce...

Morning Roundup is still to busy watching the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer on a continuous loop to think of much else, but still...links must be gathered and spread! And so, we bring you yet another legacy of the Romans, a list of great modern horror films for your Halloween edification, and a look back at Dragon magazine! 

[Plus, take flight with some Hobbits!]

Thu
Oct 23 2014 3:13pm

Christopher Nolan Had to Pick and Choose Which Wormhole Science to Use in Interstellar

Interstellar science wormholes Christopher Nolan Kip Thorne

With just a few weeks left until the release of Interstellar (a.k.a. this year’s Gravity), director Christopher Nolan and the cast sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for a lengthy feature on the film’s development. One thing we learned was that, like Gravity, Interstellar is not 100% scientifically accurate. But rather than have Neil deGrasse Tyson call that out once the movie has hit theaters, Nolan copped to it from the beginning.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 8:30am

Bill Nye and Randall Munroe Pummell NYCC 2014 with SCIENCE!

So, to set the scene: the room is completely packed. Googly eyes have been glued to the podium. People line the walls, eagerly scanning the doors for the person they’re here to see, the Nerd Among Nerds: Bill Nye, Science Guy. He will interview, and be interviewed by, Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd and professional stick figure.

The two men are here ostensibly to promote their books: Munroe’s What if?, a series of absurd answers to scientific questions (which is available now!) and Nye’s Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (which comes out on November 4th!). Finally, the followers see their idol, and a massive chant of “Bill! Bill! Bill!” sweeps the room. The excitement is palpable, and I can say, with confidence, that this is the nerdiest room I have ever been in, or, indeed, shall ever be in. And for 45 minutes, I’m pretty sure it was also the coolest.

[panel highlights below!]

Fri
Oct 3 2014 10:00am

Us and Them: The Thing From Another World

Thing From Another World

“I’ve tried to tell you before, scientists have always been pawns of the military.”

I can’t speak to the relationship between scientists and military personnel in Starfleet, but David’s warning to his mother, Dr. Marcus, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan neatly underlines the antagonism between the eggheads and the meatheads in so much of science fiction. The scientists see the military as a bunch of trigger-happy morons, while the soldiers see the scientists as a bunch of troublemaking nerds who do more harm than good.

You can probably trace the intensity of this mutual distrust back to the dawn of the atomic age, when the militarization of science produced the means to kill everyone on earth. The animosity is certainly on full display in one of the key science fiction films of that era, 1951’s The Thing From Another World. In the film, scientists and Air Force officers stationed at the North Pole discover a wrecked UFO. They uncover a body encased in ice near the wreckage and transport it back to their base just before a storm blows in and cuts them off from the outside world. Then, of course, the thing in the ice thaws out.

[Read More]

Wed
Sep 17 2014 1:00pm

Aloha HawaiiCon!

HawaiiCon

This past weekend was the first ever HawaiiCon. I was one of the 199 Kickstarter backers last year, and was excited for the chance to attend. In all, the new con had about 700 attendees (including guests and comps), with the split between Hawaiians and mainlanders about 50/50. Although the Kickstarter hailed it as a science and SFF con with a Hawaiian twist, and touted its authors, celebrities, and comic book artists, the con really ended up being roughly 60% hard science, 30% SF, and the rest a sundry mix.

[“The Science, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention with Aloha!”]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 3:56pm

NASA Sending Astronauts to ISS in Commercial Craft While it Builds New Shuttles

NASA Boeing SpaceX Commercial crew

NASA announced during a live conference today that it is contracting Boeing and SpaceX to send U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station with commercial spacecraft beginning in 2017. This will remove the U.S.’s reliance on the Russian space launches that are currently the only access to the ISS and allow for work to continue on the station while NASA preps a new generation of shuttles.

[Read more]

Tue
Sep 9 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

The Copernicus Complex (Excerpt)

Caleb Scharf

The Copernicus Complex Caleb Scharf excerpt In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared to go against the establishment by proposing that Earth rotates around the Sun. Having demoted Earth from its unique position in the cosmos to one of mediocrity, Copernicus set in motion a revolution in scientific thought. This perspective has influenced our thinking for centuries.

However, recent evidence challenges the Copernican Principle, hinting that we do in fact live in a special place, at a special time, as the product of a chain of unlikely events. But can we be significant if the Sun is still just one of a billion trillion stars in the observable universe? And what if our universe is just one of a multitude of others—a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities?

In The Copernicus Complex—available now from Scientific American/Farrar, Straus & Giroux—renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the Earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision.

[Read an excerpt]