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Author Topic: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)  (Read 32155 times)

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2016, 02:12:38 AM »
Not quite "Beam me up, Scotty", which has long been my hope,  but opens up many possibilities

http://digg.com/video/drone-claws-no-thanks


Also reading about how delivery fleets are controlled by apps. Thinking about how all practical services could be controlled this way and what would happen if one update was faulty and the escalation and consequential collapses?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/88fdc58e-754f-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35.html?siteedition=intl




“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #46 on: September 12, 2016, 03:40:48 AM »
@Lady_Ty - Pales in comparison to even basic weaponization - a pistol, a grenade, a water-balloon of sulphuric acid, a pez-dispenser popping out nerve agent gelcaps, sprinkling retail & commercially available radioactive isotopes through neighborhoods at night, trailing wires from flammable things to high-tension power lines, and that's what I thought of just now, before I've reached "too much coffee."
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2016, 06:22:54 AM »
@Lady_Ty - Pales in comparison to even basic weaponization - a pistol, a grenade, a water-balloon of sulphuric acid, a pez-dispenser popping out nerve agent gelcaps, sprinkling retail & commercially available radioactive isotopes through neighborhoods at night, trailing wires from flammable things to high-tension power lines, and that's what I thought of just now, before I've reached "too much coffee."



TGC - you completely underestimate my propensity for evil. This is in a couple of hundred years time, if we're lucky, may be sooner. It's world domination time, defence forces obsolete, conventional weaponry long abandoned. World population controlled from Central HQ with implanted algorithms.  A little like it may have been if Kingsman had failed and Samuel L Jackson had triumphed, but more efficient and controlled  ;D

And my imagination doesn't do logic or practical details either. ;D

“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline Rostum

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2016, 10:57:01 AM »
Quote
commercially available radioactive isotopes


Surely Licensed even in the USA. I worked with Polonium needles from time to time which is the only radioactive material sold unlicensed in the UK. The reason you can buy these over the counter it would take 10,000 of them to poison someone. Even Caesium which is considered a waste product you need lots of money and enormous amounts of paperwork and tickets to buy, transport and own. The company 'selling' it will give it to you free or pay you to take it away once you have met those conditions.
Set up a company disposing of medical equipment and lay your hands on an X-ray machine, maybe but even  they are a lot safer than they were 30 years ago.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2016, 02:45:36 PM »
I didn't say "commercially available" in bottles or boxes of pure material. But they're available. Being deliberately obtuse for obvious reasons.
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"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #50 on: September 14, 2016, 12:12:33 AM »
I love the drone with the giant claws. You could also see it being used a rescue device, if it was big enough - for example, if someone was trapped on top of a building for some reason, it could possibly ferry them off? Either way, it's yet another interesting use for drones.

Also, the algorithmic management system is fascinating. I'm definitely going to incorporate that into a story at some point.

In today's entry:

We're Teaching Self-Driving Cars to Drive Using Grand Theft Auto
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602317/self-driving-cars-can-learn-a-lot-by-playing-grand-theft-auto/

No, seriously.

http://jalopnik.com/self-driving-cars-will-use-gta-v-to-learn-how-to-drive-1786590787

If you read the article, it actually makes a surprising amount of sense.

And here's a video of a self-driving car driving itself in GTA 5, using visuals.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uURlRKfLqY[/youtube]

Offline Rostum

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2016, 01:28:34 AM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37337215

And one day we will be able to make people without any genetic material involved at all.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2016, 06:50:32 PM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37337215

And one day we will be able to make people without any genetic material involved at all.

Haha, I saw that story on another site!

One thing I've always pondered regarding colonizing other planets (especially if the journey to another planet is centuries long) is the idea of sending, basically, embryos or other inert genetic material in an automated ship, rather than trying to create a large ship that can sustain multiple generations of colonists over a journey. This story suggests something like that.

Basically, you load the ship up with an automated guidance system and enough material to start a colony, and you send it to a planet that we've verified is habitable (which we, hopefully at some point, will be able to do). No people actually go ... just genetic material to *make* people, sealed in a safe place.

This eliminates so many of the needs of century long trips - you no longer need to worry about air, life support, food, water, waste elimination, radiation, degeneration due to zero-G, or anything. Basically, the ship flies to the planet, lands (just like the automated Mars landings have gone) and then, once it's on the ground, the AI/robots do their magic and use the generic material to "make" people and raise them.

Assuming there's an automated nursery, you could basically birth first generation humans at the planetary landing site, in gravity, and start a colony literally from scratch (this, of course, assumes our robots and AI are advanced enough to raise children - which seems plausible in 100 years). You could even send multiple ships to the same planet, with the assumption that each would start a different colony.

Anyway, random thoughts, but definitely worth thinking about for a story.

Offline Raptori

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #53 on: September 15, 2016, 06:56:08 PM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37337215

And one day we will be able to make people without any genetic material involved at all.

Haha, I saw that story on another site!

One thing I've always pondered regarding colonizing other planets (especially if the journey to another planet is centuries long) is the idea of sending, basically, embryos or other inert genetic material in an automated ship, rather than trying to create a large ship that can sustain multiple generations of colonists over a journey. This story suggests something like that.

Basically, you load the ship up with an automated guidance system and enough material to start a colony, and you send it to a planet that we've verified is habitable (which we, hopefully at some point, will be able to do). No people actually go ... just genetic material to *make* people, sealed in a safe place.

This eliminates so many of the needs of century long trips - you no longer need to worry about air, life support, food, water, waste elimination, radiation, degeneration due to zero-G, or anything. Basically, the ship flies to the planet, lands (just like the automated Mars landings have gone) and then, once it's on the ground, the AI/robots do their magic and use the generic material to "make" people and raise them.

Assuming there's an automated nursery, you could basically birth first generation humans at the planetary landing site, in gravity, and start a colony literally from scratch (this, of course, assumes our robots and AI are advanced enough to raise children - which seems plausible in 100 years). You could even send multiple ships to the same planet, with the assumption that each would start a different colony.

Anyway, random thoughts, but definitely worth thinking about for a story.
Congratulations! You have just described Arkwright by Allen Steele.  ;D


Decent book. Interesting premise (building/launching/monitoring the spaceship is central to the story, and it follows exactly the scenario you mentioned), let down by slightly flat characters. Worth a look regardless!
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Arry

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2016, 07:01:22 PM »
Decent book. Interesting premise (building/launching/monitoring the spaceship is central to the story, and it follows exactly the scenario you mentioned), let down by slightly flat characters. Worth a look regardless!
I think the characters may have seemed flat just because the book spanned generations, so they had less page space.

I loved the book though, so maybe I am biased.  And agree, the plot for Arkwright is pretty much what tebakautis just described.
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Offline Rostum

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2016, 07:02:32 PM »
From a chemical perspective the protein blocks needed to make life are available mail order. That life would be single cell and unlikely to sustain itself but keep trying eventually you will create one thing which can change itself sufficiently to become something else. You are going to need a lot of petre dishes though.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2016, 07:02:55 PM »
Decent book. Interesting premise (building/launching/monitoring the spaceship is central to the story, and it follows exactly the scenario you mentioned), let down by slightly flat characters. Worth a look regardless!
I think the characters may have seemed flat just because the book spanned generations, so they had less page space.

I loved the book though, so maybe I am biased.  And agree, the plot for Arkwright is pretty much what tebakautis just described.

Haha, that's hilarious! I'm glad I didn't actually write it, otherwise it might be another one for the "Author Tears" thread. :p

Offline Raptori

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2016, 07:54:01 PM »
Decent book. Interesting premise (building/launching/monitoring the spaceship is central to the story, and it follows exactly the scenario you mentioned), let down by slightly flat characters. Worth a look regardless!
I think the characters may have seemed flat just because the book spanned generations, so they had less page space.

I loved the book though, so maybe I am biased.  And agree, the plot for Arkwright is pretty much what tebakautis just described.
I think it was more that each generation had more or less the exact same character development, IIRC. The first and last ones were much more interesting, because they were less copy/paste than the others. I loved the science bits though, that whole side of the book was riveting.
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2016, 01:39:37 AM »
Back on the subject of the self-driving cars that may be driving us all around in a few decades, Jalopnik (as ever) has a great article digesting the 116 pages of federal guidelines for self-driving cars into a quickly readable article.

http://jalopnik.com/governments-self-driving-car-rules-dont-say-when-your-c-1786866789

The levels (0-5) are particularly interesting, especially seeing that the Tesla is already at Level 2.

Offline Rostum

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #59 on: September 21, 2016, 04:24:56 PM »
We are resigned to these horrors happening whether we like it or not in the name of progress.
Autonomous Automation is the biggest threat to future employment. Cars, lorries and buses is the least of it.
I don't like driving but I do like riding bikes, or at least I do now I don't have to do hundreds of miles a week.
I don't particularly wish to be driven round by a clever machine. I certainly see no point in being driven round on a robotic bike. It would either be deathly dull or terminally dangerous.

Currently my 20 year old workhorse does a sub 4 second 0-60mph and goes faster than I am allowed to go on the roads. In other words a very unremarkable commuting bike. A £2000 second hand bike will outperform a £150,000 super car. I mostly ride like a nun looking for an address. I have a clean license and the greatest hazard I have to deal with is the utter lack of attention from a surprisingly high number of drivers more concerned with playing with their phones than the business of driving or taking whatever the satnav says as an immediate instruction and not as a guide. Distracted and unwilling to use their own senses to determine what they should be doing. At least a real driver can be shocked back into paying attention. These machines react on data input at speeds a driver could never manage. Yet every owner of a modern car will tell you that half the problems they have with their vehicles are sensor faults. Tesla have a problem at the moment with speculation over two deaths. Jeep and Tesla both have had remote hacks against moving vehicles highlighted this year. I believe autonomous vehicles will work perfectly right up to the point they don't. At some point the correct combination of factors will align themselves and the situation will be much worse than having a driver at the wheel.