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Posts Tagged "science fiction"

Brainwaves

Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?

baby

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, Marie and Antonio Freeman step into a doctor’s office to design their next child. “Your extracted eggs, Marie, have been fertilized with Antonio’s sperm,” the doctor says. “After screening we’re left with, as you see, two healthy boys and two very healthy girls.” A monitor displays what looks like soap [...]

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But Not Simpler

What The Nerdiest Chart of Sci-Fi Ships Says About Our Dreams of Space

Click to enlarge. Do it!

German artist Dirk Löchel has created what sci-fi lovers previously could only dream of as they tirelessly scoured wikis and forums—the single greatest chart of famous science fiction spacecrafts and their sizes. Prepare to wipe the nerdy drool from your mouth (and be sure to click to enlarge the geeky goodness): As of this writing, [...]

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Culturing Science

Inaccuracies in fiction: when is reshaping fact appropriate?

Stories have the power to take us to other worlds, and no genre more so than science fiction and fantasy. But even the wildest fantasy novel has to have some basis in reality; otherwise, most readers become discouraged. (I mean, have you read the Silmarillion?) Science fiction constantly toes the line between fact and fiction [...]

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Culturing Science

Why scientists should read science fiction

protoplasm

Republished with scant edits from the previous iteration of Culturing Science on July 20, 2010. A great blog post about fiction inspiring science by Uta Frith reminded me of this old friend. Hat tip to Princess Ojiaku. I didn’t really grow up reading science fiction.  Sure, I was (and am) completely obsessed with some fantasy [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Daniel Suarez’s Influx Is Super Fluxing Bitchin’!

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I loved the book, and couldn’t—wouldn’t—didn’t—set it down. With Influx, Daniel Suarez becomes the master, and Michael Crichton should be honored by the comparison.

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: Crux, by Ramez Naam

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Crux (Angry Robot Books) is an outstanding speculative fiction adventure. It combines the very highest level of neuroscientific reality with plausible neuroscience fiction that is very well thought through.

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: Harlan Ellison’s “I have no mouth and I must scream”

The wrath that AM—the sentient supercomputer in Ellison’s tale, as in “I think therefore I AM”—feels for humans is god-like in its scope. AM has annihilated humanity, and kept five survivors to amuse itself in an endless cat-and-mouse game which only AM can win. But how likely is it really that a sentient machine would turn against humankind?

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: Stephen King’s The Jaunt

The Jaunt explores the limits of sustained sensory deprivation on the mind, with just a little bit of gore thrown in for added effect. We’re talking about Stephen King, after all.

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: Exhalation, by Ted Chiang

“Once the preparations were complete, I was able to place each of my hands on a nest of knobs and levers and control a pair of manipulators situated behind my head, and use the periscope to see what they worked on. I would then be able to dissect my own brain.”     Our “Neuroscience [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Hole

Hole ((c) C. Scharf 2012)

Every so often in the summer months I allow myself a bit of leeway with posts, because as fun as it is to write about real science, it’s also a lot of fun to write pure speculation. I particularly like speculation that takes extraordinary possibilities about our place in the universe, and cuts them down [...]

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Observations

Mars Loses One of Its Most Famous Citizens–Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

If science fiction is kids’ gateway drug to science—and it surely was mine— then Ray Bradbury is a major pusher, in the ranks of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick. Although they made us curious and celebrated rational thought, they didn’t gloss over the ramifications of scientific discovery [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: What’s Under the Hood?

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Artist Mike Libby of Insect Lab Studio creates these one-of-a-kind sculptures using insects and antique pocket watch parts. Playing upon our perception of insects as somewhat robotic, Libby “lifts the hood” so we can see what really makes these bugs tick. Insect Lab Studios Mike P. Libby Portfolio (including a series – miniature satellites, full [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: Speculative Dimorphism

SpecBiomini-Rachel-Caauwe

  Speculative biology is a field of art where science and science fiction combine to come up with alternate ecologies and organisms. With the strangeness we continually discover about nature, how likely is a sexually dimorphic organism like this by scientific illustrator Rachel Caauwe, whose subjects include “the weird, the unknown, the misunderstood”? – - [...]

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Symbiartic

Atmosphere and Action: Interview with illustrator Tyler Jacobson

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When I opened the November 2011 issue of Scientific American and leafed through it, I was immediately drawn to one of the highlights of the issue: illustrations for the cover story about The First Americans. They were done by illustrator Tyler Jacobson, with art direction by Michael Mrak and Jen Christiansen. Here in the interview below, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Tet Zoo Guide to Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero (Warner Bros/Legendary)... it might contain answers. It might not.

I don’t think I can put it off any longer. Episode 10 of the much-lauded TetZoo podcast – recorded just the other day and due to go live soon – made up my mind, as did the several science-themed articles about the movie published here at SciAm Blogs and at other science-based sites. Put simply: [...]

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