Geek Appeal

Read more here.

The interesting part of science is the advances they make to try to fix things. What they’re discovering in this article looks like a way to silence genes to promote health. The part that amuses me is where they’re going to make pills to target the parts they want to improve.

Science fact is catching up with science fiction. Star Trek had plenty of little pills or shots to cure what ails – and society does seem to be craving easy solutions to every problem. (Funny, everyone wants to take the easy fix with just a pill, rather than the hard work for actually changing behavior, yet when doctors prescribe medications, they sometimes have trouble getting those same patients to take those doses needed to cure – which leads to some bacteria with strains that are immune to the medicine… but back to the subject.)

I’m waiting for the day when there’s a pill for everything, and we look the other way to get our own solutions. If they do learn to silence the bad genes properl, we could really help a lot of people – but what if by helping them we lose some of the things about our own individuality? We struggle so much, but sometimes that’s what makes us into who we are. On the other hand, it might be nice to take the easy path once in awhile. Medical malpractice might get out of hand, though – “I was looking for the little green pill to help my meory loss, but they gave me the little¬† dark green pill and now I have no recollection of anything, except that pretty pill…”

Might have to use that in a story, sometime.

Advertisements

Geek Appeal

Robots!

They’re wonderful tools in fiction, but the scientists are doing their best to catch up to the writers’ imaginations. I find it amazing they’ve figured out how to make the robot respond with seeming empathy to stimuli.

Of course they have a bit to go for looks. Their current picture looks like a lego guy with Einstein’s face attached. Definitely an oddity.

Scientists aren’t always known for their aesthetic values, though. They’re the ‘function’ lot. When they let the fashion gurus in, the clashes begin because the process of prettying up the prototype often involves difficult changes to the functional part of the machine.

Bugs the heck out of engineers to figure out how to make things work once that new design has that polished look. There is no end to the work!

Tools of the (Science Fiction) Writing Trade

Okay, I suppose it could be used for fantasy, too. Tolkien was revered as world-builder, even to the point of making real languages for his fictional characters. He did it before we had such tools as the internet to find helpful resources, or computers to type things on, or so many advantages today’s writers (and the fan world) take for granted.

Other examples of created languages include Star Wars and Star Trek, of course. It’s different to hear them on TV and expect them, but people really do create them for stories and books for a more realistic feel.

The Language Construction Kit

It’s organized as an outline, so you can get as crazy or detailed as you like. You can use it to provide a background, a more realistic form of naming strange characters, or just another way to annoy your English teacher during class. (Last example is not recommended!)

Linguistics is not my particular strong point, so a couple of the questions are lost on me. (Is your language inflecting, agglutinating, or isolating?)  For the most part it is very straightforward and inviting. I find it difficult not to dive right in and try it out!

Geek Appeal

A new quantum internet? This article, while quite technical, talks about things like teleportation as a reality, not science fiction.

It gets the brain wondering how close we are to some of those Star Trek ideas that seem so far off. It’s all about ‘beaming’ the information from one place to another and I find it fascinating.

If we’re able to get our information from one place to another faster and with great accuracy, it shows we can make great strides for the future. I’m sure there will be more applications for this as time goes by. It only depends on our creativity.

Read about it here.

I hope the next thing they pull from the silver screen science fiction is replicators. It would save so much cooking time!

Social Networking

Might want to think again about those social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter… read article here.

It amazes me just how much we can do on those. I must admit I’m only on Facebook because I can only keep up with so many sites, but I do hear about a lot of the other ones and wonder.

The article talks about how the younger generation has an ‘innate radar’ to know that there may be inaccuracies with immediate coverage of news, but also that they’re out to share it right away. There is only so much space to post little blurbs, but anyone can say a lot with few words when necessary.

I do plan to use the Facebook page for promoting my book when it comes out, but I’m not regular enough to be uploading news. Also, the guy in question uploaded to Twitter via his phone, and mine’s just not that cool – yet.

So next time you hear someone make comments about the uselessness of social networking sites (or you actually hear them spewing from your mouth), you might want to reconsider.

Novel Writing Software

Black Obelisk

If the only thing you’re lacking to writing a novel is an organization system, this one looks amazing. It has a trial period and a 50% off sale running. (Which means you can get it for only $22.95) There’s also a trialpay offer to get it free, but I’m leery of those. It often seems like you end up paying more for something you didn’t want in the first place.

Black Obelisk keeps your place, has room for pictures, and automatically backs up. It has places for your music so you don’t have a reason to get out of your chair. Timelines and dossiers on your characters give you instant access to that little detail you need to finish your chapter. That is only the beginning to their list of features, however. It uses simple file formats (TXT, RTF, and ZIP) so anything you create, even during the trial period, is available in the future.

Definitely looks worth checking out. I wonder if that snazzy black and gray color is the only theme it has.

Geek Appeal

Ever noticed that each new portable electronic device leads to another power cord? I guess I’m not the only one… Splashpower has developed a new pad to charge our electronic devices without plugging them in.

Each device would require a small change; the addition of a chip less than one millimeter thick and an extra cost of only a quarter would make them compatible with Splashpower’s new pad. (I’m sure the quarter reflects cost to the company, not the price they’re going to charge end consumers.) Splashpower’s charging pad has a projected retail between $25 and $50.

Over the holidays, I’d volunteered to take a friend to the airport. Early that morning before we left, she called to figure out if I could help her charge her iPod. She’d grabbed the wrong cable as she left home the week before, and her battery didn’t last a week. (She’d listened the entire flight, which stretched her NaNo’s capabilities.) Lucky for her I had one, but this new device would put both of our worries to rest.

I’d love it if my only issue was to remember one thing, instead of one cord/cable for each device I take with me. I’m well-known for forgetting my phone charger, which is why I keep a charger in my vehicle. It’s added up to a lot of extra money, because each phone needs a new one.

I hope they do manage to market it as they plan.

Read more: Splashpower and BBC News.

Geek Appeal

Engineering Students from Virginia Tech created highly durable bricks of a lunar-rock-like material, which may be used to build future colonies on the moon.

I love science fiction as much as the next girl… well, no, probably more. I’ve had conversations with fellow geeks about colonizing the moon. The biggest issue is always water. It’s awesome that a new material might get us closer to that.

The new bricks can withstand a ‘gradual’ application of up to 2,450 pounds per square inch, which is substantial – and reportedly nearly equal to concrete. Looks like one of the original intentions was for armor. (Concrete, for those of you who don’t know much about it, is an amazing material with wide applications.)

Sticks and Stones-

may break my bones…

According to some new materials, this might not be such a bad thing to recover from. It’s a proprietary mix, of course. They call it injectable bone, and once it’s inside, they’re trying to fill the gaps between broken bones to provide a better way for the body to naturally regenerate the bones. It’s supposed to be near the spongy material of bone when it sets, and the elevated body temperature activates it. At room temperature it’s only a harmless powder.

Read more.

Geek Appeal

New ceramic material that might change a lot of things since it’s tough and durable. Based off actual shells (think mother-of-pearl).

New advances that are tougher than most people generally think of ceramics and nearly as light as aircraft-grade aluminum alloys. That’s amazing. Unfortunately, the drawback is it doesn’t do extreme temperatures.

Nature did it first. I bet their patent’s expired by now, though.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/11/shells-ceramic.html

Newer entries »