http://news.discovery.com/tech/glowing-trees-to-replace-glowing-lights.html Monday, November 29, 2010 11:19 p.m. "The new nanoparticles could replace the electricity powered street light with biologically powered light that removes CO2 from the atmosphere 24 hours a days," and certainly represents an interesting detail to add to a story placed in the future or on a distant world.
Hell Island by Matthew Reilly Monday, November 8, 2010 08:51 p.m. In 121 pages, 600 perfect stormtroopers are wiped out by Scarecrow, the awesome warrior that always finds a way to live to fight another day. Unlike other Scarecrow novels, the aircraft carrier is left floating, but that just makes it available to be blown up, sunk, or shot into space later!
Scientist Predicts Human Extinction In 100 Years Thursday, June 24, 2010 07:00 p.m. "We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island. Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we're seeing remarkable changes in the weather already. The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years. But the world can't. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we've seen disappear," says Frank Fenner, a professor at Australian National University. Complex systems break down very quickly from simple problems. Arguably, we live in a very complex time.
One-Way Ticket to Mars Tuesday, February 10, 2009 12:33 a.m. James C. McLane III argues that, "Our best hope to reach the red planet might be to send just one person there ... forever."
Could future computer viruses infect humans? Tuesday, February 10, 2009 12:28 a.m. Will your RFID chip implant give you a virus? Can we have an RFID chip virus inoculator? If "We're looking at software viruses and biological viruses becoming one and the same" are we in danger of "being hacked?
Mysterious honeybee killer could make dinner bland Thursday, May 3, 2007 12:11 p.m. What's for dinner in the future? If the honey bee population continues to decrease, we might be "stuck with grains and water." What this really amounts to is widespread crop failure due to a lack of pollination. At least one can be reasonably certain bees are not being eaten by frogs.
Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits Sunday, April 22, 2007 06:29 p.m. Printers that create electronic circuits helps complete a post made four years ago based on 'Gadget printer' promises industrial revolution:
"This 'gadget printer' reminds me of the Star Trek technology that makes gadgets. Any SciFi writer that needs to make things in space could use a version of this technology. Who knows, a large one in orbit could make space ships, maybe even disposable space ships that get recycled at the destination point."
Downtrodden staple crops given new homes Sunday, April 22, 2007 06:22 p.m. Many future-oriented fiction stories have a plot focused on finding some sort of grail. Several recent posts have discussed calamities that threaten human life on the planet. A post-calamity search for a seed bank could make for an interesting story.
'Smart dust' to explore planets Saturday, April 21, 2007 12:43 p.m. Something tells me that this "smart dust" would make an awesome intelligence-gathering device. Imagine being able to cover enemy positions, headquarters, and government offices with such miniture probes.
First sign of water found on an alien world Saturday, April 14, 2007 03:31 p.m. Science fiction writers often prefer to mix reality with fiction. Evidence of water outside of our solar system adds to the long-standing notion that the Terran system is not alone to harbor water. Rather hot water in this case.
GM mosquitoes may not spread malaria Wednesday, March 21, 2007 02:15 a.m. Genetically-modified mosquitoe monsters capable of beating out traditional mosquitoes are in the news. Science fiction writers, however, wouldn't want to stop with mosquitoes. Next may be the GM cockroach that outbreeds normal cockroaches, but has a GM kill-switch 100 generations down the line. Rogue GMers might create glowing butterflies to release into the wild. Maybe malarie carrying mosquitoes have been keeping some other nasty virus or bug in check, but the GM needle-nose is not able to perform that function? Ah, disaster awaits for all humanity!
DISCOVER Magazine Archives Monday, March 19, 2007 10:29 p.m. Discover Magazine has 15 years of archives available for all. Happy reading! Writers will find a wide variety of science-related information in the archives.
The universe is a string-net liquid Thursday, March 15, 2007 02:48 p.m. This makes my head hurt. Perhaps it's because I'm on Spring Break - and actually breaking for a change - and my mind has turned to mush. So mushy that a neighbor asked the name of Irish Setter and I replied with the name of the Irish Setter I had 14 years ago. The last paragraph is what really catches my eye from a science fiction standpoint where Michael Freedman is quoted as saying, "But in labs people are creating [conditions] that are colder than anywhere that has ever existed in the universe. We are bound to stumble on something the universe has never seen before." One wonders what science fiction can be created in these chilly conditions.
2100: A world of wild weather Saturday, January 27, 2007 04:51 p.m. Fiction taking place in the future might benefit from descriptions of future weather. This article discusses the climate changes that can be expected a century from now.
Uglies Character Names Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:51 p.m. Scott Westerfield describes how he creates names for characters. Keeping names simple is important for reader sanity. I've read many stories with impossible to pronounce names (Westerfield mentions "Plaztercrappitastica"). Typically, I mentally assign a much shorter, simpler name in my head to keep from silently sounding it out. It still happens, though. This post was discovered via Boing Boing.
Chris Hedges: America’s Holy Warriors Tuesday, January 2, 2007 04:56 p.m. Chris Hedges provides the basis for a future America story where a militant right-wing, Christian government takes over the country due to instability created by economic, environmental, or terroristic forces. By picking a favorite catastrophe to rock the country - perhaps a huge meteor impact - the next step is to write the story around Hedges' takeover plot.
Bread and Circuses: Son of God Saturday, December 30, 2006 08:21 p.m. I no longer recall who wrote that the universe is a waste of space for just us. Certainly earlier posts demonstrate my belief that life, by some definition, exists beyond Earth. Whether that life is intelligent or not is another story. The universe is, afterall, a very large place. Carl Sagan argued that time and distance are the barriers that prevent advanced, intelligent civilizations from meeting. The chances of two technically advanced civilizations existing during the same time and close enough for contact are remote. But, I regress from the purpose of this post. Would we recognize Christianity if we saw it on another planet? The original Star Trek episode Bread and Circuses ends with Uhura commenting that what Kirk, Spock, and McCoy believed to be "Sun" worshipers were, in fact, "Son of God" worshipers. Similar stories could be developed using other religions. As discussed in Islam: Meteorite Worship of the black stone, meteorites may play an important part in many faiths. Certianly meteorites fall from the sky on many planets throughout our vast universe.
What is life? Saturday, December 30, 2006 02:27 a.m. Very small microbes (is that oxymoronic?) found in "acid waste" from a gold mine raise the question, What is life? As similar life forms are found in the solar system, what sort of laws are needed to protect "life" found in asteroids, planets, and moons that are desired for material explotation? Perhaps it is ironic that this life-questioning microbe is found in a gold mine, when much of what can be expected to be done in space beyond exploration is mineral mining.
NASA focuses on lunar base concepts for exploration Tuesday, December 5, 2006 01:44 a.m. Writers looking for a conspiracy can use this story to suggest that the United States government is focusing staff and cash on the Moon to avoid outer solar system exploration that might find...life! A cosmic red herring!
13 things that do not make sense Monday, December 4, 2006 11:10 p.m. Few things generate better science fiction stories than incorporating things that have no explanation. NewScientistSpace presents 13 things from The placebo effect to Cold fusion that can be developed into plot lines and mysterious events.
Ancient astronomical device thrills scholars Thursday, November 30, 2006 02:40 p.m. "Scholar says there is nothing like it in the history of astronomy," which suggests it really came from the future! Proof that time travels exists. If one is look for a time-travel story, here is an object around which to build the story.
Science's doomsday team vs. the asteroids Sunday, April 10, 2005 10:34 a.m. This story seems to have gotten lost in the stories that have dominated the national and world press since Christmas 2004. Asteroid 2004 MN4 predicated to hit Earth "on a Friday the 13th in 2029." (That would be either April 13, 2029 or July 13, 2029.) Later it was determined "that the asteroid would miss, but only by 15,000 to 25,000 miles -- about one-tenth the distance to the moon." This led me to wonder, What if a huge asteroid hit the Moon with enough force to break it up? While such a scene is reminiscent of what happens to the Moon in The Time Machine, one must also wonder how an Earth that has barely escaped destruction changes without a Moon. Does orbital debris destroy satellites in orbit? Are communication abilities destroyed? Do auto-defense systems go off that cause more destruction and war? What happens to poetry? Our love was lost - like the Moon long ago - Destroyed by another - I wish it wasn't so. Okay, really bad poetry wouldn't be the same, either.
Real Science: Millions of 'Earths' await discovery Monday, April 4, 2005 08:05 p.m. The general arguments against finding intelligent life tend to be time, distance and conquest. The universe is old, and humans are new. We simply haven't had the time to be found. Similarly, we would have to exist in the same time as other intelligent life, so our chances of finding other intelligent beings are slim. Even if other intelligent life existed, we'd be too distant to make reasonable contact. Consequently, time and distance are two very difficult barriers to finding intelligent life: They must be near and now. Conquest suggests that if other intelligent life were near and now, that their level of development would be such that Terrans would be pets, slaves or food. We would, therefore, know if here and now were the case. It's always nice when a study greatly increases the estimates that earth-like planets may be popular. This article argues that about half of known systems may harbor life on a planet in the area near a sun where water is liquid. One must then ask, Would we make other beings pets, slaves or food?
Gary Agranat's Home Page Thursday, March 31, 2005 04:48 p.m. Gary Agranat's Home Page provides numerous links to astonomy and spaceflight resources. The links page provides some rather interesting surfing opportunites.
Black holes 'do not exist' Thursday, March 31, 2005 04:29 p.m. The full-text version of Dark Energy Stars is available in pdf format here. The gist of the story is provided by the Nature article. Chapline's argument is in apparent agreement with Einstein's disbelief in black holes and recent reports of "dark energy." Writers looking to use space-time, black holes, event horizens, and similar psi phi hocus-pokus, might brush up on the notion of dark energy stars.
Seperation City Sunday, March 27, 2005 02:00 a.m. I happened across the linked discussion board, and got one of my few original story ideas. What if society determined the costs of divorce and non-married separations was too great? Children of divorce are sent to special neighborhoods where homes are already essentially set up, schools already established, doctors, dentists, child care centers and cafeterias. The parents, however, come and go. Each parent stays to raise their child(ren) for a period of time. Laws are established to prevent the loss jobs. Time/day/week sharing for jobs develops among those in the Seperation City System. Dating and consensual sex are outlawed by members of The City while in residence. Extensive counseling services become available to save relationships. Numerous positives exist in terms of costs to society, but negatives develop, too.
War for oil anyone? Thursday, March 17, 2005 11:56 a.m. Ya just gotta love this: "the American people have decided it's their God-given right to commit horrendous acts of wastefulness, like owning personal automobiles, thousands of utterly useless plastic products and importing every single item of food and clothing they eat or wear from other bioregions at tremendous petroleum expense. In fact, these things define 'freedom.' They are the American way of life. And as the 'Diabolically Evil' Dick Cheney recently stated, 'The American way of life is non-negotiable.' That is, the American way of life will continue to remain petroleum-dependant, and thus come into competition with the developing Chinese, Indian, Russian and European ways of life." Population and Consumption helps put this into perspective.
Watery atmosphere discovered on Saturn's moon Thursday, March 17, 2005 11:27 a.m. Water vapor discovered on a moon of Saturn provides good opportunity for life. How the discovery of life would change religion and society in this world provides numerous story lines for writers.
Inventor preserves self to witness immortality Tuesday, February 15, 2005 03:05 p.m. Ray Kurzweil predicts the ability to live forever is only two decades away. Stories centered around the fight for immortality - who gets it and who doesn't - certainly could explore social issues of the day. Other story lines might explore how to handle an over populated earth, such as who is allowed to have children, and who can't have children. When one can become immortal might make things interesting. Do we want a society of perpetual 29 year olds?
Moon Proposed as Genetic Noah's Ark Friday, September 10, 2004 12:56 a.m. "The Moon should become a genetic Noah's Ark for repopulating the Earth in case of catastrophe, suggests a European Space Agency (ESA) official."
It’s 2014, and life is the same. Only better Thursday, September 2, 2004 11:16 p.m. Ten years from now critical thinking skills may be survival skills. Suggests Sawyer, "In a world in which any information can be easily accessed anywhere, mere memorization is no longer part of the curriculum. But analysis of information — knowing how to think — ah, that’s the ticket!"
Star Trek Enterprise Timeline Friday, May 21, 2004 12:49 p.m. Starting with Star Trek related events 15 billion years ago, this time line takes the reader through Star Trek history to Star Trek future in the 31st Century. The 2800s have a picture of the Starship Infinity commanded by Captain Braxton.
Science.gov Thursday, May 13, 2004 01:57 p.m. "Science.gov is a gateway to authoritative selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results."
International Interplanetary Networking Succeeds Saturday, February 14, 2004 03:14 p.m. One must wonder weather the term World Wide Web is becoming outdated. The Internet is become a inter-solar system affair. Additional implications of this communication success can be found at NASA test Interplanetary Internet. The implications for space travel communications are truly interesting and provide much room for speculative fiction.
Alien Hacker Theory Friday, November 21, 2003 12:26 p.m. Will our first message from space aliens be a computer virus?
Fiction Resources Saturday, September 6, 2003 02:07 p.m. Maintained by Paul Cabay, this site has fiction related news, books and web resources.
Robotic Freedom Monday, September 1, 2003 05:02 p.m. What's the future of robotics and how will it change our future? Marshall Brain discusses the "robotic revolution." It is also suggested that everyone be given $25,000 spending money to restructure our economy.
Finding and getting to Earth2 Tuesday, August 19, 2003 04:47 a.m. http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_what_is.html
Garibaldi asked by Lincoln to run army Tuesday, August 12, 2003 11:29 p.m. Looking to write alternative history about the American Civil War? (Why not, everyone else does!) Here is an interesting twist regarding what might have happened had the US Army had different leadership. You can do a Google search Giuseppe Garibaldi to get more background on the international politics regarding such a leadership choice by Lincoln. Credit for this idea goes to ewagoner, as you will see when you open the link. Visit ewagoner's web page Kestrel's Nest for some interesting postings.
Is there another Earth out there somewhere? Saturday, June 21, 2003 11:54 a.m. For scifi writers looking for an Earth-like planet, I suggest the planet in the HD17051 system. The apparently unnamed planet is 85 million miles from its sun (Earth is 93 million) and has a year of 311 days. One can put HD17051 into Google and learn more.
Sars from outer space? Friday, May 23, 2003 03:10 a.m. SARS, flu epidemics, ancient mystery illnesses may be from space according to a scientists from Britain and India. "Ultimately, all viruses had a space origin and new viruses come from time to time to add to this flora that already exist," they are reported as stating in the article. If interstellar panspermia seems too weird, one can always rely on a more standard explanation - Civet cats most likely source of SARS.
Parallel Universes Tuesday, May 13, 2003 02:03 a.m. There are at least two of you according to this report. And, some-you is having more fun than you-you: "There are infinitely many other inhabited planets, including not just one but infinitely many that have people with the same appearance, name and memories as you, who play out every possible permutation of your life choices."
Orbital Space Settlements Saturday, May 3, 2003 04:09 p.m. Everything needed for designing your scifi space settlement can be discovered and developed on this page from NASA.
Yesterday's Tomorrows Friday, May 2, 2003 11:30 a.m. What was our world supposed to be like today? Look at Yesterday's Tomorrows to see what dreamers had in store for us today!
Anything into Oil Thursday, April 17, 2003 12:05 a.m. "Technological savvy could turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year." This technology can give your future or scifi world almost unlimited power. How might the geopolitical landscape of Earth be different if this technology really takes off? Another interesting energy alternative is discussed in THE PHOENIX PROJECT:Shifting from Oil to Hydrogen with Wartime Speed.
SETI Tuesday, March 18, 2003 07:43 p.m. The search for intelligent signals indicative of life has been narrowed to about 200 choices.
'Phantom menace' may rip up cosmos Thursday, March 6, 2003 11:03 a.m. Remember the Star Trek episode where life on a planet is about to end, so the people create a time machine in their library to send people back into their history? Well, it may not be so goofy after all. In 22 billion years, some researchers think the universe will come to an end, but just prior wormholes big enough for time travel may open up. Perhaps Chariots of the Gods isn't so far-fetched.
'Shocking' discovery boosts chance of life on Europa Friday, February 21, 2003 10:16 a.m. Who knows? Europaens may even be sentient. Think dolphins with gills. Using what is known about parellel evolution, one can develop a very reasonable story of communities under the ice.
Random Science Fiction Story Ideas Tuesday, February 11, 2003 09:07 p.m. Brought to you by Julia West, who also brings you the emotion material below, has a random SciFi character generator. Follow her other links to additional tools to help create your own SciFi stories.
Desktop printers used to make living tissue Friday, January 24, 2003 10:39 a.m. In less than a month, science goes from a gadget printer to an organ printer. Let me think about this...If the printer cartridge has cells developed from me and my DNA, a can replacement parts printed out. At this point, nearly anything can be made in the future. Living spaceships made by space-based printshops. Layers of plant cells that convert CO2 into O2 or make food. Need a tool or robot - make it with biological components.
'Gadget printer' promises industrial revolution Saturday, January 11, 2003 12:24 p.m. This "gadget printer" reminds me of the Star Trek technology that makes gadgets. Any SciFi writer that needs to make things in space could use a version of this technology. Who knows, a large one in orbit could make space ships, maybe even disposable space ships that get recycled at the destination point.
Science Fiction Resource Guide Sunday, January 5, 2003 10:49 a.m. This page hasn't been updated in over a year, but has many useful and active links for gaming, Star Trek, movies, and more.
Habitable planets may be common Saturday, January 4, 2003 01:22 p.m. According to some astrophysicists, Earth-like planets may be more common that previously thought. Space-colonizers may have more neighbors than expected. They could also become pets, slaves, or food...
Antarctic lake offers Mars clues Tuesday, December 17, 2002 10:39 a.m. Bacteria "comes back to life" after being frozen for almost 3000 years! Forget the Mars stuff, writers can link global warming to any number of plagues that grip a warmer future Earth. Pick a name, pick some symptoms, and off the story goes!
Space Tugs Monday, December 16, 2002 10:37 a.m. Here is a "new" space business to get into - orbital wrecker services. "Space Tugs" help move stray satellites from the ditches of orbits.
Tough Earth bug may be from Mars Wednesday, September 25, 2002 10:34 p.m. It's about time somebody published some decent evidence of this, my guess is that many others have similar evidence of life from Mars, or elsewhere, here on Earth, but don't want to ruin their careers. Several semesters ago I presented such information in a Public Speaking class lecture and students were skeptical. The idea, of course, is almost a century old as the Newscientist.com article Bugs could travel in comfort aboard meteorites points out, "The idea that life started elsewhere and spread through space is called panspermia. It was first proposed in 1903 by the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, who suggested that solar radiation might propel single spores across solar systems."
Scientists create glowing green mice Friday, September 13, 2002 11:32 a.m. "Scientists put jellyfish genes into the hair follicles of mice, which grew fur that glowed fluorescent green under certain light." Which suggests that Terrans will be able to modify their looks in lots of ways - neon blue hair, aqua skill, purple fingernails, perhaps even green teeth.
Would giant air bag stop killer space rock? Saturday, August 31, 2002 09:38 p.m. This is an interesting idea. It sounds a lot better than trying to blow things up. Something like this could be tested safely, too. I don't much like the idea of shooting nukes into space anyway.
"Starflight without Warp Drive" Wednesday, August 28, 2002 11:21 p.m. This is an interview by Geoffrey A. Landis with several scientist/sci-fi writers. Read what they have to say about ways to get places without warp.
First attempt to kill Martin Luther King, Jr. Wednesday, August 28, 2002 10:27 p.m. This story idea falls in to the area of alternative history, one of my favorites! How would the world be different if Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed 10 years earlier? It very nearly happened. He was stabbed in the neck by some crazy women in NYC in 1958. The wound was so close to his aorta that a good sneeze may have led to his drowning in his own blood. Who would have replaced him in the civil rights movement? Perhaps it might not have even been an African-American...maybe it might have been a Mexican-American.
'Animals' grown from an artificial embryo Monday, August 26, 2002 11:24 p.m. Growing intelligent life from scratch? Sounds like a great way to create a race of slaves. Combined with 'Handmade' cloning cheap and easy you've got a lot of potential slaves and slave types.
Weeds get boost from GM crops Monday, August 26, 2002 11:21 p.m. Weeds can pick up genes from GM crops. Wow! Killer weeds that wipe out whole stretches of cropland or continents could result from a story based on this information.
Killer flu can result from a single mutation Monday, August 26, 2002 11:00 p.m. Does your story need a way to simply kill off a significant portion of the world's population? Try the flu. Try two kinds of flu. It has happened before, why not again?
Mammoth to be cloned in Japan for zoo Wednesday, August 21, 2002 12:58 p.m. Cloning extinct animals is starting! How far back can we go? Many story lines here from new viruses to rapid repopulation and species displacement. Perhaps we can find an old humanoid and make them slaves...
Tiny flying robots in works to aid war, exploration efforts Thursday, August 8, 2002 11:06 p.m. Fake flying insects designed to spy on people. Of course the War Department is funding the research, but we know these bugs - really no pun - will be put to domestic use spying on everyday Americans. What will the future be like when homegrown Gestapo agents can fly cameras and microphones into your home as you walk in the front door?
Prentiss Riddle: language Monday, July 29, 2002 11:58 a.m. What will people speak on colony ships, colony planets, and other future situations? This language-related blog has many links related to constructed languages like Esperanto and Klingon. There are about 300 conlangs.
Men die young - even if old Friday, July 26, 2002 06:13 p.m. Men die younger than women. But what might be the extent of this demographic difference when humans live in space and on other worlds. One story line might be based on this quote: "Population growth and globetrotting have led to a rise in infectious diseases. And improvements in public health and medicine may have benefited women more than men: for instance, far fewer women now die at a relatively young age during childbirth. Technological advances may have played a part, too, by supplying men with more powerful guns and ever faster cars." Make that more powerful laser guns and ever faster spaceships...
Laser communications crucial for space exploration Friday, July 26, 2002 06:01 p.m. How will splores (space explorers)communicate with Earth? Possibly with lasers. Radio communications will probably bottleneck as sensors become even better at picking up data. Lasers, however, allow for more rapid communication of information. The price tag is expected to be about $400 billion. Might as well make it a an even 1/2 trillion.
New planet freeway could transform space travel Sunday, July 21, 2002 12:17 a.m. Gravity plays a lot of tricks in space. NASA has determined that low-power highways exist in space. By using gravitational between moons and planets in particular ways, space can be explored much cheaper. I can imagine the "Titan on $20 a day" becoming popular. I wonder if the same might be true between solar systems?
Probability of alien life rises Sunday, May 19, 2002 04:36 p.m. Awesome! More probable aliens! The new numbers indicate that there is a 1 in 3 chance of life developing in the first billion years on an Terran-type planet. Our astronomical technology is getting good enough find some of these planets. If we focus on three of them we might find something.
"Magic number" for space pioneers calculated Sunday, May 19, 2002 03:57 p.m. You'll need 160 people on that colony ship. Eighty people can do the job if you engage in the right social engineering. Of course, there are a lot of factors to consider, but this is good information to have when planning a colonization story.
New Scientist Tuesday, May 14, 2002 09:13 a.m. This wonderful publication keeps you up-to-date on new discoveries in science. If you are looking for a new bug or a new method of space travel for your story, start by reading the New Scientist every week.
Freelance Writers Tuesday, May 14, 2002 08:48 a.m. Break into the writing job market and get published using tips from Freelance Writers! Regular job postings and additional information can be emailed directly to you. Hundreds of resources and links are available to help writers at all levels.
Adrian's Communication Resources Page Sunday, May 12, 2002 12:36 p.m. The primary purpose of this page is to support Brent Adrian's, Business Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Oral Communication courses at Central Community College-Grand Island