December 2010

Another political-bureaucratic boondoggle at NASA. Just abolish the agency already and get out of the way of private space enterprises.

The future of computing is near:

  • 1,000-Core Chip Could Make PCs 20 Times Faster: The fastest consumer processors such as Intel’s Core i7 are limited to 6 cores, but “Scottish scientists have built a 1,000-core processor, claiming it will run 20 times faster than today’s chips while using less power. Dr. Wim Vanderbauwhede led a research team at the University of Glasgow to create the futuristic processor using a programmable chip called a field programmable gate array (FPGA).”
  • Super Memory Breakthrough: Store Every Movie Made This Year on Your Phone (With Room to Spare): “IBM says they have made a significant leap forward in the viability of “Racetrack memory,” a new technology design which has the potential to exponentially increase computing power. This new tech could give devices the ability to store as much as 100 times more information than they do now, which would be accessed at far greater speeds while utilizing “much less” energy than today’s designs. In the future, a single portable device might be able to hold as much memory as today’s business-class servers and run on a single battery charge for weeks at a time.”

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“We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.” Thumbnail

Great quote from Angel to his son Connor (Angel, Season 4, Episode 1, “Deep Down“):

Nothing in the world is the way it oughta be. It’s harsh…and cruel…but that’s why there’s us…champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done, or suffered. Or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be. You’re not a part of that yet. I hope you will be.

Reminds me of Ayn Rand’s “Anyone who fights for the future, lives it in today”1 and her conception of Romantic Realism in fiction as a portrayal of life “as it could be and should be.”2 See, also, my Journal of Libertarian Studies article, “Atlas Shrugged and the Importance of Dramatizing Our Values (pdf).”


  1. The Romantic Manifesto, 1975, p. viii 

  2. Letters of Ayn Rand, 1995, p. 243 

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MOVIE REVIEW | Tron: Legacy Thumbnail

It’s not often a science fiction storyteller creates a new world for his story.  Most tales in the genre, like Neuromancer or 2001, are set in our world a few years or decades in the future.  Some, like Terminator II, don’t even bother moving the clock ahead.  Movies like Star Wars and Avatar are relatively uncommon (while others like The Matrix are difficult to categorize).  Tron: Legacy is one of those infrequent works set almost entirely in a fictional world.

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), founder of a tech company and world-recognized innovator, disappeared in 1989, apparently on the verge of some life-altering discovery.  Two decades later, Kevin’s  assistant tells his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) he has received a page – as in pager, not book – from his late father.  When Sam investigates, he is sucked into a digital world, presumably the one his father disappeared to, and finds himself in a fight for his life.

[Keep reading…]

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Locus Magazine is starting to take its first steps into the digital age.

For those not in the know, Locus Magazine is, as its subtitle suggests, The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field. It is the pre-eminent magazine covering the genre publishing industry, prose fiction, and conventions, featuring reviews, news, interviews, publishing data, and more.

With the January 2011 issue, which will focus on SF in the digital age, the magazine will publish its first digital edition. The digital editions will be available in pdf format at first. Epub and Kindle editions might come in the future. This is good news to be sure.

[Keep reading…]

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