Just the Two of Us

Decipher SciFi State of the Union with President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho

Decipher SciFi State of the Union 2018

In which we look at your survey responses and reveal where we’re headed in the coming year

  • Listening habits
  • RPG experience
  • Nerd gatherings and meeting listeners irl
  • Creator support
  • Guest co-hosts
  • Suggestion box
  • Future expansion recommendations (Decipher History!?)
eXistenZ movie backdrop fleshy nipple pod with umbilical on bed

eXistenZ: reality testing, biocomputing, and gross stuff

Cronenberg

Creepy body horror. Fingers in holes. This is kinda hot.

The video game industry

Gaming in film. Brainscan. The video game bubble. E.T. The Video Game landfill debacle. AAA Game budgets before people took the industry seriously. AAA Auteur creators of the past. Auteur creators in indie games now.

Meat guns

Wooden cannons! Wow! Harvesting ammunition from people’s mouths. Bio-based squirt guns as a reasonable alternative. Blood-squirting lizards.

Alternative computing

Biological computing: mechanical, electrical, and chemical. Quantum supremacy. Nipple interfaces and umbilicals.

Neural interfaces

Neural interface placements. Spinal connections and how to interact with the sensory loop. Bodily orifice security defenses. Sphincters vs meatuses.

Reality

But how do we tell what is real anyway!? The power of storytelling, even when you know it’s not real. Railroading. Milgram experiment the game.

Links

War Stories by Ars Technica: YouTube
GDC Classic Game Postmortems: YouTube

Gravity 2013 movie backdrop

Gravity: decompression sickness, orbital mechanics, and jet chairs

Criticism

Sloppy orbital mechanics and the value of science-adjacent entertainment.

Ed Harris

Forever the voice of Mission Control.

Space is dangerous

Almost as scary as the ocean.

EVA jet chairs

NASA’s MMU. The new tiny one: SAFER! Giant rectal rectangle jet chairs?

Where and how things orbit

Earth-orbital distances. Where different kinds of man-made satellites operation and how they are not likely to run into each other roughly ever. The utility of geostationary orbits.

earth orbits

Wikipedia has the awesome animated version here

Orbital impacts

Relative velocities. Could you dodge a sniper bullet? IRL ISS escape procedures. Soyuz escape plans.

Deadspin

Glowing blood and possible alien infections. Human sensitivity to positive and negative g-forces. Trying to push more blood to your head for mental superpowers.

Orbital transfer

And impromptu deorbiting. How to crash a probe into mars (by accident).

Pressurization

Chinese space stations, then and now. Station entrance and exit procedures. Finally the Star Trek balloon analogy comes in handy! Decompression sickness/the bends during EVA. Portable life support systems. Sokol and ACES, and their insufficiency for extra-vehicular activities.

Fire extinguishers

…in spaaaaaace. Carbon dioxide. Water. Super soakers. Fire emergency procedures.

EVA Suits

Past designs and modern designs. Future EVA suit developments. Constrictive suits directly against the skin rather than creating an atmosphere around the body: the biosuit. The NASA Z Suit that looks like Buzz Lightyear, and operating EVA suits at the same pressure as your space station.

Reentry

Soyuz reentry angles. Heat shielding. Trying to point in a particular direction.

Lifting

The complete obviousness that heavy compound weight lifting is the major solution to muscle and bone loss in space. Bro do you even lift? Vacuum-based space squat rack.

Skyscraper movie jump calculation backdrop

Skyscraper: vertical cities, holodecks, and personal Dyson clouds

Skyscrapers

History. The industrialization at scale of steel. The state of things. Future heights. Arcologies.

Vertical cities

Hong Kong’s real estate problem. Urban verticality and resource efficiency. Living in coffin pods and sharing utilities.

Holodeck

IRL holodeck technology. Projecting images for multiple . Your own personal Dyson display cloud. Frickin lasers directly in your eyes. CastAR.

Skyscraper materials technology

Sand as a rubbish base for huge buildings. Building deep foundations in the desert. Wooden skyscrapers!? Sand in concrete and sand shortages. Varieties of sand. Engineered sand.

Fire

Fire suppression! Overheated air and air pressure for aircraft.

Elevators

Elevator cable lengths and limits. Maglev elevators. High-speed elevators.


PORK CHOP SANDWICHES

Upgrade 2018 movie backdrop

Upgrade: biohacking, AI containment, and paralyzation workarounds

Image enhancement

Naive vs machine-intelligent image enhancement. “Photorealistic hallucination” and honest technical names. Reconsidering the absurdity of fictional image enhancement in the age of clever neural nets. Creative, artistic “enhancement” vs rigor.

Paralyzation workarounds

Well, breaking your spinal chord sure seems to suck. Spinal breaks and the autonomic nervous system. Bodily control via brain-machine interface.

Transhumanism

Extension of human functionality by implanted technology! Increasing neural communication speed, or shortening signal distance. Gun arms. Gun arms! Vocal device command by subvocalization.

The AI “box test”

Self-serving artificial intelligence. Yudkowsky’s AI  box test. Callback to Ex Machina. Additional stipulations. The true power of a goon with a wrench. How easy are humans to fool? Very.

Links

Black Panther T'Challa movie backdrop

Black Panther: rhino domestication, click languages, and Killmonger overheating

Afrofuturism

Wishing there were more of this in popular media.

Invisible cities

A review of invisibility technology: spatial, temporal, and spectral light cloaking. Vibranium to the rescue.

Vibranium

Space impactors. Resource

Armor

Body armor, stationary armor. Avoiding concussive force. Reactive armor in tanks: shaped explosives that explode at the other thing that’s gonna explode! Molecular springs of carbon for storage of mechanical energy from kinetic. How not to turn into Black Panther jelly when the suit releases its energy (be superhuman).

Absolute monarchies

Bas Rutten for king. Right hoooook.

Scars and sweat

Killmonger’s scarification and scar damage to the dermis. Sweat patterns around scars.

Telepiloting

Remote vehicle control. Light-speed communications delays. AI-assisted remote human driving.

War Rhinos

Domestication vs trainability. Extinct war elephants and why we can’t have war rhinos. Dürer’s rhinoceros, drawn from notes on the first rhino seen in Europe since Roman times.Dürer's Rhinoceros

Click language

Xhosa! Bantu languages. The possibility of a connection to the earliest human languages.

Links

Decipher RPG Part 1 | Part 2

AXL A-X-L movie robot dog backdrop

A-X-L: dogs as technology, domestication, and unpleasant sticky materials

Doggo

Man’s best friend! And one of (many of?) our best technologies. The level to which we can handicap animals for aesthetics if we put our mind to it. Domesticated foxes.

Domestication

Domestication. Plants and animals. Bending chosen qualities to better human use.

Watermelon as of The Renaissance. Yay selective breeding! We win!

Warbot design

Implicit and explicit communication channels. Dog human body language-reading. Data connections and cloudy signal processing. Adaptation of dog body-design to robots. The small design effort required to get people to treat a robot animal like an animal.

Flamethrowers

The difference between industrial and military flamethrowers. An unpleasant, sticky material: napalm and napalm-like products!

Survey!

We have one of those. Pls help.

Rampage Dwayne johnson movie backdrop

Rampage: gorilla sign language, classic gaming, and the square cube law

Classic arcade gaming

Memories of the arcade and the Sega Game Gear. Introduction of Larry the Rat in the Atari Lynx port. How to pick from current social fears for your lazy game plot.

Zero-G research

Genetics research in spaaaaaace. CRISPR. Bremen Drop Tower.

Gorilla sign language

Koko the gorilla. Gorilla sign language. Credulity and confirmation bias. Impressive gorilla lexicons. Adventures in signing portmanteus. Yogurt aka “milkfruitcandy food.”

Animal fights

Comparing the gorilla to the grizzly bear. Relative animal size. Grizzly bears as killing machine. Gorilla conflict-avoidance techniques.

Scaling animals

The square-cube law! Relative scaling and the race between volume and surface area (volume always wins!). The creation of a bio antenna. The relatively low energy of radio waves.

Mutations, mutations, mutations

Gorilla turns into giant gorilla. Lizard turns into mega lizard. Wolf, though, turns into a wolf… with patagia and throwable quills! Possibly resembling the urticating hairs of a tarantula.

simpsons bolivian tree lizard clip

Links

How to Make an Elephant Explode with Science by Kurtzgesagt: YouTube
Zero-G Experiments on Earth: The Bremen Drop Tower by Tom Scott: YouTube
Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday by The Onion: YouTube

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Extinction: space stealth, leaving Earth, and the evolution of consciousness

Spoiler alerts

Special conditions requiring primary and secondary warnings.

Robots

How to tell if you are a robot? New Study Finds Best Way To Determine If You Are Android Still Cutting Open Forearm To Reveal Circuitry Within. Self-delusion and mass self-delusion.

Earthvacuation

Earth is really well-tuned for our needs (or is it the other way around?), and humans should try to maintain this as a base of operations if at all possible.

Surviving outside of Earth

Key resources on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system (outside of Earth). Iron for bullets. Rocket fuel.

Stealth in space

There is no stealth in space. Trying to hide from Earth (on Mars). Difficulties in hiding propulsion, light-blocking, and infrared emission. Hiding “in” the sun.

Attacking Earth

Shock and awe vs the impossibility of stealth. Why a nuclear EMP attack might not be a great idea. Throw a rock at it.

Zap Brannigan style

Evolving consciousness

Evolved consciousness in Earth life. The possibility of consciousness emerging in “artificial” life. Attention Schema Theory. Central processing of separate signal enhancement.

Links

Real Quick: LSG Media
What is Consciousness? by Vsauce: YouTube

Wall-E movie backdrop

Wall-E: biodegradable plastics, waste management, and space cattle

Space settlement

The economics of leaving Earth. Settling the inner and outer solar system. The Expanse. Space cattle and other space resources (water, mineral).

Garbage – in spaaace!

Garbage in space aka space junk. Cleaning up space junk. Giant nets as a major cleanup strategy.

Garbage – on Eaaaarth!

Modern waste management. What to do with municipal solid waste. Leachate. The difference between dumps and landfills and the interesting energy-reclamation technology involved in cutting edge WTE facilities.

Plastic

Massive plastic appreciation. How plastics ushered in the modern world. A lament for wasteful use of “disposable” plastic products. Microplastics in the water. Biodegradable plastics. The discovery of plastic-eating bacteria. Speeding up nature to digest plastic now. The coming plague of plastic-eating bacteria.

“De-evolution”

This isn’t a thing! There’s no end point that is being retreated from – life just adapts to pressures, ongoing.

Handling failure

Revisiting our past failures. Combating cynicism by just kind of ignoring it.

Links

Wall-E: iTunes | Amazon
The Water Fountain You Pee In: YouTube