When your crew is this good, you really should just send a ship without the humans on it instead. MapQuest in spaaaaaace being confounded by gravitational lensing. Dark matter… blocks your view sometimes? Rogue planets and how very very very dark it is in between star systems. Robinson Crusoe oxygen rocks (or crystals).
Our world is on the brink of some possibly extreme unpleasantness. Known unknowns threats to civilization. Humanity is bad at planning for statistically-likely-but-not-definite disaster.
The anti-scientific garbage that starts to overflow in the face of a public health crisis. Goop. Alex Jones. Snake oil. Homeopathy. Price gouging. Levels of understanding and respect for the severity of the current pandemic across age groups.
R0, or basic reproduction number. Vulnerable sub-populations. Prisons. Social distancing. Hoarding toilet paper and… meat? The nipah virus.
Social distancing. Hoarding steak and toilet paper.
Historical pandemics. Rate of spead and pandemic reach in the premodern and modern worlds. Propaganda and the “Spanish Flu” of 1918. Wildlife as natural disease reservoirs. Wildlife farming and infectious disease overflow. Disease-spread mitigation. Getting germs in your holes Wash your hands!
Priming. Retrieval cues. Memory encoding, sotrage, and retrieval. Context-dependent memory. Getting drunk and finding your keys. Digital memory retrieval Facial recognition heuristics. Recognition vs reproduction.
Living amongst the runes. More AI! Deciphering alien technology.
Altered Carbon: Netflix
Altered Carbon: Zoltan Istvan on transplant immortality, identity, and consciousness uploading: Decipher Scifi
Revisiting: asteroids vs meteors vs meteoroids vs meteorites vs who knows. Still confusing! How much space stuff hits Earth? Like, not just dust but things big enough to be impressed by. Who gets claim to Earth-impacting space rocks?
The idea that life can spread between worlds. Or maybe even stars (maybe not.)? The “soft hypothesis” of panspermia and the utility of primoridla ooze. The possibility of panspermia bringing life to primordial Earth. Cowboy scientists just leaving alien goo everywhere.
We missed you Jean-Luc! Picard as the moral center of Star Trek, and the greatest of its captains.
Romulans. How to tell a Vulkan from a Romulan? Exploding stars. Detecting supernovae. The death cycle of a red supergiant. The reliability of physics across timelines/universes. The dangers of cleaving planets.
“Post scarcity” with holodecks and replicators, and the realization that there is still a limited resource: energy. Star Trek Kardashev levels.
Data. Lore. Data’s “daughter” from that one time on TNG. Bio-synthetic intelligent life. How important is embodiment?
Star Trek Beyond: drone swarms, teleporters, and decompression w/ Jolene Creighton: Decipher SciFi
Star Trek First Contact: transhumanism technology and ant behavior w/ Jolene Creighton: Decipher SciFi
Star Trek IV – The Journey Home: whale margarine, transparent aluminum, and time travel: Decipher SciFi
Star Trek Voyager: water, galactic scales, and coffee replicators: Decipher SciFi
Pizza popularity in the US post-WWII. Pizza classification arguments. Bread sauce cheese vs bread cheese sauce and the DRASTIC difference between the two. NYC Pizza ftw.
Wtf is a turtle
Turtles, tortoises, terrapins, and the difficulty with colloquial names. Putting them in the water to see which ones drows. Telescoping vs hinging necks.
Realizing the horrifying reason “toxic sludge” was in all of our childhood media. Joe’s story about that one superfund site that I can’t spell. Creating better ooze monsters. Honey badger? Mantis shrimp?
Short term nuclear waste storage and the problem with active maintenance. Long-term nuclear waste storage and keeping things safe after humanity. Long-term nuclear waste warning messages. The limits of language and pictograms. Designing for “bad vibes.”
This place is a message… and part of a system of messages …pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture. This place is not a place of honor … no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger. The danger is in a particular location… it increases towards a center… the center of danger is here… of a particular size and shape, and below us. The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours. The danger is to the body, and it can kill. The form of the danger is an emanation of energy. The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.
Yo dog, I heard you liked simulations. Server-room LAN rave parties. choosing your simulated period for fun, profit, and lack of complications.
Plato’s shadows on a cave wall. Maybe shadows all the way down, and turtles all the way up! The simulatability of our perceived reality.
The simulation argument made distinct from the simulation hypothesis. Considering possible “great filters” that could prevent technological progress reaching the point where a reality simulation is possible.
The possible impossibility of simulating a whole universe in what may itself be a finite universe. Video game engine-corner cutting analogies for the reality sim. Kardashev scales and simulation ability.
But is it “real” and does it even matter? “I think therefore I am.” Mind uploading and downloading and VR “death.
No spoilers this week! Just looking at all the scientific discoveries of the past decade and how that has or hasn’t played into the scifi we’ve covered.
1. Privacy & Cyberpunk
… and the illusion thereof. Snowden and the shattering of the illusion of privacy in the digital age. The world becoming the less awesome-looking irl version of cyberpunk. Workers as a resources. Torture toilets.
2. Machine learning
The biggest huge development in the pats decade which underlies every other things. Wowzers. Realizing the importance of the data going in, so you don’t get racist policing or image recognition. The availability of open tools, compute time, and learning resources.
3. Genetic editing
CRISPR! What will eventually result from this one?
Water on Mars! So much more water than we thought. Greater accuracy in portrayals of space settlement. Increasing private industry in space.
Hey, an update on Einstein: still correct! Also… Gravity waves! Higgs-Boson! Imaging a black hole. The contributions of computing and storage technologies.
39. Human history
Confirmation of Sapiens and Neanderthal interbreeding in remaining modern humans. Discovering more extinct human varieties.
What happened to AR glasses!? The state of wearables. Recognizing that there are senses to augment other than our visual system.
So the movie didn’t put in any cool science things and the only thing left to do is review it and talk about… feelings? Different viewing experiences between opening night and subsequent viewings.
Fan service. Coherent extended story arcs. Reconsidering the prequel triloges in light of the new one. Indie IP ownership with one person in charge vs Disney. Realizing what a truly satisfying job disney did with Marvel. What made Star Wars different?
Bending over backwards to justify fantasy events, and how movies can deserve this treatment. Bringing in The Emperor at the end. Bringing back Leia with scraps of cut scenes and lots of over-the-shoulder conversation shots.
How to hide a planet. How to hide a planet engaging in major empire-level engineering and construction projects. Hiding your Sith shipyard.
Technological stagnation. Miniaturization. Bad ways to encode spatial information. Knife-based wayfinding.
C3PO software limitations and an argument in favor of Free Software. Probably maybe lobotomizing your long-time companion without deliveration. The sith ecclesiastical cult language. Pointless characters. The writer explains how Rose got mostly cut from the film.