ai

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2036 Origin Unknown: ion propulsion, dust storms, and how to speak Greek in orbit

Ion Drive

Compounding acceleration in the relative vacuum of space. Incredible efficiencies versus chemical rockets, and the very low force produced making it only appropriate once spaceborn. The differing problems solved by chemical rockets and ion drives. The benefit of ion drive once out of Earth’s gravity well and going far away. Earth’s tectonic plates, slowly building up to escape velocity. That beautiful blue glow. “Ionic wind” aircraft in-atmosphere: a completely silent aircraft motor with no moving parts!

Landing in spaaaaace

Methods of landing on Mars: Aeroshells, parachutes, rockets, and balloons. Past examples. Different bodies in space and their particular atmospheric densities, atmospheric conditions, and gravitational acceleration.

Nuclear power solutions

Nuclear power vs solar cells. People’s presumption of full-on nuclear reactors rather than the smaller and less-efficient radioisotope thermoelectric generators like on Curiosity. Wondering why we don’t use tiny nuclear robots to blow the dust off of the solar robots. NASA, call us for more great ideas.

Dust storms

Martian dust storms. The low density and force of Martian dust storms, contrary to popular depictions. The visual impressiveness of huge Martian dust storms from space relative to actual effect. The (low) density of the Martian atmosphere and its make-up. How 60mph dust storms are are actually not that powerful: with low gravitational acceleration, static charge, it is very very easy it is to keep dust particles aloft.

Orbital centricity words

The revelation that “geocentric” and “geostationary” apply very specifically to only Earth and there are other words particular to the other major bodies in our solar system. All of the other centricity classifications, including Arecentric for Mars as in the film (though they don’t use it).

Hypoxia

Hypoxia and inability to give detailed instructions to your AI on how to disperse the spirit of humanity into the universe.

Links

2036 Origin Unkown: Netflix | Amazon | iTunes
Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) by Smarter Every Day: YouTube
How Do Ion Engines Work? The Most Efficient Propulsion System Out There by Fraser Cain: YouTube

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Dolphin communication, the babelfish, and bad AI

Adaptations

Appreciating the book(s). Bigtime. Adapting Douglas Adams. Remembering the text adventure video game exists.

Dolphins

Dolphin intelligence. It’s not about how smart they are, it’s about how they’re smart. Mammalian sameness as an avenue into better understanding life in the sea. Dolphin communication. Dolphin “language” and the possibility of translation. The Dolphin C.H.A.T. interface.

Betelgeuse

Big star! Red supergiant, 9th brightest in our sky. “Brightness” outside the visible spectrum. Dying stars gnoshing on their planets before going off.

Life form dominance

Metal boxes, taking over the planet and slowly digesting the soft squishy things inside them. Street Fighter-style car-breaking. How to judge the “top” species of a world.

Babel fish

Universal translators. A visit from Nick Farmer from the past, when we asked him about universal translators in our Q&A #2.

Space is big

Mind-bogglingly big! The bigness of space and the difficulty in finding a sense of scale from a human perspective.

Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

-Douglas Adams

AI

Doors deriving sexual pleasure from providing their service. Polar opposite extreme AI demeanors. Deep Thought and AI constraints.

Links:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy The Game: BBC Radio 4
DRONE Solar System Model by Mark Rober: YouTube
VFX Artist Reveals the True Scale of the Universe by Corridor Digital: YouTube

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

Tron 1983 backdrop

Tron : Episode 145

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

Tron

What: People but with lasers and in a computer. And light bikes!
Directed by: Steven Lisberger
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner

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Westworld : Episode 139

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iTunes | Amazon

Westworld [1973]

What: Robots! And six shooters! you get the idea.
Directed by: Michael Crichton
Starring: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin

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Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams : Episode 127

Stream the show:
Amazon

Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams

What: The first season of Amazon’s anthology series, Electric Dreams, bringing a bunch of Philip K Dick‘s short stories to life.
Directed by: Julian Jarrold, David Farr, Tom Harper, Marc Munden, Jeffrey Reiner, Francesca Gregorini, Dee Rees, Peter Horton, Alan Taylor, Michael Dinner
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Jack Gore, Shannon Brown, Annalise Basso, Maura Tierney, Connor Paolo, Juno Temple, Janelle Monáe, David Lyons, Karin Anglin, Anton Bassey, Anu Bhatt, Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard

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Black Mirror Season 4 Part 2 (feat. Liam Ginty, space person) : Episode 126

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Netflix

Black Mirror Season 4 Part 2 (Episode 4-6)

What: Stories of dystopian sadness but with multiple stories inside one sometimes.
Directed by: Tim Van Patten, David Slade, Colm McCarthy
Starring: Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, Gina Bramhill | Maxine Peake, Jake Davies, Clint Dyer | Douglas Hodge, Letitia Wright, Daniel Lapaine

Featuring guest co-host
Liam Ginty PhotoLiam Ginty of Voice From L5

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Black Mirror Season 4 Part 1

Black Mirror Season 4 Part 1 (feat. Fraser Cain of Universe Today) : Episode 125

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Netflix

Black Mirror Season 4 Part 1 (Episodes 1-3)

What: Dystopian sadness over and over where somehow the bright points are even worse
Directed by: Toby Haynes, Jodie Foster, John Hillcoat
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Andrew Gower | Rosemarie DeWitt, Brenna Harding, Owen Teague | Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson

Featuring guest co-host
Fraser Cain headshotFraser Cain of Universe Today

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The Osiris Child : Episode 121

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iTunes | Amazon

The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One

What: A space adventure throwback with a very presumptive title where a dad rescues a daughter. And there are monsters!
Directed by: Shane Abbess
Starring: Kellan Lutz, Daniel MacPherson, Isabel Lucas

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Blade Runner 2049 : Episode 120

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iTunes | Amazon

Blade Runner 2049

What: Like Blade Runner, but the sequel. Gosling!
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto

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