More cool news for the week of October 6, 2014

 Science for imagination  Comments Off on More cool news for the week of October 6, 2014
Oct 112014

(Edited to add more cool science-fiction-turned-science-fact!)

There is always so much going on in the world of science (and in the science of the world!) This week, you get an extra helping of cool science. This time, I’m going to focus on science that can turn science fiction into science fact.

Batman’s rebreather

Ever wonder how Batman could put a gadget he developed in his mouth and breathe through it, even under water? Well, a scientist in Denmark has developed a way this could work – a crystal that can absorb oxygen from the air or even the water, then release it as needed.

The Flintstones’ can opener

Okay, so the Flintstones weren’t exactly science fiction – but a scientist has developed a model for the bite of a sabre-toothed cat, and found that it would actually work like an old-time can-opener, the kind that would pierce the lid of the can with a small triangular hole to let liquid out.

3D Printing

I think 3D printing is the coolest and most important scientific development of the century so far (I know, we’re only 14 years into the century, but they’ve been a busy 14 years.) Scientists are able to create just about anything by ‘printing’ layers of substances on top of each other.

Using 3D printing technology and MRI, surgeons were able to create a model of a newborn’s defective heart so they could see what they were up against before delving into that teeny chest.

Also cool? Using 3D printing technology to create a gun that fires paper airplanes.

Luke Skywalker’s hand and the Six Million Dollar Man’s limbs

Or, really, just about any limb that has been chopped off and replaced in a science fiction environment. The replacements are always at least as good – if not better – than the original.

Scientists are a step closer to that quality of prosthetic limbs, having developed prosthetics that can actually feel what they’re touching.

And also: Steve Austin’s bionic eye!

Men In Black’s Neuralyzer

You know that cool gadget that gave off the red light that erased people’s memories? They’ve done it in mice now.

Ancient machines/computers discovered millenia later

One trope of science fiction includes the finding of an ancient mechanism of some sort that the finders don’t understand. As they study the object, they somehow turn it on, and havoc is wreaked. Best case scenario: someone destroys it. Worst case scenario: The world explodes.

Well, guess what scientists have found in an ancient shipwreck over 2000 years old?


The Ansible

 Science Fiction, Word in Writing  Comments Off on The Ansible
Jan 072008

Wow. Two posts in less than a month! Could this be a new trend?

My absolute favourite SF news ‘zine is Dave Langford’s Ansible. I just received the January issue today, and had to share some bits of news:

It’s true. Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimers. However, he goes on to say, “I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as “I am not dead”. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this [is] maybe further off than you think — it’s too soon to tell.”

Robert Jordan may have felt he had 20 books left to write, but now that he’s passed away, his wife has managed to find a writer to end the series in one. Brandon Sanderson will write this novel, which Jordan called A Memory of Light.

I encourage everyone to check out the Ansible at The current issue can be found here: Be sure to check out Conspiracy Corner (where Princess Di’s death is finally explained), Outraged Letters (where Brian Aldiss gets his feet examined), As We See Ourselves and As Others See Us (where science fiction fans and writers are discussed), and Thog’s Masterclass (where we see that *anyone* can get published). Enjoy!