I liked the book as much as any other techie, since the author actually included the calculations on how to survive this disaster. That’s unique, at least in my SF experience. A lot of the solutions were fun too, like what to actually grow for food. » 4/23/15 8:09pm Thursday 8:09pm

I would set up a studio to systematically film every single Hugo and Nebula novel award winner. “The Demolished Man”! “Ringworld”! “Lord of Light”! “The Windup Girl”! “Ancillary Justice”! These are fantastic stories that are now possible with CGI. By my count, only four Hugo winners have been filmed so far. When we’re… » 4/22/15 10:40am Wednesday 10:40am

Could Earth already have had a technical civilization? That was one of the nice ideas in Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time". That claimed that many civilizations had risen and fallen on the Earth, but that they were separated by such vast gulfs of time that they were forgotten by the time the next one came around. A… » 4/15/15 1:57pm 4/15/15 1:57pm

Is there any way to actually use these dead satellites? It was crazy expensive to put them up there, after all. There has to be some value to things that are already in orbit. Maybe a remotely-operated vehicle could take off their solar panels and put them to use. Maybe their structures could be used as reaction mass.… » 4/06/15 3:09pm 4/06/15 3:09pm

"discussing how man is becoming more reliant on computers and such and thus losing something of themselves in the process." It's a bit late in the evolution of homo sapiens to worry about over-reliance on technology. Once we lost our fur, we were pretty much committed to at least the technology of clothing. Our… » 4/02/15 3:37pm 4/02/15 3:37pm

One reason that it’s a bad sign for the future is because a lot of oligarchs are trying to move their money and families out of their own countries. They themselves are not confident of the future. I’ve heard these towers referred to as safe deposit boxes in the sky. » 4/02/15 1:21pm 4/02/15 1:21pm

This is also interesting as a way of adding energy storage inside chip packages. Current chips have to have lots of capacitors around them to smooth out variations in their power draw. The chip has to run at a higher voltage than it really needs to in order to accommodate drops due to sudden current surges. If a lot… » 4/02/15 1:08pm 4/02/15 1:08pm

I have bought various old things - a house from 1845, books from the 18th century, Roman artifacts - but I don’t think that counts. That’s just a matter of paying for something. You can buy Sumerian cylinder seals from 4500 years ago if you know someone in the Iraqi loot trade. » 4/02/15 9:09am 4/02/15 9:09am

Thus the odd comment above "sustained conflicts are simply not feasible for US military forces". Since when? There are hundreds of thousands of US military personnel stationed around the world, and they've been there for 70 years. Yet somehow they can't manage truck driving and cafeteria service. This is just… » 4/01/15 8:20pm 4/01/15 8:20pm

A one kiloton explosion of a bomb is defined to be a giga-calorie, or 4.1 x 10^9 joules. It was a brilliant bit of branding by nuclear physicists. A billion calories doesn't mean much to anyone, but a thousand tons of TNT causes OMG reactions among policy makers. » 3/30/15 10:42am 3/30/15 10:42am

Sort of, but it's mainly just taking longer than anyone thought. After all, there are real hoverboards today. They've become possible only recently with batteries that are light enough and hold enough power to drive the rotating magnetic hover disks. They can't fly anywhere except above highly conductive surfaces… » 3/29/15 11:54am 3/29/15 11:54am