Tag Archives: hardware

A cornucopia of hard science fiction ideas

Old-school typewriter Here’s one for the writers among our readers. The excellent Jim Van Pelt* has an article at The Fix Online wherein he lists a number of potential sources for the kernel ideas of hard science fiction stories.

“So, do you need a degree in science or math to write hard science fiction? Nope. Numerous hard science fiction authors write their stories without that background. […] Admittedly, though, the non-science or math authors will have to work a little harder to not write laughable hard science fiction. They need to cheat a bit. They may need help coming up with ideas, and they certainly will need help for the science that is not at their fingertips. Fortunately, the help is no farther away than the nearest bookstore.”

Or your local library, I’d add to that statement (use ’em or lose ’em, folks). [Image from Image*After]

And, of course, the internet has its value for the same sort of process, once you know where to look. Jeremy Tolbert thinks it would be good if that process were easier, though:

“Someone with access to the big primary biological sciences literature should post reviews/summaries in laymen’s terms of each issue. Nature, Science, and more. People could volunteer and write in summaries for any primary literature they want. Group blog the literature. Get it out there in the web, in a format that science-interested people can understand.

Because I think there’s a barrier still between that level of academic knowledge and the web population. I’d like to see a gateway giving me a glimpse at what’s going on. I don’t know where the local university’s science library is, and I can’t afford to subscribe to those magazines (who can?).”

Well, we do a sort of low-calorie version of that here at Futurismic, but we’d be happy to run more beefy material. Any volunteers? 🙂

[ *I’ve linked to Jim Van Pelt’s writing advice numerous times, both here and on my own blog, and I feel sure I will do so again. The web is full of writing advice, much of it sincere and well-meant, but I have yet to discover a regular source of clear and honest advice that’s as reliable and fun to read. Being subscribed to Jim’s LJ feed is like having an avuncular writing tutor all of your own. This is not a paid plug, nor is it ass-kissing – I just think the guy deserves recognition and respect. ]

[tags]writing, science fiction, hardware, ideas, science[/tags]

Bug Labs creates “open source hardware”

bug_logo.jpgBug Labs is a start-up company in New York that is creating what they call “open source hardware.” The company is creating a Lego-like hardware platform that tinkerers and engineers can use to create their own digital devices. The idea is to take advantage of “long-tail economics” that will allow the creation of very specific, niche hardware devices for limited markets. The platform can also be used for rapid prototyping.

It starts with a BUGBase, which is a general-purpose Linux computer about the size of a PlayStation Portable, encased in white plastic. This has four connectors that plug right into the motherboard. The company will also make a variety of modules that can plug into the computer—like an LCD screen, a digital camera, a GPS unit, a motion sensor, a keyboard, an EVDO modem, and a 3G GSM modem. (There are also places to add USB, Ethernet, WiFi, and serial ports). Bug Labs is planning on making 80 modules over time, and hopes outside companies and developers will create their own.

Apologies for our absence

Apologies if you visited here over the last 24 hours or so, and wondered why we’d gone into the mortgage business. There were some pretty drastic technical issues server-side with our hosting company, but thankfully they seem to be fixed now.

We know there are a few posts to repair from the last week or so, but we’re sure you’ll bear with us in the meantime as we tidy up the mess. To be honest, we’re just damned thankful we weren’t hacked, as we initially thought we were …

The moral of this story, folks? TAKE BACKUPS. REGULARLY.

We now return you to our scheduled programming … 🙂

[tags]futurismic, downtime, hardware, problems[/tags]


Tom Doyle’s nasty new story “Consensus Building” takes on the commercialization of your head space.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Consensus Building

by Tom Doyle

Irena’s head chip woke her like a slow sunrise, a gradually rising voice cooing “good morning” inside her mind. Damn, two flaws already. The first was last night — too many weird dreams had interrupted her sleep. She would have noted the dreams in her alpha test journal, but this morning she couldn’t remember any of them. She must have chewed out her subconscious for shoddy work so it was giving her the silent treatment.

The second, more concrete flaw: she had specifically asked to be awakened with a sudden jolt. She detested the cloyingly sweet morning alarm that did not resemble her own thoughts. Maybe Will McRae in Design could fix it. Continue reading CONSENSUS BUILDING by Tom Doyle