Good to know in an emergency:
- Zombie Survival Maps Show Danger Zones, Armories and Food Sources for Entire U.S. | Gadget Lab | Wired.com »
"Red areas denote population centers where zombies might graze, while dark gray zones cover parks and wilderness areas, which are most likely to be walker-free."
But what about those of us who aren't in the cities? What will we do?
- Evil ... or the Victim of Framing? Bad Guys in Science Fiction Film »
Have some "bad guys" gotten a bad rap?
"Look, here's a simple fact: The alien didn't ask to be born. It didn't ask to have an evolutionary gestational strategy that relies partly on a third-party host. You can't in good conscience blame it for that. ..."
- Rejecting Creationism: Building Better Monsters Through Evolution by James L. Sutter - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog »
I also prefer biologically plausible monsters. As James L. Sutter puts it:
"Taking the time to explain how your monster developed to be the way it is, how its strange traits actually make perfect sense as adaptations to its environment, makes your monster feel real and interesting even if, in a vacuum, it might seem absurd or poorly conceived."
- Pop Culture's 100-year Obsession With Eugenics »
An excellent overview of eugenics and SF by Charlie Jane Anders and Gordon Jackson, from the eugenics movement of the early 20th century to the focus on "transhumanism" in the early 21st.
- Eva Green’s ‘Womb’ Is Pregnant With Possibility That It Never Quite Delivers | Film School Rejects
A "lo-fi sci-fi" film that contemplates the ethics of cloning that ultimately disappoints:
"There’s no doubt that the ethical questions and ideas introduced in writer/director Benedek Fliegauf’s film are intriguing and thought provoking, but that introduction is where the film’s fascination starts and ends. He fills the movie with stark beauty and long moments of reflection, but he forgets to add anything of substance."
- Scientist Spotlight: May Berenbaum | The Science & Entertainment Exchange »
May Berenbaum is the go-to expert for bugs in the movies and holds the annual Insect Fear Film Festival. She even had a character in X-Files named after her, which is wicked cool.
Read more about big bugs in the movies at the Science and Entertainment Exchange blog.
- Rare Footage Of Steven Spielberg Directing Jurassic Park »
A blast from the past.
- Digital butchery makes a monster of Frankenstein »
From the review of Dave Morris's interactive Frankenstein app:
" Frankenstein is lovely to look at: tastefully designed and illustrated with old anatomical drawings. It's when you start reading that things go downhill. What Morris has done is dismember Mary Shelley's novel and sew it into a digital version of a Choose Your Own Adventure story. In doing so, he has created a monster."
- The Making of a Mutant: A Fruit Fly Love Story | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network »
Some offspring only a mother can love...
- 10 Genes Named After Science Fiction and Fantasy Icons »
There is a long tradition of fun names for fruit fly (Drosophila) mutations and genes. It's no surprise that some of the names have geeky origins. The list left off vulcan and klingon!
There are more in this article at American Scientist
- How Dark Matter Interacts with the Human Body - Technology Review »
The title of the article is a bit misleading: there is a new estimate of how often dark matter collides with atoms in the human body. What still isn't know is what the actual effect of such collisions might be. Maybe there isn't any noticeable impact on our bodies at all - or maybe it's turning us into mutant superheroes?
- Could we create a perfect society by tweaking two areas of the human brain? »
It's all strictly hypothetical of course.
- One Per Cent: Computers powered by swarms of crabs »
If your computer is powered by soldier crabs, does that mean you'd need to buy a special anti-bird protective case for it? And how would you keep the critters happy in your book bag?
- "Strawberry" Leopard Discovered—A First »
A model for the genetic engineering of pink poodles?
- Discovery: Bacteria From 4-Million-Year-Old Cave Resistant to Antibiotics | Healthland | TIME.com
I'm not sure why it's a total surprise that there are bacteria with antibiotic resistance even though they haven't previously been exposed to antibiotics. That's the way that selection for antibiotic resistance works: there is always a small population of bacteria that are resistant, and killing off all the non-resistant bacteria allows that resistant population to thrive.
The original paper is published at PLoS One
- Why You Should Be Glad You're Not a Vulcan »
Of course Vulcans aren't actually emotionless. Instead they repress the emotions they do have - that's what sets them apart from those tempestuous Romulans.
- Awake or Knocked Out? The Line Gets Blurrier (New York Times)
I find the idea of being awake during surgery disturbing. Even if we don't consciously remember it, might the experience lurk in our subconscious?
- Animal Sex, As Illustrated by Humanoid Cartoons »
"Animals have weird sex, you guys. But if putting the weird, wild mating habits of the animal kingdom has always been hard for you to put into human context, then you are in luck this afternoon! Devian..."
- Reverse Engineer the Brain (YouTube)
What can advanced brain imaging tell us about how the brain works?
- Ancient Astronauts and Forgotten Dreams: End of Space Exploration — Features — Utne Reader »
Mark Dery remembers the time when dreams of space exploration looked like Disney's Tomorrowland and pulp science fiction.
"The Space Age is ancient history. Why not admit, then, that its greatest contribution to American culture is the rich fund of symbolism it has given us? The 20th century’s greatest myth, space exploration is the only true new religion since the Bronze Age. Christianity gave us the unforgettable fable of the alien messiah who touched down on planet Earth, assumed human form, sacrificed himself in order to save the species, then rose from the dead and returned to the stars."
- Life discovered on Mars .... 36 Years Ago
"An international team of mathematicians and scientists have re-evaluated data from NASA's Viking mission to Mars over three decades ago, and have come to the conclusion that the data prove life exists on Mars. "
- Short Sharp Science: How Earthly life could populate space by panspermia »
Could life have spread from Earth to the rest of the galaxy?
- Dinosaurs From Space! »
Might there be advanced, hyper-intelligent dinosaurs on other planets? A recent paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society looked at "right handed" versus "left handed" chemical building blocks for life. All pretty straightforward biochemistry..
But for reasons that are unclear, the scientists (perhaps having just finished a+Syfy movie marathon) concluded the paper with a bit of bizarre speculation about dinosaurs on other planets (!!?):
- Tardigrade Eggs Might Survive Interplanetary Trip | Wired Science | Wired.com »
Tardigrades and ticks may take over the galaxy...