Saturday, August 02, 2008

Biology in Science Fiction Roundup: August 2 Edition

Here are some of the biology in science fiction-related posts I've been reading the past couple of weeks:

Written Word

Robert J. Sawyer writes about the genesis of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

Pod People reviews the new novel by David Louis Edelman, MultiReal:
[. . .] the book is full of Big Ideas, in the best tradition of science fiction. Hundreds of years after the Autonomous Revolt, an attempt by artificial intelligences to take over the world, humans have rebuilt society and use “bio-logics,” programs which run in the human body, to interact with the world. Natch, an entrepreneur and programmer, has helped develop a radical new technology. This technology, called MultiReal, allows users to manipulate virtual computer networks in such a way as to gain vast powers. They can literally think rings around any human opponent.
io9 lists novels picked by writers Jeff Hecht, Steven Popkes, Robert J Sawyer, Ian Randal Strock and Michael A. Burstein that explore why we seem to be alone in the universe (aka the Fermi paradox).


Bloody Disgusting tells you how you can download sample tracks from the upcoming sci-fi horror musical movie Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Dr. Who writer Steven Moffat was interviewed by Tor and explained that clones don't always turn out to be cool:
“When you first saw Star Wars, and that really exciting moment where they were--when Obi Wan Kenobi said “Aaaaah, the Clone Wars...” and your little child brain went “Whoa, that must be fantastic, there’s millions of clones, all identical, they were grown in vats... there’s new clones, old clones, clones falling from trees--brilliant!” Then they showed us, and it was a bunch of meetings... You can’t ever live up to something like that, can you? Some things are best being myths, and [the time war] has become a new part of the myth”.

Shock Till You Drop reports that there are plans for a prequel to I Am Legend and io9 has a poll asking readers what they think the plot should be. I'm voting for Will Smith as House.

io9 also takes a look at the new X-Files movie, and the surprising need of Dr. Scully to Google stem cell research - and the "Frankenstein" research she uncovers.


James at Science, society, and stuff... writes about Dr. Who and the disappearnce of honey bees.

Cool Science

Damn Interesting takes a look at what really happens when a human is exposed to space.

Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy explains why there are no green stars. Yes, it has a bit to do with our biology, namely how we see color.

Scientific American interviewed Ian Wilmut - creator of Dolly the cloned sheep - about reproductive cloning (he thinks it should be banned for use in humans) and embryonic stem cells.

Weird Universe links to news that "brain wave science" is being used to convict murder suspects in India.

At Pharyngula PZ Myers has an interesting post about the sometimes confusing field of epigenetics. And ERV explains why you should eat broccoli (epigenetics!).

Razib an Gene Expression writes about the difficulties in making a perfect baby by genetic engineering.

TEDBlog reports on a new body armor under development that's inspired by the layors of scales on the African fish Polypterus senegalus.

Wired Science reports on a suggestion by NASA scientists that we should create an experimental plant habitat on the moon to examine the effects of low gravity, temperature, pressure and high radiation on their gene expression..



  1. FYI, in the part above about the io9 list of novels generated from our Fermi paradox panel, you have my name incorrect. It's "Michael A. Burstein," not "Michal Burstein."

  2. Thanks for letting me know about the typo. Sorry about that.


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