Science and Science Fiction: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Written by Nancy Kress

#30days30authors

One of the scariest statements I ever heard came from a young relative of mine: “All the science I know I learned from your books!” To which I replied, gasping a little, “But you know I make it up, right?”

But not entirely—which raises a critical question. While much has been written about how to use science to create, plot, or enhance one’s fiction, not as much has been written about how speculative fiction impacts our understanding of science. Consider the following: Haijun Yao, editor of China’s major SF magazine, Science Fiction World, told me last year that the Chinese government, which banned SF during the Cultural Revolution, is now very enthusiastic about its publication. The reason, Mr. Yao said, is that reading science fiction encourages young people to learn about science.

Many, many more people see science fiction movies than read print SF.

Almost all SF movies, and much print SF as well, depicts science that is misleading at best, harmful at worst.

Read the full article at Tor Forge Blog.

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5 Years Away from Lab-Grown Meat

I am ready for the vat-meat!  I tried to be a vegetarian several years ago because I strongly disapprove of the way we treat animals in the industrial farming industry, but with gluten sensitivities and lactose intolerance I just couldn’t make it work.  Not on my budget, anyway. I think it would be a marvelous […]

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Schrödinger’s Cat-Box Reaches Record Size

Hey guys! Check this out! We’ve invented a primitive Ansible! Was so excited I just had to share!

Physics and Art

A new distance record has been set for entangled communications. Entanglement is what Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance.” When two quantum particles are entangled, their states are then paired. An action on one particle will immediately affect the other, regardless of how far they are separated. If it occurs to you that this can result in a violation of the speed of light, then you’ll understand why Einstein was so perplexed by it. Nevertheless, entanglement does exist and we have to deal with it.

Well a new article in Science demonstrates satellite-based distribution of entangled photon pairs to places on Earth separated by 1203 kilometers. This breaks the old record by an order of magnitude! This is especially interesting to me because my novel, The Last Butterfly, proposes a far-future consequence of entanglement over very large distances. I guess it just goes to show that…

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Why Would Aliens Even Bother with Earth?

By Lewis Darnell

As an astrobiologist I spend a lot of my time working in the lab with samples from some of the most extreme places on Earth, investigating how life might survive on other worlds in our solar system and what signs of their existence we could detect. If there is biology beyond the Earth, the vast majority of life in the Galaxy will be microbial—hardy single-celled life forms that tolerate a much greater range of conditions than more complex organisms can. To be honest, my own point of view is pretty pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong—if the Earth received an alien tweet tomorrow, or some other text message beamed at us by radio or laser pulse, then I’d be absolutely thrilled. So far, though, we’ve seen no convincing evidence of other civilizations among the stars in our skies.

Read the full article at Literary Hub.

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How to Cope with the End of the World

Let’s imagine a thought experiment.

An aggressive viral plague has struck humanity. Spreading astonishingly quickly through our modern world of dense cities and international airliners, we’d already lost the fight in a matter of weeks. Civilisation has collapsed and the vast majority of humanity has died. But you’ve survived. You fell deliriously ill, but through some innate immunity you lived through the raging fever, and have woken up in your cold house, with no electricity, no water in the taps or gas feeding the boiler or stove. The streets are eerily quiet, and no airplane contrails criss-cross the sky. You’re a survivor in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

These are all tropes we’re familiar with from books like Canticle for Leibowitz or The Road, recent computer games like The Last of Us, and films like I Am Legend or Mad Max. On the whole, these narratives feature protagonists wearing a little too much tight leather, and a lone hero striving through the wilderness. But how realistic are these scenarios?

Read the full article at BBC.com.

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Canadian Astronauts

Here are the top 17 candidates for the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut training program! Men and women from all over the country; doctors, soldiers, pilots, scientists. Here’s one job with no glass ceiling. 😉

Also, I really loved this graphic and had to use it in a blog post (courtesy Canadian Space Agency).

Astronauts are modern-day explorers. They courageously travel beyond the Earth to help acquire new scientific knowledge. Their courage and determination are an inspiration to many.

Despite their unique journeys, astronauts have a few things in common: an academic background in science or technology, excellent health, and outstanding qualities and skills.

The candidates participating in the astronaut selection process also share these attributes. You can read their remarkable profiles here. Visit this page regularly to see how the selection process is going!

Read the full article at the Canadian Space Agency (Government of Canada Website).

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