This may look like a retro photograph from an old sci-fi flick, but it’s totally legit. This is what happens when you let Instagram do the trendsetting for photographic style. Anyway, this is the only known photo of the Robot King [name redacted]. He was discovered rusting in the Appalachians by some lonely ginger [...]
In China (yes, communist effin’ China!) there are restaurants staffed by robots. A greeter will welcome you, an usher will take your order, the cooks are robots, as is the waiter who delivers your food. Though robots can be expensive, they save on labor costs (a few humans in the control room actually [...]
Since it is the holiday season, we can’t let the weekend pass without remembering some Christmas film favorites. Yesterday The Professor gave us some great vintage toons, and today, as a treat, we have Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a sci fi classic from 1964. The plot, if that sort of thing matters to you, involves a Martian bid to make disgruntled their children happier, that results in them kidnapping Santa from Earth… According to the Public Domain Review blog, this nugget regularly makes ‘Worst Movie Ever’ lists, and has been sent up repeatedly on such shows as MST3K and Cinematic Titanic. With endorsements like that, you can’t go wrong, so take a little time out of your last minute shopping and enjoy!
Continue reading Spiritus Santa
What’s in your pocket?
Image via retrothing.com.
Science fiction has long been a medium through which the boundaries of the world’s technology can be pushed. Have you ever wondered just what sort of things have been predicted, and wen? Or seen a certain idea pop up in a few differing stories, and wondered just when it first made a fictional appearance? The website Technovelgy.com (a play on technology and novel [both novel like a book and novel like a new idea. Witty, no?], with the tag ‘where science meets fiction’™)¹ has just the Timeline for you! Starting with Johannes Kepler discussing weightlessness in Somnium (The Dream) in 1634, and running all the way through a causality-violation device (or weapon)² from Singularity Sky by Charles Stross in 2003. You can see when the first use of terms like grok and crysknife occurred, or when someone first proposed a ray gun or reaction engine, complete with a excerpt from the book or story, in addition to links to other inventions from that particular tale, as well as links to other ideas from the same author. To give you an idea of quality of the timeline, I pulled out a few examples of sci fi innovators.
In 1867, Jules Verne proposed the concept of retro rockets, a booster that would retard or stop the progress of a spacecraft in From the Earth to the Moon:
This answer brought Barbicane back to his preparations, and he occupied himself with placing the contrivances intended to break their descent. We may remember the scene of the meeting held at Tampa Town, in Florida, when Captain Nicholl came forward as Barbicane’s enemy and Michel Ardan’s adversary. To Captain Nicholl’s maintaining that the projectile would smash like glass, Michel replied that he would break their fall by means of rockets properly placed.
Thus, powerful fireworks, taking their starting-point from the base and bursting outside, could, by producing a recoil, check to a certain degree the projectile’s speed. These rockets were to burn in space, it is true; but oxygen would not fail them, for they could supply themselves with it, like the lunar volcanoes, the burning of which has never yet been stopped by the want of atmosphere round the moon.
Barbicane had accordingly supplied himself with these fireworks, enclosed in little steel guns, which could be screwed on to the base of the projectile. Inside, these guns were flush with the bottom; outside, they protruded about eighteen inches. There were twenty of them. An opening left in the disc allowed them to light the match with which each was provided. All the effect was felt outside. The burning mixture had already been rammed into each gun. They had, then, nothing to do but raise the metallic buffers fixed in the base, and replace them by the guns, which fitted closely in their places.
Continue reading Science Fiction is the Mother of Invention
Perhaps a glimpse of the future… the robot uprising never really happened. Instead, they became a new class of minority citizens, sparking a whole new level of presidential debates around social programs and entitlements.
You know all those “save the world” electronics recycling programs that started up? Well, this is actually the first step. Hell bent on taking over the world with their robot army, legions of confused nerd hippie engineer tree huggers need to feed all those angry androids something, so your old PS2′s and iPhone [...]
“For heaven’s sake Martha, come look at this! It says here this thing was built in Bedford Falls. Well I’ll be!”
Neither one is technically a robot now.
Techie’s post inspired this question, and I’m hoping it sparks a bit of debate. For decades, in the realm of science fiction, we only saw robots as our friends and faithful servants, there to make our lives easier and more convenient; then, rather suddenly, it all [...]
Japan has long been associated with advanced robotics; however, there was also a not-so-advanced robotics phase, before the second World War. For example, this picture (from 1932) features Yasutaro Mitsui with what appears to be an early prototype for Marvin from the BBC’s televised Hitchiker’s guide to the Galaxy. [...]