Robots Don’t Know Anything About Twitter is a comic by one Doctor Popular about things robots don’t understand: love, humour, world domination… didn’t the good doctor ever see Battlestar Galactica?
Watch out! A flurry of links is heading your way!
First, comedy site Cracked count down, “5 Species that Seem to be Trying to Take Over the World“. The global mega-colony of Argentine ants at number 5 is my personal favorite, but those smirking dolphins are scary, too.
Second, MSNBC writes, “Science fiction’s robotics laws need reality check“. The experts are not calling for a complete revision, though, more like an update. Their amended first law states:
Their first law says that humans may not deploy robots without a work system that meets the highest legal and professional standards of safety and ethics.
Third, io9’s triviagasm section has a gallery of “30 Real Animals with Science Fiction Names“. Agathidium vaderi is seen below next to its eponymous Star Wars character:
Want to write a movie about time travel not riddled with physics-breaking inconsistencies, mind-screwing paradoxes and critic-infuriating plot holes? Physicist Dave Goldberg lays down the rules in “Time-Traveling for Dummies“, in Slate Magazine.
In the article he reviews how upcoming movie The Time-Traveler’s Wife, a movie where the main character has a rare genetic disorder that causes him to time-travel unpredictably, obeys the rules of time-traveling.
Supposing you’ve inherited a time machine from your grandfather. Presumably, you could pop back for a visit to thank him and/or commit retro-grand-patricide, couldn’t you? Not so fast. To make the logic blindingly obvious, if you kill your grandfather, then you won’t have been born, which means you couldn’t have killed your grandfather, which (logically) means that you will be born.
So, try as you might, you can’t kill your own grandfather, nor can you change history at all. The Terminator learned this the hard way, going back in time to prevent John Connor’s birth by killing his mother. When a human travels back in time to protect her, the two fall in love—and she becomes pregnant with … John Connor. Ta-da.
There’s no need for such finagling in The Time Traveler’s Wife. Since Henry DeTamble serves as his own time machine, there’s little chance of his preventing his own birth. Cf. rule No. 2.
All in all, the movie does pretty well, except for, you know, the fact that a genetic disorder really can’t cause spontaneous time travel, unless you live in the X-Men universe.
“When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of a Zombie Infection” is a paper published in the journal Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress by mathematicians from University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
The paper sets up mathematical models for the outbreak of Romero-style zombies (lumbering, flesh-eating, undead) and discusses how best to deal with an epidemic of infectious zombies. Here’s an excerpt from the paper:
The key difference between the models presented here and other models of infectious disease is that the dead can come back to life. Clearly, this is an unlikely scenario if taken literally, but possible real-life applications may include allegiance to political parties or, diseases with a dormant infection.
This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first mathematical analysis of an outbreak of zombie infection. While the scenarios considered are obviously not realistic, it is nevertheless instructive to develop mathematical models for an unusual outbreak.
The conclusion of the paper is that a zombie outbreak is likely to destroy civilization unless swift and decisive action is taken to violently eradicate the zombie threat. An epidemic could be contained with an aggressive implementation of quarantines, and if a cure were to be developed that would be another possible solution, but it would be unpractical.
Aim for the head. No mercy.
“If Star Wars Was Real” is a Star Wars homage of alternate history providing photoshopped pictures as “evidence” that Star Wars is real. From the site:
Our mission is to compile any evidence we can find to prove that Star Wars is real. So far, we have several contacts around the globe studying photographs and artifacts for any shred of evidence they can find. However, since most of the evidence seems to be hidden away by some sort of worldwide government consipracy, we need your help to find the truth!
Stories of mysterious creatures are not uncommon, especially on the internet where they are very not uncommon, indeed. Big Foot, Nessie and so on are good examples. For a more recent example, see the Raleigh Sewer Blob:
List-based comedy site Cracked takes on: “The Truth Behind 5 ‘Real Monsters’ That fooled the Internet“.
You are Dr. Doom
|Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.
I always thought Doctor Doom was the coolest supervillain. I seem to recall Doctor Doom once succeded in gaining world dominance, but quitting after getting bored of it, which is badass. I could totally do that. Easy. If only my death-ray would work.