jrtom: (Default)
http://it.slashdot.org/story/10/11/16/0347231/Stuxnet-Was-Designed-To-Subtly-Interfere-With-Uranium-Enrichment

*sigh*

Fortunately, there are people at Google who are (demonstrably) far more versed in dealing with this kind of problem than I am. And they're welcome to it.

That said, there's unfortunately more than enough related work to go around.

But seriously, I find this kind of threat actually considerably more alarming than the threat of terrorists blowing themselves up on airplanes. Not only because I don't find the latter to be something that is apparently that hard to prevent, but because there's a lot more to be _gained_ by a lot more people that don't have to die in order to carry out the former sort of attack.

And, you know, honestly we've got a lot more interesting problems to solve than figuring out how to keep people from hacking into our electrical grid. Or nuclear launch authorization systems. And so forth. I hate working on problems that I feel wouldn't exist as tasks if some people weren't jerks.

Interesting times, indeed.
jrtom: (Default)
http://gerrycanavan.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/science-justice-science-fiction-an-interview-with-kim-stanley-robinson/

KSR is one of the more thought-provoking SF writers currently writing, IMO; for example, he's one of the few authors that really delves, in a meaningful way, into how science, politics, economics, ecology, and culture interact. (See, most especially, the {Red, Green, Blue} Mars trilogy.) This interview is long, but worth reading.
jrtom: (Default)
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/02/25/haunting-sf-story-po.html

This is hard to read. I can't do it justice by doing anything but quoting it, which the link above does, so just go read it (links to the original written story are in the comments). I haven't listened to the podcast.
jrtom: (Default)
material with negative index of refraction: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/18/207253

(To be honest, I don't remember what the implications of this would be, and the article is unhelpful in this regard--informed geeks, feel free to refresh my memory. :) But it's clear that it's weird.)

universe may be small, finite, and shaped like a soccer ball?: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/17/0150223

deconstructing the physics of Buckaroo Banzai (and it's more complimentary than you might expect): http://www.geekazon.com/banzai/index.html
jrtom: (Default)
http://lifeboat.com/ex/warning.signs.for.tomorrow

Basically, this is what happens when someone thinks about the risks that a future humanity might be subject to given the assumptions central to various pieces of science fiction...and designs warning icons for them. Beautiful and brilliant; as a bonus, includes quick explanations for why some of these things are (or may become, or might be) dangerous. Where else are you going to find standardized warning signs for:


  • nonstandard spacetime
  • macroscale quantum system
  • nanoparticle hazard
  • memetic hazard


and quite a few more like them?

(It's hard for me to tell just how seriously this site as a whole takes itself. But it's interesting nonetheless.)
jrtom: (Default)
from BoingBoing:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/09/21/wedding_procession_l.html

A wedding procession involving a little girl in a Darth Vader helmet. Why didn't we think of that?

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/09/21/how_physics_killed_s.html

"I don't know how well I'm reaching my students, or the readers of my book, but if I can teach a homicidal maniac like the Green Goblin about change of momentum, then _I'm making a difference!_"

:)
jrtom: (Default)
Iain Banks is one of my favorite SF authors. One of his books, Against A Dark Background, apparently has an epilogue that was not published in my copy of the book. I don't recommend reading it if you haven't read the book--it doesn't stand on its own and it contains spoilers--but I do recommend the book, and Iain Banks' SF in general. (He's also written some non-science-fiction, but I haven't read any of it yet.)

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