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Showing posts from November, 2012

LIfe on Titan--Metabolism Inverted

Titan is Saturn’s largest moon. With an atmosphere about twice as thick as Earth, but much colder (the average temperature on the surface is around minus180 Celsius—approaching 300 below in Fahrenheit), life on as we know it on Earth would seem to be impossible on Titan. Liquid water forms the common solvent of all life on our planet, of all sizes, for plants, animals, bacteria, and everything else. On Titan, water is a rock as much as slate is on our world. As on Earth, internal heating can cause the rock to melt—but on Titan, this would mean that liquid water would flow as a cold version of lava, only to solidify again into water rock. On the surface, no life could exist that depends on liquid water. It could be that if there is a permanent reservoir of molten water under the surface of Titan, just as there is a permanent flow of magma under the surface of the Earth. If so, liquid-water based bacteria might live below. That perhaps could be, but what interests me is the possibili

Libertarian America: An Alternate Earth Story Setting

Libertarianism can actually mean a lot of things, actually, but for the sake of this post, let's imagine that the American government as it originally existed remained in that form, that is, a small federal government with low taxes (including no income taxes), a mostly laissez-faire attitude toward business, and a non-interventionist attitude toward foreign powers, but otherwise as much as possible like America as we know it. If a science fiction story took place in a setting where America had followed that path (either through some kind of time travel intervention or quantum alternate universe), what would that look like--how would American Libertarianism have influenced world history? First off, America's largest war, the internal conflict between the Confederate States of America and the United States Federal forces, would almost certainly have kicked off anyway. Some Libertarian types might argue that Federal overreach caused the war, because otherwise the North would have

The Interchangeable Brain

The "black box for the brain" idea I discussed in my suggested video game idea ( REVIVE ) carries with it some interesting implications: If it really were possible to record the total neuron function of the brain and map its structure in such a way to capture its memories, allowing the brain to be rebuilt, that would also logically allow a person's brain to be placed in a head other than the one it came from. For my story idea, that would mean that people would not just medically come back from the dead, they might come back as someone other than who they used to be--a futuristic, surgical-based version of reincarnation... Please note I'm not stating it actually would be in any way possible to record total neuron function. It might be possible, but I think even if so it would be very difficult--there are just so many neurons. Nor do I consider it probable that any such surgical reconstruction on a cellular level will ever really happen--though it makes sense t

Impossible Water Zombies

I seem to have a zombie fixation... Blame it on AMC's The Walking Dead--as noted in part in a previous post reacting to the show ( where is the military? ) I'm having a hard time with how improbable the basic "Zombie Apocalypse" setting is. As I noted, any zombie attack would be easily dealt with by any halfway decent military unit. Seriously--I used to be in a US Army Reserve maintenance company which had some of its own vehicles and a little compound with a security fence. The unit had just enough weapons for each person in the unit but didn't keep any significant amount of ammunition. Still, I'm confident that if things started to get bad with everyone in the world turning into zombies, the Sergeant First Class in charge would have bought M16-compatible .223 caliber rounds out of his own pocket, would have arranged the purchase of fuel and goods to support the unit, and would have no problem organizing his handful of mechanics into a defense that would ho