Courtesy of Posthuman Blues:
Seemingly, people in the space community have a tendency to push the boundaries of thought about all the possibilities that await us in the universe. Case in point: Geoffrey Landis. Landis is a scientist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center who writes science fiction in his spare time. Last week Landis shared with us his ideas for using a solar powered airplane to study Venus.Venus. Yes, Venus, our hot, greenhouse-effect-gone-mad neighboring planet with a crushing surface pressure that has doomed the few spacecraft that have attempted to reach the planet’s mysterious landscape. Landis knows Venus’ surface itself is pretty much out of the question for human habitation. But up about 50 kilometers above the surface, Landis says the atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like environment, other than Earth itself, in the solar system. What Landis proposes is creating floating cities on Venus where people could live and work, as well as study the planet below.
Ahh, cities in the sky, long a dream of many a science-fiction author. This is the first time I’ve seen it applied to Venus though.
Blogging biologist Peggy of Biology in Science Fiction goes on a small rant about stories that help, and hinder understanding of real biology:
In any case, the issue of public perception of science and scientists is an important one, if only because that public perception influences politics and funding. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the anti-science stories actually ring true to many people who have a deep distrust (and dislike) of corporations, the government, and anyone who is an “expert”. It can be satisfying to see arrogant establishment types who believe themselves to be very clever shown up as bumbling and foolish, even if it does mean death and disaster as a result. Hell, I often enjoy those kind of stories, and I like science.
So what’s the solution? More positive SF? That certainly couldn’t hurt. But there’s no guarantee that any particular novel or movie will become popular enough to really make a difference in public perception. I suspect that education is really the key. Part of what feeds people’s fear of scientific progress is that they don’t understand it. I’m not sure how we can go about that, though, beyond ensuring kids get a thorough science education in school. Public lectures are a possibility, as are entertaining exhibitions at science museums, and maybe blogs too. I’d like to think that anyway.
I’m guilty of being ignorant of biology in science, and science-fiction. My last exposure to it was college long ago (my grade was pretty good actually) and my own biases of being a tech and historian.
Peggy makes valid points. I should read up on it more.
(The post referenced doesn’t have its own link. Click on the link at the beginning of this one, then scroll down at her site.)
Ever heard of the eBay $150,000 Bigfoot hunter? Neither have I, but apparently this guy is for real:
TPeterson6969 is Tim Peterson, the owner of Hawk Creek Taxidermy in Maynard, Minnesota. The business address of Hawk Creek Taxidermy & Archery is technically 12640 890 St. Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401 , a mere 25.4 miles from Young America…
When asked for a comment for an interview, Tim Peterson briefly told me that he is a “big game hunting guide” for A Double J Outfitters in Buffalo, Wyoming. He claims to “have been hunting big game for 34 years” and is “experienced in the back country.”
If Tim Peterson helps you bag a Bigfoot, it is obvious he can mount it for you. He can also help you with the skull too. According to the links on his taxidermy website, it appears a relative of his, Rorri Peterson, runs Beetle My Bones Skullworks, a business preparing heads for trophy animal skulls displays.
Well, you hafta admit that a hunter/taxidermist would be the ideal person to track and bag a Bigfoot, that would settle it once and for all about the damn things.
I wonder what Peggy the Biologist thinks about Bigfoot?
Biology is one area of science I know very little about. I never blog, comment, use it in my fiction or reference it only in very limited terms, with the possible exception of when I talk about my chronic maladies in passing. Which is probably very ignorant on my part because it would behoove me to be at least somewhat educated on how biology works, especially my own.
Even the type of science fiction I read is influenced by my lack of knowledge in the discipline. My book-shelves are full of space opera, Singularity science, social science and even psychological sci-fi. I do know a little about nano-tech though, but biological nano, not so much.
This is just physical and mental laziness on my part, and according to Peggy of Biology In Science Fiction in a post referencing an interview with writer Peter Watts, it would be a mistake for me to continue to do so:
In April, Åka at Physicality of Words interviewed Peter Watts about the science in science fiction. Asked about a recent Con where the science panel was made up of astronomers and physicists, and whether he “get[s] the feeling that biology and biological ideas get less attention in science fiction than physics and astronomy?” , Watts opined:
Biology is the headline science of the twenty-first century so far, and I think that’s being reflected in the more recent sf to come down the pike (mine, for example). If con panels still emphasise physics and astronomy, perhaps that reflects the “graying of fandom” we keep hearing about; perhaps panels are disproportionately populated by the TwenCen old guard who haven’t caught up with the times yet.
I’ve read Watts’ Blind Sight recently. It is very good and engrossing, I couldn’t put it down until I got too tired to read. And yes, it had a lot of biological science in it. What I liked was that he made the biology parts understandable and credible. But he was good with the tech stuff too I thought. Or maybe I just perceived it that way because I’m a techie anyways.
Okay I’ll admit it, I’m a senile “TwenCen” old fart…er…guard type who’s behind the times too.
So sue me.
It’s no secret that biotech is a fast growing industry, from the genetically modified food corporations to the genetics of stem cell research and now more recently, “gengineering” plants that sequester carbon dioxide, this science is going to be a huge money making machine.
Not so much for the “little people” I’m afraid.
As usual, they (us) get stuck paying the research bills while working our Wally-Mart, Rotten Ronnie jobs and living in our luxurious Tent City condos!
Gerry Anderson’s television series UFO was a landmark in sci-fi history because it helped to make the concept of alien visitations, and covert space wars, into the world consciousness. The aliens were the baddies as in all space operas, but Anderson threw in alot of the elements (probing, testing, organ harvesting, implants, etc.) that people who have had alien visitations and abductions suffered. Thus was the reason to go to war against them.
So this is to all you UFO fans out there (and you know who you are, myself included). Plus there’s a little ‘eye candy’ to you old guys out there who were teen-age boys during this era. *sigh* To quote a commenter on YouTube; ” …a time when men were men, and women were gorgeous!”