Star Trek: New Voyages, The Fan-Based Star Trek Series ( 75

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times has published an article on Star Trek: New Voyages, a fan production that's based on TOS. “People come from all over the world to take part in this — Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and every state in the union,” said James Cawley, the show’s executive producer. “That’s the magic of Star Trek. It’s spawned this whole generation of fans who went on to professional careers — doctors, lawyers, engineers — who are now participating in that shared love here.” With TOS fans generally being less than enamored with the movie reboots, are fan produced web series the wave of the future?

Can Star Trek's World With No Money Work In Real life? ( 502

The economics of the Star Trek universe were discussed at New York Comic Con on Sunday. Paul Krugman was among the panelists who debated whether a world without money could actually work. CNN reports: "Star Trek has dared to 'boldly go where no man has gone before' — including a world without money. 'One of the things that's interesting about Star Trek is that it does try to imagine a post-scarcity economy where there's no money. People don't work for it. People don't work because they have to but because they want to,' said Annalee Newitz, the editor of Gawker's io9 blog. Newitz -- along with Nobel Prize winner and economist Paul Krugman, 'Treknomics' author Manu Saadia, economics professor Brad DeLong, Fusion's Felix Salmon and Star Trek writer Chris Black -- discussed economics through the lens of the Star Trek world at a New York Comic Con panel Sunday."

Will You Ever Be Able To Upload Your Brain? ( 260

An anonymous reader points out this piece in the Times by professor of neuroscience at Columbia and co-director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience Kenneth Miller, about what it would take to upload a human brain. "Much of the current hope of reconstructing a functioning brain rests on connectomics: the ambition to construct a complete wiring diagram, or 'connectome,' of all the synaptic connections between neurons in the mammalian brain. Unfortunately connectomics, while an important part of basic research, falls far short of the goal of reconstructing a mind, in two ways. First, we are far from constructing a connectome. The current best achievement was determining the connections in a tiny piece of brain tissue containing 1,700 synapses; the human brain has more than a hundred billion times that number of synapses. While progress is swift, no one has any realistic estimate of how long it will take to arrive at brain-size connectomes. (My wild guess: centuries.)"
United Kingdom

Tardis Wars: The BBC Strikes Back 72

New submitter Elixon writes: Czech trademark monitoring service IP Defender reported that The British Broadcasting Corporation applied for a figurative trademark on the "POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX" for wide range of goods and services like cinematographic and photographic films, printed publications, key chains, textile goods, toys, telecommunications and more. The Metropolitan Police was defeated by the BBC in the past while trying to monopolize the London police box; now it's the BBC's turn.

Edward SnowdenTalks Alien Communications With Neil deGrasse Tyson 142

An anonymous reader writes: Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked National Security Agency secrets publicly in 2013, is now getting attention for an odd subject: aliens. In a podcast interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snowden suggested that alien communications might be encrypted so well that humans trying to eavesdrop on extraterrestrials would have no idea they were hearing anything but noise. There's only a small window in the development of communication in which unencrypted messages are the norm, Snowden said.

Dr Who Detective Philip Morris Hints At More Rediscovered Episodes 79

BigBadBus writes: In late 2013, Philip Morris announced that he had found 9 missing episodes of 1960s Dr.Who, which completed the 1968 story "Enemy of the World" and most of "The Web of Fear." He has now gone on record to talk about the only episode of these stories that he didn't find — namely part 3 of "Web of Fear" and teases of more episode finds to come. Episodes keep trickling out of the past, it seems; we've mentioned a few small finds in 2004 and 2011, too.

The Effort To Create an 'Iron Man' Type Exoskeleton 52

Nerval's Lobster writes: Tony Stark, as played by Robert Downey, Jr., is the epitome of suave wit—but without his metal shell, he's just another engineer who's made good. The exoskeleton is a technology platform that, while young, is gaining traction in industrial, medical and military circles. For several years, the U.S. Special Operations Command has been working on a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or "TALOS," that would provide "provide [infantry with] comprehensive ballistic protection and peerless tactical capability," in the words of Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM's commander. Meanwhile, several companies—including Raytheon, Ekso Bionics and US Bionics—are working on products that could help the disabled become more mobile, or allow warehouse and other workers to handle physical tasks with greater efficiency and safety. That means people who specialize in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other areas have an increasing opportunity to get involved. According to Homayoon Kazerooni, president of Berkeley-based US Bionics and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, control and software engineers are the leads in developing these next-generation products. Although he can't estimate the ultimate size of the market for these intelligent exoskeletons, Kazerooni describes the industry as "fast-growing, but infant," with "very diverse uses" for the suits. Just don't expect the aforementioned suits to allow you to fly or blow anything up anytime soon.

Sci-Fi Author Joe Haldeman On the Future of War 241

merbs writes: Joe Haldeman wrote what is hailed by many as the best military science fiction novel ever written, 1974's The Forever War. In this interview, Haldeman discusses what's changed since he wrote his book, what hasn't, and what the future of war will really look like. Vice reports: "...The Vietnam War may have ended decades ago, but our military adventuring hasn’t. Our moment can somehow feel simultaneously like a crossroads for the technological future of combat and another arbitrary point on its dully predictable, incessantly conflict-laden trajectory. We’re relying more on drones and proxy soldiers to fight our far-off wars, in theaters far from the conscionable grasp of homelands, we’re automating robotics for the battlefield, and we’re moving our tactics online—so it seems like an opportune time to check in with science fiction’s most prescient author of military fiction."

Why We're Looking For ET All Wrong 275

StartsWithABang writes: When you consider that there are definitely millions of planets in the habitable zones of their stars within our Milky Way galaxy alone, the possibility that there's intelligent life on at least one of them, right now, is tantalizing. But we're in our technological infancy, relatively speaking, having only been broadcasting electromagnetic signatures visible by an alien civilization for around 80 years. Unsurprisingly, we're looking for exactly the types of signals we're capable of sending, but what if that's totally wrongheaded? Based on how technology is evolving and what the Universe is capable of, perhaps we should be looking not at electromagnetic radiation, but neutrino or gravitational wave signals from the distant Universe to search for alien civilizations.

Finding Hope In Cryonics, Despite Glacial Progress 87

biobricks writes: The NY Times covers cryonics and destructive mind uploading, with some news on progress in brain preservation research. Quoting: "Dr. Fahy, a cryobiologist whose research focuses on organ banking, had provided the most encouraging signs that cryonics did preserve brain structure. In a 2009 experiment, his team showed that neurons in slices of rabbit brains immersed in the solution, chilled to cryogenic temperatures and then rewarmed, had responded to electrical stimulation. His method, he contended, preserved the connectome in those slices. But a complication prevented him from entering the prize competition: Brain tissue perfused with the cryoprotectant invariably becomes dehydrated, making it nearly impossible to see the details of the shrunken neurons and their connections under an electron microscope. ... He could fix the brain’s structure in place with chemicals first, just as Dr. Mikula was doing, buying time to perfuse the cryoprotectant more slowly to avoid dehydration. But he lacked the funds, he said, for a project that would have no practical business application for organ banking."

The Politics of Star Trek 485

smitty_one_each writes: Timothy Sandefur, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation has written a breezy overview of the politics of the little-known show Star Trek. His thesis: "...the key to Star Trek's longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry's science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver's Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era's finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek's moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era." The article traces through episodes at each phase of the franchise, exploring literary allusions and lamenting that "Star Trek's latest iterations — the 'reboot' films directed by J.J. Abrams — shrug at the franchise's former philosophical depth."

Brain Cancer Claims Horror Maestro Wes Craven At 76 35

New submitter JamesA writes: Wes Craven, the famed writer-director of horror films known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Though he's far less known as a novelist than for his various horror film jobs (writer, director, producer, actor ...), Craven also wrote a few books; I can't vouch for "Coming of Rage," but "Fountain Society" is pretty solid speculative fiction. Wikipedia notes that Craven also "designed the Halloween 2008 logo for Google, and was the second celebrity personality to take over the YouTube homepage on Halloween."

Amazon Developing TV Series Based On Galaxy Quest 87

An anonymous reader writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that Amazon Studios is developing a TV show based on Galaxy Quest, the 1999 film that parodied classic sci-fi shows like Star Trek. In the movie, actors for a Trek-like show were conscripted by real aliens to help run a starship and negotiate peace with a mortal enemy. The actors had no idea what to do, of course, and ended up getting help from the most rabid fans of their show. The new TV show is still in early stages of development. It's unlikely that the original Galaxy Quest cast will return — it starred Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell, to name a few. However, several important members of the production crew will return: "The film's co-writer Robert Gordon will pen the script and executive produce the pilot. The film's director Dean Parisot will direct and executive produce. And executive producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are on board as well." The show is a ways off, yet — they haven't even been greenlit for a pilot episode — but it'd be a welcome addition to today's sci-fi TV offerings

Hugos Refuse To Award Anyone Rather Than Submit To Fans' Votes 1044

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember way back in April there was a bit of a kerfuffle over the nominees for the Hugo Awards being "too conservative" based on a voting campaign organized by a group of science fiction fans who wanted to promote hard science fiction over more recent nominees. This was spun as conservatives "ruining" a "progressive" award. The question was left: would the final voters of the Hugo awards accept these nominees, or just take their ball home and refuse to give out anyway awards at all? The votes are in and we know the answer now: they'd rather just not give out any awards. (Wired has a slightly different slant on the process as well as the outcome of this year's awards.)

Which Movies Get Artificial Intelligence Right? 236

sciencehabit writes: Hollywood has been tackling Artificial Intelligence for decades, from Blade Runner to Ex Machina. But how realistic are these depictions? Science asked a panel of AI experts to weigh in on 10 major AI movies — what they get right, and what they get horribly wrong. It also ranks the movies from least to most realistic. Films getting low marks include Chappie, Blade Runner, and A.I.. High marks: Bicentennial Man, Her, and 2001: a Space Odyssey.

Frank Herbert's Dune, 50 Years On 234

An anonymous reader writes: This October will be the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's massively popular and influential sci-fi novel Dune. The Guardian has written a piece examining its effects on the world at large, and how the book remains relevant even now. Quoting: 'Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn't in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. ... As Paul's destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions 'of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad'Dib.' If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for 'the jihad's bloody swords,' unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order."

Adam Nimoy "For the Love of Spock" Documentary On KickStarter 43

New submitter Yohannon writes: In November of 2014, Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard, began talking with his father about creating a documentary regarding the late actor's most iconic role for potential release on the 50th anniversary of the premier of Star Trek. With the actor sadly passing in late February, the project has become more of a celebration of Leonard Nimoy's life as a whole. To fund the project, Adam has turned to KickStarter to raise the relatively modest 600 thousand dollars (US) to complete the documentary.

[Full disclosure: I am the husband of one of the models Nimoy used for his "Full Body Project", and she might be interviewed as a part of the documentary; However, cutting room floors being what they are, even virtually, that's not a guarantee she would actually be IN the doc.]

2014 Nebula Award Winners Announced 52

Dave Knott writes: The winners of the 2014 Nebula awards (presented 2015) have been announced. The awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and (along with the Hugos) are considered to be one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. This year's winners are:

Best Novel: Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
Best Novella: Yesterday's Kin, Nancy Kress
Best Novelette: "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i", Alaya Dawn Johnson
Best Short Story: "Jackalope Wives", Ursula Vernon
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson
2015 Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Larry Niven
Solstice Award: Joanna Russ (posthumous), Stanley Schmidt
Kevin O'Donnell Jr. Service Award: Jeffry Dwight

Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols Hospitalised In LA After Stroke 40

WheezyJoe writes: The Register tells us that Nichelle Nichols, who played the lovely Lt. Uhura, communications officer of the original starship Enterprise (original series and animated series), has been hospitalized after a mild stroke. She is reported to have undergone a CAT scan and MRI, and was awake and eating as of Thursday evening. Nichols has shown minor signs of loss of mobility but otherwise no signs of paralysis.