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Science Fact From Fiction

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the looking-for-the-next-big-thing dept.

Space 191

Embedded Geek writes "The European Space Agency maintains an ongoing project called Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications (ITSF) (Cliquetez ici pour la version française). Its goal is "to review past and present SF literature, artwork and films in order to identify and assess innovative technologies and concepts described which could be possibly developed further for space applications." While I had known about Clarke first envisioning the geostationary satellite, the site also lists some other interesting ideas first pitched in SF: planetary landers, rocket fins, and space stations assembled in orbit. Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit technologies from SF works, although they should look at the master keyword list to avoid duplication first. Also of interest is a spiffy little brochure and a writing contest. Even if it never results in any new technology actually being developed, the site is a nice resource for science educators and science fiction fans."

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Nasa (2, Interesting)

D4Vr4nt (615027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005037)

I wonder if Nasa's budget getting larger is part of the science-fiction to be tracked and logged. heh.

Are we ever gonna get to Mars or what? I remember reading back in "Science et Vie" about populating and building an atmosphere by 2020 or something silly. Seemed believable then..

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005039)

yahoo i got it!

Re:first post (-1, Troll)

AnimeFreak (223792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005114)

u suk sir pls do not try again k thx bye

new innovations from space movies! (3, Funny)

ohzero (525786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005043)

Does this mean that we could finally end up with a guy named dark helmet flying commuter routes to Duran Duran? "Today's inflight meal provided by Pizza the Hut"

Re:new innovations from space movies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005078)

only one man would dare give me the raspberry...

Click for French version? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005044)

Let me see--there are people reading slashdot who speak no english but just scan hoping to find links that happen to be in their native language?

Spaceballs (3, Funny)

craigtay (638170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005050)

Remember the giant maid in spaceballs? That could be reality in a few years.

Fifth Element (1, Funny)

Red Pointy Tail (127601) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005084)

1) DNA reconstruction machine
2) Milla Jokovich's DNA
3) ???
4) PRICELESS!

Re:Fifth Element (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005086)

*coughs* "PROFIT!" *coughs*

What about other fields? (4, Interesting)

GothChip (123005) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005066)

This is a great idea. I always thought that other fields should pay more attention to turning science fiction ideas into reality.

The two inventions I'm looking forward to are credsticks to replace cash (like in Shadowrun) and reactalight contact lenses to reduce glare from the sun.

Re:What about other fields? (4, Insightful)

IncarnationTwo (457191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005087)

Credit cards.
Cash (debit?) cards.

Both of these are widely aivailable in europe, though it is fairly hard to pay with EC("electronic cash"), as not so many shops have needed readers for EC cards.

Why is that?
Because there is no market for "credstics" or EC
in consumer markets. People like to see how much money they have.

Maybe when you can get visa electron 2.0 that has lcd-on-creditcard that shows your current balance... or maybe not even then.

And you should remember that whern you use EC, all you transactions are _tracable_.

And what about Scifi view of EC-on-skin... I find that a horrible idea. An electronic tracing instrument planted on your skin.

Re:What about other fields? (2, Interesting)

Chep (25806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005189)

Well, here (in France) people routinely use their CB/Visa cards (it's mostly direct or monthly debit, though credit cards proper are also widely available. People call both kinds "cartes de crédit" anyway). It's simple, safe, "secure" (well, there is an encryption chip which more or less works; I need to rely on magstrip+signature+insurance scheme only abroad), and just everyone uses it. It costs ~30 a year, and then there is zero transaction cost, Euroland-wide (some banks only recently and very cautiously started to charge 1/withdrawal done outside of their ATM network if this happens more than a half dozen times a month, but that's pretty much all you have to pay besides foreign exchange rates).

In Belgium (and the Netherlands IIRC), they have Proton cards (in addition to Visa || EC), which claim to be equivalent to pocket change cash (if they don't do like the French supposedly equivalent scheme, Moneo, this is both electronic and privacy preserving. Moneo is expensive and 1984ish as hell). It seems to be very hot there.

Don't assume that just because some elderly people in the Bayern area of Germany are still using cash even for large (10K+ reportedly) transactions that the whole of Europe is arrierated(sp).

Re:What about other fields? (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005204)

Why is that? Because there is no market for "credstics" or EC in consumer markets. People like to see how much money they have.

IBM trialled something like this a few years ago (in Swindon I believe, but I could be mistaken). You had a card, which you would "charge up" with credit, which would be transferred from your account to the card. The basic problems were
  • If you have to charge up the card anyway, why not just stop at an ATM and withdraw cash?
  • If the value is on the card and you lose the card, you've lost the value, but a credit/debit card can easily be replaced without you actually losing any money.

Needless to say, IBM and its partner banks didn't introduce the scheme to the general public.

And you should remember that whern you use EC, all you transactions are _tracable_.

That's not necessarily true. It could be implemented that way, but there's no technological reason for it. You just need a way to ensure that one value token can only be decrypted by one owner at a time, and we can do that easily with key-pairs and signatures, so long as there's a TTP to actually issue the cash.

Re:What about other fields? (1)

QQ2 (591550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005251)

Oddly enough, in europe we have something that kind of works like this.
In Holland it's called the chipper. Basically it's a SIM card that's added to your ATM card.
It's designed for small transactions.
In holland you can use your atm card to pay in shops, kinda like a credit card. However it costs shopkeepers 0,15 euro on every transmission and requires a secure phoneline. So for small amounts and places like the market you can use the 'chipper'. At first i to found it rather weird useless but these days you can pay for more and more stuff using the 'chipper' and i find it works kinda nice. No more loose change etc and a verry slim wallet.
Anyway I wanted to say that this system actually does exist and i works kinda nice, just my 2ct

Re:What about other fields? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005331)

Yes, it was called the mondo card. Infact i still have one somewhere. You had athe card itself, and a little reader that was pocket sized that you could use to move "cash" between cards.

It failed miserably, mainly because the cards were corruptable, and non resilient. Credit/Debit cards are the way ahead.

Re:What about other fields? (2, Informative)

InadequateCamel (515839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005426)

Warning: rant approaching...

One of the most frustrating things I about my move to England has been banking. It takes forever to open an account, and they send you this debit card that is really just a credit card with a strange name because you still have to sign slips rather than use a PI number.

In Canada, nearly every store you walk into has Interac, be it a clothing store, convenience store or gas station. I like carrying around money, but it is much more convenient and safe to use debit cards. I cannot use my NatWest (stupid Switch card) debit card in anything but the biggest department stores (but not Debenhams!), and I live in London. You would think that a city of this size that is constantly warning it's citizens about muggings and fraud would start to implement some of these safer "new" technologies.

Opponents to debit card readers in stores say that it costs a lot to use them, but I suspect that has a little bit to do with supply-demand. Once all the big stores start carrying them it trickles down to the smaller stores, and pretty soon everyone uses the (more) secure debit purchases. If you still think it is too expensive, institute a minimum purchase limit (hell, they still do it with credit cards!)

A PI number is much harder to break than a signature is to forge. Some people don't even carry credit cards; they just set up the credit account on the debit card and use it with a separate PIN.

Re:What about other fields? (1)

Starman9x (634099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005092)

The two inventions I'm looking forward to are credsticks to replace cash

correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we call them credit cards nowadays? [and with the concept of debit cards, the link to "the cash you have on hand" is that much closer]

Personally, I would like to see the seldom talked about "concept" of a complete lack of currency [this is alluded to at times on startrek, and see the book I mentioned later for a more in-depth discussion of just what would happen if the need for "currency" actually disappeared "overnight"]

Re:What about other fields? (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005191)

Rather than Debit Cards (automatically debiting your current account) I'd prefer Cash Cards (such as Mondex [mondex.com] ) where the card is the equivalent of cash.

It should be non-traceable, and I don't think Mondex is non-traceable, such that if you lose your card and someone picks it up, it's like they found cash, and they can use it.

This way, you don't have to worry about all the security stuff everyone gets so uptight [themightyuptight.co.uk] about. You load your card (or cards) with cash at a cash point, just like you currently stuff the notes into your wallet!

Transfer from Card to Card using some little do-hicky, or simply give someone the whole Card (Christmas/Birthday Cards!).

Maybe.. (2, Funny)

Ribert (638188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005068)

Maybe they will invent those communicaters from ST!!!

Re:Maybe.. (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005222)

Maybe they will invent those communicaters from ST!!!

Why? They have considerably less functionality than a present day mobile phone. Apart from the voice activation and (I presume) the battery life, they're WW2-era walkie-talkies.

Just think, Picard can travel faster than light but he has to rely on an audio-only channel to find out what's going on down on the surface. Hell, Nokia could be the Federation's secret weapon, the ability to send lame low-resolution pictures back to a ship in orbit! Revolutionary!

Re:Maybe.. (1)

mentalist23 (637567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005355)

Yeah, my Clie doesn't make that cool "chrrrrpp-st-sthck-stchk" noise when I open the cover... why not, damn it?

Old news (-1, Offtopic)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005070)

I`m sure SlashDot ran this story - or something tediously similar - about 6 months or so ago.

Bluetooth? (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005072)

Bluetooth is on the list, since when has this been science fiction?

Re:Bluetooth? (2, Insightful)

awakened tech (630189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005085)

Obviously not now, but I imagine that some SF writer in the 80s (or earlier) proposed computers talking to each other and other devices wirelessly, a vision that has now become reality.

Re:Bluetooth? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005090)

Haven't you paid attention to Star Trek? Whenever Kirk and crew got their hands onto some alien technology they would immediately be able to control it, often using their tricorders. You'll notice that these have nearly 100% inter-operability with any tech out there (alien or not), and it is wireless.

Bluetooth is much the same. The reason you don't see many UFO reports these days is because the aliens are now afraid some madman with a bluetooth-enabled mobile phone will hijack their ride. That's how good those phones are.

Bluetooth: yesterday's SF, today's reality! ;-)

Re:Bluetooth? (5, Funny)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005126)

You don't need UFOs. This [heise.de] is even more scary.

Translation of screen display:

New hardware detected.
(spoiler omitted)
Start auto-configuration now?
[Start] [Cancel]

Re:Bluetooth? (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005373)

Arr! Damn you! I wanted to post this! :)

Re:Bluetooth? (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005517)

He he, reminds me of when we had a market guy from Sony-Ericsson visiting our school to talk about Bluetooth. (Sending a market guy to talk to a bunch of CE/EE is quite annoying.)

It didn't take long before someone printed a greeting using the BT enabled printer he had brought.

Re:Bluetooth? (2)

JordanH (75307) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005323)

Hey, you don't need Bluetooth.

Remember in Independence Day, the Jeff Goldblum character could upload nasty viruses into alien technology with any laptop. Not sure the interface, but maybe you just have to have the laptop close to the alien tech.

/. doesn't just suck at English! (1, Informative)

*coughs loudly* (301749) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005073)

"Cliquetez." Bless their illiterate hearts.

I don't know what you have... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005235)

... I have heard people from Quebec use that word (I used to work for a Canadian company).
However, in Europe one usually says "cliquez"... Well if you're in a french speaking country, of course.

Re:I don't know what you have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005305)

I live in Québec, and i have never heard anyone use this word...

Re:I don't know what you have... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005341)

Well I did... Perhaps the guy just was playing silly. I don't know, but there are a lot of differences between the french spoken in Québec and the one in France. I really have trouble understanding the Québec french.

To settle this.... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005405)

While I have no dictionary around here now, I just did a quick test. I opened Microsoft Word (French version) and typed both words: "cliquez" and "cliquetez". They both are accepted by the spell checker, so I suspect they both are valid.

I do prefer "cliquez", but that's a personal opinion.

Re:To settle this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005418)

>I do prefer "cliquez", but that's a personal opinion.

Geeze, who the hell invented "cliquetez"? That sounds attrocious. First time I ever hear the word too. By the way I live in Quebec... Yes there IS differences between Québec and France, but not THAT much.

(Man... "cliquetez"? There's dumbasses all over the World, I tell you)

Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005075)

Has anyone actually read this report? While the concept was quite clever, it was clearly written long before anyone had got into space.

His proposal was to build no more than 3 comsats. These were huge beasts that would be constructed in space, and manned permanently. Each comsat would deal with communication over 120 degrees across the earth.

This is a far cry from dozens of highly specialised and semi disposable comsats that we actually use. I don;t mean to be too hard on Arthur C. Clarke, but people really ought to remember how wrong he was with a few gems of being right.

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (1)

little1973 (467075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005175)

I don't mean to be too hard on you, but I don't think you can come up any original ideas which will be implemented in some way in the future. Or do you criticize Clarke because he did not forsee the miniaturization which occured in the past few decades?

Anyway, what Clarke fortold may be realized as space stations on geostationary orbit for space ship assembly (or some space mission).

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005265)

I'm not criticising Clarke. Just commenting on the how interesting it is that another advance changed the potential future so much.

What people weren't expecting is much more interesting than what they were.

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (5, Informative)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005205)

I read his original report, he was showing how a minimum system could be built for full earth coverage. He wrote this at a time when space flight was still very much fiction (about ten years before Sputnik) and there were vacuum tubes rather than semiconductors. Tubes need regular replacement, hence the need for a manned presence.

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (5, Informative)

alistair (31390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005333)

For people who wish to read the report itself, the London Science Museum has images of the entire Wireless World article available here [sciencemuseum.org.uk] .

Personally, I think he got the most important points correct in anticipating the advantages of a Geostationary orbit. I suspect he suggested only three of them due to the huge cost of building them and he does show (correctly) that these three satellites would cover the major regions of "Africa and Europe", "China and Oceana" and "The Americas" (page three) while allowing point to point communication between the three satellites.

True, he did predict huge manned stations powered by valves with people to replace the valves but it seems harsh to critisise him for not inventing Moores Law 20 years early. Much of the rest of the text is both valid and visionary. For some other examples of his work the site has a short information page here [sciencemuseum.org.uk] .


While browsing the site you may also want to look at the Quicktime VR movie of the inside of Apollo 10 [sciencemuseum.org.uk] . The Science Museums Space Gallery has always been one of my favourites and this is a nice attept to put some of it online (plus I helped in the making of this a few years back :-) ).

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005334)

What makes you so sure that in the future they`ll laugh at how we had loads of satellites, and not just three.

I mean, if you're going to be a smart-arse, isn't one of the requirements that you are actually smart?

Re:Arthur C. Clarkes Geostationary satellites (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005524)

What makes you so sure that in the future they`ll laugh at how we had loads of satellites, and not just three.

Who's laughing. It's just interesting how this is so different. Why would they want just three satellites? What would they do with all the other geostationary real estate?

I mean, if you're going to be a smart-arse, isn't one of the requirements that you are actually smart?

It's a serious impediment in my experience.

Time to raid the library... (1)

Starman9x (634099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005076)

...of my old "Tom Swift" books I guess -- didn't this kid "invent everything" in the pursuit of "the bad guys"?

OTOH, "The Venus Equatorial" [or was that "equalateral"?] presents an interesting social impact study once things like "perfect copies" are perfected [as in a startrek "replicator"] People simply won't stand still for the desctruction of the concept of currency [ok, it IS early in the morning -- read the book to understand what I'm talking about]

Re:Time to raid the library... (1)

Starman9x (634099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005182)

Since I don't give a rodent's nether region about whether or not it is "netiquettely correct" to continue one's own /. post without an intervening comment, I'd like to throw this link at you:

The Funny Thing About Fear [oregonmag.com] is a short story that I found while trying to "remember" (via google) whether it was equalateral or equetorial [and, subsequently, that most of the links I *did* find were links to amazon.com, noting the book can be had for about $0.15 nowadays...]

it may still be early, but the story got a laugh from me

/. french is wrong (2, Informative)

liberteus (566864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005081)

"cliquetez ici pour la version française" is almost good, at least it is understandable.

Correct french is: "cliquez ici pour la version française".

Anal-retentiveCamel (1)

InadequateCamel (515839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005119)

>"cliquetez ici pour la version française" is almost good, at least it is understandable. ...I think you mean "almost correct". And "french" should read French. But I understand you :-)

Re:/. french is wrong (2)

fruey (563914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005259)

Isn't that "cliquetez" some kind of bullshit politically correct Canadian suggestion for Cliquer -> Cliqueter as being synonymous? Google returns over 21,000 pages with cliquetez in them, mostly French pages saying "Cliquetez ici"

Check the mouse button name: Enfoncer et relâcher le bouton-poussoir (ou cliquet) from here: http://www.cfwb.be/franca/bd/infofich.htm#Cliquer [www.cfwb.be]

Re:/. french is wrong (1)

ramdam (570137) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005340)

You are right ;-) (glad to see another french geek on /.)

But I found CowboyNeal's sentence more "poetic" (even if it's accidental).

Furthermore, "cliquer" is somewhat a comptuter-related neologism, so he's not "really" wrong regarding the respect of french language.

I think that this word found in a french text would have been interpreted as a style effect.

Hyperspace... (2, Funny)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005088)

That's a really cool site. When I looked up hyperspace, it says:

The Hyperspace is described as the 5th dimension; ships which jump through it can travel to they targets immediately (i. e. without loss of any time). However, the jump causes pain to the crew and very much energy is needed to do it. Later mankind learns to travel within a special forcefield that allows them to get between our 4 dimensions and the 5th. This allows no longer instant travel but "only" speeds of million times of light. The advantage is they now can navigate and have no longer to suffer the pains of the former "Hyperjump".

It gives that description from a title with the name "Hyperspace". The site also has some great pictures!

Hyperspace... Oh, Jesus, NOOOO!!!!! (2)

imag0 (605684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005380)

Ok, you got me curious about the hyperspace thing so I went a took a look at the article. It all sounded pretty cool and interesting until I got to the bottom:

Feasibility: Requires New Technology

Damn, I thought by then NT would be killed off by MS but it looks like it has a promising future in getting us to Hyperspace.

Oh, the humanity!

Douglas Adams (2, Funny)

froh (553491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005089)

I hope they don't try to make a impropability drive.
It's just too dangerous.

Re:Douglas Adams (1)

Geek_in_Marketing (596828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005094)


Building an Improbability Drive?

Come on - what are the odds of that happening!

Someone got a pencil and paper? I'll work it out for myself.....

Re:Douglas Adams (1)

mentalist23 (637567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005360)

Well, no labs in the States will have access to a fresh cup of really hot tea, so I guess it's up to the boys at QinetiQ...

Re:Douglas Adams (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005512)

I suspect that The Improbability Drive is more likely than The Bistromatic Drive, especially for those of us who aren't drinking and didn't have the rice.

SF (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005091)

I hope they heavily refer to Douglas Adams' Hitchikers guide to galaxy.

I wana take a trip powered by infinite impropability motor. (I hope that translated ok. I have only read the Finnish version.)

Re:SF (1)

whimdot (591032) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005151)

You must remember that bistro mathematics was more advanced than improbability drive since it avoided all that dangerous mucking about with infinite improbability.

The skill of DA was that, like George Orwell's 1984, he perfectly described contemporary society as a foreign land, eg. Vogons are just green lawyers; the American president already has a role remarkably similar to Zaphod Beeblebrox's...

IT's ALL about trust? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005096)

whois your daddIE [trustworthycomputing.com] ?

you go robbIE. tell 'em.

Hee hee (2, Funny)

InadequateCamel (515839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005097)

Two I saw just by glancing at the page...

"Ashtray"
Soon we will have revolutionary waste receptacles for the combustion byproducts of another of my inventions, Coolness Extrapolation Tubes (or "cigarettes")

(Yes, I realize the actual item is something completely different)

The next was "Crash Landing"

This came from the film "Destruction (sic) Man" where the car crashes through the glass sign and lands in the fountain, but the passengers are saved due to the car filling with foam. The poster then envisions saving the Space Shuttle from crash landings with this stuff.

Someone get this guy a Physics book, stat!

Wait... (-1, Flamebait)

flopsy mopsalon (635863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005099)

Aren't the terms "European Space Program" and "Science Fiction" synonymous?

Seriously, this is little more than a perk for the artsy community that controls far too much of the tax outlays in European countries (another example of this is the lavish outlays for state subsidised Opera houses: Berlin has three!).

I love Sci-fi and speculative fiction as much as the next person, but entertainment and science are two totally different areas. In the United States, our space program takes its cues from scientists who are serious professionals with years of training. These men and women work on the kind of basic research projects that don't have the flash and glamour of sci-fi novels and books, but which will one day lead to real breakthroughs in human knowledge and acheivement.

It seems the Europeans would rather have their space agency waste their time trying to develop tricorders and lighsabers. How sad.

Ok, I'll bite on this one (0)

ThinWhiteDuke (464916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005113)

OTOH, in Europe, we don't have to pay gazillions to Hollywood in order to fake a moon landing just because serious professionals with years of training have overextended themselves ;-)

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005184)

Well, what do all the sci-fi writers who hang around NASA do? (Pournelle, etc) Surely they aren't there to get autographs? Or to sign them?

NASA has regular brainstorming sessions with authors in many fields and spends a lot of cash in (often criticised) research into 'alternative technologies' -Sci-Fi propulsion etc.

'In the USA, you believe what you want'- facts get in the way? Just carry on regardless.

Re:Wait... (3, Insightful)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005221)

our space program takes its cues from scientists who are serious professionals with years of training

Regrettably it gets its money from the lunatics on the hill and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With an obsession with providing rewards for the backhanders received from the aerospace inducstry, a lot is spent on inappropriate and/or ineffective technologies (Star Wars).

Made me look :) (1)

Starman9x (634099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005101)

noted under "K" was keyword1 [itsf.org] (and keywords 2 & 3)

something suspiciously self-referential is going on here...

"laws" of math, physics, morality, repealed... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005115)

in favor of supporting fairytail accouNTing practices, employed buy corepirate felons.

tell 'em robbIE.

looks like the queen's english... +2 funnIE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005224)

is on it's way out, also.

ur so on robbIE's foems list. damm you.

Death Star (5, Funny)

rde (17364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005117)

Under normal circumstances, I'd suggest a Death Star. In these heady days when we're considering technologies that might, in our lifetimes, get us to other star systems, it's important to have something that'll enable us to blow the shit out of anything that looks at us funny.

Of course, there would be problems. Remember the arguments about the status of Pluto? That'd be nothing compared to something like the death star.

"That's no moon."
"Yes it bloody is"
etc

Re:Death Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005165)

Well George W Bush does have some similarities to the Emperor...

Re:Death Star (3, Funny)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005267)

He's more like a combination of Jar-Jar and the Emperor.

Not space related but... (3, Interesting)

idletask (588926) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005118)

Jules Vernes has led the way to modern submarines with its "twenty thousands leagues under the sea" [gilead.org.il] novel. Remember Captain Nemo? :)

Re:Not space related but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005309)

Jules Vernes has led the way to modern submarines
Hardly. Vernes' novel was published in 1869/1870. The Confederacy was already using proto-submarines in the U.S. Civil War (1861). Now given these weren't "modern" designs, but the concept was proven and it wasn't such an imaginative leap for Verne to outfit these working models with more advanced, futuristic (for his time) systems such as electrical power.

Re:Not space related but... (1)

djeez (472062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005385)

I'm sorry to tell you that, but there were a few submarines before Vernes' story in 1873.

For example, there is the Hunley [shipwrecktreasures.com] , which was effectively used to sink a ship with a harpoon-torpedo. Or even before that, in 1776 with the Turtle [history1700s.com] .

And while the first real submarines were not built before the 1890's [didyouknow.cd] , I doubt Vernes was the main inspiration for all the work [warships.net] done on them. There was even a Nautilus [warships.net] in 1801!

intellectual property rights? (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005136)

I am assuming these writers don't get recognized or paid. Is that good or bad?

I guess ideas are free from IP laws, as long as they don't involve mice and speach.

But if it doesn't cost them anything, it would be cool to at least name the projects or objects after their sci-fi authors.

Re:intellectual property rights? (2)

Kong the Medium (232629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005250)

Hey in the 50's somebody wanted to patent the water-bed. He couldn't becaus R.A. Heinlein described it 5 years earlier.

Re:intellectual property rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005314)

It is right and proper that the writers don't get paid for someone who wants to invent something they had the idea for. If that was how intellectual property worked just think how easy it would be to make a buck.
Gee, today, I am going to write about a machine that makes pizza from hydrogen atoms. Tomorrow I shall talk about a gizmo that makes someone travel at 99 per cent the speed of light, and if ever these are really invented (by someone who can make a working model) I get the rewards.

Think about.. (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005150)

... how obnoxious the USA is going to be when one of these Death Star things finally gets built.

Re:Think about.. (2)

Pooh22 (145970) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005211)

Especially when it gets built by !

Interesting things from Sci-Fi in Real Life (2, Interesting)

dWhisper (318846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005152)

I'd be curious to see if they extend the study outside of just Sci-Fi, and see how many of the things that have appeared in Sci-Fi end up, or have ended up, in real life.

Some examples I know of are the Sick Bay beds and displays from Star Trek, which appeared in hospitals shortly thereafter. On those same lines, a hypospry always looked like it would beat a shot or pills.

My personal thing I'd like to see is a holodeck, though I'd assume that that's just a tad bit off. But Quake in one of those would rule. Or be messy and dangerous. Or all above! It'd just give politions and parents something more to whine about.

And I'd just love a hoverboard, compliments Back to the Future. Or a self-drying jacket, autolace shoes, flat-tvs that play the scenery channel, and pizzas the size of my palm that come out fresh. It had to be Sci-Fi, pizza hut pizza is far greasier than that.

We should... (3, Funny)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005155)

...reclassify Animaniacs as Scifi. Remember that garage door opener that Yakko had that could turn women upside down?

IP. (4, Insightful)

DaBj (168491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005173)

The site is also a nice resource for finding prior art.

Hope that doesn't make companies avoid inventing the stuff, since they can't really patent it, and we all know that it's the patent that creates a profit, not the invention...

like orphans living in rectorIEs... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005181)

so goes the daze [google.com] of yOUR LIEves?

Hard sci-fi (3, Informative)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005196)

Its goal is "to review past and present SF literature, artwork and films in order to identify and assess innovative technologies and concepts described which could be possibly developed further for space applications."

Anything that is "space fantasy" (like Star Trek) can probably be dismissed out of hand, since it all relies on an inconsistent physics model. The physics of the Star Trek universe are mutable to suit the story, they are functionally indistinguisable from magic spells in traditional fantasy genres. Babylon 5, Farscape et al are no better. - altho' to be fair, both of those place far less emphasis on technobabble than Star Trek.

But there is a lot of good stuff in hard sci fi. My favourite author at the moment is Alastair Reynolds. In his books, humans have colonized other worlds relying on cryogenic suspension (theoretically possible, actively being researched now) and relativistic time compression (a known fact), rather than an FTL drive. If a ship is in orbit it's internal "down" is outwards as a section of the hull rotates to simulate gravity, but while its underway, down is backwards because of drive thrust, and you have to reconfigure somewhat before switching modes - no "artificial gravity". There are no "deflector screens" - if you want to protect your ship, find some cometary ice and wrap yourself in it. Other technologies he uses, like nanotech manufacturing are all extrapolations from current research.

Of course, it is fiction, so there are a few things that are made up (the Conjoiner's power source, for example). But if fiction is to drive research, it could do a lot better than what passes for mainstream sci-fi.

Re:Hard sci-fi (1)

mentalist23 (637567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005392)

"they are functionally indistinguisable from magic spells in traditional fantasy genres."

ANY sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

In order to stay on topic...

I always liked Niven's novels, because they do include a great deal of hard sci-fi, yet at the same time he also clearly puts a great deal of thought into what technology a society would realistically have adopted. For instance, think of all the weapons that aren't weapons in the Lying Bastard...

OTOH he does cheat a bit from time to time, by introducing Slavers and Outsiders when he -does- need some magic (in the Clarke sense as above.)

On my wish list are Niven's stepping disks, and an Iain M. Banks-style drone.

Star Trek does have some good ideas (1)

nixman99 (518480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005433)

While Star Trek physics is questionable (anything can be fixed with a phase inverter), some of the everyday items have come to fruition:

Those "data modules" in TOS look a lot like 3 1/2" disks

The tablets computers in TNG are starting to appear on the market

The equivalent of the medical tricorder is being developed by the US Army

Communicators in TOS look a lot like mobile phones

Laser scalpels
And social aspects of TOS have come to pass: multi-national/multi-ethnic space crews.

retro-tech (1)

sgt_sloth (638201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005488)

Recently I picked up the term "retro-tech sci-fi", which refers to science fiction written 20-30 years ago which, while able to imagine super-science technology in some areas like faster than light drives, contra-gravity devices, etc., was completely blind to possible advances in other areas, and so either has technology that's actually more primitive than our own (the room-sized computer in 2001 the movie) or technology that's completey missing, like nano-tech, genetic egineering, etc.

That's why I would say Alastair Reynolds sounds like he's writing retro-tech, since why do we need cryogenic suspension if we can simply send shapeships with robots that bio-engineer colonists using genemap databases and some basic chemical compounds once the ship arrives near a habitable world? More to the point, lots of the difficulties in space travel come from accomdating the needs of a human biology that evolved under Earth's particular conditions. Would it not make more sense to bio-engineer human astronauts so they don't need things like simulated gravity?

OK now this part's lame... (2)

teaserX (252970) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005203)

Open to: - space and science fiction enthusiasts from all nations between 15 and 30 years of age

WTF?
Whoever it was that said "...my old Tom Swift books..." can forget it.

value (0, Offtopic)

mackstann (586043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005223)

for $6K, you could build a hell of a system. 15K SCSI drives in a RAID 5 array, dual Athlon 2600+'s or whatever the newest is (or dual xeons or whatever), but this thing is pretty fucking lame. is this a joke? why the hell was this posted? remember cowboyneal, there are p4 3.06's now? and the systems with them dont cost $6K? and they arent in shoddily painted cases and overpriced by about 5x?

Re:value (0, Redundant)

ContemporaryInsanity (583611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005290)

You sure you posted this under the right topic ?!?

Idea for Slashdot (2, Funny)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005233)

Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit technologies from SF works, although they should look at the master keyword list to avoid duplication first.

Heh, maybe Slashdot should adopt something similar to prevent duplicate stories :)

OUCH! (0, Redundant)

HerbieStone (64244) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005246)

Cliquetez ici pour la version française

Please, don't do this. English isn't my first language, but since this is an english forum I do my best and give it a try. I guess its not perfect but still ok.

But this sentence is just horrible! Never make fun of "All your base are belong to us" and then go on and write such french crap... well, unless of course you want to make ass of yourself for some foreign countries ;)

Why isn't The /. Effect listed? (2, Funny)

spookymonster (238226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005253)

They seem to have a working demo on their site....

What we also need . . . (2)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005279)

This is, simply, something I find very cool. However, what we need is a counterpart:

Predictions that went WRONG in SF. We don't do our space-travel math by hand, I'm still waiting on my personal helecopter, etc.

I'm not being sarcastic - such a work would be very informative, and would contrast well with this one.

been done before (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005299)

Both the CIA and KGB used to send agents to watch each new James Bond movie. Notes would be taken of the device ideas, and some of them would be produced for actual spying. (Someone from the CIA admitted this.)

And the greatest invention we could ever hope for: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5005300)

A production line of Seven-of-Nines.
Grrrrrrrr.

they right... you really are a bunch of kids (0)

tcmardoc (556771) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005351)

heh.. think you know something about NASA.. read this http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/klee/misc/slash dot.html

But are any of it enough to get patents lifted? (2)

Mynn (209621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005374)

I recall reading of someone who tried to patent the water bed, but couldn't because of the description in RAH's Stranger in a Strange Land.

What about lifiting "Ginger"s/Segway patents based on the very similar transport devices described in "The Roads Must Roll"? (when they go down under, they talk about the little zippy personal transporters used to move around the tunnels)

Re:But are any of it enough to get patents lifted? (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005409)

What about lifiting "Ginger"s/Segway patents based on the very similar transport devices described in "The Roads Must Roll"? (when they go down under, they talk about the little zippy personal transporters used to move around the tunnels)

You can't patent an idea, only a specific implementation of an idea. I doubt the Segway HT itself is covered by a patent, but its individual components that solve specific problems will be. The point is that unless you do your own R&D from scratch and solve those problems for yourself you won't be able to build one, and even if you did, there's no guarantee that they didn't beat you to the optimal solution. In reality, I'm sure that if you wanted to use some of their technology in a way that didn't compete directly with them, they would be happy to license it to you. That's a win-win scenario: cheaper than you doing the research for yourself, more profitable for them than keeping the patent to themselves.

An example of this is Gillette - you obviously can't patent a razor, but they could patent the specific spring mechanism they use to let the blades adjust their height.

So how long do we have to wait... (1)

schambon (416146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005421)

... before faster-than-light travel, positronic robots, and time travel?

On the other hand, I suppose if we are supposed to have time travel in the future, I guess we'd have learned that already. Or something. My head hurts.

PS. It's "cliquez". "Cliquetez" means "make clicking sounds" :-)

-S.

why just sci-fi (1)

stiller (451878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005475)

Why stop there? I mean, with todays technology, it's easy to broaden the scope of this search to all ideas coming from all persons interested.
Sure, a lot more thought probably goes into most which is written by real sci-fi authors, but the chance of anything actually usefull coming out of this research seems so small to me, that having people enter their own, personal ideas might even be more productive.

post hoc ergo propter hoc (4, Insightful)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5005477)

Disclaimer: I love science fiction, always have, always will, however...

Science fiction did indeed predict (in some form, anyway) communications satellites, cell phones, rocket fins, particle weapons, the floppy drive, etc. However, it also predicted antigravity, rolling roads, matter converters, mind control rays, time machines and stasis fields. The trouble with looking back at science fiction and picking out the accurate predictions is that you ignore the 99.9% that was inaccurate, and distort the perceived value of the source material. It's like finding one potato out of a thousand that's shaped kind of like Elvis... you would not seriously conclude that potato fields are a good place to look for new sculptures, would you?
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