“I downloaded some old scripts from the internet and practiced them in front of the mirror.” — Peter Capaldi, on how he prepared for his audition.
One of my favorite sci-fi sites, The Geeky Nerherder, always alerts us to cool art and other sci-fi bric-a-brac, and this post is no exception. The following is a brief look at a collection by Jesús Prudencio, who has produced an art collection depicting movie cars.
“Earth is the bright, starburst-looking flash of light at the middle of the photo, our moon the speck just down and to the left. From Saturn, our planet is hardly distinguishable as the orb we know and love.” — io9.com
“Perhaps the same could said for ourselves and those whom we love, as the distance between the two grows over time.” — Ed.
10. Mosquitos (Enlarged by drinking alien blood.)
9. Crocodile (It’s Betty White’s pet. Really. She feeds it cows.)
8. Sheep (Yeah. I’m not joking. Crazed sheep.)
7. Anaconda (What accent is Jon Voight doing?)
6. Ants (Enlarged by radiation. Sci-fi classic. Genuflect, please.)
5. Piranha (Genetically enhanced by military experiments.)
4. Spiders (Genetically enhanced by gettin’ it on with another spider outside its species.)
3. St. Bernard (Emotionally enhanced by rabies. Thank you Stephen King.)
2. Birds (Emotionally enhanced by their rage at having to put up with humankind for thousands of years.)
1. Great White shark (Enhanced by, uh, just being a really big shark. )
“On July 18 of 1969, as the world waited anxiously for Apollo 11 to land safely on the surface of the Moon, speechwriter William Safire imagined the worst case scenario as he expertly wrote the following somber memo to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. Its contents: a contingency plan, in the form of a speech to be read out by Nixon should astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become stranded on the Moon, never to return, followed by some brief instructions relating to its broadcast. Luckily for all those involved, the memo was never needed.”
— Letters of Note (One of my favorite websites!)
“Due to unpredictable weather patterns that destroy millions of tons of crops each year and a growing human population set to peak at about 9 billion, some future-focused innovators are looking for better ways to keep food on the table. Two neo-farm prototypes currently evolving on separate continents share a common concept: urban farming as the future of sustainable agriculture.” — Venessa Posavec, Future Blogger.
In the two years since Venessa’s article, the notion of skyscraper farms has not died off. However, vertical farming has taken a more cautious and practical turn.
“The idea of vertical farming is all the rage right now,” says Michaeleen Doucleff at NPR’s The Salt. “Architects and engineers have come up with spectacular concepts for lofty buildings that could function as urban food centers of the future.”
Doucleff notes that in Sweden “they’re planning a 177-foot skyscraper to farm leafy greens at the edge of each floor. But so far, most vertical gardens that are up and running actually look more like large greenhouses than city towers. And many horticulturists don’t think sky-high farms in cities are practical.”
Sadly for those of us who dream of aforementioned and illustrated mega towers of amber waves of grain or banana jungles from fifty stories up, “the future of vertical farming…lies not in city skyscrapers, but rather in large warehouses located in the suburbs, where real estate and electricity are cheaper.”
Douclef points out that Barry Holtz and his company Caliber Biotherapeutics “have built a 150,000-square-foot ‘plant factory’ in Texas that is completely closed off from the outside world. They grow 2.2 million plants, stacked up 50 feet high, all underneath the magenta glow of blue and red LEDS.”
“A photon is a terrible thing to waste,” Holtz explains. “So we developed these lights to correctly match the photosynthesis needs of our plants. We get almost 20 percent faster growth rate and save a lot energy.”
The pay off, Holtz says, is the efficiency in water and electricity use.
“We’ve done some calculations, and we lose less water in one day than a KFC restaurant uses, because we recycle all of it.”
This method of efficiency is most essential as global fresh water availability per person continues to constrict, and is wonderful for singular projects, such as those demonstrated in Sweden and Texas. The trick will be translating the dynamics of these small projects onto a larger canvass as entire regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe contest with shifting climes heading into the 2020s.
“Have you ever peered over a ledge, so high up…that it made you nervous or dizzy…that it made you feel the urge to jump?” Michael Stevens at Vsauce explains this as the High Place Phenomenon, and this is just part of the issue when it comes to being creeped out or put ill-at-ease with Ambiguity. Those of us who swim the waters of science fiction know this as The Uncanny Valley. Observe:
Why is Wall-e and R2-D2 just so darn cute, and yet this Japanese android makes us want to run screaming from the room in terror? As Michael Stevens explains, it all hails from “an adaptive human response to the ambiguity of threats from others.” Like Teddy Bears with teeth.
Watch this, uh, creepy explanation of ambiguity by the good folks at Vsauce.