01
Feb
15

THE NONFICTION OF SCIENCE FICTION

0215MEM_cover_no-boxWhen viewed through an engineering lens, science fiction deals in dubious possibilities that become conceivable when reason and know-how are applied. Science fiction emboldens the aspirations of innovators and of dreamers, and it drives the pursuit of tools that will reach the far ends of the world and beyond.

Science fiction has been coined “the literature of ideas” because it feeds the process of ideating the future. It does not predict it, however. It simply contemplates it.

Last year, two professors at the famed MIT Media Lab, who believe that current students don’t read as much science fiction as they did in the past and, therefore, have lost some of the benefits that come from it, began teaching a course called “Science Fiction to Science Fabrication.” The focus was on developing physical prototypes and code-based interpretations of technology based on classic science fiction—films, books, television, and even comics. Among other selections, the class studied urban surveillance as depicted in DC Comics’ late-1990s Transmetropolitan and also the 1974 short story, “The Day Before the Revolution,” which tackled aging, death and grief, and even sexual conduct.

As groundbreaking as it was, there are many examples of technology imitating science fiction outside of the Media Lab. In his 1865 novel, From the Earth to the Moon, for example, Jules Verne proposed the notion of light-propelled spaceships. Not surprisingly, technologists today are actively working on solar sails. If you’re a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 epic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, you felt a tinge of nostalgia when a robotic probe launched by the European Space Agency’s mission control in Germany landed on a comet last November. Consider also the symbiosis of science fiction and IBM’s recent $3 billion R&D investment in technologies like non-silicone computer chips, quantum computing research, and computers that mimic the cognitive function of the human brain.

At the rapid rate of technology innovation, some of what is considered science fiction today will become reality in the next 50 years. Soon enough, replacement organs could grow in labs, and drones might fly over our cities and towns delivering packages. To many of us, the prospect of these types of emerging technologies sounds exciting, but a recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that even while recognizing the benefits of sci-fi technologies, many in the United States do not embrace these advances.

The study shows that 59 percent of Americans are optimistic that scientific and technological changes will improve quality of life, but 30 percent are afraid the changes will make life worse. In the findings, 81 percent of respondents think that it will be possible to grow organs in labs, and 51 percent think computers will be able to create artwork just as well as humans. But fewer than 40 percent expect that teleportation will be possible in the next 50 years and only 33 percent say they expect that humans will be colonizing other planets.

In this month’s cover story, associate editor Alan Brown and contributor Brittany Logan talk with several innovators who tell us how science fiction informed their work. For them, the future represents an open canvas where they can paint their vision of reality inspired by the unrestraint of fiction.


19 Responses to “THE NONFICTION OF SCIENCE FICTION”


  1. May 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Reports state that this has been the case because of the shortage of Blu-ray disc
    diodes. However, now you don’t have to worry about anything as you can easily skip some of the missions.
    To say that Grand Theft Auto V is a dynamic world is an understatement.
    The remaining Islands in the Forth Estury are wildlife habitats and protected areas for
    nature conservation. Here are some suggestions to
    help you get started on your research paper writing:
    . To get a secure and reliable connection, with a new IP address, virtual private networks (VPN) are your
    best option. You can switch back and forth between each of the three characters at any time during a mission. From its origin in 1997 there are now ten stand-alone
    games and four expansion packs. First movie becomes a great hit and then we
    have sequel after sequel with better CGI’s with more violence,
    making the movies rely heavily on technological side instead of focusing more on better themes.
    The customers do not need to uncover any of their private data and
    it does not require the customers to have a bankcard too.

  2. May 21, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Good answer back in return of this difficulty with solid arguments and explaining everything
    about that.

  3. May 26, 2015 at 12:15 am

    %first_paragraphCorner bookcases have become the center of attraction in some homes. They give out this feeling of serenity that most dwellers love. All pieces of furniture should be given much thought before purchasing, and the corner bookcase is not an exception. If you have plenty of reading material lying around the house or are stacked on a table or a shelf somewhere, a corner bookcase to house them is what they need.

    Firstly, spot the point you want to use for your hanging shelving and get measurement of the shelf on to the wall for a proper installment. Proper installment ensures usefulness and aesthetic elegance, giving a clean line on the wall. Suitably set up hanging shelves can positively hold the majority of art items or pictures. A wall mounted hanging shelving take much less weight than a free standing shelving, Make sure you choose display items on your floating shelves extremely carefully bearing in mind the weight it would conveniently support. Primary concern of a floating corner shelving to be taken in to deliberation is its set up. It is advisable to also think about the mass of the shelf to figure out how studier it will be after installation. There is an issue or two to be noted before setting a corner hanging shelves.

    If you are against removing beautiful retro cabinetry, this is actually a great incentive to look for even more places to put corner shelves. This is especially good for smaller food items and it will leave more room for dishes up on top where we tend to keep them. Considering the fact that the upper cabinets are generally smaller than the lower ones, one idea would be to put spinning corner shelves inside the cabinets below.

    These shelves can be easily placed in the corner of your shower and are held into place with a tension rod that extends from the tub corner to the ceiling. Apart from these, some corner shower shelves have in-built soap dispensers and hooks at the bottom to hang a loofah, soap on a rope, and similar items. These shelves are easy to install and the best part is the availability of these shelves in various colors like chrome, brass, satin chrome and brushed nickel. Some corner shelves are designed for shower units that do not have a tub.

    For my daughters area there was country white with a sculptured lattice at the edges. I was capable to obtain mahogany, oak and a cherry finish. For my lounge room, dining room and bedrooms I’ve chosen wood which gives these rooms a really classic and elegant feel. With the many colors and finishes I had no problem matching the shelves using the rest from the decorations in the rooms. Modern wall shelves are generally consisting of linear forms with sharper angles. For my bathrooms I have utilized glass for a clean modern look.

    A floating shelf is just a shelf that attaches to the wall via a bracket that has two or three rods protruding outwards. The self simply slides onto the rods, and then locks in from an access screw or hex nut located on the bottom of the shelf. Not only can you find some good looking corners shelves that could possibly hold you stereo speakers, but you can also find them in a floating shelf design.

    Shauna is on the figure skating team at the local rink. Both Bruce and Maurine are on separate bowling leagues. Michael plays on the local little league baseball team in the summer and on the hockey team at the local rink during the winter. Along with their two children, Shauna 12 years old and Michael 14 years old, Bruce and Maurine are very much into sports.

    Most of the storage was taken care of by cabinets and cupboards, but these did not give anyone a place to display any of their collectables. Corner shelves have become all the rage now a days in today’s modern designs. Way back in the day, people needed that little but of extra storage in every room in their house. Although they are hugely popular today, they have been around for over a hundred years.

    You can still get a large number with decorative wall brackets, but a floating type design has become so much more popular. The older corner type shelves used to have a decorative wood or metal bracket that would be visible. With the modern corner shelves, they can be hung with out any of the brackets being seen. Although it was easily seen, it was made to blend into the decor of the room.

    There was a lot of open wall space in the basement recreation room. So after searching online for a little while, Maurine found the perfect solution to their trophy displaying problem. Why not put up a large shelf on each wall?

    Over a period of 10 years, larders have evolved and today vary significantly in size, positioning in the home and shelving unit styles. A cupboard has become more personal with many choices on usage of space. However, if you are feeling drowned and fear the concept of this express area of your home, there are some straightforward solutions to make it more efficient. The interior of a cupboard is truly thought one of the high traffic areas of a household. In terms of coordinating, your pantry would possibly not be your priority but. Your pantry can even be enjoyable to the eye, if you actually want it to be. Because of these variables, space projecting and results will also alter.%

  4. June 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    What i don’t understood is in fact how you arre not actually
    a lot more smartly-favored than you may be now. You’re very intelligent.

    You understand therefore considerably on the subject of this matter, made me in my view consider it from numerous
    numerous angles. Its like men and wwomen are not interested except it’s one thing
    to accomplish with Womann gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent.
    Always handle it up!

  5. June 19, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Hey would you mind letting me know which web host
    you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a
    lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at
    a fair price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  6. June 23, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    What’s up, after reading this amazing piece of writing i
    am too glad to share my know-how here with friends.

  7. August 7, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this
    site is truly nice.

  8. January 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    La primordial característica del trabajo de nuestros fotógrafos de bodas en Castellón es que te harán sentir
    cómodo/a a lo largo de todo el día, de modo que las imágenes
    resulten lo más naturales posible, pero que al final te encuentres frente a unas fotos de boda entrañables y que
    te sirvan para rememorar de un modo singular ese día único.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

February 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728  

Twitter from John Falcioni

Twitter from Engineering for Change

Friend us on Facebook

Friend ASME

Friend Engineering for Change

Friend ASME Nanotechnology Institute


%d bloggers like this: