universe - Dave's Blog


Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Jul 20, 3:13
Neil deGrasse Tyson briefly covers the origins of the universe: https://youtu.be/7KYTJ8tBoZ8 

Sci-fi short stories disguised as Internet docs

2013 May 29, 2:48
The recent short story Twitter API returning results that do not respect arrow of time by Tim May written as a Twitter bug report reminded me of a few other short sci-fi stories written in the style of some sort of Internet document:
PermalinkCommentscsc fiction sci-fi Scifi time-travel twitter

laughingsquid: The Universe Gets Its Own Twitter Account &...

2012 Jul 14, 3:47


The Universe Gets Its Own Twitter Account & Humorously Responds When Mentioned

PermalinkCommentshumor twitter

Timeline of the far future (wikipedia.org)

2012 May 6, 3:01

Answers those questions like “When will the Sun boil away the Earth’s oceans?” and “When will the Sun burn out?”, but brings up new questions like which supercontinent configuration will win? I’m hoping for Pangea Ultima as it has the best name.

PermalinkCommentshistory future astronomy sun earth universe

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2010 Mar 12, 11:11"All of the sculpted noses on the planet Viltvodle VI were fashioned after Douglas Adams' own. The creators used a 3D model he had created for the game Starship Titanic." The noses mentioned in the previous sentence were depicted in the movie in a church. The religion of this church maintains that the universe was created by their god sneezing out the universe and so they have statues of their god's nose throughout the church. Of course this is intended to seem absurd, however based on the previous sentence -- that the nose belonged to Douglas Adams -- then they really were worshping the nose of their creator.PermalinkCommentsdouglas-adams book hhgttg movie religion nose

Platonic Ideals in Anathem and The Atrocity Archives

2009 Apr 7, 11:58
The Atrocity ArchivesThe Jennifer MorgueAnathem

This past week I finished Anathem and despite the intimidating physical size of the book (difficult to take and read on the bus) I became very engrossed and was able to finish it in several orders of magnitude less time than what I spent on the Baroque Cycle. Whereas reading the Baroque Cycle you can imagine Neal Stephenson sifting through giant economic tomes (or at least that's where my mind went whenever the characters began to explain macro-economics to one another), in Anathem you can see Neal Stephenson staying up late pouring over philosophy of mathematics. When not exploring philosophy, Anathem has an appropriate amount of humor, love interests, nuclear bombs, etc. as you might hope from reading Snow Crash or Diamond Age. I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.

On the topic of made up words: I get made up words for made up things, but there's already a name for cell-phone in English: its "cell-phone". The narrator notes that the book has been translated into English so I guess I'll blame the fictional translator. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by the made up words nearly as much as some folk. Its a good thing I'm long out of college because I can easily imagine confusing the names of actual concepts and people with those from the book, like Hemn space for Hamming distance. Towards the beginning, the description of slines and the post-post-apocalyptic setting reminded me briefly of Idiocracy.

Recently, I've been reading everything of Charles Stross that I can, including about a month ago, The Jennifer Morgue from the surprisingly awesome amalgamation genre of spy thriller and Lovecraft horror. Its the second in a series set in a universe in which magic exists as a form of mathematics and follows Bob Howard programmer/hacker, cube dweller, and begrudging spy who works for a government agency tasked to suppress this knowledge and protect the world from its use. For a taste, try a short story from the series that's freely available on Tor's website, Down on the Farm.

Coincidentally, both Anathem and the Bob Howard series take an interest in the world of Platonic ideals. In the case of Anathem (without spoiling anything) the universe of Platonic ideals, under a different name of course, is debated by the characters to be either just a concept or an actual separate universe and later becomes the underpinning of major events in the book. In the Bob Howard series, magic is applied mathematics that through particular proofs or computations awakens/disturbs/provokes unnamed horrors in the universe of Platonic ideals to produce some desired effect in Bob's universe.

PermalinkCommentsatrocity archives neal stephenson jennifer morgue plato bob howard anathem

Subterranean Press - Fiction: Missile Gap by Charles Stross

2009 Apr 6, 10:47"It's 1976 again. Abba are on the charts, the Cold War is in full swing - and the Earth is flat. It's been flat ever since the eve of the Cuban war of 1962; and the constellations overhead are all wrong. Beyond the Boreal ocean, strange new continents loom above tropical seas, offering a new start to colonists like newly-weds Maddy and Bob, and the hope of further glory to explorers like ex-cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin: but nobody knows why they exist, and outside the circle of exploration the universe is inexplicably warped."PermalinkCommentscharles-stross scifi read fiction free literature

What's expected of us : Article : Nature

2008 Aug 14, 4:29Scifi short story, "What's expected of us", by Ted Chiang. Younger cousin of 'The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution'. FTA: "Civilization now depends on self-deception."PermalinkCommentsted-chiang scifi time time-travel fiction via:boingboing

How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later

2008 Jul 3, 1:32"Finally he cut the tape entirely, whereupon the world disappeared. However, it also disappeared for the other characters in the story... which makes no sense, if you think about it." That's what I thought when I read that storyPermalinkCommentsarticle essay fiction scifi philip-k-dick via:mach3

The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution by CHRISTOPHER CHERNIAK

2007 Dec 31, 1:18A short short story titled 'The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution' by CHRISTOPHER CHERNIAK. A classic (apparently) from the early 80s. No spoilers here. If you liked Snow Crash just read it.PermalinkCommentsread scifi story literature free fiction short-story rainbow

RFC 2550 Y10K and Beyond

2007 Nov 21, 3:54An April Fools RFC about the Y10K problem. FTA: "Y10K compliant programs MAY choose to limit the range of dates they support to those consistent with the expected life of the universe. Y10K compliant systems MUST accept Y10K dates from 10 ** 12 years inPermalinkCommentshumor date reference rfc time y2k y10k future internet

answer to life the universe and everything - Google Search

2006 Nov 13, 11:50This is awesome because its built as a constant into the Google Calculator. So try something like: http://www.google.com/search?q=answer+to+life+the+universe+and+everything+%2F+2PermalinkCommentsgoogle search humor answer life-the-universe-and-everything hhgttg
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