Category: Truly Random

Google's Self Driving Car

Will I need to learn to drive a car, before the autonomous vehicle makes it obsolete?

I don’t know how to drive a car.

I’ve never had lessons, I got a provisional license around my 16th birthday that I never used, and I don’t really want to start now.  In fact, I am wagering that I will never have to.  Here’s why. Continue reading

At 40 seconds into this ad, you can see a glimpse of the future according to ‘Under Armor’ – a women in a (terrifyingly thin) body suit interacts with some wrist mounted UI, selects a color for the bottom half of her suit, and then the top, and then off she runs.  It’s cool, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

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Two lady troopers ready to kill alien scum

Two lady troopers ready to kill alien scum and explore the galaxy

I like Games Workshop, and I really like 3d printing – and one day, quite soon, those two likes are going to have an epic battle of their own, off the wargaming table.

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Kiosk 2.0 from Unfold. Notice the printer inside, the hanging prints, and the bag of all-too-familiar printing-detritus.

I had wanted to create something like this – a mobile, wheeled, 3d printing street-vendor cart!  Called Kiosk 2.0 and created by ‘Unfold Design Studio’ based out of Belgium, the Kiosk combines printer and scanner (and I’d not thought of a scanner when I was making plans) and little bags of pre-printed objects hanging from the shelter over the top.  tl;dr – The ultimate kiosk will include printer, scanner AND recycler – and we’re almost there!

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3 protein cubes on a black plate, served with two condiments in pipettes

Three protein cubes, served with pipettes of condiments

In my ongoing search for sci-fi food that’s not just Gagh or Solyent Green, my mind often returns to the sci-fi staple of protein or nutrient blocks.  I know we can buy a ‘meal in a can’ and energy bars, etc. but they’re all a little too appetizing for me!  Instead, I’ve made some miniature, individual tuna loaves, with coloring.

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I’ve been harboring a disatisfaction for a while now – a genre-specific ennui or maybe a ‘presque vu‘ for a setting I’ve not found yet.  I keep wondering where the cool has gone – where the slinky sexy brain-popping amazement at a world that makes me ache to learn more about it.  Not just one world, either – but a raft of them – a set of settings, a Venn diagram of visions, a taste of a future.

But I can’t find it.  I want the new that’s newer than new, and everything I’m seeing looks like it was hit with a mallet in the late 90’s and stands there stunned and stationary.  Take a look at the media that’s around – and you’ll find the ‘future’ is drawn with an architects care – it’s been shaded in, coloured, lit and polished and ever so dead.  It’s evil corporations and punks with mechanical hands, it’s kids hacking into their school computers and heroines on cyber-heroin.  It’s bloody well been done!

Where’s the new!  Where’s the stuff that makes me reel with the possibilities – makes me wonder how I couldn’t see it coming, and how we can possibly manage to ride that rollercoaster?  I don’t mean uploading consciousnesses into the singularity, I certainly don’t mean augmented reality in the daily life – nor clones, genetic engineering or any other dozen or so passe cyberpunk identifying marks that are in most instances – OLDER THAN I AM.

I mean really – the screenplay for Bladerunner was written when I was deciding whether to be a breech birth or a C-section – and it was based on a book from 1968!  That was 44 years ago, and our vision of ‘the future’ has barely moved on.

I’m desperately hoping that I’m just looking in the wrong places – that I only have myself to blame for using old search terms like cyberpunk (no – I have no interest in neon-coloured dreadlocks and spiked goggles, thanks), singularity and sci-fi.  That, like some equally cliched fantasy character, if I could only find the right magic word, I could unlock a wealth of brain-buzzing wealth.

At the heart of it, though, is an annoyance with myself – surely,  if I knew what I was looking for – really knew – then I’d be able to find it.  But I don’t know – much like pornography, I believe I’ll know it when I see it.  I keep getting little flashes of interest – a piece of concept art here, a collection of short stories there – but it all seems so… decadent?  On the decline?  Like the Roman Empire in its final days.  Comfortable in its skin and evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Where is it?  Where is the new?  What’s the magic searching word and where’s the raw, rough, risky vision of a mindblowing future that chews me up and spits me out?

View from a Curiosity camera on the Mars Science Laboratory rover.  History!

The most envy-inducing holiday photo ever – Curiosity on Mars.

Oh happy day!  On the 6th of August, 2012, the Curiosity rover made successful touchdown on the surface of Mars.  I stayed up last night to watch the control room feed, streamed live into my living room via the power of the internet, and I was SO HAPPY for those excited men and women the moment they called out ‘touchdown’.  I was almost in tears, just as they were.

More thoughts on this, and what it would have looked like if Curiosity had thrown a few Instagram-like effects on her snap, after the jump.

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The SpaceX corporation's Dragon module, grappled by the ISS robotic arm

That, is the ISS robotic arm grappling the SpaceX Dragon module.

Just the best headline ever, and entirely accurate.

The SpaceX corporation’s Dragon module successfully berthed with the ISS today, first being grabbed by the robot arm and then drawn into position to dock.  I was watching on’s NASA TV – and I’m convinced that SpaceX and NASA were conspiring to ensure that they had the most ridiculous, awesome, soundbites and quotes – things straight from the cover of an 80’s metal/rock band record sleeve.

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A 3d printed, Warhammer 40k inspired dreadnought on the left, and an official Warhammer 40k dreadnought miniature on the right

On left - BomsaiBrain's 3d printed Warhammer style miniature. On right - an official GW dreadnought mini.

Anyone who’s into 3d printing is probably aware that the PirateBay recently announced a new category on their torrent tracking site for 3d model files, ostensibly for 3d printing, called Physibles.  Man do I have a lot to say about that.

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Fremen from Arrakis, and the movie Dune, in their stillsuits

Fremen from Arrakis, shown in the movie Dune, wearing their stillsuits

Recently my mind has turned to the problem of excessive humidity – not because I’m suffering from it currently, but because I was curious as to how an algae-based CO2 scrubber could be used without having to live in a near 100% humidity environment!  This was, apparently, one of the issues with the algae biocoil in the Biosub project.  In the end, I blew through a tube and got dizzy – here’s why.

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