Contrary Brin Highlights

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Robots and Foundation Universe: Issues Left For Us by Isaac Asimov Asimov Foundation, David Brin, Isaac Asimov, Cyborgs, Robotics, Science Fiction, Literature, Highlights, Gaming

The Robots and Foundation Universe: Issues Left For Us by Isaac Asimov

"It is the business of the future to be dangerous." -- A.N. Whitehead A week ago, I explored the complex matter of Robert A. Heinlein. Now, let's dive deeply for a close look at another of our field's Grand Masters... one about whom I am officially an expert! == Isaac Asimov and the joy of endless argument == Ah, robots. Ever since Karel Capek coined the word in his stage play “R.U.R.”, its meaning has gone through steady transformation. The fleshy slave-workers of Capek’s drama would today…

Childhood's End and Remembering Arthur C. David Brin, Childhood's End, Teacher Stuff, Science Fiction, Literature, Highlights, Sci Fi, Technology, Future

Childhood's End and Remembering Arthur C. Clarke

Last night was the premiere of Childhood's End on SyFy. The reviewers haven't been kind but I think it's been very faithful to the source novel. We'll be watching part two tonight. December 16 would have been Arthur C. Clarke’s 98th birthday. Arthur (who called me a colleague and friend, despite our only having corresponded by mail) passed on in 2008, after ninety years of a life that could only have happened in the century and civilization that he helped to shape. Clarke has long and…

CONTRARY BRIN: Germ-Line (inheritable) human “improvement” via genetic engineering? The "Heinlein Solution? Social Issues, Genetics, Science Nature, Line, Science Fiction, Highlights, Engineering, Technology, Future

Germ-Line (inheritable) human “improvement” via genetic engineering? The "Heinlein Solution?"

This fascinating (if long) essay - Engineering the Perfect Baby (from Technology Review) - explores the scientific and moral ramifications of “germ cell genetic engineering” or the changing of genomes in ways that can be inherited and passed-down, parent to naturally conceived child. And while we may shrug or even cheer, if we see a mother elephant give birth to a fertile woolly mammoth, some time in the next 20 years, it is both enticing and worrisome to imagine we might rush into…

CONTRARY BRIN: To Boldly Go... Star Trek at Fifty David Brin, Dragonriders Of Pern, Popular Culture, Lotr, Star Trek, Science Fiction, Highlights, Technology, Future

To Boldly Go... Star Trek at Fifty

CONTRARY BRIN: To Boldly Go... Star Trek at Fifty

 Abrams Awakens the Force David Brin, Jj Abrams, The Final Frontier, Good And Evil, Archetypes, Popular Culture, Science Fiction, Highlights, Old Things

J.J. Abrams Awakens the Force

Okay we saw it. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SW:TFA), on Christmas Eve. And although I am lead author — and “prosecuting attorney” — of the book Star Wars on Trial, and hence a leading critic of the series, I must admit that: (1) The newest installment of the franchise — directed by J.J. Abrams under Disney management — has none of the deeply objectionable traits of Episodes I, II, III and VI that I denounced in that controversial tome. Abrams and Disney shrugged off the lunacies George…

CONTRARY BRIN: Envisioning the World of Tomorrow: a catalog of future-looking web sites World Of Tomorrow, Science Fiction, Catalog, Highlights, Technology, Website, Future, Books, Sci Fi

Envisioning the World of Tomorrow: a catalog of future-looking web sites

What technologies are currently shaping our world…and which will continue to mold our future? In this special posting, we'll take you on a tour of many wondrous web sites and other resources that aim spotlights at the future. And invite you all to chime in with favorites that I missed! These visionary sites keep an eye on breakthroughs in scientific research and advances in cutting edge technologies. They offer insights into innovative trends that impact industry, education, energy…

CONTRARY BRIN: Looking back at Heinlein's Future History - coming true before our eyes. David Brin, Fiction Books, Bibliophile, Looking Back, Science Fiction, Literature, Highlights, Technology, Eyes

Looking back at Heinlein's Future History - coming true before our eyes.

This one is so pertinent and important, I tried to find a more public venue for it. But one of the tragic consequences of the Trump Era is the decay of op-ed journalism -- everyone recycling the same whines. I'll speak more of this, at the end. But now -- this just can't be put off, any longer. Prepare to go wide-eyed! == A chilling forecast: accurate down to the last detail == You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic. –…

Liberals, you must reclaim Adam Smith Right To Work States, Economics Books, Larry Page, American Manufacturing, Oppression, Naive, You Must, Science Fiction

Liberals, you must reclaim Adam Smith

A blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future.

Transparent Ownership Treaty: Can we reduce disparity without killing market enterprise? David Brin, Science Fiction, Marketing, Sayings, Highlights, Blog, Sci Fi, Lyrics, Luminizer

The Chief Threat to our Great Experiment: Can we reduce disparity without killing market enterprise?

The difficulty of maintaining a civilization of empowered citizenship -- the "diamond-shaped social structure" about which I often speak -- was well described by the famous historians Will and Ariel Durant, in The Lessons of History. "…the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.” Consider the efficiency with which the Durants convey multiple ideas there! First, that an…

Can We Save Freedom by Hiding? David Brin, Science Fiction, Highlights, Freedom, Technology, Canning, Future, Books, Sci Fi

Can We Save Freedom by Hiding?

== False Trails are… a false trail == Across all my years as an impudent dissenter from mob-think regarding freedom and privacy, one fact has left me boggled, time and again. The way activists and academics and pundits – many of them clearly intelligent and sincere thinkers – leap to make the same mistake, over and over again. The error of technological myopia. Take this example: “…New York University professors Helen Nissenbaum and Finn Brunton have a proposal. In their new book…

Our best year in space yet! David Brin, Highlights, Neon Signs, Space, Floor Space, Luminizer, Hair Highlights, Highlight, Spaces

Our best year in space yet!

This time we're looking outward... toward the vast, vast majority of all there is. And after decades of doldrums, it seems we truly are regaining some momentum in space exploration. Have any of you been keeping track on a scorecard? Hang on till the end, to read the news from NASA NIAC! First... Citizen science. Nasa just launched a satellite to judge soil moisture. in order to calibrate it, Nasa needs lots of soil samples. So, they're inviting people to find out when the SMAP satellite is…

CONTRARY BRIN: Altruistic Horizons: Our tribal natures, the 'fear effect' and the end of ideologies David Brin, The End, Social Issues, Science Fiction, Technology, History, Nature, Highlights, Articles

Altruistic Horizons: Our tribal natures, the 'fear effect' and the end of ideologies

Okay, this is one of my big ones... a major posting about some fundamentals of human nature and history. I sometimes blog these before posting them as full essays, then chapters in a forthcoming book. So cinch up your saddle for a serious ride as we explore some basic drivers of our unique civilization! ---------------------- Social thinkers long yearned for the kind of predictive power offered by universal laws of Galileo, Newton and Einstein -- reductionist rules that changed our…

Let's Lift the Earth! David Brin, Fun Workouts, Mbs, Earth, Let It Be, Hippy, Science Fiction, Highlights, Technology

Let's Lift the Earth!

Think of our poor sister world Venus – almost the same size as Earth, it probably had oceans at the beginning. But Venus orbits closer to the sun -- and was never in the Continuously Habitable Goldilocks Zone, or CHZ. Instead our poor sister world quickly spiraled into a greenhouse effect that erased its oceans and drove all the water away, leaving a desert planet, coated with dense clouds of sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide. That kind of death spiral is what will happen to our Earth –…

Citizen Power: Those Cop Cameras: What will happen when both cops and the citizens they stop are armed with cameras, all the time? Cops, Citizen, Science Fiction, Cameras, Highlights, Shit Happens, Sci Fi, Camera, Luminizer

Citizen Power - Part II: Those Cop-Cameras...

Continuing our series on co-veillance, sousveillance and general citizen empowerment, on our streets... last time we discussed our right and ability to use new instrumentalities to expand our ability to view, record and hold others accountable, with the cameras in our pockets. Now -- the other side of this accountability equation. Some ideas seem far-out "scifi"... until suddenly they become mainstream. In the wake of the recent Ferguson, Missouri riots, a petition asking for a "Mike Brown…

Brin Classics: "The Jefferson Rifle" David Brin, Oppression, Politics, Classic, Science Fiction, Highlights, Guns, Events, Technology

Brin Classics: "The Jefferson Rifle"

I have been asked to post a few of my older riffs and rants... here online for a new generation to share and ponder. I've been mulling which ones. Then the topic of the Second Amendment and gun control recently came up. Along with the observation that some liberals are starting to nurse fantasies of needing to be armed, themselves, in the era that they see coming down the road. Of course, at one level, this topic is a special example of one of my frequent complaints, that many issues in…

A look at some of the best Science Fiction Webcomics David Brin, Science Fiction, Letters, Good Things, Funny Stuff, Books, Highlights, Technology, Future

A look at some of the best Science Fiction Webcomics

A few years back I posted a review of my top choices in science-oriented webcomics, highlighting outstanding works such as xkcd, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Girl Genius, Schlock Mercenary, Abstruse Goose, Tree Lobsters, Scenes from a Multiverse, Dresden Codak, and others. This time let's follow-up with a selection of yet-more truly creative online comics, some serious space dramas, others satires or comedies. Many offer humorous insights as they delve into science, space, the future……