All in musings

I'm not all that old, and yet I grew up in a completely different world. The Internet was something we began to hear about as I neared my teenage years and even then it was not anything common. Computers still had floppy disks and monochrome monitors. Now you can see the rumblings of the first real cyberwar, cars that drive themselves, corporations going into space and planets outside of our solar system, and NASA is making announcements about finding new types of life based on arsenic. All of this makes me ask the question, is science fiction redundant? Has the world become the world from the old science fiction? The examples of technology are everywhere and often mentioned but they are so common that we sometimes forget. We don't just have cell phones anymore we have computers in our pockets that let us talk to people and augmented reality won't be long. The Kinect from Microsoft is of course as close to science fiction as we have gotten so far and people are still working on improving it so that now it can actually recognize voices far better and see individual finger movements. My real question though is where does this leave science fiction? There is of course plenty of things we have not done. Star Trek and Star Wars are still well out of our reach, but that does not seem to be the type of science fiction that is popular either. Shows like Fringe and Eureka for example are extrapolating technology and while they can sometimes be absurd the science is often thing that might happen and sooner than we would assume when you eliminate the magical elements that show up. And that is my question, have we began to advance so quickly that the enjoyment of imagining the future has been lost. After all if you can't keep up with today's technology what is the point of imagining tomorrows, which is what a lot of science fiction does and as shows like Fringe and Eureka show often the easiest way to do that now is to ignore the science and just do what you want which is effectively fantasy with technology rather than wands. What science fiction does though is not just have weird adventures with laser guns or examine technology. This is setting and in that setting you can have any other genre and any story, but limiting it to that is a mistake as well because that setting lets you put humans into new situations and imagine how they might react and change and that will always be important, unless we are no longer human.
Have you ever thought that the process of making a light bulb seemed a little too complicated? Well the people at the University of Connecticut have found an easier way. All you have to do is extract DNA from fish, add fluorescent dyes, spin them out into nanofibers. This process allows the light to make a material that absorbs ultraviolet light and gives it off as visible light. You can even adjust the color of the light with the amount of dye used, making it brighter or softer. Not only that but these new light bulbs could last far longer than the type you are used to, and they probably don't smell too much like fish. You might naturally assume that the scientists who are creating this new type of light bulb have some greater plan in mind, but they aren't admitting it, so I will reveal how I would use this plan. These new light bulbs using DNA will be far better than the old ones, slowly over the next years they will replace all other light bulbs, then at the scheduled time the scientists will emit a strong burst of energy to each of the light bulbs that will impart the  fish DNA to anyone nearby, turning us into a half-fish slave race. On the other hand it could simply be an interesting example of the many things that we are able to do as we learn to understand DNA better. --Thanks to Tifu from Deviant art for the fishman picture. see the article about it here
Forty years ago today man took his first steps on another world, but I always feel a bit melancholy when we discussing the trip to the moon. Is it better to have done something great and then stopped or to have never done it at all? I strongly believe that expansion is vital for humanity as a species. It isn't just because it is how we protect ourselves from natural disasters and even wars but because it gives those who want true freedom a choice. The freedoms of America largely exist because those who came here were free of the ideas and the rules of Europe. Yet we haven't even bothered to go back to the moon in almost a generation and if we don't move soon those men who can give us their experience on what happened will be gone. What has happened, I fear, is that we no longer have governments willing to take risks. We'll spend trillions on bailouts but not on a failed trip to the moon because if the trip to the moon failed everyone would know. Eventually we will return to the moon and do the other things that Kennedy was talking about in his famous speech because someone, perhaps our children or grandchildren will recognise that the only things really worth doing are difficult. We need to start thinking big again, to remember that we can accomplish anything, to understand that there is more to life than comfort and that the easy path is rarely the right path. P.s. Thank you to those who have worked on the space program now and then. You are doing one of the most important things humans have ever done and mostly in obscurity.