Science Meets Fiction
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Science Meets Fiction
When Atoms and Galaxies Collide with Imagination
Curated by Ingrid M
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Welcome to Science Meets Fiction

I put this topic together because I write science and speculative fiction. I have always preferred my SF to have some basis in scientific fact. To me, the best SF extrapolates and examines the impact of scientific discovery and technology on the future of humankind, short and long term. All science is extremely fascinating to me, but here I select stories that I believe provide good fuel for speculating our past, present, and future.

Although most media-driven SF (like TV shows) have little real science in them, and although the supernatural seems to be pervading SF lately, this is a place where you can explore the happenings of the Real World, Real Science, and some of the implications of those, as well as explore some fun, new, and classic SF entertainment.
 

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'Harmful' robot aims to spark AI debate - BBC News

'Harmful' robot aims to spark AI debate - BBC News | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
A robot that can decide whether or not to inflict pain is demonstrated by roboticist and artist Alexander Reben.
Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
Ingrid M's insight:
Asimov's laws of robots is in clear violation here. What if this robot became self aware with the programming to inflict pain? Sounds like robot sociopathy.
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Space Engineers - BUILDING A BASE ON HOTH

CaptainShack and W4stedspace land on the planet Hoth in Space Engineers. Their goal establish the first rebel outpost on the planet. W4stedSpace Channe
Ingrid M's insight:
Well, it doesn't get more science fiction than this!
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Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: NASA Ames' E. Coli Small Satellite Study Selected for Flight

Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: NASA Ames' E. Coli Small Satellite Study Selected for Flight | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) recently selected E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) as one of 24 small satellites to fly as secondary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Ingrid M's insight:

Why do I anticipate "Andromeda Strain" when this things returns to its scientists on Earth? :P

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David Swenson's electrostatic "invisible wall" (1996)

Ingrid M's insight:

Fascinating... is it the "shields" we've been waiting on for space battles?

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Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth

Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
UC Berkeley professor Tony Barnosky and 21 scientists from around the world argue in Nature magazine that planet Earth is frighteningly close to a tipping point that would send the globe into a state that could spell disaster for humans.
Ingrid M's insight:

At some point there will be a tipping point... but it's really hard to say when. And humans are pretty damn resilient, or we wouldn't have survived the last ice age, and all the other global trends before and after. However, some day we will use up this host planet, and I sincerely hope we have figured out some way off and somewhere to go.

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Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation

Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Back in 2003, Oxford professor Nick Bostrom suggested that we may be living in a computer simulation. In his paper, Bostrom offered very little science to support his hypothesis —
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Dwarf planet Makemake reveals its secrets for the first time

Dwarf planet Makemake reveals its secrets for the first time | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Astronomers have used three telescopes at ESO's observatories in Chile to observe the dwarf planet Makemake as it drifted in front of a distant star and blocked its light.
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Secrets of dinosaur footprints revealed, thanks to 'Goldilocks'

Secrets of dinosaur footprints revealed, thanks to 'Goldilocks' | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Terrain thought to be ruled by only the largest dinosaurs to inhabit Earth could have in fact been home to dozens of other creatures, ground-breaking research has found.
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Deep Impact Spacecraft Completes Rocket Burn - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Deep Impact Spacecraft Completes Rocket Burn - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft completed a firing of its onboard rocket motors earlier today.
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Curiosity discovers unidentified, metallic object on Mars | ExtremeTech

Curiosity discovers unidentified, metallic object on Mars | ExtremeTech | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
A few hundred million miles away on the surface of the Red Planet, Mars rover Curiosity has discovered... an unidentified, shiny, metallic object.
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Scientists Invent Method to Create Memories in Brains

Scientists Invent Method to Create Memories in Brains | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
I find this extremely hard to believe, but according to new research published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists have invented a method to induce memories in brains for the first time in history.

https://www.facebook.com/OrganicJewelryAriadnasFantasy


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Europeans did not inherit pale skins from Neanderthals - life - 26 September 2012 - New Scientist

Europeans did not inherit pale skins from Neanderthals - life - 26 September 2012 - New Scientist | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Modern humans in Europe became pale-skinned too recently to have gained the trait by interbreeding with Neanderthals...

Via Neelima Sinha
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Robocops are here. It’s time to create rules for how police can use them.

Robocops are here. It’s time to create rules for how police can use them. | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
As with drones in the military, technology is being deployed before we've thought through some very tough questions.
Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
Ingrid M's insight:
First of all, is it a robot, or is it a remote controlled (RC) vehicle? The former implies that it can make decisions about justice on its own... which I somehow doubt... the latter implies that humans still make the decisions, which sets up its own host of rule-making and rule-breaking in terms of justice.
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Genome editing comes of age - Nature Protocols

Genome editing comes of age - Nature Protocols | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it

Kim 2016,

Genome editing harnesses programmable nucleases to cut and paste genetic information in a targeted manner in living cells and organisms. Here, I review the development of programmable nucleases, including zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL (transcription-activator-like) effector nucleases (TALENs) and CRISPR (cluster of regularly interspaced palindromic repeats)–Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) RNA-guided endonucleases (RGENs). I specifically highlight the key advances that set the foundation for the rapid and widespread implementation of CRISPR–Cas9 genome editing approaches that has revolutionized the field.


Via dromius
Ingrid M's insight:
While there may be many corrective and beneficial uses for gene editing, there are few scarier prospects of science-gone-wrong.

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Physicists Hunt Weird Antimatter Beneath Earth

Physicists Hunt Weird Antimatter Beneath Earth | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Physicists have tentatively detected several particles that could reveal how radioactive heat inside the earth could influence earthquakes
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Liver kept alive outside of body in transplant first (Wired UK)

Liver kept alive outside of body in transplant first (Wired UK) | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Doctors at King's College Hospital have used a breakthrough new device to successfully transplant the liver
Ingrid M's insight:

Science is awesome!

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CDC's 'Nightmare Bacteria' Reveals Need for Natural Medicine

CDC's 'Nightmare Bacteria' Reveals Need for Natural Medicine | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Globally, great fear has been generated by the CDC Director's recent description of a "Nightmare Bacteria" resistant to all medications, capable of kill 1 in every 2 people whose blood becomes infected with it.
Ingrid M's insight:

It's difficult to say that super bacteria won't become resistant to "natural" bio-agents as well... 

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Scientists breed big-brained guppies to demonstrate evolution's trade-offs

Scientists breed big-brained guppies to demonstrate evolution's trade-offs | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Scientists have long suspected that big brains come with an evolutionary price — but now they've published the first experimental evidence to support that suspicion, based on their efforts to breed big-brained fish.
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Quantum teleportation between atomic ensembles demonstrated for first time

Quantum teleportation between atomic ensembles demonstrated for first time | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
(Phys.org)—One of the key components of quantum communication is quantum teleportation, a technique used to transfer quantum states to distant locations without actual transmission of the physical carriers.
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I am SAM

I am SAM | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Yesterday Mars Science Laboratory principal investigator John Grotzinger set the entire space science world abuzz with a tantalizing promise of 'earthshaking' news on the horizon—literally 'one for the history books,' as he put it in an interview...
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The seafloor is home to a vast electrical network created by bacteria

The seafloor is home to a vast electrical network created by bacteria | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
It sounds a little bit like one of the subplots in Avatar, where we discover that the moon Pandora possesses a kind of mega-consciousness created by bio-electrical circuitry.
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Meet the hexaflexagon. It's about to blow your mind.

Meet the hexaflexagon. It's about to blow your mind. | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it
Remember the first time you saw a Möbius strip (the ring-shaped surface with only one side) and it felt like your world had been turned upside down?
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Tesla Motors Launches Revolutionary Supercharger Enabling Convenient Long Distance Driving

Tesla Motors today unveiled its highly anticipated Supercharger network. Constructed in secret, Tesla revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger stations, which will allow the Model S to travel ...
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Botany Sci Fi? Short stories as tools for teaching | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)

Botany Sci Fi? Short stories as tools for teaching | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it

I particuarly enjoyed the short story at the end of this week's Nature,  called "Without", by Fran Wilde  (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7416/full/489466a.html). I found another story she'd written, "Everybody loves a hero"...


Via Neelima Sinha
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Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life

Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life | Science Meets Fiction | Scoop.it

In a stunning technical feat, an international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of an archaic Siberian girl 31 times over, using a new method that amplifies single strands of DNA. The sequencing is so complete that researchers have as sharp a picture of this ancient genome as they would of a living person's, revealing, for example that the girl had brown eyes, hair, and skin. . . .


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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PatrickHance's comment, September 22, 2013 9:05 PM
Scientists sequenced the genome of a 80,000 year old skeleton girl found in a Siberian cave. Using a new method that produced very clear results, the researchers were able to find out that the girl had brown hair, skin, and eyes. Because of the quality of the genome, they were able to compare the girl's genetic makeup to that of a modern human. The girl belonged to the ancient Denisovian people, who have the scarcest fossil record but the most known genetic material. The Denisovians split from modern humans 170,000 to 70,00 years ago. A strange finding by the team elsewhere was that East Asians had the most Neanderthal DNA, but Europe has the most Neanderthal fossils. Using their findings, the researchers discovered that the Denisovians bred with the ancestors of some human populations. About three percent of the genomes of New Guineans is Denisovian, and the Han and Dai people of China have trace Denisovian DNA.
PatrickHance's comment, September 22, 2013 9:16 PM
This article is important because it demonstrates a new method in studying DNA. The team that developed the method began prior to May 2010 and already they have made many important findings. The discovery of the Denisovians lineage was one of their first discoveries, and one of the most important. Despite there being only 3 fossils of Denisovians, we already have the most genetic material from them. The samples taken from the girl's finger was of equivalent quality to one taken from a modern human. All of this was done through the team's new method. Imagine what else we could discover.
PatrickHance's comment, September 22, 2013 9:16 PM
Gibbons, Ann. "Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life." Science Magazine. 8 30 2012: n. page. Web. 22 Sep. 2013. <http://news.sciencemag.org/paleontology/2012/08/genome-brings-ancient-girl-life?ref=hp>.