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27 July 2010

Starcraft Cloaking Devices

Today’s the big day: Starcraft 2 comes out! Over at my Science of Starcraft blog I have two new posts. One is a nice short video summarizing the plot of the original game, so if you want to know what I’m talking about when I make game references in other posts, check it out. I also posted an article about real-world research into cloaking devices, a technology that is common …

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23 July 2010

The Science of Starcraft: Creepy Slime Molds

My second article is up over at my new Science of Starcraft blog! This one is about the weird substance in the game called “creep” and its similarities to real-world slime-molds. Check it out! Even if you don’t play Starcraft, slime molds are really cool/weird. (PS – I swear I’ll be posting some real Martian Chronicles content soon instead of just pointing to articles elsewhere! But I’m trying to get …

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21 July 2010

The Science of Starcraft

In 1998 the computer game Starcraft came out, setting the bar for real-time strategy games for the next decade. I loved playing Starcraft, and spent more time that I’d like to admit doing so. Starcraft also gave me my first taste of computer programming: the game came with a “map editor” which let you construct your own maps, including simple if-then statements. IF an enemy unit enters my base THEN …

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11 July 2010

Review: On the Beach

Last week I reviewed the post-apocalyptic horror novel I am Legend. As it so happens, I am Legend was a rather short book, and I finished it only partway through a rather long weekend of traveling to and from a wedding in Wyoming. I was already in a post-apocalyptic mood, so I bought a copy of the classic post-apocalypse novel On the Beach by Nevil Shute for my Kindle. On …

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5 July 2010

Review: I am Legend

No, not the Will Smith movie. The classic 1954 post-apocalyptic vampire/zombie novel that inspired the movie. I am Legend, by William Matheson, is a quick read and well worth it. It is intensely atmospheric, conjuring a very dark future in which the world’s population has succumbed to a disease that turns them into vampire-like monsters. The sole survivor is the main character, Robert Neville. Neville spends his days hunting down …

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15 June 2010

The Biological Singularity

If you’re a sci-fi reader, you are probably familiar with the idea of the “technological singularity“. For the uninitiated, the Singularity is the idea that computational power is increasing so rapidly that soon there will be genuine artificial intelligence that will far surpass humans. Essentially, once you have smarter-than-human computers, they will drive their own advancement and we will no longer be able to comprehend the technology. We can debate …

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8 April 2010

Review: Bioshock

When Bioshock came out, I heard rave reviews about its revolutionary gameplay, deep storyline, tough moral choices, arresting visuals and general awesomeness. So of course, when I decided to give in to my old gaming addiction and get an XBox 360, it was near the top of the list of games I wanted. Well, I just finished playing and sadly, I was pretty underwhelmed. The premise of the game is …

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18 March 2010

Book Review: The Next 100 Years

You would think that since I’m working at Johnson Space Center right now, I would have exciting tales from inside NASA to share with you, but I’m afraid it has been pretty uneventful. I have however managed to read a couple of books, one of which was The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, by George Friedman. This was a really fascinating book about using history and …

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10 March 2010

Review: Fallout 3

Other than Spore, which I played briefly (but intensely!) last year, and occasional multiplayer games when I visited with friends, Fallout 3 is the first serious single player game that I have played in a very long time. I used to be extremely addicted to video games, and for most of undergrad and grad school I had steered clear of them because I felt like I couldn’t afford the time. …

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8 March 2010

Hailing Frequencies Open!

Check this out, Star Trek’s Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) at JPL, ready to communicate with the rovers!

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