Science! Science Fiction That Stopped Being Fiction In 2012

Have you guys seen this list of 27 things that made the transition from science fiction to reality in 2012? I mean, they aren’t part of everyday reality just yet. But that’s okay. Some of these were big news for everyone (James Cameron’s adventure to the ocean depths, the discovery of the Higgs boson), but I had not heard about a few of these.

The short version of the list? Mentally controlling a robotic arm, robots crossing an obstacle course, silk that is stronger than steel, DNA photographed, invisibility cloaks, spray-on skin, reaching the depths of the ocean, stem cells may extend human life significantly (it worked on mice), 3D printer prints a house, legalized self-driving cars (in a few states; they’re just thinking ahead, really), Voyager I leaves the solar system, a human mandible was printed and given to a patient (as in, it’s part of his body and it works, now), rogue planet found floating through space, monkeys created from more than one embryo, artificial leaves that generate electricity, the Higgs boson discovered, inexpensive solar panels, diamond planet, optical implant to restore sight, Wales recorded the DNA of every flowering plant in Wales, an unmanned commercial flight docked with the International Space-Station, flexible glass, robotic exoskeletons (for NASA), human brain’s practical functions are observed, a planet with four suns, and Microsoft patented real-world virtual reality for games.

So, that’s just the list. You should really read the actual list and look at the pictures (and videos) and read the descriptions. So worth it.

But, for me, there were some definitely highlights. Um, stem cells dramatically extending human life. Obviously, “dramatically extending” is not the same thing as immortality. But, if this treatment is available and affordable within, say, three decades, then that gives me a very good chance of living long enough to, well, never die. This treatment does not confer immortality, but we all know that it’s …4

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God Wants You to Choose the Edifi Tablet

Photo of Edifi Tablet
I have a pretty eclectic collection of apps on my iPhone, ranging from a pedometer to Domino’s Pizza (which probably explains the need for a pedometer) to Walgreens (who knew you could refill a prescription simply by taking a picture of the barcode?) to a graphing calculator to … well, you get the idea.

The idea that there’s a Bible application, however, would never have occurred to me had I not heard about Edifi, an Android-based tablet that will hopefully “spread God’s word through a tablet”, according to Brian Honorable of Family Christian, the company behind the Edifi.

Family Christian is evidently trying to address the “inevitable intersection of technology and religion.”

Hmm …

Just for kicks and giggles, I searched “Bible” in my iPhone’s App Store, and there were scores of free downloads (and, for .99, I could go for the “Daily Audio Bible” should I so desire).

So why would anyone, even the most devout of Christians, opt for the Edifi, which sells for around $150 and is designed to be similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, when there are so many varieties of tablets?

From Fox News:

The Christian tablet is more than just an e-reader. It also comes with movie-watching capabilities, Christian radio stations, and even a web browser with built-in “safe search,” so the tablet is safe for the whole family. “We put that on there just in case it was given as a gift to a child, so they wouldn’t have access to things they shouldn’t have access to,” said Honorable. “We definitely had to tailor it to our customers.”

Ah, so there’s the crux of it. Basically, religious radicals are accepting that technology can’t be ignored forever, particularly by teens and tweens, so here’s a great way to control the situation, to micromanage the message that people are hearing in the hopes that they …

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Put Down the Electronics, Revitalize Your Love Life?

photo of nook pictures photos pics
For Christmas this year, my mother got me a Nook.  She vacillated between the easy reader and one of the more advanced models, eventually going for the simpler (and cheaper, although she kindly made up the financial difference in a Barnes and Noble gift card) route.

Why?

Well, because I have an iPhone that’s pretty much my life.  I mean, that baby has a camera, camcorder, calculator, and so on, never mind the internet options.  I read the news on my iPhone.  I get e-mail and texts on my iPhone.  I keep in touch with friends, loved ones, and total strangers via Facebook and Twitter on my iPhone.  I got notified about my tax return on my iPhone.

Well, you get the idea.

And so did my mom since she decided that, between the iPhone and my laptop, there was  no earthly need to give me yet another internet-enabled device when the Simple Touch would certainly meet my needs as a book equivalent (well, almost-equivalent).

Yup, I’m definitely a card-carrying member of the “Technology Age”, and the things that have been lost along the way only bother me when I think about them.

Like now, as I’m contemplating Chicago Portfolio student Jake Reilly’s self-titled “Amish Project”, the gist of which involved dropping from the world of social networking—in other words, going without “Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, texting, and more for 90 days”.

This is a fascinating story to me, actually, namely because I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t pull it off.  (I’m one of those annoying people that inform my Facebook followers know when I wake up in the morning  and Tweet about the weather)

What I found relevant to you lovely ZL readers, though, is this: apparently, Reilly’s love life took a turn for the better that clearly coincided with his life change as he recaptured the heart of his long-term girlfriend by stamping a Christmas message into the snow outside her window.

From Yahoo News Brad Sylvester’s recent interview with Reilly:

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Sorry, Siri

photo of iphone siri pictures photos pics
I have an iPhone 4S, and I’ve tried many times to use Siri. Siri is the intelligent software assistant that is designed to let you use your voice to send messages, make calls, and find directions among other things. But she’s more trouble than she’s worth, and usually is very little help to me. I’ve noticed that Siri makes a lot of mistakes and I have to constantly tell her to change the text message I’ve dictated to her. When she messes it up again, I tell her to cancel it and she snaps at me, “Fine, forget it then.” A bit rude for a robot, wouldn’t you say? However, when my boyfriend uses her she down right coos at him. In the two months I’ve had her, she has never once snapped at him. This lead me to think that Siri has alternative motives, or maybe it’s just that she doesn’t like me, but why? When I first got her, we had a lot of fun asking her inappropriate questions. She found us four escorts that were very close to our proximity, but told us that she would not perform any of those types of behaviors herself because she, “wasn’t that kind of personal assistant.” When I told her I felt like killing somebody she told me where I could dispose of the body, finding the nearest “dumps, swamps, mines, reservoirs or metal foundries.” She’ll even tell you the closest pharmacies to find Viagra, but when I asked her to help me find the Plan B Pill she said, “I don’t understand Plan B Pill.” To her credit, however, she did find the Morning After Pill. Yet, when I asked her to find an …

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