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Posted on Aug 24, 2010 3:49:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2010 3:50:02 AM PDT
http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/pain-beam-to-be-installed-in-los-angeles-jail/19604676
(Corrected URL)

'PAIN' BEAM TO BE INSTALLED IN LOS ANGELES JAIL (Another military invention jumps to the civilian world. This Assualt Intervention Device is to break up jail fights, that I assume are too dangerous for guards to intervene personally.)

Posted on Aug 31, 2010 8:34:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 31, 2010 8:38:58 AM PDT
http://www.bris.ac.uk/aerospace/research/dynamicsandsystems/morphing.html

Bristol University (UK) has an interesting "Morphing Aircraft Project". Still in its early stages, the project is researching "changeable wing configurations" (like sliding or folding aircraft wings) for planes in flight or on the ground.

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 10:51:21 AM PDT
http://www.lasermotive.com/

"LaserMotive" is a Seattle-based company in the news recently for demo'ing their laser-powered helicopter. Their ambitious future plans include launching rockets by laser, transmitting electricity without wires, and beaming solar energy from space down to the Earth.

A company to watch!

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 4:24:27 PM PDT
Oh yeah, LaserMotive were the folks that won close to $1 Million in the NASA Power Beaming Challenge last year. Good stuff!

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 9:09:50 AM PDT
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/business/05venter.html?th&emc=th

HIS CORPORATE STRATEGY: THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Dr. J. Craig Venter's company, "Synthetic Genomics", is going to try and create living creatures (bacteria, algae or plants) redesigned from the DNA up, to carry out industrial tasks and displace the fuels and chemicals now being made from fossil fuels.

Despite his many critics, Exxon Mobile and British Petroleum (among others) have given him millions in research funding to design fuel-producing microbes, or find ways to make existing fuels more efficient.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 10:29:16 AM PDT
Since we are in the sci-fi section, this post on Venter by Marilyn reminds me. I've read sci-fi stories in the past of alien cultures that use manipulated biological organisms to do what we do with metal machines.

Storm Troopers comes to mind, though I'm not sure whether the various bug soldiers are manipulated to be that way by the smart bugs or they just evolved that way. Can you guys think of other stories where aliens use bio manipulation instead of machines?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2010 12:08:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 1:37:47 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Bob,

"Storm Troopers comes to mind, though I'm not sure whether the various bug soldiers are manipulated to be that way by the smart bugs or they just evolved that way."

I believe you mean Starship Troopers (which if you are a fan of Heinlein, was a pretty bad movie, but if you take it as unrelated, was entertaining on its own terms...). Yes, the bugs in the movie seem to have been adapted/bred to their roles. There are many bioengineering science fiction novels, from Blood Music where humans create their successor, which fortunately is relatively benign, even if they do eat North America; the Gaia trilogy starting with Titan (Gaea) where the Titans can create lifeforms for various purposes; Alien (The Director's Cut) was perhaps an alien bioweapon, as it is just so convenient that it can assimilate human DNA...; and the Void Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton where some types of animal can be impressed whilst developing in eggs to perform certain tasks.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 12:16:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 12:17:46 PM PDT
Zacharia Sitchin's Annunaki series (which can be science fiction or fact, depending on your belief patterns), says that mankind on Earth was created by ET "gods" to be their slaves and do the dirty work of mining gold.

I've read other stories about accidental or intentional "hybrid-humans". The dramatic story possibilities seem endless, starting with the Greek Mythology model.

Somehow, I don't think that "manipulated" microbes or insects has the same story-punch or dramatic-involvement as hybrid-humans. But I could be wrong.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 1:08:20 PM PDT
Thanks, Martin. DUH, yes, I meant Starship Troopers.
Blood Music was a great book. I've read a bunch of Greg Bear's novels.

But, I was thinking more of alien civilizations that took a different route from us, using genetic modification for everything they needed. For example, making a tree grow in the form of a table, etc. They always like to show organic-like alien spaceships in movies, and I know I've read something like that in the past, but I can't think of a specific novel right now. Didn't the Moties do something like this in "The Mote in God's Eye"? The little 'monkeys' were engineered mods, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2010 1:15:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 1:38:41 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"says that mankind on Earth was created by ET "gods" to be their slaves and do the dirty work of mining gold."

Ferrous and sulfur oxidizing bacteria are more effective at obtaining gold than humans, using the process of bioleaching, which is more economical and effective than some other means of extracting gold from ore.

So the 'bugs' have it.

For that matter, bacteria appear to be responsible for concentrating gold in nuggets; lacy patterns in South African and Chinese gold deposits are indicative of the reproduction patterns of Pedomicrobium. In Australia, Delftia acidovorans and Cupriavidus metallidurans seem to be involved.

There's actually an intent to use genetically modified bacteria to enhance gold production.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17915-theres-gold-in-them-there-modified-bacteria.html

Sitchin would have more credibility as a science fantasy writer if his imaginary aliens manipulated bacteria to extract gold instead of humans... (His 'translations' of Sumerian are suspect anyway; it looks like he's stolen material from Immanuel Velikovsky and H.P. Lovecraft - who also has humans developed by the star-headed Old Ones of Antarctica... All things considered, Lovecraft is a better writer.)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2010 1:24:10 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Hi Bob,

If I remember The Mote in God's Eye correctly, the variants of Moties arose because of the cycle of wars, the earliest of which were nuclear and/or because of mutations arising in the off-world asteroid colonies. Those mutations that weren't lethal and gave rise to useful attributes (such as the asymmetry) were then used as a basis for breeding specialisations. I believe the 'watchmakers' started out that way and were then bred for the role.

In the Warhammer 40K universe (ahem) the Tyranids consist of numerous genetically engineered sub-species, ranging from their starships down to their projectile weapons. They also assimilate other species both as raw biomass and as a source of new forms.

There are similar creatures in science fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2010 1:17:17 PM PDT
JLD62 says:
Star Trek and Stargate Atlantis both encountered species who used organic spaceships.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2010 1:22:46 PM PDT
JLD62 says:
James Axler's "Outlander" series is also based on the Annunaki myth. it is set 200 years in the future in a post apocolyptic world where an alien race is running the surviving civilization from behind the scenes and has apparently been doing so for thousands of years.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2010 2:21:37 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Jeffrey,

"James Axler's "Outlander" series is also based on the Annunaki myth."

But not the same as Sitchin's 'Annunaki', and for that matter includes the Tuatha Dé Danann and H.P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones (or at least one of them).

The Annunaki feature in a number of sf works and at least one rpg.

Annunaki (Anuna or Annunnakku) in the real world was initially a Sumerian term for the gods, the 'princely offspring', and by Babylonian times had changed in meaning to refer to the gods of earth and underworld. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary is a more reliable source than Sitchin's works of imagination.

Posted on Sep 7, 2010 6:15:03 AM PDT
Jeffery -

"organic spaceships": Reminds me of the original "Alien". Geiger's drawings and real cattle organs for the Aliens and/or their birth-pods. Creepy on top of creepy.

Sitchin aside, the Mesopotamians (including the Sumerians), had some very strange religious beliefs, that seemed to indicate a close Earth-Heaven connection. They believed in a "mirrored" cosmos, where everything in Heaven was reflected on a smaller scale on Earth, and vice versa. If the gods were fighting, so were the people on Earth. Considering starting a war on Earth meant possibly enraging the gods that a war between them was also imminent.

When the Chaldeans arrived, they took this belief-system one step further, and came up with the first crude Astrology, which was the same as Astronomy to them.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2010 6:24:02 AM PDT
>"But even the best of science and technology has yet to solve climate >change"
>
>- Stopped reading right there.

Any particular reason why?

Willie
The Invasion - a top 10 hit in Kindle Science Fiction and Kindle Horror

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2010 10:21:36 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"...the Mesopotamians (including the Sumerians), had some very strange religious beliefs, that seemed to indicate a close Earth-Heaven connection. They believed in a "mirrored" cosmos, where everything in Heaven was reflected on a smaller scale on Earth, and vice versa. If the gods were fighting, so were the people on Earth. Considering starting a war on Earth meant possibly enraging the gods that a war between them was also imminent."

There are a fair number of false assumptions there.

It also ignores the fact that most Sumerian cities had a particular divine sponsor (something not uncommon in the ancient world, up to and including the Greeks) and so war between cities implied war between their patron deities. It is a fairly common theme to human cultures, where different tribes or city states have different patron deities.

"When the Chaldeans arrived, they took this belief-system one step further, and came up with the first crude Astrology, which was the same as Astronomy to them."

The Chaldeans were relatively late arrivals in Mesopotamia and appeared more than a thousand years after the decline of the Sumerian civilisation when the Sumerian language became merely a literary and liturgical tongue. Between the decline of Sumer and the arrival of the Chaldeans there were the Akkadians, Amorites and the rise of Babylon and Assyria. The Chaldean Neo-Babylonian empire (the 11th Babylonian dynasty) lasted barely a century; rather than the originators of astrology/astronomy, they simply inherited the system of the Babylonians, which predated their arrival by more than a thousand years (the age of the first text, around 1600 B.C.) with its origins in the third millennium B.C.

Posted on Sep 8, 2010 11:10:32 AM PDT
I researched Mesopotamian religious beliefs when I wrote an article on ziggurats. Every city-state in Mesopotamia had a ziggurat (or step-pyramid) in the administrative section of their ruling city. It was dedicated to the city-state's Protector God, as their Home on Earth, and was NOT a house of worship. (The Babylon ziggurat's name translates as "House of the Platform Between Heaven and Earth".)

The Mesopotamian's did indeed believe in a mirrored cosmos, terrestrial people versus cosmic gods. These ideas started out as their ancestral beliefs, that heaven and earth were complimentary, and neither was supreme. It later became important for the priests to read the daily "omens" to try and divine the "will of the gods".

The Chaldeans were late-comers to Mesopotamia and, embracing the Mesopotamian religions, started compiling lists of heavenly events, from eclipses to moon phases to Earthly "seasons". These lists confirmed to the Mesopotamians that Earth and Heaven were causally linked.

Thus the first simplistic version of astrology, or using heavenly orbs to predict complimentary future events on Earth. So the priests' search for daily "omens" finally had a framework, and confirmed their ancestral beliefs in "complimentary" heavenly and earthly events.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2010 12:12:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2010 12:41:19 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"The Chaldeans were late-comers to Mesopotamia and, embracing the Mesopotamian religions, started compiling lists of heavenly events, from eclipses to moon phases to Earthly "seasons". These lists confirmed to the Mesopotamians that Earth and Heaven were causally linked."

No, the Chaldeans simply used the existing texts; they did determine the eclipse cycles and saros cycles and invent the system of the zodiac as twelve zones instead of the earlier larger system (of 17 or 18+), but for predictions and omens they simply used the system that predated their arrival by about a thousand years, and itself was based on an older system of constellations.

The Babylonian system also only recognized five planets plus the sun and moon (unfortunately for Sitchin's claims) and these were associated with seven gods, from which comes our seven days of the week. So the Neo-Babylonian astrological system was simply a variation on the older system, which identified each of the planets, plus the sun and moon with particular deities. The system required the assessment of the position of the planets and mainly the comparison with records of previous equivalent positions and the events that transpired at those times, as a means of predicting current or future events. An example would be the 'Enuma Anu Enlil' tablets used by the Assyrians and probably compiled in the Kassite period, many centuries prior to the arrival of the Chaldean Neo-Babylonian dynasty.

The great ziggurat of Babylon, according to Herodotus, had seven levels, apparently one for each of the deities and a shrine or sacred bed chamber for Marduk/Bel at the top. Marduk was often simply called 'bel' - lord - as the supreme god.

"The Babylon ziggurat's name translates as "House of the Platform Between Heaven and Earth"."

The more common translation for Etemenanki is 'temple/house of the foundation of heaven and earth'.

E house/temple; TEMEN foundation; AN earth; KI sky (cf Sumerian Lexicon).

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 7:33:20 AM PDT
I stand by my research about Mesopotamian gods. There are lots of differing interpretations of Mesopotamian records. And quibbling over exact translations, or layers in a temple/ziggarut are the above poster's stock-in-trade. Namely obsessing on trivia, belittling the facts, and trying to deflect the thrust of the topic using only contradictory sources.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidy. And I'm not sure abut the former." Albert Einstein

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2010 8:00:38 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"And quibbling over exact translations, or layers in a temple/ziggarut are the above poster's stock-in-trade. Namely obsessing on trivia, belittling the facts, and trying to deflect the thrust of the topic using only contradictory sources."

Here we go again...

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidy. And I'm not sure abut the former."

Einstein never said that.

Frederick S. Perls originally wrote 'As modern times promote hasty eating to a large extent, it is not surprising to learn that a great astronomer said: "Two things are infinite, as far as we know - the universe and human stupidity." To-day we know that this statement is not quite correct. Einstein has proved that the universe is limited.'

Perls, in subsequent versions attributed it to Einstein.

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 8:41:09 PM PDT
Hey, now this is pretty cool.
"Tractor Beams Get Real"
http://www.insidescience.org/research/tractor_beams_get_real
(Well, not exactly like in sci-fi since it won't work in space at it works by the lasers heating the air, but still very inventive.)

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 8:54:11 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 19, 2011 10:39:21 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 10, 2010 10:26:00 PM PDT
Yeah, probably should be called a repulsion beam. Even so, pretty cool.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2010 11:10:18 PM PDT
...didn't expect to see lively debate on the specifics of the Chaldean arrival in Mesopotamia and its impact on Sumerian culture in the "On-The-Horizon Technology" thread. Isn't the internet wonderful?
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  44
Total posts:  1015
Initial post:  Jul 29, 2010
Latest post:  Aug 31, 2013

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