Interactive Drake Equation

BBC Future has provided us with a colorful application for twiddling with the variables in the Drake Equation. The Equation is a thought experiment meant to give a very rough idea as to the number of inhabited planets and technological civilizations existing within the Milky Way galaxy. This version is divided into four sections, allowing you to see how many potentially habitable planets exist in the galaxy, how many are inhabited, etc.

(This is only an image. Go to BBC Future for the application.)

Now Entering the Diamond Age

The Next Web links to a blogger who claims to have created a gun with the help of a 3D printer:

As of this writing, the blogger, HaveBlue, can’t be accessed. I’m guessing that his blog has been flooded. However, The Next Web reports:

Before you go about locking yourself in your closet, you should know that the only printed part of the gun was the lower receiver. But, according to the American Gun Control Act, the receiver is what counts as the firearm.

HaveBlue reportedly used a Stratasys 3D printer to craft the part, assembled it as a .22 pistol and fired more than 200 rounds with it.

In light of current events, I find this both impressive and chilling.

Our culture is still trying to deal with the internet’s ability to transmit large amounts of information quickly. It’s turned products that can be reduced to information – music, programs, movies, books – into black markets goods that can be obtained without leaving the chair. Many companies are struggling to deal with the fact that their products can be stolen millions of times a minute via a torrent site.

What happens when hard goods can be broken down into information, transmitted around the world and then reconstructed? Obviously the current tech is limited, but there’s no reason to assume that it will always be so. What happens to gun laws when many people can print their own guns? What will it do to art? copyright laws?

Quantum Leap

Oh dear. Scott Bailey found this website, and it is truly absurd. It appears to be New Thought taken in a slightly different direction than we’re used to. Are you ready for better living through alternate dimensions? Welcome to Quantum Jumping:

For the most part it’s a standard “multiple worlds” hypothesis story, where every decision you make is made in a different way by an alternate you in another dimension. We’re all familiar with that sci-fi plot device, right?

That’s when it gets weird:

Welcome to the Infinite You.

Quantum Jumping is a visualization process where you use your mind to ‘jump’ into parallel dimensions, and gain creativity, knowledge, wisdom, skills and inspiration from alternate versions of yourself.

This happens through a phenomenon known as “thought transference.” You see, although the solidity of our world seems indisputable, Quantum Theory suggests that our physical reality is nothing but a very elaborate mirage. A super-hologram of information and energy. A Matrix.

From there we get New Thought taken to an extreme. It’s not just that the “law of attraction” will make your thoughts become reality. Instead, reality itself is nothing more than thought: “the substance of the universe, of your reality, may be nothing more than consciousness or thought.”

You can pretty much fill in the blanks from there. By using these special mental techniques, you can be richer, happier, healthier, etc.

Black Goat of the Woods

Christmas should have a dark side. Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are short and the air is cold and dry. This is a time for standing alone in a stark winter landscape, surrounded by a silence but for the cracking of ice and the snap of snow-laden branches. Christmas hymns should be haunting – “I Wonder as I Wander,” perhaps.

It’s a good time for this short piece by Joesph Nanni titled “Black Goat.” Lovecraftians should catch the reference right off – Shub-Niggurath, the black goat of the woods with a thousand young.

This is something of a test piece. Nanni is apparently working on a full length picture based on this concept.

Via io9

I Choose To Believe…