GUESS presents “Glasgow By Gaslight” – Aug 8th – Maker Fair and Show

There is going to be a “Steam Punk” exhibition in Glasgow on the 8th of August. It’s running under the title of Glasgow by Gaslight, and is organised by the Glasgow Uni Steam Punk Society.

Entry is free and it’s at the Glasgow Panopticon in trongate.


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GUESS presents “Glasgow By Gaslight” – Aug 8th – Maker Fair and Show.

Film Review: Moon

Moon is the story of an astronaut nearing the end of a three year mission on the dark side of the moon. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been on the Moon for almost 3 years and he really wants to get back to home to his wife and kid on earth.

He’s been living in total isolation with no real time communications for 3 years so has gone a bit loopy, his only company is his robot caretaker “GERTY” (Voiced by Kevin Spacey). GERTY is s work of genius, a believable robot with echos of HAL from 2001 with a screen that shows emoticons that evoke how the robot is feeling, it’s really well done and Spacey is spot on at playing an emotionless robot.

Anyway without wanting to ruin the film for you, suffice it to say that hijinks ensue, leading Sam to many existential questions. It’s not as trippy as 2001 but I’d say that this film is definately old school Sci-Fi for a new generation. The plot is rock solid, the acting is amazing, and the characters are believable. What more could you ask for.

A word of warning, don’t read any synopsis’ of the film as it will ruin the film for you, it’s best to go into this film knowing as little as possible and just experiencing it for what it is.

A little bit of trivia that I found out while reading the Metro today: Duncan Jones the writer/director of Moon is also known as Zowie Bowie, thats right he’s David Bowie‘s son.

Batman Biker Suit.

A company called UD Replicas has is accepting preorders on a biker suit that looks like Batmans suit from the Dark Knight.

If I ever got a bike I’d maybe considder getting this, then again maybe not, because I’d look like a twat.
The Idea is good though.

Link (Via Neatorama)

Voodoo Panic

The other day on the bus I overheard a conversation a guy way having on his phone. The man was of “Afro-Carribian” descent and he seemed to be trying to calm down a woman on the other end of the line, the woman seemed to be in absolute hysterics because she’s been put under a Voodoo curse or some such.

It was really weird hearing half of this conversation and extrapolating the other half. The Guy was telling the woman on the other end of the phone that she would be okay, and to remember what the priest had said in church and that the person who had cursed her was making stuff up, because Voodoo wasn’t real.

None of this was calming the woman down and I got off the bus before the conversation ended, however it occured to me that I might have been inadvertantly an extra in a scene from a horror film. In horrow films whenever a person is cursed or whatever no one believes them, they are either crazy or making it up or they are beleiving the nonsense that somone has told them. The disbeliever inevitably maintains their disbeleif until they are killed by whatever it is that they are disbelieving.

Maybe that woman had actually been cursed and was actually scared but her friend in trying to be rational was being very insensitive and unhelpful. Maybe not…

I just hope the woman on the other side of the phone wasn’t dragged down to hell by a demon summoned by a gypsey, who’s loan she had refused…

Last thought before you go to sleep?

Does anyone ever remember what your last thought is before you go to sleep? I never can, I know it takes me ages to go to sleep, then I dream then I wake up.

It would be interesting if there was one particular thought that everyone had that was the equivelent of a sleep switch on your brain that would just send you to sleep. We could harness this to cure insomnia by just telling insomniacs to think this thought. but you could also cause some major havoc by making people think this thought by say eluding towards it on the radio, or in a newspaper.

Governments would be able to quell social unrest eluding to this thought to people who are rioting. How would you go about making people think a particular thought?

It kinda reminds me of the Brown note… But not really…

Story Idea: The End of Immortality

I had a dream two nights ago which could be turned into a science fiction short story, maybe even a novel. I the Dream I was one of a race of Immortals (I think in the dream we were Humans who had just solved death, like in Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which I’ve only listened to the first couple of chapters of as a podcast), In this society no one worked, all menial labour was done by clones who were treated a subserviant race.

Also in this society criminals rather than being incarcerated were just paralysed from the neck down, for the duration of thier sentences, they were walked about in wheel chairs by clone servents.

At some point in the dream it became apparent that we were no longer immortal, this meant that people who had no need to worry about death suddenly had this enormous shadow looming over them.

I think there a multiple facets to look into in this story, I think the Immortality bit is a bit Down and Out and a bit BSG. It would also be interesting to look into how the same circumstances would effect something non human, like the Endless from the Sandman, or more traditional dieties (I guess this is probably what the plot of American Gods is about, I’m only hafway throug it though), it’s also a bit Highlander I guess.

The treatment of criminals is something I’ve never encountered before, most science fiction seems to assume either incarceration, freezing, some form of game where they fight for thier life/freedom/fame, or just the death sentence for everything, not very many take the view of a more lenient society… Arguably paralysis is not nessisarilly more lenient, at least in prison you can move your own body even if it’s within the confines of your cell. When your body becomes your prison I think thats possible a worse punishment.

The third aspect of the dream, the subserviant clones echos my blog post from a few months ago, maybe the clones will notice that they are treated like shit, and rebel. Maybe it’s a criminal who is being served by the clones who makes them realise this fact? It wouldn’t be the first time a criminal sanctions criminal acts while imprisoned, then again is freeing a race who are subjugated and treated as slaves really a criminal act?

All food for thought.

Why Googles Chrome OS is not bad for Android

I recently read an article on bussiness week about how Google were possibly making a mistake by having two OSs on the go at once.

I think they miss the point of Chrome… Chrome (as I understand it) is the Linux kernel with a minimal UI  and a browser running applications.  So if it runs on chrome it will run on anything with a browser (including Android).

Android is the Linux Kernel with a snazzy UI aimed at mobile devices and a bunch of applications, one of which is a browser which is based on webkit.

The Linux Kernal is insanely modular you can build it to run on pretty much anything, and if there is something that it doesn’t work on there is probably someone somewhere working on making it work on it.

I assume that Chrome will just be a minimalistic setup which will run Google’s own  Chrome Browser unless Google are looking to maintain two browser projects on the go… Which I doubt they are. Chrome (The Browser) is based on Webkit too…  So any advances in Chrome can be rolled into Webkit… And benefit Android.

In essence Google aren’t talking about releasing a new OS they are talking about releasing a stripped down Linux distro with window manager that runs nothing but a browser, which to be honest is what I use my computer for 90% of the time.

Any enancements to the linux Kernel/Drivers will probably be able to benefit Android, any enhancements to Webkit/Chrome will probably be able to benefit Android. Heck if google are sensible Chrome will just be a Desktopified version of Android.

There is no fear of Google losing third party developers from Android to Chrome OS because if you are writing an application for Chrome you’ll be writing a web application, which will run in Chrome’s browser and in IE, FireFox, Opera, Safari, or whatever… And it will by implication run on Android in the browser; Heck it should even run on your PS3 or Wii.

What Google have realised is the real money isn’t in selling people a powerful computer, it’s in selling them a computer that does what they want, and what most people want can be done from a browser.

You dont need a 4Ghz machine to do word processing, spreadsheets, or just checking your email. If you are editing photos there are even web applications that let you do that. You can store your files on a google server, which they will happily charge you for, so you wont need a huge hard drive.

The only issue that comes up is how useful this machine becomes when the plug is pulled on the internet. What if I want to write the great American/British/Arabian/Wherever-the-hell-you-are-from-ian novel but I’m in an area without internet access and I can’t get onto Google Docs? I would assume that there will be some offline application that will allow me to write away and then synchronize with Google Docs. I’ve never really used Google Docs so I don’t know is such a client already exists.

Google have been workign on the Android API which allows you to write apps that run on Android, the beauty of the API is that it’s in Java. Which means that it doesn’t matter what architecture the OS is running on, it wouldn’t be hard to have the same API also work on Chrome OS, which would mean that if you write an app for one you are writing one for the other, hey presto you’ve doubled the target market of any app from one OS to 2 (Or if Google release an app that will run Android apps on any other OS with Java then to all platforms).

I think what Google are doing is sensible because they don’t care how you access the internet so long as you are, because if you are chances are you are using Google, If your computer doesn’t have any Fat applications running on it chances are you’ll be using the ones they link to online, which will be Google’s.

Anyway… rant over.