Author Archives: smiths28

Comedy Central presents: First Contact

B7:  What might first contact with the “most alien alien” imaginable look like?  I believe the answer lies approximately at the crossroads of two very different stories our class has explored this semester: Poul Anderson’s Kyrie and Terry Bisson’s They’re Made Out of Meat. In my mind, Anderson’s Lucifer embodies the most alien creature yet […] Continue reading

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Gimme Five

B6:  Five ideas for “hooks” to kick-start a Sci-Fi story… 1)  As soon as he stepped foot on the ship’s bridge, the Captain understood why he’d been disturbed from his much-needed slumber. Resting before him, in a forgotten solar system in a forgotten outskirt of the Milky Way, was a little rock long since dismissed […] Continue reading

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Enjoy the journey

Dear Sam, It’s me — Or rather, it’s you…  It’s us?… Ugh, point is, it’s Sam.  Your future self, that is, not quite 6 years down the road.  Hope you are enjoying your 14th birthday so far.  I should really know whether or not you are enjoying it since I experienced it, but it’s been […] Continue reading

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Why getting rid of “bad” is bad

B4: Ironically, altruism can be a pretty contentious term.  In fields ranging from philosophy to biology to economics, people have very different perceptions regarding the origins and motivations of selfless behavior.  Regardless, altruism is almost universally esteemed in our society; actions exhibiting an “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others,” as Merriam-Webster […] Continue reading

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One in a million

B3: In reading “Wormholes and Time Machines” from Kip Thorne’s Black Holes and Time Warps, several things became eminently clear to me.  Among them, the fact that the hard science of these subjects is anything but eminently clear to me, though there are a number of astute specialists hard at work (or perhaps, more aptly, […] Continue reading

Posted in Joe Polchinski, Kip Thorne, quantum gravity, Relativity, Stephen Hawking, time machine, Time travel, wormholes | Comments Off on One in a million

Indecision… or maybe not?

Give me a time machine, and I wouldn’t know what to do with it. For one, the mind-boggling — and calamitous — potential repercussions of time travel such as those raised by Lewis Padgett in “Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” Ray Bradbury in “A Sound of Thunder,” and William Tenn in “The Brooklyn Project” would give […] Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Future, history, Multiverse, present, Science Fiction, Time travel | Comments Off on Indecision… or maybe not?

Studying sleep

You find yourself in the wee hours of the morning, and after a long day of classes and work, you’d like nothing more than to sink into bed and into the reprieve of sleep.  Only one problem: you still have to study for a big Spanish test, meaning you’re faced with a depressing choice… or […] Continue reading

Posted in behavioral conditioning, learning, Nature Neuroscience, New York Times, sleep, smells | Comments Off on Studying sleep

Studying sleep

You find yourself in the wee hours of the morning, and after a long day of classes and work, you’d like nothing more than to sink into bed and into the reprieve of sleep.  Only one problem: you still have to study for a big Spanish test, meaning you’re faced with a depressing choice… or […] Continue reading

Posted in behavioral conditioning, Biology, learning, Nature Neuroscience, New York Times, sleep, smells, sounds | Comments Off on Studying sleep