EppsNet Archive: Science Fiction

Teaching Computer Science: Say Your Ideas Out Loud

[I learned about Scary Ideas from Jim and Michele McCarthy — PE] I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “The main thing I wanted to tell you is that you’ve got to say your ideas out loud . . . “A scary idea is not an idea that’s going to scare people when they hear it, it’s an idea that you don’t want to say because you’re afraid of how people will react to it. Maybe they’ll think you’re crazy. “Here’s a couple examples of scary ideas. “You recognize the speaker in this video?” Everyone does. “Ok, let’s see what he has to say.” I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. “Keep in mind that he’s… Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Matrix

The Matrix is 75 percent juvenile philosophizing and 25 percent sci-fi action. Someone must have told the Wachowski brothers (now the Wachowski sisters) that they’re a lot smarter than they really are because the movie would have been much better with 25 percent juvenile philosophizing and 75 percent sci-fi action. Rating: The Matrix Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski Cast: Keanu Reeves NeoLaurence Fishburne MorpheusCarrie-Anne Moss TrinityHugo Weaving Agent Smith IMDb rating: ( votes) Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: Gravity

As a kid, one of my hobbies was card tricks. When I started learning card tricks, I had the misconception that the quality of a trick was proportional to how difficult it was to perform. Hard tricks = good, easy tricks = lame. Today I can perform exactly zero card tricks. I don’t remember even one. What I do remember though is the general principle that the quality of a trick depends on the effect – what the audience sees – and not at all on how the trick is done. An audience doesn’t know or care if you’ve practiced a trick for years or if you just learned it five minutes ago. The principle applies to things other than card tricks. You can read on IMDb and elsewhere about the technological challenges that had to be overcome in making Gravity. The state-of-the-art cinematography and visual effects would not have… Read more →

Why Aren’t Women Interested in Computer Science?

According to this recently published research paper, women aren’t interested in computer science because of media portrayals like “The Big Bang Theory,” in which technologists are depicted as socially awkward, interested in science fiction and video games and physically unattractive. If that seems like a compelling line of reasoning, you can read a more complete write-up in this WSJ.com article. What I’ve never been able to figure out is why people are so interested in why women aren’t interested in computer science . . . Read more →

From Science Fiction to Everyday Life in Just a Few Years

This is the world we live in now. It’s one where computers improve so quickly that their capabilities pass from the realm of science fiction into the everyday world not over the course of a human lifetime, or even within the span of a professional’s career, but instead in just a few years. — Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against The Machine Read more →

Aside

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain . . .