Monthly Archives: June 2013

Secrets on Off-Earth Settlements

Even early stage pioneer settlements on Mars, the Outer Solar System, or on multi-generational interstellar voyages will have police, detectives, judges, and so on. Their activities should be as transparent as possible – as well as the activities of all settlers. Now that humans are unable to keep secrets from certain technologies, it may be important that these technologies and their revelations be known and open to analysis by us all: a Democratic Panopticon.

Democracy ends behind closed doors.
“The secret will be transparency. No robot should have an expectation of privacy in a public place. Each robot and drone should have a cryptographically signed ID burned into it at the factory that can be used to track its movement through public spaces.””We have license plates on cars, tail numbers on aircraft – this is no different. And every citizen should be able to download an app which shows the drones and autonomous vehicles moving through public space around them. Both right now and historically. And civic leaders should deploy censors and public drones to detect rogue drones. And instead of sending killer drones of our own to shoot them down – they should notify humans of their presence. And at certain high-security public areas perhaps civic drones could snare them, drag them off to a bomb disposal facility.””But notice this is more of an immune system, than it is a weapons system. It would allow us to avail ourselves of the use of autonomous drones, while still preserving our open civil society. We must ban the deployment and development of killer robots. Let’s not succumb to the temptation to automate war. Autocratic governments and criminal organizations undoubtably will, but let’s not join them.”

Autonomous robotic weapons would concentrate too much power in too few hands. And that would be corrosive to representative government. Let’s make sure, for democracies at least, killer robots remain fiction.”


FarMaker Interstellar Speed Sketch 2013

Submissions are open to the FarMaker Interstellar Speed Sketch 2013 contest, being organized in conjunction with a conference on interstellar travel called Starship Congress, to run Aug. 15 to 18 in Dallas, Texas. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1.

This year’s theme: Project Daedalus

In honor of Martiniere’s featured cover artwork for January 2013’s exploration-dedicated issue of National Geographic, envisioning the Daedalus interstellar spacecraft, the theme for this year’s FarMaker Speed Sketch contest is “Project Daedalus”.

For further inspiration and reference sources, see Gallery of Daedalus & Icarus and Daedalus is the First and only ‘Starship design’ in History.

Also, be sure and check out Stephan Martiniere’s January 2013 “Explore” illustrations for National Geographic. Winners of the contest, which will be judged by illustrator and concept artist Stephan Martiniere, a guest of honor and keynote speaker at Starship Congress, will be included in an upcoming book on Project Daedalus. Entrants may spend between 5 minutes and 1.5 hours sketching concept art on the following themes:

Building: Interstellar tech helps a city thrive on Earth, keeping shipyards busy. What is it like?

Journeying: The Daedalus spacecraft bridges the vastness between stars. How does it feel?
Arriving: We reach our destination. What do we find?
Freeform: A bracket for dynamic and realistic visions we can’t yet foresee.

For more information on the space art contest and Starship Congress, visit:

NASA Robonaut Challenge – Open Robotics and Algorithmics Competitions

“The Robonaut Challenge calls on contestants to write algorithms that allow R2 to interact with a training dashboard the space agency built.”

“R2 is meant to contribute back to the ISS by freeing the astronauts up to do more scientific research and the more difficult tasks,” Allison Thackston of the Robonaut team tells Mashable via email. “We measure our cost savings in crew hours saved, which translates into more important scientific and engineering research being done.”

“Eventually, the goal is to get R2 to take on even more of the mundane tasks currently undertaken by astronauts, freeing up the astronauts to spend more time with hands-on experimentation. The robot is slated to get an additional set of arms, which the team calls “legs.” They should allow R2 to take care of simple cleaning tasks, among other routine responsibilities.”

Joe Mascaro “Risky Business”

“So let me get this straight, NASA. You’re telling me that the greatest adventure in the history of the human species — the most awesome voyage ever embarked upon by humankind — you’re saying that that’s dangerous?

Well gosh, NASA, isn’t that what we signed up for?

NASA says that the radiation levels on a single 500-day trip to Mars exceed their lifetime limits for astronauts. All told, the trip would entail about a 3-percentage-point increase in terminal cancer risk.

Here’s another safety tip: If you set sail from Europe under Magellan, Cartier or Jones, your odds of dying of scurvy were probably no better than a coin flip.

Here’s another: If you picked up the flag of the United States of America and carried it into battle in 1941, you had a 1 in 50 chance of not ever having children. Of not ever growing old.

But it gets worse: If you stepped onboard a Space Shuttle in the 1980s, your odds of losing consciousness in a massive inferno of solid rocket fuel and jagged metal, and then crashing into the Atlantic Ocean were about 1 in 24. If you were a school teacher, your odds of death were 100 percent.”

Michael Interbartolo “#IfIHadGlass from an Unofficial NASA Perspective”

Science experiments on the ISS using Hangout on Air with classes on the ground.
Concept for hardware inventory card during bench review

For Inflight maintenance Glass could provide hands free E-Procedure steps.
Interior Mapping card to stowage location.
Concept for Morning wakeup status message from Glass

“Michael Interbartolo is a rocket scientist by day at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and scifi and technology geek by night. As a long time movie fan and tech geek I am always keeping an eye on the internet for the latest news on what is coming out. I look forward to seeing what Glass can do for NASA but also all the cool stuff for life with my wife and kids.”

Against Me! “Holy Shit!”

I am oh so fascinated,
I am oh so entertained,
standing here like a comedian,
I repeat what I said, again and again and again
until the meaning has become an imitation of itself,
an impression of an original defeats the fucking purpose.
I don’t know where this is going,
but it’s looking more and more like the same place where we started.

Oh good God, holy shit, the joke’s on us, not on them.
Kids pretending to be astronauts, police officers, and firemen.

Oh good God, holy shit, the joke’s on us, not on them.
Kids pretending to be astronauts, police officers, and firemen.

And everybody’s watching the lead singer in the bands.
The guitars explode into a drumbeat that’s driving.
It’s pretty fucking boring, ah don’t you think?
And of all the things we’d ask,
of all the ways we’d like for it to be,
they’re just drunken conversations,
song lyrics sung at the top of our lungs so desperately.
I believe in a power that is of and by the people.
I believe in an art that cannot be compromised.
I believe that I will endure, and I will overcome.
And I will sing it until I no longer remember the reason.

Oh good God, holy shit, the joke’s on us, not on them.
Kids pretending to be astronauts, police officers, and firemen.

Oh good God, holy shit, the joke’s on us, not on them.
Kids pretending to be astronauts, police officers, and firemen.

Atomic Ginger: “Asteroids and You!”

“…the unknown…”

“Gold will be worthless in the future, it will be used for trinkets and tissue paper
and novelty soaps!”
“That sure is a funny lookin’ moon!”
“Inside every asteroid nougat there’s a creamy center filled with wondrous delights!”