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Comment Influence from 2001 (Score 1) 276

Having been inspired up by some of the hard science in Babylon 5, I can't help but think back now and wonder about the similarities to the movie and book 2001: A Space Odyssey. Examples I've noticed include rotation-based artificial gravity, inertia-realistic spaceflight, and the design of Earth spaceships. Did 2001 (book and/or movie) have a significant inspiration on you during the creation and production of Babylon 5?

Thanks for B5, and all your other works!

Comment Babylon 5 Influence (Score 1) 276

First off, I want to say thank you for your work on Babylon 5! It was one of my favorite TV programs growing up, and it definitely helped influence my getting into the sciences as a profession. I always saw that show as a good example of "hard" science fiction, versus other programs at the time. I never saw rotation-made artificial gravity on Star Trek!

Babylon 5 had some pretty intense story arcs, especially apparent in seasons 3 and 4, so it required a lot of forethought and planning prior to production. What influence has this sort of "arc planning" had on your more recent projects, and in what way do you see the influence of Babylon 5's level of writing on scfi-fi programs in the near future?

Thanks for having an interview with Slashdot!

The Internet

Demonoid BitTorrent Tracker Apparently Back Online 134

Freshly Exhumed writes "TorrentFreak has broken the news that after more than a year of downtime the Demonoid tracker is back online. The tracker is linked to nearly 400,000 torrent files and more than a million peers, which makes it one of the largest working BitTorrent trackers on the Internet. There is no word yet on when the site will make a full comeback, but the people behind it say they are working to revive one of the most famous file-sharing communities. As the single largest semi-private BitTorrent tracker that ever existed, Demonoid used to offer a home to millions of file-sharers. Note that this is apparently the original Demonoid and not the d2 site that claims to be using the Demonoid database."

Obamacare Software Glitch Will Limit Penalties Charged To Smokers 490

turbosaab writes "The Obama administration has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that companies may charge smokers under the new healthcare law. The underlying reason for the limitation is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two. So younger smokers and older smokers must be charged the same penalty, or the system will kick it out. A fix will take at least a year to put in place."

YouTube Removes Video of Reactions To Being Videoed 229

theodp writes "To follow-up on an earlier Slashdot post, GeekWire reports that YouTube has removed Surveillance Camera Man's latest video of people's sometimes-violent reactions to being videoed, citing its policy of prohibiting content designed to harass, threaten or bully ("This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten"). In a neat coincidence, the YouTube ban comes just after similar complaints were lodged against Google Glass. 'Some people also seem to feel threatened by Google Glass,' Philip De Cortes wrote in Google Glass Will Fail. 'They wonder if they're being recorded, and they feel like the tool could be used against them in some way.'"

Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages 442

New submitter chriscappuccio sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "The song 'Happy Birthday to You' is widely credited for being the most performed song in the world. But one of its latest venues may be the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where the only parties may be the litigants to a new legal battle. The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed on Thursday by a filmmaker in New York who is seeking to have the court declare the popular ditty to be in the public domain, and to block a music company from claiming it owns the copyright to the song and charging licensing fees for its use. The filmmaker, Jennifer Nelson, was producing a documentary movie, tentatively titled 'Happy Birthday,' about the song, the lawsuit said. In one proposed scene, the song was to be performed."

900 Ton Containment Vessel Bottom Head Installed At Vogtle 3 123

Yesterday, Georgia Power announced that they successfully lifted the first part of the Vogtle Unit 3 containment vessel into place. From World Nuclear News: "The component — measuring almost 40 meters wide, 12 meters tall and weighing over 900 tons — was assembled on-site from pre-fabricated steel plates. The cradle for the containment vessel was put in place on the unit's nuclear island in April. The completed bottom head was raised by a heavy lift derrick and placed on the cradle on 1 June, Georgia Power announced." Georgia Power has a pretty cool gallery of high resolution construction photos (the bottom head is the background on my XBMC machine). Below the fold there is a video of the crane moving the bottom head into place.

Comment Relation to Ida? (Score 5, Interesting) 25

This is very interesting - I just finished reading The Link by Colin Tudge, et al (You can get it here. I definitely recommend reading it if you are even vaguely interested in paleontology). In it, they discuss Ida, a specimen found in Germany's Messel pit, which is believed to be closely related to the first common ancestor between anthropoids (Old & New World apes, hominids) and other simians (lemurs, tarsiers, etc). If the claim made in the article is true, the discovered species would be contemporary with our ancestor living after Ida but before hominids separated from apes. A really great find! I wonder what a comparison between Ida and this new species will reveal. Mind you, that may never happen, since Ida is a very complete fossil and all they found here were teeth and fragments.

Submission + - IBM Research Creates World's Smallest Movie

eternaldoctorwho writes: The Register reports on scientists at IBM Research creating a movie on the smallest scale ever. Moving atoms around one-by-one, the movie "A Boy and His Atom" consists of 242 frames and lasts under 100 seconds. The company is researching atomic scale storage, and has released the movie as "a fun way to share the atomic-scale world while opening up a dialogue with students and others on the new frontiers of math and science." The jury is still out on whether IMDB will list the short film or not.

Comment True Science Fiction (Score 2) 215

Babylon 5 was great on many levels, but I enjoyed the most for its well-thought-out story and as an example of true science fiction. It contained many elements that were based much more in fact than in fantasy, something that was rare for its time, and even more rare today. What research and/or advisers did you have to go on when writing/producing for the show? What do you foresee for the future of science fiction television (or streaming or online) content in terms of using real-world science?

And thank you again for Babylon 5. :)

Comment Thanks! (Score 2) 208

Dr. Horner, you have inspired me to engage in the sciences ever since I was a little kid. Although I didn't go into the field of paleontology, I did study computer science and became a software developer for an education company. In my field, we are always trying to find ways to engage kids in the STEM fields to help develop the next generation of engineers, programmers, biologists, and even paleontologists. In your opinion, how do you see the future of your field within the next generation of scientists, and what steps should we take to help kids become more interested in the sciences?

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