David Wieser – Week 9

This week’s subjects, space and nanotech, are not particularly appealing to me. I’ve always been more interested in more down-to-earth subjects (hah, double entendre!). Nonetheless, there are some interesting forms of media that related to space and science fiction. Arthur C. Clark, for example, is a fantastic author. I’m not particularly interested in sci-fi, but a few of his books managed to draw even me in. 2001 was an amazing novel. The ending was incredibly strange, too. Unfortunately, I’m not much for reading at the moment, but I hope someday to read some more of his works. 2001 has been out for fifty years nearly and it’s still engaging, despite the fact that 2001 was seven years ago. I watched some of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in a science class years ago, but dated movies always have (and probably always will) bored me. I’m sure it was interesting, but it keeps new-style production values to keep me awake. Alien, though, is one of the few old movies that kept me entertained. It was very well done for its time. Halo is something I can definitely comment on. Its popularity is absolutely unprecedented and perhaps unwarranted. It’s a well-made game, but it’s not particularly revolutionary. Its sci-fi elements aren’t very new or special. The main character is a guy in a cyber suit killing aliens in an intergalactic war. Certainly, this has been done before. The fact that Halo 3 is currently one of the most popular games ever is especially strange. Seven years ago when the first Halo came out, it was fun. Now, however, not a lot has changed as far as Halo goes and plenty of newer, far more engrossing and technologically superior games have been released. For some reason, Halo 3 has the best sales of any console video game ever. Unreal. The only reason I have Halo 3 now is because I got it on sale. I’ve been playing the other, better games that I got on sale first, for the record.Nanotech isn’t especially interesting to me, either. I’ve always been far more interested in physics than biology or chemistry, so electronics on the cellular level is less interesting. I don’t doubt at all that it is essential to the progression of modern technology, but at the same time I’m quite glad that I’m going into computer programming as opposed to nanotech. I did like the idea of nanobots, however. Perhaps it is because I am a fan of Michael Crichton and read a book of his titled “Prey”. In the story, the government is working to construct nanobots that move together in swarms. They use solar power to power themselves and together would be able to take high-resolution pictures from high in the sky. The idea alone is compelling. Is it really possible? Crichton explains how these nanobots would be produced through biological means. The idea of bacteria and stuff creating something mechanical and digital is mind-boggling. In the end, these nanobots manage to learn how to evolve. I haven’t read it in awhile, but I’m pretty sure they have some kind of collective AI or something that allows them to learn and produce themselves and evolve. I like most of Crichton’s stuff, but Prey was one of my favorites. I recommend it. Don’t read his more recent book, “Next”. That was terrible. It involved genetic modification, which is interesting, but the plot was horrid.


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