Zontar! You're Slimy! Use Your Intellect on Me!

A crazy lady points her gun at a hulking thing and delivers a screaming speech right into the camera. Is it a Sam Fuller movie or a Fredric Hobbs movie? Can't decide? That's because it's the amazing Zontar: The Thing from Venus! All you need to know to understand this thrilling confrontation between lady and lump is… » 2/05/08 4:30pm 2/05/08 4:30pm

Is Young Adult Fiction the "Slum" of Scifi?

Over the weekend, NY Times science fiction columnist David Itzkoff wondered "how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers." This didn't sit well with the Boston Globe's Brainiac blogger Joshua Glenn, who writes: "I attempted to disprove . . . Itzkoff's… » 2/05/08 2:10pm 2/05/08 2:10pm

The First Child to Have Three Genetic Parents

In three to five years, a baby will be born with two genetic mothers and one father. This could prove to be a boon for polyamorous families of the future who want to have children with more than two parents. A team of British researchers working with embryos have now perfected the three-parent babymaking technique. » 2/05/08 11:45am 2/05/08 11:45am

Advance Copy of Iain M. Banks' New Novel on iTunes

Orbit Books just announced that iTunes UK is making an unabridged audio book of Iain M. Banks' new novel Matter available a few days before its official release on Feb. 7. If you need something to listen to on your commute, this is it. Action-packed and strange, it's Iain M. Banks at his world-building and… » 2/05/08 10:20am 2/05/08 10:20am

A "Morning Before" Pill to Prevent HIV Infection

In the next decade, people may begin taking HIV medications to prevent contracting the AIDS virus, much the same way people take malaria pills. A somewhat odd study of macaques done by a group of researchers with the CDC demonstrated that two anti-retroviral medications, Emtricitabine and Tenofovir, were relatively… » 2/05/08 7:30am 2/05/08 7:30am

Israeli Bomb Disposal Robot Has a Terrible Job Cleaning Up After Humans

Yesterday in Israel, a bomb disposal robot inspected the scene of a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in the town of Dimona. The bot is remote controlled, and used an articulated arm to remove the jacket of the alleged bomber to be sure he doesn't have more explosives on his body. Want to see what else the robot… » 2/05/08 7:00am 2/05/08 7:00am

Robo-Kangaroos from the Terraformed Australian Outback

These robo-kangaroos have evolved to use language (they vocalize through the speakers near their throats), and carry tiny nuclear power generators on their backs. Plus, they've got stabilizing actuators on their legs so they can do long-distance hopping. And they look damn stylish with those fingerless gloves. So… » 2/04/08 4:00pm 2/04/08 4:00pm

Seven Reasons Why Australia is the Most Apocalyptic Country

Ever since On the Beach was published in 1957, Australia has been the country we think of when we think "global apocalypse." That might be because people fantasize it's the one continent that will escape nuclear fallout. Or because it's so remote that people north of the equator imagine it as a savage wasteland of… » 2/04/08 2:10pm 2/04/08 2:10pm

Iran Goes to Space with First Successful Satellite Launcher Test

Early this morning Iran launched its first rocket into space. It was part of a test of a satellite launcher that will soon send Iran's first satellite into space sometime next year. You can hear a countdown and see the rocket zooming up into the sky in this clip from local TV. In an odd homage to the U.S. space… » 2/04/08 12:30pm 2/04/08 12:30pm

Grow Your Own Genetically-Engineered Bacteria

Want to make the goo in a petri dish spell out the words "Hello World"? Now you can. Biopunk provocateur Quinn Norton is writing a five-part series for O'Reilly Radar about how you can start hacking yourself and your friends for fun (and, occasionally, profit). If her excellent introduction to biohacking isn't enough… » 2/04/08 11:45am 2/04/08 11:45am

Will We Drug Soldiers to Make Them Depressed?

Will soldiers of the future be given serotonin depressors to make them depressed and therefore fearless? A new study released Friday shows that people with a low level of serotonin do not "reflexively avoid" bad situations, and are more likely to explore risky and dangerous places. This is a sorry state in everyday… » 2/04/08 7:30am 2/04/08 7:30am

A Better Debugger for the Software That Runs Your Cybernetic Heart

Semi-permanent heart pumps like this one are installed in people's hearts all over the world. The problem is that when these software-controlled pumps fail, the blue screen of death is literally killing people. So researchers at Frunhofer-Gesellsschaft Research, who make a popular model of heart pump (or VAD, for… » 2/04/08 7:00am 2/04/08 7:00am