SciFi

Top 10 Most Useless Star Wars Droids Of All Time

Top 10 Most Useless Star Wars Droids Of All Time

Next year sees the first new Star Wars movie in a decade, and that means one thing: brand new droids. But not all droids are necessarily as resourceful or neat as R2-D2. Some droids, nobody would ever want to look for. Here are the 10 most completely useless droids in the Star Warsuniverse.

Some droids are just so excellent, they make everything better — like that one astromech who does everything other astromechs can do, but also shoots beer into the air. And then there are these droids…

1) B1 Battle Droids

Like ants if ants were really dumb, these droids were designed to overwhelm an enemy with massive numbers rather than with any actual skill or intelligence. Possibly the most famously stupid droids of the Star Wars universe, they also malfunction frequently, and could be torn apart by an angry human. If you think Stormtroopers couldn’t shoot straight, then you haven’t seen the B1 droids in action.

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2) CLL-8 Binary Load Lifter

Used for—you got it—lifting things, this super strong droid is pretty useful, at least some of the time. Unfortunately, it’s also super stupid, which leads it to do things like pile boxes onto a floor until the floor collapsed… and then keep piling.

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3) PIP/2 Systems Control Droid

Designed to run control boards, this droid malfunctions every time it sees a flashing light (among other things). Seems like a pretty major design flaw.

Top 10 Most Useless Star Wars Droids Of All Time

4) ZZ-4Z

ZeeZee was a housekeeping droid belonging to Han Solo, and its story is actually pretty sad. By the time it ended up in Han’s possession it was quite old, and while it was incapable of fulfilling its task as apartment caretaker, it wasn’t incapable of complaining about it endlessly. Then Han left it behind for several years, and the poor thing just kept trudging along, trying to do its job. Finally, when Han eventually reappears, he brings trouble with him, and ZeeZee gets killed in a firefight.

So basically, old, useless, sad, worried, abandoned, dead. Sucks to be a droid.

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5) M38-series Explorer Droid

You would think that a company creating a droid to assist on planetary scouting missions would design it to withstand things like terrain and gravity changes, and would possibly add in some mechanism to prevent it from rolling off cliffs. You would be wrong.

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6) M-TD

This is a translator droid who spends most of his life as a disk attached to a Wookiee’s belt, where he makes up fancy and over-embellished translations of everything Lowbacca says. He’s basically a more uptight and obnoxious version of C-3PO, as a belt buckle. (Makes sense, since C-3PO programmed him.) M-TD eventually gets captured and reprogrammed to say things like “The Empire is your friend,” and to sound an alarm when his friends are trying to escape. He eventually gets his original (irritating) programming back, but nobody really mourns him when he’s melted into a floor.

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7) R5-series Astromech Droid

Beware the budget model. Notoriously poorly designed, the R5-series was rude, couldn’t manage computer operations, and, because of its height, was an easy target in a droid socket.

The most famous of the R5-series is R5-D4, the droid the Jawas try to sell to Owen Lars before it malfunctions, causing Owen to take R2-D2 instead. According to some versions of the story, R5-D4 was filled with jealousy and anger towards other droids, that were capable of serving their masters without constantly breaking down.

According to the non-canon comics story “Skippy the Jedi Droid,” R5-D4 is a rare droid who can actually use the Force, and he sabotaged himself aboard the Jawa sandcrawler on purpose, so that R2-D2 could fulfill his destiny with Luke.

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8) WED Treadwell Repair Droid

Note to droid manufacturers: the name “repair droid” shouldn’t double as an instruction. That was the problem with the WED Treadwell: it did well enough with close supervision and frequent repair, but left alone it would do things like electrocute itself (the fate that eventually befell WED-15-77, the WED Treadwell owned by Owen and Beru Lars).

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9) RA-7 Protocol Droid (Death Star Droids)

Half useless and half extremely useful, the RA-7 was a series of inept 3PO-knockoffs that the Imperial Security Bureau outfitted with a secret espionage system. Their uselessness as protocol droids meant that no one really wanted them, so the ISB started giving them away, in order to get them into desired locations. Beware Emperors bearing gifts.

Top 10 Most Useless Star Wars Droids Of All Time

10) Squeaky

Squeaky was an ex-protocol droid who was freed because of his heroic actions… which basically involved him being unable to pilot a ship properly. Later, he joins the Rebel Alliance, where he’s abusive and surly to Wedge Antilles and the rest of his crew. Ask him to translate something for you, and he’ll probably reply, “I don’t have to translate that.” And then he decides to wear a “human face” mask and put on a “Han Solo voice,” making the sight of a patchwork gold-and-silver droid spitting out abuse that much more bizarre. Squeaky image via Rebel Scum

Watch the first trailer for Terminator: Genisys

You’re about to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger launch himself out of one helicopter and into another helicopter as though he were a missile. The first trailer for Terminator: Genisys has just been released, and it’s clear that this fifth movie is a very different kind of Terminator film than what you’re used to. It’s a reboot of the series, and it’s definitely kicking things up a notch (or more) when it comes to action and scale. The film takes place in an alternate universe where Sarah Connor is a total badass even back in 1984 and, for some reason, has a Terminator for a father. It sounds totally insane, and it probably is.

Even for how crazy everything looks, it’s hard for any fan of the original two movies not to be intrigued by what’s going on here. The trailer makes Genisys look, in part, like a mashup of the first two films, recreating iconic scenes, lines, and villains, but positioning them all in different ways. That nostalgia trip is pretty intentional: the filmmakers know that the last couple of Terminator films have left a bad taste with people, so they’re trying to throw out the bad parts of the series and spin up a compelling new story. Genisysfeatures the same general plot about robots trying to destroy humanity, but it brings a lot more time travel into the mix. It’ll also set the stage for a trilogy. The film is scheduled for a release next year on July 1st.

10 Diseases That Might Afflict Us In The Future

10 Diseases That Might Afflict Us In The Future

Oh hell nightmare NO!

It’s impossible to know which pathogens will afflict us in the future, but by looking at technological and social trends, we can make some educated guesses about the kinds of diseases and disorders that are likely to emerge.

Consider this your speculation warning. We’re about to journey out of what we do know, into the realm of what might happen.

Deliberate acts of bioterrorism and biohacking will introduce entirely new and unexpected problems, such as the deliberate dissemination of bioengineered viruses or brain hacking. But for the purposes of this list, I’ve chosen to exclude those possibilities. I’ll set those aside for a future io9 superlist. This post will only consider health issues that are likely to emerge as a consequence of our technological advancements and our inability to cope with them.

1. Virtual Reality Addiction

Remember that episode of ST-TNG when Lieutenant Reginald Barclay became hopelessly obsessed with the Holodeck? Given how much better his make-believe world was compared to his drab life, you can’t really blame him. Indeed, virtual reality will introduce us to environments and settings far more compelling — and far more controllable than real life.

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Once fully immersive VR becomes available, it’ll become increasingly difficult for people to engage with reality. What’s more, because VR will offer the opportunity for people to physically interface with their friends and colleagues across vast distances, and with a dizzying array of technological features at their disposal, it’ll become increasingly difficult and inconvenient to detach. Consequently, virtual reality withdrawal will become a common and serious problem. We’re already seeing the signs of this today in the form of so-called Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). Relatedly, psychologists have already had to treat a person for IAD caused by overuse of Google Glass.

2. Dissociative Reality Disorder

On a related note, virtual reality will eventually become so believable and so realistic that it’ll be next to impossible for a person to distinguish their virtual experiences from those in the real world.

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People suffering from this disorder will be incessantly racked by doubt as to whether a particular modal reality represents the real universe or if it’s a sophisticated copy of reality (interestingly, as these lines begin to blur, this distinction will become increasingly unimportant).

This disorientation will likely extend to interpersonal interactions as well — a condition of doubt in which people will not be able to tell whether they’re interacting with a “real” virtual person, or just a sophisticated bot.

3. Personality Identity Dysphoria

As time passes, and as strange as this sounds, it’ll become increasingly difficult to know who — or even what — we are.

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We’re increasingly offloading and segmenting our brain’s cognitive processes to the Internet. Our artificially intelligent personal assistants will work on our behalf to perform odd jobs and other functions delegated to them. By consequence, they’ll start to assume our identities in proxy. These cloud exoselves will learn from us and behave exactly the way we do. Eventually however, either by hard or soft uploading, we’ll join them in cyberspace, leading to a potential identity crisis. It will become increasingly challenging to discern which part of the cloud is truly us, and which is not. It’s a problem that’s sure to be compounded by having multiple personas, some of which live full and distinctive lives in alternate environments. Consequently, we won’t know where we start and where we end, leading to a total loss of individuality and pathological confusion about our true selves.

4. Post-Cryonic Societal Integration Disorder

Imagine waking up from cryostasis hundreds or thousands of years from now and trying to integrate into whatever uber-futuristic society you’ve been plopped into.

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Depending on how your frozen body was reanimated, you may find that you’ve suddenly become a highly advanced cyborg living among speciated humans and posthumans of all types. Alternately, you could wake to find that you’re no longer corporeal, living as some kind of virtual being in an elaborate supercomputer simulation.

Regardless, it’ll be a wholly unpleasant and distressing experience. You won’t know anyone, and you won’t have a clue about your new physical and cognitive skills. Nor will you have any inkling about new technologies, your new society, or culture. What’s more, you may not even like your new life. It’ll be a kind of future shock, but nothing like Alvin Toffler could have ever predicted. To help you cope, your new benefactors could upload everything you need to know directly into your brain, or they could place you into some kind of re-integration class.

5. Cybernetic Septicemia

We’re not entirely sure how our bodies will react to cybernetic implants over time, or the kinds of health problems they’ll introduce.

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Some implants may cause severe allergic reactions or exaggerated immune responses. Complications could arise in the way implants interact with tissues surrounding it, including infection, inflammation, and pain. They could also interfere with normal bodily functioning. There’s also risk of rejection. Additionally, these implants could start to decay and degrade in unexpected ways, leading to life-threatening toxic effects and various forms of infections.

6. Nanotoxicological Shock

Nanotechnology has the potential to reshape virtually every aspect of the human condition, both for better and for worse. Already today, scientists are concerned about the impact that nanotechnological materials and devices will have on the environment. There’s considerable debate as to what extent industrial and commercial use of nanomaterials will affect organisms and ecosystems.

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Field-emission SEM images of filters. Images: G. Chinga-Carrasco, PFI.

Because these technologies involve the production of materials at the molecular scale, it’s conceivable that particulate matter will begin to bioaccumulate in the environment. Humans will eventually come into contact with these nanopollutants, causing all sorts of serious health problems, including damage to our cells and DNA.

On a related note, nanotechnological devices that are deliberately infused into the human bodycould cause serious problems as well. Poorly designed nanobots could deliver medicines to the wrong area, or degrade in unpredictable ways. And if their programming goes awry, they could physically damage tissue, or replicate uncontrollably, leading to an internal grey goo catastrophe. And like cybernetic implants, they could also trigger exaggerated immune responses resulting in anaphylactic shock.

7. Superintelligence-induced Psychosis

Our society fetishizes intelligence, so it’s likely that we’ll start to boost our cognitive abilities using any number of biotechnologies, including genomics, nootropics, and cybernetics.

10 Diseases That Might Afflict Us In The Future

Trouble is, our culture is biased towards a very narrow band of intelligence — namely “IQ-type” intelligence, or what Mark Changizi calls chess-and-brain-teaser-like intelligence. But the acquisition of extreme cognitive abilities could prove to be maladaptive. Our evolutionarily-calibrated psychologies may not be able to handle such out-of-bounds intelligence. Should you choose to augment your brain, you may start to exhibit antisocial behaviors and outright insanity, including such behaviors and problems as pattern seeking (a la John Nash), seizures, information overload, anxiety attacks, existential crises, egomania, and extreme alienation.

8. Robophobia

In the future, some of us may develop an irrational and exaggerated fear of robots.

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This psychological disorder will skirt the line between a true phobia and mere prejudice, particularly as robots become more fully integrated into society, as they assume our jobs — and as they progressively become more powerful and human-like in their behavior.

9. Self-Stimulation Addiction

The sex chip is coming — the ability to trigger feelings of extreme pleasure on demand. Sure, sounds great in principle, but most of us don’t have the willpower to use it on a selective basis.

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Back in 2008, neuroscientists Morten Kringelbach and Tipu Aziz announced that they were able to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain by implanting a chip that sends tiny shocks to the orbitofrontal cortex, the area responsible for feelings of pleasure.

Experiments have shown that rats would rather starve than give up the ability to flip a reward switch. And as the case of a woman addicted to her thalamic stimulator attests, self-stimulation can quickly become habitual. It would be like the ST:TNG episode “The Game” come to life, and it would introduce what science fiction author Larry Niven referred to as “wireheads.” Once sex chips become commonplace, expect to see this one written-up in a future version of the DSM.

10. Endemic Life-Extension Induced Ennui

Once we conquer aging, some of us might get bored living an indefinitely long life. But I doubt it. What’s more likely is something a bit more existential — a general tiring of life itself, a related emotional condition known as ennui.

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Super-elderly people living in such a state would find everything bland and hyper-repetitive. Barring interventions, nothing would seem exciting or novel anymore. It would be like something John Cougar Mellencamp once said, “Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.” Such feelings could become endemic, leading to a broader social health crisis.

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future you have ever seen: Video

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seen

I’ve seen countless science fiction movies and documentaries about the future of humanity. Nothing I’ve ever seen is as inspiring and beautiful and realistic as this extraordinary short film by Erik Wernquist, narrated by Carl Sagan. Watch it and get ready for goosebumps.

For maximum effect, I highly recommend that you use headphones, turn off the lights, and make sure the video is playing back in HD:

Here’s the original text narrated by Sagan, from his book The Pale Blue Dot—a book that, if you haven’t yet, you must read.

For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.

Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…”

Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon.

Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.

After I saw it on my phone, I couldn’t resist opening my computer at 2:40AM—when Gawker’s J.K. Trotter sent it to me in the middle of the night—to share it with you as soon as possible.

This is our solar system, not fantasy worlds

As Wernquist says at the beginning, these are all real places from our solar system, recreated using NASA’s photographs and data. Here is a list of all the locations you can see in his film, with descriptions from Wernquist:

Earth, 10,000BC

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The opening shot is a montage showing a band of nomads walking westward across a valley somewhere in the north Middle East, just after sunset and around 10000 BC. In the emerging night sky, the planets are shining clearly. From the horizon in the lower right to the top left they are as follows: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Earth, near future

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Sometime in the future, a large spacecraft is taking off from Earths orbit, filled with passengers on a long journey to somewhere else in the Solar System. This may be the first large colony to permanently settle another world.

The background is a classic photo of the Earth from space, with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, taken from the International Space Station on July 21, 2003. I mapped the photo on a curved plane and replaced the optical flare from the sun with a digital flare to be able to create some motion. The original photo can be seen here.

Great Red Spot, Jupiter

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This is the view from a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter, looking down at the huge anticyclonic storm known as the Great Red Spot.

The texture of the planet comes from a mosaic of photos from NASAs Voyager 1 flyby in 1979, assembled and processed by Björn Jonsson (as seen here).

Enceladus, moon of Saturn

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Shown here is a spacecraft floating through the amazing cryo geysers on the south pole of Saturn´s moon Enceladus.

These geysers (discovered by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005) are formed along cracks in the moons icy surface and shoot powerful jets of – amongst other stuff – water vapor and ice particles into space. Some of the plumes reach heights of several hundreds of kilometers, and while most of it falls back as “snow” on the surface, some particles are shot into space and become part of the famous Rings of the parent planet of Saturn. The geysers are one of many hints that there are large bodies of liquid water under the surface of the moon, making Enceladus a prime target for the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System.

The photo I used for the background was taken by NASA with the Cassini spacecraft in 2005 and can be seen in its original form here. For the texture of the moon I took some liberties and tweaked parts of this beautiful composite of the full body of the moon, also by NASAs Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn’s rings

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This shot shows a person floating just above the plane of the famous Rings of Saturn. The Rings themselves are seen here only as a mess of tumbling blocks of ice, as the camera is in the middle of them, but their full shape is hinted in the shadow they cast on the northern hemisphere of Saturn, far in the distance.

The Rings of Saturn are immense! They main ring system have a radial width of about 65000 kilometers, from the edge of the inner D Ring to the outer F Ring. That means you could line up 5 Earths next to each other, starting from the edge of the inner ring and still have room to spare before you reach the outer edge. Yet they are remarkably thin. Observations vary from about a kilometer down to only ten meters or so. From a far distance they appear as an opaque disc, but from closer observation they are clearly a system of thousands upon thousands of stripes and gaps of varying widths. On an even closer look, it is revealed that all those stripes are made up of countless individual particles, ranging in size from smaller than a grain of sand to something like a basket ball. Some are large as a small bus. All of them made from clear water ice, constantly shattering and rebounding with each other, making the rings highly reflective in sunlight and so clearly visible to us.

There are, as of yet, no real photos from within the Rings, so this is my best guess of what it may look like. This shot is created from scratch (as in no photos used), but I was very inspired by this photo by NASAs Cassini Spacecraft from 2004.

Elevator over Terra Cimmeria, Mars

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

This shot follows the cabin of a space elevator descending on a cable towards the northern parts of the Terra Cimmeria highlands on Mars. A large settlement, hinted as glowing lights in the dark, can be seen far below on the ground. One of Mars’ two moons – Phobos – is seen above the cabin to the left of the cable in the beginning of the shot.

The space elevator is an idea that has been around for a long time, not only as science fiction but a serious suggestion of how to efficiently transfer large amounts of mass on and off a planet. The idea in short consists of a very long cable, along which cabins can climb up and down like an elevator. One end of the cable is attached to the ground at the planets equator, and the other to a counterweight beyond geostationary orbit. Geostationary orbit is an altitude where an object can stay stable in orbit over the exact same place above the ground and follow along as the planet revolves. In the case of the Earth that is at an altitude of about 36 thousand kilometers, so we are talking about a very long cable.

The texture for Mars in the shot comes from a tremendously high resolution assembly of NASA (and ESA?) orbital photographs made by John Van Vliet for the virtual space simulator Celestia.

A small side note: As far as I have understood it, the ideal place to attach a space elevator on Mars would not be where I have done it in this shot, but on the top of the volcano Pavonis Mons. With a peak reaching 14 kilometers above Mars’s mean surface level, and location almost exactly at the equator it would be the perfect spot – as it would cut a few kilometers from the length of the cable. However, the area around that mountain did not look as neat, so for purely artistic reasons I chose the Terra Cimmeria highlands instead.

Victoria Crater, Mars

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A group of people await the arrival of a few dirigibles at the edge of the Victoria Crater on Mars.

There is nothing really amazing about this landscape in itself, other than it being on Mars, but it is one of many high resolution panoramas photographed by the exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity during their fantastic journeys across the red planet since 2003. With this picture, taken by Opportunity in 2006, I could map the landscape onto a 3D-model I built to match the terrain and create a very accurate tracking shot of the place, and then add a few human elements to make the scene alive.

The name “Cape Verde” refer to the vantage point from where the picture was taken. The cliff on which the people are standing is called “Cape St. Mary”. As it turns out it seems I may have exaggerated the height of that cliff somewhat as I recently read it is about 15 meters tall. It’s tricky getting these things right when there is no point of reference!

Mars sunset

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This shot shows a group of hikers on top of the eastern rim of “Gusey Crater”, looking at the fantastic and truly unearthly spectacle of a sunset on Mars.

During the day, the Martian sky is a mixture of a grayish yellow and green (like in the previous shot). But when the sun sets, fine dust particles in the atmosphere gives it a rusty reddish shade, and around the sun – where we on Earth are used to see a fiery red – the Martian sky glows blue.

For the background environment of this shot I used this amazing photo taken by NASAs exploration rover Spirit in 2005. Due to the not so high resolution I had to rebuild the rocks in the foreground in CG, which in turn made me able to do the tracking movement towards the rim.

Iapetus ridge, Iapetus, moon of Saturn

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This scene simulates a shot taken in low orbit over Saturn’s moon Iapetus, looking down at a string of domed settlements built along the mighty equatorial ridge that runs along a large part of the moon’s circumference.

This mysterious feature was only discovered as late as 2004 by the Cassini spacecraft, taking photos of the moon from orbit, and it is as of yet unknown how it came to be. It is about 1,3 thousand kilometers long, 20 kilometers wide and at places has peaks rising more than 20 kilometers above the surrounding plains. The area shown in this shot is however, not one of the tallest parts of the ridge, as I wanted to show the moon from a place from where Saturn is visible. As is the case with most moons, Iapetus is tidally locked to its parent planet, resulting in Saturn always being in the same place in the sky.

This was the first shot I made for the film, inspired by Kim Stanley Robinssons novel “2312” in which he describes a large urban area built along the ridge of Iapetus. The shot is almost built entirely in CG using various maps and photos from the NASA JPL photojournal as reference. Saturn in the background is a photo from the Cassini spacecraft but I don’t know exactly when it was taken.

Again, I may have taken some artistic liberties here in making the city domes nearly unbelievably huge. The dome on the large city in the distance would be over 1 kilometer tall compared to the scale of the landscape. Now, the gravity on Iapetus is only a fraction of the Earths, so such structures like these would indeed be possible. It’s just that there might take some time before we see such interest in living on Iapetus that there is need to build cities for millions and millions of people.

However, as a final note, Iapetus is one of very few moons around Saturn that has an orbit not entirely aligned to the plane of the rings, so, while on most other moons you would only see the rings as a mere stripe, from Iapetus you would see them in their full glory. So when it comes to amazing views, Iapetus would make for some highly valuable real estate.

I recommend turning to the wikipedia site for more reading on Iapetus, for example about its unique “yin/yang” coloring, being almost entirely white on one side, and dark brown on the other…

Asteroid in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt

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The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

These shots show one of the many asteroids in the Main Asteroid Belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. A small fleet of spacecrafts are lined up and approaching a docking area seen as glowing lights in the “center” of the large rock. The dust surrounding the asteroid is the remains of an extensive excavation of its interior.

This, along with the next scene, is by far the most speculative part of this short film. For one thing, this particular asteroid is fictional and although I suspect there are many like it out there, it is built from scratch without any specific object as reference. But also, these scenes, rather than showing the nature of an actual place, are there to visualize the possibilities of human engineering and construction.

The concept is that this asteroid has been hollowed out on the inside, pressurized and filled with a breathable atmosphere. Then it has been put into a revolving spin, creating artificial gravity on the inside by centripetal force. It works sort of like inside a spinning washing machine, only much larger.

A famous construction like this is presented in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Rendezvous with Rama” but again, I have Kim Stanley Robinson to thank for inspiration here. His novel “2312” takes place in many of these inverted worlds which he calls “terraria”. In the next scene, I show what a “terrarium” might look like from the inside.

This whole scene is built in CG, with no particular reference used.

Inside asteroid in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt

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This shot shows the inside of the asteroid from the previous scene. Just as I wrote about that scene, this is a highly speculative vision of an impressive piece of human engineering – a concept that science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson calls a “terraruim” in his novel “2312”. It is also not unlike what Arthur C. Clarke described in his novel “Rendezvous with Rama”.

What we see here is the inside of a hollowed out asteroid, pressurized and filled with a breathable atmosphere. Like I described in the previous scene, the whole structure is put into a revolving rotation, simulating the effect of gravity toward the inside “walls” of the cylinder shape we see. The structure in this scene has a diameter of about 7 kilometers and revolves with a speed of 1 rotation every 2 minutes, simulating the effect of 1g (the gravity pull we feel on Earth) at the surface of the inside.

This place is also filled with water, creating lakes and seas wrapped along with the landscape. An artificial sun is running along a rail in the middle of the space, simulating a daylight cycle.

This scene is of course built from scratch, but I used countless satellite photos of the Earth to texture the landscape. I actually used a slightly warped world map to create the outlines between land and water, as some may notice a couple of familiar shorelines.

Europa, moon of Jupiter

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This scene shows a group of people hiking across the icy plains of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Jupiter itself as well as another moon – Io – is seen beyond the horizon. The scene takes place on the night side of Europa so the landscape is lit entirely by reflected sunlight off Jupiter (and to a small extent off Io). The shot is designed to look as if it would have been filmed from a moving vehicle and with a very long lens so that the bulk of Jupiter fills the entire field of view, like a huge wall in the background.

The inspiration for this shot comes from this amazing photo from January 1, 2001, taken by the Cassini spacecraft as it flew by Jupiter on its way to Saturn. It shows the moon Io passing in front of Jupiter and ever since I first saw it, I have tried to imagine what it would feel like to be standing on the night side of that moon, looking up at huge Jupiter, glowing in the sky. Now, this photo is also taken with a very long lens, so Jupiter, although huge, would not appear anything like this to a human standing on the moon.

For a person standing on Io, Jupiter would take up about 20 degrees of the sky, that is 38 times the size in the sky of our Moon as seen from Earth. That must still be an impressive sight. And from Europa, which is in an orbit further out from Io, and where this particular shot takes place, Jupiter would take up nearly 12 degrees of the sky, about 24 times larger than our Moon appears to us from Earth.

The ground in this shot is all CG with a mapping of different ice textures merged with colors from satellite photos of Europa, like this, presumably taken by NASAs Galileo spacecraft. For Jupiter I used the highest resolution texture I could find, an assembly (of what I presume is photos from NASAs Cassini or Galileo spacecrafts) made by John Van Vliet for the virtual space simulator Celestia. For Io, I used a tweaked version ofthis photo taken by NASAs Galileo spacecraft.

Ligeia Mare, Titan, moon of Saturn

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

In orbit around Saturn is the giant moon Titan. It is the second largest moon in the Solar System (after Jupiter’s Ganymede), even larger than the planet Mercury, and is the only known moon with a dense atmosphere. There are countless of fantastic features to be amazed at in this place, but I have chosen two to illustrate in this scene.

With an average temperature of -180 C all water here is frozen hard as rock. In fact, the surface landscape of Titan is indeed mostly mad of frozen water ice. But Titan’s atmosphere is rich in hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, and the low temperature is perfect for these elements to occur naturally in three states; frozen, liquid and gas. So, just as on Earth where we have a water cycle (ice melts, becomes water, water evaporates into clouds, turning into liquid and becomes rain and so forth), Titan has a methane cycle. Methane evaporates and rises to form clouds, eventually turning into rain, falling over the surface. And this is the most amazing part; the rain in some places is enough to fill entire lakes. Lakes of methane!

Titan is the only place in the Solar System, other than Earth, known to have large bodies of liquid on its surface. And they are really there, huge lakes, with shorelines, islands and small archipelagos. This scene takes place over a lake know as Ligeia Mare, the second largest on Titan, about 500 kilometers in diameter, located in the north polar region of the moon.

The second fantastic feature I wanted to illustrate is the combination of Titan’s very dense atmosphere and its relatively low gravity. As a human on Titan you would weigh about 14% of what you do on Earth, and in the dense atmosphere it would be enough to strap wings on your arms to make you able to fly like a bird. On Titan you could fly like a bird, over lakes of methane! (If you wore some really warm clothes of course.)

This scene is built entirely in CG, but I used this radar map mosaic of the lake as reference for the shape of the landscape. And I also got a lot of inspiration for the coloring from this mindblowing video. It shows real video footage from ESAs Huygens Probe as it descends through Titans atmosphere in a parachute and lands on the surface. There are no lakes in this particular region, but if you allow some speculation, the rounded rocks on the ground, seen at the end are similar to the ones you’d find at the bottom of a dried out river bed.

There is plenty of information about Titan and its lakes available online (Wikipedia is a good place to start), and as the Cassini spacecraft is still operational in the Saturn system, news are currently being updated.

Verona Rupes, Miranda, moon of Uranus

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

Base jumping off the tallest cliff in the Solar System, located on Uranus’ moon Miranda. Uranus itself, along with a few other moons (from the top left to bottom right: Ariel (here on the far side of Uranus), Belinda, Puck and Portia) are seen in the background of the last shot.

On Uranus´small moon Miranda lies a monumental cliff wall believed to be the tallest in the Solar System. It is called Verona Rupes. Observations are limited but it is certain that the cliffs rise at least 5 kilometers above the ground below. Maybe even twice as much. This extreme height combined with Miranda´s low gravity (0,018g) would make for a spectacular base-jump. After taking the leap from the top edge you could fall for at least 12 minutes and, with the help of a small rocket to brake your fall toward the bottom, end up landing safely on your feet. Miranda´s close orbit around giant Uranus also makes a magnificent huge cyan ball in the sky.

The scene is built mostly in CG, except for the people who are shot live action and composited into the environment, and the foreground cliffs in the first shot which are made from several photos of a place in Norway known as “The Pulpit Rock“. For building the landscape I used (amongst others) this satellite photo of Verona Rupes, taken by NASAs Voyager 2 during the flyby of Uranus in 1986. For the color and texture of Uranus I used this photo as reference. Also by Voyager 2, NASA.

Saturn rings, view from Saturn’s top clouds

The most amazing and inspiring vision of the future I've ever seenEXPAND

This is one of the most awesome views I can imagine experiencing in the Solar System; floating in a light breeze above Saturn’s cloud tops at night, looking up at the glorious swaths of the Rings in the sky, and witness how they wash the cloudscape with the light they reflect from the Sun. The ringshine.

Saturn is a huge ball of gas with no surface to stand on (apart from a small rocky core that may hide in its very center), so any human visit there would have to be suspended in balloons or dirigibles, like seen here. The atmospheric pressure at the upper layers of clouds ranges between 0,5 and 2 times the pressure at sea level on Earth, so in theory you could “hang around” under the open sky there without the need of pressurized a space suit. You would, however, need to bring along oxygen to breathe and it would be very cold – temperatures at this altitude range between -170 and -110 C.

So, I have taken some liberties with realism here but I wanted to show a person without a space suit for this final shot, and just hope the future might bring along some incredibly insulating material to make it possible to take a stroll on a balcony beneath the sky of Saturn wearing just a jacket and a face mask.

The winds on Saturn also blow pretty hard. The highest speeds are around the equator, where they can reach 500 meters per second, and slow down towards the poles. However, when suspended in a balloon or dirigible like here, you would be floating along with the wind, hardly feeling anything more than a light breeze.

There is obviously no photographic reference for a shot like this and I have used my imagination to guess what a spectacle like this would look like. I did have a lot of inspiration from Björn Jonsson’s renderings of what Saturn’s skies may look like. More of Björns space renderings can be seen here. For the shape of the Rings I used a texture created by John Van Vliet for the virtual space simulator Celestia and for the clouds I used a wide range of photos I found online to create this 3-dimensional composite. Unfortunately I don’t know the names of the photographers for these images.

Odd Details From The Matrix We Didn’t Notice Until Today

Odd Details From The Matrix We Didn't Notice Until TodayEXPAND

We’re going to be real, a lot of these odd (and possibly totally unintentional) details whizzed right over our heads back in 1999. Here’s a video look at a handful of random things you may not have noticed from The Matrix.

Cobbled together by YouTuber Rob Ager, we truly enjoyed this short, odd retrospective. Sure the “Metacortex” building is in reality the Metcentre, in Sydney. But you have to think theWachowskis picked it for a reason? No? Not all of these pan out, but it’s still fun to go back and think on The Matrix a little. As for the phone books being in BOTH the Oracle and Neo’s offices, yeah, I got nothing. They’re props? Have fun.

Compilation, of The Best Sci-Fi Short films of 2011-2013

Published on 12 Nov 2013

A music video/promotional video for all the badass sci-fi films that were released on YouTube the past few years. Here’s a list of every video used in the making of this video:

“The Origin of Creatures” by Floris Kaayk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Ln-…

From the Future with Love Written and Directed by K-MICHEL PARANDI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8dcr…

CLOSER – Sci-Fi Short Movie – Full HD:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEuZC…

CGI Futuristic Sci-Fi Short “ABE” from – Rob McLellan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xovQ…

Sci-Fi: L5 episode 1 [720p] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=padMO…
SEED, Short Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbDZm…

AMP – A Sci-Fi Short Movie by Triton Films
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKfLO…

SOLO 7 | Cyberpunk/Action/Scifi Short Film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHcom…

The Signal // VFX Short Film by Marcus Stokes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxmlO…

“Cockpit: The Rule of Engagement” – Sci-Fi Short Film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIZlR…

CGI Sci-Fi Short Film HD: “Souvenir” by – Gabriel Covacich:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOlqP…

PostHuman – sci-fi action animated short film directed by Cole Drumb
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC2li…

Awesome Sci Fi Movie Short by Blender Foundation- (Crowd Funded)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c9oB…

Cell Count (2012) – Official Trailer [HD]:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj8Fy… Cell Count (2012) – Official Trailer [HD]

The Antler King-Patterns-Official Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTaa1… The Antler King-Patterns-Official Video

BEYOND, sci fi short film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KreR… BEYOND, sci fi short film

FREE ZONE • Sci-Fi London 48hr Challenge 2013 • Grand Winner
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0piX…

Half-Life 3 Live Action Trailer – The Gift (2013)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHKvU…

Short Sci-Fi Film
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sa9R… Celestia

CGI Futuristic Sci-Fi Short Film HD: “R’ha” by – Kaleb Lechowski
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muYFZ…

Cloud Atlas – Neo Seoul
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDap2…

Endtrip (2013):
https://vimeo.com/73537360

Song used is Seven Lions – Below Us (feat. Shaz Sparks)

CGI **AWARD-WINNING** Sci-Fi Short Film “Abiogenesis” – by Richard Mans

We have had this one on before, but i like this one so much, i thought i would re post it, for the people who missed it last time! Done by The New Zealand Film Commission.

Published on 22 Aug 2014

Watch this fantastic and breathtaking science fiction short film by the incredibly talented Richard Mans! See how a strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation, that has profound implications for an entire galaxy. For more information about this film, please see the details and links below:

http://www.abiogenesisfilm.com
http://www.facebook.com/abiogenesisfilm

SUBSCRIBE – to TheCGBros for more inspiring content!
http://www.youtube.com/user/thecgbro?…

A Darwinian Future- Sci-Fi Short Film

Published on 3 Mar 2014

Technology evolves like any organism. We’ve witnessed this in the field of telecom. In 2014, there were 4.55 billion mobile users worldwide, 50% of which were Smartphone users. Being the dominant species, Smartphones had taken over our lives by 2018. It seemed as if the future was exponentially progressing and too fast for most of us to keep up with. The innovative ‘Project Glass’ promised many different exciting advancements. Some were well received by the world, while others bordered on privacy violations. They had to pull out of the market eventually. The next stage in the evolution of telecommunication seemed logical. But with the advent of the ‘Machines’, it became our greatest weakness.

Liked the visuals? Check out the VFX Breakdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytPod…

Note: We have no rights over the music.

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

It’s Banned Books Week! But people are trying to keep great books out of libraries and schools every hour of every day, year round. And often, people’s reasons for challenging these titles are really, really… outlandish. Here are 12 SF and fantasy books that people have given incomprehensible reasons for banning.

Top image: Neverwhere, art by Glenn Fabry

1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Reason: Brief scene of “jumper-fumbling.”

In Neverwhere, a man named Richard Mayhew discovers an invisible society called London Below. This book was on the supplemental reading list at a school in Alamagordo, NM for nearly 10 years with no complaints — until one mother noticed a brief scene where Mayhew is on a park bench and sees two young lovers, one of whom puts his hand inside the other one’s jumper and moves it around enthusiastically. The “F” word is spoken briefly. The point of the scene is not titillation, but to show that Richard Mayhew has become invisible to those from London Above. A teacher commented on this issue: “We simply cannot stand for banning a book for hundreds of students this year and in the years to come because a single parent objected over one brief passage on one page. [...] Our students have enjoyed Gaiman’s novel for almost ten years, and it saddens us to think that our future students will not have the same opportunity.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

2. Bone by Jeff Smith

Reason: Racism

This year, the acclaimed adventure comic Bone by Jeff Smith appears prominently in the top 10 list of frequently banned and challenged books. And along with “political viewpoint” and “violence,” the book was apparently challenged for being racist. Smith responds: “I have no idea what book these people read. After fielding these and other charges for a while now, I’m starting to think such outrageous accusations (really, racism?) say more about the people who make them than about the books themselves.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

3. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Reason: Might lead to the use of pornography.

Sections of In the Night Kitchen, a picture book about a toddler’s dream adventures in a surreal baker’s kitchen, feature the young protagonist totally in the buff (he has to go swimming in big vats of milk). The nudity didn’t sit well with some parents and librarians when it came out, with some libraries rejecting it outright and others drawing shorts on the boy. Nor has the controversy died down: in 1992 parents in Elk River, Minnesota claimed that the book could “lay the foundation for future use of pornography.” The book continues to appear on the American Library Associations “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books” list, ranking 24th on the 2000-2010 list.

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Reasons: Promoting masturbation, talking animals, that smoking caterpillar.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has the distinction of being banned in multiple countries. It was banned in the US in the 1960’s because of all the hookahs and mushrooms; and then again in the ’90’s, in New Hampshire, because the novel was supposed to promote “sexual fantasies and masturbation.”

It wasn’t drugs or sex that got this book in trouble in China in the 1930’s though—that was all the fault of the talking animals. The Governor of Hunan Province banned the book, arguing that it was “disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Reason: Swearing, “questionable themes”

And yes, the irony of a book about burning books getting targeted for banning is not lost on anyone. Another frequent flyer on the banned-book lists, Fahrenheit 451 still faces frequent banning attempts. It was removed from a high school reading list in Mississippi because it contains the words “God damn,” and has also been criticized for “portraying “questionable themes” that aren’t suitable for young readers.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

6. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Reasons: Sex, profanity, mysticism, racism, Communism… what hasn’t it been banned for?

This book gets banned a lot, but the best incident is this one: “In 1986 a small Wisconsin town banned the book because of a scene featuring the spider licking her lips. Religious groups in the town argued that this scene could be “taken in two ways, including sexual.” (Google question: Do spiders have tongues? Google answer: No.)

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reason: “religious viewpoint”

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins takes place in a future dystopia where the wealthy Capitol forces the formerly rebellious Districts to send their children to fight in a high-tech arena. And it’s a perennial item on the list of the year’s most frequently banned and challenged books, because of its violence and anti-authority messages. But this year, for some reason,Hunger Games is singled out for its “religious viewpoint.” What viewpoint is that? Well, someone says the word “Hell” once in the entire book, and Katniss’ mother is good at healing people with herbs. In previous years, one of the reasons for challenging Hunger Games was that it was “occult/Satanic.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

8. 1984 by George Orwell

Reason: Too Communist… or not Communist enough?

Banned in the USSR for implicitly criticizing Stalin’s regime, the book was later challenged by parents in Florida for being “pro-communist.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

9. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

Reasons: Too many strong women, negative, theologically impossible.

The Wizard of Oz, the story of a tornado that takes Dorothy from Kansas to a magical realm, has a good century of banning under its belt. It was widely banned in 1928 for “depicting women in strong leadership roles,” an argument that held on for several decades, and in 1957 the Detroit Public Library banned the series for supporting “negativism and [bringing] children’s minds to a cowardly level.”

One prominent case, initiated in Tennessee by several Christian Fundamentalist families, concerned the book’s theology. Arguing that all witches were evil, the group claimed that the presence of Glinda the Good Witch was a “theological impossibility.” Parents also publically worried that their children would be seduced by “godless supernaturalism.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

10. Little Red Riding Hood

Reason: Sending the wrong message…about alcohol.

The stories contained within The Brothers Grimm are graphic, violent, sexually disturbing, and lots of other upsetting things, that have been the cause of many banning campaigns over the years.

Those were not, however, the reasons why a California school district decided to ban Little Red Riding Hood, one of the stories contained in the collection, from its elementary schools. That time it was because of all the booze.

You might need a moment to remember the alcohol in Little Red Riding Hood, which takes the form of a single bottle of wine in the basket Red is carrying to grandmother’s house. It was one bottle of wine too many for the school district though, which “banned the book in order to protect its readers from the adverse effects of alcohol.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy BooksEXPAND

11. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Reasons: Sex (too much of it), negativity

This book about a false utopia full of empty, unfulfilling sexuality was removed from a Missouri classroom “because it made promiscuous sex ‘look like fun.'” The book was also challenged in a California school district because it “centered around negative activity.”

The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

12. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Reasons: Magic fingers, depictions of women

This book about a man unstuck in time has been targeted many times over the years, for various reasons including the use of profanity. And sexuality: in 2007, the book was challenged in the Howell, MI high school by the Livingston Organization for Values in Education, or LOVE, which asked the police to investigate whether laws against distribution of sexually explicit material to minors had been violated. But the weirdest reasons for banning Slaughterhouse-Five include a mention of “magic fingers” in the protagonist’s motel bed. (Dean Winchester would be shocked.) Also, the book was challenged in 1986 for “negative portrayals of women.” (And if you have a moment, Vonnegut’s letter about the banning of this novel is very much worth reading.)

Dr. Easy: Michael is a broken man with a gun. He is surrounded by armed police.

Dr. Easy from Shynola on Vimeo.

WARP FILMS, FILM4 and SHYNOLA present ‘Dr. Easy’

More here:
created-to-help-you.com/

Michael is a broken man with a gun. He is surrounded by armed police. A robot with medical training is dispatched to negotiate – but can it save him?

Dr. Easy is a prologue for a planned feature adaptation of ‘The Red Men’.

Written and directed by Jason Groves, Richard Kenworthy and Christopher Harding

Produced by Ally Gipps for Warp Films

Based on the novel ‘The Red Men’ by Matthew De Abaitua

Financed by Film4

Michael: Tom Hollander

Voice of Dr. Easy: Geraldine James

Superintendent: Alex MacQueen

VFX by: Jellyfish

DoP: Barry Ackroyd

Production Designer: Agnieszka Debska

Costume Designer: Ian Fulcher

Makeup and Hair Designer: Candy Alderson

Location Sound Recordist: Tarn Willers

Re-Recording Mixer: Nigel Heath

First Assistant Director: Ezra Sumner

Line Producer: Jessica Levick

Editor: Dominic Leung

Executive Producers: Robin Gutch and Anna Higgs

Casting Director: Rose Wicksteed