Sci-Friday #133 – Getting to Solarpunk – Future Architecture

Sci-Friday #133 - Getting to Solarpunk - Future Architecture

If you’re into solarpunk, you’ll want to watch this fascinating TED talk. Bjarke Ingel is using solarpunk and future architecture to show us how we’ll get to the beautiful future we’re dreaming about. Whether consciously, or unconsciously, Ingel encapsulates solarpunk concepts in this tour of his team’s projects. First, look at a waste-to-energy power plant that doubles as an alpine ski slope, and then check out the LEGO Home of the Brick in Denmark. Finally, look at the floating, sustainable cities adapted to climate change:

Yes. Y-E.S. YES! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve longed for discussions about simple, rational design without all the weird virtue signaling of other green tech presentations. But wait, it gets better. Check out Ingel’s projects on his website. Binge-read about the MANY DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS he’s looking into for ideas about the future; from Mars to seabed mining. Absolutely brilliant and I’m here for all of it.

So much coolness to explore when it comes to solarpunk and future architecture: take advantage of it! After you’re done with Ingel’s website, please feel welcomed to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend.

Sci-Friday #132 – The Day We Lost Star Trek

Wanna feel old? 1991 was 30 years ago. For this Sci-Friday, we take an interesting slice-of-life look at the day in 1991 when we lost scifi pioneer and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. History shows that it was the right decision. In a world where people go out of their way to ‘make a statement,’ Roddenberry just was. He described a world where acceptance just *is*. Nichols said that Roddenberry believed in that world. Let’s not focus on the past, he seemed to say. Let’s move forward together. That’s why Star Trek:TOS is such an important show, even now.

Sci-fi creators like Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling as well. ‘Superman,’ ‘Star Trek,’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’ dealt with anti-facist, anti-racial themes in their time. Rather than taking the issue head on, which would have resulted in failure, they spoke directly to people they knew would listen: The kids. October 27th, 1991 was the day we lost Star Trek because we lost a great man that day. However, Gene Roddenberry’s legacy lives on and we’re in the unique position to write new chapters.

I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!

Sci-Friday #131 – Back to the Future Outtakes

Welcome back to Sci-Friday. Regular readers of the blog know how much I love Back to the Future and Robert Zemeckis in general. But there’s something else you’ll learn in this Back to the Future gag reel featuring outtakes from Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd. Watch it and see if you pick up on it, too:

Did you catch it? How much fun they were having? There’s a certain energy to film productions; each set is different. A happy crew makes a better movie, period. From the laughs and reactions you hear off-camera, the cast and crew of Back to the Future were having fun. Actual fun, joy. There’s an important lesson there.

It’s true, making movies is a blend of art and commerce, just like writing books. The connection of art and joy are something psychologists study in detail and you can hear some of those insights in this podcast.

So watch these Back to the Future outtakes and remember this: When you’re making stuff, do it happy. But at the end of the day, it’s supposed to be fun. Be joyful in your work, play loud music, yell at your screen! Do something that makes you happy, even if people think you’re nuts. That joy, that energy? It’s going to make better art. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!


Sci-Friday #130 – Our Flying Car is Here!

Fun fact: we’ve been chasing flying cars since 1917. True story. Now, for this Sci-Friday, our flying car is here! The Jetson One  is a commercially available personal electric aerial vehicle that you can own and fly. Watch the video and then let’s discuss:

Look, I get it. It’s not the Flying DeLorean we’ve all been dreaming of since 1989. Nonetheless, the idea of a footprint-free traveling vehicle that could potentially rescue stranded travelers or deliver lifesaving materials is an excellent use of tech and imagination.

According to NewAtlas, Sweden’s Jetson Aero has already sold out the 2022 production run of this cute little single-seat kit build, which is capable of zooming along at 63 mph (102 km/h). Will you put a Jetson One in your garage? When it comes to flying cars, the sky truly is the limit! Now that our flying car is here, let me take a moment to say I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday. Feel free to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!


Sci-Friday #129 – Panic in Year Zero – Scifi with Jazz

Panic in Year Zero is scifi with a jazz soundtrack, a classic tale with yesteryear stars, and a masterclass in indie filmmaking. A special treat for Sci-Friday, one of the greatest post-apocalyptic movies you’ve never seen. You’ll want to watch Panic in Year Zero for a lot of reasons: 1) It’s Scifi 2) It features Jean “Lina Lamont from ‘Singin’ in the Rain'” Hagen and Frankie Avalon and 3) the house from ‘My Three Sons.’ Panic in Year Zero wrote the book on ‘post-apocalyptic scifi’ storytelling, inspiring hundreds of movies up to and including Cloverfield. Now you can watch it on for free:

The key to enjoying any ‘B’ movie is to set your expectations low. If you can do that, you’ll enjoy Panic in Year Zero, which one of the first movies of its kind and deserves a lot of credit for deep storytelling on minimal budget. The cinematography and dialogue is pretty decent for the period, too. Thanks to BoingBoing for the tip – enjoy this campy scifi classic to kick off your weekend. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!


Sci-Friday #128 – Monty Python Star Trek MashUp

Love Star Trek? Love Monty Python? Enjoy this Monty Python Star Trek Mashup as the “The Knights of the Round Table” from Holy Grail is performed by Star Trek: TOS:

Everyone has their own reasons for loving Star Trek and Monty Python. For one, both franchises can be appreciated on their own merits, and satirized without losing any of their charm. Monty Python and Star Trek are also alike in that they examine social rules and concepts that defy logical explanation. If you grew up understanding that the world is an arbitrary place with no patience for non-conformists, Monty Python and Star Trek provided safe harbors for reflection and introspection.

Both franchises are alike in one other way – they’re smart. Star Trek combined ‘smart’ with ‘adventure,’ while Monty Python combined ‘smart’ with ‘funny.’ Star Wars in many ways is smart, but it doesn’t assume the level of knowledge that both Star Trek and Monty Python expect of their audiences. It’s made them cultural icons and emotional lodestones for the nerd/geek communities for nearly six decades, and it’s why we’re excited to see William Shatner blast off on a Blue Origin rocket next week.

So, for Sci-Friday #128 please enjoy this Monty Python Star Trek Mashup. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!


Sci-Friday #127 – Wake Up, ISS!

For today’s Sci-Friday, let’s play ‘Wake up, ISS!’ No fiction, all reality, as we welcome a new day aboard the International Space Station in 4K

The ISS was originally intended to be a laboratory, observatory, and factory while providing transportation, maintenance, and a low Earth orbit staging base for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. In the 2010 United States National Space Policy, the ISS was given additional roles of serving commercial, diplomatic, and educational purposes. Sound like fun? Here are some more ISS facts:

Length 73.0 m (239.4 ft)[1]
Width 109.0 m (357.5 ft)[1]
Pressurised volume 915.6 m3 (32,333 cu ft)[1]
Atmospheric pressure 101.3 kPa (14.7 psi; 1.0 atm)
79% nitrogen, 21% oxygen
Perigee altitude 418 km (259.7 mi) AMSL[2]
Apogee altitude 422 km (262.2 mi) AMSL[2]
Orbital inclination 51.64°[2]
Orbital speed 7.66 km/s[2][failed verification]
(27,600 km/h; 17,100 mph)
Orbital period 92.68 minutes[2][failed verification]
Orbits per day 15.49[2]
Orbit epoch 21 May 2021 05:42:57[2]
Days in orbit 22 years, 10 months, 7 days
(27 September 2021)
Days occupied 20 years, 10 months, 25 days
(27 September 2021)
No. of orbits 131,440 as of December 2020[3]
Orbital decay 2 km/month

According to NASA, the ISS is as big inside as a house with five bedrooms. It has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a big bay window. Six people are able to live there. It weighs almost a million pounds. It is big enough to cover a football field including the end zones. It has science labs from the United States, Russia, Japan and Europe. Lots of facts and figures on the ISS over at Wikipedia if you’re so inclined. Main thing is that this space station has been in orbit for over twenty years – the longest continuously-occupied space vehicle in history.

I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!

Sci-Friday #126 – Top Gun Star Wars Mash-Up – Fun Scifi Stuff

Enjoy this Top Gun Star Wars Mash-up and other fun scifi stuff for Sci-Friday. Watching this reminded me of many hours soaking in some of those 80s classics with my butt parked in a sagging, dusty movie theater seat. Music and movies are cultural communication devices that we use to express ourselves.

Fun fact about ‘Highway to the Danger Zone.’ Even though it was sung by Kenny Loggins, it was written by Giorgio Moroder and oddly enough, his car mechanic. Tom Whitlock started writing songs at 15, and after some false starts he moved to California in 1983 to advance his music career.

When Jerry Bruckheimer reached out to Moroder for a song on Top Gun, his usual lyrical collaborators (Keith Forsey and Pete Bellote) weren’t around. Whitlock was still in the neighborhood, running errands and sleeping on the floor. His previous songwriting experience made him a natural for this pop classic. With the lyrics in place, Moroder and Bruckheimer called around to see who could sing the track and Kenny Loggins’ name came up. The rest is history.

One thing I took from the video is how music videos are mostly about editing. Jackson McKay took footage from seven different Star Wars’ movies (Episodes 4-9 and Rogue One) and cut action pieces together to create sequences and lets your brain fill in the blanks. Nice work!  I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!



Sci-Friday #125 – All Hail Gonk! Fun Scifi Stuff

We made it through the week! Time for more fun scifi stuff – today we’ll pay tribute to an undersung hero of Star Wars: All Hail Gonk! Gonk droids, according to StarWars.Fandom were GNK power droids, an Industrial Automaton knockoff of the successful EG-6 power droid. The GNK power droid derives its name from the “gonk” sound it makes in Episode IV. The droid was originally called simply a “power droid,” but a newsgroup posting in 1993[5] led to the now-official name becoming quickly popular.

That’s the lore, but here’s the reality. Gonk was nothing more than two storage bins and some human legs hidden by dryer vent hose. The costume is so low-tech that you can build a Gonk with materials lying around the house. In real life, Gonk was played by two actors. Rusty Goffe is an English actor who played several characters in A New Hope, including Kabe, a Jawa, and a gonk droid. Before Star Wars, he was an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. After Star Wars, he appeared as a Dwarf in Flash Gordon. He also later worked with George Lucas on the 1988 film Willow, in which he had an uncredited role as a Nelwyn villager.

Gonk’s other actor was Jack Purvis, the only actor to be credited in all three of the original Star Wars films as a different character each time: In Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), he played the Chief Jawa; in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), he played Chief Ugnaught; and in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), he played Teebo. When he wasn’t acting in Star Wars movies, Purvis was in movies like Willow, Labyrinth, and Brazil.

I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!


Sci-Friday #124 – Ocean Cleanup – Solarpunk IRL

Sci-Friday #124 - Ocean Cleanup - Solarpunk IRL

Today’s Sci-Friday isn’t about a specific movie or TV show. Rather, let’s look at something cool and Solarpunk: The Ocean Cleanup is an IRL way that people are undoing the damage to our precious home, Earth.

The Ocean Cleanup aims to clean up what is already polluting our oceans through means of a passive fleet of systems in the ocean gyres. They’re also working on a system to stop riverine plastic on its way to the ocean. The extracted ocean plastic is shipped to shore for recycling into durable products, with the aim of funding future cleanup. Watch the video below to understand how it works.

As previously discussed, Solarpunk is an offshoot of cyberpunk sci-fi, a genre that says both here’s what our future needs to look like and here’s how we can get there. Now, more than ever, w need this. we need more ideas that live within the summit of our knowledge and beyond the pit of our fears. We need affirmations of human aspiration, instead of alienation.

There are other benefits to looking at the world with hope, instead of fear. We’ll talk about that later, but in the meantime please enjoy this project and feel welcomed to look into other ways people are making the world better right now. No matter what, I hope you have a great weekend!

Write on!