Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Ray Bradbury Still Alive Through “The Whispers”

Ray Bradbury in front of an array of his books.
Ray Bradbury in front of an array of his books.

Ray Bradbury, one of the most influential and prolific science fiction writers of all time, has had a lasting impact on a broad array of entertainment culture. In his canon of books, Bradbury often emphasized exploring human psychology to create tension in his stories, which left the more fantastical elements lurking just below the surface. Many of his works have been adapted for movies, comic books, television, and the stage, and the themes he explores continue to resonate with audiences today. The notable 1966 classic film Fahrenheit 451 perfectly captured the definition of a futuristic dystopia, for example, while the eponymous television series he penned, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, is an anthology of science fiction stories and teleplays whose themes greatly represented Bradbury’s signature style. ScriptPhD.com was privileged to cover one of Ray Bradbury’s last appearances at San Diego Comic-Con, just prior to his death, where he discussed everything from his disdain for the Internet to his prescient premonitions of many technological advances to his steadfast support for the necessity of space exploration. In the special guest post below, we explore how the latest Bradbury adapataion, the new television show The Whispers, continues his enduring legacy of psychological and sci-fi suspense.
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Artificial Intelligence: The Risk of Robots on the Rampage

For every friendly robot we see in science fiction such as Star Wars’s C3PO, there are others with a more sinister reputation that you can find in films such as I, Robot. Most movie robots can indeed be classified into a range of archetypes and purposes. Science boffins at Cambridge University have taken the unusual step of evaluating the exact risks of humanity suffering from a Terminator-style meltdown at the Cambridge Project for Existential Risk.

“Robots On the Run” is currently an unlikely scenario, so don’t stockpile rations and weapons in panic just yet. But with machine intelligence continually evolving, developing and even crossing thresholds of creativity and and language, what holds now might not in the future. Robotic technology is making huge advances in great part thanks to the efforts of Japanese scientists and Robot Wars. For the time being, the term AI (artificial intelligence) might sound like a Hollywood invention (the term was translated by Steven Spielberg in a landmark film, after all), but the science behind it is real and is not going to go away. Robots can now actually learn things akin to the way humans pick up information. Nevertheless, some scientists believe that there are limits to the level of intelligence that robots will be able to achieve in the future. In a special ScriptPhD guest post, we examine the current state of artificial intelligence, and the possibilities that the future holds for this technology.
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Guest Post: Is Brain Training Real?

The brain's neuron, a remarkably plastic, trainable cell.

Each of the brain’s 100 billion neurons has somewhere in the realm of 7,000 connections to other neurons, creating a tangled roadmap of about 700 trillion possible turns. But thinking of the brain as roads makes it sound very fixed—you know, pavement, and rebar, and steel girders and all. But the opposite is true: at work in our brains are never-sleeping teams of Fraggles and Doozers who rip apart the roads, build new ones, and are constantly at work retooling the brain’s intersections. This study of Fraggles and Doozers is the booming field of neuroplasticity: how the basic architecture of the brain changes over time. Scientist, neuro math geek, Science Channel personality and accomplished author Garth Sundem writes for ScriptPhD.com about the phenomenon of brain training and memory.
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Guest Post: Can Creativity Be Measured in a Laboratory?

Scientists are becoming more interested in trying to pinpoint precisely what’s going on inside our brains while we’re engaged in creative thinking. Which brain chemicals play a role? Which areas of the brain are firing? Is the magic of creativity linked to one specific brain structure? The answers are not entirely clear. But thanks to brain scan technology, some interesting discoveries are emerging. ScriptPhD.com was founded and focused on the creative applications of science and technology in entertainment, media and advertising, fields traditionally defined by “right brain” propensity. It stands to reason, then, that we would be fascinated by the very technology and science that as attempting to deduce and quantify what, exactly, makes for creativity. To help us in this endeavor, we are pleased to welcome computer scientist and writer Ravi Singh’s guest post to ScriptPhD.com. For his complete article, please click “continue reading.”
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Guest Article: Beauty and the Building Blocks…

The building blocks of life. Photograph courtesy of Dr. Ron Zuckermann

…a nanoscientist’s quest to mimic Nature’s molecular blueprints

Have you ever found yourself entranced by the exquisite beauty and complexity of living things? Like the intricacies of a budding flower, or the mesmerizing patterns on a butterfly’s wing? Have you ever wondered: “what are living things made of?” Are these materials just as beautiful if we were to zoom way way in and look at the actual molecular building blocks that make up life? Take a look at the interactive link The Scale of Things to see just how small the building blocks of life really are! Well the answer is “OMG – totally!” All living things share a ubiquitous set of molecular building materials we call proteins, and they are absolutely stunning! They are not only smashingly beautiful to look at, they are capable of performing a mind-numbing myriad of very intricate and complex functions that are essential to life. In a very special guest post, leading nanoscience Professor Ron Zuckermann of the renowned Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recounts his life’s mission as a chemist to try and build artificial microscale sheets made up of nature’s very own building blocks—proteins. Everything you wanted to know about what nanotechnology is, exactly, why engineering proteins is the science of the future, and what we plan to use these discoveries for, under the “continue reading” cut.
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World Science Festival: Opening Gala + Day 2

The 2010 World Science Festival Runs in New York City from June 2-6.

Begun in 2008 by Columbia University Physicist Brian Greene, the World Science Festival has burgeoned from an intimate cluster of science panels to a truly integrated mega-event melding culture, science, and the arts. Those lucky enough to make it out to New York City to the over 40 events this year will have a chance to learn about a variety of current science topics, go stargazing with NASA Scientists, discuss Faith and Science, and find out why humans commit violent crimes. Those not lucky enough to be there can browse the full list of events here and watch a live-stream of selected events here. ScriptPhD.com is proud to be at the festival, and will be bringing you coverage through Sunday through the eyes of talented science writers Jessica Stuart and Emily Elert. Our blogging will include event summaries, photographs, interviews and even videos of the street fairs and science literally spilling over into the streets of New York.
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Podcast + Guest Article: The Idea-Monger: No Genius Required by Mark Changizi

The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi. ©2010 BenBella Books, all rights reserved

Dr. Mark Changizi, a cognitive science researcher, and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is one of the most exciting rising stars of science writing and the neurobiology of popular culture phenomena. His latest book, The Vision Revolution, expounds on the evolution and nuances of the human eye—a meticulously designed, highly precise technological marvel that allows us to have superhuman powers. You heard me right; superhuman! X-ray vision, color telepathy, spirit reading, and even seeing into the future. Dr. Changizi spoke about these ideas, and how they might be applied to everything from sports stars with great hand-eye coordination to modern reading and typeface design with us in ScriptPhD.com’s inaugural audio podcast. He also provides an exclusive teaser for his next book with a guest post on the surprising mindset that makes for creative people. Read Dr. Changizi’s guest post and listen to the podcast under the “continue reading” cut.

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Earth Day Guest Article: Plastic Beads and Sugar Water

Happy Earth Day, 2010!

Here at ScriptPhD.com, we pride ourselves on being different, and we like thinking outside the mold. So for Earth Day 2010, we wanted to give you an article and a perspective that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. There is no doubt that we were all bombarded today with messages to be greener, to use less, to be more eco-conscious, and to respect our Earth. But what is the underlying effect of advertising that collectively promotes The Green Brand? And has the Green Brand started to overshadow the very evil—environmental devastation—it was meant to fight to begin with? What impact does this have on the future of the Green movement and the advertising agencies and media that are its vocal advocates? These are questions we are interested in answering. So when we recently met Matthew Phillips, a Los Angeles-based writer, social media and branding expert, and the founder of a new urban microliving movement called Threshing, we were delighted to give him center stage for Earth Day to offer his insights. What results is an intelligent, esoteric and thoughtful article entitled “Plastic Beads and Sugar Water,” sure to make you re-evaluate everything you thought you knew about going green. We welcome you to contribute to (and continue) the lively conversation in the comments section.
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Guest Article: A Pop-Culture Science Lesson

All right class, settle down, settle down. My name is Mr. Ross, but you may call me BR. Welcome to Pop-Culture Science 101. I know what many of you are thinking: “Science is boring; I just don’t get it.” I can understand those sentiments. But that’s only because of the ways you’ve been taught in the past. Today is going to be different. On this, the third day of the Science Week collaboration between ScriptPhD and CC2K, we decided to have a bit of silly fun and cover a couple of traditionally esoteric science topics from an angle I doubt any of you have considered before—pop culture icons. So get out your notebooks and pens, today’s lesson begins now! Please click “continue reading” for more.
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Guest Article: From Science Fiction to Reality

We are living in the time of science fiction. Literally.

Think about it: both 1984 and 2001 have come and gone. And while 2010 may be a disappointment to those of you who were expecting flying cars and time machines, many of the devices we take for granted now can trace their origins in science fiction of the past. Countless lists have been compiled of sci-fi inventions (a few excellent ones can be found here, here, and here), and Editor Jovana Grbić spoke about the topic during a recent UCLA School of Film colloquium. So in this post, for Day 2 of ScripPhD.com Science Week, I’d like to take a look at a few examples of the scientific inventions that science fiction has bestowed us—and the ones they’re still perfecting for the future!
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