Decipher SciFi
Decipher SciFi
Decipher Media
Support podcast
Decipher SciFi explores the how and why in science fiction with conversations about technology, humanity, and the future. This is not a review show, nor will you see much criticism or snark. It is a rationally optimistic look, through film, at where society and technology are and where they are headed. Also, butts.
Isolated BS: VR breakthroughs, space clouds, and earthworm jerky
Spaaaaace Clouds in space…? Microsoft Azure Space and Azure Orbital. Making space cheaper and more accessible with satcomm as a service. VR The new Oculus Quest. Past predictions. Pulling the VR market in the direction of affordability? Pandemic winter VR. Hating Facebook while embracing their VR product. Getting better at not getting sick. Experiences of unreality. Conferencing Virtual chewing noises. Missing irl conference-going. It’s like a vacation for adult nerds! Food Food preservation. Preserved dairy variations by latitude. Jerky! Appreciating controlled rot. Earthworm jerky. Roasted grasshoppers! About Chapulines: Wikipedia Zebra vs Horses: Animal Domestication by CGP Grey: YouTube Support the show!
Nov 16, 2020
31 min
Her: sad foreheads, augmented audio presence, and friendly AI takeoff scenarios
AI everything Creating a thinking, feeling artificial intelligence to do really important things for humanity like… sorting through your e-mail. N-dimensional AI chess. Rapid takeoff scenarios. Personal Assistants Natural language processing developments. The rise of proactive digital personal assistants. Predictive local, personal information. Digital relationship Virtual aural closeness. Presence and audio AR. Developments in form factor, interface, and functionality. Understanding the acoustics of spaces, materials, and your biology. Room mapping. Love, infinite attention, and generosity. The Forehead Feeling the heartbreak, right in the forehead. Her forehead scene: YouTube Support the show!
Nov 9, 2020
37 min
An unexplained absence
You may be wondering where we went for a minute there 😬 Support the show!
Nov 3, 2020
5 min
The Core: Flying bricks, pacemakers, and quantum avian eyeballs
Forgetability The valley of forgetability (The Core) between science-respecting sci-fi (e.g. Arrival) and totally bonkers nonsense (e.g. Jupiter Ascending). Space shuttle Landing the “flying brick.” Bird navigation Magnetite beaks. The possibility of quantum eyeball magnetic navigation HUDs. Corvid appreciation. Why birds don’t all fly into our windows and our eyeballs. Pacemakers Keeping your heart on-rhythm. Not as immediate a death sentence as portrayed. Earth’s outer core The absurd energies in the spinning of Earth’s core - a ball of iron the size of Mars, spinning a thousand miles an hour That’s a whole lot of energy. If it doesn’t sound like much, let’s convert it to megatons: it’s the equivalent energy of five trillion one megaton bombs going off. Phil Plait on the spinning outer core Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy Review of The Core: BadAstronomy.com Support the show!
Oct 5, 2020
23 min
Stank waffles, VR development, and Venusian cloud datacenters
Clouds in episode image from “Storm Clouds” by Albert Bierstadt/The White House Historical Association CC-O @ Wikipedia Waffles Belgian Waffle formula Tasty waffles! Stank waffles! With lots of syrup! Solving food problems with casseroles. Gravy! VR Marveling at the Oculus Quest two 25% price drop from the last generation. Hating Facebook. Realizing the separateness of AR and VR development, even within companies working on both at the same time (Facebook). Can/will AR and VR converge and become ubiquitous? WFH Working from home. Surprisingly long hikes and arachnid attacks. Tiny child legs and tiny child wills. Venus Life on venus? The dense, deep, permanent nature of the Venusian cloud layer. The possible effect on drake equation. Looking forward to balloon probes in the Venusian atmosphere. Ocean data Ocean-floor data centers. The cost of infrastructure and cooling vs the cost of real estate. The value of removing humans from the environment because we’re so loud and clumsy and moist. Review: We do not recommend the $299 Oculus Quest 2 as your next VR system: Ars Technica Oculus Quest 2: Oculus.com Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus: Nature Astronomy Chemical that shouldn’t be there spotted in Venus’ atmosphere: Ars Technica Microsoft declares its underwater data center test was a success: Ars Technica Support the show!
Sep 21, 2020
38 min
Raised by Wolves: exoplanets, eating rats, and fake-karate floaty physics
Happy 5-year anniversary whoooooo 🥳🎉 Subluminal interstellar travel Accelerating for half of the ride, and braking for the other half. The advantage of avoiding squishy human cargo for high acceleration. The difference between the Alucard and the Alcubierre drive technologies (hint: a miserable pile of secrets). Special floaty physics, magnets on your feet, and fake karate. Exoplanets Exploring the growing options for Earth-like life in the solar-system. Kepler 22b. Where did the megafauna go? Exogestation - growing babies on alien soil. Meat stuff Sourcing and preparing rat meat. Snails. Face/Off and changing your identity. Exoplanet Exploration - Planets Beyond our Solar System: NASA Support the show!
Sep 14, 2020
47 min
Isolated BS: nuclear bananas, unreal simulations, and buttplug archaeology w/ Josh
“Banana” image used in featured image with our brains by nicubunu CC-0 Josh, recently Made a strong showing on the recent Saving Private Ryan episode over at LSG Media. Real human stuff in between the dick and fart jokes. Teledildonics Tales of coupled internet-connected sex toys are way up! Hooray for free and open source teledildonics at buttplug.io. Nuclear things Making long-lived diamond nuclear batteries from spent nuclear fuel. The banana equivalent dose of radiation. The trouble with battery-tech press releases. Eating enough grapes to give you superpowers. Buttplug archaeology. Tongue twisters. Forever-vibrating mummies and the Silurian hypothesis. Simulations The major leap in tech in the new MS Flight Simulator. Taking the fun out of games by making them rigorous simulations. The value of process simulations when the real thing is expensive or dangerous. Going all Ender’s Game on actual military simulations with Close Combat. Buying military might with lots of money. Tabletop RPGs Missing the humans-at-a-table element during the pandemic. Appreciating how much fun we had with Liam in our Mirror RPG playthrough (parts I, II, and III). And catching Josh 100% on the hook to GM for the podcast again in the future! Hooray! Saving Private Ryan w/ Josh: LSG Media The X-Files Podcast /w Josh: LSG Media Buttplug: an open-source standards and software project for controlling intimate hardware: Buttplug.io Strapped Into A Sinking Helicopter (with U.S. Marines) by Smarter Every Day: YouTube Support the show!
Sep 7, 2020
50 min
On Decipher History - Titanic! rich people, bad luck, and ever-increasing hugeness w/ Joe
Production Costly! The costs of vising the wreck twelve times for research and footage, not to mention the cost of the film production overall. The extreme profitability of this film and James Cameron in general. Classism First, second, and third class on the same ship. Titans of industry. Runaway capitalism. The class divide and point of view before The Great War. The modern “royalty” by virtue of their wealth. Technology The pace of technological development in industries, especially intercontinental travel by steamship. Comparing the early 1900s to other periods of technological progress like the 1980s and 1990. Noting the nature of the automobiles in the film: literally the design of a “horseless carriage.” The cutting-edge wireless technology aboard the ship. The ship Three engines! Of two varieties. Steam-driven piston engines and steam-driven a turbine. Note: you cannot reverse a turbine. Peak power: 46,000 horsepower. 600 tons of coal daily. An anecdote about Mr. Diesel. A collection of small problems The nature of many disasters, probably including Titanic: a series of small problems, adding up to a catastrophic failure under the rigt (wrong) circumstances. Rich people hogging the Marconi wireless. Out of date lifeboat regulations. Loading lifeboats (badly). The reality of “women and children first.” Avoiding chaos until it’s too late. Judgements The inquiries from shortly after the event, and the great surprise you may experience when realizing that the company men consistently pushed blame back up the chain of command. Modern evidence changing our conception over time. Actually ultimately coming to the consensus that this particular ship on this particular voyage was mostly operated in a way that was totally normal in almost all respects and simply got very unlucky. All told, it does seem that Titanic was really really well-engineered and did remarkably well under the circumstances. [4K,60Fps,Colorized] Titanic, First and Last Voyage, April 1912 AI Recovery, added sound: YouTube RMS Titanic Survivors True Accounts of The Sinking: YouTube RMS Titanic: Fascinating Engineering Facts by the Engingeering Guy: YouTube Titanic - Alternate Ending: YouTube Support the show!
Aug 31, 2020
1 hr 40 min
Proactive prostheses, facial recognition, and correlating diarrhea
Fawkes mask in post image Multipainkiller Studio CC-BY Prosthetics Proactive prostheses in our future? Recognizing that we routinely do this with major joints, and with for a full cyberpunk limb-improvement future. Big brother etc Machine learning facial recognition. Fawkes machine learning facial image “cloaking.” The possible value of poisoned data sets. Placing individual bricks in the wall that is our ability be private and protect our data. Google correlating diarrhea. Emulation Finding a use for an old PlayStation Portable. RetroArch. The difficulty of old games and the power of limiting your options. Our website Our first outside code contribution! And just thanks to Elad Avron and Hugh Fisher 😄! Fawkes Image 'Cloaking' for Personal Privacy: Chicago.edu Fawkes: Protecting Personal Privacy against Unauthorized Deep Learning Models (USENIX Security 2020): YouTube Support the show!
Aug 17, 2020
24 min
X-Men First Class: nuclear panic, destructive resonance, and woolly mammoth piñatas
Fear of mutation Our recent X-Men. Irl post-war nuclear anxieties. More mutant panic and more mutant supremacy bad guys. Irradiating Earth Not enough to make superpowers, but we sure did irradiate a lot. The clear mark of human civilization in the geological record. Past discussions of the Silurian Hypothesis. Neanderthal interactions 2010 Neanderthal DNA news and the possibility of this informing the film. Extincting things more by accident than on purpose in pre-agricultural times. Consistent neanderthal pronunciation consistency issues. The plan(s) Causing global nuclear war so you can… rule over the ashes? At least the Magneto version of the plan didn’t destroy infrastructure. Powers The energy levels required for useful destructive resonance as a superpower. Brown-noting your enemies in combat. Once more determining that functional immortality is the best power that w actually want. Submarining Fitting nuclear submarines in your megayacht. Ice floes vs icebergs vs glaciers. Where to get the best ice for your drinks. How I Boarded a US NAVY NUCLEAR SUBMARINE in the Arctic (ICEX 2020) by Smarter Every Day: YouTube Boarding a US NAVY NUCLEAR SUBMARINE in the Arctic by Smarter Every Day: YouTube What if We Nuke a City? by Kurtzgesagt: YouTube Support the show!
Aug 10, 2020
39 min
Load more