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James Van Der Zee: The Harlem Renaissance Photographer

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phpLD Affiliate Module

This mod was created by Simon on the phpLD forums, and there is a thread about it here: phpLD Affiliate Module Please contact Simon for support or questions, as this is a 3rd Party module.
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The Coolest Inventions from Science Fiction We'd Like to See

The Coolest Inventions from Science Fiction We'd Like to See
Of course, speculative fiction specializes in showing worlds and beings far in the future, and wondering what it will be like in those times. Along the way, writers have to imagine the most likely inventions we'll be using then, or technology that the alien species uses. My purpose isn't to pick out impossible physics-defying technology like time travel and faster-than-light spaceships, but rather to focus on things that are at least possible to invent, and that we'd all love to have.
Flying Cars - This is the first thing that everybody who watched "Blade Runner" came away talking about. The idea has since been echoed in everything from the land-speeders and cloud cars of the "Star Wars" series to the hectic traffic of the world of "The Fifth Element". In reality, we're very close to getting hover-craft type vehicles "off the ground", so to speak. How we would manage traffic with flying cars would be another matter. Police chases would take on new dimensions (thank you, "The Fifth Element"), and traffic patterns would need some kind of structure to stay organized.
Talking Computers - Boy, is this one ever played to death! The computers on "Star Trek", the HAL 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey", and even the sentient machines of Robert A. Heinlein who could step into bodies and become androids. Really, we don't need them to be our companions or even keep us entertained, we'd just like a computer that we don't have to click the mouse and type on the keyboard for thirty minutes to get it to find it's own speakers after it lost its driver. To say nothing of programming. Text-to-speech and speech-to-text is slowly making progress, but to understand and speak regular human languages will take A.I. We aren't sure that we'll never prefect artificial intelligence, but we're almost sure. We'll be happy if the computers just get enough processing power to carry out conversational orders for everyday tasks.
Biospheres - In the 1970's, a great deal of science fiction dealt with coming to terms with our environment, and the various ways we'd invent to keep ourselves and other species alive in harmony. "Silent Running" was at the height of this trend. Then, the movement kind of spun out. These days, if a science fiction story deals with the environment at all, it points out that we failed somewhere along the way - "Waterworld" with its Panthalassa of endless sea and the apocalyptic fury of nature in 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow". There is no doubt that global warming is becoming an alarming concern and that science fiction literates are becoming more pessimistic about it. And yes, thank you, we'd like to see a more ecology-friendly technology movement around here, and preferably before the problem takes care of itself in a way that wipes out a lot of us.
Bioengineering - Chalk up a two-for-two for "Blade Runner", and while we're at it a whole lot of other stories where humans invent new life forms as easily as we manufacture cars. These pop up here and there in films like "Total Recall" and "Alien", and often are treated like any other character except when the story's about them. In the real world, we may have invented engineered life already. We certainly have biologically engineered produce, test-tube babies, and cloned sheep. We're that close to just making life forms from scratch. When we do, it will take some prodding of religious taboos against "playing God" before we can enjoy the benefits of curing disease, strengthening ourselves, and extending the human lifespan.
Robotic Servants - It is almost infuriating how we are in 2007 and still have to wash our own dishes, mow our own lawns, and mop our own floors like galley slaves. We very clearly have the technology for building capable domestic service robots to handle these dull chores that nobody wants to do. It's just a matter of price and design. Japan has made great advances with walking robots and Honda has thrilled us with videos of its cute P2 unit - which looks like a miniature astronaut - playing soccer, but let's face it, we have a long way to go before even Rosie the Robot from "The Jetsons"!
Well, I have to stop daydreaming now, because I have to go do some domestic chores. Again.
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