technology in sci-fi

UPDATED: Sunday, July 30, 2006 11:54
VIEWED: 7861
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Saturday, July 29, 2006 5:55 AM



Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
I can't believe no one has said the starship Heart of Gold from Hitchhiker's Guide. It has it all! You could go anywhere, do anything, go back in time, foreward in time, and there would always be a very cheerful central computer to help you out. Man, that'd be sweet. Especially if it was like the movie version and had that thing that could make anything you were craving. I want that ship!

Clearly we are thinking of two very different ships because when I think of The Heart of Gold as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I think of a ship full of annoying doors, equipped with a sound system that plays “soothing" music when you least desire it, a ventilation system that pumps cheap perfume into the air, floors that shake in an attempt to sooth your muscles without permission in a very non-soothing way, and, of course, the Nutrimatic Machine that was described like this:

When the 'Drink' button is pressed it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject's brain to see what is likely to be well received. However, no-one knows quite why it does this because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

When it said, "Why not share it with your friends?" it provoked the response, "Because I want to keep them," and when it said to Arthur, "That drink was individually tailored to meet your personal requirements for nutrition and pleasure," the only logical response was, "Ah, so I'm a masochist on a diet am I?"

I remember a ship that nearly drove everyone on it insane. It's saving grace was, of course, Marvin, and the fact that whenever it traveled it unleashed humorus hell upon the universe.


What I never understood is that they could generate both finite and infinite improbabilites, why not work out the odds that they'd get were they were going without wiping out a civiliation, causing massive pain and suffering, or doing anything at all odd, and then plug that improbability, be it finite or infinte, into the machine?

If I could turn off all of the annoying systems I'd like that ship too, and there's an added bonus, the improability drive can do anything even make a firefly or the TARDIS appear out of thin air, the holodeck some people were asking for too.


Saturday, July 29, 2006 6:01 AM


You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.

Um, I'm not sure where the vibrating floors, perfume-pumped atmosphere, and unwanted music is coming from. I have read the books at least six times and none of that rings a bell, except the vibrating floor was mentioned in the offices of the Guide, except of course it wasn't a vibro-system, it was the building being bombed. And there was "light" music at one point after the fiasco with the tea and the Vogons, but they got to turn that off. Cheap perfume is ringing no bells at all.
The Nutri-Matic would of course have to be upgraded or torn out and replaced. But that thing from the movie that makes "whatever you're craving" should be able to make drinks, too, in an emergency.




Saturday, July 29, 2006 6:18 AM


A sliding timer from the show SLIDERS.

It would be great to slide from one alternate universe to another. Things would never get boring just as long as I could manage to stay alive. Slide from this current reality into a reality where the United States never got involved in World War 2, or slide into a universe where the world in general never really figured out what the wheel could do for them, or sliding into a reality where Wicca is the dominate faith.
Also, it would be pretty interesting to go to these other realities and see what my alternate selves are doing and what kind of person they are.

Jumping from one reality to another until the idea of a central or normal reality ceases to exist in my mind. There would be no reason to return to what I consider home…this reality.



Saturday, July 29, 2006 11:09 AM



Originally posted by christhecynic:

Originally posted by BelugasMom:
Anyway, the machine took recombined molecules into whatever you needed, and also you could put waste materials into it, and THOSE molecules would be rearranged into something else.

I'm not sure if this is what it was called in the thing you're thinking of, but I believe the term used to describe such a device is, "Universal Constructor."

That's exactly what replicators are in Star Trek.

"We may experience some slight turbulence, and then... explode."


Sunday, July 30, 2006 11:54 AM



Originally posted by PhoenixRose:
Um, I'm not sure where the vibrating floors, perfume-pumped atmosphere, and unwanted music is coming from. I have read the books at least six times and none of that rings a bell

Guess it must have only been in the radio show though.






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