Monthly Archives: November 2010

HiSciFi Gone Mobile!


We want to let you know that HiSciFi has a mobile site you can check out:

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HiSciFi – Stephen Anderson on the Future of Internet Billing in Canada + Antimatter


This week we bring you the special interview with Stephen Anderson, National Coordinator and one of the founders of Open Media. Currently, Open Media is running a petition after recent interludes that wireless ISPs will implement a different billing scheme, one that may change the face of business, enterpreneurialism, online experimentation and most importantly, the state of our bills at the end of every month.

According to Open Media: “Bell Canada and other big telecom companies can now freely impose usage-based billing on independent Internet Service Providers (indie ISPs) and YOU.

This means we’re looking at a future where ISPs will charge per byte, the way they do with smart phones. If we allow this to happen Canadians will have no choice but to pay more for less Internet. Big Telecom companies are obviously trying to gouge consumers, control the Internet market, and ensure that consumers continue to subscribe to their television services.”

The petition details can be found HERE.

We also discuss the latest from CERN, namely the final confirmation on capture of sought-after Antimatter particles. Not only is this monumental for theoretical physics, as we finally have confirmation that anti-matter exists, but may also provide us with insights on how to generate new energy sources, pointing to practical uses of this research.
HiSciFi – Stephen Anderson on the Future of Internet Billing in Canada + Antimatter

Rogers Defending Chatr in Court


by Irma Arkus

uh oh. Rogers is on stand this week, after complaints from competition that its marketing for Chatr, a new mobile service apparently touting itself as superior for not dropping as many calls as its competitors, is nothing but…marketing.

The competition says that there are no technological reasons for such claims, nor is there any proof that Chatr is superior in any form from already existing mobile services. After all, Rogers uses the very same network for Chatr, as it does for the rest of their services.

The competition bureau is demanding Rogers halt the advertising campaign and deliver $10m in damages as a penalty.

On the Subject of Copyright and the Future

by Irma Arkus

One of the more provocative articles to come my way is from none other than Cracked.com. While known for their hillarious top 10s, and random fact searches (oh, joys of Wikipedia), every once in a while, Cracked also touches upon a subject and blows my mind in the process.

Their recent “5 Reasons The Future Will Be Ruled By B.S.” written by David Wong nails a few of these arguments surrounding recent exertion of control over electronic content and persecution of copyright infringers.

Wong quickly ascertains that information is plentiful, and that marketing, part of the rising corporate dominion hinges on marketing rather than scarcity of goods: “The future is going to hang on whether or not businesses will be able to convince you to pay money for things you can otherwise get for free.”

If we were to make access to Internet a free public utility, and a ubiquitous one, access to information in general, is largely unimpeded for anyone. Use of democratizing tools such as bittorrent also have a great impact – they literally allow you to get a digital copy of just about anything – and not just a copy, but a replica of cultural materials that are just as good as the first edition.

But instead of building this Star Trek-inspired utopia Rodenberry himself would approve of, corporations are trying to build-in scarcity into the technology, creating it artificially in order to possess both demand and supply control. Wong cleverly depicts this using the Penny Lane example:

“Remember the debut of Sony’s futuristic Matrix-style virtual world, PlayStation Home? There was a striking moment when the guys at Penny Arcade logged in and found themselves in a virtual bowling alley… standing in line. Waiting for a lane to open up. In a virtual world where the bowling alley didn’t actually exist. It’s all just ones and zeros on a server–the bowling lanes should be effectively infinite, but where there should have been thousands of lanes for anybody who wanted one, there was only FARTS.”

FARTS or Forced ARTificial Scarcity, Wong says, is the model of the future businesses. And we’ll be the dumbmasses who will accept this unquestionably.

Example of FARTS are already in our midst. From bottled water, to “that new processor Intel is test-marketing, which ships with software that intentionally disables some of the chip’s features. Why? Because along with it they sell a $50 “upgrade card” that does nothing but unlock the capabilities the processor had all along.”

I encourage you to read the article HERE.

none says it better though than Hitler:

Hitler, as “Downfall producer” orders a DMCA takedown from Brad Templeton on Vimeo.

Between District 9 and War of the Worlds

Lately, film theaters have provided little in terms of solid sci-fi entertainment. But do not fret! With an up-and-coming mass hysteria regarding the 2012, supposed end of Mayan calendar, and inspiration for such intellectually stimulating productions, such as “2012”…wait, is it time to say NOT already?…and the sudden realization that yes, we still want science-fiction-action combos, there is a new parade of films heading our way.

I know, Tron will be amazing. Or at least it better be. But meanwhile, I introduce to you the unholy offspring of “District 9,” “War of the Worlds,” and money.

Let us begin:

The first hails straight from book of Independence Day fandom, and yes, you got it, War of the Worlds. Titled Skyline, it has that not-so-unique combination of CG with some more CG. In fact, looking at the trailer, you might be entirely blown away by the vast quantities of…you guessed it – CG:

(for those unable to view embedded video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QSymCekdLk)

Directed by the Strause duo, Greg and Colin, responsible for such hits as The Nutty Professor and endless Nickleback videos (hrmph, there is no amount of throat clearing that will help that statement), I am struck with lowered expectations. I am sure that the premise of aliens in LA who mesmerize humans just to “suck them in” and take them to who-knows-where, will be so lackluster that we’ll collectively experience more rage than over war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

There are some saving graces – the screenplay is penned by Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes. Cordes previously got behind some mass-market materials including: Avatar, The Day After Tomorrow, and 300. So, yes, expect the script to make little sense, but there will be big CG explosions of unexplained technologies.

The other saving grace is the casting of delightful Eric Balfour, whose presence is a surprise, and a welcome respite from the usual fair of protagonists.

The next in-betweener, is Battle: Los Angeles (do note, also set in LA). Directed by South African, Jonathan Liebesman, is kind of the very same film, except from military perspective. A Black-Hawk Down version of Skyline, if you may.

(for those unable to view embedded video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-CRTqkDDf4)

Liebesman has made his mark with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and then The Killing Room, so I expect a lot of scenes covered in meat.

The film does carry heavyweights, including Aaron Eckhart, and Michelle Rodriguez. And the trailer does show some flexing of dramatic skills amongst all that meat and bullets.

The last to complete this unholy trinity is Seres: Genesis. Directed by Angel Mario Huerta, who fathered El Cine Regio, will give you all that but at a smaller budget, in a story surrounding Owal Tec who investigates paranormal activities that are taking place around Mexico.

This South American twist has an inferior music score, but as trailer suggests, also offers a richer cinematographic experience. Its premise also, however, relies on extinction of humanity by some not-so-benevolent alien presence. Enjoy!

(for those unable to view embedded video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsghoA0E0qM)

HiSciFi – We Love Science!


we’re back and full of mad love! From Dinosaurs, mini-sized human livers to new wonders in DNA research, tune in for this week’s HiSciFi show 🙂
HiSciFi – We Love Science!