• March 24, 2021

    KSR: Man of Mars and Beyond

    Digital Batman Recommends Like everything else in life, all things are connected, such as medicine and physiology, astronomy and astrology, biology and technology, zoology and ecology, or digital tech trends and literature. With visionaries and industrial pioneers such as Elon Musk and Peter Diamandis leading the way for the next phase of human civilization, we shouldn’t forget that without literary inspiration to fuel our imaginations, we would not be driven to such bold accomplishments like reaching for the stars. The authors include (but not limited to): Edgar Rice Burroughs (of the famous John Carter of Mars/Barsoom series); Jules Verne (of the iconic steampunk adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea); Frank Herbert (of the socio‐economic‐political sci‐fi epic DUNE Chronicles); Sheri S. Tepper (of the Baroque interplanetary classic Grass); Ursula K. Le Guin (of the mind‐bending tome The Lathe of Heaven); and the eponymous novelist of this blog post, the highly‐acclaimed Kim Stanley Robinson. KSR for short. Robinson has won a mountain of awards for his work in the genre of hardcore science‐fiction, eco‐fiction, metaphysical‐ fiction, and political‐fiction, including the Nebula and Hugo Awards (the Academy Awards for genre literature). Of all his iconic works, his magnum opus, the Mars Series (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars—and The Martians), are seminal tomes that discuss in phenomenal detail the exploration and terraforming of the planet Mars. The books detail not only the intense scientific, technological, and biological challenges of human activities upon the red planet, but also the socio‐economic and political costs to both worlds (Earth and Mars). And there’s a huge genetic‐engineering component to these stories that clearly portends our real future. The Martians is a collection of similarly-themed short stories set in KSR’s Mars universe. Extrapolated from the most cutting‐edge scientific discoveries at the time (ca. late 1990s), these books...
  • February 15, 2021

    Men of the Line———

    In honor of Super Bowl LV and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs (and former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s 7th Super Bowl ring as the QB for the Bucs), I thought it would make for an interesting post about how that magic 1st and 10 yellow line is created on our TV screens every February at “The Big Game!” And, during every game in the NFL among other sports broadcasts. The names of: James R. Gloudemans, Richard H. Cavallaro, Jerry N. Gepner, Stanley K. Honey, Walter Hsiao, Terance J. O’Brien, and Marvin S. White are the Men Behind the Yellow Line. That is, the yellow First Down Line you see on NFL broadcasts! What started out as project for Fox Sports to aid viewers watching NHL games over the airwaves blossomed into a new company called Sportvision, Inc. And in 1998 they debuted the First and 10 Line on ESPN. Using a combination of field cameras, 3D models of the field, powerful computers and algorithms, and the field itself as a kind of green screen, they are able to draw the line in virtual real‐time as the players move up and down the field; as well as, simultaneously remove parts of the line to make it appear that it is literally underneath the players. It’s truly digital magic! It was a such a huge success that Sportvision won an Emmy for its technology. “Winning our 10th Emmy Award is a great honor, and truly validates the impact our technology has had in the growth and popularity of a wide spectrum of sports. We are thrilled to share this Emmy with the America’s Cup Event Authority, who has been a wonderful and inspired partner throughout this effort.” Mike Jakob, President, Sportvision, Inc., 2012 They then...