The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.

Authors C.J. Henderson, Allen Wold and Michael Ventrella are joined by Thomas cmdln Gideon (digital media activist and host of The Command Line podcast), The Wombat (RavenCon's Fan Guest of Honor back in 2007), as well as Bill Mann, Tera Fulbright and many others in this special episode recorded on location at the science fiction and fantasy convention in Richmond Virginia called RavenCon.

Also included is an exclusive interview with one of the inside experts on a new massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game called Beyond Protocol which is currently in beta test.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 30, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 77 minutes]

C.J. Henderson is the award-winning author of fifty novels including the Teddy London supernatural detective series. Allen Wold is the author of nine novels and five nonfiction books. And while Michael Ventrella has just released his first novel, he is best known as one of the founders of Animato Magazine and of the LARP NERO.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_30.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

David Brin, fresh from a personal appearance inside the virtual world of Second Life, is our featured guest. The best selling science fiction author, scientist and public speaker, expands on the ideas he presented there and describes his impression of that virtual world based on his first-hand experience.

David Brin has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards and is the author of the novel Kiln People and The Life Eaters as well as six novels within his Uplift Series. He holds a Bachelor’s in astronomy, a Master’s in applied physics, and a Doctorate in astrophysics.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 23, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 49 minutes]

David Brin's appearance inside Second Life was part of the annual world-wide celebration of Yuri's Night, which commemorates the first human flight into space by Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

For nearly two hours David Brin spoke to an overflow crowd in the grand meeting hall in the Central Nexus Building inside the city-state of Extropia inside Second Life. He was interviewed by Sophrosyne Stenvaag in an expanded version of her Sophrosyne's Saturday Salon which is held every week.

Wearing a photorealistic body specially crafted for this event by the avatar artists Zeroe Auer and Zada Zenovka, David spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of virtual worlds as a place to discuss ideas--and did so while experiencing those very strengths and weaknesses as he discussed ideas. (My photos of his event may be found on Flickr.)

The city-state of Extropia has become a popular meeting area within Second Life for those who are curious about the future because it features weekly events to discuss various futuristic topics. The organization SL-Transhumanists, for example, hosts lectures and discussions about the many aspects of transhumanism such as nanotech, genotech, AI and the Singularity.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_23.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Randal L. Schwartz, the widely known computer programmer and programming consultant, is our featured guest today.

Randal has acquired a level of renown through his longstanding work in popularizing and promoting the programming language called Perl. He has authored and co-authored many widely used books on the subject, and has written over 200 articles about it for various computer magazines.

He is also the co-host of FLOSS Weekly (a podcast from the TWiT podcasting Network which features prominent guests from the free software/open source community).

In today’s interview Randal discusses the following topics:

How ethanol is not only raising food prices world-wide but its production is also a major source of carbon dioxide (a concern for Global Warming), some have suggested that switch grass may be a better answer. Google's announced desire to offer free nation-wide wireless internet access; and the legal catch-22 that municipalities have always found themselves in when they tried to provide wi-fi at the taxpayer's expense. How passports with RFID chips can be hacked wirelessly as you walk through an airport; why it is that Japanese users are getting 25 times faster high-speed internet than American high-speed users; and how is scrambling to keep from outpacing them.

Randal also describes his involvement with Geek Cruises and the Scientific American Cruises; his podcast FLOSS Weekly (which stands for Free Libre Open Source Software and may be found at; and his enthusiasm over a powerful new programming language called SeaSide. (Examples, BTW, of open source software include: Wikipedia, Blender, Gimp and Open Office.)

Randal also gets to gloat over his prediction from last year because the New York Times has reported that pacemaker heart implants with wi-fi internet connections can be hacked through the internet by a hacker on the other side of the world, who can make the device stop working or even give the patient electric shocks strong enough to kill.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 16, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 69 minutes]

Randal L. Schwartz is a founding board member of the Perl Mongers, the worldwide Perl grassroots advocacy organization and, since 1985, has owned and operated Stonehenge Consulting Services which specializes in the teaching, training and programming of Perl.

Also included in this episode is your host's eyewitness report on the Yuri's Night celebration that took place on April 12 in the city state of Extropia inside Second Life. David Brin (the award-winning and best-selling author) was the featured speaker. David was easily recognizable since his avatar wore a photorealistic skin created for the occasion by a skilled avatar artist.

During the all-day festivities in Extropia your host: met two NASA representatives as well as some Russians, drove a moon buggy; sat inside a life-sized model of Yuri Gagarin's space capsule, danced with a wide variety of beautiful women, admired Vidal Tripsa's space suit (possibly the sexiest space suit ever), watched David Brin pack the house for his open forum discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of virtual worlds such as Second Life, and took over 300 photos of the day's events. (Many of which can be viewed on Flickr.)

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_16.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Greg Bear, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy, is our featured guest today.

Greg Bear has served on political and scientific action committees and has advised Microsoft Corporation, the U.S. Army, the CIA, Sandia National Laboratories, and Homeland Security. And just recently--like your host--he has joined the advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation.

In today's interview Greg Bear describes his TV appearance on The Daily Show with John Steward, movie deals which are in the works for his novels, and his recollections of his many conversations with the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke, including the very first time he met Sir Arthur back in 1968 when Greg was only 16 years old.

He also talks of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, technological immortality, mind uploading, and why he disagrees with some of the expectations of Transhumanists, and most of the expectations of Singularitarians.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 9, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 62 minutes]

Greg also discusses physics and string theory; life on extrasolar planets (including the surprisingly numerous super-hot planets which often orbit their stars in a matter of days); the world wide annual celebration of Yuri Gagarin's first human flight into space (which your host will be celebrating inside Second Life); Sir Arthur C. Clarke's many contributions to civilization; how technology will change future battlefields; and how Russia seems to be heading back into the cold war.

He also reveals his excitement that The Science Fiction Museum in Seattle will be expanding to include fantasy, and possibly horror as well. He was on the advisory board for the science fiction museum in Seattle along with Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler and Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Greg Bear's novel, Quantico, is a near-future thriller; while Darwin’s Radio and Darwin’s Children form a sequence about viruses and human evolution. Blood Music deals with biotechnology, nanotechnology (including grey goo), the nature of consciousness and artificial intelligence.

News items mentioned in this episode include:

Robert J. Sawyer the award-winning author made two personal appearances inside Second Life on Sunday, April 6, 2008. The first in the Central Nexus building in Extropia Core, the second at a meeting of the Extropia Book Club.

David Brin the award-winning author will be making a personal appearance inside Second Life on Saturday, April 12 in Extropia Core as part of the annual world-wide Yuri's Night celebrations of the first human in space. He will be the Spotlight Guest at Sophrosyne's Saturday Salon. Soph will interview David in an open discussion event from 1 PM to 2:30 PM Pacific Time.

I am the Very Model of a Singularitarian is a clever music video now on youTube. Written and sung by Charlie Kam to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General from the popular musical play The Pirates of Penzance. is a public community which features a wiki-like interface for reviewing, rating, and discussing US patents and pending patent applications. It also offers free patent PDF downloads, file histories, and advanced patent searching. Users may also vote on the marketability and technical merits of patents and patent applications.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_9.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Dr. Gregory L. Matloff, astronomer and author of six popular books on astronomy and astronautics, is our featured guest. His latest book, Living Off the Land in Space, was co-authored with NASA’s Les Johnson and Brooklyn artist C Bangs.

Future and current trends in spaceflight and propulsion are covered in this interview, as well as all the following topics: where the big money will be made in space; space-based solutions to our energy problems on earth today; the inflatable space habitats and hotels that Robert Bigalow has started building; practical methods of asteroid mining and diverting; ion drives and solar sails; the likelihood of a new international space race; exoplanets in general but especially the new developing possibility of earth-like planets orbiting the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

Doctor Matloff also talks about the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke's book Rendezvous with Rama which opens with an asteroid impact wiping a quarter of Europe's cities and population off the map; new estimates of the Tunguska impact of 1908; as well as one particular earth-grazing asteroid which will be taking two pot-shots at humanity during the next two decades.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the April 2, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 71 minutes]

Doctor Matloff makes it clear that the future of spaceflight is Not likely to look like the spaceflight of the past. Nor is it likely to resemble the spaceflight generally described in science fiction.

One of his early books, The Starflight Handbook: A Pioneer's Guide to Interstellar Travel, was co-authored with MIT science writer Eugene F. Mallove. Doctor Matloff has consulted for NASA on in-space propulsion systems and methods of protecting Earth from threatening objects. And he has also contributed to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), atmospheric modeling, space astronomy and navigation, and studies to produce energy from the wind.

News Items described in this episode include:

Robert J. Sawyer (bestselling author and former guest on this show) will be making a personal appearance inside Second Life. He will discuss the future of: AI, robotics, life extension, SETI, and more. Afterward, he will join the Extropia Book Club for their discussion of his latest novel, Rollback, which is now a finalist for the Hugo Award. The event will be held on April 6, 2008 at high noon (Pacific Time) in the Central Nexus building in Extropia Core inside Second Life.

The New York Times has reported that pacemakers are now vulnerable to hacker attacks because device makers have begun designing them to connect to the Internet wirelessly.

Google wants to offer nationwide Wi-Fi to everyone in America for Free. (This is not an April Fools joke.) On March 21, 2008 Google submitted a six-page letter to the FCC outlining processes and tests to avoid interference if they are granted use of a portion of those radio frequencies which will become available in 2009 when television ceases to broadcast analog transmissions.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_4_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT