The Shiniest Stories On io9 Last Week

Illustration for article titled The Shiniest Stories On io9 Last Week

Too busy riding a rocket around town with your sexy phallic ray gun? Don't worry, we've compiled a list of the best stories of the week, just for you.Christina Aguilera Rides Pop's Science Fiction Bandwagon Christina Aguilera rides her space rocket, joining the new crop of pop princesses who are both futuristic and optimistic. Janet Jackson, Mel B, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie — all the ladies are slapping on the happy, kitschy science fiction imagery.If the scifi TV line up, future blockbuster themes and fantastic turn out for the Scream Awards are any indication pop culture is about to get really scifi-happy really soon. And the leading edge could be J.J. Abrams' optimistic Star Trek movie. Why Science Fiction Still Hates Itself If geek stuff is so hip, then why are two of the season's biggest scifi hits, CBS show Eleventh Hour and bestselling Neal Stephenson novel Anathem, adamantly classified as Not Scifi? Because nerd culture will never be pop culture. That's why Borders slashed its scifi section. And it's why JJ Abrams, director of the new Star Trek movie, denied that it's for fans of the scifi franchise, instead telling Entertainment Weekly that "it's for fans of movies." Successful science fiction, in other words, is still stealth. To get your spaceships and freaky science into the mainstream, you have to hate yourself just enough to shove your inner dork into a gym locker and keep her there. A Pill to Selectively Erase Your Traumatic Memories In a few years, you might have a pill to help you forget your bad breakup just the way Jim Carey did in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. With a high dose of just one enzyme, scientists can now erase very specific memories while you're in the act of recalling them. The enzyme known as CaMKII is linked to learning and memory, and Georgia neuroscientist Joe Z. Tsien and his team used it to induce extremely targeted memory-erasure in mice. Tsien thinks the process might help humans lay traumatic memories to rest. Hardcore X-Ray Death from Massive Binary Star System You are looking right into the burning, hydrogen gas-shrouded heart of one of the biggest star nurseries that Earth astronomers have ever seen. This image was created by the European Organization for Astronomical Research (ESO), and shows part of the Gum 29 region, which researchers say is probably about 1-2 million years old (making it possibly younger than some of our hominid ancestors). Gum 29 is about 26,000 light years from Earth, at the edge of the Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy. And within its bright heart are two of the most massive stars we've ever seen, in a tight orbit around each other. Want to see that binary system up close? Star Wars Goes Online With Their New Old Republic The rumors are true; Lucasfilm and BioWare announced yesterday that the two companies are working on an MMORPG called Star Wars: The Old Republic that will not only offer players a chance to step into the Star Wars universe, but will also change the way that MMOs are made forever. But that's about all that they were telling. At least they did release some concept art and screenshots, which you can see below. How I Learned To Relax And Love The Governator When I was a kid, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the face of science fiction, and he always freaked me out. His body was so overstuffed and sausagey, his eyes so piggy. And he seemed like the embodiment of the Reaganite swagger, even before George Bush Sr. started trying to talk like him. And yet, he starred in more big science fiction films than any other actor back then. And recently, I've been appreciating his legacy and his over-the-top performances. I just watched every Schwarzenegger science fiction movie in one giant marathon, and I've finally learned to love my Governor. The Many Superhero Faces of Barack Obama Say what you will about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, but there’s no disputing the fact that he's proven a potent muse to pop-culture-savvy artists. And if the Illinois senator doesn’t end up leaving a lasting impression in the executive office, he may very well eke out one in the comics world—judging from all those illustrated images frequently depicting him as Superman and Batman. (For what it’s worth, Obama cites Spider-Man and Batman as his favorite crime fighters.) With this phenomenon in mind, io9 presents an Obama Superhero Art Exhibit. Where Are My Medical Nanobots? Reader Wendy asks: When will nanobots clean out my arteries? While medical molecular machines are not likely to appear in the clinic soon, there's a decent amount of research going into the development of nanoscale robotics, and not only for therapeutic use. One could easily imagine these widgets appearing in diagnostic assays and nano-scale manufacturing. Before we can hope to command tiny robots to crawl or swim to a damaged or stenotic artery to effect repairs, we first need to build tiny robots capable of crawling or swimming. Danny Boyle Tells io9 About Renouncing Space Opera Danny Boyle may be the most gifted director working in science fiction today. Like Ridley Scott, he's made a number of non-SF films, but his contributions to the genre have stood out among its best works. We had a chance to sit down with Boyle and talk about how his new film, the Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire, is a William Gibson-style five-minutes-into-the-future adventure. He also talked about a second 28 Days Later sequel, his cult classic Alien Love Triangle, why he'll never make another space movie, and why he would never direct a big-screen Doctor Who film. What Other Classics Need To Be Given The Odyssey Treatment? News of a possible Brad Pitt sci-fi version of The Odyssey got us thinking. No, not about how quickly we could leave the planet in case said movie ever actually came out, but about what other classic literature could be turned into science fiction vanity projects for some of our favorite actors. Join us as we consider future methods to help high school students get into reading, why don't you?


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