Positive science fiction isn’t afraid to look at challenging definitions of “positive.” What we consider “positive” is heavily colored by our politics, our scarcity-based economy, and the current state of the world. A positive mid-future or far-future world might be very, very different than we expect, especially if we start heading into post-scarcity based scenarios. I think of an iPod Touch full of rap videos and Torchwood torrents being transported back to Victorian England. Would they be in awe of our technology—or would they recoil from our mores? One of my most “frightening” stories included a near-post-scarcity scenario where the majority of the population of the world could generate enough income to live simply by going about their daily lives and talking about the products they used—my writers’ group rejected this as a positive scenario, because it was based on “evil marketing.”Overturning Copernicus, eliminating dark energy
In the upcoming PRL paper, the authors postulate that we are indeed in a special location within the universe, specifically, "near the centre of a void where the local matter density is low." This isn't exactly a small void—it would need to be on the order of the size of the visible universe to get the new model to work. Still, the earth would be near its center, which is a vaguely pre-Copernican notion and, as a side effect, the model does away with dark energy. Unfortunately, it also does away with the notion that we can infer universal properties from local observations.Why Hands Matter
“It’s a real challenge,” Townsend said. “A hand is as intricate as a watch. Imagine asking someone to design an intricate watch, and, oh, by the way, it has to withstand 1,000 pounds of pressure.” Townsend assumes his hands will get smashed. His solution is to build them like the motorized model airplanes he used to fly on the end of a tether when he was young. “They were held together with rubber bands. After they would crash, we’d find the wing here and the fuselage over there. So we’d just put the parts back together.” That’s the function of the cables that run along the top of the fingers. They are sacrificial. When the hand crashes, the fingers snap off. Engineers then reattach them.