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# B

BASEMENT UNIVERSE: A small artificially created universe linked to the old universe by a wormhole. This could then be used for living space, computing or as an escape from a decaying universe. "Baby Universes" has been postulated by some theories about black holes (see This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 31) by John Baez) and inflation cosmology.

BEAN DIP CATASTROPHE: (humorous) A potential disaster at the far edge party: if it gets big enough the bean dip will form a black hole.

BEANSTALK: A strong cable lowered from a geosynchronous satellite and anchored to the ground (often with a small asteroid at the outer end to provide some extra tension and stability). This would provide cheap and simple access to space using elevators. Also called an orbital tower. (See The Orbital Tower by Jerome D. Rosen and sky hooks) [This is an old idea in science fiction and probably first discussed by Yuri Artsutanov, although it was popularized by Arthur C Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise (1979). The term Beanstalk was spread by the roleplaying game 2300AD by GDW.]

BEKENSTEIN BOUND: The Bekenstein Bound is an upper bound of the amount of information inside a spherical region with a given energy. Information in this context is to be understood as distinguishable (quantum) states. Due to the uncertainty relations it is possible to derive a bound of the form

I <= (2 Pi E R)/(hbar c ln2)
where I is the information, E is the energy, R is the radius, hbar Plank's constant, c the speed of light. It can also be written as
I <= k M R
Where M the mass in the region and k a constant having the value ~2.57686*10^43 bits/(m kg). This bound was derived by J.D. Bekenstein in another but equivalent form, relating the entropy of black holes to their area (S = A/(4 hbar G), where A is the area of the event horizon).

BERSERKER: A self-reproducing machine programmed to destroy (intelligent) life. The existence of berserkers is one possible explanation for the Fermi paradox. [Fred Saberhagen, several science fiction stories]

BETELGEUSE-BRAIN: A jupiter-brain so large that it has to be supported by its own radiation pressure to avoid collapsing. [Mitchell Porter 1995]

BIG CRUNCH: Opposite of the Big Bang: the singularity at the end of time, in a collapsing universe.

BINERATOR: (Binary system plus generator) A megascale electrical engineering device built around the interstellar plasma flow between unequal size stars in a binary system. The hollow tube like device uses charged plasma particles flowing through it to produce electricity [Steve Burns]

BIOCHAUVINISM: The prejudice that biological systems have an intrinsic superiority that will always give them a monopoly on self-reproduction and intelligence. [K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, 1986]

BIOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALISM: A new conservatism that resists asexual reproduction, genetic engineering, altering the human anatomy, overcoming death. A resistance to the evolution from the human to the posthuman. [FM-2030]

BIONICS: (a) The science of connecting biological systems to artifical organs, or other systems. (b) An attempt to develop better machines through understanding of biological design principles or imitation of biology. The first use is most common among transhumanists and science fiction fans, the other is most common among cyberneticists. [Origin uncertain, although it seems to have been popularized by The Six Million Dollar Man]

BIONOMICS: Literally, the merger of biological and economic theory. In its more figurative sense, the merger of the world of the made and the world of the born. Bionomics will flourish as an academic discipline because as the two worlds merge, economic systems will assume the properties of biological ones. [The 500-Year Delta, Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker 1997]

BIOPHILIAC: someone who values life of all kinds for its own sake.

BIOSTASIS: Broader than "cryonic suspension"; suspension of all biological activity, by infusing the patient with cryoprotective chemicals and freezing or vitrifying (cryonic suspension), or by chemically bonding cellular components in place. [K. Eric Drexler, 1986]

B-LIFE: Biological Life (as opposed to A-Life).

BLIGHT: A malign infomorph that uses perversion attacks to increase its own power. Like a computer virus, but with intelligence. [First used by Vernor Vinge in A Fire Upon the Deep].

BLIND UPLOADING: To upload somebody by scanning their neural patterns and simulating them directly with little or no changes (also called brute force uploading) [Anton Sherwood, December 1994]

BLUE GOO: Nanomachines used as protection against grey goo and other destructive nanomachines, possibly even used for law-enforcement (nanarchy). According to the entry in the Jargon File, it is sometimes used to denote any form of benign nanotechnology in the environment. [Alan Lovejoy]

BOGOSITY FILTER: A mechanism for detecting bogus ideas and propositions.

BORGANISM: 1) An organization of formerly autonomous beings who have merged their individual wills to create one, collectively conscious being; 2) The social and political theory that advocates the creation of borganisms. [T0Morrow@aol.com, >H HUMOR: Borganism in the media]

BREAKEVEN POINT: As medicine and life extension advances, the life expectancy of the population increases somewhat each year, and this process may accelerate given new technologies or new knowledge. The longer you live, the more medical advances will occur during your lifetime which extend your life expectancy. During this extra time more medical advances can occur, and so on. If the increase of life expectancy becomes larger than one year longer life/year lived the breakeven point is reached (after the fusion physics term for the point where more energy is produced than is used to drive the reactor) and individuals have a finite chance of living indefinitely. Quite naturally the breakeven point presupposes that medical advances never run into any firm barriers, and that they can be developed fast enough, which is of course very speculative. [Anders Sandberg 1997]

BROADCATCHING: "Catching television and other media selectively so that the sum of the collected parts is personalized." (Quote by Nicholas P. Negroponte, Scientific American, September 1991, p.112.) [Coined by Stewart Brand, The Media Lab, 1987.]

BRUTE FORCE UPLOADING: To upload somebody by scanning their neural patterns and simulating them directly with little or no changes, and no attempts to refine the patterns (also called blind uploading). This is often used as a benchmark in discussions about what capabilities are needed for full uploading.

BUSH ROBOT: A flexible robot structure, where each manipulator branches off into smaller copies of itself, forming a fractal tree over many scales (possibly down to the nanoscale). Each branch would contain a distributed system to calculate movement and minimize central processing [Hans Moravec, Mind Children].

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