BABY UNIVERSE: See basement
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
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,
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
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].