I almost laughed out loud at the start of last night’s episode of Knight Rider. Mike Traceur sat in KITT’s driver’s seat, reading a dossier, and watching football as he cruised down some scenic highway—and why not, when he’s got a car that can drive itself. Which is when it hit me: I’ve been writing about Knight Rider for weeks without looking into where we are on the whole self-driving car thing! I mean, a car that drives itself has to come before a talking car in the pantheon of useful technology, right?
Ah, the beach episode, a classic of the 1980s crime fighter genre, brought to vivid life in last night’s episode of Knight Rider, when Mike Traceur must infiltrate a band of (what else?) surfing mercenaries to locate a missing secret agent. Fortunately, an episode on the beach creates a perfect opportunity to bust out what has to be one of the coolest, if not always the most useful, things a super car can do, which is go into submarine mode. In last night’s episode a rocket actually blasted KITT off a cliff and into the water. Kitt’s shielding protected Traceur and this week’s sidekick, Zoe Chae, and he made a mid-air transformation to Aqua-KITT. Safe below the waves, Traceur and Chae pondered their next course of action.The episode got me wondering: Could we actually build a submarine car? As you can see from the video clip (skip ahead to 2:35 in the video): yes.
Singing Mad Scientist Alert: Dr. Horrible comes online today and its pretty frakkin’ good. If only Whedon had the foresight to cast NPH in the Buffy musical.
Ahead of our ComicCon panel next week on good science in good science fiction, some musings on the opposite phenomenon: when science fiction hurts good science. [io9, Science Fiction in Biology and Mike Brotherton via SF Signal]
UPDATE: I totally missed the main point of this last story, which was that Buzz Aldrin was the guy who said that popular scifi was hindering science. Active discussion on the topic going on now at Bad Astronomy.