Broadcast 3075 Jim Funaro

06 Mar 2018 Jim Funaro
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Guest:  Jim Funaro; Topics:  The upcoming Contact Conference, speakers, keynotes, SETI, searching for life in the solar system, science fiction over the past 30 years, robots, AI, and more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   


We welcomed Jim Funaro back to the program to talk about this year's upcoming 30th anniversary Contact Conference to be held in Sunnyvale, CA from April 6-8 at the Domain Hotel.  Follow along with us and check out this website for all conference, registration, and hotel information:  During the first segment, Jim talked about founding Contact 30 years ago, the purpose behind doing it, plus he described the early Contact Conference events.  He also provided us with an extended and enlarged definition for "contact" so don't miss what he said about that as it describes the basis of this special event.  Much of this first segment discussion focused on science fiction and science fiction authors.  Not only will many be present and speaking such as Kim Stanley Robinson and a host of others, we talked about sci-fi 30 years ago and sci fi today, plus its evolution to today.  Check out all science fiction authors coming and speaking at  The full three day speaker schedule can be seen at  Jim highlighted many of the speakers and authors so follow along with us.

Todd in San Diego sent an email to Jim asking him to compare and contrast sci fi writers from 30 years ago to those of today.  Jim had lots to say in his compare and contrast response plus he talked about specific writers of today such as Kim Stanley Robinson.  Part of what he had to say was the role science was now playing with science fiction writers as compared to the role years ago.  We then took a call from Marshall who asked about science fiction using computers and the technical evolution of science fiction.  Don't miss the good conversation.

Next, Jim began talking about the conference speakers, highlighting several and detailing their accomplishments.  For example, he focused on Penny Boston now at NASA Ames in astrobiology but also being a great poet.  Joel Hagen who helped Jim start Contact 30 years was mentioned as was Chris Ford and Dr. Seth Shostak of SETI..  We talked about science fiction TV shows such as Lost in Space and the movie Blade Runner, then we went to break to return focusing on the Contact event.  Don't miss our sidetracked discussion about the robot and its real name from the Lost in Space TV show.  We thanked Gus for providing the information for us.

We started the second segment with Jim telling us about the keynote speaker, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol.  She is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames and SETI.  You can learn more about her here:  After a few minutes discussing her background and research, John from Ft. Worth called suggesting that we had reached a plateau in technology and he wondered how that might impact science fiction writing.  Jim and John had an interesting discussion around this topic, one you won't want to miss.

I asked Jim to spend a few minutes talking about the conference logistics, registration, hotel, location and other such factors.  Note that while the Early Bird $90 registration period has passed, Jim said people could still register for the Early Bird fee by mentioning listening to the program on The Space Show.  This is close to a $50 savings so if you are attending and I recommend you do attend, don't miss out on this discount.  Jim described the hotel, the online registration process, the conference facilities and meal and banquet situation.  He said there was a block of rooms reserved at the hotel but he did not know if the block was sold out or not.

As we were nearing the end of the program, I asked Jim about the Special Sessions listed on the conference website.  One special session was "Ranger & The Astronaut.  You will not want to miss this program once you hear about it.  Jim also talked about COTI or Cultures of the Imagination.  This is the Contact program talked about from the beginning 30 years ago.  Listen to how the program will work today as it has evolved over three decades though it is still a thought experiment.  As the program was ending, I brought up the memorial for those Contact folks no longer with us.  The last question came in by email from Jack in Las Vegas wanting to know about student rates.  The student rate, the retired rate and the Early Bird rate for Space Show listeners is all the same, $90.00.

Please post your comments/questions for Jim Funaro on TSS blog.  You can reach Jim through the Contact website or me.




The Contact Conference & Event is back!

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