Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha launched this past weekend. Though it has its quirks, it is notable as a new type of "computational knowledge" search engine. For RPG players who like to crunch numbers and science, especially with a game like Eclipse Phase, it has some interesting potential.

For example, let's say you've set your personal Eclipse Phase game in the year 2100, and you need to know what day of the week May 17th falls on. Enter "May 17, 2100" and Wolfram Alpha tells you it's Monday, among other details.

Let's say your character wants to egocast (transmit their uploaded mind) between Mars and Europa on this date. Well, how far do these two happen to be apart on that date? Enter "distance between mars and europa may 17, 2100" and Wolfram Alpha tells you they are about 5.075 AU, or 42.21 light minutes apart. So that egocast is going to take ~42 minutes.

That's just getting started. Here are some other interesting uses:

Calculate the orbital period for that alien planet you just made up
Get data on real exoplanets
Look up a moon's escape velocity
Locate a comet on a certain date
Calculate the orbital speed of a geostationary satellite over Mars

I'm sure there will be plenty of other uses, especially as the engine improves.