Wednesday, June 29, 2005

OA Sprinklefiction ...

... w00t!

In their fleeing wake, showdown builds. On one side, 400-foot silvered teardrop, twelve now one, chooses a name. On the other, umbral nightmaresphere awaits genuine challenge. Godlike minds dance in the scorpion-light, seismic thoughts shifting like sand. They circle adder-slow, a quarter-lightsecond apart. No hide-and-heatsink jitterbug this.

Surprising then that the Angel strikes first.

Even more so is that the superhot-plasma ball never reaches the target. Instead, particles unknown lase into it mid-flight. Surrounding BA drones squirt in their own mysterious ingredients till the mote-cauldron reaches simmer point, quarks and gluons scrabbling to _become_; instead they are smashed together in unholy Planck-marriage.

The result – mad eye of a radioactive hurricane – approaches. _Twelve Happy Eschatons_, calmly spilling birth-heat, holds er ground. Dead comrades flash-sculpt into a shielding globe and it becomes clear e anticipated this very attack.


Hethuj should be dead. As a matter of fact, he would be - had _Ambitious_ shown less respect for his beliefs. Instead, she stutter-tempers her acceleration with blessedly reactionless moments, his survival a jittery matter of microsecond timing. Of course, with the blood pounding in his head and black spots before his eyes, he could arguably less than grateful if he chose.


Hethuj is considerably brighter than that.

If at all interested, you can find the whole thing here.

Medusahead speaks ...

... once again.

Quantum computer springs a leak: Not good. Not good at all.

- From KurzweilAI

Analysis of poisoned milk supply makes it past government protests: My Honey Bunches of Oats!!! Noooo!

Males pit their genes against females by chucking DNA out of eggs: And a million sf writers just wet their pants. Aaaaliens, man.

I am so stealing this (is it even stealing if you get it from real life )

- From

Newborn dolphins go a month without sleep: Unlike all you caffeine-freaks out there, I actually like sleeping. I treasure it and, if I ever went upload, it's probably one of the few reflexes I would keep.

Cool nonetheless.

- From New Scientist

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

And that's it in a nutshell ...

... i had no interest in the whole Jolie/Aniston/Pitt thing - until now.


For the squeamish, there is a significant degree of profanity so ... you've been warned. Can't handle it? Go away then. Shoo.

I fought the virus ...

... and the virus lost. Or at least, so we hope.

Imagine being able to do away with vaccines and instead reprogramming the immune system to attack all kinds of disease. That's the vision of Caltech's president David Baltimore, who won a Nobel Prize in 1975 for his work on virology and cancer, and who now has a US$13.9 million grant to pursue this dream.

Baltimore's project is one of 43 that have secured a portion of $440 million handed out by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today, 27 June, for their Grand Challenges in Global Health. The cash has been allocated to daring, innovative projects that aim to beat some of the world's most problematic diseases ...

From New Scientist

Monday, June 27, 2005

I could've sworn I mentioned this ...

... oh well, I'll say it now as I have elsewhere; Google is quietly taking over the world.

Jon Battell here has the story.

Once again, welcome to the Googlenet.

From Boing Boing

Fusion technique resets adult skin cells to embryonic state ...

... as seen herein.

Eggan's work raises the possibility that scientists may one day be able to make human embryonic stem-cell lines tailored to individual patients without first having to create an embryo clone of the patient: researchers could simply reprogramme a patient's skin cells.

But this isn't possible yet. The hybrid cells made by Eggan contain twice the amount of DNA found in normal cells, and so can't be transplanted into the body for therapy. Eggan thinks it should be possible to overcome this problem.

Two sets of DNA? Hmm ... ever heard of radiodurans? Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?


Sunday, June 26, 2005

New Webcomic (Well, new to me anyway and ...

... the rest of you are irrelevant)

Well, there you have it, A Miracle of Science.

I begin reading ... now.

Also, linked.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

John Scalzi ...

... this guy is interesting. Full stop.

Forward dated post from 1:01 PM

Dammit ...


Picture from
Link from BBC Science and Nature

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Watch this, Space ...


... well, Cosmos-1 is off. And it's off too. Here's hoping it phones home.

Watch this space.

From BBC Science and Nature

Space and brains and space, oh my ...

... here we go again.

Neutrino ripples in space: uhhh, woo ... hoo? I have no idea why this is special.

The big O is an off-switch: A vision emerges, one of bio-deterministic falsehood stripped away to reveal the cold machine behind ... I guess we're more similar than I thought.

Fidelity gene: I had this idea for an sf story exactly two weeks ago. It involves a dystopian future and a feminist-driven apocalypse. Let's hope it never comes to that.

Solar Sail proof-of-concept: holy crap, that's today!!

At last, something unequivocally positive. Although, it does prove the sheer wrongheadedness of nation-statism as in Why oh why is this being paid for by a TV station? Do humans want to go extinct?!?

Crouching Stross, Hidden Clancy ...

... if you've read Iron Sunrise, you may or may not have noticed the similarity between the "Impact, T - zero" chapter and Tom Clancy's "Three Shakes" chapter from The Sum of All Fears. It's like Stross did an exponential sequel to Tom Clancy's 35th chapter, an outdoing to outdo all further outdoings if you catch my drift.

Great minds? You be the judge.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A brief history of net ...

... Once upon a time, this was all a computer game required of you (scroll down to "System Requirements. Duh.)

Christ we've come a long way.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Finally. Now I can stop posting about it ...

... Accelerando's here!! WooHOO!!

(I'da posted this yesternight but the Internet rejected me. Even now, it threatens to blow a frosty wind on all my intentions ...)

(yes, i will be buying the paperback edition when it comes. Seems only just).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Listpost, postlist, Postlisterate, listmania ...

... and again.

Shatner > Vaughn: 2 out of three lawyers agree.

Yes, yes he did: Batman 0wnz0rs j00. w00t.

SpaceBloom: A Field Guide to Cosmic Xflora: Too clever. I'm linking this right now.

Whatelse, whatelse ... hmm, seems like that's all for now.

Over and out.

Somebody call Larry Niven (Or Marvel Comics) ...

... remember this kid? And this one? Well, add one more to the list. She's old, she's bold, she's Stochastica!

I'm just waiting for their archnemeses to start showing up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Be trying something new today ...

... instead of giving points-of-interest their own individual posts, I'll post them in list form. Like so:

AI developed for Mars explorers: Don't say it if you don't mean it (and they don't)

Nigeria (a tiny impression of): No commment.

Red vs. Grey: Squirrel biowarfare? You be the judge.

Accelerando update: Charlie Stross wants a headcount. Obey.

That's all for now. Go away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How on earth did Mac miss this one ...

Are you thinking what I'm thinking ...

... researchers from the McKnight Brain Institute figure they can now grow adult brain cells in the lab.

However, Dr Jim Cohen, of the UK's Medical Research Council Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, told the BBC News website: "This work does represent a technical advance but it's relatively minor and not especially novel.

"More importantly, as is the case for all tissue culture models, they are a long way from showing that such cells could be of therapeutic potential."

To hell with this miserable f*&#ing naysayer. I say we're about five years away from a period of cascading scientific advances. Consider: everything we're seeing now; nanopants, tetrawalking space robots, cybereyes, Predator drones, 3D printers, self-replicating robots; all of them are the seeds, the dregs, the most meager of beginnings. Think of where each of them'll be by 2010 - 2012.

- from BBC Science and Nature

Life imitates tech imitates life imitates ...

... at first your cellphone only wanted to help you. Soon it will be thinking for you. One day, it will be you.


From New Scientist

Monday, June 13, 2005

Yet another nano thing ...

... according to New Scientist, they've got brushes that can sweep inside capillary tubes now.

If this works the way I think it will, then goodbye cholesterol.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

In lieu of Accelerando ...

... I give you the next best thing: Stross' worldbuilding notes for it. Interesting reading; gives an idea of both how much thought goes into such ideadense work and of Stross' creative process.

I don't live Here anymore ...

... more and more, the world feels like an invisible future, one where only the past can be seen. Every Dell ad seems the height of paleotech, every iPod laughably quaint; the very mouse and keyboard with which I pen this are a source of deja vu flavoured amusement.

I've been spending too much time at KurzweilAI, haven't I?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Don't say I didn't warn you ...

... I told y'all the Panopticon Singularity was coming! Another point: How long will it be, I wonder, before the next software monopoly begins with a G?

Now, put the two together ...

What the hell ...

... is wrong with the google guys? What with their growing list of services, is putting this on their page too much to ask?

Link from PCWorld Magazine circa 2004 (didn't bother taking note of the month)

My ears can see the world ...

... yours too.

I Have Returned!!

... and I come bearing ... well, nothing but my fine self actually. Ain't it cool?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

See you Friday ...

... going, going, gone.

Fun Clarkisms ...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (everybody knows this one)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced (corollary to the original)

Any sufficiently complex magic is indistinguishable from technology (I disagree, but hey.)

Any sufficiently badly-written science is indistinguishable from magic. (Aaron Allston, of whom I've never heard)

Any sufficiently advanced scam is indistinguishable from religion (Mac'll love this one. I disagree but again, hey.)

Any sufficiently advanced advanced intelligence is indistinguishable from nature ( Paul Evan Hughes' answer to the Fermi Paradox)

Any sufficiently advanced bureaucracy is indistinguishable from molasses (getting snarky now)

Any sufficiently nice person is indistinguishable from someone who likes you (some livejournal I can't be bothered to remember.)

And, last but not least, my personal contribution:

Any sufficiently complex system is indistinguishable from a mind (Mine! Mine!Mine!MineMineMineMINE!! )

Feel free to contribute.

False alarm, people ...

... the accelerando E-book isn't out yet. On the plus side however, the hardcover is. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rise, my Octopeds ...

... 'Walking' octopus inspires soft robots

The surprise discovery that octopi can "walk" along the sea bed on two tentacles has inspired scientists seeking to create of a new generation of soft, flexible robots.
Two species of octopus have been observed moving in an upright bipedal stride since the discovery was announced in March this year.

And scientists at the University of California at Berkeley believe they can develop artificial muscles for use in a new field of soft robotics using the studies of the octopus's movement.

... betcha y'all didn't know I'm a big fan of biomimetics, didja? Didja?

Before they were bulletsoaks ...

... finally, someone else recognizes the sheer unbridled awesomeness of The Last Days of FOXHOUND.

Phil (if I may address him thus) over at I'm Just Saying ... (which I have just linked) did a far better review of it than I was ever going to get around to (thereby saving me the trouble, heh heh). Hats off to him.

If you're a Metal Gear Solid fan and you're not avidly following this comic, then you are clearly not a big enough fan. Get thee hence!!

Teenage mutant Chinese space seeds ...

... seriously.

Monday, June 06, 2005

HTML experimentation ...

... if anyone cares, i'm going to be messing with the layout of this page for the next little while.

Here goes ...

Homo hiltonius (heh heh) ...

... apparently, the hyper-rich do not belong to the same species as the rest of us.



I suppose I'm obligated to tie this to sf/futurism somehow .

Well, too bad, I'm not saying a single solitary thing about telomeres or resleeving ...

* rereads what he just wrote *

... crap.

Building Blue Brain ...

... Big Blue's bambino brings brand-new brain breaks.

In other words, New Scientist may just have reported the first step towards that good old thought experiment. Next (of many) logical step is to build copies of specific brains. Who needs uploading when you've got matter simulations?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Since no one else was doing it …

… here’s my Scratch Monkey review. This is post-aingularity (ahh good, it appears I did in fact coin this awful term) sf, circa ’93. I won’t bother with the usual nitpicks, timeline errors and such; this is unpublished work. I must also state my ... significant Stross bias beforehand. But I'll try to be objective.

The story opens fast, a few moments of setup before throwing both protagonist and reader into exegetic hard reentry. Our anti-heroine, Oshi Adjani, is an agent for Distant Intervention … a crew not entirely unlike Special Circumstances. Her mission directive is simple - infiltrate the world of New Salazar and halt the activities of Year Zero Man. Any means neccesary.

In the Scratch Monkey universe, as you'd expect from Stross, we've got all the nifty transhumanist tropes: ubiquitous nanotech, ai, minds are copied and uploaded before, after or, most commonly, during death. Specifically, they are uploaded to the Dreamtime, which is cyberspace, tranportation and digital afterlife all rolled into one. As hard sf, there's no fittling (heehee) not even wormholes so exactly-lightspeed is the best anyone can hope for. Minds (and the virtual echoes of flesh) are launched into the Dreamtime, lasing them across the dark of space to the destination, then the mind is reimprinted onto a genetic duplicate of the original body. Ships are only used for pioneer travel.

The people I work with -- Distant Intervention -- are behind me. We're troubleshooters. We look after the links, even when the local colony world chooses to ignore the vast network they are connected to. It's in everyone's interests to keep travel convenient, to keep the afterlife running, to make sure that the multiplicity of services the Dreamtime provides are available at all times. Sometimes people want to interfere with the system for their own reasons. Sometimes, as with Year Zero Man, the interference is malign beyond belief.

DI's mission statement, as far as we know, is to protect the Dreamtime links from sabotage, accident; anything that intereferes with the free flow of information/people - with uploading, there's no real difference. Those who maintain the Dreamtime (no human webmasters here; way too complex) are the Superbrights, highly superhuman intellects that originated from AI and IA experiments. So are the spymasters of Distant Intervention. As you can imagine, such a balance of power does not bode well for the poor little innocent humans.

Speaking of humans, we have quite a protagonist; she does things like turn crippling injury into an advantage and shiver with nigh-orgasmic release as she kills with her bare hands. Make no mistake: Oshi Adjani is not a nice person. She isn't just an antihero, she is vicious and bleak - much like the narrative itself. Not to spoil the story, ... well, I am spoiling it - if you have a problem with that, ignore the blank region. Yes that's right, don't highlight it. If she and the rest of the colonists do manage to find somewhere to live in peace, she'd most likely be unable to function. To quote Hannibal Tabu, she's "... an agent of chaos, an engine of hatred and destruction. Not the sort... you really want around in an utopia." The term "bleak male energy" comes to mind.

Her greatest tragedy and saddest strength is that Oshi realizes exactly this about herself.

Of course there are flaws; the other characters are unavoidably not as interesting as Adjani, there's very little reason why the true antagonists of the piece haven't already won and it's just plain rough. Nonetheless, this story rocks: awesome action, cool tech (love the climb-spiders) and if you wanna talk ideas, you've got a realistic take on universal translation, nanotech facemorphing, dictatorship as a meme virus (and just wait till you see the tapeworm - oooooh yeah). If pressed to give a number grade, I'd give Scratch Monkey an 8 out of 10. I prefer to just say, go read. Now.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

When did Catman turn into such a bad mutha ...

... shut yo' mouth

Just talking about Catman.

(Livejournal of mightygodking - I'll be paying attention to this one.)

I'm not a zombie? But ...

... but I crave brains, man!

(Who else but Warren Ellis.)

I'm baaaaaaack ....

... more later. Justice League just started.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

See y'all Saturday ...

... yeah.

That's it. Nothing more to see here. G'wan now, git.

Now make one for lust; that'll get their attention ...

Otherwise, cool.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

All arguments will come to an end ...

... when accelerando comes out - in e-book form no less.

I hope Vinge gets to read this.