Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mood: Exanimate (Thanks, Livejournal. My vocabulary is now 1E-24% bigger)

Doing: Writing a scene from Weepee Prime (In it, Our Hero intimidates an alphabet soup deskwarrior, basically by showing that, while Technology will one day surpass the Supernatural, that day is nowhere in the near future.)

Today, I find myself lackadaisical beyond belief, a shambling husk kept in motion by nothing more than inertia. What happens when a ghost gives up the flesh?

Not doing: Playing Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy like I really really rilly want to. I've been lusting after that game since last year. Now it's here and I'm exercising discipline. It is possible that I have given myself cramps.

Wish I was doing: Sky-diving. Thankfully, that might actually happen. My joy at that little realization is a tiny candleglow surrounded by the layers and layers of Idon'tgivearatsass that I currently hold toward everything else.


Thank you, Cyn, for adding the whisper that triggered the avalanche. Such was my apathy that I may have gone another month without dragging this carcass anywhere near a computer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Human buttons (random thoughts on variegated nonsense) ...

... I am thinking of a martial art, perhaps fictional. No name for it at this time but it follows an approach that pleases me. The idea is to approach the human brain as an input/output system. Senses = input; mouth, limbs, body language = output. What you now have is a holistic martial art, consisting of the physical, psychological, neurolinguistic and memetic. You can destroy your enemy (or heal your friend) on every level simultaneously.

You too can hack the human computer.


The brain is the person, the body is just … transportation. Advertising even.
Our evolutionary ancestors and the animals have this backwards; the body is the seat of their existence and the brain is but a switching station. Defense, offence, fight, flight, fornicate.

Speaking of evolution, many think that Darwinism is about conflict. They’re wrong; the truth is that evolution inevitably leads to cooperation. How else could ecologies exist? Violence limiters naturally form as a process; species that cannot abide this will naturally deselect themselves out of the running.

As one steps into the memetic paradigm, where Lamarck is proven posthumously right, this becomes even more true. Ideas don't need to fight or even out-breed their competitors, they only need to exist. Eventually, they are found and spread, with us as the vectors. Over time, ideas are mixed and matched, cut and pasted, interbred at furious plasmid speed until ... what?

I'm not saying the S-word. Nope.

The tragedy of the posthuman universe is that in the end, all paths lead to the same place: whether one started out as human, ai or alife, at a certain level, monadic existence is no longer viable. The neural protheses one would need to function, to readily die and restart and copy, independent of original awareness (which is after all non-transplantable), one would cease to be a body-identity and become a pancake-person, spread out every which way.

Once this happens, the individual identity ceases to matter also. One wouldn't even be aware of this process anymore because awareness would no longer be necessary; it would be an impediment in fact. End result? Everybody collapses together into one, not as some great transcendent process but like a vintner stamping on grapes.

The horror, the horror ...?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mars Couture ...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Yep. It's happened.

Mass Produced Nanotubes, Bitches!

Wasn't I just ranting about spaceplanes and/or space elevators the other day?


(Via Paul Evan Hughes)

Elsewhere on the Internet ...

The Crown: Ascension, now on Amazon.

Next up, Borders ...

Length x Width x Height ...

Just saw Cube on Thursday. I don't have anything to say about it that hasn't already been said by Mark Featherstone Someone's clearly been reading their Sartre.

I did find something very funny here: Cube review by what appears to be a white supremacist. I'm fairly certain Quentin was Hispanic, but that's just me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

They can come closer than close, yeah ...

Seriously though, the Uncanny Valley is gonna become more and more important in the next twenty years, with CG now and robotics later.

Remember this?

And we thought nanobots were cool ...

Research into artificial atoms could lead to one startling endpoint: programmable matter that changes its makeup at the flip of a switch.
By Wil McCarthy

Things don't start to get exciting until page 3. But once you're there, hothothot!

Go. Read. Now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And why not?

Many Life-Bearing Planets Could Exist In Interstellar Space

Long ago in a solar system not at all far away, there could have existed about five to 10 Earth-like planets in Jupiter-crossing orbits. These planets today could harbor life somewhere in interstellar space, according to a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology. In the July 1 issue of the journal Nature, Caltech professor Dave Stevenson says in a new study that such objects could be life-sustaining due especially to the molecular hydrogen they accreted when the solar system formed long ago. Called "interstellar planets" because they would exist between the stars but no longer in orbit around an original parent star ...

Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Tindol gets a little too free with his theorizing about the possiblity of evolved life. Personally, I think these have far more potential as terraformable human colonies. You'd have to use geothermal energy for power and (perhaps) collimated starlight for light but it ought to be doable when interstellar von neumanns come into play.

First, we'd have to find them though.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Currently Reading ...

The Skinner by Neal Asher:

Man, this rocks! And I thought Lady of Mazes had ideas! Ships with intelligent sails, a cop hunting down the people who killed him seven centuries ago (no, he's not an upload or a clone or a memeomic reconstruction), a planet with an all-predator ecology a la Deathstalker's Shandrakor (only far better realized) and much much more. And I'm not even half-way through yet!

Scarecrow by Matt Reilly:

Not much to say yet, but if Ice Station is any indication, this is gonna be one hell of a ride. Why haven't this guy's books been filmed yet?

One of the finest essayists on the planet ...

... Jon Carroll has been medusaheaded.

Insert scatological humour here.

Pee-powered battery smaller than a credit card

The first urine-powered paper battery has been created by physicists in Singapore. The credit-card sized unit could be a useful power source for cheap healthcare test kits for diseases like diabetes, and could even be used in emergency situations to power a cellphone, they say.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I Contain Multitudes ...

... behold the universe.

Picture from mister snitch

Zombies, man ...

... and the comics they appear in.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #22: Loved the art, crept me the hell out. That said, there are almost Mandelbrotian complexities of stupidity going on here. Certain Asgardians (you know, gods) and Sorcerers Supreme could not possibly be zombiefied. Why would zombie Reed (who is clearly smarter) need Ultimate Reed to help him build anything? Why would Zombie Sorcerers Supreme be scared of a certain omega-class mutant? Ridiculous all around. Next.

Majestic #8: Aaah, much better. No more Daemonites, all's right with the world. Or not, as certain chickens from the homeworld come to roost. Self-regenerating warmechs that obey conservation of mass? Abnett is apparently a big fan of hard-sf; this, unsurprisingly, pleases me. The return of two characters, at least one of whom was sorely missed. I really hope Halo Corp starts to play some kind of part in this comic, it's really our last link to Wildcats 3.0 and proper Wildstorm continuity in general.

Ultimates Annual #1: "Only two of these made in the whole world, homie, and I have the other one."

Heh. Heh. HeeheehahahahahahHAAAAHAHA!

*wipes eyes*

Ultimate Fury's so cool - in a justifiably paranoid sort of way. Heh.

Fables #40: Saved the best for last over here. Who'd have thought Boy Blue would ever become such a badass? Also, the identity of the Adversary and how e (sic: genderless) came to be ... this arc has been brilliance all around. The Vorpal Sword (of the Jabberwocky's woe) is officially the coolest weapon in the universe.

(If you think I've overused the word "ultimate", you ain't seen nothin' yet)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It only gets worse.

One woman, in a ditch with road kill and rattlesnakes, while Bush ignores her from four miles away.

This is happening right now. And not a single TV station is covering it. How is this possible?

More when my rage ices over. For now, check out the link. Get angry too.

I See Youuuu ...

Angstrovision, Imaging at the Nanometer Scale

"The data gathered is metrologically accurate, and can be acquired non-destructively at a long working distance in a wide range of environments without requiring any preparation of samples."

If these guys aren't quacks, then all they're gonna need to do is stay solvent until free-range gootech becomes viable. Then they sell NanoGuard 3.0 to everyone and make gazillions.

Of course, with free-range nano, money's pretty much obsolete, so ...

NASA: Smoke 'em if you got 'em, folks.

Discovery returns safely to Earth

Never been happier to be wrong.


That said, I stand by my loathing of their policies in general. We should have more space-exploration, not less. If abandoning shuttles is what it takes, then junk them and move on.

Two hours ago, I was reading 2001: A Space Odyssey and tears actually left my eyes. We should have Mars and Moon colonies by now, dammit! Why are these idiots in charge still fighting each other when so much more is possible? How much longer till they find something "... more exciting than war"?

Do I sound naive?

Good. Maybe if we weren't all such cynics and "realists", we'd have a Mars colony by now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

NASA: Postponing The Return.

Just like the heading says
. Due to weather, no less.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

... Stuff.

Siggraph Cyber Fashion Show

Would I be hated if I used the, admittedly laughable, term couturepunk?

Magic eight-ball sez yes.

NASA: Immanentizing the Return

Well, it's Sunday. They're on their way back and the asscovering has already begun:

"We've assessed this risk to the very best of our engineering knowledge and we believe the vehicle is safe to fly and for re-entry," he said.

Paul Hill, lead shuttle flight director, also stressed that Nasa is confident of a safe return for Discovery.

"We are in really good shape," he said. "The vehicle is in pristine condition. All the tests are good, we are ready to go. But de-orbit is not a risk free activity. Our big risk now would be the weather."

There. Asses covered. We now return you to your regularly scheduled "Missing White Girl".

(From Wired and BBC Science and Nature respectively)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Astronaut fixes shuttle problem

Good to see the astronauts trying not to get killed. DIY at a light-delay.

6:14 PM EDIT: See you Saturday.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Very Secret Diaries Of ...

... George Bush et al. Very Funny.

Incidentally, The Weapon is a pretty good book. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 01, 2005

This heading is in poor taste ...

Grubs fight parasites with food

Scientists found the caterpillars' sense of taste actually changed when they became infected with parasites. Instead of avoiding certain alkaloid plants, the caterpillars actually developed a fondness for them. This change in diet helps to beat the creatures' parasite infection, the researchers report in Nature.

The finding is slightly unusual because often when animals change their behaviour following a parasitic infection, it is to the invaders' benefit

Why cats don't go for sweet foods

Now, scientists have discovered why cats prefer dining on meat and fish - they cannot detect sugary foods due to a defect in a key taste receptor gene.
Molecular analysis shows big cats also have the faulty gene, and this probably helped shape the evolution of their carnivorous behaviour.

The research is published in the journal known as PLoS Genetics.

It has been a mystery for years why domestic cats, along with lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars, dislike sweet-tasting foods

Pun intended.