Never Trust a Gastropod.

I met Toronto’s mayor last night. The satanic Dave Nickle and I ended up at the Duke of Richmond, in the wake of a late city council meeting he’d been covering. Dave was buying, having racked up a whole evening’s worth of Blood Beers on account of all the snails he’d stepped on during our […]

Posted in: misc by Peter Watts 4 Comments

Spoiler Alert

Seriously, people; there are a couple of major reveals in this bit. You really don’t want to read it if you’re averse to spoilers about Dumbspeech. Really, you don’t want to be here. This is for Colbert Platinum members only. Fine, then. You’ll pick many a bean… Good News for Modern Man: Sometimes the voices […]

Posted in: fiblet by Peter Watts 8 Comments

Pole Star

My buddy (and fellow author) Brent Hayward sent me this photographic evidence from Poland: evidently I’ve made it into the bookstores at Warsaw International Airport. I don’t whether to be pleased by this news (there was a whole stack!) or depressed (they hadn’t sold any of them; there was a whole stack…) Either way, though, […]

Posted in: writing news by Peter Watts 4 Comments

The Living Dead

Meet Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, the bacterium that does it all: fix carbon, fix nitrogen, synthesize all essential amino acids, locomote — an organism that can exist totally independent of other life. It doesn’t even need the sun. This fucker basically lives on sulfur, rock, and electrons*. It’s an obligate anaerobe, without even the most rudimentary […]

"To Prove Free Will, You Have To Do Something You Don’t Want To."

I stumbled upon the premiere of this new television show last night. It contained the eponymous line, which is a bit pithier than the usual prime-time broadcast dialog. Even cooler, this line was a quote from a psychopathic assassin named Edward who’d recently been upbraided by his boss for gratuitously killing his target; in a […]

Posted in: ink on art by Peter Watts 10 Comments

Fear and the French

I’ve gone back and posted a coda at the end of Wednesday’s fear and religion entry; the recent hysteria at Republican rallies is chillingly consistent with Oxley et al‘s findings that Conservative=Fearful. But let’s move on to fear and horror of a more existential sort, the kind you might find in the shadow of a […]

Posted in: writing news by Peter Watts 7 Comments

And While We’re On the Subject…

Courtesy of the Shoe-On-Other-Foot Dept…

Posted in: misc by Peter Watts 3 Comments

Understanding Sarah Palin: Or, God Is In The Wattles

Here’s a question for you. Why hasn’t natural selection driven the religious right to extinction? You should forgive me for asking. After all, here is a group of people who base their lives on patently absurd superstitions that fly in the face of empirical evidence. It’s as if I suddenly chose to believe that I […]

Head Cheese Gone Wild

I was plenty pleased when little porridges of cultured neurons took their first baby steps towards running flight simulators or operating robots in the lab; I was downright smug when folks noticed that I’d got there first. Now, though, researchers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology are planning on putting head cheeses in […]

Posted in: AI/robotics, biotech, neuro, relevant tech by Peter Watts 5 Comments

For want of a nail.

For decades now, experts from all walks have provided sage wisdom about the need to save for my declining years. We no longer live in a word of services, they’ve told me. We live in a world of ownership. It is not enough to save. You must invest. And this can sometimes be hard to […]

Posted in: misc, rant by Peter Watts 6 Comments