Archive for just putting it out there…

John Carpenter’s “Planaria”: or, The New Individualism

Sometimes you run into a concept that completely rewires your outlook. It happened for me back in the eighties, when I encountered the definition of “Life” in Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker: “Information, shaped by natural selection”. That concise distillation—an actual description of what life is, as opposed to all those tired and exception-prone checklists that […]

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Of Mice, and Men, and Magneto.

So lookee here (or here, for popsci coverage). Researchers out of the University of Virginia have successfully controlled behavior in mice— possibly instilled True Happiness, although it’s impossible to be sure about another being’s inner emotional state— using controlled magnetic fields. By hacking into the reward centers of the rodent brain they induced the little […]

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Destination X.

Hello, ‘crawlsters.  I would like to solicit your input on the following (utterly hypothetical) question: If, sometime in the next year, you could send me somewhere on this planet— somewhere from which I’d be obligated to report back on my experiences— where would it be? Some conditions apply. I would not willingly go to the […]

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Viva Zika!

There’s this guy I knew, Dan Brooks. Retired now, an eminent parasitologist and evolutionary biologist back in the day. He did a lot of work on emerging infectious diseases (EIDs, for you acronym fetishists) down in Latin America. A few years back I wrote some introductory text for an online database he was compiling. Part […]

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Spock the Impaler: A Belated Retrospective on Vulcan Ethics.

When I first wrote these words, the Internet was alive with the death of Leonard Nimoy. I couldn’t post them here, because Nowa Fantastyka got them first (or at least, an abridged version thereof), and there were exclusivity windows to consider. As I revisit these words, though, Nimoy remains dead, and the implications of his […]

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Gendering Nemo.

With Special Opening Act, Tony Smith! What do Dune, The Road, Blindsight, Anathem, and I Am Legend all have in common? Together, they comprise The Five Worst SF Books EVER, as compiled by my buddy, Tony Smith over at Starship Sofa. Of course, this is hardly the first time Blindsight has been so honored— but […]

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“Just to be Clear, I Don’t Expect You to Embrace Any of This…

“I’m told a lot of lawyers tend to show up at these things, and my guess is the standard legal toolbox does not come with a middle finger to stick to the authorities. Then again, lawyers also know better than most what an ass the law is; they know that some are more equal than […]

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Giving Up on Life.

The ‘crawl’s been kinda quiet lately, mainly because I am (for the second time in as many years) on the last lap of this dumb novel. I am, in fact, committed to delivering the damn thing to  Tor before I leave for FinnCon — and I’m on track to do that, if I don’t let […]

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Mind Hives Remastered

So.  The 2013 Aurora Ballot came out a few days ago. Once again, I hadn’t been paying much attention because I didn’t actually publish anything last year.  Once again, I got a phone call telling me that whatever I talked about at last fall’s SpecFic Colloquium got me onto the ballot anyway, under “Best Fan […]

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The Coming of the Lord.

There are a couple of different ways we could be living inside a computer. The Matrix model looms largest on the pop-culture landscape for obvious reasons, notwithstanding that the Matrix movies presented at best a half-assed iteration of the concept: that live human brains were being fed a digital simulation of reality while being hosed […]

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