I loved Nexus, Ramez Naam's 2012 debut novel about biohackers who produce a nano-based party drug that installs a networked computer inside your brain, and quickly turns into a war-on-drugs bioethics thriller about the free/open transhumanists and mirthless, ruthless drug enforcement agents.
, the sequel that comes out today, Naam rips through 550+ pages in about ten minutes flat, with a blisteringly paced technothriller that dives deeper and even better into the chunky questions raised by Nexus. Crux tells the story of Nexus's inventors in exile around the world, or jailed by drug-enforcement spooks, or, in one case, uploaded into a physically isolated underground quantum supercomputer controlled by the Chinese politburo.
In Crux, we see a world where the first stirrings of a global revolution in computer/human cognition are taking place. It's a weird political matrix with the pro-Nexus side composed of extremist posthuman Nietzschean terrorists; desperate parents of kids with austism; liberated clonal warriors; children of networked sex workers who were born with nanocytes already in their brains; slavers; drug lords; billionaire would-be saviors; Buddhist monks, and bioenhanced ninjas.
On the other side: scheming politicos; concerned bioethicists; horrified technologists; brutal cops; patriotic spooks; Chinese power-brokers; and a thousand kinds of reactionaries, from Buddhist abbots to bigoted American blowhard politicians.
Naam's special talent is raising important and thorny bioethical questions that have no pat answer, making them part of an action-adventure plot, and infecting your brain with his ideas. This is a fabulous book, and it ends in a way that promises at least one more. Count me in.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
I dote on fidget gadgets — soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads — and while you can’t buy Chris Bathgate’s amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there’s still Thinkgeek’s new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and […]
Nothing is more frustrating than needing to edit or sign a PDF and not having access to the original document. That’s why PDFpenPRO is a must-have app in our books.With this extremely useful app, you can merge, markup, and create PDF documents without ever having to convert your PDFs into word processor file formats. Type directly onto […]
From self-driving cars to stock market predicting software to the recommendations you get on Amazon and Netflix, machine learning is at the core of modern technology. You could find yourself building technology that is literally changing the world with the skills you’ll learn in The Complete Machine Learning Bundle. This bundle of 10 courses includes 406 lessons that will teach […]
This Python Mega Course will help you learn to code by teaching you to build 10 real-world apps that each highlight a unique use of Python.Job prospects for coders are still growing steadily—and with Python being one of the most popular coding languages out there today, it’s important for job seekers to demonstrate a widespread understanding of the […]