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.
Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day.”
Jeff writes, “7 years after ‘grassroots mapping’ the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits.”
The Kaonashi No-Face Piggy Bank makes the most out of one of the coolest characters in Studio Ghibli’s storied history — but getting one exported to you from Japan costs an astounding $164. (via Kadrey)
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]