Charlie Stross is in excellent form this morning about the likely outcomes from last night's Brexit vote, hitting all the highlights: collapse of the finance sector when Euro-denominated derivatives trades relocate to an EU state; collapse of the London property market (a big deal as 40% of the UK's national wealth is property in the southeast); sucession risks for Scotland and Northern Ireland; the increased legitimacy of the reactionary right and xenophobia and racism as the "shy UKIPpers" realise (or claim) that they were more numerous than they had believed. Read the rest
Phytophthora ramorum is a mold, related to the Irish Potato Famine pathogen, that causes some oak and tanoak trees to split open and bleed out all their sap, something called "sudden oak death." Read the rest
Eledoremassis02's "manipulated photo" series Life After Disney is a series of gorgeously decayed visions for what Walt Disney World will look like long after humans have disappeared from the scene. Read the rest
Primitive Technology's handyman starts with a stone axe and a fire-stick, then painstakingly builds up a 2m^2 hut with a bed, fireplace, chimney and thatched roof. Read the rest
Explore how many nukes there are in the world, and where they are, courtesy of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' interactive Nuclear Notebook -- a useful way to discover whether some friendly superpower has stashed nukes in your harbour. Read the rest
Alex sez, "Spacegambit is a hackerspace space program that funds cool space projects around the world. We're now working with NASA on the Asteroid Grand Challenge, with the aim of getting more makers involved in detecting asteroid threats to human populations and figuring out what to do about them. We're running our open call at the moment (closing on 20 May) and looking to fund open-source projects linked with hackerspaces/makerspaces/fablabs/etc." Read the rest
Expiration Day is William Campbell Powell's debut YA novel, and it's an exciting start. The novel is set in a world in which human fertility has collapsed, taking the birth-rate virtually to zero, sparking riots and even a limited nuclear war as the human race realizes that it may be in its last days. Order is restored, but at the price of basic civil liberties. There's a little bit of Orwell (a heavily surveilled and censored Internet); but mostly, it's all about the Huxley. The major locus of control is a line of robotic children -- all but indistinguishable from flesh-and-bloods, even to themselves -- who are sold to desperate couples as surrogates for the children they can't have, calming the existential panic and creating a surface veneer of normalcy.
Expiration Day takes the form of a private diary of Tania, an 11 year old vicar's daughter in a small village outside of London. Tania's father's parishioners have found religion, searching for meaning in their dying world. He is counsellor and father-figure to them, though the family is still relatively poor. Tania is a young girl growing up in the midst of a new, catastrophic normal, the only normal she's ever known, and she's happy enough in it. But them she discovers that she, too, is a robot, and has to come to grips with the fact that her "parents" have been lying to her all her life. What's more, the fact that she's a robot means that she won't live past 18: all robots are property of a private corporation, and are merely leased to their "parents," and are recalled around their 18th birthday, turned into scrap. Read the rest
Jeff VenderMeer writes, "The Fourth Estate, my UK publisher, has put together a cool site that takes the main premise of my novel, Annihilation, and creates a text game around with, with images and video as well. Now you too can join an expedition into the mysterious Area X, supposedly a pristine wilderness, but hiding a lot more than that. Overseen by the secret agency, the Southern Reach, which has its own secrets to hide."