Karl Schroeder's "The Million": a science fiction conspiracy novel of radically altered timescales

Karl Schroeder's 2014 novel Lockstep featured tour-de-force worldbuilding, even by the incredibly high standards of Karl Schroeder novels: the human race speciates into cold-sleeping cicadas who only wake for one day in ten, or a hundred, or a million, allowing them to traverse interstellar distances and survive on the meager energy and materials available in deep space; with his new novella The Million, Schroder shows us how Lockstep is lived on Earth, the cradle of the human species, where a brutal murder threatens to blow apart the life of a very out-of-step protagonist.

Just look at these bananails.

Just look at them. (Thanks, Sean!) Read the rest

Interview with a cryptocurrency scammer

Adam Guerbuez is a cryptocurrency evangelist whose Youtube channel is full of videos promoting cryptocurrency trading; when he got a Twitter message from a scammer promising to send him free Ethereum coins, he asked the scammer if they could talk about the scam. Read the rest

Burbankers! There's a Save Magnolia Park meeting on August 13th at Geeky Tees

The parade of evictions and rent hikes in Burbank's lovely, independent-dominated Magnolia Park retail district is up for debate: the Save Magnolia Park coalition is having a public meeting on Aug 13th at Geeky Tees (2120 W Magnolia Blvd) at 7PM (alas, I'll be in Edinburgh, but I'm there in spirit!). Read the rest

Kickstarting new Aquabats albums and TV shows!

The wonderful Aquabats, nearly killed when the network they'd signed with went out of business, are back, and they want to produce a new TV special episode of Super Show! with a new album to go with it. Read the rest

Come see me at the Edinburgh Festival and/or Worldcon!

I'm heading to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festival where I'm appearing with the wonderful Ada Palmer on August 12th at 845PM (we're talking about the apocalypse, science fiction and hopefulness); from there, I'm heading to the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California, where I'll be doing a bunch of panels, signings and a reading. Read the rest

Bad infrastructure means pacemakers can be compromised before they leave the factory

It's been ten years since the first warnings about the security defects in pacemakers, which made them vulnerable to lethal attacks over their wireless links, and since then the news has only gotten worse: one researcher found a way to make wireless pacemaker viruses that spread from patient to patient in cardiac care centers, and the medical device makers responded to all this risk by doubling down on secrecy and the use of proprietary code. Read the rest

Origami hand: "a disposable robot hand" made from folded paper

Tokyo grad student Tezuka Sota's "Origami Hand" is a robotic gripping hand whose plastic-coated, water-resistant folded paper is sterile, disposable, and free from moving parts and lubricants, meaning it can be used in difficult environments that are hostile to bearings and oils, like space or underwater. Read the rest

Japanese self-sharpening mechanical pencils give the lead a tiny turn every time you lift the tip

Uni's Kuru Toga Roulettes are mechanical pencils that solve a problem I've never had, which is that the tip wears differentially, eventually creating a blunt instrument (I am a clod whose draftsmanship looks like I tried writing in a zeppelin caught in a tornado, so this is not a problem for me) -- the Roulette contains a tiny gearing mechanism that rotates the lead by a quarter-turn every time you lift the tip (e.g. between words); this creates an even wear around the lead's tip, keeping it sharp and reducing the likelihood that it will snap. (via Core 77) Read the rest

The Strandbeests of 2018 are from the very greatest of timelines

For more than 15 years, we've been writing about the strandbeests, Theo Jansen's incredibly, multilegged windwalking machines that clatter their way along in eerily lifelike fashion (I even wrote them into my fiction). Read the rest

Talking copyright, internet freedom, artistic business models, and antitrust with Steal This Show

I'm on the latest episode of Torrentfreak's Steal This Show podcast (MP3), where I talk with host Jamie King about "Whether file-sharing & P2P communities have lost the battle to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and why the ‘copyfight’ is still important; how the European Copyright Directive eats at the fabric of the Web, making it even harder to compete with content giants; and why breaking up companies like Google and Facebook might be the only way to restore an internet — and a society — we can all live with." Read the rest

Kickstarting the Mexicanx Initiative Anthology, spotlighting Mexicanx creators who won scholarships to this year's Worldcon

Pablo Defendini (previously) writes, "Fireside Magazine’s editor, Julia Rios, is part of The Mexicanx Initiative, a scholarship fund John Picacio put together for sending Mexicanx and Mexican-American sf/f authors to Worldcon. A few of the Mexicanx Initiative authors decided to create an anthology to commemorate the occasion, and had been planning on subsidizing the cost of printing and shipping themselves. When Fireside got word of this last week, we decided to pitch in, and we put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $1500 they needed.

"Well, we blew past our funding goal, and we decided that any money left over would be split evenly among all the participants (Fireside isn't making a cent off this). So now we're trying to reach a stretch goal of $7500 by the end of the campaign this Friday, so that we can not only cover their production costs, but pay every author, artist, designer, translator, and editor who donated their work a SFWA-qualifying pro rate."

Mexicanx Initiative Anthology [Fireside/Kickstarter] Read the rest

A gorgeous history of the mid-century modernism by Disney's finest illustrators of the 1950s

Didier Ghez is a dedicated Disney historian who has embarked on a massive, multi-volume history of the art of Disney in his They Drew As They Pleased series from Chronicle Books; I enjoyed the first three volumes of the series, but volume 4, The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era: The 1950s took my breath away.

Buskers are the only performers making money at the Edinburgh Fringe. Here's how.

So. You're trudging down the Royal Mile taking it all in. The World's largest festival of the performing arts, and in such a beautiful city, too. Detestably young actors with a dream in their heart and Starbucks in their veins approach from every angle, lunging flyers at you like fencers thrusting a blade. You dodge, parry, apologise and avoid – priding yourself on your fringe street savvy. But then your attention is piqued by a noise. The unmistakable sound of genuine spontaneous fun. Your lizard brain makes you perk up like a meerkat, on the balls of your feet, trying to get a look at what might be occurring ahead. There's a crowd. Could be anything. Could be something. You add yourself to their number, pushing in a little. Someone's doing something. Looks like you missed whatever amazing feat caused the crowd to erupt like that, but lets stick around to see what happens next, right?

Re/Search press releases its first-ever merch, only available for a few more hours

For cyberpunks of a certain vintage, Re/Search press (previously) was absolutely formative -- books like Incredibly Strange Films, Zines!, and, of course, Modern Primitives (RIP, Fakir) were incredibly influential material for the modern happy mutant. Read the rest

Chamomile Tea Party: remixed propaganda posters for the Trump age

Jeff Gates writes, "Back in 2010, when I started to take old propaganda posters and remix them with new text and imagery about the sad state of American political discourse, Boing Boing was the first to publicize the work. Read the rest

Listen: ZZTop's "Legs" and U2's "Streets Have No Name" are the same song

Aaron Oppenheim writes, "I made a lil lazy mashup of Legs and Where The Streets Have No Name (just tempo and key matching) because someone on twitter pointed out that they are basically the same song. It works incredibly well." Read the rest

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