Hey. Did you know we’re gonna be in Chicago at C2E2 from April 21st through the 23rd? You’ll find us in Artists Alley. We’ve taken over E-16, E-17, and E-18 along with our friends Ngozi, Tessa, Yuko, and Ananth!
Scott is taking pre-orders on single figure sketch commissions! Here’s what you do: PayPal email@example.com $50. In the comments/notes section just let him know you’d like him to draw. Remember, single figure! If you don’t specify anything, you’ll get a Robo doing something. Anyway all you have to do is drop by our table at any time during the show and tell us your name. PRESTO you got a sketch! We’re asking for the cash up front to compel you to get the thing you want!
Here is a handy + dandy map!
Come on by, grab some books, get some signatures on them, it’ll be a hoot. We’ll see you there.
A Brief History of the Grand Unified Theory. It’s a big read for an internet article, but worth your time if you’d like to step away from the horror show of our political landscape for a few minutes. Also you could learn some stuff or whatever.
Kenya’s BRCK. This is the future cyberpunks want.
How DeepMind Helps AI Learn Faster. One weird AI memory trick human resistance fighters hate.
Detective X revealed. This is the sort of thing I’m thinking about when I say that history is a goldmine filled with amazing characters.
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Supersonic Jets Are Back! Maybe!
The one and only time you could doubt climate change. It was the first time we’d done a big ol’ survey of worldwide climate data. And even then warming trend was obvious. But, hey, it’s the first time this sort of thing was done. The prudent course of action at that stage is to note the irregularity, but not to panic about it yet, and to keep an eye on climate data going forward to see if it was a blip or a problem. Spoiler alert: fifty years of climate surveys have confirmed it’s a catastrophic problem.
Juice Jacking. Not, strictly speaking, new, but worth keeping in mind for those of us who spend too much time in airports.
Employers Demand Workers’ Genetic Test Results. Nothing exploitative and monstrous about that, nope!
We’re all as good as dead. These things will be a lot less cute when they’re inevitably weaponized.
Megacities Military Unit. Pretty good research for all you near-future, soft-dystopian, and slow-apoc writers. Don’t forget to add the battalion of ‘bots from that previous link.
Are Fast Radio Bursts from Extragalactic Lightsails? Decide for yourself by reading the paper. I mean, honestly, no, probably not. But it’s the sort of thing we ought to be thinking about anyway! Our search for life outside the solar system is fairly hopeless. I mean, yeah, there’s life out there. That is no longer a question in the same way it was for the first half of my life when we had no data about the existences of extrasolar planets. Now, of course, we know the galaxy is lousy with planets. From there life only needs access to energy, stability, and time. And the number of stars times the number of planets across the timeline of the Milky Way tells us that it is almost unthinkable that life does not exist somewhere else in our galaxy.
But our search has been largely concerned with detecting 20th century-ish radio signals. Given the vast chasms of space and time involved, this is frankly hopeless and sort of dumb. I mean, we should keep doing it just in case, it’s a trivial use of time and computation, but if there’s another technological civilization out there, they’ll be exploiting those kinds of signals and power levels for a small sliver of its potential lifespan. If we’re optimistic enough to assume they don’t kill themselves, they’ll spend far more time exploiting bigger and stranger technologies that ought to be easier to detect if only we get a little weird with our thinking.
Google’s AI + Blockchains = healthcare. Basically an attempt to keep medical data completely private but still useful. Drones and cyber-eyes get all the attention, but it’s the nuts and bolts stuff like this that’ll be the augmented heart fueling the cyberpunk future we’re living through.
Before we get started, I just wanted to remind everyone that Scott and I will be attending Emerald City Comicon next weekend. Scott has a limited number of sketches available so reserve yours today!
Okay, now that we got all the business out of the way, let’s get to it!
Magnetic Spikes. Geomagnetics. How do they work? You want my opinion, unexplained spikes in localized geomagnetic activity in the Earth’s past obviously point to time travelling teenagers doing pranks to mess with historical records.
The (Legally) Blind Can See. Gonna be a weird time if we can keep this civilization going long enough for features like these to become standard issue in glasses and contact lenses.
I think we all heard about TRAPPIST-1. Or 2MASS J23062928-0502285 if you’re nasty. I’m particularly fond of the infographic and tourism posters. The universe is a weird place. Seven planets, all rocky, all roughly Earth-ish sized, and all of them orbiting their star closer than Mercury orbits our own. And yet three of them are potentially habitable since TRAPPIST-1 is pretty dang small and cool relative to the Sun. Fun fact: the Sun has about five billion* years of fuel left, but TRAPPIST is burning so low it’ll last for another four trillion years.
*The Sun will still be around, but that’s when it will have become a Red Giant and expand to engulf the Earth’s** orbit which will, uh, obliterate our planet.
**Oh, don’t worry, that’s still five billion years from now and it won’t matter anyway since all life on Earth will have died long before then because the Sun is slowly getting hotter and the surface of the Earth will be too hot to support liquid water in only about one billion*** years.
***It’s not that bad. It’s unlikely civilization even has another 40 years*^ in it.
*^Assuming a soft collapse where pockets of humanity are able to survive the post-apocalypse at subsistence levels, it’s pretty much impossible for us to ever get “back” to where we are now. The Industrial Revolution only worked because England happened to have a lot of coal/oil near the surface thanks to glaciers carving up the countryside thousands of years earlier. We’ve long since used up all the “easy” energy worldwide and now the only way to get more is by relying on an uninterrupted extraction infrastructure. Should that system suffer a global collapse, that’s it, there’s no starting it back up. The best we can hope for is getting back to about the Renaissance^ and then just hanging out there forever.