Tuesday, September 10, 2013


They say fact is stranger than fiction. (They also say don't go on Wolverton Mountain if you're looking for a wife. But I digress.)

So what's new, strange, and relates (somehow) to science, technology, or SF? I'm glad you asked.

Making an ash of oneself
Let's begin, from ABC News, with "Doctors Investigate Indian Baby for Spontaneous Combustion." That's spontaneous human combustion -- shades of Bleak House. Or if you prefer, what the dickens?

I've been fascinated with the potential for human-computer interfaces back to my 2002 novella "Presence of Mind," which grew into the 2008 novel Fools' Experiments (a technothriller that takes place about now). How's this, from USA Today, for a bit of amazing neuroscience tech? "Researcher remotely controls colleague's body with brain."

As in: "Brain researchers say that for the first time one person has remotely triggered another person's movement, a flicking finger, through a signal sent to him by thought ... In effect, Rao's thought was transferred across the campus, via the Internet, to trigger the motion in Stocco, who described it as feeling like an involuntary twitch, according to the announcement."

And from the mind-blowing to the mind-numbing, Forbes (among many news outlets) talks about how "Yahoo's New Logo Fails To Impress - But People Are Talking About It!"

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, got involved, it seems, in the details down to deciding the angle at which the exclamation mark tilts. (Nine degrees. Admit it, you wondered.) If only as much effort went into making basic Yahoo services consistent and reliable ...

Did you ever play around with sunlight and a magnifying glass or mirror? Then (from Yahoo! News) this is just the story for you: "Glare from London 'fryscraper' blamed for melting cars." Or, shifting my free association from ballads to rag time: there'll be a hot time in the old town, today.

Before even introducing my final thought for this post, I concede that perhaps I don't get out enough. Whatever the reason, I was amused to read the Onion's take on "Lava Lamp Turns 50." Hey, it's technology.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this mental remote stimulation first will hold up ... I think Jewish mothers have been working on this technique for years ... rumor has it with considerable success.
Also regarding Wolverton Mountain, as I recall, despite Clifton Cloward having a pretty young daughter ... he's still mighty handy with a gun and a knife!!

Edward M. Lerner said...

I'm glad someone caught the reference :-)