Wired posted an article “written by the psychiatrists of Broadcast Thought—H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D.—and the attorneys of Law and the Multiverse, James E. Daily and Ryan M. Davidson, who recently collaborated on a panel at WonderCon entitled ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry After the Zombie Apocalypse.’”
It’s a great article discussing the legal and psychological aspects of some of hte more gruesome and complex elements of “The Walking Dead.” If only a few more of my law school classes had hypotheticals like this. And yes, it’s easy to laugh at this as ridiculous–like the CDC’s Zombie Prep Guide–but they can also be useful. They are creative ways to examine and dissect current rules and beliefs in an atypical fashion. It helps you confirm that you have a solid grasp of the details.
A couple days ago, Wired’s Danger Room blog posted a summary of the latest prognostications of the National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2030. While I think they hit upon many of the potential game-changer technologies, I’m puzzled by a couple of the conclusions highlighted in the Danger Room article.
The bits about turning humans into cyborgs sounds quite plausible in some ways–better sight and hearing, say. But as far as turning humans into six-million-dollar men, I don’t know. I could see exoskeletons coming before implants. And instead of implants, I think the more avatar/remotely-controlled robots might be more likely. It’s just a few generations beyond what we’re already doing on Mars when you think about it.
I thought it was interesting that they talked about the possibility of using biohacking, considering today Wired posted an article about “involuntarily penetrating and coercing the mind” of your enemies. Clausewitz perfected and warped at the same time. Although think about Madison Avenue getting ahold of that technology instead of the military.
I would have liked to have seen the National Intelligence Council say more about 3D printing, but their lack of information reveals how potentially upsetting this technology might be. Imagine insurgents printing up small drones instead of sending suicide bombers. Imagine hackers printing up copyrighted technology on demand. Imagine protective gear or prosthetics printed to fit your body perfectly. Imagine having a rudimentary Star Trek replicator in your house.
I also disagreed with the National Intelligence Council on a few points. I can’t see “instant cities” as Danger Room put it, but I could see mega-cities growing out of slums or where big cities currently do not exist. Or I could see mega-cities growing out of merged cities (say Baltimore to DC becoming one big mega-city).
I also think the Council overlooks environmental concerns and shifting ideas about taxation when they say that increased natural gas production will dominate alternative energy technologies. I think natural gas production energy will increase, but at the same time alternative energy tech does as well. I wouldn’t think one energy source would swamp a variety of sources, particularly in areas where natural gas isn’t as plentiful. But I was glad they saw climate change as real and undeniable.
What do you think of the report? What do you agree or disagree with? What technologies do you think they overlooked?
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is right around the corner. Starting November 1, writers around the world will have 30 days to write 50,000 words. On the one hand, that’s a very short novel (too short for some genres in fact), but on the other hand, November is a short month, and (for American writers) who wants to sit down and write on Thanksgiving day? But what a great opportunity NaNoWriMo is. By the end of November, you will have a large portion of a novel’s rough draft ready to go. Then while you’re hibernating during the winter, you can take that NaNoWriMo rough draft and polish it into something special.
Here is a brief article by Wired Magazine’s Geekmom, Jenny Williams, to give you a better idea of what you are in for. Williams does say that writing ahead of time is forbidden. While I agree as far as it comes to prose, I don’t see anything wrong with outlining before November, especially if you prefer to have a solid skeleton in place before you flesh it out with thousands of words of prose. Hence the heads up today.
Take October to work on your outline. Then you will be good to go come November. It will be easier to make your word count if you know where you are headed before you sit down. You may even get a little ahead, so you can take the occasional (Turkey) day off.
Oh, and when you’re done with NaNoWriMo, it’s time to switch gears and get your short stories ready, because applications for the Clarion Writers’ Workshop open on December 1. Fun times!
If you are planning doing NaNoWriMo, let me know below. I’d love to hear what kind of story you are thinking about writing.
I’ve previously talked about drones operating in the U.S. here, here, here, here and here. Now Wired’s Danger Room has a great article on the 64 (!) drone bases on U.S. soil.
The article argues that most of the bases are in remote areas, so they are not well suited for domestic surveillance, and drone training is more likely. This seems logical, given that many of the bases are for small range drones. But as these drones come home and start getting used more and more domestically, they will likely start being used by non-military groups. Law enforcement is already using a variety of drones. And not all of them are short range. City-wide surveillance of multiple moving targets is already a reality. Welcome to the future. You are being watched.
When news spread of Ray Bradbury’s passing yesterday, a few authors posted articles I wanted to pass along to the fans that would miss him. Neil Gaiman copied to his online journal an introduction to Bradbury’s THE MACHINERIES OF JOY. He also wrote an article about Bradbury as his friend for the Guardian. David Brin wrote an article about Bradbury’s optimism on Salon. Finally, the New Yorker unlocked Bradbury’s two articles so non-subscribers could access them.
Bradbury will be missed. It’s important for his fans to come together and share their memories of him and his legacy so that he will not be forgotten. I hope you enjoy these articles. Now go out, read some Bradbury this weekend, and maybe drink some dandelion wine while you’re at it.
UPDATE Here’s an article from Wired that includes comments from Ursula K. LeGuin, Joe Hill, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Bear, R.A. Salvatore, Lev Grossman, and more.