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Tamara Wilhite

A New Hominid Species Might Be Right around the Corner

Someone asked me when I thought a new human species might emerge. Did I think it would be 100,000 or 1,000,000 years off? I had a much shorter timeframe – a couple of generations, if we so chose…

The Growing Hidden Market for Information Appliances

Bringing in information appliances like Alexa and Siri costs you your privacy. They’ll monitor and record everything you say, parsing it for key terms to be used in advertising. However, I can’t say they aren’t for everyone. I’m going to ignore those who want to live in a networked home because it feels like the future has arrived and focus on those that are the best (or worst) case scenario.

New Fiction: Imperfect by Design

The investigator sat supernaturally still, and it wasn’t just because of the high resolution scanners tied to the high security video conferencing system. The five senior administrators in the call were older, and they were barely able to be composed if they cared to be at all.

“Tell me, again, what they died of,” the one with the strongest medical background stated.

The investigator repeated the bacteria’s full scientific name.

“Was the determination that it is genetically engineered?” the former doctor asked.

“Yes and no.”

“That is a yes or no question.”

“The ancient strain would cause illness in the average population but have a low mortality rate. The pathogen appears to be that ancient strain tweaked to use the same vector the modern version of the bacteria exploits, though the modern strain is an inconvenience for most people.”

Book Review: ‘To Be Men’

The short story collection “To Be Men” was written to embody traditional values of courage, heroism, self-sacrifice and a father’s love that are too often derided in our society. The result of the editor’s work is an eclectic mix of stories by a number of authors.

Editor’s Note: This review is cross-posted from HubPages. If you would like to submit cultural posts from your blog for cross-posting or new, unpublished articles please email submissions [at] LibertyIslandMag.com

Give Me Years, and I’ll Give You the Stars

There are a variety of ways the human life expectancy could be extended. If any of these methods pan out, they’d radically alter the potential for space travel, albeit in different ways.

The Libertarian Solution to the Telepath Problem

Science fiction tends to assume that the solution to containing those with unusual powers is a statist solution. Let’s look at the fictional institutions that were created to control super-powered people like telepaths and how libertarians could handle the issue ethically.

For the mutants in the X-Men series, there is a Mutant Registration Act. Enforcement was via armed police and robot Sentinels created to round them those it can identify. What happens to those rounded up? There were at least several facilities that experimented on unwillingly kidnapped and detained mutants. Civil rights? What civil rights?

Unless you have a rich benefactor and are able to hide in plain sight separated willingly from society (Xavier’s School for the Gifted), you’re hiding on your own, in government custody or part of a criminal gang.

The STEM – Sci-Fi Connection

Let’s cultivate the positive, uplifting science fiction so that we can inspire kids who will go out and create that world we’ve imagined for them.

Someone described a classic science fiction novel’s cover as a book cover that launched a thousand engineering careers, and I completely understood the sentiment as an engineer, a science fiction fan and science fiction author. What many don’t seem to understand is the connection between science fiction and STEM.

The engaging imagery on the book cover often sells the book, and it sets the reader’s expectations (or explains the environment, as in the case of “Ringworld” and “Integral Trees”). We talked about how science fiction in general inspired many to go into STEM careers and on to actual inventions. You can find articles listing everything that Star Trek has inspired in real life to date. Yet there are several trends that are inhibiting this trend in the next generation.

New SciFi Fiction: The Fluidity of Memory

I chose the avatar of myself at 25 for this meeting. I was in my prime at that point, youthful and strong, a subtle jab at her aging form without being obvious in the effort. And it would garner more respect from my sister than the teenaged avatar of myself I’d picked last week to try to relate to her kid.

My sister came alone to the meeting room this week. We shared pleasantries. Then she asked me about something, vaguely. I couldn’t understand the question, so I changed the topic. Repeatedly. She became flustered, then angry. “Don’t you remember what happened that day when you were nine, I was seven and Uncle Joe did THAT! I’m trying to talk to you because you’re the only person who I can talk to who can’t deny it, and you now you are denying it.”

“I’m not denying it. I don’t remember it,” I replied.

New SciFi Fiction: One Heck of an Upgrade

I don’t remember dying the first time.

They say that’s normal for brain uploads. The process tends to scramble memories like a concussion. Well, it is worse than a concussion, since the whole brain dies while you’re uploading.

I remember the lights of the lab, the lights in front of my eyes as the neuron patterns were copied. The rest is a blur, but it was a known thing we just tried to forget though we now had perfect, digital memory. Some choose to delete that memory altogether to get on with the digital afterlife.

The second time I died, when the servers we were uploaded to be shut off, I don’t remember anything at all of the process. One moment, in the simulacrum I knew, the next, here. Wherever here was.

Did Star Wars Jump the Shark Or Was It Devoured by Parasites?

And what about Star Trek’s recent turns? The pop culture discussion continues…

I like both Star Wars and Star Trek. I’ve seen all of the Star Wars and Star Trek movies, and while watching the kids, even saw a number of Clone Wars cartoon episodes. I’ve seen most episodes of Star Trek, every series, though I’ve barely been able to watch Star Trek Discovery except the Mirror Universe episodes. I say this so that my criticism is not mistaken for “you just don’t like the franchises”.

And I think modern politics and shifts in storytelling are hurting both science fiction universes.

 

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