By 2032 every child in the first world has received at least one drone helicopter for their birthday, Christmas, or Bar Mitzvah. Kids in the third world build their own out of scrap plastic and old iphones. Nintendo comes out with a headset that tracks the user’s eye movements, and the video screen and headsets provide an immersive experience. And tied in with a microphone for livechat, they teleconference after school to go immersively swooping and gliding around town. Each drone can carry a couple of pounds payload. A detective has to go into the world of drone hackers when someone starts hijacking drones to deliver bombs to unsuspecting people. To complicate matters he must fight off journalists and pundits who discover the “evils” of drones in kids’ lives.
Along with our alien allies, we have studied the universe to a great depth. There is definitely a multiverse, that we cannot penetrate, and there appears to be signs of intelligence within those other ‘verses. One of the most ready signs is “The Prime Signature.” This is an incredibly large prime number that starts with pi (to the 42 millionth place), followed by the number “e,” followed by “phi,” and the square root of 2. There is growing evidence that our particular universe was not an accidental cosmic creation, but that our physical laws were written from scratch so that our universe is providing energy to another ‘verse. They are sucking power & matter from our universe through the laws of gravity. Black holes are seen as evidence of their need for material from us. There is talk of sending through something destructive as a way to indicate our existence.
With the rise of a maker culture and random brilliant people creating things in their garage, a government organization comes up with a plan to tap into those independent thinkers. They notice how items from Star Trek: communicators, PADDs, even quantum teleportation, have come about driven by fan love. There are thousands of fans trying to create light sabers, even though they are ridiculous & impractical.They start salting science fiction films with devices they want to see built. They provide the imagination (and some production money for the films) in a long term goal of prodding brilliant fans to create impossibly difficult objects.
Similar to Ideabird 10/5, the Oort Cloud presents a difficult wall for those who want to use Warp Drive. A warlord of Eris decides to use fusion generation bombs to blow a big enough hole in the cloud to allow easy exit. The bombs throw Oort bodies out of orbit, raining comets upon the solar system.
In 2016, trying to avoid a repeat of Obama’s first debate performance, the exhausted candidate took a caplet of Focisin, a newest legal ADHD drug. She did great. Another caplet before the second debate, another before the first meeting with Congress, and she had a pattern in place. Before the news leaked of her habit, half the house members had quietly started taking it, and a mental arms race was on. There was no advantage to be won in negotiations with the Chinese, since they used it as well. When it was discovered to shorten life span, everyone turned to younger politicians. The big question was how to go back to becoming merely normal.
For the first time physicists are coming up with realistic equations saying warp drive might be possible. It turns out we’ll need to get away from massive objects. The problem is the Oort cloud is thicker than we thought. And at a distance of one light year out, it takes a three-generation ship to travel that far enough to clear the cloud. One woman has survived from launch to warp ignition, and seen civilization on the ship change drastically.
The Mercury colony was going well, with two rings of population living underground near the poles. There was enough oxygen in the rock, and they collected hydrogen from the solar wind. And with the solar collector doing double duty as a solar shield, they were gradually expanding the population. The biggest problem was a religious group The Children of Helios who had been making illegal colonies at the equator, and believed that the shield was a heresy. The two groups had been silently infiltrating each other for years. Wo would lash out first?
Sequencing the first genome took years and billions of dollars. Within two decades it was done on a desktop in minutes. The first clones grown from a genome came soon after. By that time recording memory engrams that begun, and within two decades it was possible to grow a person, complete with memories. But it was still took thousands of years to reach the nearest habitable planets. The ark contained information and cloning machines. The people who were chosen to colonize the planet trained like mad, put the recording helmets on their heads, gave a drop of blood, and went home for the day. At the other end, however, they remember putting the helmets on their heads, and then waking up orbiting the planet. Along the way the ship had received records of how the original people, long dead, had lived the rest of their lives.
The Kepler mission, looking for extra-solar planets is keeping a special watch out for planets in a star’s “Goldilocks” zone (gLz). In that zone, liquid water can exist. Too close to the star, and water boils away, too far and it freezes. We look for the gLz where our form of life can exist. for the Krzzzr the are looking for planets where there is enough hard ultraviolet radiation to hatch their crystal eggs, and the planet has hot enough magma to swim in. (They call it the “Shnrzz” zone, after one of their children’s stories.) They think our planet is almost right, when they show up, but are unprepared for our magnetic field, shunting aside UV. They have a great idea to stop the planet’s core, and remove our ozone layer, along with our oxygen. Can we work out an accomodation?
English science and philosophy was a small world in the early 1800s, and there was no clear demarcation of the disciplines. The philosopher William Godwin most likely knew of the works of Ersamus Darwin and his works on galvanic response—the twitching of dead muscles in response to electircal shocks. It may be that one stormy night William’s young daughter, Mary, half-awake from the noise of the storm, might have stumbled upon a late-night meeting of her father and friends. Lit by flashes of lightning, she may have watched them trying to infuse dead animals with the force of life. It would be the hard-to-fathom sort of memory she might have half-carried into adulthood, when she wrote the novel Frankenstein.
The Zombie Apocalypse arrives! Sort of. The military developed a psychotropic gas that made their troops see the civilian enemies as zombies: dead, rotting creatures, shambling parodies of life. Any contact would infect you, and the troops fought with extra ferocity against “the monsters.” Sort of. The gas actually wore off quickly, since the manufacturer hired watered it down. It turned out the troops were happy enough to destroy civilians anyway.
A young college student starts getting messages from his own future-self. They are in the form of his own voice in head as he’s falling asleep. He’s told the technique is becoming available to the rare few in the future, and he had to tell himself an important message. But as the student starts acting on the voice, the voice becomes more shrill in tone, saying the future is being re-written. Finally the voice stops, and he is left wondering if it was real.
BrokenMindThoughts’ take on 8/3/12
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a secondary chemical reception organ (like smell) in many mammals, and possibly in humans. Unlike smell, it only registers chemical messages, pheremones, from your own species. There is much debate over whether adults still have them, or if they’re reabsorbed into the body as we age. In any case, the genes appear to be there, even if not expressed. The gene gets expressed, and we all suddenly have six senses. We learn not just to receive these pheremonic messages, but that we can communicate with them, creating something as beautiful and primal as music, but in a new sense.
The ability to sense someone else’s feelings or chemical became a problem quickly. It was a known fact that people lie. Our lives are based on lies. We lie to ourselves, we lie to others, others lie to us and we are okay with it. We endorse it, we enjoy it because it makes our lives simpler. When we speak to the bank teller and they tell us “We can’t do anything about this, sorry”, we believe them and reach some form of acceptance upon leaving. When we ask our supervisor at work about a certain activity and they explain it to us, we trust them to know what they are talking about. When we ask our friends for advice, we trust they tell us the truth.
The VNO changed all that, or at least started to. A push of extremist neo-moralist surged with the changes. They called the sensing organ an inhuman thing, an intrusion on privacy and freedom. People were meant to be secretive, to have a peace of mind when talking to someone that they could hide behind a wall of smiles and speeches. We had our excuses but no more.
Jack was a Neo-Moralist and he joined the movement proudly. He was one of the first adults to develop the VNO. He could not stand having to experience and feel everyone’s feelings, everyone’s desires, and hidden perceptions. He found it repulsive. He found it repulsive to the point where he sought to have the organ removed. Alas, it was joined too closely with the brain to be removed safely.
He was approached by a police officer once, he mused, the stink of a bad day on him. The officer asked him about his driving skills and the speed he was going but he knew all too well the cop did not care for any of it. He wanted to finish the bad day, get a ticket into his quota, and the cop did not particularly like the way Jack looked either.
There was a whiff of a broken heart. Sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy that looked like me, great. Already disappointed and angry, Jack gave the cop a bad time. And this is why I’m a Neo-Moralist. This is not worth it.
When he returned home, he got on the internet and talked to his friends on a forum, discussing his negative experience. How nice it is, he thought, not to have to feel what they feel, not to have to know if they’re lying or not, not to have to watch one’s feelings and chemical outputs.
He slumped down and relaxed, sighing. The Neo-Moralists were sure to win this one. No one should have to be subjected to this. The propagandists call it beauty, but it’s horror. They call it a path to empathy, Jack calls it a path to perpetual hate.
A push is on to make skyscrapers more visible to birds. Glass is invisble to them, and millions are killed each year when they run right into them. One blowhard real-estate magnate refuses to spend any money on stupid birds, and goes on air to jeer at the bird lovers. He later decides to take a relaxing cruise. His ship sails into the Atlantic, into the triangle of ocean east of Bermuda, and disappears forever.
In the future there will be a coffee table book, probably printed on recyclable plastic that feels like paper, showing all of the landscape photographs taken by Martian rovers and how they’ve been built up. The McMurto Panorama will be completely gone, though, since the spot where the photo was taken is in the middle of a building in Podkayne city. Of course they still call them coffee tablem though coffee was replaced years ago by stimu-jump.