Use That Tinfoil Hat as an Antenna
FitBits and Steering Wheels are so 2020!
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So all that talk of spiders last Thursday must have made you think of Starship Troopers, right?
It can't just be me.
Starship Troopers deserves its own article (you've been warned) considering the source material and how it never seems to stop being relevant. But in this case, I'm thinking of the villains: "Arachnids" that the Terran government insists are incapable of thought. Until the Arachnids outsmart them, of course.
When I think of Starship Troopers I always remember the recruiting sergeant.
Missing and prosthetic limbs are constant presence in Troopers. They're a badge of honor in a society in which military service is the price for citizenship. In 1997, fully functional robot limbs were nearly a decade away and the stuff of science fiction and fanciful Wired articles.
Now, we're seeing them in the real world, including on veterans that wouldn't have survived previous wars let alone walked away from them. Even as the DOD immediately starting looking for ways to use the limbs as weapons. Sigh.
In Chandra Clarke's superlative Echoes of Another (affiliate link) a scientist develops an implant so that you can record flow state and play it back on demand. (A better strategy than kidnapping a muse, but I digress…) Unfortunately, malefactors figure out you can record other states with her technology, and use it for nefarious purposes.
Because that's the history of technology.
Human/computer interfaces are common sci-fi tropes, and they make sense. We've known that the human body runs on electrical impulses for nearly as long as we've know that electricity exists. So, it was a matter of figuring out what the signals look like and then designing a circuit that can send and receive them.
That bring us to my favorite headline in a long time: This Implant Turns Brain Waves Into Words. Not the Onion. It's real. We have tools to talk to people that have lost their ability to speak, and it doesn't stop there! These implants can help people regain senses they've lost, like touch and vision.
This is really exciting stuff. We spend a lot of time talking about the bad things technology has done to us, and seeing it help is refreshing.
Which brings me to the only sport more popular than pickelball right now; dunking on Elon Musk. He's been hawking brain implants for at least five years, and doing his level best to make it sound like his people has made breakthroughs than no one else has. (They haven't.) While his company does give lip service to helping people with disabilities, he is who he is, so instead we hear about Fitbits in our skulls and how the market for driving a Tesla with your brain is much bigger than the "niche market" of helping people walk and talk.
This is getting long but before I go, have you seen Andor, yet? It's might be the best thing the Star Wars franchise has ever produced. I think you have go back to the Empire Strikes Back to come close, and even then I might give Andor an edge.
This spoiler-filled review hits the nail on the head. By avoiding silly Death Stars and neutered space monks with laser swords, Andor gets down to business and shows us what an Empire and the people fighting it look like.
As you might expect, a Star Wars show without Sith and Jedi confuses some people, even the "Star Wars fan since childhood" and budding genius at the Atlantic that just now noticed that a show about a rebellion is "getting political."
Techie Book Review
Finally, I have a blog about technical stuff. Today, there’s a review of a newly released book on continuous delivery. If you don’t know what that means, give it a pass. If you do, the review has discount codes to get a free copy.
See you Thursday!