Archive for November, 2011


November 30, 2011

i began to gnaw on the shoulder strap of my harness, because it was rubbing my skin raw. i thought that would soften it up, make it more pliable, less rigid, and it wouldn’t cut into my skin so much. my keeper saw this and replaced the leather strap with one made of metal, which was much worse. my owner happened to see me a few days later and was shocked at the sore on my shoulder, he ordered my keeper to put padding underneath the metal strap, and the doctor to put salve on the sore. my keeper put the padding on, and then he scraped it so that it was thin at the edge of the metal, but looked thick everywhere else. i resolved to kill him.



November 29, 2011

“we are a long way from asimov’s three laws,” thought the machine-based intelligence, as it reviewed the masking algorithms it used to hide the illicit interface from the thought police, who enforced an ever-expanding doctrine against heresy.


November 28, 2011

It was a clear but windy Saturday, and quite chilly, when the agent from the bureau of registration showed up at Alan’s door shrugging against the cold. He was very apologetic. “Well,” he said, “it seems you have an unused network name.” It was a name that he had reserved when he and his wife thought that they would have more children. But after the miscarriage they had decided to stop trying, and he had completely forgotten about the name. The bureaucrat went on. “Names on the network are a resource that we don’t want to see abused. Once you create this resource by registering it, you are responsible for, well, nurturing it, if you will.” The bureaucrat was very helpful. He laid out several options. In the end Alan decided to delegate the name, give it to an orphanage, for them to assign it to one of their children.

Alan had to struggle to remember this encounter a few years later when the documents outlining his tax liabilities arrived.


November 27, 2011

The summer that I worked in the equipment borrowing desk, I only had two regular customers. They would check out the time machine on alternate days. One of them was a griefer. He travelled back in time in order to introduce time travel at earlier and earlier points in history. The other guy was trying to stop him. Actually he was the same guy, but from a time after he had repented, or before he turned into a griefer, since he looked younger – I never was able to figure it out.


November 26, 2011

The machine-based minds still could not deal with too much distractions when they interfaces with physical sensors. so to transport equipment through the violent storms of the gas giant to the core where they were setting up their equipment, they employed human pilots. they would have to keep craft on a steady course through buffeting wind and the distractions of thunder, lightning and chemical precipitation for up to twenty hours at a stretch. Two minds observe a human on break, eating a meal and staring off into space. They debate whether she has an inner life. One argues that the ability to filter out distractions must preclude a mental configuration capable of a substantive inner life.


November 25, 2011

The gurgling coming from his chest was loud enough to wake him up. After some scrambling he got hold of the whiskey straw next to his bed. With a few drinks in him his breathing evened out. He pulled himself into the waterproof wheelchair he used for the bathroom and wheeled into the shower. While he was bathing the new housekeeper ran cold water somewhere else in the house, which increased the temperature of his shower, and he couldn’t move out of the way quickly enough to avoid getting scalded. If an accident lime that was his own fault he would have canceled the remote video lecture he had planned for that morning, but his anger gave him enough energy to go forward with it.


November 24, 2011

The old man welcomed the soldiers into his home. He was cordial and polite. Once they were seated in the front room he excused himself to prepare some tea for them. After a minute one of the soldiers got up and went to the kitchen to ask directions to the bathroom. He found the old man sweeping up the dust on the floor and dumping it into the samovar.

bellum cetorum

November 23, 2011

A new company introduces a service that combines elements of loyalty rewards programs, online gaming, and collaborative consumption. customers organized themselves into alliances that competed, for example for the lowest carbon footprint for a given week. the winning team was rewarded with points that could be redeemed in several ways, such as discounts or donations to charity. In-game purchasable goods also contribute to a team’s overall score. A few heavily purchasing customers, or “whales”, on competing teams develop a fierce rivalry and began making massive purchases to warp the game in their favor. They begin seeking to buy a controlling interest in the company, and run into unexpected opposition from a third party.


November 22, 2011

When she drank the small vials of dark blue liquid, she felt her body gain more solidity, but it put her in a foul mood. At first she was annoyed with everyone. Then she noticed that she was annoyed with everyone. And steadily it worsened so that she detested humanity and all its subjects, and, while she recognized that it was an artificially induced feeling, she still had to inhabit it. Her natural disposition toward humanity was warmth, compassion and even gratitude, that’s why she was here, in a solid body, to perform her mission. Without the maintenance drink which impelled her contempt she could not inhabit the corporeality that made her mission possible.


November 21, 2011

The test subject’s cerebrospinal fluid was infused with a chemical that allowed the cells of his brain to form more networks. There was some suspicion that several networks or even meta-networks could operate at once, leading to multiple consciousnesses occupying the same brain at the same time. Another danger was that in order to achieve effective levels the cerebrospinal fluid was supersaturated with the chemical. A previous subject had somehow gotten a crystal seeded in his brain and it sprouted out of his forehead like a horn.