SciFiEye: Interstitial 11

The carrion crows are circling the neighborhood, each looking for a tragic moment to take back to the nest.  Something to remember this day by.

 

Retasking biology

Source: http://www.artofthecell.com/blog

 

It’s one of the great misconceptions, that nanotech will be “machines” as we know them now.  Most likely they will be assembled by clever tricks of chemistry and conscripted biological processes.  That’s not to say that individually assembled mechanical machines are out entirely, but when you are working at a near-molecular level, it will be much more efficient to co-opt existing processes rather than reinventing them.

So CAFFEINATED you missed the POINT!

Courtesy: LL Townley Ceramic

 

This article popped up on #i09  the other day and the takes I saw floating around the intarwebs in response collectively focused on the idea that we could now engineer MORE CAFFEINATED coffee.  Which, I will admit, is kind of awesome.  The takeaway for me (after drilling back to the source) is that the study was intended to examine the convergent evolution of caffeine in different plants.

Convergent evolution (two traits evolving separately in two completely unrelated species)  suggests that CAFFEINE IS SO AWESOME that it evolved more than once.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6201/1181.full

Correlation

Photo: Alamy

 

I am as much a sucker for a cool sound-byte as the next person.  So much so, in fact, that I nowadays make it a practice to drill back to the original research on any article I genuinely find an interesting idea.  (The science fiction I write tends to be “hard sci-fi” so there’s a certain amount of informed research in there.)

While the idea that sitting = short telomeres is sexxy and makes for a great Twitter statement, it’s a bit broad of a conclusion to draw.  As far as I know, telomeres don’t “regrow” once they are lost without direct intervention (which is why stuff breaks permanently when they are gone).  So the reporting on this seems flawed (which would not be unheard of).

Telegraph Article

 

 

 

Flashdark? Darklight? Cast Obscura?

Image from: Scapelab

 

This one’s been around for about a year, but I haven’t seen any new announcements on it yet.  Still, the idea of being able to obscure something from a distance is a valuable one.  Imagine if you were viewing the world through a VR or AR setup of some kind and a beam like the one they postulate here could be used to obscure things in your vision.  Corporate censorship?  Glorified IRL advert blocker?  Parental controls?  MURDER?

http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.0057