Monday, January 27, 2014

Sending thoughts on the Internet

Courtesy of, Creative Commons
The Internet. An ancillary nervous system of sorts for humanity. At least in metaphor and figurative statements until recently. Now it's tripping over into a very real extension.

New Research Suggests Two Rat Brains Can Be Linked -

'via Blog this'

Early this last year it was rat brains passing thoughts over the Internet. Motor-function impulses in which one rat was effectively transmitting a learned behavior of pressing levers, mind to mind.

Now it's human beings.

Don't Call It A Mind-Meld: Human Brains Connect Via Internet : The Two-Way : NPR:

'via Blog this'

The humans are a little more fortunate in that they're wearing magnetic stimulators and readers outside their skulls, rather than dealing with implanted electrodes. Still, it's yet another transference of motor-function impulses - that moment of drive to do something very specific, to carry out a precise task movement.

Of course these might not necessarily be thoughts, depending on one's definition of the word. There's no semantic knowledge being imparted. Still, it's a conscious experience - simultaneously a drive and an awareness. And sharing on this level is something very new in the word.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 in Short Films

Eleven months on and I'm still convinced that short films are the new science fiction shorty story. Thanks to the Internet, they have the kind of reach and distribution that written short stories used to enjoy back in the heyday of science fiction magazines here in the US.

While 2013 didn't produce as many solid, high concept pieces as 2012, here's what I enjoyed.

Ruin, by Wes Ball. Optioned to become a full length feature film by 20th Century Fox, this is a smart chase scene weaving through a beautifully shot post-nano apocalypse world.

RUIN from Wes Ball on Vimeo.

Explosions, by Christopher Frey works on many levels. It's cinematic, it's intense, and where so many short genre pieces on the Internet lose my attention in the first three minutes, Explosions puts us right into a terrifying day when gravity has failed. Whether it's something religious in nature or an unthinkably advanced civilization that is sweeping up humanity is deliberately left unanswered.

EXPLOSIONS from Christopher Frey on Vimeo.

Sintel, by Colin Levy. A pretty, fifteen minute animated fantasy that is by turns sweet and melancholy.

Post Human, by Coyl Drumb remains my favorite as for 2013 far as cyberpunk action with shades of Akira.

Love...and all That is a very short and sharp peek into love as imperfectly realized software with horrible repercussions.

love... and all that from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.

Stehphan Zlotescu's True Skin is a little bit like early William Gibson taking a look at a neon-drenched world overrun with people and cybernetic organisms. Skin feels a bit like "New Rose Hotel".

Why do I Study Physics. While not science fiction or fantasy, Xiangjun Shi's striking explanation of her love of physics nails the real world wonder that the dualities, mystery, and scale of the universe evoke in us. A sense of awe which we can only hope to approximate or point readers toward in fiction. This is my favorite short of the year. Courtesy of IO9.

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) from Xiangjun Shi on Vimeo.