S2.4 Take the Call

Take the Call by Mariah Avix

Mariah Avix is the creator of 600 Second Saga. A space for developing authors to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy in 10 minutes or less every week.
Mariah writes magical tales of how technology will change our world, and technologically laced tales of magic, that probably isn’t real.
She is currently working on a series of novellas about shapeshifters who fight wildfires, a trilogy about a woman who refuses to admit that she has the M word (magic), and endless flash fiction.
When she’s not writing she walks along the rivers and parks throughout her city looking for inspiration.

Check out Oak Steam Hollow:

 

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Prompt: Brain Scans

Happy Friday!

I find myself often being prompted to write based on a news or newsish story I read. I thought I’d try posting those on Fridays and see if people like it.

Prompt: Brain Scans

Article: Could brain scans determine guilt? from a great podcast that I really enjoy Quirks and Quarks. (The transcript has been included and more information.)

Questions:

What happens if we start to really come to have a solid handle scientifically on who people who will commit crimes are? Who is recidivists? What the trends are? We are a very long way out from being exact. But we might be closer to knowing that someone’s brain has a tendency to quickly anger, to behave impulsively. We might know which brains are more antiauthoritarian, which are more likely to resist, to fight back.

Do we treat people differently? Do we treat? Do we jail? Do we protect people? Do we decide that it doesn’t matter what your intent was? Do we decide that’s all that matters?

What questions come to your mind when you read this? What futures do you see?

Stories

Stories drive everything. One of my day job goals is to do more, and more effective storytelling. Something I feel is lacking in my stories is plot. Just not enough of it. I tend to drive away from conflict personally, so sometimes I do too much of that in my stories. So one of my writing goals is to conflict more. (In my stories…not in my life.)

Stories and Pixar!

Pixar has a class on storytelling at Khan Academy. You can get a free class on stories from Pixar. It’s got a few activities, some videos, I highly recommend it so far. The one for storytelling is out already. There is more on characters coming up.

If you’re enjoying videos there’s a playlist of Ted talks about storytelling.

Science Story

But there were creatures with mouths far more frightening than that of any shark. They lived at a time before fish, even before backbones, and they fed on their neighbors with a nightmare apparatus of moving mouthparts.

That’s good story telling! It’s from Scientific American about this creature.

This is actually one of my favorite written Scientific American articles and I’ve been saving it, go read the whole thing. Here’s another tidbit…

Pamdelurion could push their creepy mouth cone outward into a kind of pyramid before flinging open to present their spikes and close around smaller, softer prey.

Stories at work

Not just our day jobs. Writing is work too. And it is interesting because I think that, at least from what I see, sometimes authors (especially myself!) forget to tell the story to convince someone to buy the story. It’s sort of like how you wouldn’t want a resume from a proofreader littered with errors. That’s literally the tool they are using to sell themselves. Well authors should be amazing at telling the stories to sell our stories.

I feel like I just got too meta.

More from Harvard. (I promise this is the last one for a while! I’m almost at my limit, though I think I could get more through the library!)

Depressing, sad, and nerdy

Comics

I love SMBC. They are weirdly nerdy in so many wonderful ways. Like this one about pop music. And if you are like ugh pop music, SERIOUSLY GO LOOK! You’ll thank me.

Another wonderful comic site, Indexed. This one is something I need to remember over and over and over. We still try. We need to try. Keep trying.

Vaccines are awesome

Seriously, there is probabally someone reading this that is alive because of them. They save lives. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines keep people from getting sick at all. Vaccines keep people from getting acutely ill. So what does the current asshole with all the power want to do? Kill people. Not sorry. That’s what shit like this will do. People will die. Human beings will die if the complete lies that another asshole who was only trying to make money manage to gain traction.

Adults need boosters too. Check yours. Save a life.

Technology is awesome

Heart pumping gif
Heart pumping

I could watch this gif all day, despite the super bloody nature of it, it is still amazing.

This is what happens when you invest research money into science and a range from basic science research all the way to direct impact and outcomes you can …wear? Do you wear a silicone sleeve around your heart? I think wear.

Also from Ars (I do like Ars a lot) net neutrality.

Republicans at the FCC and Congress say they intend to repeal or replace net neutrality rules. Trump’s transition team is also reportedly pushing a proposal to strip the Federal Communications Commission of its role in overseeing competition and consumer protection and to move those functions to the Federal Trade Commission.

If you care about the internet, go read the whole thing. If you are reading this right now? The internet matters to you. Go read the whole thing. Net neutrality matters to you. Even if you aren’t sure? I’m sure for you. It matters to you if you are reading this.

Save

S1.41 String-Driven Thing

String-Driven Thing by Vaughan Stanger

String-Driven Thing was originally published in Nature Futures.

Formerly an astronomer and more recently a research project manager in the aerospace and defense industry, Vaughan Stanger now writes SF and fantasy fiction for a living. His stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Abyss & Apex, Postscripts, Nature Futures and Interzone, amongst other noted magazines and anthologies. Like most writers, he’s working on a novel—and has been for many years. He also loves cats, thus further conforming to the cliché. Plus he’s still holding out for that holiday on the Moon he was promised in the dim and distant past. You can follow his writing adventures at http://www.vaughanstanger.com or @VaughanStanger.

Read more in Sons of Earth

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

Random Roundup

Mostly not of this earth, but a little of this earth. Just a normal random roundup.

Also humans.

Fire, watch it burn - from Pixabay
Fire, watch it burn – from Pixabay

Not of this Earth

Planetary rings are incredibly beautiful. They may be the remnants of the destruction of dwarf planets.

The rings are pieces of Dwarf Planets that got torn off in passing, which were then ripped to pieces!

Juno – I don’t care how old this is – is out of safe mode and awesome. NASA is awesome. Humans managed to send tiny hunks of metal, plastic, and glass and throw them super hard and whoop they went out into space and made pictures of planets that we can see (and that we can’t) as just little specks of light. Humans. Can. Be. Awesome. Then again, robots are the ones doing the hard work. Packing up, leaving home, journeying through potentially lethal and unknown space to explore the universe. Didn’t humans used to talk about going out and exploring? Now we just let robots have all the glory?

At least that will be another reason for AI to not want to bother to destroy us. If you write about AI I can’t recommend this enough.

The true understanding of natural language, the breadth and generality of human intelligence, our ability to both play Go and cross the street and make a decent omelet—that variety is the hallmark of human intelligence and all we’ve done today is develop narrow savants that can do one little thing super well.

A quick funny – sort of funny?

Whatever public works is important. Or pay the troll!

Underwater roundup

Underwater roundup, well it might not only be underwater. But all waterish related?

Europa

Did people not already want to go and explore Europa? Because I thought that was always on the agenda of awesome places in the solar system to visit. But a lot of the stories I’ve seen about the venting ocean on Europa has been one of two things. OMG WE SHOULD FINALLY GO THERE. Um. Yes. We know. But like without any understanding that it has long been a fascinating place. And two…OMG LIQUID WATER! PROOF OF LIFE. Um…no? That’s…not how…I have a headache.

I’m not sure what happened to my news sources lately but this one just felt rougher than usual.

Europa is awesome. It has long been known to be awesome and fascinating.

On the one hand, they are further evidence that a warm-water, saline ocean exists beneath Europa’s icy surface. On the other, they indicate that any future mission to Europa would be able to access this salt-water ocean with greater ease.

Not gasp shock, but further evidence. Also? Universe Today is awesome and clear.

White Orcas

White (possibly albino) Orcas are being spotted in larger numbers in the western North Pacific which is kind of interesting, but what I thought was more interesting was:

Orcas often live in groups with a distinct cultural identity tied to their hunting style.

Now maybe much like Europa’s venting this was something we knew about long ago that I’m only finding out about now. And I’ve certainly read some things about group identity and tight familial groups.

But hearing them referred to as cultural identities? That’s…fascinating.

Also…

A quick (and as always awesome) comic from Indexed about boats, that’s my tie here.

And fish song. Seriously, like birdsong, but underwater.

HiRISE

Pretty pretty HiRISE pictures of Mars.

If you’ve never explored some of the photos and some of the amazing work that happens in space I highly recommend it. You can browse through a map.

Sometimes there is so much going on that just looking at thousands of pretty pretty pictures of Mars is amazing, mesmerizing, and a wonderful thing about the world. Human beings populated Mars with robots and they are exploring and finding amazingly beautiful things for us. We are doing powerful things that humans haven’t done before. We are filled with a sense of wonder and we want to discover what else is out there. Each time we discover more it opens more wonder and more ambition. All answers bring about more questions because the universe is amazing.

HiRISE
Slopes
HiRISE
Dune Field
HiRISE
Valley with flows
HiRISE
Gullies and Dunes