Wednesday, August 31, 2016

News You Can't Use: Facebook Changes to Trending Topics Questioned After Blunder

Clearly the information gathering social media sites are the best source for your daily news, such as it is. If you need to know, and trust me you need to know, about chicken sandwich themed debauchery we definitely have you covered on the old data mining honey trap. If you're looking for basic, correct information on whether or not a news bunny got fired you might want to keep on walking, but hey, even the Superb Owl winners lost during the regular season and the important thing is you keep feeding us your personal information for our consumerism offensives and future relocation initiatives, etc.

Facebook's changes to its "Trending Topics" section are being questioned after it featured a false report about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

False information coming out of your eyes, coming out of your...whatever.

The story posted Saturday falsely claimed Kelly had been fired by Fox because she secretly supported Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It seems reasonable enough, since we all know faux news (Ha! Get it? Do you get it????) is a fascist echo chamber that has been aggressively promoting Donald Trump for over a year. No really, you're supposed to believe this.

Another topic trending was #McChicken, which took users to stories about a video of a man using the McDonald's sandwich in a sex act.

Please die, modern world.

Facebook announced Friday that an algorithm would select trending topics in place of humans but human editors would still screen them.

We'll combine the errors generated by computers with good old fashioned human error and incompetence and the end result should be a highly satisfying mix of political gas-lighting and junk food pornography.

 El Oh El

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook has apologized for the Kelly story, telling CBS News its editors mistakenly thought it was legitimate before realizing the error. 

It confirmed all our prejudices, so we assumed it was true without doing any due diligence. Oh well, you forgive us, right?

Facebook says that the McChicken topic doesn't violate its content policy and that any trending topic that reflects a real-world event may be featured.

You know what, Mr. Putin, if you "accidentally" hit that giant red button no one would blame you.

Full Article.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

News You Can't Use: Why Scientists Think Your Boss Should Play Music While You Work

I love to laugh. I enjoy having fun. I like mainstream popular culture, especially anything on the teevee. I enjoy corporate sporting leagues. I have an average physique (5'3", 270 lbs.). And, lest you forget, music is my life. Despite the fact that I don't play an instrument, can't read notation, am ignorant of even the most basic theory and don't really listen to anything that hasn't been auto-tuned six ways from Sunday. Obviously, taking this deep and abiding love for the auditory arts into the workplace just makes good sense and we've even deployed some lying scientists to prove it.

Companies have done a lot of work to optimize music in retail shops to encourage customers to buy more stuff — think of the smooth, just-quirky-enough tunes quietly playing at any given Starbucks, or whatever sonic garbage the Abercrombie store at the mall is always blasting when you walk by.

Wow and I thought I was a heartless elitist. I've got nothin' on this writer. You hear that "Abercrombie?" You're playing "sonic garbage." What do you mean you can't hear me over the ringing of the cash register?

But there has been less research done on the effect these soundscapes have on employees.

How does it impact the expendable warm bodies and hand-pairs responsible for folding the sweaters and stuffing the register we already mentioned? What do you mean you don't care?

So a group of Cornell PhDs got together and ran an experiment to see how different music types affected the collaborative behavior of different groups of people.

We were, like, just hangin' round at the Big Red and figured we'd, you know, get together and examine music and collaborative behavior or whatevs.

They recruited 188 undergrads to take part in a "voluntary contribution mechanism" (VCM) experiment, a well-established tool that researchers use to measure and manipulate cooperative behavior among research subjects.

Please watch this video of World War 2 atrocities while we play Beethoven and inject you with sickness chemicals.

Here's where things get interesting: Different types of music were randomly assigned to play for different groups of students. A third of the groups listened to a playlist of "happy" music while the experiment ran: "Yellow Submarine," "Walking on Sunshine," "Brown-Eyed Girl" and the theme from "Happy Days."

It's a sin! You can't use Vanny Morr in this! A sin! *vomits*

Another third listened to a playlist of two "unhappy" songs by relatively obscure metal groups: "Smokahontas" by Attack Attack and "You Ain't No Family" by Iwrestledabearonce.

Sorry Attack Squared, you're an obscure group making "unhappy" music.

"We found significantly and persistently higher levels of cooperative behavior by participants who were played Happy music when compared with the other two conditions," the researchers wrote.

It's appears you fragile and disgusting humans have so-called "emotions" that influence your ability to work with your fellow flesh sacks.

 No, this isn't a shampoo commercial for Generation Sissy.

The people listening to thrash metal, on the other hand, were only contributing 40 percent to the group. 

Yeah, trash metal. I honestly thought it was "Exodus" in that hair-care picture above.

It's worth pointing out that the task the students were performing was a fairly abstract one.

So let's not start burning Beatles records just yet.

Is it better to optimize for playlists that can get customers to buy more, or that can get employees to sell better? For that, more research is needed.

And, of course, more funding. 

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

News You Can't Use: How 'remake' became a dirty word in Hollywood

As The Bard William Shaker once so rightly observed a rose by any other name would probably get a vastly different response because branding is critical to the success or failure of a product and a good name and slogan can sell anything. At least that's what I think it was, maybe something about brevity and wit, but I think we all get the idea. The reason there's audible groaning during the endless previews at the theater isn't because no one wants to see a remake of "Dude, Where's My Car." It's because the word "remake" itself is putting people off and if we'd just come up with a better term for Hollywood's creative impotence everything would be solved and we could go back to swimming around in the money bin all day.

Some of the greatest Hollywood movies of the modern era are remakes.

Citation missing, as they say.

Martin Scorsese’s grubby Boston gangland thriller The Departed riffs shamelessly on the Hong Kong crime epic Infernal Affairs

That's not, strictly speaking, a remake. If it is, then the fudging original "Star Wars" is too. It's just ordinary laziness, not the super jet-fueled laziness that produces things like "Ben-Hur."

And yet the very term, along with its younger sibling the “reboot”, seems to have become a dirty word in Hollywood in 2016.

I just don't get, I mean there's nothing more exciting than the same old drivel reheated.

If Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been made a few decades ago, it might easily have been sold as a remake, but with George Lucas’s prequels having already been blamed for ruining countless childhoods, the movie was pitched as a sort of “re-quel”, a sequel with all the elements of a remake necessary to inspire nostalgia but enough new material to move the story on and set up future adventures.

Blame your ruined childhood on your freezer mother, not on the minstrel show/government procedural in space that the prequels represented. Clearly the answer is "re-quels" where it's basically the same story but with enough half-assed changes to trick you into buying a ticket and once you realize you've been shucked it's too late.

One imagines Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters might have saved itself a lot of pain by following a similar approach.

Or by actually being funny. Or having special effects that didn't look like something out a student film. Or showing even a glimmer of basic competence. Yes, just a few minor tweaks would have saved that dog's dinner.

“This summer a new team will answer the call.” Sadly, by this point, it was already too late: the media had long been referring to the movie as a female-fronted remake, and the “bro” brigade was already on the warpath.

Leave it to "bros" to notice the massive technical and artistic failings of a cynical cash-grab and ruin it for everyone.

The Rock this week on Instagram insisted the new version of the Robin Williams fantasy romp Jumanji is most definitely not a remake. “For the record, we are NOT making a reboot, but rather a ‘continuation of the story’,” he wrote. 

I just don't smell whatever it is you're cooking, Mr. The Rock.

Roma Downey, producer of the new Ben-Hur movie, was at it too last week at the LA premiere for the swords and sandals, ahem, reworking.

Now with 80% less leprosy!

“It’s been almost 60 years since the Charlton Heston film,” she told Variety. “There is a whole generation of people who haven’t even seen the 1959 film."

And it's not like that classic was preserved in any way, so we're forced to make a new version. If only movies could be somehow stored on portable media, but as you know, that's impossible.

"And there are so many differences in this version, so if you brought grandpa along, he wouldn’t recognise it.”  

He'd be saying "this is soulless modern garbage," and he'd be right.

 My Summer Chariot.

Then there’s the forthcoming new version of The Craft, the little-remembered witchy 90s teen chiller that’s been reworked with Leigh Janiak, director of the critically acclaimed low-budget 2014 horror Honeymoon

Can't wait to see what a new generation will do with an "I used evil magic to change my hair color!" stinker.

Here’s the thing. If the term “remake” has become taboo in Hollywood, studios only have themselves to blame.

Yeah. I think we made the point that needed to be made.

Komment Korner  

I was seriously expecting them to land on Mt. Olympus in the more recent past, given the Hellenic names the characters had.

Just wait until they remake (recycle? reboot? regurgitate?) "Casablanca" with an all female cast.

Who, I always wonder, is watching this ephemeral trash?

I think something is wrong with my T.

Dune is too complicated to work in a single film  

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More "My Summer Car" Greatness

Consider this a supplement to the weekend post, although it might be more accurate to call this an amazing tour de force video to help satiate your 1995 Finland gearheading until the game is released and, if there's any justice in the world, shatters every sales record. Seriously, you can either support something that is legitimately brilliant or keep throwing money at another limp cover-based shooter, at Assassins Creed Part 47: So Very Tired or at EA Sports newest roster update, improved gameplay not included. If you don't support "My Summer Car" you are no longer allowed to complain about the sorry state of mainstream gaming, I'm making it official.

Anyway, the following video is beyond my ability to review, staggering in both length and content, so just watch it. A few highlights to watch for should be quickly mentioned (warning: spoilers). Our heavily accented narrator/game creator is back to guide us through the action and it's relentlessly glorious. We learn that assembling the engine would take two hours even for the genius mind that birthed this modern miracle, so imagine how much messing around with this real world puzzle you'll get to enjoy. The ability to put a crate of beer in the driver's seat and the highly realistic drinking mechanics (you can see your hand!) get showcased. The engine's level of purring is contingent on your skill in constructing it. Other car games like Gran Turismo are just masturbation fantasies and you should save those for "picture of woman" and not internal combustion vehicles. You can totally drive dirt roads in the Suomi of 21 years past. Plus, many other features are on the way!

Just watch it, it may be the best 51 minute experience you can have without getting undesirable diseases. Or as the designer puts it "I am playing and talking." Yes, you are. In the name of all that is good and pure, you sure are.

Bonus Komment Korner 

you should make little kid NPC's driving a suzuki pv and drinking energy drinks

This is realistic god dammit, not a masturbation fantasy

I want your accent inside of me


"There is death in this game. And you will die if you crash hard enough."

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

DotTeeVee: My Summer Car Greenlight Trailer

It's been awhile since there's been any exciting news regarding computerized gaming, but today's subject definitely qualifies. It's a game that, as far as I can tell from about two minutes of video, combines the best qualities of those work simulation games (Salt Mine Simulator '15, etc), the white knuckle scoring of driving games and the open world to run amok in of murder simulators. This initial top tier impression was further reinforced by what one of the philosopher kings in the Youtube comment section called "mumbling" and "heavily accented" narration from the game's creator. Honestly, this sucker in gonna be the new "Euro Truck Simulator," especially since that formerly dominant series has been ruined by the, ahem, unpleasantness.

I now have summer flings with simulation games on the computer.

No time is wasted throwing down the hype as the sound of buzzing flies and rolling thunder combine with a caption informing us it is now the summer of 1995 in Suomi Finland. I don't know about you, but when I finally get my time/space machine up and running that will probably be the first destination. Bass-heavy "club" music plays and it's right into the amazing logo displayed above and then actual game-play footage. It's your job, nay, your adventure, to restore a beater compact car and then take this hot whip for rides around a meticulously crafted Egentliga environment. Our marble-mouthed Scandinavian speaks, describing restoring a lemon as "controlling the puzzle" or at least that's what I think he said through articulation as thick as a Pripyat marsh.

This will be the theme of this video: difficult to decipher one-liners about what you can and can not do in this game. Would that every vidya company could be this honest. "You can shoot a gun. You can't influence the derivative plot in any way. You can hide behind crates, pop out and shoot and then resume hiding. You can't do railing kills like in action movies. You can throw a grenade. You can't prevent enemies from appearing out of nowhere behind you. You can save often."

You can be "king of the road" just like Roger Miller, but don't expect any "social media." It's 1995, remember? Talk about total immersion. You just know those hacks at Electronic Arts would have ruined "Junk Car Ninety Five" by putting Twitter mini-games in there or something, but not our man from the land of the midnight sun. Another exciting feature, namely putting the engine together wrong and being unable to drive, gets some well-earned spotlighting. Man, I can't wait to become a virtual gearhead in mid-nineties Finland. There's also a wood-chopping game in there, apropos of nothing. Your summer car isn't going to be powered by external combustion...or is it? Steam punk DLC a year from now...seems likely based on the formidable resources marshaled in this "Greenlight" presentation.

You can also "feel hot without being good looking." Unfortunately, it's the "my Finnish junker is cooking up" type of hot, but that's good enough. Then you can tow your ruined low-income wheels back to the garage for more Mr. Fixit in what will hopefully be an endless Mobius strip of deeply engaging joystick time. The Finland wrap is coming alive, in nineteen ninety, five, five, five! Yeah!

"You can't go to Las Vegas." That should have been the motto of the first several hours of "Fallout: New Vegas." Oddly, the game does include a slot machine anyway. We could just pretend that this is, in fact, Las Vegas and we're there, but we're supposed to be in Suomi and if that highly convincing illusion is destroyed everything would fall apart.

Spend dozens of hours assembling this thing in "Poor Man's Vegas 1991."

Next up the games realistic drinking engine is demonstrated, featuring the always excellent mix of so-called "drinking and driving." And yes, you can also "Have a Christmas." Despite being from a land of reindeer this guy doesn't seem to totally get that concept, as said Christmas consists of a cardboard box opening to reveal tires. Swing and a miss, Santa.

Another exciting feature is driving "without cooler" and having the engine overheat. Before I can even process this we get that death screen of the game and a promise that there will be a heavy element of survival horror, just like we all like it. Then we also get to see the titular summer car after it has been completely ruined and you get to take a first person piss on the remains. This is going to be the best game ever. 

You and your Soviet-era compact are dead.

Komment Korner  

toivottavasti tuplapottiin tulee oikee musa

This game doesn't seem very Finnished.

I'd kill all the alcohol stuff. That thing with the meters scares me. Is this normal were you live?


Täähän näyttää helvetin loistavalta! OIKEASTI!

Shut up and take my money!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

News You Can't Use: Body Donations on the Rise at US Medical Schools

Have you considered what you're going to do with your mortal shell after the electrical energy forming your soul is freed into a shadowy afterlife of string-theory immortality? Probably, but what about giving the old meat prison to a medical school so it can fill in for the fetal pig or whatever? With the rising price of cemeteries (people are dying to get it!) it seems like a cheap and highly logical way to keep yourself out of the groundwater. And, if some nebulous benefit other than "Yuck, look at that dead dude" can be applied to our future sawbones, so much the better.

Many U.S. medical schools are seeing a surge in the number of people leaving their bodies to science, a trend attributed to rising funeral costs and growing acceptance of a practice long seen by some as ghoulish.

If I was going to describe our modern age in a single sentence I'd definitely try to find a way to work in "growing acceptance of the ghoulish" or maybe just use that all by itself.

"Not too long ago, it was taboo. Now we have thousands of registered donors," said Mark Zavoyna, operations manager for Georgetown University's body donation program.

I don't really remember there ever being a strong societal outcry about filling out the back of the driver's license, but then I'm not an operations manager at a diploma mill so I should probably hold my tongue.

The University of Minnesota said it received more than 550 cadavers last year, up from 170 in 2002.

Whether all of the cadavers were above average, dontcha know remains unknown.

As of 2014, a traditional burial cost around $7,200, an increase of 29 percent from a decade earlier, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Since we're on the topic of student loan debt con-games let's examine another massive shuck job.

"Funerals are expensive. That certainly has something to do with it," Zavoyna said. "Of course, it almost has this snowball effect, where you get five people to donate, and then their families tell another 25 people."

I just can't stop talking to everyone about how I turned over Grandma's corpse to the University of Texas at El-Paso. This might explain why I'm hardly ever invited to parties.

Cadavers are being used for an expanding range of research and training purposes, including the testing of prosthetics and new robotic surgery techniques.  

In the future there will be robot surgery? Like when they put the tires on a car at a Ford plant in Mexico?

Medical researchers are also increasingly relying on human bodies instead of animals.

Thank you "animal rights" nutballs.

Although many programs shun advertising, the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois is buying more newspaper ads to try to boost numbers.

Hey! You with that non-deceased body! Yes, you. Wanna get out of paying Death Inc. after you take the old dirt-nap?

When donations fall short, Duke and other schools turn to private suppliers that obtain cadavers through donation, often in other countries.  

A new shipment of foreign political dissidents, thank goodness!

Some medical schools have experimented with alternatives to real bodies, such as rubber or plastic cadavers, or virtual anatomy courses taught on computers.

I just hate rubbers (bodies that is).

Full Article. 

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

News You Can't Use: Weak Economy is Responsible for Rampant Swoleness

Trigger warning: the following deep and thorough analysis of an article from New York's best newspaper contains references to being swole as fark, to the act of mirin' and how we might not all make it. In fact, it's a rather gloomy look at the "fitness" movement and those of us who enjoy creating tissue tears and then healing them with chalky milk-substitutes and pill packs with words like "animal" and "beastosaurus" on them. It appears that a life properly lived might involve more than an eight-pack and doomsday pecs, but thanks to George W. Bush and everything he did ordinary mediocrity is now unattainable so being a glorious jacked-up human derelict will have to suffice.

Poor economies impact countries in a number of detrimental ways including higher rates of poverty, unemployment and chronic disease.

Economies are often based around money, which is a symbolic bartering instrument that can be exchanged for goods and services. In times of so-called "economic trouble" this legal currency is lacking, creating a condition called "flat pocket." This leads to being sick.

Now, a new study shows the bad economy is to blame for another unfortunate trend: the rise of #swoleness.

Taking care of your body: an unfortunate new trend that needs to stop, soon.

Skim through any fitness enthusiast’s Instagram, and you’ll find allusions to being “swole” — or in Herculean shape. 

It seems that the main purpose of this article is failed attempts to "aware" normies about sickening gains and the rock-bottom basics of economics.

Since the 2008 economic crisis, more men have taken to social media to post images of their fit bodies, according to the Journal of Gender Studies report. 

The exciting thing about "Gender Studies" (speaking of unemployment and debt...) is deciding what new novel approach you'll take to vilifying men this week. I mean, look at those disgusting muscles, Becky. They're so large and vascular, gross! Girls only talk to him because he looks like a total bodybuilder. Yuck! He's just so...swole!

The trend, which experts have dubbed “spornosexuality,” reflects men attempting to seek validation through their bodies, instead of more conventional means, such as their work.

Destroying your health in the name of careerism and materialism is an unquestioned good, of course. There is a correct way to live your life and doing insane dead-lifts is clearly not a part of it.

“Austerity has eroded young men’s traditional means of value-creation so they have become increasingly reliant on their bodies as a means of feeling valuable in society,” said study author Jamie Hakim, a professor at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

Fortunately, I've got this con-game going at some diploma mill and as such don't have to worry bout dat chedda.

“In theoretical terms, so-called ‘spornosexuality’ is an embodied response to material changes brought about by neoliberal austerity.”

I'm using made-up words with multiple syllables so I must be educated, intelligent and full of profound wisdom.

“The rise of men going to the gym and sharing images of their worked-out bodies began around 2008, coinciding with the intensification of neoliberalism that occurred in response to the 2008 economic crash and the following austerity measures,” Hakim said. “This is no coincidence.”

It certainly has nothing to do with the rise of social media that was occurring at exactly the same time. Nope, "neoliberalism" is causing the online beefcake. Whether we can also blame it for tiger selfies remains unknown, I need more government funding.

Based on the research, experts said that fitness junkies will continue to impact capitalism.

Unless The Food Stamp President starts giving out free government proteins and pre-workouts, I would tend to agree.

Get a job, you ridiculously huge muscleman!

“The projection of what constitutes a ‘good life’ has become so spectacular even while the means of achieving home ownership, a prestigious career and a high income are radically diminishing,” Hakim said. 

Society is literally dying before my eyes, but on the other hand look at these traps, broham.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

News You Can't Use: Woman Punches Man In Movie Chatter Dispute

It's summer blockbuster season, as evidenced by the loud, ugly and artistically bankrupt releases that lose massive amounts of money while their hypothetical target audience hunts imaginary Japanese cartoons or just keeps on cowering under the bed or whatever. Never mind that the theater experience is now less grating than ever, with exciting new options like "No, I don't want to sit between two randos" and "Booze, please." Maybe one day they'll even get rid of the bawling infants and "Don't go in there, girl!" talkers, but expect to take a few closed hands along the way. I wanted to watch the evil clown girl, not listen to you, pal. Then you get popped.

An Indiana woman is facing a battery charge after allegedly slugging a fellow moviegoer in the face after he complained about her talking through the entirety of a showing of “Suicide Squad.”

Perhaps not as glorious as the time someone complained about me kicking their seat and I told them "You don't like me kicking your seat? How about later on I kick your ass?"

According to police, LaQuintae Taborn, 34, and William Mason were exiting a theater in Portage early Sunday morning when the confrontation occurred.

We must strive to recreate this incident in the most vivid detail 23k per year prose and your own feeble imagination can possibly offer. Try to place yourself in the moment, in this Middle West crucible of feckless complaints and immediate, violent reprisal.

Cops say that Mason told Taborn, “I just wanted to thank you for talking through the entire movie and ruining it for everyone.”

Today class we're going to learn how to be passive-aggressive. And also how to just be aggressive, full stop. Somehow the whole "thanks for ruining it, I was eating a candy bar when you posted that" bit works a lot better in the relative safety of a comments section and not in a Hoosier State lobby following a movie that might charitably be described as spiritual anal cancer.

Taborn, a Gary resident, responded by first shoving Mason and then punching him twice in the face, police allege. 

Just like in your comic book film! Pow! Zoink! I'm a hero, now.

Mason, whose glasses were knocked off, declined medical assistance and told cops that he did not wish to press charges.

I tried to transform into the Incredible Hulk but just managed tears and pitiful "I'm fine" mumblings in between sobs.

During police questioning, Taborn reportedly said that she pushed the man when he got close to her. As for the punches, Taborn explained that she hit the man in anticipation of him retaliating for her pushing him.

This was a preemptive strike against a clearly evil individual who might have had deadly nerve gas or other unspecified destruction weapons in his pocket protector.

Thanks for talking during this cinematic bowel movement.

Taborn was released from custody yesterday after posting $800 bond. She is scheduled for an initial hearing tomorrow in Porter County Superior Court. 

Maybe we can go hang out there and watch the human zoo, if you got nothin' better to do, that is.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure #62: Sugarcane Island

Seven days ago we began our amazing inquisition into the bizarre publishing history of "Sugarcane Island" that will, thankfully, come to an end here. I'm afraid I'm left with more questions than answers after taking note of the copyright information which gives 1976 as the year this was formally released. It's also mentioned that it was originally written in 1969 (seven years worth of rejection on what was basically a license to print money...I feel much better about my own recent track record now) while the Which Way version is, unsurprisingly, not referenced at all. It looks like this mystery will stay a mystery and I'm mostly okay with that because this edition promises to feature new illustrations and "revised" text (fewer spelling mistakes, now!) and is proudly presented as number 62 in the series because 62 is a number typically associated with major milestones and anniversaries.

The turtle that took me to my death last time is prominently featured in the new cover.

Anyway, exciting revisions and major improvements. Or perhaps not, as the set-up seems almost completely identical. You know the drill: a reference to a doctor character that will never matter, rogue wave, in the drink, pass out because the body will swim on its own while out cold and then hit the beach. Last time I went for the "rocky hill," a hill that vanished as soon as the author got distracted, so this time let's walk along the beach and see what that gets us. We also get one of the new illustrations we were promised which features our in-story avatar giving a shocked expression while lying in a relaxed position, something not even hinted at in the text. Man, this special 62nd edition, I feel so privileged to be part of all this history.

Anyway, my long walk on the sands (I like sunsets and having fun, too!) ends with the discovery of some clams and the foul-looking meat within. It doesn't look "tasty" but I'm starving and all so let's just tuck this in. They taste horrible, but so does hateful death, so I choke it down. Then I remember that dehydration is the bigger danger in these situations. The big brain I'm packing, unbelievable. This segues into finding a "pond" because I guess I'm just speaking things into existence now like at a Texas mega-church. Sadly the water tastes very salty and I have to decide to drink or not. I love how this book is nothing but deciding what goes in your maw for page after page.

All new high-quality illustrations!

I'm not about to get all Ancient Mariner up in this biz-itch, so I just drink it down and come away feeling sick and weak. I decide I'll have to find something "better" than the brackish fluids and fine French cuisine the beach is offering, so I blunder around until encountering a "tiger without stripes." Revised edition, full of incredible new descriptive prose. I'm given a choice between "standing still" and "climbing a tree." Not to be That Guy, but both those options would get you killed in real life. You're supposed to make tons of noise and puff yourself up, right? I've seen those animal attack VHS tapes, I know what I'm talking about.

I do the freeze and the not-tiger walks off like the giant pussy (cat) that it is. I take a few steps forward to celebrate this victory and oh noes! Quicksand! Yeah, really. Once again, the correct course of action (just swim your way out) is not even on the table and I split the difference and try to walk my way out of this very muddy water. An ending that's less than two full lines informs me I die instead, or as the top-quality new prose puts it: "Glug, glug, glug." Yeah.

Just getting that glug on.

I gave the Which Way version a pass because it was a straight-up reprint of something that sat in a drawer for years because publishers didn't think any of this was a good idea and what people really want are political lectures from angry outsiders. This new version doesn't get the same mercies, obviously. Trying to pass this effort off as a revision and a special moment falls flat when the changes are minimal and the same poorly researched dangers remain. This is also the second time quicksand has killed me in an Edward Packard book, which is about two times too many. You could just tread water and/or swim out! This really bothers me and rightly so.

More like "Attention Suckers!"

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

News You Can't Use: Tiny Implant Could Connect Humans and Machines Like Never Before

If I have one complaint about the golden age I was blessed to be born into, and I really have to stress that "if," it's that there just isn't enough technology in our lives and the interfaces are too demanding. Poking at a tablet like a cat scratching at a closed door in order to deploy ball-shaped avians with anger management issues just isn't getting it. We clearly need some of those brain implants and fortunately it's on the way if our society manages to stave off the steady transformation into a burning heap for another decade or so. Think of the ability to quickly interact with devices. I know, might be cold shower time just to calm down a bit.

A tiny implant the size of a grain of sand has been created that can connect computers to the human body without the need for wires or batteries, opening up a host of futuristic possibilities.

You could copy and paste with just a thought. That financial program that comes packed in with every computer and no one actually uses could be deleted with the blink of an eyes. And don't forget Google Government beaming the Right Think directly into the cortex! The words "What could possibly go wrong?" have never been more appropriate.

The devices, dubbed "neural dust", could be used to continually monitor organs like the heart in real time and, if they can be made even smaller, implanted into the brain to control robotic devices like prosthetic arms or legs.

Hopefully this "dust" won't result in you attempting to fly off the roof of your high school after a massive freak-out. And hey, what could be more awesome than constantly getting feedback on your heartbeat? Yup, still going. Glub. Glub. Glub. This is great.

It is believed they could help treat conditions like epilepsy by stimulating nerves and muscles, help people with incontinence control their bladder and even suppress appetite.  

Here, put this dust in your frontal lobes so you slim down a little, Carb-face.

They could also potentially either be used to prompt the immune system into action or reduce inflammation.

Muhh murricall snake oil also heals up dat AIDS, yes suh.

One of the inventors, Professor Michel Maharbiz, of University of California, Berkeley, said: “I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader.

You could manually activate processes that are normally automatic!

“Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something super-tiny super-deep [in the body]. 

If you're super tiny you're not gonna go super deep in that thang. I'm just sayin'.

Ultrasound vibrations, which can penetrate almost every part of the body, are used to power the sensors, which are about a millimetre across.

This "massager" is used to activate sensors and not for that other use, honest.

This can already be done using brain implants, but these require wires that go through a hole in the skull, potentially allowing in infection or movement of the sensor within the brain. They must also be replaced after about one to two years.

Been fourteen months, better get the old head-wires replaced.

The researchers are currently building neural dust that could last in the body for more than 10 years. And because they are wireless there is no need for holes to remain in the skull.

Well, other than for aerodynamics, obviously.

“The beauty is that now, the sensors are small enough to have a good application in the peripheral nervous system, for bladder control or appetite suppression, for example.”

Not pissing yourself or doing that All-American bloat are literally the best ideas we have for this horrific "We tampered in God's domain" nightmare technology.

Full Article.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.