Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reading Science.

Ah, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I must recommence reading and inwardly digesting more science (and a bit less politics). I’ll have to do this by picking and choosing from the Internet because magazines I used to read a decade or so ago, like New Scientist and Scientific American, became highly politicized advocacy platforms

In fact, during yesterday’s trip to Asda and while Caroline was having her hair done, I picked up a copy of the former magazine, popped into the nearby pub, bought a pint of IPA (my first in something like eight months) and sat down to read it. Straight away the cover was off-putting with its depiction of ‘Urban Utopia’ and the connected article the usual exercise in dead horse flogging. Sure, cram people together and they use less energy. Here’s an idea, why not bury the cities underground and assign each human a three metre box to live in. Why not genetically modify humans into rose-blood four-fingered nebbishes so each uses up less resources … if you haven’t read it, get old of T. J. Bass’s Half-Past Human.

However, that being said, there was a lot less environmental hectoring.than there was a decade and a half ago. Maybe I will pick up a few copies of the above mentioned magazines over ensuing months and consider renewing a subscription.

Currently I’m selectively reading articles from Science Daily, Science News (on the Internet) and generally fishing about with Google for anything interesting. So, if any of you guys come across something of interest, please let me know here.


Shaun said...

I follow MS research as, funnilly enough, I have MS.

Neurology has been weaponised for the past two years - the DoD is directly funding some MS research as the kind of damage caused by the disease is horribly similar to the kind of damage caused in blast injuries that, thanks to body armour, no longer kill their soldiers outright. Additional work in bionics, direct neural interfaces and memory decoding and encoding is part of that, plus the use of remote mind/intention scanners.

It is amazing how fast science fiction is becoming actual product.

But yeah - eyeball neurology plus regenerative medicine, nanotechnology and/or bionics and it's truly amazing where we are and what's about to happen!

Neal Asher said...

Shaun, as case in point is that chip implanted in people's eyes that's recently been in the news.

Shaun said...

I can't find the most up to date link but:

Is fairly impressive. Spin offs include:

(which I quite fancy should I ever approach the need for a wheelchair) and the military exoskeletons:

But it's the man-machine interface stuff that's going to be an IT-style disruptive technology. With the capacity to read memories from meat, you pretty much gain the ability to write them. Or record them externally in a wee hard drive type thing - useful at a minor end for backing up memories in people with Alzheimers or whatever but theoretically you do get a kind of immortality out of it providing you can also record HOW all that information relates and connects as a personality.

Then there's improving the conductivity of axons - a long story involving a giant squid - by manipulating ion channels. As with things like ProVigil (Modafinil), which is a stimulant that has the side effect of improving your working memory, what cognitive changes will take place when you start pushing electrons about faster or more efficiently?

Neal Asher said...

I'm going to have to create a new file called 'science reading' and queue these things up in it. Thanks Shaun.

Shaun said...

My pleasure - I love your work!

Jacques Hughes said...

Hi Neal,
As an ex-science bod, I tend to follow ScienceBlogs ( for life sciences. For interesting tech advances related to life sciences and sometimes just strange new cutting edge stuff I follow Accelerating Future and Singularity Hub
I have them on RSS feed so I can pull anything I want into Scrivener. Also useful for writers apparently :)

Joe said...

I find that Ed Yong does a good job translating often-times dry scientific papers into more easily digestible pop-sci format on his Not Exactly Rocket Science blog.

lethalox said...

Chrish said...

Maybe it's slightly off topic or maybe you already know all about this but if not go to The pirate bay and download: 'What In The World Are They Spraying'
have fun!

Götz Roderer said...

Disturbingly sometime it is, Yoda would say. Your Comment on New Scientist (and other publications) hit the mark. Basically my post.
And please write more books, by the way.

Lynn said...

Do you know about SciTech Daily? Lots of science articles from many different sources.

wintermute said...