Category: Art and Science
This sketch was chosen for the League’s student show at the Phyllis Harriman Gallery. The class was all there, showing their best work
The first symptom of the virus wasn’t a sore throat or vomiting. It was denial.
Way back in the year 2018, Amelie was thirteen, and viruses were the last thing on her mind. She was all about school, working at her mom’s video store and riding her bike. Gliding along the shores of the Outer Banks in the glow of Earth’s rings, she dreamed of riding the Tour de France one day. But things got a little strange when she delivered “Paper Moon” to the nutty professor. He claimed to be from an alternate Earth where America won the Cold War — and no one nuked the moon.
She laughed. But he wasn’t joking. He said “Respect the Octopus. Listen to its song.”
A couple of years later, there was another war. Nobody knew who started it, but a bioweapon that combined the worst of the Spanish flu and rabies ended it. The islanders called it ‘Mommuck’, an old outer banks term meaning ‘bad craziness’.
Most of the people who got Mommucked died fast. Others turned into raging monsters who had a talent for eating faces.
Five years later, Amelie is still the fastest person on the Island. She’s the only person in Avalon, the last girl standing. Armed with her father’s guns and her mother’s determination, she managed to outrun and defeat every Mommuck in Avalon. Now, everything is hers, from Dirty Dick’s Crab Shop to Miz Daisy’s mushroom patch.
But something — or someone — is out there, sabotaging her octopus traps. Whatever or whoever it is, they’re fast, smart and out to get her. There’s only one former person she knew like that — the nutty Professor from alt-Earth.
Read this story and more in the limitless Visions VII: Universe anthology:
A murmuration of starlings is a system that’s ready to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling is connected to every other. When they turns in unison, it’s a phase transition (def. – when a substance changes from a solid, liquid, or gas state to a different state. Every element and substance can transition from one phase to another at a specific combination of temperature and pressure.)
At the individual level, the rules guiding this are relatively simple. When your neighbor moves, so do you. Depending on the flock’s size, speed and individual flight physiologies, the large-scale pattern changes. But we don’t know yet what physiological mechanisms allow this to happen almost simultaneously with two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds.
The implications extend beyond birds. Starlings may be the most visible and beautiful example of a biological transition that operates in proteins and neurons, hinting at universal principles yet to be understood.
More about Murmuration (via Wired)
A comic about a Repo Lady I worked on years ago with Dean Esmay (he wrote it, I did the sketches)
NASA is taking a multistep approach to its ultimate goal of putting boots on Mars.
The journey begins in low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which has hosted rotating crews continuously since November 2000. During this time, NASA and its ISS partners have been learning more and more about how to support astronauts on space missions.
This effort took a big step forward this past March, when NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko wrapped up an unprecedented 11-month mission aboard the orbiting lab that gave researchers new data about the physiological and psychological effects of long-duration spaceflight. (A Mars mission will be long-duration; it takes six to nine months to get to the Red Planet using currently available propulsion technology.)
In the next 10 years, NASA plans to extend the reach of human spaceflight out near the moon, to test spaceflight gear — such as the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and Orion crew capsule, both of which are in development — in a “proving ground” in deep space. For example, in the mid-2020s, the agency plans to send astronauts out to lunar orbit, to visit an asteroid boulder dragged there by a robotic spacecraft. (The boulder-snagging first part of this Asteroid Redirect Mission is scheduled to launch in the early 2020s.)
After the proving ground comes the journey to Mars itself. Current plans call for sending astronauts to Mars orbit in the early 2030s, with trips to the surface coming sometime after that. NASA officials have said they hope to eventually set up a small outpost on the Red Planet, where astronauts would search for signs of Mars life and perform other research.
What will we live in?