This one is pretty interesting if you stick with it; what you no doubt initially take to be a precursor to the 8-track is playing cartridges loaded with ribbon-based analog records(!!!). The macro-lens bit at around 5:20 gives you an example of both the sound (pretty damn solid) and the mechanism (OMFG! Wünderbar!) Hilarious remote control, too.
(FYI, that caption was Wordpress’s suggested—and I love it!!!)
o_OThe thing that makes this one, for me, is how the strings are anchored in the eye sockets(!!!) The Met has several of these—from different generous donors and almost certainly different artisans—and they all use the eye sockets and brow ridge as a saddle and bridge. Humans, amiright?
N.B. that, according to current expert opinion, this thing—which is indeed from Central Africa, where it was crafted in the 19th C by a native artisan—was produced for no other purpose than to sell something fantastically “primitive” and “savage” to European tourists/anthropologists (and thus inform European opinions of these nations and, in all likelihood, form the foundation of the moral justifications for brutal colonialism). I invite the reader to meditate on their own how this might mirror our current situation with imported polarizing/fake news, and who the greater savage might be: The supplier who makes the ersatz evidence, or the customer who furnishes the demand and shells out the cash?
Crappy fluorescent fixtures flicker at 120 Hz (i.e., 120 times each second, twice the frequency of the AC mains)—but that’s when performing perfectly. Usually, you won’t notice that at all. In fact, a flicker can get down to around 60 Hz before the average person can see it (I’ve been told that this was part of the motivation for choosing that frequency, as early incandescent bulbs would tend to noticeably pulse along with the AC).
But if the fluorescent light is visible and unambiguously flickering, then it’s definitely down below 50 Hz. And here’s the thing: the bright LEDs they’re using in this experiment to successfully treat and reverse symptoms of Alzheimer’s, they’re pulsing at 40 Hz—i.e., the “creepy horror-film industrial building” frequency.
(Please do listen to the entire podcast before deciding to spend a lot of time sitting under shitty office lights; the research is in its infancy and the rate of successful transfer of Alzheimer’s research from rodents to humans is something like 0.4%).
My latest Time Portal novella— “Where There Is Nothing, There Is God” —is in the current issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, on news stands now! (Most Barnes & Noble locations stock it, as do many indie bookshops).
Our blockbuster December 2016 novella, “Where There Is Nothing, There Is God” by David Erik Nelson, is a rollicking Time Portal tale. It’s filled with a cast of unsavory characters who operate as though Cotton Mather’s favorite TV show was Breaking Bad. In this vastly entertaining story, it’s hard to know whom to root for so just make sure your inertia dampening system is on and enjoy the ride!
In celebration of their 10th anniversary Pseudopod—a consistently solid horror fiction podcast—is running a kickstarter:
Pseudopod has an excellent track record—both in terms of delivering the goods and doing right by their contributors—and impressive longevity (10 years of weekly operation publishing fiction for free is hard going; I know from experience). Their goal is to raise funds to increase what they pay artists and ensure their longevity. These are Good Things™
Kick in a few bucks; the 21st Century is nuts, and perhaps the nutsiest thing is the jaw-dropping array of free arts & letters we each enjoy every day—but it can only be free on the daily if we all kick in now and again. This is one of those moments.
Add bonus: there are some really nifty backer premiums, including this rad-as-hell mug and their first ever anthology, For Mortal Things Unsung—which features both reprints of pieces they
bought for the podcast (including mine), as well as new work A.C. Wise, Jim Bihyeh, and others.
…I mean, yes, we’ll all still be swept away by the ruinstorms powered by our collapsing climate—but that’s a helluva lot less agonizing then succumbing to c diff or a septic staph infection.
All that aside, the science here is really cool: instead of a new traditional antibiotic (which is basically the equivalent of bug spray), this 25yo (!!!) researcher has designed and grown little nano-caltrops that tear apart the cell walls—and, just as hundreds of generations of deer have failed to grow immune to bullets, it likewise appears that bacteria cannot grow immune to these targeted lil anti-pathogenic death spikes.
Rather than poisoning the bad bacteria like antibiotics do, the molecules, called peptide polymers, destroy the bacteria’s cell walls. And unlike antibiotics, which also poison surrounding healthy cells, the polymers “are quite non-toxic to the healthy cells in the body,” Lam says. That’s because they’re much too big (about 10 nanometers in diameter) to enter healthy cells—”the difference in scale between a mouse and an elephant,” Lam’s supervisor told the Sydney Morning Herald. What’s more, in Lam’s experiments, generation after generation of bacteria don’t seem to become resistant to the polymers.
If you’re at all mechanically minded, you’re going to start our sort of underwhelmed, since the solution seems pretty transparent: Any determined craftsman could get similar results with a homebrew pantograph and template (hell, you could do it in LEGO).
But keep watching. You’ll get more impressed around the 2-minute mark when you see the mechanism, and more so around 2:40 when you see the cams and realize that the device isn’t tracing letterforms, but rather, in a mechanical sense, understands a series of modular strokes than can be built up in different arrangements to form different letters. Finally, you’ll totally shit yourself at 3:55 because this damned thing—built in the late 1700s—was programmable.