athelind: (hoard potato)
This morning, [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte said:

So I've seen commercials for Tomorrow People, but ain't watched it. I am left with a nagging question.

What's the difference between this show and Alphas?

I did see the commercial and think, "Oh look, another show about pretty people with super powers" ...



That's a pretty glib dismissal ... but it's not wrong.

I watched the first episode, and really, the big difference between the two shows is that I didn't want to immediately smack everybody in Alphas, protagonist and antagonist alike.

The big conflict in this show is "OH NOES NORMALS HATE US BECAUSE WE'RE BEAUTIFUL WE HAVE POWERS!!1!"

... just like every other Pretty People With Powers series in the last decade. Heroes, the 4400, Alphas ... even the X-Movies. Show after show after show, and it's all Maintaining the Masquerade so the Mundanes don't Molest the Metahumans. The protagonists only deal with two kinds of adversaries: Dark Conspiracies Who Want To Herd Them All Into Labs and/or "Cure" Them, and Bad People With Powers That Have The Exact Same Origin As Ours.

Assuming you can tell the protagonists from the antagonists, of course.

Moreover ... every single one of these shows characterizes the Pretty People With Powers as "The Next Evolutionary Step" that will "Drive Humanity To Extinction". It's not always just the paranoid norms who think so, either.*

I, for one, am bored with this. It's ... metahuman masturbation, is what it is. All the conflict centers around The Powers, and if you take The Powers away (as several interchangeable adversaries want to do), all the conflict vanishes.

It's like they think viewers aren't smart enough to handle a world that has more than one crazy thing going on at a time.

The sad part is that The Tomorrow People is a remake of a classic BBC series from the 1970s, the era that gave us Blake's 7, and Pertwee and Baker as Doctor Who.**

By contrast, take a look at what they threw at the original 1970s version of Tomorrow People. Aliens! Robots! Alien Robots!

Think the new series is going to touch that subplot where the Tomorrow People are in touch with the "Galactic Federation", who shepherd developing telepathic races as they "break out"?

I don't.

And that's a pity.


* To give Alphas its due, Professor X Dr. Rosen at least paid lip service to the idea that the Alphas were just exceptional humans at the skinny end of the bell curve ... but he was about the only person in the show who did, and even he didn't seem to buy it completely.
** Don't get pedantic with me. That's how they're listed in the credits.
athelind: (Sci Fi)

Plastic Antibodies Effective In Living Animals!



Natural antibodies are proteins that are shaped to wrap around the molecules of a dangerous substance. The body has to be exposed to the substance to learn how to make them, and the immune system responses involved in the process can contribute to the trauma. Thing like antivenom serums are currently made by injecting a large animal like a horse with the toxin, and then filtering their blood for the antibodies—these natural antibodies can sometimes induce reactions of their own.

This technique creates synthetic antibodies out of plastic, simply by molding the polymer around the molecules.

This is insanely brilliant, and could open huge doors in medical treatments.

It's also one of those Amazing Advances of the Future that slipped by most SF writers.

In a space opera setting, since these are biologically neutral, you could actually have antitoxins that would work on almost any species! Call Sector General!

I can so easily see a Plastic Antibody Synthesis rig as part of the onboard medical systems of KLDR-4077, or a transhuman/posthuman character like Charlotte; it seems especially well-suited to her "rebuilt to survive in a toxic world" theme.


Regular readers will note that I've added another new "column" to my Subject Headers: "Here's Your Effing Jetpack." Yes, it's the 21st Century, and no, we don't have all the wonderful Jetsons technology they promised us—but we have so much tech that hardly anyone did foresee. And we take most of it for granted, including the ones that make this post possible. There are enough net-tech sites out there that I won't bother making note of the latest Cupertino Tchotchke, but if something weird, wonderful, and off the wall strikes my eye—well, Here's Your Effing Jetpack.
athelind: (cronkite)

Fed Official Sees High Unemployment For Years

-- Associated Press, via NPR

You know, this actually makes me feel better about the job market in the near future.

Remember the Clinton Boom? (I know it's hard, but it really wasn't that long ago!)

Most "official government reports" of that period just foresaw the good times rollin' along. The few who saw the boom as part of a boom-and-bust cycle were dismissed as Chicken Littles. Same with the housing bubble that ranged through both the Clinton and Bush years.

In the same way, the government officials who currently insist that Recovery Is Just Around The Corner sound impossibly optimistic, seeing unicorns and rainbows in every little upward jig of an isolated economic indicator. Not only don't they convince us, they don't even sound like they've convinced themselves.

Official statements like this one sound so much more plausible. They're rooted in the "common sense" observations every one of us makes every day. They're logical extrapolations of the future from current conditions.

Just like those glorious predictions of the Infinite Boom.1

Because, you see, deep down, nobody really believes in change. They don't believe that things will ever be different. They find it hard to believe, in their hearts, that things ever were different, even if they experienced it themselves.2 My parenthetical comment above, about the Clinton Boom? 'Fess up: it's getting harder and harder to remember those times as genuinely prosperous, isn't it? Instead, it's just the top of a downward slope, not so much "better" as "where 'worse' started".

Don't read too much into this post, really. It's just an early-morning knee-jerk reaction to a headline article. Semantically, it boils down to, "hey, the government says this, so it must be wrong."

I suppose that's as good as any other method of economic prediction.


1Somewhere along the line, as Boom shifted into Decline and from there to Bust, the treatment of the "Technological Singularity" in speculative fiction shifted from "The Rapture of the Nerds" to the geek equivalent of Left Behind. See Accelerando, by Charlie Stross, for a good example of the latter.

2This is, of course, the root of Global Warming Denial.


athelind: (Default)

Fed Official Sees High Unemployment For Years

-- Associated Press, via NPR

You know, this actually makes me feel better about the job market in the near future.

Remember the Clinton Boom? (I know it's hard, but it really wasn't that long ago!)

Most "official government reports" of that period just foresaw the good times rollin' along. The few who saw the boom as part of a boom-and-bust cycle were dismissed as Chicken Littles. Same with the housing bubble that ranged through both the Clinton and Bush years.

In the same way, the government officials who currently insist that Recovery Is Just Around The Corner sound impossibly optimistic, seeing unicorns and rainbows in every little upward jig of an isolated economic indicator. Not only don't they convince us, they don't even sound like they've convinced themselves.

Official statements like this one sound so much more plausible. They're rooted in the "common sense" observations every one of us makes every day. They're logical extrapolations of the future from current conditions.

Just like those glorious predictions of the Infinite Boom.1

Because, you see, deep down, nobody really believes in change. They don't believe that things will ever be different. They find it hard to believe, in their hearts, that things ever were different, even if they experienced it themselves.2 My parenthetical comment above, about the Clinton Boom? 'Fess up: it's getting harder and harder to remember those times as genuinely prosperous, isn't it? Instead, it's just the top of a downward slope, not so much "better" as "where 'worse' started".

Don't read too much into this post, really. It's just an early-morning knee-jerk reaction to a headline article. Semantically, it boils down to, "hey, the government says this, so it must be wrong."

I suppose that's as good as any other method of economic prediction.


1Somewhere along the line, as Boom shifted into Decline and from there to Bust, the treatment of the "Technological Singularity" in speculative fiction shifted from "The Rapture of the Nerds" to the geek equivalent of Left Behind. See Accelerando, by Charlie Stross, for a good example of the latter.

2This is, of course, the root of Global Warming Denial.


athelind: (weird science)

Cyborg Arm Plugs Directly Into Bone.



I'm not sure if this is "wow, awesome" or "ack, squick".

Have I mentioned that I'm a little squeamish? Working in a hospital for four years did nothing to alleviate that.

I'm leaning toward the former, of course, but there's just something about pin in bone sticking through flesh that makes me squirm a little (and not in a good way). "Osteocutaneous integration" is a magnificent buzzword, but I want more details about just how they're going to keep the flesh-to-metal interface intact and prevent infection.


athelind: (Default)

Cyborg Arm Plugs Directly Into Bone.



I'm not sure if this is "wow, awesome" or "ack, squick".

Have I mentioned that I'm a little squeamish? Working in a hospital for four years did nothing to alleviate that.

I'm leaning toward the former, of course, but there's just something about pin in bone sticking through flesh that makes me squirm a little (and not in a good way). "Osteocutaneous integration" is a magnificent buzzword, but I want more details about just how they're going to keep the flesh-to-metal interface intact and prevent infection.


athelind: (weird science)
For [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four, [livejournal.com profile] shatterstripes, [livejournal.com profile] silkspider, et al.:

Last week, the Paleo-Future Blog gave us a look at how a 1934 industrial designer would redesign the human body.




Art Deco Transhumans. What's not to love?


athelind: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four, [livejournal.com profile] shatterstripes, [livejournal.com profile] silkspider, et al.:

Last week, the Paleo-Future Blog gave us a look at how a 1934 industrial designer would redesign the human body.




Art Deco Transhumans. What's not to love?


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