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Work began on the fence, with the entrance being the first section. My dad lent a pair of hands, and a pair of spirit levels, to help create what appears, without fencey context, to be a Fringe-style portal to a parallel universe over by the hedge. ‘Tis a world much like our own, only sunny in summer time.

Some precision measuring, and less precise grunting spade-and-trowel work, took a couple of hours out of the morning. It’s over that side to take advantage of the paved path, mainly.

Note the partially-tidied privet hedge (left of pic), another fathers day tick list item, which had to be abandoned owing to short extension lead issues and on account of the June skies dulling once more. Solstice sunrise and full moon seem unlikely to be visible if the weather continues in its current sogginess. Got the lawns done, at least, so the grass is enjoying the showers.

The dazzling bright white lights of a truck hurtled past, accompanied with cacophonous discordant horn dopplering, chased by a slushy swish from the cold rain. Briefly, the taillights morsed as the driver pumped the brakes at the curve ahead, the message from the red squares flashing, over and over: tough + luck + stop + tough + luck + stop + tough + luck.

Silence settled again on the long straight road gunbarrelling between the thick pines, grown in orderly rows for crow-flown miles and miles west and east of the needle strewn, snow-crowned highway sludge along which Dag Heuter was trudging as night fell.

Heuter watched the receding tail lights with his right hand clapped to his head, as if trying to prevent his hat blowing off. With ear flaps tied snug under his chin, the gesture was more frustration, an invocation. His left arm curled in what looked like it could be trying to be a fist coming up for a jab. Brief freeze. He made a pushing gesture of dismissal and walked backwards a few steps, as the four red squares fused into a single condensing gas dwarf and vanished into the cosmic night. Heuter squinted with some difficulty to see as he turned into the rain, still walking, hands jammed back into his jacket pockets, facing the oncoming traffic.

Facing the direction oncoming traffic would come from eventually, he qualified to himself, turning positive, turning again to look at the tiny tiny pulse of red flicking further back down the road. He put a gloved hand up to his throat and tightened the zip two teeth back to the top.

Since abandoning the cold shell of his own wheels, but uncertain which way salvation lay nearest, Dag Heuter had decided to walk back to the last town he remembered. It had seemed like a few miles or so. Heuter knew he was an unreliable guide. The lack of traffic meant he was sticking up a hand for anything, going anywhere, but so far, not so good. He licked dry, chapped lips and thought of one, probably two beers and a couple of whiskies in that little brown wood and smokey bar he’d been in.

It might have been only minutes later that there was a swoosh through the slush and wet. Heuter straightened, regarded the lights playing through the spray up ahead of him, his shadow on the trees. He turned and shaded his eyes with one hand, throwing out the other first in a kind of wave, then a more resolute hitcher’s thumb. The car – some kind of pony – slowed, then passed him, before coming to a halt a few yards ahead. Picking up his step, Heuter shambled towards what he could now make out was indeed a Camaro, the rear lights making a red fuzz in the rain.

Up against the passenger side door, Dag Heuter stood with one arm on the roof. As the window wound down about halfway, he paused for a second before lowering his head to peer inside. There was a moment’s silence.

The figure inside the car said,
‘Jesus, Dag. What happened to your face?’

Dag Heuter looked up into the spray illuminated by the headlights and smiled painfully. Of course. He lowered his head.

‘Hey, Petch. Uhh, gimme a ride, I’ll bring you up to speed?’

‘I doubt that,’ the driver said. There was another moment’s pause.

‘Well, get in.’ A sigh.

The window closed as Dag opened the door and slumped inside.

Coming up in part two: Dag and Petch retread some old ground.

“…corporate-dominated dystopias are the new zombies.”

Science fiction visions of the near future reflecting contemporary preoccupations, as usual. And io9 all like whatever and shit.

Meanwhile, still languishing in development: Lazarus.
Lazarus-panel

Might start another run through Fringe…

"Bring me Damon, Affleck, duct tape, the transmogrifier... and a pain au chocolat. "

“Bring me Damon, Affleck, duct tape, the transmogrifier… and a pain au chocolat. ”

News that Google is working on some method of robotically not being evil.

Their stooge chosen partner in this venture is Boston Dynamics, ‘developer of military robots’.

“Boston Dynamics”… Lovers of TV sci-fi excitement Fringe may have spotted where this is going.

massive-dynamic-logo

If you haven’t seen Fringe, a) you should and b) Massive Dynamic is the name of the giant tech company attempting to mould this world through innovative yet disquieting R and D projects, and corporate asshattery. Google are a bit of an obvious analogy in… well, every way, actually.

I mean, yes, it’s “just” art imitating life imitating art, etc, but along with the sinister Google barges, and the comprehensive data mining… well, I’m getting a bit nervous every time I see a bald guy in a suit.

Gregg Wallace, Weight Observer

Gregg Wallace, Weight Observer

Preface: I am pro-science, but not only science.

Scientists, mathematicians and philosophers are discussing a number of not-abstract points at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University, according to a magazine article in the Business section on the Beeb’s website.

Seán O’Heigeartaigh, geneticist, voices concerns about the real world implications of scientific curiosity.

In terms of risks from biology, he worries about misguided good intentions, as experiments carry out genetic modifications, dismantling and rebuilding genetic structures.

“It’s very unlikely they would want to make something harmful,” he says.

little_boy

Very unlikely.

“What we know as reality is only a fragile membrane…”

From our correspondent, R.U. Sirius:

In at number 2 on the BBC’s ‘Most Read’ links section this morning, a seemingly inconsequential shaggy dog tale from 2010:

A German student “mooned” a group of Hell’s Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.

A sentence rich with suggestion!

But why the apparent recent click interest in this daftness, only a few days after a New Moon in Capricorn, January 2013? What might it signify? Are we intended to ‘act the goat’? By whom? TO WHAT END?

Remember to question the answers.

A diverting article about CyberCity, helpfully explained in the URL at fastcoexist as a-tiny-city-built-to-be-destroyed-by-cyber-terrorists-so-real-cities-know-whats-coming. This was drawn to my attention by Bruce Sterling’s Beyond the Beyond blog at Wired.

I’ve been enjoying lots of Fringe on DVD recently, so it’s all about the cybergeddon at the minute. And, here in this reality, it’s intriguing to consider the need for such a project, never mind the whimsical toytown apocalypse aspects. However, I couldn’t help but giggle at the implications of this sentence:

“In another scenario, students must figure out how to simultaneously turn all of the traffic lights in town red, to halt the escape of terrorists fleeing the city.”

I presume the intent in this scenario is just to snarl up traffic, but I enjoyed the idea of an escaping terrorist sitting at red lights, drumming their fingers on the steering wheel, perhaps murmuring an uneasy ‘Come on!” and checking their watch, as hackers high-five each other in the bunker.

Next in my brain: Frank Zappa.

And it’s over there…