Day: February 11, 2017

Cyberarms dealer's weapons used against Mexican soda-tax activists

NSO is an Israel cyberarms dealer, which buys or researches vulnerabilities in software and then weaponizes them; claiming that these cyberweapons will only be used by democratic governments and their police forces to attacks serious criminals and terrorists — a claim repeated by its competitors, such as Italy’s Hacking Team and Gamma Group.
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ATARAXYA is one of the best animations of a psychedelic club experience

Club drugs: when they’re good, they’re good, and when they’re bad, they’re better. Five directors collaborated on this trippy animation that stands among the best depictions of a club trip I have seen. Headphones, full screen, and dark room strongly recommended. (more…)

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Brazilian Salmon Stew (Moqueca)

Salmon Moqueca

One of the dishes Northern Brazil is known for is their “Moqueca“, a delicious savory fish stew made with a local white fish, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and coconut milk.

Several years ago a Brazilian friend of mine introduced to me a salmon version of this stew she had improvised, given that the typical Brazilian fish used for moqueca isn’t found around here.

Continue reading “Brazilian Salmon Stew (Moqueca)” »

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2017 is the year your startup gets funded

moneygrowth The turn of the calendar is cathartic for entrepreneurs — there’s something about starting a new year that inspires folks to launch a new startup, build a new product or raise capital. If you’re starting to raise capital, this is your guide. Let’s get to it. Read More

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Gillmor Gang: Kakitocracy

Gillmor Gang Artcard The Gillmor Gang — Doc Searls, Keith Teare, Frank Radice, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, February 10, 2017. Plus the latest G3 (below) with Halley Suitt Tucker, Elisa Camahort Page, Denise Howell, Mary Hodder, and Tina Chase Gillmor. @stevegillmor, @dsearls, @kteare, @fradice Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang… Read More

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A neurologist captured these bizarre and creepy images to study the physics of human expression

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“This expression must be that of the damned.”

Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1862, French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne published The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression, a scientific and aesthetic text on the ways in which the muscles of the face create various expressions — a dictionary, so to speak, of what he believed was a universal, God-given language.

Duchenne had previously developed a number of therapeutic techniques involving the use of localized electric shocks to stimulate muscles

While conducting experiments for his text, he partnered with Adrien Tournachon, brother of the famed photographer Nadar, to document the expressions he induced in his models with targeted, painless shocks. Read more…

More about Creepy, Expression, Neurology, Science, and History

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A neurologist captured these bizarre and creepy images to study the physics of human expression

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“This expression must be that of the damned.”

Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1862, French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne published The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression, a scientific and aesthetic text on the ways in which the muscles of the face create various expressions — a dictionary, so to speak, of what he believed was a universal, God-given language.

Duchenne had previously developed a number of therapeutic techniques involving the use of localized electric shocks to stimulate muscles

While conducting experiments for his text, he partnered with Adrien Tournachon, brother of the famed photographer Nadar, to document the expressions he induced in his models with targeted, painless shocks. Read more…

More about Creepy, Expression, Neurology, Science, and History

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Bet you never thought you'd see Keanu Reeves ask Jamie Dornan about 'Fifty Shades' sex scenes

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Here’s one to check off your bucket list: watching Keanu Reeves, Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Dornan discuss the finer points of sex scenes on The Graham Norton Show. 

Dornan — who, of course, stars in the not good Fifty Shades franchise — has quite a bit of intel on the subject, including that adding one’s own sound effects really lightens the mood.

“Does the director say ‘more vocalization?'” asks Keanu Reeves. Picking the tough questions, Reeves.

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Bet you never thought you'd see Keanu Reeves ask Jamie Dornan about 'Fifty Shades' sex scenes

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Here’s one to check off your bucket list: watching Keanu Reeves, Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Dornan discuss the finer points of sex scenes on The Graham Norton Show. 

Dornan — who, of course, stars in the not good Fifty Shades franchise — has quite a bit of intel on the subject, including that adding one’s own sound effects really lightens the mood.

“Does the director say ‘more vocalization?'” asks Keanu Reeves. Picking the tough questions, Reeves.

More about Keanu Reeves, 50 Shades Darker, Jamie Dornan, and Watercooler

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Now in the UK! Pre-order signed copies of the first edition hardcover of Walkaway, my first adult novel since Makers

The UK’s Forbidden Planet is now offering signed hardcovers of Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009 — this is in addition to the signed US hardcovers being sold by Barnes and Noble.
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South Dakota lawmaker blocks workplace protection for pregnant workers: “It's not prison. You can quit.”

South Dakota state Rep. Wayne H Steinhauer [R-9] (Phone: 605-526-4269/ 605-773-3851/ 605-359-6298); Email: Wayne.Steinhauer@sdlegislature.gov, never-used Twitter account) was part of a group of eight male, GOP reps who killed a bill that would have guaranteed workplace accommodations to pregnant South Dakotans. During the hearing, Rep Steinhauer told women “It’s not prison. You can quit.”
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14 texts to not send your ex on Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is around the corner, which means it’s everyone’s least favorite time of the year: reminiscing on V-Days past.

With memories of former flames making their annual resurgence, it is essential to remember one thing: do. not. text. your. exes.

Don’t text these people. It isn’t good for you, it isn’t good for them and it definitely isn’t good for the new person in your life wondering why you’re texting “Sal from camp.”

We get it, the temptation is real — but really, it’s almost definitely not going to be worth it.

More about Humor, Exes, Messages, Texting, and Valentine S Day

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Pinterest's visual search, WhatsApp's new security: all the app news you need to know

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With even more iPhone rumors (stretchy screens and touch-sensitive backsides, anyone) and more bizarre robots than we can keep track of, you may have lost track of some of the best new apps.

Luckily, we’re keeping score for you for you. Each week, we round up the latest app news, along with a few of our favorite new and updated apps, to keep you in the loop with everything coming to your phone.

Here’s what we were following this week.

In social media land…

Pinterest wants to make it easier for you to buy stuff. The company introduced a new set of visual search features, including one called “Lens” that lets you shop for products based on photos you take with your smartphone.  Read more…

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Statsbot helps businesses pull their data into Slack

Statsbot Statsbot is giving companies a new way to look at their data — in their chatrooms on Slack.
Co-founder and CEO Artyom Keydunov said that the product was inspired by his previous work leading a remote engineering team, when he realized that it would be “a good idea to bring data from Google Analytics or Mixpanel to the place where all collaboration happens — to Slack.”… Read More

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4 solutions to the iPhone 7's dongle crisis

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If you’ve got an iPhone 7, you’re probably pretty pleased with yourself. What you’re probably less pleased about is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone port. 

While Apple has bundled a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter with the iPhone 7 (and sells a replacement for $9) this official doodad hogs the single port. 

We’ve found four innovative products that let you charge your iPhone 7 and listen to music at the same time. Imagine that. Have a look through our options to find a solution that suits you…  Read more…

1Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar ($39.99)

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80-year-old lady surprised when TSA finds sword inside her walking cane

The AP reports that an 80-year-old South Carolina woman had no idea her cane contained a sword until she attempted to board a plane and it was inspected by TSA staff.

News outlets report that Transportation Security Administration regional spokesman Mark Howell recounted the incident Thursday at Myrtle Beach International Airport as part of an effort to highlight examples of dangerous items recently carried by passengers departing the airport.

Howell told reporters secret swords are not actually that uncommon a discovery for TSA screeners since people sometimes buy the canes at thrift stores without realizing there’s a sword inside.

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Piketty: the poorest half of Americans saw a “total collapse” in their share of the country's wealth

In a new analysis of the World Income Database published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Thomas Piketty and colleagues from the Paris School of Economics and UC Berkeley, describe a “collapse” of the share of US national wealth claimed by the bottom 50% of the country — down to 12% from 20% in 1978 — along with an (unsurprising) drop in income for the poorest half of America.

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J.K. Rowling calls out Piers Morgan after he claims he's never read 'Harry Potter'

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Piers Morgan, a man who has always had trouble with criticism, responded to a brutal Saturday burn from J.K. Rowling by saying he’s “never read a single word of Harry Potter.”

But, Piers, what about that opinion piece, hm?

It all started when Rowling declared her joy at seeing Piers Morgan decimated on live TV by Jim Jefferies on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Yes, watching Piers Morgan being told to fuck off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imaginedhttps://t.co/4FII8sYmIt

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 11, 2017 Read more…

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Bulgarian cat walks again with the help of bionic legs

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Pooh, a one-year-old cat from Bulgaria was found without his hind legs. But a local animal shelter raised funds to have him fitted with prosthetics legs

The Bulgarian vet who performed Pooh’s surgery also fitted three more cats. The procedure was first performed in the U.K. but this is the first in Europe. Read more…

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Katy Perry's 'Chained to the Rhythm' is cotton candy political pop

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“Chained to the Rhythm” is a new kind of Katy Perry song, certainly.

“Are we tone deaf / Keep sweeping it under the mat / Thought we could do better than that / I hope we can,” Perry sings. “So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble / So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble.”

Aside from the lyrics, the song’s video even features a very cute hamster, eating tiny versions of people food, because this is still the girl behind “Last Friday Night.”

Today a feminist got her wings. Thank you @gloriasteinem ❤👼🏼

A photo posted by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Read more…

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A new database holds the faces of the guards who oversaw the atrocities at Auschwitz

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Joseph Hefner, former student merchant. Joined SS in 1942 as a Sturmmann (Stormtrooper).

Image: Institute of National Remembrance

Following the invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939, construction began on a complex of camps to house thousands of Polish political prisoners — Auschwitz.

The first prisoners began to arrive in the spring of 1940. The camp rapidly expanded and was repurposed into one of the central points for the concentration and murder of Jews

Before the liberation of the camp by Soviet troops on Jan. 27, 1945, 1.1 million people, 90 percent of them Jewish, died there. They were systematically exterminated in gas chambers or killed by beatings, starvation, exhaustion or disease. Read more…

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UK’s Hellocar secures £1M to to disrupt UK car buying market

dsc_1205 Hellocar, a new car buying website out of the UK, has secured a £1m investment round. The round was led by JamJar Investments, the Innocent Drinks founders’ venture capital fund, and Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Zoopla Property Group. Henry Lane Fox, part of the founding team behind lastminute.com and CEO of Founders Factory, will join the Hellocar board as a Director. The… Read More

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What Will Sink Our Generation Ships? The Death of Wonder

In 2015, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a compelling and sobering article for Boing Boing titled, “Our Generation Ships Will Sink.” Robinson argued that humanity’s hope for spreading among the stars, an ancient longing popularized during the Golden Age of science fiction, and later, the Golden Age of television and science fiction film, was an impossible longing that we would most likely never be able to fulfill. This grasping for the stars could not logically occur because of the physical, biological, ecological, sociological, and psychological limitations of human beings. In summary, Earth was our one and only home, and we are as intrinsically tied to it as the flora in our own guts are tied to us. If we go, they go. When Earth goes, we go.

There is a call to action in this epiphany, and it is that we must take care of this, our only home, and invest in it and its future with all the madness and passion we have invested in the stars.

While I agree wholeheartedly that we should invest in maintaining our home, I also recognize that this sobering damper on the speculative imagination is also dangerous. Focusing only on what is known, what can be seen and observed, when we are incredibly limited in what we can see and observe, breeds complacency. Cutting off a doorway, a possibility, is a rejection of innovation. There is no greater threat to progress than the phrase, “That’s impossible.”

I, too, write speculative worlds. I also live in a world that was once speculative to the generations that came before me. I do impossible things today – flying in a great metal bird in the sky, pulling maps from satellites circling the earth as I drive, crossing impossible distances in a vehicle that burns dead dinosaurs for fuel.

If we figured out how to jettison ourselves from the Earth, we can figure out how to alter ourselves to traverse the incredible distances between stars and even galaxies. And here, then, is the difference in ideas that drives my writing as opposed to that of many other science fiction writers. I understand that space travel and expansion is just as much about altering ourselves, our attitudes, our social structures, our very biology, as it is about altering the places we choose to live.

Robinson is right that the distances are long, that we are reliant on Terran bacteria, that our current starship technology cannot sustain us, that human psychology and physiology are not optimized for deep space, let alone new planets. But at no point does Robinson’s piece consider that to take the stars we will have to change ourselves. In fact, we will have to interrogate what it is to be human, and remake the human body and mind. Much of our science fiction still looks out at the universe from the vantage of the colonizer: we are the Galactic Empire, imposing our Terran biological needs on the unsuspecting lands – populated or not – where we plant our flags. Instead, we must reframe this expansion as an evolution of humanity. We must see ourselves not as colonizers or parasites, but as organisms seeking symbiosis with the ecological systems of other worlds. Because if we go into space as colonizers, then yes, Robinson is right: we will absolutely fail.

Many science fiction novels focus on the nuts and bolts of engineering and physics while ignoring or glossing over concerns related to biology and sociology, the much-dismissed “softer” sciences that most likely the key to helping us reach the stars. The left-brain wants something predictable, knowable; it wants a button to push, and a clear line of causation. But organic life is a lot messier than a computer switch.

For a short time, this button-pushing future created only on what is known instead of what could be possible led to the attempted science fiction “mundane SF” movement, which suffered from lackluster branding (who wants to read something mundane?) and a depressing lack of wonder (“we’re all going to die!” isn’t exactly an inspiring message). Human beings thrive on imagination and pushing boundaries and limitations. Imposing limits when we don’t actually have any true idea of what’s possible is like imposing a steel trap over the mind.

So much of the future and the possible is unknown that when we build it, we have to reach for the fantastic. Take the current pace of discovery and progress in materials science, immunotherapy, quantum mechanics, and leap forward two hundred, three hundred, five hundred years. How much of what we believe to be true now will still be true? How many immutable facts will turn out to be, well, mutable?

Robinson likens generation ships to islands, and like islands, notes that they would be especially vulnerable to disease and blight, and incursions from rapidly evolving bacteria. Our bodies would change in unknown ways. This is true. I would argue, then, that we need to think of our generation ships not as metal islands, but as organic, fleshy worlds unto themselves, with interconnected ecosystems. What happens when the starship itself is a biological organism, a living and breathing thing, and we are the fauna living its guts?

This was a concept I explored deeply in my novel, The Stars are Legion. Because certainly, we will change if we create and inhabit a living organism to which we are intrinsically tied. The Earth has shaped our evolution in every way, and our world-ships will no doubt do the same. Perhaps we’ll never be able to leave these ships. But propelling ourselves across the universe inside a self-sustaining world that can repair and reproduce itself solves the problems of distance and reduces the chance of ecological collapse, particularly if the worlds moved together as a legion and included independent layers of systems so that if one began to decline, another would rise. Think of it as naturally evolving back-up systems.

Those who arrive in the next star system, if they have created societies that allow them to change what we currently consider to be the intrinsically human foibles of war and strife and pettiness and bickering, will require time to adapt to a new environment. Consider how symbiotic parasites can chemically change and shape their hosts to suit them. Now imagine a ship is programmed to merge its flora and fauna with a new planet when it arrives, making the world-ship, now, into a living terraforming machine, a bacterial incubator that rapidly adapts the local environment to sustain its hosts. If symbiotic parasites can do this here on earth, why can’t we hurl something like it through space?

Creating a future requires a profound and yes, unrealistic, vision of what is possible. But it is fantasy and wonder that drive technology and innovation. The stories of Pygmalion and his statue come to life, the Star Trek communicator; even flight itself was once considered a mathematical impossibility. The Taser, too, was inspired by an outlandishly fictional “electric rifle” that was written into Tom Swift stories at the turn of the last century.

When science fiction writers ask why it is so many readers have turned away from science fiction, consider that in much of our work, readers experience a fear and exhaustion with the future. We are fatigued with ennui, obsessed with dystopia. Is it because many of us have lost our sense of wonder, our sense that anything is possible? Grounding us on our own planet, by necessity, limits the future of the human species and locks us into an inevitable end.

Certainly, let’s invest in our planet and take care of our only home. But it’s also true that our star will eventually expand and destroy us, even if we are clever enough not to destroy ourselves first. Seeing the end of one’s species, however likely, doesn’t inspire innovation, only despair, no matter how far out that future may be.

We must continually look past what is possible, and even what is probable, if we want to inspire the creation of a more hopeful and lasting future. We can never stop reaching for the stars.

Christopher Mari was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at Fordham University. He has edited books on a wide variety of topics, including three on space exploration. His writing has appeared in such magazines as America, Current Biography, Issues and Controversies, and US Catholic. His next novel, The Beachhead, was published by 47North in 2017. He lives with his family in Queens, New York.

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It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a 70% off all online courses sale

It’s a dog eat dog workforce and the more you can offer a potential employer, the more likely you are to get a competitive job. Fortunately, in the internet age, you don’t have to shell over big money or take out loans to gain an educational edge. Right now, you can take 70% off all online courses in the Boing Boing library using the coupon code LEARN70. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find:

The Complete SEO Course

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most basic and important fields in tech. Companies of all sizes use intricate techniques to ensure their websites end up at the top of search engine listings. This course will introduce you to this valuable skill from both marketing and entrepreneurial perspectives.

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Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages because it is easy to write, is highly readable, and is applicable to a huge range of general-purpose programs. In this course, you will make data visualizations, discover Python on the web, and build a functional game as you explore just the tip of the iceberg of Python’s functionality.

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“Debate Me”: parody of internet manliness gurus/dorks

Something Awful has a guest column from one of the manosphere types netizens cannot fail to be familiar with in 2017.

DEBATE ME.

That’s right. I’ve been powering up these logical brain lasers for hours now just to tear through your fallacies like so much tissue paper. Let me set the stage: my house, seven hours, a webcam, and you and me, duking it out with truth-fists. A jury of my choosing, made up of my peers. The loser gives $10,000 to whatever charity deals with the most tragic of cancers.

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Crunch Report: Prince returns to Spotify

cr-thumb-2-10 Today’s Stories 

Prince returns to Spotify and Napster this weekend
WhatsApp now supports two-step authentication
Amazon’s Tap speaker gets a hands-free update in defiance of its name
Beats X bring Apple’s wireless headphone tech to a tethered form factor

Credits
Written and hosted by: Anthony Ha
Edited by: Joe Zolnoski
Filmed by: Matthew Mauro
Teleprompter: Tomas… Read More

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Climate science and climate fiction – where data intersects with art

Earth’s climate functions as its life support system. That system is under heavy threat from over seven billion people and the bleeding heat of industry: as jungle and forest are rendered into farmland; greenhouse gases belch and fume, destabilizing the environment, shrinking biodiversity, pushing the limits of the Earth’s natural mechanisms.

2016 was the hottest year in the modern temperature record. Climate change is a long-term issue on a massive scale – from shrinking glaciers, changes in rainfall patterns, severe heat waves and other irreversible conditions. The worldwide scientific community has issued warnings for years about the present and future impacts of climate change linked to fossil fuel use. 

Earth faces unprecedented challenges caused by human agency, yet here we stand, like a deer in headlights, knowing something big and bad is coming, too dazzled to do anything to stop it.

Science fiction has long been the literature that speculates on scientific change while reflecting contemporary societal concerns.

Climate change is happening now, and we need a literature of now to address its issues. As glaciers melt, corals bleach, typhoons kill and forest fires rage, a new genre called climate fiction has emerged from science fiction to stand out on its own. Climate fiction focuses on anthropogenic climate change rather than natural unstoppable ecological catastrophes, such as supervolcanos, solar flares or large, Earth impacting meteorites. And most importantly, climate fiction uses real scientific data to translate climate change from the abstract to the cultural, enabling readers to vicariously experience threats and effects they might be expected to encounter across their own lifetimes.

Climate fiction highlights the hard-impacting economic and interpersonal realities of climate change. It encourages us to understand that climate change is a problem we have brought upon ourselves and that changes to our economic and energy systems are required if we are to survive it.

Climate fiction straddles genre boundaries: science fiction, utopia, dystopia, fantasy, thriller, romance, mimetic fiction, nature writing, and the literary, from fast-paced thrillers, to inward looking present day narratives.

Climate change is emerging as a set of philosophical and existentialist problems as well as physical challenges. It is yet to receive the crisis response and treatment it deserves from world leaders.

Fiction – and indeed all art — has a role to play, by humanising the effects of climate change; by illuminating the human dimensions of technological futures; by encouraging people to challenge ingrained confirmation bias and become climate voters — active on the issue, making their views known loudly to politicians.

Storytelling has the power to give climate change a human focus by translating complex and evolving scientific concepts into tales reimagining human interactions with the world. Non-didactic, people-centric narratives stressing the social aspects of climate change as much as the technical and scientific encourage societal long-term thinking about the power and potential of clean energy. Climate fiction’s growing popularity proves that we desire narratives showing how we might adapt to a changing world as ice melts and seas rise. Stories appealing to social ethics, questioning established hierarchies, and addressing our responsibility for fashioning an ecologically sustainable future.

The coming decades will see problems of increasing complexity, such as permanent political and social instability, dangerous weather, food and water insecurity, and an increase in displaced persons as more and more land is swallowed by the sea. Climate fiction tackles these topics, detailing the practical domestic implications of carbon rationing and renewable energy, and exploring how practical changes might be implemented across ordinary lives. Some climate fiction stories investigate nascent technologies and their integration into business and culture, questioning how far our growing dependence on technology might end up detrimentally estranging us from nature. The topics are wide ranging, and use topical, political and scientific bases, ensuring that while it feels like fiction, it is applicable to current events and daily life.

While much realist and literary fiction continues to focus inwards on individual identities and challenges, climate fiction takes on the task of envisioning physical and cultural landscapes facing uncertainty through processes of transformation and adaptation. Climate fiction forms a bridge connecting scientific information with people preparing to face an uncertain future the past can no longer be relied upon to guide us through.

Art possess inherent empathetic value. Entwined with technological and social change, climate fiction functions as a universally understandable language while serving as a catalyst for forging new trans-disciplinary alliances, shifting debates and values, inspiring and motivating legal and institutional action, opening hearts and minds to new ways of thinking, encouraging resilience, resistance and resolve while continuing to imagine possible futures.

More than anything, we must learn from these possible climate fiction futures, rooted in what we scientifically know today — if we actually believe such futures might conceivably come to pass. Based on the science, those futures are closer than we think.

Cat Sparks, author of the upcoming novel Lotus Blue, available from Talos Press, an imprint of Skyhorse, in March 2017.

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