Just Finished SUPERINTELLIGENCE by Bostrom…

superintelligenceJust finished SUPERINTELLIGENCE by Nick Bostrom (a very smart guy btw). It is a must read for any human who values the existence of the human race. Bostrom tackles the coming Artificial Intelligence explosion by looking at the issue through a tri-colored lens: macro-economics, game theory, and philosophy. Lots of new concepts here for me, and I was already keen on the topic:  AI as an oracle, genie, or sovereign; tackling the “Control Problem” about how to manage a Superintelligent AI with boxing methods, tripwires, oversight, and programming in fundamental goals; mind crime with respect to to digital minds living in a simulation created from whole brain emulations;  Malthusian and dystopian evolution arguments for what Bostrom calls a looming “existential catastrophe,” and the list goes on.

I’ll give it a few weeks to digest, then read it again


Supreme Court Negs Human Gene Patenting


Today my faith in humanity is bolstered… the Supreme Court ruled agains human gene patenting 9-0. Congratulations, 25% of you is no longer patented!

The decision in a nutshell:  

(1) Naturally occurring genes identified / discovered in the human genome can not be patented, as these genes were not “invented.”

(2) Manipulating a gene to create something not found in nature is considered an invention and is therefore eligible for patent protection.

From the ruling:

“A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” he Justice Thomas for the court. In reference to Myriad Genetics patents on the BRCA 1 and 2 genes that indicated a high probability of a woman developing breast cancer. “It is undisputed that Myriad did not create or alter any of the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.”


Want a Bionic Ear? Just Hit “Print”

printed earScientists at Princeton University “printed” a functional ear that can process radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human hearing. The scientists used off-the-shelf components to print a 3D structure consisting of layers of hydrogel, calf cells, and silver nano particles—creating an embedded coil antenna in a cartilage structure. Two wire leads travel from the base of the ear and wind around a helical cochlea structure. The electrodes would interface with the auditory nervous system.  The ear is only a prototype, but  in principle it could be used not only to restore acoustical hearing, but also enhance it by processing radio waves which are outside the frequency range of the human ear.

Want a bionic ear?  Give it a few years, and all you’ll need to do is hit “print.”

Source: Science Daily

Photo Credit:  Frank Wojciechowski

Suspense Magazine – Checking in with John Raab

This week I had the privilege to chat with John Raab, the CEO and Publisher of Suspense Magazine. Here is what John had to say:


(1) Why did you start Suspense Magazine?
Suspense Magazine started out of frustration.  What I mean by that is this.  Most readers don’t understand that when they walk into a Barnes and Noble, that all the books they see on the front tables or on the shelves are pay to place.  Publishers have to pay a lot of money to get their books on those tables.

The problem is that you see the same authors over and over, and never get the opportunity to check out a new author unless you go into the stacks and do some searching. My wife has read thousands of books and was getting tired of seeing the same names.  When we did some searching around, we found ourselves having to go to many different websites in order to find some new authors.  But the suspense / thriller / mystery / horror genre is so big and so popular, 90% of the authors that write in the genre have to struggle to find an audience.  The light bulb came on and had us thinking, why shouldn’t we start a place where readers and authors can connect.  This is why we started Suspense Magazine, because we feel every author should have a place to be heard and seen.

(2) The cover art is so dramatic and sets the magazine apart. What criteria do you use when creating a new cover for the next issue?

Our cover art is very unique.  When we started the magazine we sat down with ten different magazines and looked at them.  We noticed something in all of them, something that didn’t separate them from every other magazine; they all had pretty much the same cover.  You would see someone’s face or body and it wouldn’t stand out.  We wanted to be that one magazine in the stack of ten that would catch people’s eye so they would at least take a second look.  Our artists come from all over the world submitting their best work.  We have a long back list of artists that will be on the cover of the magazine and then featured inside.  Many of the artists have a website where people are able to buy their work.

(3) I love the magazine, and read the online version on my notebook computer. Do you plan to have a Suspense Mag iPad or mobile app in the near future?

We constantly talk about expansion of the magazine.The idea of an app has come up along with many other ideas. We are taking things slow and making sure that whatever we do is only going to enhance the experience of the fans and authors. We have started posting book trailers on the website, publishing many more excerpts, playing audio clips on our radio show and bringing out an original series called “Green Lake”, which is a free ongoing book available on BN.com and Smashwords.com. But you will see new things coming out from Suspense Magazine, leaving fans in suspense is all part of the overall experience.

If you’ve never hear of Suspense Magazine, be sure to take a look. The digital version of the magazine sells for only $2 an issue, so it is a lot of bang for the buck!

Midwest Book Review: Calypso Directive

“Powerful things may lie inside each of us, but who claims ownership of such things… “The Calypso Directive” is a fast-paced and hard to put down thriller, a solidly recommended pick for those seeking a novel of high science and the greed that seeks to exploit it.”

Midwest Book Review

Tactical Tuesday: DCS 400 Waterproof Borescope

Need to crack a safe? Need to look through walls? Need to push a James Bond style emergency kill switch in murky, parasite infested water to save a scantily clad damsel in distress? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then consider picking your self up the handy-dandy General Tool DCS400 Water Proof Data Logging Wireless Scope Inspection Camera.  Specs:

– 3-1/2-Inch TFT-LCD wireless color monitor can be detached from the unit for easy viewing up to 32-Feet away
– Waterproof 17-Milimeter diameter camera tipped probe with adjustable LED lights inside tip
– Records in still photo and video
– Included magnetic base hook mirror and pick up accessories as well as microSDcard and blow molded case
– 3-Feet probe length

>>>> $226 at Amazon


Tactical Tuesday: Kershaw Talon Folder

When I was looking for a wicked blade for Kalen Immel (RS: Physical) to carry in the Think Tank novels, I selected the Kershaw Talon Folder. Why?

(1) Kershaw blades are Made In the USA

(2) it is pocket-sized, folding, and designed for one-handed speed-opening

(3) the talon shape is wickedly intimidating and just screams “badass”

$65  >>>>  www.KnifeCenter.com

Reading & Drinking Coffee Combats Alzheimers

Scientists at the University of California-Berkeley measured the amount of beta amyloid (a protein that accumulates between nerve cells and reduces brain function) using brain scans. Study results showed that subjects who had exercised their brains throughout their lives (with activities like reading regularly) had less beta amyloid built up in their brains, which corresponds with a lower probability of contracting Alzheimer’s.  A different study conducted at the University of South Florida, found that “…older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about 3 cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease — or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” according to study lead Dr. Chuanhai.

The moral of the story… treat yourself to a coffee and a copy of THE CALYPSO DIRECTIVE and your brain will thank you for it.

Tactical Tuesday: Mossberg JIC

Your hero is on the run… check. Your hero needs firepower… check. Your hero might be swept off a waterfall and then forced into a firefight for his life… check. Then the Mossberg JIC (“Just in Case”) 12 gauge, 6 round, pistol grip shot gun and waterproof case is for you… er, your hero. Get your own 18 1/2 inches of pump action death and destruction for less than $400. Oh, and Mossberg throws in a “Survival Kit in a Can” in case your hero has not received any MacGyver training.


Tactical Tuesday: For when you’re Knife Fighting in the dark

Knife fighting in the dark is so last century. Any secret agent or bad guy worth her paycheck will make sure the loser on the pointy end of her jab can see the blade sinking into his gut.  The BLT50-N uses 6 LEDs to illuminate a folding 4 inch long 9/18 stainless steel blade.

Thank you SOG for providing fiction writers like me with this novel implement of hand-to-hand goodness.

$85.000  >>>>  http://sogknives.com/store/BLT50-N.html