Archive for the ‘Accross the Web’ Category

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Dark Future Ahead 19 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

31 October, 2016

Still sifting the feeds for news to apply to your cyberpunk games and writings.

It seems the Pentagon has been reading cyberpunk, one of their latest conference video spots sounds like a dystopian cyberpunk view of the future of megacities.  Certain good inspiration for the likes of us and you could see a megacorporation issuing a similar video before touting its technological solution to the problem.

An American company, Bloom, is making plastics from toxic algae and (hopefully) reducing the risk of dangerous algae blooms.  Lots of uses for bioplastics and the environmentally friendly part is great too.

MeyGen is moving forward with commercializing tidal power in Scotland.  So many people want to to succeed, surely others want them to fail.  Which side will hire you?

Meanwhile in Switzerland, the Cybathon challenges teams to show what their cybernetics can do.  It seems likely that technological competitions like this will continue with all sorts of opportunities for spying and sabotage (and protection from such) one has come to expect in the dark future.

An interesting article on bodyguarding celebrities which incudes a multitude of inks to various security provides (such as The Shadow Group -warning automatic audio on the site- which has its own branded apparel!) which should be useful for designing scenarios from either side of the security equation.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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September no more, into October

30 September, 2016

Tomorrows begins October, the eighth month of the Roman Calendar and tenth of ours.  It seems the Romans had no special association for October beyond Autumn, but we have Halloween to look forward to at the end.  Thusly the Sea of Stars Design Journal will again have Monsters as our theme as has become traditional for October.

If you have ideas for Monsters, let me know and I will try to make it happen.

September, 2016, saw the following posts on the journal:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Dark Future Ahead 18 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

26 September, 2016

Still keeping my optics working looking for news to apply to your cyberpunk games and writings.

A way to defend against counterfeit drugs and maybe food too, miniature edible barcodes.  Inexpensive, practical and readable with a slight modification of a smart phone.

For some reason, the idea of edible food wrappers just seems very cyberpunk to me.  Full of advertising and nutrition!

This article is a little dated, from January of this year, but the images of offshore oil rigs parked in the North Sea off Scotland give you an instant and exciting place to set a mission.

They are watching you, Persistent Surveillance Systems, provides real time airborne camera coverage covering 30-square miles and running for hours upon end.  The privacy questions are many but why would megacorporations care about such?

DARPA is working on a system of battlefield drones for similar “persistent, wide-area surveillance” to watch out for other people’s drones, of course they would only use the technology for that one purpose, right?

Back in DFA16 we looked at wooden buildings for the future, now a seven story wooden building is being finished in Minneapolis.

What visions of the coming dark (green?) future have you seen recently?

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Creative Sunday – Mayim Bialik and Grok Nation

25 September, 2016

grok-flagMayim Bialik who is the actress behind Amy Farrah Fowler on the Big Bang Theory (who I first encountered when she played Blossom in the show of the same name) who, besides being a very funny lady, is also an activist for many causes including quite a few Geek-related ones.

She has an excellent YouTube clip on the problems of being a geek, even in the age of geeks, and has created a group, Grok Nation, to reach out to people and provide a support network.  While her version of geekdom may not be yours, outreach for our community is always welcome in my book.

So, if you have time and interests, listen to her webclip and visit the site.  Let us all be geeks and nerds together.

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Wizards in the Sea of Stars

30 July, 2016

Wizard EarlMy, rather last minute, addition to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of the Ways of the Wise hosted by my friend Brandes over at Harbinger of Doom.

Wizards were once a great power in the pre-Sundering Sea of Stars, indeed the gods feared that it would be the wizards that made a play to displace the divine beings and so agents of the faiths were actively working to undermine the power bases of the great wizards and keep them divided.  Unfortunately, the gods focus on the wizards caused them to almost entirely overlook the draconic conspiracy.

When the dragons attacked the gods, the wizards dithered, some arguing that the gods needed their help, others were happy to watch two rivals tear each other apart, most just waited and trying to figure out what was happening in the heavens.  A handful of ambitious wizards in the immediate aftermath of the Sundering tried to caim their own independent states, the Empress offer them one chance to bend the knee to her, most did not and were destroyed in swift and decisive action.  The other wizards either went into hiding or found draconic patrons, the choice was stark, avoid the eyes of the dragons or serve them.  The wizards’ ruins were left behind by the Empress’ wrath, she forbid anyone from looting them, leaving them as a testimony to her power.  Of course that has not stopped the greedy and the curious from exploring them, especially as Imperial oversight of the ruins fell away after centuries.

The wizards who found draconic patrons, most found them to be generous and willing to give them free reign as long as they produced the results there patron desired.  Such pressure to succeed does sometime lead to the cutting of corners and taking of risks, such as hiring of venturers to acquire needed items or information.

Those who went into hiding pursued various tactics to vanish, some found patrons among the elves, dwarves or even the criminal underworld, others traveled to the wilds at the edge of the world where few went, other concealed their skill and power and posed as hedge wizards or scholars.  Most managed to avoid detection by a few were swept up by Imperial forces or the Draconic houses to be pressed into service or executed.  After a century, the wizards had either integrated into their new lives or died, but the power of these rogue wizards was vastly reduced and the Imperial project to find them was wound down.

Wizards and their machinations, abandoned towers and labratories, can serve as adventure locations and seeds.  While not directly able to challenge the power of the dragons, the magic secrets of the wizards are a stepping stone toward equalizing the power imbalance between mortal and dragon.

Notes: Image of the Wizard Earl (Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland) by Nicholas Hilliard, held by the Rijksmuseum and is in the Pubic Domain.

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Dark Future Ahead 17 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

28 July, 2016

Looking at the future of fashion among other things.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

The Museum of Fine Arts – Boston is hosting a exhibit called #Techstyle looking at the overlaps and twists between technology and fashion.  Reason magazine has a good interview with the curator here.  You can also look at the tech fashion accessories of CuteCircuit who are providing items for the exhibit.

For protection against the paparazzi, ISHU has produced a scarf made of reflective material that uses the light from camera flashes to ‘blind’ cameras.  Useful for those trying to keep out of the public eye, ISHU also makes neckties and other things of the same material.

On a different level, there  are bunches of companies recycling bit of piece of cars and bikes into bags, clothing and even clothing.  Good ideas for the sorts of things you might find in street markets and underground bazaars.

Would you wear leather made from vat grown human skin?  What if it included tattoos and was cultured from a celebrity?  Fashion is going to be strange in the future.

In flightFacebook moves closer to its goal of bringing the internet everywhere with the test flight of the Aquila solar powered drone, designed to circle for months and act as a broadband link for people and areas outside of usual connectivity.  (See a video of the test flight here.)

Lastly, a Dutch company is upcycling industrial waste, (ceramics, glass and insulation) into fancy bricks, read about it here.  Or visit the company’s, StoneCycling, webpage directly.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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Dark Future Ahead 16 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

30 June, 2016

Lots of information on architecture this time around but buildings are important.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

When business travelers suspect they will need help, they often contract with International SOS (or similar firm) to provide advice and action when required (from the Economist, may requires registration).  Seems like the sort of company who might have to hire spJohammer from aboveecialists now and then.

What about the Johammer J1, an electric-power motorcycle from Austria.  The can visit the company’s site here to learn more about the interesting vehicle.

Would you feel safe in a skyscraper made of wood?  I think I would as long as it was not too tall.  But lots of opportunities for incorporating things into the structure of the building if you can hit the right point of the production process.  Also, a very green way to construct buildings if done properly.

The future of building is green is various ways, visit the Edge in Amsterdam, a green, interconnected office building complete with security drones(!).  It is the greenest building built so far with a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) score of 98.36%, the highest ever, making it the target to match (or beat) for sustainability in buildings.

How security uses intelligent design of buildings to control your movement and get a good look at you.  Things to remember for people on both sides of the law.  Remember, cameras are everywhere, plan accordingly.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?

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