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  Schism Matrix by Bruce Sterling



Week 50

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You know what's wrong with installing a death ray in a jet fighter? It's nine-tenths waste heat! But they use so much fuel, you just stick the heat in the fuel. Barely warms the tanks up!

I like this idea of a 100-kilowatt laser being the dinkiest death ray practicable. After all, you don't want to just, uh, sunburn 'em. And none of this lame civilian superweapons nonsense, either:

I wonder who is going to be the first fighter jock to actually fry somebody with a laser death ray. Do you get to stamp a trophy on the side of your jet? A barbecued jeep maybe?



Here's this female Iranian artist named Parisa Panahi. She does abstract fantasy art. "I like painting and drawing heros, princes, pipers, mermaids, horses and birds from epical, mythical, fantastical stories and tales."

I kinda like Parisa Panahi, but the remarkable thing is how much her Iranian folk art looks like Mary Fleener and her Los Angeles "Cubismo" underground comix art.



Hmmm, this "Idiot's Guide to Using Wireless" looks handy. Especially given that it's based in Britain where Disney, RIAA and AOL Time-Warner don't dominate the universe. Of course, these hacker Brits don't mean "wireless" like Marconi wireless. They mean that radical new stuff.

Look how scarily busy these characters are.

As opposed to giant corporate communications satellite schemes, like Teledesic, the "Internet in the Sky." Teledesic just croaked. Another great dead-media story. Like Iridium, Globalstar and Orbcomm.



Satellite hobbyists can put 'em in orbit for six grand. They've been doing amateur satellites since 1961. Of course, you need some heavy connections behind the scenes.

Space: the Next Hobby Frontier.



Now we're talkin': SPACE TOYS! "The most authentic space toys on Earth!" Man, this stuff cripples my inner twelve-year-old. I am consumed by toy-greed.

"Aim at the Stars and Hit London" with this NASA vaporware and all-too-real Nazi vengeance weapons!

Check out the awesome solar-power real-estate on that International Space Station. If they ever build it, that thing's gonna be some kind of power hog. Plus, you can build a plastic Russian MIR station, "de-orbit" it, and set fire to it in your back yard with "atmospheric friction!"

Spies get cool, black, sleek, ninja aircraft like the U2 and Blackbird.

I love this tie-dye NASA shirt. "Yeah, I was at the Canaveral Moon Shot in '69! Out of my mind on acid, man!"


Bruce Sterling writes books like Darwin watched animals. Find out more about him, and read tattered electronic copies of Cheap Truth, at the Bruce Sterling Online Index. He lives with his wife Nancy and their two daughters in Austin, Texas.

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