May 2018

The short story “Meshed” by Richard Larson was published for the first time in 2015.

Oxford Diallo is a great basketball prospect who is about to turn 18. Recently arrived from Senegal together with his father, he’s been showing all his extraordinary talent since his first training session. For him there are excellent prospects not only for a professional contract but also for sponsorships. An agent immediately tries to convince him to get meshed, which means to get a neural implant to share his physical feelings, but he’s doesn’t want it.

Anomalocaris Canadensis fossil from the Cambrian (Image courtesy A. Daley)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes a research on ancient animal fossils connected to the Cambrian explosion. A team of researchers from the British University of Oxford and the Swiss University of Lausanne carried out the most complete examination ever made of fossils of early euarthropods. The conclusions are that the origins of these animals date back to no earlier than 550 million years ago and their diversification took about 40 million years.

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

The novel “Terminal World” by Alastair Reynolds was published for the first time in 2010.

Quillon is an angel modified to survive at the lower levels of the building called Spearpoint, where energy states don’t allow his people to live. His life is now among common human beings but after years of working as a pathologist a dying angel is brought to him who tells him that a faction of their people wants to find him.

Confident that the angels don’t want anything good for him, Quillon turns to Fray, the only human who knows his secret and who helped for his cover thanks to the number of contacts and services not exactly legal he manages. Fray explains to him that his only hope is to get away and gets him the services of Meroka, a specialist in that type of missions. During the escape, they come across Kalis, a woman with a strange daughter, Nimcha, shortly after a violent change of zones with different energy states.

Fossil skin fragments

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a research on the skin of feathered dinosaurs. A team of researchers examined fragments of fossil skin of specimens of some species discovered in north-eastern China: Microraptor, Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus together with an early bird of the genus Confuciusornis. The conclusion is that those dinosaurs shed their skin in tiny flakes, like modern birds, and not all together like many modern reptiles.

The Pirate Loop by Simon Guerrier

The novel “The Pirate Loop” by Simon Guerrier was published for the first time in 2007.

The Tenth Doctor told Martha Jones the story of the mysterious disappearance of the starship Brilliant in a moment of danger. When she asks him to go and see what happened after they escaped the danger, the Doctor agrees to go and investigate.

The arrival of the Tardis on the starship is very chaotic. The Doctor realizes that there’s some kind of space-time distortion in the Brilliant’s engine room. The travelers try to reach the bridge to get more information but the distortion is creating problems on the starship. As if that weren’t enough, pirates arrived on board ready to kill the crew and passengers.