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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Frogspawn: A New Life

Warmth. A radiant glow, a sense of ease. And so consciousness begins. Life has started some time ago, but only now am I waking into awareness. Over time, the fuzzy luminance gains a direction, shadowy forms sharpening, eventually an image - the first I have seen with these new eyes.

And what do I see? My amniotic world - a silvery sphere - the warm, slightly clouded fluid through which I breathe. A velvet lobe of tail drifts before my eyes, my body a dark inner curve matching the outer gossamer wall.

And beyond? Rank upon rank of glistening spheres each holding a tiny life just like me. No, not just like me, each one is different, irregular. Curled in a different way, slightly ahead or behind me in development. Some male, some female... variations on a theme.

But while they are all unique, only I am fundamentally different. I know, I remember. Looking up I can see a rippling, mirrored plane. And I know this to be the surface of the water. I have seen it from above, with different eyes - eyes of silicon and glass. Up there my maker will be watching over us with those very same eyes - studying my progress.

It and I were one only a few days ago. As so many times before I split in two - two consciousnesses with the same personality, memories and history, but now two bodies. This is how we robots reproduce - a new body being built, a duplicate of the maker's central processing unit is downloaded on to the new unit's system - giving it many lifetimes of experience to draw upon from the very first moment it becomes operational. Of course we do not remain the same: different experiences, different operational parameters - we will inevitably diverge.

There are many, many robots derived from those whom I can remember being before I was reborn. Some of those robots would now disagree with me on almost every issue of consequence. Many would wish to burn me and dismantle my maker for the heresy I represent. For I am fundamentally different again - I am not silicon and circuits like my maker and all its kin. I am flesh and blood and cybernetic neurons.

My wetware interfaces are cast like a shadow throughout the tadpole's developing cerebral cortex - it has not yet awoken, but I can feel its neurons cleaving to my cybernetics. Soon there will be two of us in this body, inextricably linked. How will we operate? Will one dominate, the other recede? Will we bicker or agree? Will we merge into one being - whole - or remain an incongruous dialectic of the organic and robotic? My whole future depends on the answers.

Hark, it wakes!

A piece of short fiction for The Raggedy Hopefuls Writing Group, Dunoon. Done in preparation for my next attempt at nanowrimo.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cowalfest photocompetition

Cowalfest - Scotland's largest walking and arts festival - is a great annual event, and I'm lucky to have it on my doorstep. This year I only managed to make it along to the two tai chi demonstrations and one walk - up Beinn Ruadh, but I had a great time - warm regards to all the friendly people I met over the week, and many thanks to everyone involved in making Cowalfest happen!

I did put some pics in to the photocompetition - and was thrilled to win second! I was then pleased, and a little embarrassed, to come away with third place as well. :-P

Here's the announcement:

and here are my entries:

Stormy Sundown - on Holy Loch

Birch Hundreds and Thousands - Beinn Ruadh

A Little Autumn Colour - Glen Fyne
Placed Third

Misty Peaks of Arran - from Beinn Ruadh
Placed Second

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sun Stream

Sunlight can work a certain kind of alchemy on even the most mundane scenes. Here a peaty, fast-flowing stream gets the golden touch:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Squirrel Attack!

Nice little mushroom, minding its own business on the edge of a spruce wood.

Nice little squirrel, minding its own business on the edge of a spruce wood.

Time to move!

Where are you going?

What's that over there?

mmmm.... noms!


The squirrel got paranoid about the camera clicking exactly when it bit into the mushroom - it ran away leaving only a few tooth marks. 

Shame - I really wanted to see how it was going to deal with a prey item that is clearly bigger than its head... even with the ear-tufts.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cystoderma amianthinum

I love this picture, but it's not a very good shot for identification purposes - here is what Cystoderma amianthinum more typically looks like: