LL :: Volume 12 :: LR
|A Speech in Time Saves Nine|
|Stellar Memorial Schedule|
|Fads of the City|
ShadowLands Clothing uses a photoreactive dye complex which darkens
when exposed to light, and lightens again when the light
decreases. The reaction has a wide dynamic range and is very fast --
quick enough that no lag is visible as light conditions move across
The result is carefully tuned so that, in daytime outdoor lighting, shadows simply do not show up on the fabric. Direct sunlight falls on darkened areas of the garment; shadowed areas are lighter; visually, the two surfaces are nearly identical. Some contrast remains, particularly in deep folds, but the effect is strikingly different from the normal human orientation of visual shadowing. The ShadowLands wearer seems to be standing in a pool of twilight amid broad day.
(This is not a fuligin darkness-of-the-void effect, mind you. ShadowLands comes in a range of colors, from white to brightly-colored mid-tones. The process has not yet been perfected for darker tones.)
ShadowLands designers are also selling a line of skinpaint which uses the same dye complex.
Whap Sticks are wooden, eight inches long, and a bit under an inch
thick. You hit them against things. They don't sound like wood; they sound
like whatever you hit them against. If you hit stone, they tap; if you hit
wood, they bop; if you hit a taut string, they hum; if you hit metal, they
Furthermore, they have volume knobs. You can hit a small object, and it will sound big.
(Vibration transducers and audio logic pick up the sounds caused by the strike. Short-range sensor fields track the strike point to measure how the sound changes over time -- die-off rate and overtones.)
If you hit the sticks against each other, you get dead silence. Feedback damping. Necessary, but eerie.
Fresh selekh buds are revered in the best kitchens and restaurant
inhalls, for their delicate and penetrating scent-flavor. They are
simultaneously cursed for their fragility -- the volatile oils are
easily released from the bud, and begin to fade within
minutes. Thousands of recipes and dozens of "foolproof" methods have
accumulated over the centuries, each promising to bring the peak of
the selekh flavor to the dish just as it is placed before the diner.
Geneworkers are now making this promise a reliable reality. We already have cloned selekh, grown under controlled conditions, so that every bud in the batch has the same cooking properties. You can buy ten-minute selekh, eight-minute, twelve, thick-skinned selekh, or many other cloned varietals.
But even more options will soon become available. By altering the chemical and enzymatic composition of the selekh plant, geneworkers can create varietals that release their flavor under specific conditions. Particular levels of acidity, so that you can mix a selekh-lemon dressing right at the table. Particular temperatures -- to within two degrees of precision. Even selekh activated by the removal of heat; consider a sauce which simmers for an hour, but does not release its flavor until it is ladled from the pot.
One can only imagine the dishes that can be created, with the aid of such control. Geneworkers are eagerly seeking other vegetables and fruits which might be viable platforms for this sort of technique.
|Life of the Mind|
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