LL :: Volume 16 :: LR
|The One-Eyed King is Man|
...of music: Peaking at a low F (174.6 Hz) by 0.22 beats per second. The
pitch continues its slow rise, as the popularity of ur-pipes is fading,
but it may not break 220 before the end of the summer. Complex
counterpoint rhythms in West District clubhouses keep the beatrate high.
Johnson and Siel are selling pans and trays with a frictionless field
tool for the inner surface. Unlike those disastrous "Zero-Stick Baking
Trays" (floop! cookies everywhere!), the field only activates when you
touch a hot point on the outside rim. (Not literally a hot point, of
course; the pans are equipped with standard thermal-insulation fields for
the outside surface.) One tap and your cookies or bread-loaf is loosened.
Even more fun, if somewhat gimmicky, is the spring-form pan, which
progresses a field up from the bottom to elevate your cake neatly above
the pan. Probably not worth the money as a tool, but hours of
entertainment for your guests.
|Flora of the Age|
Planting house ivy is traditional. Several houses in the central districts are
now sporting house lichen. The stuff grows in an amazing variety of colors
and textures. Green and blue feathers, purple ripply scales, sprays of crimson
spikes -- always gaudy, but always cheerful, spread up the walls and across the
roof of an otherwise modest suburban home.
Furthermore, the lichen changes. Some kind of spore or chemical spreads from one site to another, triggering a reshuffling in the display genes. You may come home to find the neighborhood has gone pink and fuzzy -- at least, the subset of the neighborhood that's into lichen. And it's not a uniform pink fuzziness. Some traits wind up shared between houses; others seem to be random, or affected by local conditions. Nobody is quite sure what starts a wave of change -- no doubt a gene-hacker chortling to himself somewhere -- but it's well-managed. Two or three times a month, so far. Not frequent enough to be exhausting, or rare enough to get boring.
House lichen is not for sale; you have to set it from cuttings -- the popularity of the stuff has spread entirely word-of-mouth.
The Standards Committee on Food and Flavoring has now begun their
sixteenth year of debate on "bitter". They continue to work behind
closed doors, but the draft document is rumored to have exceeded two
Eight court cases remain suspended, pending the outcome.
|Fads of the City|
Schoolchild culture around the In-Side is displaying a distinctive new habit,
these past few months. A child overtaken by fear, or embarrassment, or anger,
will not scream or burst into tears. Instead, he will pull out a pebble or bead
-- these are carried in wrist-sleeve pockets -- and, with that same emotional
energy, flick the object away.
Juvenile anthropologists have not yet been able to trace any antecedent of this behavior. Some suspect it derives from the nonvocal habits and sign language of vac construction workers; but this connection is questionable at best. (There is a fair population of downsided vac workers in the City, but they have mostly converged on a few Northside community circles.) Most anthropologists are viewing the stone-tossing as a genuinely newborn trait in the culture.
The City Etiquette Council is guardedly positive about the tossing habit. The beads are never thrown at other people; the connotation is of casting away an impulse, not acting on it. This appears to be mindful, not self-deceptive, and so should not be viewed with alarm. The Council's greatest concern is that the behavior, while providing a safe emotional outlet outdoors, is unavailable indoors. A child may find herself unexpectedly caught between her habitual response strategy and the social stricture against littering. Etiquette attempts to inject a gestural equivalent, with the actual pebble abstracted away, are not showing much effect.
(On the other hand, toy manufacturers are quickly gearing up to produce "indoor tossing pebbles" -- frangible beads, which shatter to dust and then quickly oxidize, leaving no solid residue. Kids are pleased with them; parents and schoolteachers are not thrilled.)
|Life of the Mind|
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