You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Aug 25, 2014 -
There are numerous ways that bands reach out to potential and current fans, and you can add a few more to the list with Noisetrade
and Concert Window
. Noisetrade allows artists and bands to give away music, like a few tracks and covers from Dr. Dog and Saint Rich
, to the whole First Album Live from They Might Be Giants
, and now e/audio books
, too, in trade for an email address and zip code. If you prefer live music, Stageit and Concert Window allow fans to watch unrecorded, streaming shows from bands anywhere in the world, for whatever price fans see fit. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 9, 2014 -
It used to be that a CD or good old fashioned 12" vinyl would simply play, and your only indication of when it was about to end would be the album tracklisting printed on the sleeve. Hearing another song start up just as you thought the album was finished and got up to change the record was always an unexpected thrill - a surprise encore in your bedroom, a sort of reward for listening right through to the end. Yes, the iPod and its many variants have transformed the way people listen to music, but as someone who grew up waiting excitedly when an album finished to see if there was an extra hidden treat at the end of an album, I'll always see the death of the secret song as the sad flipside of its success. [more inside]
posted by mannequito
on Dec 16, 2013 -
12/20, yet another apocalypse falls upon the world.
The death of Winamp is upon us. Today on the Winamp homepage, it was announced:
"Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date..." [more inside]
posted by symbioid
on Nov 20, 2013 -
Looking to freshen up that old October playlist? Allow me to recommend Halloween Booootie
, three free, full-length compilations (2009, 2010 and 2012) of bootlegs and mashups all perfectly themed for your next graveyard smash.
But do you want some more?
Are you looking for, dare I say, the real wicked shit?
Then please, step this way... [more inside]
posted by Faint of Butt
on Oct 22, 2013 -
Why Would Anyone Buy a Cassette Tape?
"I went back to the merch table to see what was on offer and saw - among other things - a cassette tape. I figured that participating in a weird economic trend would be worth the $5, so I bought it. Needless to say, I don't own anything that could play a cassette tape."
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Sep 11, 2013 -
The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus
(1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus
used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X
(1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X
as X Minus One
(1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding
. 17 of 30 episodes
of 2000 Plus
, all 50 episodes
of Dimension X
, and all 125 episodes
of X Minus One
are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 12, 2013 -
Very obscure and super rare selection
of cumbias, gaitas, mapalé, charanguara, musarana, charanga and guarachas for your ultimate enjoyment! [more inside]
posted by Tom-B
on Apr 28, 2013 -
Amazon just announced AutoRip
, a service to provide MP3 versions of any song you buy on CD from their store. That's all well and good, but the kicker is that "Amazon is retroactively giving free MP3s to any customer who has purchased an AutoRip compatible CD since its Music Store first opened in 1998". Looks like I'll be knee deep in Blink 182, Cake, and The Spin Doctors again.
posted by mathowie
on Jan 10, 2013 -
Researchers at UCSD
have modified an MP3 file so that when it is played on a car's stereo system it modifies the stereo's firmware and opens up a security back door into the car's operating system. Using it, they were then able to control the door locks, the car ignition, and change the speedometer reading. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle
on Mar 13, 2011 -
hand-picks the best new tracks from independent & underground artists, simmers on low, and delivers beautiful online issues every 2 months." Issue #1 is free, available as a sample.
posted by Memo
on Feb 10, 2011 -
is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied.
A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop
, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light.
Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2010 -
Midwest label Suburban Sprawl
puts out a CD of X-Mas music every winter. They've collected the last eight years of them here
. Highlights include The High Strung, The Hard Lessons, and the common lament, "Santa Just Crashed Into My House and He's Drunk as Fuck."
posted by klangklangston
on Dec 1, 2010 -
is a small, simple and likable free library of classic literature and philosophy MP3 audio downloads
posted by nickyskye
on Sep 27, 2010 -
Online UK label Serein's last redesign
saw a number of ambient and experimental albums released for free. They've redesigned again with a slightly more realistic business model, and in addition to the two releases
out so far, they've put out three free "forecasts
" so far, mixtapes of a sort, arranged by the artists. Three
is the latest, and by halfway through I knew it would likely be appreciated here.
posted by BlackLeotardFront
on May 18, 2010 -