Security Clearance: Controlled Unclassified
Origin Source: Redacted
For Official Use: The Adjacent Possible
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From The Desk Of: Rick Liebling, Communications Director, The Adjacent Possible
For Download By: Agent Redacted

ISSUING DATE: 9.6.19 // 6:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
COMMUNIQUE No.: 003.015
"We've never had a cultural model for an apocalypse that lasts for a century or two. We don't even know how to make a movie or a pop song about such a slow catastrophe."

William Gibson 

[Ed. Note: I don't mean to make these intros the exclusive domain of William Gibson, but when he keeps spouting gems like this...]

Welcome to the Adjacent Possible.

Just a brief recap - you're here because at some point you said, "Yeah, I like hearing about cool, weird, strange or hardly believable stories about tech, innovation, space exploration, medical breakthroughs and other stories that sound like they were ripped from a science fiction story, but weren't. You also like science fiction stories. Still sound good? Great, then continue reading...

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In this issue of The Adjacent Possible:
  • Arts & Entertainment - Science Fiction Economics video game: Prosperous Universe
  • Space - Space Crime; 
  • Culture - Fashion in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition
  • Military - Anti-Drone weaponry
  • Science - Build Your Own Wormhole; Neural Interfaces; Bridging Galaxies 
  • Events - Cosmetics for Cyborgs; Multiverse 

[arts & entertainment]
Video games usually don’t get a lot of play here at The Adjacent Possible. Most science fiction games tend towards the ‘shoot the alien’ variety which is a little out of our area of interest. But I recently ran across Prosperous Universe and it looked interesting. It’s a Space Economy Simulation game that’s currently in a free to play early access stage. The website copy states you can, “Set your own goals and find your own ways. Mine resources, design spaceships, deliver goods, or trade commodities, stocks, currencies and information in a vivid, player-driven economy. Thanks to a grind-free experience, the success of your company is not limited by the time you invest.” It continues, “From orbital mechanics to the stock market, reality has guided the design of Prosperous Universe. Understanding and exploiting complex systems is the key to success. Realism will not be sacrificed to pay-to-win shenanigans – your money is no good here.” You can view a trailer for the game here. It economics in science fiction interests you, be sure to check out my Q&A with Jo Lindsay Walton, editor of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association. Source: Prosperous Universe

NASA is investigating what may be the first space crime - About a year ago there was a TV spot where an astronaut unlocked her forgetful husband’s Hyundai from orbit (Ugh, men, am I right?). Well, apparently that spot game one NASA astronaut an idea. Anne McClain decided to do a little financial housekeeping from space, but her partner didn’t quite see it the same way, and has accused McClain of nefarious activity. As Quartz reports: This may be the first allegation of a crime beyond Earth’s bounds, but it certainly won’t be the last. And while there is no doubt that the long arm of the law reaches beyond this planet, prosecuting cases that arise in space will likely be especially complicated.

The technology that McClain used to access the bank account on Earth belongs to NASA, and the agency should be wary of opening up its networks to attorneys looking for evidence in this or any other matter, Mark Sundahl, director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, told the New York Times. Still, he said, “Just because it’s in space doesn’t mean it’s not subject to law.” 

As details of the couples divorce went public, McLain came out to refute the claims that she had committed a space crime, giving the story a further, human aspect.

Source: Quartz,

In "Pattern Recognition," Anonymous Dressing Is the Way of the Future - As I pop into the Cyberpunk subreddit, or look on Pinterest, the apparel aesthetic always feels a little off to me. It’s as if a certain look has calcified around the idea of cyberpunk, and it’s not what I associate with the genre. So often you see female figures in a sort of sci-fi equivalent of the chainmail bikinis so prevalent in fantasy design. I always envision cyberpunk to look more like the characters in William Gibson novels, or for a real-life equivalent, the techwear of Acronym. Something more subdued, more functional. William Gibson has had a close association with Errolson Hugh, the visionary behind Acronym so you can see where I’m making the connection. 

Vice’s “Clothes Before Prose” column takes a look at the fashion in Pattern Recognition, from Gibson’s Bigend Trilogy. The piece has some great details about how characters and fashion interact in the story, and how Rickson, a real-life brand created a line of Gibson-inspired items after he featured them in the book. Source: Garage.Vice.

Compact drone gun can down a rogue quadcopter at 500 meters - As the threat of drones increases, federal governments, local municipalities and military contractors need to think about their in the field response. Whether designed to be weapons of war, or just to disrupt, drones can have a serious impact. 

The problem of rogue drone flights near sensitive locations such as airports and prisons is a growing headache for governments around the world, though slowly but surely various solutions are being designed to combat the illegal flight incursions. One such company developing the technology is DroneShield. The Sydney, Australia-based outfit this week unveiled its third “drone gun,” designed specifically to jam a drone signal, take control of a rogue flying machine, and land it safely. The guns themselves look like something right out of the props department for Blade Runner 2049. Check ‘em out. Source: DigitalTrends.

Physicists Just Released Step-by-Step Instructions for Building a Wormhole - Want to get from Point A to Point Triple B in no time at all? Very doable with the assistance of a wormhole. Unfortunately wormholes are very unstable. But a recent paper, published to the preprint journal arXiv on July 29, has found a way to build an almost-steady wormhole, one that does collapse but slowly enough to send messages — and potentially even things — down it before it tears itself apart. All you need are a couple of black holes and a few infinitely long cosmic strings. This is a very fun piece with some real mind-bending theoretical physics. Source: LiveScience.

A Brief Tour Through the Wild West of Neural Interfaces - Elon Musk talks crazy shit all the time. One day he’s making underground railways, the next he wants to nuke Mars. He’s also trying to get into the neural interface business with Neuralink. If you’re looking for a quick and easy primer on neural interfaces, this piece, written by a PhD neuroscientist, is a good place to start. Source: Singularity Hub.

For The First Time, Physicists Have Observed a Giant Magnetic 'Bridge' Between Galaxies - If that whole wormhole thing (see above) seems a little too complicated for your interstellar travel needs, good news!: Scientists have found a “bridge” to our closest galactic neighbors. Known as the Magellanic Bridge, the bridge is a huge stream of neutral gas that stretches some 75,000 light-years between our two neighbouring galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). Although researchers had predicted it was there, this is the first observation of its magnetic field, and it could help us understand how these vast bridges come to be. Source: Science Alert.


Cosmetics for Cyborgs: September 12, San Francisco - Today, ubiquitous screens mediate bodily experiences of the physical world. In turn, we are beginning to see digital content shaping material reality. At the same time, the material environment and physical bodies living within it are approaching a critical moment of climate-induced destabilization that can only be mitigated by collective action. If VR can create a situation in which the user's entire environment is determined by the creators of the virtual world, then it is imperative that the creators of virtual worlds take into account the collective needs of the physical one.

This presentation discusses three recent speculative design projects that address this need. Each unique fragrance Rhonda Holberton created for the series, FOIL, contains human scent that has been cold-distilled from T-shirts worn by anonymous volunteers using methods developed by the CIA in the design of "a device that would automatically detect the presence of an individual by [their] scent." The scents can be used by the wearer to create a hybrid chemical identity; a masking agent that protects individuals from undisclosed scent detection. Source: Speculative Futures.


Multiverse Convention: October 18-20, Atlanta - I conducted a Q&A with Jesse Adams, the events founder, with an assist from K. Ceres Wright, the event’s Science Fiction Track chair, that provides great insight on what looks to be a really cool event. Source: The Adjacent Possible.



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In the event you need information prior to the next scheduled communique, we have set up public-facing, open channels with non-redacted information, titled The Adjacent Possible. You can read position papers from the Director and find the archive of Q&A debriefs on Medium and see declassified information on Tumblr.
The Adjacent Possible is an irregularly scheduled look at the increasingly gray areas where science fiction, speculative fiction, technology and innovation currently reside. It is intended to be an arena for writers, readers and thinkers to be inspired and entertained. It is created and distributed by Rick Liebling. Questions, comments, criticism and submissions are encouraged. Email The Adjacent Possible.
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