Meet Macnera

New today, Ms. Macnera’s profile for the Meet the News Team section.  Click here to read it.  Macnera first appeared in “The Opera of Machines” and played a prominent role in “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation.”  She also had a small part in “Tomorrow’s News Today.”

Cyborgs: Coming to a Planet Near You

Cyborgs play an important role in the Tomorrow News Network series.  Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re intimidating… in the most recent edition of TNN, they get a little sexy.  But how close are cyborgs to becoming a reality?  Well… closer than you might think.

Mr. Cognis is works for the Tomorrow News Network as a cameraman. A literal cameraman.

Researchers at Harvard say they’ve developed a new cybernetic tissue that combines organic and electronic materials.  According to reports, the combination is so good it’s difficult to tell where the technology ends and the biology begins.  The advantage is that this cybernetic tissue can help monitor medical tests.  The disadvantage is, of course, the potential downfall of humanity.  For more information, click here.

If you aren’t comfortable having cybernetic tissue implanted in your heart or lungs–even for medical purposes–how about a cybernetic tattoo?  Lots of people are already comfortable getting tattoos, so having a tattoo that serves a practical purpose makes sense.  Nokia recently patented a magnetic material which tattoo artists can embed in your skin.  When you get a call, your skin vibrates.  Cool, huh?  Or creepy.  Depends on how you look at it.  For more on that, click here.

We tend to think of cyborgs as something from science fiction, but people today already have mechanical parts added to their bodies: prosthetic limbs, pace makers, artificial hearts…  We got used to that.  In time, we’ll probably get used to cybernetic tissue and cyborg tattoos.  We’ll even think it’s normal.  And then it will be too late!

To read more about the cyborgs of Tomorrow News Network, check out the short stories “The Opera of Machines” and “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation.”  You can also check out Mr. Cognis’s profile in the Meet the News Team section.  A profile for his cyborg co-worker/girlfriend, Ms. Macnera, is coming soon.

New Story: Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation

Mr. Cognis may be a cyborg and he may not have any emotions (except the ones he downloads), but he is also one of the Tomorrow News Network’s hardest working employees.  He deserves a vacation.

Cognis and his cyborg girlfriend have chosen to travel to the planet Bliss, a popular vacation resort in the Triangulum Galaxy.  Unfortunately, Bliss has a dangerous secret… a secret which could threaten the entire universe.

Click here to read the latest adventure in the Tomorrow News Network series, “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation.”

Preview of August’s Story

In this month’s story, we’re taking some time off.  Mr. Cognis, one of the Tomorrow News Network’s cybernetic camera people, takes his girlfriend on vacation.  Unfortunately, the planet they visit has a dark secret… one which might be worth reporting on the news.  Here’s a preview of “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation,” which comes out next week.

Update: The complete story and illustration will be posted on Friday, August 31st.

* * *

Mr. Cognis saw the universe in two ways.  Through one eye, he saw it as any human would, but through the other he saw as machines do: in high definition.

Homo machinae were a superior species, a perfect blending of biology and technology.  Evolution had robbed them of their emotions, but why would cyborgs need emotions anyway?

Light fingers ran along Cognis’s arm, feeling the seams between flesh and hydraulic muscle.  He enjoyed the playfulness of the touch.  Though cyborgs had no emotions, Cognis sometimes downloaded programs to simulate an emotional experience.  He and a fellow cyborg named Ms. Macnera had recently downloaded a new one called “love.”

Cognis looked at Macnera with his human eye.  Beauty was not an emotion, not something he could understand with downloaded software.  He could appreciate things for their simplicity, their complexity, or their effectiveness, but beauty was beyond his comprehension.  Yet something about the shape of Macnera’s lips, the curve of her neck, the slight motion of her chest as she breathed–something about the lines where her organic and mechanical parts met, about the cybernetic circuitry tattooed down her body, about the way light reflected off both metal and bare skin–something about her physical appearance in general fascinated Cognis.  He could not be certain, but he estimated with 87% probability that the term beautiful applied to her.

Macnera’s hand slipped over his shoulder and began exploring the contours of his chest.  When the two of them had decided to go on vacation, Cognis resisted wearing the traditional vacation attire.  Board shorts did not fit well over his augmented hips and legs, but now he was glad Macnera had persuaded him.  Wearing his usual full body-molded suit, he would have missed the subtleties of her gentle caress and the fractional increase in body temperature it produced wherever she touched.

They sat on the sands of an artificial island, the golden light of a binary star shining high in the sky.  The ocean smelled salty, a warning of potential corrosive effects to metal, yet Cognis found the smell relaxing rather than alarming.  Even the sound of waves rushing up the shore caused him no concern.

“Tell me more about Talie Tappler,” Macnera said.

“Why do you want to talk about her?” Cognis asked.

“She’s so strange,” Macnera replied.  “I heard she was there the day the universe began and will be there the day it dies.  I heard she’s traveled beyond the known universe and that she knows the future of every living creature, including herself.  I am too rational to believe in religion, but Ms. Tappler seems almost godlike.  You’ve worked with her more than I have.  What’s she really like?”

“We are on vacation,” Cognis said.  “We are not supposed to talk about work.”

“Of course,” Macnera said, snuggling up to him.  “Forget I said anything about it.”

Cognis complied and deleted the conversation from his memory banks.

If You Love Robots…

If you love robots (and if you’re one of my regular readers, you probably do) then I have some news you can get excited about.  Last week, Curiosity, the largest robot ever sent to another planet, successfully landed on Mars.  Its mission is to search for any evidence that Mars currently or ever did support life.  Of course, you probably already knew that, but did you know you can follow Curiosity on Twitter?  Not sure if it will follow you back, though.  (Click here.)

But the Mars rover is a long way away.  You’ll probably never get to see it in person.  You definitely will never get to ride it.  The good news is there’s a really cool project going on in Massachusetts.  They’re building a giant, spider-like robot named Stompy, and if you donate money to the project they’ll let you ride it when its finished.  If you donate a lot of money, they’ll even let you drive it.  (Click here.)

Of course Tomorrow News Network fans already know about “The Opera of Machines.”  For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s got robots.  Even more exciting, it’s got cyborgs.  Click here to start reading it, and if you have any other cool robot news to share please leave a comment.