Soul singer Laura Mvula
Here's a cool song by a new artist, British singer Laura Mvula (nee Douglas). She released her debut album "Sing to the Moon" earlier this month. I decided to do a mini pseudo 'Artist Feature' spot today as I was really intrigued by both the song and the music video since they're both quite different from what (I believe) we've seen in the music industry recently. Give it a look & listen, just to experience something different, soulful and somewhat retro...
For more from her check out the links below - with singles "She", "Like the Morning Dew" and the recently released "That's Alright". Laura was also a guest on the Graham Norton Show, so expect even greater things from her on the horizon as she carves out a niche in the ever more eclectic British music scene...
Image from her official website.
Take a moment to notice the little things... this for instance, is a drop of water, in slow motion...
(reblogging this from theChive.com) - never gets old. (FYI - its a gif. image, so it make take a while to load)
Another "Sci-fi in the here & now" moment
No doubt playing on the fictional comic book anti-hero (or maybe its just coincidence)… It is the future of war for soldiers in the field of battle. It’s an exoskeleton that aids in endurance and strength.
Whilst researching my book, as well as following up on an article I wrote a couple of months ago on “Killer Robots: when sci-fi meets reality today” (click on the "Killer Robots" link in the archives), I stumbled upon this piece on a futuristic exoskeleton by Lockheed Martin (there are competitors). It’s practically a precursor to the full self-actuating body armour you see in many science fiction war stories. ONLY, this is not fiction…
For a while the role of the foot soldier has been debated, what with the wave of modern war machines and the video-game-like drones, where pulling a trigger means pressing a button on a hi-tech device in a remote location. However, Special Forces regiments continue to illustrate their effectiveness. All modern covert operations involving the apprehension of a high profile international criminal/terrorist has been carried out by men of unparalleled training. You’ve probably by now heard of SEAL Team 6 and the Osama Bin Laden operation (now the subject of an award winning film), or the Special Forces originals, the SAS… but virtually every country in the world has an elite force that doesn’t get the publicity of the two mentioned here. They’re always small in number and fight odds well out of their favour.
However the HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) project has been developed to improve the capabilities of soldiers – enabling them to carry bigger loads for longer distances, with the ultimate goal being to eventually develop super soldiers… the journey does not end there though. The HULC exoskeleton may be an external addition to the conventional fighting force, but for a long time, governments have been at work trying to develop the perfect soldier, using any and all methods… including mind control, or hypnosis, specific scientific drug use and anything falling within the realm of mental conditioning.
The latter just so happens to be a facet of my next book.
Here's a look at the Lockheed Martin HULC promotional demo:
It was while researching the topics of mental manipulation, mind control etc that I explored TMS or "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation". This is literally involves using magnetism to temporarily improve higher brain functions. In the field of neuroscience, it's particular use is targeted, in this instance, at the military, specifically at improving soldiers cognitive resources under duress or extreme fatigue. Apparently some subjects demonstrated "Rain man" type capabilities when under TMS. This is all in the quest to develop the Super soldier, mind you, bringing two concepts together - that of numbing the human brain's responsiveness to stress, effectively making them more like a machine than ever before; begging the question: when does it stop, and at what point do we regard this sort of thing as forfeiting our humanity.
Here's the link to the article on Super Soldiers which was published a little over a year ago on The Independent.
Are we moving from this:
Story of Remoteness, 2.
by David Martinez Romero
Sometimes, I do fall into long monologues,
and words move me as if they were good, good mothers,
unconditional friends, comrades.
Just talking I sometimes heal from every evil that boils in the dead city,
it cures me of all the sickness and all the sadness.
Sometimes a talk is like letting the music play,
and a voice that imposes with its brief strings
is also peace, love, every thing that is worthy
and comes back to claim its name
allowing itself to be named by the same voice that unties it.
Happiness could very well be just a word
but it is mine in any case, it is in any case my truth,
my ardent breath that happily becomes verb
and resets my pain, my suffering and my agony
shaping a tremendous smile that compares the moon with its beauty
and in the end is mine, and only mine, and I give it away
to those who have an ear for music.
To talk, talking about anything,
just saying beautiful things,
not being afraid of the vacuum nor the sea of futility,
saying yes, no, sometimes,
saying that I love you, I’m out of here, so long,
and then shutting up at the right time, walking and redecorating words
when indiscriminately giving away phrases, texts, strokes,
smiling to the stranger,
to the walking woman,
to the child that’s always playing.
And just listening with unusual care to what they say.
If they’re happy, the words
are not only words.
They are bridges lying between two shadows,
they are lights in the starless night,
they are huge windows through which the air passes and sometimes
so do the spirits.
Saying yes, when everybody else denies,
is a cardinal virtue.
To those who affirm with their voice, with their gesture, with their elegance
should be granted the rank of Prince
since their gallantry means highness.
And talking with your own life,
saying pretty things by just living,
with the only air that you breathe,
setting the example of laughing…
that also justifies our existence.
Because being is a problem
and the very solution, just a word.
Whether it has meaning or not,
whether it is new or made up,
the word, said in the appropriate space and time,
It is stronger than stone.
Children are always learning to speak:
and so am I, for I am a child
born of the heart of speech.
And like a newborn to language I’m always looking for happy findings,
I jump from complexity to simplicity,
I lie, discover, celebrate, certify,
extend grubby checks
and introduce documents sealed with a carmine kiss
that I always steal from a beautiful woman.
I speak as well, for not only does the poet,
other men speak too when they do not fear the nothingness,
those happy flukes that take joyfulness as their own.
Many believe they are talking,
but they should just keep quiet.
We, the happy,
even in silence say tricks.
believe me, it is not only a word,
but well spoken, it could also be true.
-- Following on from last years "Artist Feature" spot on David Romero, he and I have since sparked something of a collaboration. Here's a new poem from him, translated into from Spanish to English - My role involved assisting with the latter part, that of streamlining the English version. This will not be the last of David's poems to feature on this site. For more on the poet, click on the link in the Blogroll to connect to his personal site. --
[Banner illustration by Joel Kanar]