How I Found the Brother I Didn't Know I Had

I learned about him when the police arrested me for the murder of his mistress. We look very much alike, and police facial recognition doesn't work very well on Hispanics in the dark. My public defendant found him, but didn't have the expertise or budget to challenge the algorithmically expedited trial, which is why I'm requesting a retrial.

I don't belong in jail, Your Honor.

[Note: Petition rejected by text analysis filter.]

The Spirit of Global Sport

When the Qatar 2022 World Cup final match was interrupted by the stadium becoming an overheated deathtrap, a terrorist cyber-attack was the obvious suspicion. That the technical audit found nothing was no proof of absence: too many actors had claimed responsibility, and it was in everybody's interest to believe them. Casualties were discreetly flown back to their countries of origin, there to be buried in the usual way. No further forensic analysis was done of the stadium, which authorities decided it would be cheaper to demolish than to prove safe.

They wouldn't have found any cause, anyway, believable or not, either inside its computers or under its foundations.

The hundreds of dead migrant workers — killed by heat, overwork, and the ruthlessness of billion-dollar deadlines — had been interred nameless, far away, in shallow graves.

The Overview Effect

Blue and white. Some browns. Some green. Ever since humans could, seeing Earth from above was a source of awe. Perhaps what cathedrals had been scale models of.

Nowadays astronauts are trained not to look at it. In half of them it causes psychological distress before the mission is over. Back on the planet suicide is far from rare.

Don't look down, they are told. No matter how tempted.

Blue and white. Some browns.

Sideways

There's a trick to watching ad-supported videos in phones, TVs, or laptops: during the ads look just above the camera, so it thinks you're paying attention and it doesn't show you too many of them. Sadly, it doesn't work for the videos in employee training and citizenship education, as it doesn't fool the brain sensors.

(Some say smalls kids somehow manage to do it, but you couldn't tell it from their silent expressions in surveillance videos, nor the well-shaped EEG curves in kindergarten performance reviews.)

The Rewilding

Viral genocides, fundamentalist STDs, famines in a test tube. As effective genetic engineering moved from tricky legality to illegal ubiquity, military analysts published detailed nightmares about what terrorists and enemy armies would do with the technology.

They were the only ones surprised when the first velociraptor ran through a suburban street, camera on its head and drone following above, or when a kraken, ship-sized and with strange metallic glints on his skin and eyes, was first seen in the hurricane-ravaged Pacific Ocean.

That's when whaling ships began to disappear.

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