Watch This Double Amputee Control Two Robotic Arms At Once

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

It’s rare to see the future unfold in front of our eyes this dramatically but here it is: the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has helped a man who lost both his arms in a “freak electrical accident” connect to dual robotic arms by connecting to and reading from his nervous system. The results aren’t quite staggering as he still has limited control over the arms but the future is bright for amputees.

Human-controlled robotic arms are getting better and better (check out the video below of a woman controlling an arm with her brain), and the hardware needed to drive a usable arm is improving yearly. It won’t be long before we can expect to see amputees like the gentlemen in the video regain use of their limbs. The future, as they say, is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

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Watch This Double Amputee Control Two Robotic Arms At Once

Year-End Top 10

Earlier this week, Chuck Wendig asked his readers to post their Top Ten of the Year. I hastily responded, and am reposting my picks here, in it’s very own blog, with some slight revisions… My updates, notes, or second-thoughts are in italics.

1) Favorite novel of the year? ELEANOR by Jason Gurley

I’m standing by this one wholeheartedly. This book has really stuck with me throughout the year, and you can find my review on it here.

2) Favorite non-fiction book of the year? Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

I didn’t get through as many non-fiction titles as I would have liked to this year, but UNDENIABLE is totally tops. Science deniers will hate it, but I found it to be a terrific and enjoyable exploration of the natural world and the process of evolution. [my review]

3) Favorite short story of the year? BLACKOUT by Tim Curran

As soon as I finished BLACKOUT, back in August, I was ready to name it the best DarkFuse novella of the year. That hasn’t changed. [my review]

4) Favorite movie of the year? Didn’t see many, so I’ll go with X-Men: Days Of Future Past

You know what, I really slipped on this one. Yeah, I loved the new X-Men flick, but I had a bit of a brain fart. I’m knocking this one down a peg or two for one simple reason that I somehow, stupidly, forgot about. And that reason is…. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

5) Favorite TV show of the year? Hannibal

‘Nuff said. This series is absolutely terrific. And that season finale?!?!? It has now officially been too long of a wait for season three, and I think the upcoming holiday break may be a good time to rewatch seasons one and two. I just seriously love the heck out of this show.

6) Favorite song of the year? Don’t have one…

7) Favorite album? See above.

8) Favorite video game? Really wish I had more time and a bigger budget, but Dragon Age: Inquisition wins for me.

9) Favorite app? Godus

I love this game a ridiculous amount, and have really dug what 22Cans brought to the table with the expansion/update that launched a second bit of land to explore and develop. You can read my review of it over here, but I also want to take a brief second to plug THREES, which I discovered this past Wednesday night. Totally addictive and well worth the $2.

10) Favorite [something else] of the year?  I jumped on the Funko Pop! bandwagon, and will thus vote for my Funko Batman figure/statuette.


Yeah, seriously. I’m letting my geek flag fly with this one. And, actually, I’m a bit torn, to be honest. I recently bought my first couple Funko Pop! vinyl figures, and am debating which one I love more. I’m sticking with Batman, though. Very close second is this zombie from their line-up of The Walking Dead figures:

twdfunkowave1rvwalkerAll right. What’s ranking in your Top 10 for 2014? Sound off below!

Year-End Top 10

Writer Emergency Pack

Last month, I was proud to back the Writer Emergency Kickstarter. Well, John August really delivered on this one, a full four months early, in fact!

On Monday night, I got home from work to find this beautiful card pack of survival tips and suggestions waiting for me in the mailbox. Not only are they useful, but there are some damn great illustrations on these suckers. Exclusive to Kickstarter supporters is the Dark Mode pack, a one-time use only code, and you can be sure I ordered them pronto. I cannot wait to see how they turn out!

Here’s a couple quick photos of the unboxing:

Be sure to sign up for news on the official release at Writer Emergency and get your hands on a pack or two as soon as possible. It’s well worth the expense, and a nifty little deck of cards to boot.

Writer Emergency Pack

25 Ways to Help Self-Published Authors

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Nice little list, and very easy to put into action.

Originally posted on This College Dropout:

Courtesy of David Melchior Diaz via Flickr/PhotoPin
Courtesy of David Melchior Diaz via F lickr/PhotoPin
  1. Buy a self-published book
  2. Leave an honest review. (In fact, leave a review on more than one site!)
  3. Thank the author publicly on social media.
  4. Recommend the book to someone else.
  5. Follow them on social media.
  6. Engage with them on social media.
  7. Ignore critics of the self-publishing industry.
  8. Write your own good book.
  9. Serve as a beta reader or reviewer for a book.
  10. Write a blog post about the book.
  11. Enter an author’s contest or giveaway.
  12. Become a book blogger or reviewer.
  13. Interview an author.
  14. Refer any potentially good reviewers to an author.
  15. Don’t obtain an illegal copy of the book.
  16. Mention a book in a group or forum.
  17. Offer your editing, formatting, or graphic design skills to an author.
  18. Buy a second copy of the print version for a friend or for your local library.
  19. Download a copy from Amazon’s Lending…

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25 Ways to Help Self-Published Authors

The War On Christmas

It’s that time of year again… Pundits of a particular “news” station are frothing about the annual “War on Christmas.” Over on twitter, I, and a few others, reminisced about the ordeals of last year’s struggle and the impending holocaust that will no doubt be upon us this month with the hashtag #WarOnChristmas.

What do you remember of last year’s atrocities? Did you battle against the Elves and the chaos the Kringles wrought? Share your tales of woe and horror here, or on twitter with the #WarOnChristmas hash tag.

Here’s a few I enjoyed and retweeted:

The War On Christmas

The Writer Emergency Pack just received full funding (and well beyond!) on Kickstarter, which is excellent news because I have absolutely no idea how to wrap up my current WIP!

Congrats to John August on this wonderful project. These helpful cards got the backing of 5,714 awesome people (me among them, of course) and raised $158,109, which is well above the initial $9,000 goal.