The Idea Mill # 5

For newer readers, I save articles I find in a folder. These are articles that make me scratch my head and think about the fiction I write. When I have enough, I post another idea mill article. Let’s all speculate, shall we.

The first one is based on the eyesight of the mantis shrimp. This is a beautiful, but strange ocean creature with no real value to humans, beyond the esthetic. This story shows why the world’s odd creatures should be protected, and what might be lost when a species goes extinct.

It seems the mantis shrimp sees the world a bit differently than humans. It has to do with the way his eyes interpret polarizing light. Using this special skill, the mantis shrimp is capable of seeing human cancers. Cool, but how useful is that?

Scientists have built a camera that replicates shrimp vision. Rather than create another $10,000 procedure for insurance to pay, they seem to think it can become a smart phone app. This restores my faith in humanity, to a degree. Part of the article said shrimpie sees neurons. Since I’m a speculative fiction writer, this trips my trigger.

What about an app that goes down the police state path. Check someone out with your camera, and know whether they are a child abuser, rapist, or terrorist. Can you imagine picking your girl up for a date, and having to pass muster for her father under these circumstances? What if dating became more like qualifying for a loan. “Sorry bud, you have a predisposition for osteoporosis. I can’t inflict that on my future children.”

Read about the mantis shrimp here.

Our next story is something that could add some spice to a science fiction story. In fact, I may redesign this and include it in my current manuscript. Someone has designed, and built, a tiny camera drone. This one can snap around your wrist, like a bracelet. Read the article here, then we’ll speculate.

The design seems to indicate availability to the general public. What might happen if a pervert gets one of these? What if they start clusters of these on a pattern through our malls, schools, and airports? Maybe your amateur girl detective needs one of these to get herself into trouble. Could these cruise our workplaces and watch over our shoulders at every move we make? Maybe your bad guys want these locked in a safety deposit box, only to deploy after closing time. What would you write about these?

Next, it seems the U.S. Navy has built, and is about to deploy, a rail gun. This gun fires a projectile at seven times the speed of sound using an electro magnetic pulse. It has a considerable range and appears to be capable of pinpoint accuracy. This will allow replacement of million dollar missiles with $25,000 projectiles. Good news or bad news depends upon which end of the gun you happen to be on. Read the article here.

I recall a failed attempt to build a space gun. I may have posted this article in a previous Idea Mill. The U.S. tried for years to build a gun capable of launching items into orbit. The original is scrapped and rusting somewhere. The rail gun might see this become reality. What if we could launch a satellite for $25,000? Even a relatively small business could have a satellite in space. Could this mark the end of the cellular network? Would we all get satellite phones? What would this do to the Internet?

What if organized crime had its own satellite network? Would there be multiple internets forcing us to subscribe to several, like cable TV?

I have one of my Macabre Macaroni stories coming soon that references a space gun, only mine is a mortar.

The last one today is about Ebola. This one includes charts to show just how fast this disease spreads. Read about it here.

Ebola could become the Black Death of our era. Others have written about this, but if you write about a zombie virus or any kind of dystopian settings, you really ought to be watching this unfold. How is the world reacting and responding? Is anyone making money here? Does anyone want it to spread? Are the terrorists watching? Are we watching celebrities as the world crumbles?

PS: I changed my background early. I’m off to Coeur d’Alene for a week, and wanted access to my Mac for this.

Speculate with me people, what would you write?


Filed under The Idea Mill, Writing

38 responses to “The Idea Mill # 5

  1. I am both fascinated and terrified of this Ebola thing. So much to chew on there. And the shrimp eye app? How did I miss THAT?!??!? Nifty!


    • Im not surprised that you keyed upon the medical points. It truly is an amazing time we live in. I get upset whenever some unlovable flora or fauna goes extinct. I always wonder what knowledge they took with them.


  2. Weird stories. I find it odd how people build devastating weapons and never think that an enemy might get or make one eventually. As for Ebola and zombies, I read an article headline that said a village in Africa had two women die from Ebola and rise from the grave.


  3. Ali Isaac

    How do they know how the mantis shrimp sees the world… did anyone ask it? What exactly did it say? And is it better that we have an app that detects our cancer? Cos I think I’d rather have a pet talking mantis shrimp…


  4. You had to throw ebola in there! I am terrified of ebola … not because I’m a germ freak, but when I was in first grade or so my teacher thought it was a FANTASTIC idea to tell seven year old kids how getting ebola could make you bleed to death out of every orifice and your pores. Scarred ever since.


  5. Brilliant!
    And I love the idea of dating becoming similar to applying for a loan, hahahahaaaa! Boys will have to step their games up!
    BTW, that is amazing about the shrimp being able to see cancer! HOLY MOLY! Who would have thought?!


  6. mantis shrimp are huge and have a powerful claw that could be used as a weapon given the right circumstances. Tim Dorsey’s antihero serial killers, Serge and Coleman, used a lobster. I wish I was that clever. I’m going to have to do more research.


  7. All those sound scary as heck! I think the bracelet camera would work well in your current WIP. And I love the new background. 😀


    • I didn’t get to do squat on my story this weekend. I have some more vacation scheduled for writing though.

      I think Clovis needs a camera drone as he tears through gangland. I may have to go back and add one to the tossed apartment.


      • That could work. I ended up scrapping the book I started and moving on to a different one. I just couldn’t get into it and it felt too much like work. LOL!


      • I probably shouldn’t say this, but that’s a bad habit. I’m nearly at the point where I have to return to the outline. Parts of mine are starting to feel like test scenes.

        You might try that first.


      • Maybe. But I think mine was my state of mind. The one I was working on had a lot of violence and I didn’t have a feel-good ending. About half of mine don’t, but I was already in a bad place and it was draining me mentally. This new one is at the right time because it’s about a mother’s revenge on her daughter’s boyfriends and this week my daughter’s BF is not being kind to me, so I’m in the mood to take it out on paper. LOL! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I get a lot of my imspiration from the natural world. I just love it!


  9. Ebola does scare me a lot. The black death took out 2/3 of the population. That was harsh, there are still sites where deserted villages were left because everyone died. Ebola would take out 9/10 of us. To me that really is scary. I can’t help thinking that Ebola may get us before the Daesch/IS do.


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