These posts come to me when they come to me. Sometimes it takes a couple of months, sometimes it's a couple of weeks.
For those who are new, these articles are pushed to me on my RSS reader and Zite magazine. I signed up for content that interests me, and share the good stuff here. Feel free to take away story elements or anything else that suits you.
The first one today is about a mini origami robot that folds itself. It also walks, swims, digs, carries small loads, climbs and if needed, dissolves completely in a solvent. This one even comes with videos. Read more about it here.
These kind of articles give plausibility to some pretty outlandish gagetry in our science fiction. Perhaps someone scattered papers that pass for garbage in a parking lot. At sunrise on Sunday morning, they activate and invade the museum. Gemstones, gold nuggets, small valuable items could be stolen this way. They dump the loot down a manhole and dissolve in the rain.
The next article is about an abandoned section of New York. It's called North Brother Island. What is it about New York islands? A previous Idea Mill post had an article about Hart Island. Hart Island is particularly creepy, so I used it for part of The Playground. (Which I need to start editing.)
North Brother Island holds an abandoned quarantine hospital. It's where Typhoid Mary spent her last days. To me, this is all about setting. The buildings are crumbling and overgrown with weeds. The walls are mossy and moldy. Check it out here, but it's the photos that speak to me.
Maybe you need a setting for your dystopian novel. Maybe you want a haunted location for your horror story. I'm sure this island will measure up with a bit of research. If nothing else, it makes for a good secret lair.
Finally, we have a bit of theory about evolution. In Eastern Africa the Ethopian wolves and gelada monkeys appear to be feeding side by side. These things don't look much like the wolves I'm familiar with, and the gelada monkeys look like baboons to me.
This may not seem like much at first glance. Both animals are omnivorous. Wolves being more carnivorous and monkeys being more herbivorous. These things only recently started getting along. Wolves used to grab baby monkeys and run. What changed?
The theory is this could be a view into how man first domesticated dogs. Take one highly intelligent primate, add one highly intelligent canine, who's also an incredible opportunist and I can see it happening. Read the article here.
What kind of raids could the monkeys pull off using wolves to help them? Maybe it starts with food. Maybe it progresses to the problem of over harvesting bush meat. It could even progress as far as attacking humans themselves. The folks who kidnapped all those young girls seem like a good target.
I share these articles in an attempt to inspire you. Take what you will and leave the rest. Now it's time for my corny story. This is part of the shtick on the idea mill posts.
Terrorists are hiding out on North Brother Island. It's a good location for their plan, and is centrally located. The terrorists are high tech and plan to steal a biological weapon by using hundreds of tiny origami robots.
Something has them spooked. Perhaps it's the ghosts of patients who died in quarantine. There have certainly been many creepy circumstances on the island. The rustling and noises belong to animals.
Before the authorities can catch up with the terrorists, the monkeys direct their newly domesticated wolves to attack. When the authorities arrive all the tiny robots have washed away in the rain. Only the rustling in the branches and weeds remain.
Okay, that's corny enough. It's speculative so I moved the animals to New York. Maybe they are feral pets or escaped zoo specimens.
Did any of these articles give you an idea. Either a plot or a story element, I'd like to hear it in the comments.