1. Russia Now Commands A Dolphin Army →

    Jason G. Goldman on io9:

    From “Johnny Mnemonic”:

    He was more than a dolphin, but from another dolphin’s point of view he might have seemed like something less. I watched him swirling sluggishly in his galvanized tank. Water slopped over the side, wetting my shoes. He was surplus from the last war. A cyborg.

    He rose out of the water, showing us the crusted plates along his sides, a kind of visual pun, his grace nearly lost under articulated armor, clumsy and prehistoric. Twin deformities on either side of his skull had been engineered to house sensor units. Silver lesions gleamed on exposed sections of his gray-white hide.

    Molly whistled. Jones thrashed his tail, and more water cascaded down the side of the tank.

    "What is this place?" I peered at vague shapes in the dark, rusting chain link and things under tarps. Above the tank hung a clumsy wooden framework, crossed and recrossed by rows of dusty Christmas lights.

    "Funland. Zoo and carnival rides. ‘Talk with the War Whale.’ All that. Some whale Jones is…"

    Jones reared again and fixed me with a sad and ancient eye.


    Jones heaved half his armored bulk over the edge of his tank, and I thought the metal would give way. Molly stabbed him overhand with the syrette, driving the needle between two plates. Propellant hissed. Patterns of light exploded, sparking across the frame and then fading to black.

    We left him drifting, rolling languorously in the dark water. Maybe he was dreaming of his war in the Pacific, of the cyber mines he’d swept, nosing gently into their circuitry with the Squid he’d used to pick Ralfi’s pathetic password from the chip buried in my head.

    "I can see them slipping up when he was demobbed, letting him out of the navy with that gear intact, but how does a cybernetic dolphin get wired to smack?"

    "The war," she said. "They all were. Navy did it. How else you get ‘em working for you?"

  2. Clip reel of practitioners of systema, a Russian martial art that seems to be gaining some traction in the West now that there are people over here to teach it. Tito’s systema in Spook Country seems to have as much in common with parkour as anything else, and its exact relationship to the systema described by Bigend in Pattern Recognition is, like the history of the old man who hires Tito, perhaps a bit cloudy.

    From Pattern Recognition:

    "Systema," Bigend says.


    "Those three. The Russian martial art, formerly forbidden to all but Spetsnaz and KGB bodyguards. It has its formal basis in Cossack dancing. Quite unlike anything Eastern." He looks like a very determined child, on Christmas morning, who’s finally gotten his way and been allowed downstairs.