HoloVids Rot Your Brain
The most common form of entertainment in the Cosmic Era is the ubiquitous HoloVid. Much like 3D televisions, each viewer has a pair of 'glasses' that allow them to see the programming. The HoloBand, relative of the SQUIDband accesses the visual cortex and aural cortex to stream immersive content into the brain of the viewer. It is some pretty impressive stuff, read 3D visuals, the ability to move around a scene as it plays out, plus all the variety inherent in customizable avatar games.
There are several downsides to the HoloBand. The most distressing is the way the HoloBand teases the reward centers of the brain. This sort of access can allow for serious personality and behavioral problems, especially in the context of instant gratification, ADD, and other attention disrupting conditions. HoloBand users are antsy and become bored and irritable very quickly as real life simply cannot match the speed and stimulation of the HoloVids. Most compulsive HoloVid users are on regular attention controlling medications, and have been since they were children.
Other less diagnosable conditions have also sprung from HoloBand and HoloVid usage. Literacy has begun to slide, and much to the chagrin of the world powers, the height of the Petroleum Age was also the height of world literacy. Most first world nation citizens can only read on a elementary level, and have little interest or desire in reading. The HoloVids are so much better.
BlackBands and BlackVids
HoloBands and HoloVids are regulated as to the level and intensity of the data they can stream into a viewer's head. Black market bands can pump illegal amounts of data, causing euphoria and other drug like reactions from the viewer. This can very quickly erode the chemical production ability of the brain, much like heroin abuse. The wearers are quickly reduced to feeling like machines outside of the bands, and only alive when the band is pumping them with near catatonia inducing levels of signal. Tailored BlackVids can literally be nothing more than programmed emotions, like joy, orgasming, elation, or other emotional highs. On a darker side, as mentioned in the SQUIDband entry, there are black market vids that are recordings of violent or illegal actions, such as rape, assault, or murder with the feedback pumped to methamphetamine levels. HoloJunkies often have bloodshot eyes, gaunt appearances, and a variety of physical tics from band abuse.
Department of Public Information
Also commonly known as the Ministry of Censorship, the DPI and it's related branches in other governments around the world are heavily involved with scanning, censoring, and sanitizing any and all data streams and sources they can find. The DPI is best known for it's Safe CogNet campaigns, advising citizens to avoid unsanitized or unsanctioned data servers and streams. You never know what filth you could expose yourself to, what Malware could infect your systems and corrupt your data and steal your money and identity, or even possibly cyberjack your own augmentations if you have any.
The DPI is often the primary target of cyber warfare, as viewers who only rely on local datafeeds, and sanctioned and santized feeds can expect to be spoon fed nothing more than propaganda, political spin, pablum, and the old bread and circuses routine. Dissenting opinions are presented with obvious flaws, and their are associated 'underground channels' that stream hardcore pornography or criminal based feeds. These are generally staged by the DPI as a way to track would be deviants and wanna be hackers (minimal difficulty to 'hack' these 'dirty feeds'. The porn is staged, and the crimes are also choreographed and 'caught on camera' in such a manner as to dissuade would be criminals. Who wants to be a criminal when every feed they hack ends in the crims getting caught, or beaten, or shot by one of the own in a gang feud. It is all agit-prop and controlled counter-propaganda.
Hyperdimensional Mathematics Destroy Brain Cells and Sanity
Arcanotech is one of the foundations of the Cosmic Era. From it sprouts the free and clean energy of the Dimensional Engine, the Dimensional Battery, Pan-Dimensional Spectography, Dimensional Heat Sinks, Coalescent Plasma Cannons, and things like Seibertronian brains. Hyperdimension mathematics are to non-euclidian geometry, as NEG is to basic geometry. The stuff is seriously hard.
One of the problems that arised from arcanotech is that a sufficiently sane person cannot physically understand it. The average sane person is too grounded in mundane facts and lacking a fundamental understanding of said theories. Once an engineer or theorist reaches a point of actually and really understanding this esoteric and chaotic form of mathematics their grip on sanity is gone. They are much like Alice in Wonderland, as in their book 1+1 no longer equals 2, but is rather a massive sliding parabolic curve of possible answers.
Sometimes these individuals do strange things, enlightened or deranged by alien thoughts or indescribably inspirations. Sometimes these things are bad. Like mad scientist bad.
That being said, the innate source of arcanotechnology is tainted. Nothing grows from poisoned ground but poisoned crops.
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Biogenic Armor Suits
The Chinese have a knack for thinking of some seriously messed up stuff, and with enough disgruntled Nipponese and Korean technochops behind it, they have a messed record of making it happen. The problem with most armor and mecha suits is that they are machines and require lots of repair, rearming and maintenance. This is a total pain in the rear when operating in humid jungles and other not so machine friendly locals. So, the idea was grow biological monsters instead. Replace chitin and bone with ferroceramics and carbon fiber, and grow the meat around,under and through it.
The end result is a spider the size of an SUV. Armed with claws, fangs, and a few other bio-organic goodies. Extra points for anyone who thought of the Zerg or the Tyrannids, because yeah, that's where this is going. But these aren't alive, per se. Life doesn't start until the intensively trained and sedated operator is placed inside of the bio-organic machine. Then, the three ton robo-meat spider comes to life. The resultant creature looks like an animal to machine sensors, and instead of using batteries or reactors, it eats things to keep going. Things like livestock, enemy soldiers, wild animals, and civilians.
Yes, to the very last they all go mad.