63

When the water was sand, we left a handful of shiny flakes to say: we had been. You dig, dust off, date – and we are still being.

A new excavation of the Madjedbebe rock shelter in Australia’s Arnhem Land has revealed evidence that humans first arrived in Australia 65,000 years ago. This excavation was conducted under a landmark agreement that gave the Mirarr people rights to veto work at any time, control artefacts discovered, and have final say about the announced findings. Mary Alexandra Agner casts a unique perspective on this discovery – the past is here and now. Yet, even as we examine their ancestral sites with new respect… we have to ask when the world’s First Peoples will be granted the same? // Alex Massey

//Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. She can be found online at http://www.pantoum.org//

62

They slipped their young into our cribs. If we refused to raise their babies, they destroyed ours. Generation upon generation, they preyed.

In a story that raises echoes of the fae, Anna Kander writes inspired by the brown-headed cowbirds, a type of bird called a brood parasite. Cowbirds fool robins into raising their young. If robin parents push cowbird eggs out of their nests, cowbird parents retaliate by breaking all of the robins’ eggs. Scientists believe cowbirds undergo an “anti-imprinting” process; the birds are born knowing a special call to find other cowbirds. // Alex Massey

//Anna Kander is a social worker in the Midwestern US. Her work is slated to appear in Breadcrumbs, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and beyond. Find her at annakander.com.//

61

I regrew my pets in the lab, from stem cells and 3D printing, my companions will live as long as I never stop crafting new parts for them.

In 2016, volunteer group Animal Avengers printed a new 3D shell for a tortoise that was injured in a forest fire in Brazil. This was a remarkable advance in the use of 3D technology in veterinary science, which now uses 3D printing in clinical and teaching situations, and it has noticeably improved outcomes for animal surgeries. Jesheckah Lynne combines this creation with the delusions of a mad scientist or a devoted pet owner – that’s up to you. // Alex Massey

//Jesheckah Lynn @jesheckah is a first nations freelancer who loves the power of words in any language.  Politics, science, and pets are her biggest interests.//  

60

The customs line at Saturn L4 Photonic Railway Station took forever; 12 months and 10 AU from Earth to here, and this bit felt the longest.

Matt Reardon captures the myriad frustrations that may befall us when intergalaxy travel is possible in this story based on ongoing research into establishing a laser-thrust based “Photon Railway”. This railway has been suggested as an efficient means of transport between the planets, and even on an interstellar level, as developed most notably by Young Bae at Advanced Space and Energy Technologies.// Alex Massey

//Matt Reardon @SpaceLawyerSF writes science fiction, often with political themes and a humorous tone, both largely based on his experience as a lawyer and as Secretary General of a parliamentary group at the French National Assembly. //

59

When the military harnessed neuroscience, diplomats stopped killing with kindness. Now it hurts you to see me hurt—and I can make you die.

In the hunt for the cognitive mechanism behind empathy, the discovery of mirror neurons has lead cognitive neuroscientists like Marco Iacoboni to conclude that this is the neuron responsible for emotional motor control. However, this theory is not without controversy – scientists argue that it is not clear whether mirror neurons really form a distinct class of cells. Anna Kander takes this disputed theory and assumes if true, then relating to other people rewires our brains. For Kander, empathy is the sharpest knife. // Alex Massey

//Anna Kander is a social worker in the Midwestern US. Her work is slated to appear in Breadcrumbs, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and beyond. Find her at annakander.com.//

58

Chugging infinite cups of joe, humanity thrived as jittery and red eyed immortals… until the supply of coffee bean trees ran dry.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have discovered that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are associated with a lower risk of mortality. Sierra July mixes this theme with the thirst of humanity for immortality, until we come up against our own worst enemy – the end of an abundant coffee supply. // Alex Massey

//Sierra July @sierrajuly is a University of Florida graduate, published writer, and poet. She blogs at talestotellinpassing.blogspot.com.//

57

Humans still important for local news coverage, local human claims.
By ASCAD (Automated Story Creation and Distribution)

Google’s Digital News Initiative has committed 622,000 ($805,000) to fund an automated news writing initiative for U.K.-based news agency, The Press Association. The Press Association has enlisted U.K.-based news startup Urbs Media for the task of creating a piece of software that turns news data into palatable content. Adriano Ariganello takes this advance in tech and turns it into a satirical headline, which may not be as far from the truth as we think. While I did use a free summariser to create that introduction, it’s obviously in need of a proofread. // Alex Massey 

//Adriano Ariganello is an IT overlord who writes while waiting for the green progress bar to fill. Find him at @canadianoranges//