By Greg Bear
Historic ailments encoded within the DNA of people wait like drowsing dragons to wake and infect again--or so molecular biologist Kaye Lang believes. And now it seems like her debatable conception is actually chilling fact. For Christopher Dicken, a "virus hunter" on the Epidemic Intelligence carrier, has pursued an elusive flu-like disorder that moves down expectant moms and their offspring. Then an enormous discovery excessive within the Alps --the preserved our bodies of a prehistoric family--reveals a surprising hyperlink: whatever that has slept in our genes for thousands of years is waking up.
Now, because the outbreak of this terrifying sickness threatens to turn into a perilous epidemic, Dicken and Lang needs to race opposed to time to gather the items of a puzzle in basic terms they're outfitted to solve--an evolutionary puzzle that might confirm the way forward for the human race . . . if a destiny exists in any respect.
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Extra resources for Darwin's Radio
He beamed. ‘‘Wide-range circuitry that detects transmitters operating on frequencies from fifty megahertz to three gigahertz. Plus it’s got an internal antenna that picks up the horizontal oscillator frequency radiated by video cameras. I’ve optimized it for the PAL standard, which is what you’re most likely to encounter, but I can change it to NTSC or SECAM if you want. Reception isn’t great because it’s so small, so you won’t be able to tell where the bug or camera is, only that one is there.
But I nodded and slipped it into an inside pocket of the blazer I was wearing. I signaled the bartender that it was time for another Lagavulin. ’’ I asked. ‘‘I did. ’’ ‘‘Just a thank-you. ’’ I wondered if she had bought the story. If she hadn’t thanked Harry for his response, I would have known she hadn’t bought it, because she was classy and it wouldn’t have been like her not to respond. But the thank-you might have been automatic, sent even in the presence of continued suspicions. It could even have been duplicitous, intended to lull Harry into thinking she was satisfied when in fact the opposite was true.
After the events of September eleventh in the United States, the Metropolitan Police Force undertook a major initiative to link up these informal networks of cameras with a central database that runs advanced facial recognition software. The software reads characteristics that are difficult or impossible to obscure—the distance be- H ARD R AIN 33 tween the eyes, for example, or the precise angles of the triangle formed by the corners of the eyes and the center of the mouth. Now, when a camera gets a match for a photograph from the database, an alert is automatically sent to the appropriate authorities.
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear