So, I’m reading around the interwebs today (the interwebnets as a client referred to it today, entirely without irony) and I see this on Wired:

For 26 years, strange conversations have been taking place in a basement lab at Princeton University.

No one can hear them, but they can see their apparent effect: balls
that go in certain directions on command, water fountains that seem to
rise higher with a wish and drums that quicken their beat.

Yet no one hears the conversations because they occur between the minds of experimenters and the machines they will to action.

Researchers at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program, or Pear, have been attempting to measure the effect of human consciousness on machines since 1979.

Using random event generators — computers that spew random output —
they have participants focus their intent on controlling the machines’
output. Out of several million trials, they’ve detected small but
“statistically significant” signs that minds may be able to interact
with machines. However, researchers are careful not to claim that minds
cause an effect or that they know the nature of the communication.

Well, holy shit.  That is some cool stuff.  I have to confess, the nerd in me had an immediate reaction:  That’s what Charles can do.  Charles, you see, was my character in an extended Trinity chronicle run by Mr. Pink Eyes (Katastrophes
and Pants Wilder and I were his trio of players).  He was an
electrokinetic, and manipulating machines with his mind was one of his
main deals.  Damn, what a fun game that was.  Eventually
Charles morphed into the non-superpowered main character of Shell Access, my NaNo from last year.

Reading further into the article I saw this, though:

Participants have been able to direct one out of every 10,000 bits of
data measured across all of the tests. That figure might seem small,
but Dean Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences
and former researcher at AT&T’s Bell Labs, said it’s to be expected.

“Many times in the beginning of a new scientific realm the effects are
weak because of high variability,” Radin said. “We don’t know all of
the factors yet that are involved in the effect (that could increase
the results).”

Radin likens the current state of research to when scientists first
began studying static electricity and didn’t know that humidity levels
could affect the amount of static electricity produced.

OK, now we’re heading more into the arena of the Technocracy, that
venerable and formidable opponent of all free-thinking dirty hippies in
White Wolf’s much-beloved Mage: the Ascension (link goes to the new version, Mage: the Awakening)
game.  In that game, Reality was a fluid thing susceptible to
subtle (or not-so-) pushes and shoves from those able to grasp the
underlying mechanics of reprogramming the universe.  The
Technocracy claimed that its use of magic was actually new applications
of science, misunderstood and difficult to reproduce.  Magi on
both sides of that war commonly believed that all technology
was, in fact, magic that had been accepted by the vast majority of
“sleepers” and thus was no written almost indelibly into the workings
of the world.  Interesting stuff for a night of sitting around
chewing the fat, but it’s not the same gig as Charles’ was.  In
Trinity, the super-specials (Psions) used a force called subquanta to
affect reality.  The science of studying quanta and subquanta was
called Noetics.

Then I re-read that part above and noticed this on the second pass:

…Dean Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences


That got me going, and I did a bit more looking around; turns out there’s even a Wikipedia entry on noetics

I want you to understand that right now, in the back of my brain,
Charles is sitting there with his arms crossed and his feet up going, Yeah, yeah, laugh it up now, while you can.  You just wait and see what the future holds.
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