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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Thought Screen  
  A material screen that is worn by the user, upon which are projected the mental images of the user.  

Very handy device for aliens - although you still need to interpret the symbols.

Joe and Al, intrepid space explorers who stumble onto an unknown universe on their way to Pluto, encounter unusual alien beings.

Two orange, dome-shaped creatures, somewhat like diving bells. The front of each bell was flattened, and in the center was a huge oval opening, covered by a translucent mica-like substance. Directly over and on each side of the opening protruded two antennae, at the end of which were round faceted knobs...

On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters. There were four of them, delicate, intricate tracings, lit up by some interior fire. They resembled somewhat the old cuneiform writing of the Babylonians or the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Al was greatly excited, "I believe they're trying to communicate with us..."

From The Emperor of the Stars, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

The thought screen also presented an interpretation of emotion:

The Ruler emanated inuterable sdness, and a host of pallid red glyphs flashed in rapid succession on the thought screen.
You just don’t read this kind of empathy for alien races these days: “Did the Prostak scientists watch the transcendental spectacle in their powerful telescopes? If so, what joy there must have been in that world, what a waving of tentacles, what a shimmering procession of bright red glyphs across their strange communication disks! How that orange glowing air must have vibrated to emanations of joy and of thankfulness!”

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Emperor of the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)
  Tech news articles related to The Emperor of the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)

Thought Screen-related news articles:
  - T-Sketch The Whiteboard T-Shirt
  - Solar-Powered Bra
  - Transparent Thin Film Transistors Fabbed With Nanotubes

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