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"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander."
- Isaac Asimov

Moldies  
  Autonomous, intelligent, artificial life forms.  

Monique was shaped more or less like a chessman with arms, like a pawn or a queen or a knight. The exact appearance of her humanoid head and arms was something she could tweak...In [her] alternate "pelican" mode, Monique became a set of great flapping wings attached to a tapered big-eyed body... Monique's tissues had at least three other basic attractor modes as well: the spread-out "puddle" shape she used for soaking up sun, the seagoing "shark" shape, and the rarely used "rocket" shape that moldies could use to fly back and forth between the Earth and the Moon.
From Freeware, by Rudy Rucker.
Published by HarperCollins in 1997
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Freeware
  More Ideas and Technology by Rudy Rucker
  Tech news articles related to Freeware
  Tech news articles related to works by Rudy Rucker

Moldies-related news articles:
  - Gummi Bots: Biomimetic Soft-Bodied Robots
  - Chembot Squishy SquishBot Robots Desired By DARPA
  - SquishBot Soft Shape-Changing 'Chembots'
  - Plasmobot Amorphous Biological Robot
  - Multigait Soft Robot Squishes, Walks And Crawls
  - DARPA M3 Soft Camo Robots
  - 3D Printed Soft Robotic Tentacle May Grab You
  - Soft Caterpillar Robot Powered By Light

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Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves

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