Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
If you haven't had a chance yet to check out "The Boys," you really need to start picking it up. This has been going on already for approximately five (5) years. Enough time has gone by. Get out there, and see what it's all about.
"What is it all about?" you ask me. Fine, I'll tell you myself. Superheroes are real. They post a shiny light to the public. They make us feel good about being kept safe. But what happens when a superhero goes bad? Who keeps the superheroes in check? That's when the Boys step in.
This follows the exploits of their leader, Butcher, who has worked for many years with Mother's Milk, the Female (of the Species), and the Frenchman. At the beginning, you see a new addition to the team in the form of Wee Hughie.
Throughout the series, they have revealed the history of each of the characters except for Butcher. Well, I am glad to say, that after 5 long years, we are now getting that information and it's too exciting not to share.
But you realize, of course I'm not going to share it. You have to read it to find out. But it is huge. It's awesome. It's wonderful. It explains so much. It's time to learn it for yourself. Go. Do.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Or go to http://www.box.net/shared/static/a6omcl2la0ivlxsn3o8m.jpg for a larger view.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
This is the galazy NGC 7331. It is most often compared to our Milky Way galaxy because of it's apparent likeness -- Being a spiral galaxy and roughly the same size.
It is the beyond I want to focus on, though. This galaxy is about 30 million light years away from us. However, if you can see, just above NGC 7331 several distinct galaxies. They are roughly a tenth the size. This means that they are about 10 times further than NGC 7331 is from us. 300 million ly away!! Now, look at the little dots. Every dot is a galaxy. Some are even 100th the size of 7331. That's 3 billion light years away!!
It is so unbelievable how vast this universe is!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
Lately, I have been having Call of Duty: Modern Warfare fever. I have played countless times both 1 and 2 and am horribly excited for 3 to come out.
Finally, my brother, JJP has played and beaten both games. And has joined the addicted force that is the me and my three brothers. I cannot describe how fun this game is. The game play and story line are phenomenal and the multiplayer options and online gaming cannot be beat. I love it. JJP and I have been playing the multiplayer quite frequently and it is just feeding the addiction. But if you want something that will make you want to play more than anything, just go here:
Sorry, I can't upload the video here at work, so the link will have to do.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Chances are you may have heard someone comment about how it would be cool if they made The Legend of Zelda into a movie. There is one big reason as to why I think that it would fail as a movie. Most video games such as Zelda really draw you into their world, almost as if you are the one on the adventure. They are better at this than with movies since you are the one controlling the character and making all the major decisions even though you're guided by the story line the game designers set up for you. What makes it more effective in zelda is the fact that the main character Link doesn't speak a word the entire game. Since he never talks you can't tell what kind of person he is. The only way to find out about him is to look at his other actions, rather than what he says, which are you own actions therefore you see Link as a reflection of yourself having the adventure. Lots of other games do this, too.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
But don't take my word for it. Here are some reviews:
"I have never been so moved by a view of hell. Peck’s hell is no brimstone, fire, and burnings – a view that has never been meaningful to me nor one that has instilled any fear in me. In contrast, Peck’s hell does both of those things. This view of hell appears, at first blush, as an almost pleasant place where the inhabitant has a well-defined and seemingly manageable task after which she is allowed to move on – hence the title, “A Short Stay in Hell.” And yet, this hell produced in me a frozen hopelessness that I could not shake even weeks after finishing the book. I fear this hell. I fear it with my whole being. Maybe it was because of the initial sense of the task’s manageability that I ultimately felt such a deep sense of despair. This is story telling at its finest. This is fiction that penetrates to the core.”
"I have never read anything that has given me such a profound sense of what ‘eternity’ might actually entail, or that has soured me so completely on the merits of ‘eternal life.’ I do not mean to paint the novel as negative or depressing so much as thoughtful and insightful. The concept of hell that is developed in this story becomes a metaphor for exploring what matters most in life (whether it be mortal or immortal): love, companionship, meaning, and purpose. The result for me has been a deeper appreciation for the opportunities my present life affords, let the eternities bring what they may…”
“There are only a few books I’ve read that have truly changed the way I look at life, and this is one of them."
"Peck has done such a phenomenal interpretation of the human condition and spirit in this poetic rendition of Hell.”
“The central conceit is brilliant and there’s a real sense of pathos for our author’s desperate attempts to find and maintain human connections in an ageless place. I read it in one setting, desperate to find out if hell has an End. Peck has a real flair for capturing the yearnings of the human spirit, hell-bound or no.”
This is easily one of the very best books I have ever read. Ever!! (Which is why I've read it eight times)!
Monday, May 30, 2011
Written in the Stars,
A million miles away.
This has really been bothering me. First off, there is no star that is a mere million miles away from us. Not one. Not even our own sun. Our sun is 93,000,000 miles away from us on average. The closest planet to us is Venus (and I guess you could mistake it for a star), and it is over 23,000,000 miles away.
I thought maybe it was just me that was annoyed by this, but on hearing the song in the car with my wife the other day she complained about the same thing. A million miles is such a short distance.
And so, lets find out just how wrong this artist is. The closest star to us is Proxima Centauri, 4.24 light years away. So all we need to do is find out how many miles are in a light year, and multiply that by 4.24.
So, here we go:
60 (sec) * 60 (min) = 3,600 (seconds in an hour)
3,600 * 24 (hrs) = 86,400 (seconds in a day)
84,400 * 7 (days per week) = 604,800 (seconds in a week)
604,800 * 52 (weeks) = 31,449,600 (seconds per year)
Now, we have 31,449,600 seconds in one year, and the speed of light travels at 186,282 miles per second, so all we need to do is multiply the two together and you have how many miles are in one light year.
31,449,600 * 186,282 = 5,858,494,387,200
Almost 6 Trillion miles in one single light year. Finally, to find how many miles to Proxima Centauri we multiply that by 4.24:
5,858,494,387,200 * 4.24 = 24,840,016,201,728
To the nearest star it is 24.8 trillion miles. That is a difference of 24,840,015,201,728 miles. Kind of a big deal.
Maybe the song shouldn't bug me so much. Maybe I shouldn't take it quite so literal, but seriously... Just such a big error. I propose they change the lyrics to:
Written in the Stars
Trillions of miles away . . .
Light-years away . . .
*Also, to give you an idea on just how big of a number that is, if we were to start counting in the days of cave men (lets say starting on the year 10,000 BC for a nice found number), and count up until now we would only be at around 378 billion. So, in the year 785,000 (give or take a few thousand years), we'd have reached around 25 trillion seconds. 25 trillion miles is too far for us to really understand.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
This is an image depicting all of the systems where we have found planets around stars that could sustain life, or could sustain us.
How can we tell?
We are able to see the distance the planet is from the sun and the size of each as well as radiation output to determine if it were possible for us to survive there. The image depicts the parent stars and the size of the planets that surround them.
For reference, on the upper right hand area is our sun and planet earth.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I just thought this was cool.
This galaxy (ngc4038 Hagar Oreshko), 40 million light years away is actually two galaxies that have collided. It is commonly known as "The Antenna" and is the result from two colliding galaxies hundreds of thousand of years ago. No stars collided, however because of the collision of molecular gases star formation was triggered at an enormous rate at the center of the galaxy. It is really quite stunning.
Honestly, I look at something like that and wonder how many different intelligent beings are in there looking back at us. Astronomy is so amazing!!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Do you remember when Superman was killed by Doomsday, and from his death there arose a few new superheroes based upon his kind service to man? Steele was born, Superboy, and a couple of nasty villians. I remember the other superheroes coming into Metropolis to pay their respects, and Batman stops a crime. He hangs the guy up on a flag post telling him he's doing it Superman's way instead of kicking the crap out of him himself. It's awesome!
Speaking of Batman, how many great stories has come out of that one? Fallen Knight, anyone? Knight's End? Delicious. Cataclysm, No-Man's Land, Bruce Wayne Murderer and Fugitive?
Obviously, Batman is one of my favorite characters, and so many of the story arcs from those books are going to be my favorites. The challenge is to let others know of your favorites. Are you an X-men fan, and can sit down to the Dark Phoenix Saga any night of the week? Or perhaps a Wolverine fan specifically, and pore over his Origin story still the night is long? Do you like my little pithy statements of time elapsement?
For our venerable CAP, I give you Spider-Man's Clone Saga, or one I more prefer, Maximum Carnage! There's even an N64 video game (complete with red cartridge) based off this story! How much better can it be?
If you're not into the mainstream side of things, you can tell us about Transmetropolitan, which I still always read again (if I can wait that long) on an election year. It's futuristic society demands that I pay attention to what's going on in the world. The Truth, no matter what! Do not make the Chair Leg of Truth angry. Do you hear what it says? It says, "Shut up, Fred!"
All comments welcome, for surely you can appreciate art (both written and drawn) in some of its best conveyed forms. Give it a shout out, yo!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Less talk. Gotta save my voice.
I would like to make yet another argument for motion, in a sense, relating it to spacetime. Aristotle said that time is the measure of motion. What he meant was that any change was motion. Movement can be defined as an objects motion through time. Time passes; therefore, any change can be categorized as movement. We experience time or we are conscious of time therefore we must assume that it exists. In this we can assume the premise that movement can be categorized as an objects experience through time.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
In the book, Labyrinths of Reason,the following questions are addressed: “It would seem there must be some information attached to a moving arrow that identifies it. Otherwise, how does it “know” to jerk forward in the next instant?” (Poundstone 145) Here, Poundstone brings up the issue that if we were too look at any instance of time how would we be able to tell that the arrow was “moving” or would continue to move. However, there are measurable ways to see if an object is in motion. As we are not treating the observed movement of the arrow as a “freeze-frame” image, but simply taking an instance of time we should be able to measure velocity, and it's potential energy through space-time. Calculations in air disruption and force as well as the “compactedness” of the arrow, (the arrow would be shorter as it traveled than when it was stationary just before being released from the bow).
Thursday, April 7, 2011
*References on request
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Magician: Apprentice 1-12 (Raymond E. Feist - Dabel Brothers, picked up by Marvel)
RiftWar 1-5 (Raymond E. Feist - Marvel)
Magician Master: The Great One 1-5 (Raymond E. Feist - Marvel)
Ender's Game: Battle School 1-5 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
Ender's Game: Command School 1-5 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
Ender's Shadow: Battle School 1-5 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
Ender's Shadow: Command School 1-5 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
Speaker for the Dead 1-5 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
Formic Wars 1-7 (Orson Scott Card - Marvel)
New Spring 1-8 (Robert Jordon - Initially Red Eagle, picked up by Devil's Due, finished by Dynamite)
The Eye of the World (Robert Jordon - Dynamite)
John Carter: Warlord of Mars (Edgar Rice Burroughs - Dynamite)
The Legend of Drizz't (R.A. Salvatore - Devil's Due)
The Crystal Shard 1-3
Streams of Silver 1-3
The Halfling's Gem 1-3
DragonLance: Chronicles & Legends (Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman - Devil's Due)
Dragons of Autumn Twilight 1-8
Dragons of Winter Night 1-4
Dragons of Spring Dawning 1-12
Time of the Twins 1-3
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Marvel – X-Men, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Avengers, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor and many more!
DC – Superman, Batman (and Robin), Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, The Flash, The JLA, Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Lois Lane (not even a superhero!) and several others!
This doesn't go into the villains, such as The Joker, or Lex Luthor, or Green Goblin, but what is a hero without a villain? The very definition suggested by recognizing these characters (or group of such) easily incorporates the villains.
When I first read my first comic book, it was a collection in the Book-Mobile that came to my elementary school once a week. I didn't know what I was starting. Sure, who didn't love to read the occasional comic strip, like Garfield, or Wizard of Id (or a collection of such) but this was the Fantastic Four! Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm (respectively, I hope already know without my needing to say, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing!). I have no idea what it was I read. Was it something that was reprinted from the main comic line? I don't care. It was elementary school, and I liked the letters and the phenomenal story.
Years later (ok, just a couple to a few really), I pilfered through my older brother's collection of Uncanny X-men, X-Factor and Excalibur (during the INFERNO run, which we all know is awesome). I can't begin to tell you how many times I've read that story, again and again, because it never ceases to be awesome. Perhaps I'll read it tonight now that I've brought it up.
My point is, I love the X-men. At my peak, I was collecting all the X-men books with the full nuances of characters that "family" has to support. I've even been trying to get all those books into a semblance of reading order, so when I read them again (as I inevitably will several more times) I don't have to keep going between boxes. I want to go through Box 1, which covers the beginning, to box 2 and so forth as new teams come up.
We could even say the same thing about Batman! Of course, collecting Batman came much later, but once I caught on, of course my enthusiasm had to grab a lot of the back issues. It starts with Knight's End (the breaking of the Bat, if you will, and Bane). So I've read that several times of course, and many of the other Bat stories (who can't remember No Man's Land, and who hasn't read it so much that it was better to get the TPB in order to maintain the integrity of the original comics?).
But, with all that, and the several other side stories I've occasionally picked up over the years, what about things like Spawn? That was monumental back in the day. I don't follow it now as it went a little too...I have no idea where it went, to be honest, since I don't follow it. It just wasn't consistent enough in what I love to get me to continue.
But now you have independent publishing getting some pretty good art with some decent stories. To me, regardless of how often the Big Two try to open a gateway to bring on new readers, you really are hosed if you don't have the entirety of the back-story. Well, you used to be, until writers like Grant Morrison (anyone remember the New X-men run? Or some of the recent things with Batman) decide that they don't have to be true to where previous RECENT authors left the characters (or really, they aren't true to what's at the core of those characters).
Does that happen with the independents? Do they have enough of a history for it to even matter? I think of Devil's Due Publishing, or Dabel Brothers, or IDW. Time will tell.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
What is the doppler effect, you might ask... I'll give you a hint:
Wreeerrrrrrrr. (As I am sure you have guessed, that sound is that of a car traveling at high velocities passing you).
Wanting to be a astronomer when I grow up, the doppler effect is an important aspect of studying stars in our universe. (Not only stars but planets, galaxies, asteroids, etc.). The doppler effect is the change in the frequency of sound or light's wavelength moving from an object in motion towards the observer. Using this, one can determine the distance of objects in space and their rate of change in their positions.
A practical use of this would be to find other planets. For instance, our sun moves ever so slightly towards and away from the planets that surround it as our planets have mass and have a tiny pull on the sun. Likewise with other stars, if we see a star whose wavelength frequency changes routinely we can see that there is some other body in space pulling on the star.
I think this is fascinating. Because of something so simple as the doppler effect we are able to learn so much in regards to the makeup of our universe and how many aspects of gravity and revolution work, as well as many other things.
Yeah, this is the stuff I think is cool. Also, I'm wearing my doppler effect t-shirt today, it only seemed right to post something about it.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
When you have to wait (again, a whole month) for that next issue, you find yourself becoming obsessed with the story, obsessed with the not knowing. You are obsessed for that next issue to come out.
Then, on top of that, once you have the issue, you have to deal with all sorts of advertisements. Didn't you just pay $2.99-4.99 for your purchase? Now you have to be inundated with something you probably don't care about. But it's part of the book, so apparently you pay for that too.
Silence falls, as the darkness gathers. But lo and behold, a soft light in the far distance. What do your abused eyes behold? TRUTH! JUSTICE! HOPE! The trade paperback, collecting the story in its entirety. What this?!? You don't have to flip pages to get to the next part, the story continues on the back off the current page?!? What madness is this? No commercials?!? This isn't what I paid for (but it's secretly what I wanted)! Congratulations. You are complete. You have not just read a story, but experienced it fully. You didn't have to experience any distractions. You found the Pot o' Gold (I mean, come on, it's St. Patty's, let's celebrate) at the end of the rainbow. You've earned it.
Friday, March 11, 2011
A recent project of mine was to design (with the amazing help of Dane) a site for UVU's speculative fiction journal. Here are a list of those that were accepted for the spring edition of the journal. If you're interested in submitting your work please contact me at email@example.com. Or go to warpandweave.net and click on Submission Details.
*Art by Shawn Lindow
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I would have them do something only slightly complicated such as running a mysqlcheck. The lengthened command to run this check is: mysqlcheck -r --all-databases -p. That is exactly what you would type in. However, I would tell them to type in the following:
yes mysqlcheck -r '--all-databases' -p
The ''s around --all-databases indicates what they yes command will read. (Also I tell them some random stuff about how yes helps a process run smoother). They type it in and hit enter and their page begins to scroll:
This will continue until you hit Ctrl+V.
Boy, is their face priceless. Anyway, it runs the selected script/words at a rate that will fill a directory up to 1G in about 3 seconds. That is a ton!!
I'm pretty sure Strudinox taught me this.
Tell your friends and confuse your coworkers.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Celestial bodies are not so far away for some of us. I got a nice 6 inch reflector telescope for my birthday two years ago. I'm not the best astrophotographer in the world and I don't have the best equipment for the job, but I have managed to capture some pretty cool photos of the lonely surface of our closest neighbor. Check it out. Click on the images for full size photos.
The idea in regards to nocturnal doubling is as follows: If everything in the universe were to double overnight would an individual be able to tell the difference? By everything I am talking about every atom, every electron, every molecule, every string in quantum foam – everything. The immediate results of this would be indistinguishable. Distances would double, however we would be unable to tell because our yard-sticks have doubled as well. Size has doubled but, compared with everything else – from atoms to trees – we are the same. There is no noticeable difference.
Monday, February 21, 2011
During CES Gigabyte first gave us a glimpse of their new upcoming G1 series of X58 motherboards. One of which was their "OC Orange". All the info that we got was that this board was geared towards overclockers, and those who like to spend a good about of time tweaking BIOS settings. Gigabyte has just released pictures and a few details about this amazing board. One of the boards will be the X58A-OC which will support Intel's flagship 1366 processors. There is array of buttons next to the memory slots which are cleverly named "OC Touch" and will be used to give the users quicker access to much easier overclocking capabilities of the X58A-OC.
In the pictures below you can also see two 8-pin CPU power connectors. Also on the bottom and middle, right of the motherboard, there are two SATA power connectors. These can be used as additional power inputs and can be fed power by secondary power supplies. No telling as of yet what kind of stability or benefits this provides as of yet.
Cooling is provided by an array of some nice looking orange heatsinks which seem to have fans concealed inside the NB and SB coolers; as there is a fan wire leading into the center of each of them.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
“Let us open the door to age-old questions about our very nature, the nature of the universe, and whether there are limits to what we, as humans, can understand. But as old as these issues are, let us do something relatively new – let us borrow from the world of science fiction thought experiments to fire the philosophical imagination. Good science fiction rarely disappoints; good philosophy more rarely still.” –Susan Schneider
Recently I went through a phase where I read many of the greats in SF. Books like Kurt Vonneguts Slaughterhouse-Five, Philip K. Dick's Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep? and Walter Millers A Canticle For Leibowitz; as well as other's: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein, 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke and Gateway by Frederik Pohl, (and many others). There is something in these books that many more recent books lack. Philosophical Value. Their underlying themes in life and death, morality and ethics, race and the meaning of life, (to name a few themes) are bold and widely insightful. Fewer and fewer SF books are focused on such great meaning and in my searches I have found only a handful of modern SF writers who incorporate highly sophisticated philosophical themes or ideas. Some of these authors include Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson, Philip Pullman, Connie Willis and Suzanne Collins. (This is only a few or relatively many, however, more and more writers are coming onto the SF scene writing only for entertainment value and not intellectual merit).
Here, it is not my place to judge those writers that lack in incorporating philosophical themes as their early predecessor have, but to muse on, and expound on the philosophical value found in many science fiction books.
One important theme in many books is that of consciousness. This is found often in stories involving artificial intelligence (AI) or that of alien life. What constitutes consciousness? In Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Empathy, or what is required for a creature to have empathy is a major theme in the book: Empathy being a way of understanding and detecting consciousness. His story underlines the issues in detecting if an individual is an android or human, empathy being the key emotion to look for. "...ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated."2 As it grew harder to determine if an individual was conscious or not (showed empathy or not) questions cropped up subtly and yet powerfully about what constitutes consciousness. In the above quote, Rick Deckard (the protagonist, of sorts), ponders the vague lines drawn between those creatures that are empathetic and those things which do not have that ability. One of the novel's major themes revolves around the question of what traits make something human and what trait ensures survival or defeat.
An interesting aspect of the book shows that humans, (who are empathetic) now have drugs the can take to make them feel any number of ways or emotions. These very from general feeling of happiness or contentedness, to depression or even compliance to ones husband. They are artificial and Philip K. Dick seems to outline even further the obscure outline and requirements of consciousness.
Another book dealing a lot with consciousness and even empathy is Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos. Even more so, the last two books, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. The books underline the human experience and focus on what the power of empathy gives – a type of godhood, a relationship with other individuals that makes one aware of ones self in relation to others and a comparatively expansive view of consciousness. The book as well describes human emotion, experience and understanding.
The essence of human experience lay not primarily in the peak experiences, the wedding days and triumphs which stood out in the memory like dates circled in red on old calendars, but, rather, in the unself-conscious flow of little things--the weekend afternoon with each member of the family engaged in his or her own pursuit, their crossings and connections casual, dialogues imminently forgettable, but the sum of such hours creating a synergy which was important and eternal.
The human experience is another major theme in science fiction. One of the greatest science fiction books, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut, with his witty dark humor gives the reader an outline of what it is not only to be human but to be alive in time. He, in the first chapter of his book shows the weakness and faultiness in the human experience when he says, after outlining the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, focusing on Lots wife,
“And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”
Through Slaughterhouse-five, Vonnegut shows the effects of war and love and hate on humans. He outlines human emotions in an almost flippant way. One major theme in this anti-war SF novel seems to be that in general terms men (humans) do not like each other. This is an important theme in the book, as it depicts multiple people who simply allow bad things to happen.
Near the end, after the bombing of Dresden, (a focus point in the story) when Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist, is scolded by a German woman for the condition of the horse that had been pulling a wagon for him and the others with him. The horse was bloodied and the hooves were in a poor and painful condition. It was at this point Billy wept – not for his fallen comrades or for the devastation of the bombing, but for this horse. That was the trigger that set him off into a sobbing mess, and in certain ways more humane than most. Showing not only the frailty and complexity of the human experience but a certain type of empathy. And empathy for living, anything living and breathing and feeling. There is an empathy there. It is similar to that of a dog that needed to be put down or any pet that his hit by a car.
When I was young, a teenager, I remember my own dog coming home mangled, having obviously gotten in a fight with another dog, more than likely losing. My heart bled for her. The same feeling came when my wife and I had to give our own dog away when moving into an apartment complex that did not allow pets. These feelings were strong for me, and Vonnegut underlines the complexities of humanity in his book, showing that emotions are complicated things.
Human experience can span any number of similar themes, including empathy. I have found that this is one of the largest themes in many SF books. I feel that I am obligated to explain how SF views of the human experience differ from classics such as Oliver Twist, or Pride and Prejudice.
Technology, science, industry are growing at an exponential rate and continuing to do so. These things affect our daily lives in profound ways. We have internet access in most places in the world, we have technology that can do anything from telling us where to eat to firing neutrons towards each other at 0.99c (.99% the speed of light), and colliding them. We are advancing in space travel. Companies such as Space X are readily surpassing even NASA in space flight technology. We are able to speak to someone on the opposite side of the globe in an instance as well as mimic the power of the sun in nuclear fusion.
Paul Brians, Emeritus Professor of English at Washington State University said, “Science fiction [is] fiction based on rational speculation regarding the human experience of science and its resultant technologies.” Through technology humanity is growing and in that the human experience is gaining a broader spectrum of experience. Science fiction uses this knowledge and expounds on it. It underlines what technology can do for us in not only a technical aspect but in a philosophical aspect as well. Part of life, now, is technology and these advancements effect us in many ways. We can understand not only where humanity may go, what views and issues we many need to face in the future, such as AI, real consciousness, rebellions on massive scales or even the hardship of leaving this planet, but can relate to our lives now. SF can show us where were really are, where humanity is now and how we can potentially be changed in the future. The philosophy of consciousness is a large and growing field, for instance, and science fiction expounds on the possible futures of this study in a way that no other fiction genre could approach easily and profoundly.
In closing up this section of the importance of SF I would like to quote Kingsley Amis, an English novelist,
“Is it any wonder that a new generation has rediscovered science fiction, rediscovered a form of literature that argues through its intuitive force that the individual can shape and change and influence and triumph; that man can eliminate both war and poverty; that miracles are possible; that love, if given a chance, can become the main driving force of human relationship?”
SF enriches human life in its approachable views of a philosophical life. It is relevant and important and inspirational. Through science fiction we are able to gain a greater understanding into philosophies, empathy, human condition, etc. are only a few of the many and broad landscapes that SF has to offer in the area of philosophy.
*Next, Part IV: Science Fiction and Religion
Friday, February 18, 2011
Science fiction. You're right, it's crazy. In fact, it's even worse than that, it's nuts. You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an airplane, you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon? Atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right?Look, all I'm asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history… of history. –Carl Sagan, Contact
Several years ago I fell in love with Hard Science Fiction. That is to say, science fiction that is accurate with scientific laws, physics, technology, etc. Many authors have used their knowledge of science to write accurate and entertaining novels about the possible future of humanity. This method of viewing science fiction, I feel is an important one to have: that there are many SF novels out there that are the authors vision of what the future could be. A great example of this is Arthur C. Clarke's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Now, unlike his vision of where we would be in the year 2001, we do not have rotating space stations, simulating artificial gravity. We do not have people venturing out into the outer gaseous planets of our solar system, however, I believe that if we had kept up the same initiative and vigor in the space program that we had in the late 60's and early 70's,1 we could have easily achieved what Clarke had (around the same time as the missions to the Moon) envisioned for the future of space exploration.
While we have missed the mark he had set for us, the ideas that he proposed in his 2001 are valid and likely destinations for the human race.
“One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories. Two-thirds of 2001 is realistic — hardware and technology — to establish background for the metaphysical, philosophical, and religious meanings later.”
Dr. Ronald L. Mallett, Ph D, a professor at the University of Connecticut grew up reading SF. More precisely, he grew up reading books on time travel. In his book, Time Traveler Mallett discusses how when he was a boy his father – due to poor health – passed away. He, after reading an graphic novel adaption of The Time Machine became obsessed with the idea of time travel. So much so that he eventually majored in theoretical physics, all with the hidden desire to find a way to travel back in time. Because of The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells the notion of time travel became a reality to him.
Mallett, after become a full professor at Uconn, speculated that a circulating beam of laser light would twist time into a loop, distorting spacetime and allowing one to travel to any point of light in the circulating spiral or light. He first theorized the affects of bending light while observing inertial frame dragging, which was caused by rapidly rotating black holes. The frame dragging created closed time loops making time travel into the past possible. Light, having the same affect on spacetime as a massive rotating black hole should be able to, Mallett theorized, create closed time loops. Enabling time travel.
However, this method of time travel only lasts during the period of time the machine is left on. So, if he was to turn his time travel machine on in the year 2015 and it was left on until the year 2100 an object, (or individual) would be able to travel to any time period between the two dates.
Even today, with ground breaking physics being done, if you ask someone about time travel their first (and typically only) notion is that is it something only within the bounds of SF. And it is. That is the beauty of the thing. Dr. Mallett has brought science fiction to life. Through the ideas brought to us by men like H.G. Wells, and even Mark Twain in his book A Connecticut Yankee in King Aurthur's Court we get this vision of a world in which people can travel through time, and with this idea scientist can find a multitude of theories to make time travel happen. Anything from Mallett's frame dragging/closed time loop theories, to quantum foam, relativity, branch theory and Frank Tipler's theories in a rotating cylinder, time travel is quickly become a part of our reality.
Through science fiction there are many other examples in which science has pulled ideas from what was first thought of by SF writers. Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos, speculated in human evolution, Issac Asimov's I Robot stories give us a possible (and becoming even more likely) view of where technology and robotics can take us. Snow Crash, by Neal Stevenson gives us a near future view of a world link to what he calls the metasphere. A cyber world in which viruses can be uploaded to the human brain. Philip K. Dick's book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is another example of the evolution of robotics, especially in consciousness studies.
And there are many many other examples in SF of scientific achievements that can be met, or even some that have been met and thought first in sci-fi.
It is through the imaginations of these writers that we are able to gain ideas into the progression of science, what it will or can become, and through those visions scientists now can speculate and theorize about the universe. Without H.G. Wells, Dr. Ronald Mallett may not have ever learned about the notion of time travel and never become a physicist and discover a valid a likely way to make time travel possible, without Clarke we may no be able to see where space travel could take us. These individuals are more than authors, but are inventors, futurists and visionaries and through science fiction we can gain a greater understanding of science and where science can possible go in future years.
*Next, Part III: Science Fiction and Philosophy.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
"There's no real objection to escapism, in the right places... We all want to escape occasionally. But science fiction is often very far from escapism, in fact you might say that science fiction is escape into reality... It's a fiction which does concern itself with real issues: the origin of man; our future. In fact I can't think of any form of literature which is more concerned with real issues, reality." –Arthur C. Clarke
My original interest in Science Fiction came from a love of the stars. From as far back as I can remember I loved the stars. I would watch them at night in North Carolina wishing I knew more about them. My father would wake my brothers and me at three in the morning to watch a meteor shower. I would watch in amazement as the meteorites would penetrate the Earths atmosphere and burn up in a blazing streak across the sky. When I was thirteen, living then in Hawaii, during a camping trip we laid on our backs staring up at the sky. I had never seen anything like it. There was no light pollution. Nothing to block out the stars light. I remember seeing the galaxy Andromeda. A faint “fuzz” against a black back drop. I knew then that I wanted to study space. I wanted to be an astronomer.
Through this love of astronomy came my desire to read and write science fiction. But soon became extremely picky as to what I would read. “Only the best,” I had resolved.
Admittedly, when asked what it is I write (or read) I am always a little bashful to answer back that I write science fiction, or speculative fiction stories. In fact, for some time I tried to buy some classics of literature such as Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, or Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain hoping to read them and feel as though my writing abilities, reading abilities and critical thinking would increase. I took a class during my freshman year at school on American Literature after 1865 in attempts to become—for lack of a better term—scholarly. And there were good and important stories or books that I read, but none could bring the satisfaction that science fiction was able to provide.
The purpose of this paper is to show the importance of science fiction literature in todays society and the relationship it can have with individuals. Science fiction touches on many aspects of reality and life, such as humanity, religion, politics, science, class, good and evil, as well as many other topics, however I will focus my arguments mainly on science fictions role in todays sciences, it's religious incites as well as the philosophy behind science fiction. I hope to show that despite clichés, doubt and criticism, science fiction has value in the world on a level akin to what we have so hastily decided to be the important works of literature.
*Next, Part II: Science Fiction and Science.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
No I don't go around burning bras and my friends don't call me butch, bitch or sex fiend. What I mean by this is that I believe that women continue to be treated unfairly. At my own university female teachers make about 20% less than male teachers. I hate it when people say,"But males are the bread winners of the family, they have to make more." Yeah, tell that to the English teacher who is divorced and has 4 kids to take care of. Why is it that men are so afraid of having a female in power? No really, I would like to see the reaction on peoples faces if a woman was appointed as the president's military adviser. Could you imagine the sexist remarks that would come if a woman was actually elected as president? We've seen it with Sara Palin running. I mean, come on, it's easy enough to poke fun at her for saying stupid things, she's a politician. There is no reason for sexist remarks.
We Americans take pride for being ahead of regions like the Middle East and Asia but we are far behind most of Europe which means that we should be open to progression with this issue. Too many people here say that we have achieved equality but most of those people have yet to experience the effects from the past that linger.
When a couple gets married they must look towards the feelings of their mate and find out how they want to live their life. Some women are fine with staying at home, taking care of the kids and making dinner for their husband so he can relax from a hard days work. When I got married I asked Mandi what role she would like to have in the relationship. It just goes to show how much power society has given me as a man in a relationship, I had to ask. Eventually we found a way to divide things out evenly but it still took a few years to find out what we both wanted. She still hasn't made a decision on whether or not she wants to have kids biologically or adopt but I will leave that up to her since it is her body. I can respect that. After all, I've never heard a man say, "I want to go through labor," but I'm sure there are a few crazies out there.
It just sucks when society says, "A boy is this," and "A girl does that." I would suggest to everyone to really look at their relationship and see who does what and how much work goes into what they are doing. It's always difficult to keep things even but everyone should always be working on it and avoid being stuck in routine to where they don't notice it. Yes, this is my blog and this is how I feel today because of the love I have for my lovely wife, Mandi :)
Monday, February 14, 2011
This gap will make it look, (to the viewer) as though no one is there, because of the slowly approaching light, and the fast departing light. The Gap has no light and because our own image is reflected light it disappears.
Another interesting feature is that only the direct observer of the cloak gap will not see you. Someone standing behind you, however, will be able to see you. The cloak, (if one were to activate it) wouldn't hid them from anyone but the direct person the cloak was indicated for.
Unlike traditional ideas and projects involving cloaking (bending light around an object) this idea rather separates the light, (similar to two curtains opening, leaving a gap), leaving a void in spacetime. Researchers, however, have only been able to cloak small particles for only microseconds at a time. Because of the nature of light it may be some time before they are able to cloak an individual.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
However, I would like to make the argument for motion, in a sense, relating it to spacetime. Movement can be defined as an objects motion through time. Time passes; therefore, any change can be categorized as movement. We experience time or we are conscious of the passing of time, therefore we must assume that it exists. In this we can assume the premise that movement can be categorized as an objects experience through time.
This argument, although not disputing on a strictly scientific level, can be a valid argument for motions existence. Consciousness plays a vital role in this view of motion. If we adhere to the thought that reality is what we perceive and that there is nothing other than what we perceive to be real, then motion is only those instances that lead from point A to point B. Motion does not necessarily need to be fluid movement through space, but the directional change through time. Our consciousness tells us that we are experiencing a change in time by the way we see (long or short term) those changes unfold.
Therefore, through our own consciousness, as well as through our experiencing of time we can assume that there is in fact motion, or the movement of a solid state object through time. Consciousness brings time, time brings experience, and experience indicates movement or motion.