I find it ironic that George Orwell–– a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist–– warned us about this. In his dystopian Sci-Fi novel, 1984 (written in 1949). He warns us about totalitarianism, mass surveillance, perpetual war, suppression of free speech, historical negotiation (also known as denialism, which is the falsification of facts and distortion of historical record! If that does not ring a bell with you then I’m afraid 2 + 2 =5
Have you ever asked anyone: “At what point did you recognize yourself as an adult?” I think the answer to that question, at least for me, was when I asked myself, “Am I really here? In the universe, on this tiny fragile little spec, sitting at a table, eating cereal?” I mean, in that moment my mind expanded tenfold. That I could contemplate the existence of myself—but why was I here, why?”
For decades I tried to figure this out on my own, focusing on science in school, understanding the ecology of life and the mechanics of space time, holding a career in information technologies. But it wasn’t until I started writing science fiction that I figured it out. Like anything, if you want to get good at something you need to practice it, over and over. Writing science fiction is that practice— it forced me to think in the future tense— leaning into that part of the brain of extrapolation. Something that separates humanity from every other living object on this planet. It is the reason we invent tools because we see a need to invent something to get something greater in return.
Back to my answer to a lifetime question. Why was I here?
We— human beings— are tools for the universe asking the same question, we give consciousness to the universe, for the universe to understand why it is here.
There is no doubt that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are carriers to diseases such as: Fellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, to name a few. So putting an end to those diseases would be good for humankind, right?
On paper is works like this: The modified genes are loaded into the male species, which carry the lethal cargo that kills female progeny in early larval stages. As more females die, the Aedes aegypti population should dwindle. That’s the deal and it worked well in a lab.
I was scratching away at a mosquito bite, leaning against the dock railing looking down into the turquoise waters at the confused tarpon swimming upside down, tricked by the submerged floodlights shining up from below. A friend had invited me to this swanky party along the mangroves, one of her clients, and we were deep into a conversation about the state of idiocracy in this country, when she noticed I was bleeding and lifted my palm to see the tips of my fingers wet with blood and my forearm bearing tiny rivulets of the same.
“My God! You’re bleeding,” she said straightening up.
“I must have scratched a mosquito bite a little too hard,” I replied. Offering me her cocktail napkin, embarrassed, I said I would be fine and placed my thumb at the bite. She gave me a sideways look and dabbed away as I tried to pick up where we left off, but I could tell she wasn’t listening, her eyes darting towards my arm. Removing my thumb she placed the napkin over the bite but it soaked through relatively quickly.
A nearby server offering an appetizer of wasabi glazed Tuna, was startled to see my forearm tattooed with blood as he nervously handed us a wad of napkins, asking if he needed to call for help. I too quickly thanked him and said it was just a mosquito bite that I had scratched a little too hard and laughed it off. Skeptical but satisfied he moved on. We placed several napkins over the bite but I could feel the adrenaline pumping beneath and the warming of blood seeping up through the tissues. My friend insisted we head towards the house to ask the host for some bandages and a bathroom to dress this properly. Her advice sounded like a good idea at this point, so I held my palm firmly against the bite; not believing it got this far this quickly. As we walked, I could feel the blood slipping around the gasket of my hold— this is crazy— blood now dripping onto my designer jeans and powder blue sneakers, leaving a trail of dark red beads in the shaved Bermuda grass. We heard a scream behind us, followed by a shout that someone needs to call 911. Glancing over our shoulders, we could see a body slumped onto the dock with several guests gathered around, some backing away and holding their hands to their mouth. We looked down to my arm then back at each other–– fear in her eyes and panic in my own (TBC).
Our street, it seems, everyone has a dog, which says much about what great neighbors we have. And sometimes the chorus becomes hysterical— a gathering crescendo of barking started by one — the Metallica equivalent of a canine concert. Then adding to the biophony, their care givers open their back doors and the barks begin to wane under the whistling, clapping of hands or a holler from humans. I’m not sure which is more amusing.
Often I am asked if I have a dog? My answer is — I love dogs, yes but no. sort of…..
May I present to you, “Dally” my dog. Dally the Dalmatian (Steiff) is responsible for my second, long term, memory at the age of two, I can still see myself, holding my mother’s hand and walking up the steps to FAO Schwarz in NYC, my French mother in a white hat and sunglasses, a Polka Dot dress and a throw coat over her shoulders. Me… I was in an itchy wool brown outfit, “bumpy1” socks in brown shoes but I didn’t care. It was my birthday and I was going to FAO Schwarz! Once inside, my mother let go of my hand and followed me trough the stands of towering stuffed horses and giant teddy bears while battery-powered kid driven Stutz Bearcats meandered the isles under the displays that reached to the ceiling. I was oblivious to all that and zeroed in on Dally the Dalmatian (by Steiff). There was something about the tilt of Dally’s head, the wagging mouth and the texture of his fur. That was all I saw that day, somehow knowing Dally would follow me throughout life. Dally is still with me and a little worn for wear, but aren’t we all. Friendship is forever.
I joke with my wife that if the house were to ever catch fire, I promised her I would make sure she was safely outside, first, but after that I was going back in for Dally and my titanium crypto pass phrase hardware wallet, in that order.
1Bumpy: I would drive my mother crazy after she manhandled me into that brown itchy wool outfit and socks, then wedging my feet into the stiff leather brown shoes and tying the laces as if to batten down the hatches before a storm, looking me over from head to tow, satisfied of her work. But her smile would not last very long as I proceeded to tell her that my socks were bumpy. With an exhale of,”Mais Mon Dieu!” under her breath (My first long term memory) she would untie my laces, slip off the shoes, smooth out my socks and repeat. Whenever my wife sees me shifting around in a suit these days she asks if my socks are bumpy? But I know she has no intention of untying my shoes.
The war Russia has brought to the Ukraine is everything horrific about war–– that one person’s life lost is one too many. War is sorrow and fear, the roar of jet-craft overhead, the sound of explosions from artillery and missiles heard everywhere.
But as wars evolve they seem to be more contained, with fewer deaths–– a side-effect of technology.
Hardly mentioned is what is going on, silently over the internet. Here is an article that begins to reveal what is happening at the 1’s and 0’s. Take out communications and you stop a modern war in it’s tracks.
With Anonymous declaring war on Russia, this is becoming very real that future wars just might be silent. How will victory be claimed? It reminds me of the Star Trek episode (#023), “A Taste Of Armageddon;” A war between two planets that on one hand removes the horrors and destruction of war but those victims of computer simulation are required to report to their nearest disintegration chambers, of which they obediently do.
We are an aggressive species, seemingly comfortable walking that fine line of both survival and extinction.
The novel I have been working on (Silversides) is based upon the fact that we, as humans, seen to depict extraterrestrial contact as an invasion; a nightmare for us all. I truly believe it is because we are in denial–– that we can’t help ourselves, that to look in the mirror we see who we are as a species–– we are those extraterrestrials–– someone else’s nightmare.
I have little doubt the UFO sightings we are seeing are real, but they are just monitoring agents, making sure we don’t leave home.
“Science Fiction is fact that just hasn’t happened, yet.”
if I had told myself, back when I was in my early teens (pre everything) that I would one day be able to step outside my back door and look up to see a space launch on a weekly basis–– yeah… I would believe it, because I was such a SciFi geek then and now–– but I would not know how much of a thrill I would feel each and every launch. The cool thing is hearing the rumble almost 10 minutes later. I never get tired of this
I’m looking forward to next week’s, Atlas V 541 Launch on March 1st @ 4:32 PM.
And so it begins… again. After reading Neal Stephenson’s, “Snow Crash“, (pre internet), the 1992 Sci-Fi that coined the Metaverse–– I had such hope for virtual online tech. I was thrilled when SecondLife.com arrived and the creators (Linden Labs) stated using Snow Crash as their blueprint. In the beginning it was very much like the novel: mind-bendingly awesome, explosive, brilliant, and inventive. But as I observed its stages of Eutrophication over the years, it eventually became Hypereutrophic and a cesspool for porn.
With Playboy wanting to build a virtual mansion on Meta, and seeing the current level of sophistication of what Facebook allows today, it is easy to extrapolate that what became of SecondLife will be the same for Meta. But heck… Porn is the oldest industry and was the first industry to profit on the world wide web.
However, I do not see this happening to Eve Online, an MMO–– the likes of which you have never seen.
I don’t see this happening to Eve Online, an MMO the likes you have never seen.
Not since the 2006 movie, Idiocracy, has there been a good parody of where we are today (Politically, Socially, Environmentally, Economically, etc.). Watching Don’t Look Up –– as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the humor of this movie–– I found myself cringing at scenes that were a little to close to home.
The casting was brilliant as was the acting. The storyline is, in my regard, the next big thing Corporate America will chase.
After 9-11 it became a yearly ritual to practice Disaster Recovery–– which was looked forward to as much as a root canal. I know the concept was a good idea, but in practice it was like chasing lightning–– no matter what was rehearsed would be yesterday’s news: 9-11, Viral Pandemic, Stormageddon, Towering Inferno, Disgruntled Employee, flood, blackout, and the list goes on. I tried to explain to upper management that there was no such thing as being proactive; the best scenario one could hope for was to react to an event faster than it’s effects were felt by the majority of the population. This was my mantra, as an Enterprise Management Guru of SNMP & RMON, for most of my career.
Which brings me back to “Look Up.” This was a great Sci-Fi Parody. If you want to learn a little more about asteroids–– waiting for the big one–– sign up at Asteroid Day, led by Brian May (Queen Guitarist and Astrophysicist).
I was so preoccupied with Astronomical disasters that I wrote a series of Sci-Fi Shorts under the title, END OF DAYS, available on Amazon’s Vella Platform. Feel free to download the first three for free, then for a small fee you can read the others and feed a non-so-starving author.
Mark, i know you are out there. This would have been a fun Monday Morning rehash before our day of Idiocracy began.
With a very smooth and successful launch on Christmas day, The James Webb Telescope is on its way, traveling 1,000,000 miles from Earth, where it will slowly unravel over a two week period, calibrate the mirrors and run through various configurations, while cooling down to -230 C so there is no heat interference gathering the radiation (light) from space. The mirror is three times larger than Hubble and will be our eyes into the 13.3 billion year past (baby pictures are always so cute).
Congratulations to the ESA, CSA, NASA and to all the team members for this human achievement.
I think this is a great use of tech (Halo collar), which replaces your underground electric fence with wireless GPS—a fence you can take with you. Absolutely brilliant!
Imagine, going to a park or beach, pulling up the app and drawing a box on the screen and off your dog, cat, leopard, etc., goes staying within the perimeter. Awesome!
Now think about dismantling all our prisons and outfitting the incarcerated with halo collars that keeps them in their confinement!! Now expand that to every citizen who refuses to get vaccinated or doesn’t think the way others think or who have blue or brown eyes!!!!
Tomorrow is already here. This is so much the stuff of a great dystopian SCI-Fi that I need to get working on!!!!! Thank you HALO COLLAR…. Thank you.